Cookbook author’s Chocolate Cobbler, April 3-April 9, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – taco shell, the blank slate / best cobbler? / marinara + +  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – sheet pan 2.0    FEATURED RECIPE – oh my!!!    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK – save the milk / fun with taters / impromptu dressing 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  A feature in “Parade” last weekend was a fine reminder of just how versatile tacos can be. Once you set up a shell {see our tip in the 02.21.20 Salon for making them stand tall} or lay out a tortilla, the possibilities for fillings/toppings are boundless. Meats, fish, cheeses, veggies, beans, fruits, bacon, eggs, chilies, onions of any color, garlic, citrus, herbs, sour cream, salsa in all its variations, hot sauces and other sauces. What a great way to raid the fridge and use up tasty odds and ends.

  This week’s Salon is a bonanza for cobbler lovers. Not only do we have the blow-everyone-away chocolate version as our Featured Recipe. but also this from MyRecipes: “How to Make Your Best Cobbler Yet.” You’ll find the 1-2-3-4 of assembling your dish, and then how to cook it in the oven, on your stovetop, or even . . . on the grill.

  Truth be told there are some decent spaghetti sauces at the supermarket. But Epicurious via msn.com says there are ways to make them even better with its “5 Ways to Amp Up Jarred Pasta Sauce.” Temperature, seasonings, ingredients, cooking and baking techniques are in the details.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Already done!

Two weeks ago we talked about using foil to create separate compartments for different foods. And that’s a good technique with an item you likely have at hand.Chicago Metallic Lasagna Trio Pan, 12-Inch by 15-Inch by 3-Inch (11-1/2-Inch by 2-1/2-Inch Cavities)

But, eureka! A sectioned sheet pan already exists. It’s called a lasagna tri-pan but clearly you could use it anyway you want, and because of the depth it’s actually better than a standard sheet pan..Disposable Aluminum 3 Compartment T.V Dinner Trays with Board Lid #210L (50)

And then there are disposable ones too. These are multipacks. Both images are clickable.

Btw, you’ll also see others designed for brownies, bars, mini loaves and the like that could even work for smaller amounts.

Sectioned sheet pans, 4 stars & up

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Looks aren’t everything 

OK, here’s the thing. When cookbook author Elizabeth Heiskell was putting this dish in the oven on the Food Network show, The Kitchen, the hosts in effect compared it to sludge.

Truth be told, when it came back out the cosmetic improvement was slight at best. The ice cream makes a tasty coverup – she used cherry, a sort of Black Forest thing going on, and I used butter pecan. Whipped cream or sour cream I think could also be nice.

BUT, how it looks will fade into the ionosphere once you taste it. Yikes it’s good!. In fact I believe it was Sunny that said it was the best dessert she’d ever had on the show.

What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves UpThe frosting on the cobbler so to speak {hey maybe another solution}, is that it is quite easy to make. One melt, two mixes, and voop into the oven.

Some notes. I took it out 33 minutes. There’s no guideline on whether to use 3/4 or 1 cup of hot water – I used 3/4 and think next time a full cup for even more gooey goodness, and maybe take a minute or two off the baking time. To serve it I flipped it over to have the melty chocolate on top..

Heiskell is the author of a book we’ve previously featured in the Salon, a gift guide of sorts titled “What Can I Bring,” and subtitled southern food for any occasion life serves up –  hardcover and Kindle, both discounted on Amazon. We’ve also linked her other cookbooks, similarly with a southern accent.

Recipe    “What Can I Bring”    Heiskell’s other books

  TIP 

Don’t have self-rising flour? Easy fix

AllRecipes to the rescue again. Turns out that site is not only boffo for recipes but also for techniques.

Our Featured Recipe for this week calls for self-rising flour, but not everyone keeps this on hand. No worries, as long as you have regular flour, salt and baking powder you’re good to go.

There’s even a demo. And bonus, while I was on the site found a way to turn salsa into 11 dinners. Next week Tidbits!

To make self-rising flour

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Please, please, don’t hoard milk {or really anything else}. But most guidelines say it’s OK to take one extra of most things. With milk the problem is using it up before it spoils. So, asked Alexa on my Echo Show about freezing it and this is what she said – remove about a cup from the carton to allow for expansion. Write the date it’s going into the freezer and the expiration date on the carton, which will tell you when you eventually use it about how long it should stay fresh. Thaw in the fridge or in cold water, shake before use in case the fat has separated.

