Ghirardelli Chocolate Lava Cake, Feb 21-Feb 27, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Just a reminder

photo credits, link sources not ID’d in text, and partnerships are listed at the end of every Salon

  Here’s what you’ll find this week when you scroll below  

 TIDBITS – coffee cake a la you / bacon ways / cooks’ source    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – longevity somewhat unmasked    FEATURED RECIPE – just look at this indulgence    TIP – interpretive lasagna    THE WEEK – biggie foodfest tix / taco tamer / word of the day


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  How’s this for a magnetic headline, “How to Make Your Greatest Coffee Cake Yet“? OK, truth be told the story isn’t quite what I thought the headline meant, which is to say one, single, el supremo, award-worthy, crowd goes wild, recipe. But maybe it’s in fact something better. Three steps guide you through mixing and matching elements so that you end up with a customized confection with all your favorite stuff.

  OK, this one too: “10 Ways You Never Thought You’d Use Bacon.” For CS-ers, some items in this Food & Wine list will be new ideas, others tasty reminders. Bacon pancakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp may well fall into that latter category. But how about Almond Joy bacon, caramel bacon popcorn, cheesy garlicky bacon bread??? Some may even be breakfast-friendly enough to keep your coffee cake company.

  Cooks Illustrated is currently offering a discount and free trial for its “All-Access Membership.” It’s described as including favorite cooking techniques and recipes, unbiased equipment and ingredient ratings, videos, mobile app, free shipping in their shop, and viewing of all 20 seasons of their hit TV show. I am not a member, so just passing this along for your look-see. Scroll down on the linked page.


Wow, is this an interesting book

The total mystery of longevity may still be somewhat elusive, but this enlightening read sure puts some cracks in the case. It takes an in-depth look at four diverse regions of the world, termed “blue zones,” where an extraordinary number of folks burst through the actuarial tables to reach and blow past age 100.The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest

What makes the stories even more intriguing is how many of these centenarians are still so mentally alert and physically active. As a side note, what seems to be a privilege of 100-plusing, and perhaps even a factor in that achievement, is a hearty touch of feistiness.

The author Dan Buettner and his team were most conscientious in verifying birth dates to make certain the tales of longevity were true. Then it was a matter of close observation and personal interviews to The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100determine lifestyle, food and beverage consumption, work habits, family life, social interaction, and other {some maybe unexpected} activities.

Some clear patterns emerged that then led to a list of conclusions for each area. As a result, “The Blue Zones” can show you how to “make simple adjustments to your lifestyle that can add years to your life.” And looking at the superseniors in those zones, it could add life to your years as well.

To bring the lessons right to our stoves, Buettner also published “The Blue Zones Kitchen,” and there are other spin-offs as well. Most are multiple formats, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

“The Blue Zones”    “The Blue Zones Kitchen”      Other books based on the blue zones

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Do try this at home

One of the sweetest ways to give a restaurant dinner a big finish is with a delectable chocolate lava cake. But why wait till your next outing when you can make it in your own kitchen. While the prep is a little on the long side, there’s really nothing difficult about it.

If you do click onto the recipe, may want to meander a bit while you’re there. You’ll find several categories of preps to tap into.

One with some really pretty and great sounding treats is the Holiday Desserts category. Some candidates for the to-make list: layered chocolate cheesecake, mini chocolate raspberry brownie trifles, chocolate-orange mousse cake, dark chocolate almond butter bon bons, dreamy fudge pie {yikes, stop!}.

Chocolate lava cake recipe    Ghirardelli recipe page


If you like your lasagna with more filling than noodles . . .

You’re going to love this technique. It was on I believe the first episode in this season’s Marcus Samuelsson PBS series, “No Passport Required.” He took us along with him for a tasty tour of Philadelphia’s Italian community.

It was at Ralph’s, now the oldest Italian restaurant in America. Now let’s pause for a ‘fess up: since the camera didn’t stay continuously on the process, I may have missed the addition of more noodles.

So let’s call this my preferred interpretation. Whether theirs or mine, it begins with a layer of gravy {red sauce}, and then an interesting noodle pattern.

Starting at the short end of the baking pan, two noodles are placed end to end so that they meet in the middle with the rest draped over the long sides of the pan across from each other, and so on till there’s a full layer, and then other noodles are positioned over the short sides of the pan. All is then covered with the ricotta mix, seasoned meat, and more gravy.

That’s where there’s a good chance we part company. Was there another layer of noodles?

I chose to think not. With or without more noodles, we would both then repeat the ricotta/meat/gravy, and then fold the draped noodle ends over the filling, topping it all off with more gravy.

Click here to see {and interpret} for yourself}


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  There are foodfests all over the country and calendar, but maybe the granddaddy of them all is the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, one I had the supreme pleasure of attending a few years back. You would find first class food from first class chefs as far as the eye can see, and oceans of beverages for paired perfection. Classes and demos, dinners and tastings, up front and personal encounters. Bonus feast for the eyes: the spectacular Rockies backdropping the entire experience. This year it takes place June 19-21, but tickets {passes} are already available.

  If the Danish in the bakery section of your market is packaged like they are at mine, there are slots that hold the rolls at an angle. This will sound like a change of subject – as much as I love tacos, what I like a lot less is the shells being so uncooperative and flopping around when you’re trying to fill them.

  Do you see where this is going? {OK, guess the answer isn’t so mysterious given I totally tipped it with the photo}. As you can see, you can park the shells right in those slots and fill away. And, yes, I’m aware of the flat-bottomed shells, just don’t prefer them.

  To quote South Park [yeah, OK, should be too old to find it so amusing}: I learned something today. But what makes it a bit unexpected is that it’s sourced from . . . a crossword puzzle{!} Here ’tis. Sapid means having a strong, pleasant taste. Hey, that could be the Punch Sauce from last week, with the latter coming into play after the honey contribution. In the interest of full disclosure, it can also refer to talk or writing being pleasant or interesting.

This week’s: 

Photo credits – books-Amazon / lava cake-Ghirardelli site / lasagna-PBS & youtube

Link sources – coffee cake-MyRecipes / bacon-Food & Wine / all books-Amazon / lava cake-Ghirardelli site / lasagna-youtube / Classic in Aspen tix-Food & Wine fest site

Partnerships – Amazon / PBS {member, not affiliate}

Click here or on the Amazon logo    to go directly to their home page

So far next week: red wine braised red cabbage, St Pat’s Day kitchen decs, ancient dining, copycat restaurant recipes, hash browns redo, movie question, Shirley Temple take-offs, cookie fix, up your etiquette, fake foods

Last week, just below: more good press for eggs, power breakfasts, online food help, Unofficial Downton Abbey cookbook, shrimp & grits casserole with bonus soup, save the avocados, pig pickin’ cake, punch drunk sauce, another recipe source

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