Caramel Chicken {and!}, Sept 4-Sept 10, 2020

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Hello CS-ers! We’re back from our break with a brighter, breezier updated look. Plus the new “Cocktail Hour Buzz” {join in!}, Alexa page, and good ol’ comfort food now every week

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Quick Bites – What’s in your pantry? So many way to use up stuff with – 18 Decadent Brownie Recipes from Food & Wine. The preps variously call for caramel, chunk chocolate, flaky sea salt, bacon, walnuts, pecans, popcorn, bourbon, cocoa powder, bananas, marscapone, peanuts, peanut butter, peanut brittle, coconut, dulce de leche, coffee, marshmallows, and yep even more.   During one of Guy Fieri’s stops on his DDD show, a chef showed a way to shuck corn without having the kernels detour all over the kitchen. I tried this and it works very well {see pic}, just a matter of turning a small bowl {even better with a bottom rim} upside down inside a larger bowl. Pretty cool.

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Shopping Finds – Who do you know that loves a deep dive into the secrets and science of food? That’s exactly whatThe Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science resides in the 936 pages of The Food Lab. There’s a good overview in the Look Inside feature on its Amazon page, but all in all it’s the inside story of what happens any time you cook, and how to harness those mysteries to produce the very best results. Cold brew fans, did you know you can now buy it in a box for the fridge? Here’s what google found.

NEW – our doggie shirt & mug section now in BJN’s Eclectic Mall {and then scroll down}

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Kitchen Talk – Love this salad {shown}, lettuce, tomato, avocado, black olives, green onions tossed with Ranch, topped with slightly crushed Doritos, queso from the jar warmed, salsa, sour cream, chopped cilantro.    If you like cheese, you’ll LOVE the mac & cheese recipe in The Food Lab book {above}, with not only interesting seasonings but also a 2:1 ratio of cheese to mac.   Speaking of olives, I really like them warmed, and even tastier with some crushed garlic, coarse salt, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.

 On the Table

Caramel Chicken – and a celeb chef alternative

Pretty much every recipe for Caramel Chicken, including the first one I made, is bursting with Asian flavors. It was actually quite good, just not what the title conjured up in my palate’s mind. I wanted something more caramel-y, and if simpler all the better.

After some experimentation and a little inspiration from peanut sauce and salted caramel, here is my version: Prepare 1/2 c chicken bouillon and pour just enough into a medium saucepan to barely cover the bottom. Add a 16 oz tub caramel dip, 1 T mayo, and 1 t garlic salt. Heat and stir over low heat till well blended. Whisk in remaining bouillon a little at a time till it’s a nice pourable consistency but still thick. Let cool slightly.

Now since the classic recipes for this dish feature an Asian vibe, the traditional bed is rice. But when I first came upon caramel chicken, my thoughts immediately went elsewhere. Waffles! And now I’m wondering if having that in mind might have shaped my reaction to the first sauce. Because in truth that first one would be a perfect match for rice.

Now since waffles were on the plate, I opted for fried chicken, and poured the sauce over both. Meanwhile, I’ve linked that original recipe below, which is on the Food Network site. It’s by Katie Lee, always a reliable source of high flavor dishes.

Katie Lee’s version    Katie Lee’s cookbooks

Recipe Notes – Fruit pairs well with this dish, and here I used kiwi and tangerine sections. Even with its savory elements, the sauce is good over just the waffles, and of course a little butter can’t hurt. But beyond that, nice with pork roast or chops, on sweet potatoes, or added to baked beans. Haven’t tried either of these this yet, but wondering how it would be spooned into acorn squash halves or brushed over freshly cooked and drained bacon. Btw, those tubs of caramel are often in the produce section near the apples.

Next week – Kentucky Butter Poke Cake, moist and flavorful, a really, really good cake

A Cuppa with Alexa Recipes, Tips, News & More

Visit with Alexa on Amazon Echo right here in the Salon for this week’s chat – Cheeseburger Bread {3 ways}, best selling soup pots – 4 1/2 stars, best vegetables for grilling this Labor Day

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Cocktail Hour Buzz 

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

We asked Les Vegas’ own celeb chef Les Kincaid if he would be willing to share his flavorful dry rub, given that Labor Day is a fave grilling occasion. “Actually,” he told us, “that’s one of the many recipes on my website, and can be found under Grilling & BBQ. And folks may want to check out my jicama cole slaw in the Salads section, a great Playboy's host & bar book.side dish for any grilled meats.” Also an internationally known wine expert, Kincaid recommends pairing a “spicy zinfandel or spicy sirah.” Thanks, Les!

During the CS break I came upon my copy of maybe the best party book ever, Playboy Host & Bar Book. If you decide to add this to your library, don’t be scared off by the {yikes!} $800+ price tag as there are used/very good condition hardcovers for $14 and less on Amazon. In addition to hundreds of drink recipes, you’ll find classic and innovative mixes and garnishes, tips on barmanship and equipping the bar, guidance on measures and amounts, a primer on wines of the world, and hooray also recipes for classy cocktail hour snacks.

Amy Reilly is notable for  her wine picks as well as for dwelling in the aphrodisiac sector of the culinary spectrum. In her recent newsletter she recommends Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé to “serve with your favorite mushroom dish,” spotlighting one of her fave foods in this realm.

“Never eat more than you can lift” – Ms Piggy

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