  And then, good Alexa offered a transfer to WikiHow for more information. So, I poured about a half gallon from a gallon into a large container, left about 2″ clearance, sealed up, into the freezer. And we shall see.

{At some point we’ll be bringing you regular food news, tips, recipes, even jokes from Alexa on its own CS page}

  What a fun and festive idea for when we can once again party on. See the pic? – that’s “potato snow,” found in “The Secret Garden Cookbook” featured in our 03.06.20 Salon. Oh so easy too! Per the recipe, simply push boiled, towel-dried potatoes through a coarse sieve with a wooden spoon letting them “pile high into a snowy mountain slope.”

  I actually peeled the potatoes, wrapped in foil and baked, so no drying time needed and then held with a multi-folded large napkin to sieve while still hot. Even so, there will be some cooling so it’s a good idea to serve with some hot melted butter. Just be careful not to shake the plate or you could end up with something more like a “drift.”

  Steak, baked potatoes, and salad were on the dinner menu. When baked is on the plate, sour cream is sure to follow. So a creamy dressing on the salad would be sort of redundant, but I wanted more flavor than just a vinaigrette. Hmmmm, started with some soy sauce, then in quick succession sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce, and grated dried garlic. Nice. Now a new fave.

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – sheet pans, book-Amazon, others-mine
  •  Link sources – sheet pans, books-Amazon, recipe-Food Network
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: 16 meals from salsa, catch corona through food?, brownie mix upgrade, clam chowder with a secret, more on safe shopping, made the potato soup, Alexa cake, play with your food, fun foodie mugs

Last week, just below: baking crafts, safer shopping for the times, boffo cake, recipe clone source, leftover pizza breakfast casserole 2.0, Wilbur’s chicken trick, grits hits, safe& easy pretty Easter eggs, Japanese home cooking cookbook

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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Leftover Pizza Breakfast Casserole, March 27-April 3, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

CS Friends

I considered suspending CooksSalon during these times when ingredients can be hard to find and we have more on our minds than a new recipe. The other side of that is that perhaps there’s a benefit in staying connected through a shared passion and enjoying a little respite from the cares of the day.

So here’s  what we’re going to do for now

First, keep publishing CooksSalon each Friday for the present.

Second, post anything we can find to provide help in our cooking realm – ways to protect our health, make the best of what we have on hand, substitute for what we don’t – the first example being the shopping guidelines just below.

Third, watch for any signs that we should in fact suspend the Salon for a while.

Stay safe my friends.

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

  TIDBITS – baking crafts / safer shopping for the times / boffo cake     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – recipe clone source    FEATURED RECIPE – really, this time    TIP – Wilbur’s chicken trick   THE WEEK – grits hits / safe, easy, pretty Easter eggs / Japanese Home Cooking cookbook

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  This is sort of an interesting case of kitchen meets craft room. Most of us most days just don’t have time for time-consuming recipes. But every now and then it might be nice, even therapeutic, to just let hands and mind concentrate on something that will reward us with a pretty and tasty end result. Epicurious thinks so, and backs that up with this slide show of “31 Epic Dessert and Baking Recipes for When You Need a Project.” Maybe a giant chocolate candy bar, best morning buns, caramel apple drip cake, or spiced hazelnut-pear cake with chocolate sauce.

  As we all know, right now there are some scary times out there. To help in the food realm, msn.com offers these suggestions on How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus When Grocery Shopping.  You’ll find guidelines for picking up pre-assembled grocery orders, receiving deliveries, and handling the items once they’re in your home.

  Haven’t even made this yet but what an interesting cake. Take a look at the picture of this Sweet and Salty Snack Food Cake AND the ingredients and see if you might not agree. The topping is so different, potato chips, cookies, coconut, raisins, nuts, butter, brown sugar. Think this rich cake might also be good as is or with just a touch of glaze or frosting.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Send in the clones

Oh, this is fun. Think of your favorite restaurant food, or even selected grocery store items, and you just might find a copycat in this cookbook.

Todd Wilbur’s reason for creating “Top Secret Recipes . . . Step by Step/Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home” would warm any cook’s heart. “. . . the enjoyment we experience when everyone is amazed by the successful re-creation of a delicious dish they thought they could only get in a restaurant or in a package sets this type of cooking apart from any other.”Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home

Requests from fans turn into quests by Wilbur, a mix of “snooping, exploring, and experimenting,” a process he enjoys it seems every bit as much as creating the end result. And this is nice – little information boxes atop each recipe specify first time or improved hack, active and inactive prep times, level of difficulty, and yield.

All in all you’ll find 125 recipes from over 60 sources – think fast food outlets, family restaurants, ethnic places, breakfast spots, steakhouses, coffee emporiums and dessert bars. The packaged goods clones include Twinkies®, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels®, Fudgsicles®, a couple of Girl Scout cookies, and more.

Yikes, so many temptations here. Think my list-toppers might be the Chili’s® molten chocolate cake {with caramel sauce!}, Legal Sea Foods® clam chowder, Panera Bread® Asian sesame chicken salad, Red Lobster® Cheddar Bay Biscuits®, Ruth’s Chris Steak House® barbecued shrimp, and Taco Bell® Mexican Pizza.

“Top Secret Recipes Step by Step”    Wilbur’s other Top Secret Recipes cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A pizza journey 

AllRecipes magazine in effect is asking us this question about leftover pizza: Why have a cold slice in the morning when you could instead use those leftovers to fill your plate with hot “Pizza Breakfast Casserole.” What a way to start the day.

When I went to their site to get the link to post for you, the dish in the photo with the recipe looked quite different from the one in the magazine. The recipes are identical except in two regards and I think that accounts for the difference in appearance.

First, the mag one bakes the casserole for just 30 min before uncovering, while the one on the site calls for 45 min, and then both continue for another 20 min. Second, at that 30 min point, the mag version tops the dish with pepperoni.

So, onto my prep. One change I made was minor, stirring the red pepper flakes into the egg mix instead of using as a topper. The second was more significant  – had buttermilk to use up and that replaced the milk. It was probably the latter change that led to the dish testing done at the 30 min point. Laid on the pepperoni and back in uncovered for just 3 min.

Next time? Since this is fork food rather than finger food, I would cut the pepperoni into halves or quarters depending on the size of the slices.

I think even with regular milk the 30/20 timing would probably be enough and accordingly I would lightly saute the onion and garlic in the melted butter. And with that just-right baking, it’s likely your pizza casserole will look like the one in the magazine – and like mine {plus parsley}.

Recipe    AllRecipes magazine  

  TIP  

Straight from our Spotlight book

In his cloned recipe for KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken, author Todd Wilbur offers this way to keep the finished chicken warm while the remaining pieces are cooked. Thinking that would also be good if you have to wait for other dishes or late guests.

So, do this, he says. Place the fried pieces on a rack on a baking sheet and then into a 200 degree oven. This should maintain a nice serving temperature without overcooking the chicken.

Now wondering what else this might be applied to. French fries, bacon, toast? Might try it.

Items featured here also appear in our weekly Tip Tuesday posts on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So now that I’m a bit of a grits-o-phile, I’m suddently seeing preps elsewhere. A feature in the current issue of Food Network magazine stirs in shrimp & cheddar, or mushrooms & acorn squash, or coconut & short ribs. The Epicurious site shows a version very similar to the one we featured in our 02.14.20 Salon, but kicked up with jalapeno. Serious Eats crafted a “biography” of grits on its site with some really interesting flavor variations along the way. All those sound good, but for a quick and simple prep I like to cook it now in chicken bouillon with a bit of butter, top with bacon and chives. If I want to go a little gussier, I stir in cheese and add a fried egg on top.

  So, in our 03.13.20 Salon we showed the pretty lavender results of  dipping peeled hard cooked eggs in beet juice. But maybe you’d like a bit more decoration, and also eggs with their shells still on. Well, alrighty then. Let’s take a look at our chat from last July {07.26.19} that showed an easy way to decorate Easter eggs with food color pens. Fast. Safe. Even prettier!

  Recently finished “Japanese Home Cooking” by Sonoko Sakai. Maybe not for everyone, but definitely a good source for the serious student of this cuisine. And student is appropriate because Sakai taught Japanese cooking first in her home, then across the country and eventually around the world, and that comes through in her carefully designed recipe instructions and also the separate sections on principles, equipment, tableware, and ingredients. You’ll find pantry style {everyday} dishes and then some a bit more complex in this book where Sakai offers “the craft and reverence of three generations of women in my family.”

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – book-Amazon / chicken-Wilbur book / others-mine
  •  Link sources – snack cake-Food Network / books-Amazon / recipe-AllRecipes / AllRecipes mag-AllRecipes subscription page
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: sheet pans 2.0, chocolate cobbler, best cobbler, party gift book, potato snow, upgrading jarred marinara, taco fillers, no self-rising flour no problem, freezing milk, impromptu dressing

Last week, just below: brunch watch, sheet pan trick, food spending, a new home for your spices?, cheddary apple crisp, paring knife to go, tiddy whatty?, pizza does breakfast, book for bloggers

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

 

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“Best . . . ever” Irish lamb stew, March 6-March 12, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – bakers rejoice / a chewy, chewy, oh chewy / closet nukers    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – “secret” recipes    FEATURED RECIPE – St Pat’s classic    TIP – save the dish    THE WEEK – cheese it! / crochet dinner / and again, cheese it!

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Bonanza for bakers! Taste of Home, another superfavorite recipe source, has introduced Bakeable, a one-stop destination for all things related. There looks like a lot of sweet stuff going on here, most under the banners of Baking Guides, Baking Essentials, Baking Recipes and Bakeable Community. I have not tried this myself, but if you’d like the rest of the story, please click the link.

  Well my CS friends, this sure looks to be worth a spot on the to-make list. Paula Deen actually posted this as a Super Bowl treat, but once you take a look, aiyyyyy, is there any occasion, any time of year, we wouldn’t want this. Her Brown Sugar Chewies are dangerously simple, which is to say too easy to make any time day or night with the stuff that’s likely already in your pantry.

  Ha! busted. Topline chefs may scoff at the very idea of a nuker in the kitchen, but MyRecipes tells all. The curtain is pulled back in their tale of “18 Unexpected Items These Chefs Always Microwave.” Some of this actually might be expected, but most live up to the title. One of the most surprising to me was grilled cheese, especially since the chef identified this as one of his favorite things on earth so I believe we can rest assured he would not use a technique that disrespected this classic sandwich.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Better late than never

When I was just a child {censored} years ago I read, and loved, “The Secret Garden.” For reasons lost in the mists of history I didn’t finish the book with only about 25 pages to go.

In more recent years a friend and I attended a book store opening and there on a kind of easel display stand among other books, was “The Secret Garden.” It was just too tempting – while my friend did her thing, I stood at that stand, believe it or not able to pretty well figure out where I’d left off, and finished the book.The Secret Garden Cookbook, Newly Revised Edition: Inspiring Recipes from the Magical World of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden

To this day the story, the setting, and the characters are still so fresh and dear. So, was absolutely delighted to come upon “The Secret Garden Cookbook.”

The dishes were inspired by the book and adapted by chef and culinary historian Amy Cotler from traditional Victorian recipes, and in fact are often accompanied by tidbits on the era’s food, eating habits, and cooking customs. Among such offerings as cheese muffins, potato snow, tattie soup, and “tiddy oggies,” I particularly found the Snap Baskets intriguing, with “magical” batter that once baked can be molded into, e.g., rolls or baskets and then filled.

The book says for ages 8 and up and “where necessary work with an adult” – but while I think youngsters would enjoy looking through the recipes with their notes and quotes, really all should be supervised. It’s 4+ stars on Amazon, Hardcover in new and used, and Kindle discounted.

“The Secret Garden Cookbook”   “The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett”

The Secret Garden Prime Video & DVD  ♦  Other Cotler books    Other Hodgson books

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Go really, really, Irish for St. Pat’s Day

What could be a more warm and welcoming taste of Ireland than a rich and hearty Irish stew??? And what a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Let’s be clear here, though. That “best . . . ever” claim comes from the recipe source. But once you look at the ingredients and process, and even before you taste it, you might see the potential of the promise.

And, ahhhh, have to be clear about something else. This is not your typical recipe, in that it’s not a list of ingredients and then the procedure, but rather a running chronology of both of those at once. Second, much like many passed-down grandma preps, why bother with pesky amounts.

And yet, and yet, here’s another of those magnetic headlines, drawing you in and prompting a give-it-a-go, especially with the added creds of coming from mom and appearing on IrishCentral. I have not made this yet, but if I do before next week will post the results.

“The best lamb stew recipe you ever had”  

  TIP 

  To the best of my recollection

And actually I have quite a bit of faith in the details here. It was on Julia Child’s tv show, not a rerun, back when this culinary icon was still among us.

Of course we wholeheartedly appreciated her straight-talking French techniques. But we also know she was subject to the occasional mishap.

In this particular instance, while the dish turned out just fine in terms of taste, something went bad with the surface, the appearance. All these years later I do not recall if it was a sweet and savory dish.

What I do remember quite clearly was her advice in either of those cases. To be ready to cover up a cosmetic oopsie {my word} on something sweet be sure to always have chopped nuts available. For savory, parsley. All better.

Items featured here also appear in our weekly Tip Tuesday posts on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Here’s yet another novel idea from Trisha Yearwood, which I saw on her Food Network show. Most of us could agree that cheddar and apples make a darn good combo. One of my long favorite recipes uses cheddar in the topping for apple crisp, and lots of folks just simply plop a slice of the cheese on a slice of apple pie. So the Yearwood twist – using cheese crackers in the crumble atop apple pie. Take a look at her tasty idea. {Well that was rude, tell you about great recipe in my files and then nothing, so thinking I’ll feature it for the 03.20.20 Salon}

  After I got past my annoyance with the author for not telling the rest of us what the heck amigurumi is, I became AmiguruMe Eats: Make Cute Scented Crochet Foodsquite captivated with this Japanese art of crocheting items made 3-D usually with fiberfill. In this book, titled “AmiguruME Eats,” the items are mostly food but also plates, bowls, glasses, flatware, pots & utensils.

  The cuteness factor notches even higher when there’s a face, and yet another sense is brought into play with the addition of scents. Thinking this could even be great fun as a wall decoration, on a plate or other surface, for your own kitchen or a hostess gift. Btw, the book does include crochet lessons.

  So, guessing we can all agree there’s nothing wrong with french fries just as they are in all their golden glory. {Just ask Betty White!} But, if at some point you’d like to add just a quick hit of kicked up flavor, you might do what I did tonight. After they’re nice and hot, melt on some pepper jack. Oh yeah.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / Chewies-Deen site / Irish kitchen-IrishCentral
  •  Link sources – books & DVDs-Amazon / stew recipe-IrishCentral
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Savory sauce on steak is just the beginning, Irish hangover cures, “Recipe for a Perfect Wife,” omg made the shrimp & grits

Last week, just below: restaurant dishes you can make at home, no clinking & other niceties, don’t take a fake, St Pat-ifying your kitchen, new MADA shirt on Zazzle, red wine braised red cabbage, tater-free hash browns, food of the ancients, cookie redux, Temple {Shirley} & trivia

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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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

  TIDBITS 

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.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

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

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

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

  TIP  

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}

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

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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Southern shrimp & grits with “bonus soup,” Feb 14-Feb 20, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – more good press for eggs / power breakfasts / online food help    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – lawless Downton cookbook    FEATURED RECIPE – shrimp dish squared    TIP – save the avocados!    THE WEEK – pig pickin’ dessert / punch drunk sauce / another recipe source 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Another source weighs in on the benefits of eggs. And while pretty much this whole Clean Plates story is contained in the headline, “It turns out an egg a day isn’t so bad for your heart after all,” it goes on to detail the studies and source. Even better, it touts the eggy perks of delivering “a quick dose of protein and flavor to settle hunger in a snap.”

  The same newsletter offers a tasty and colorful take on “7 energizing breakfast recipes to help fuel your week.”  What you’ll find: an overnight oat prep, loaded egg cup, “best” green smoothie, breakfast cookies, breakfast sandwich, and two breakfast bowls. All look and sound quite yum.

  So, was perusing Paula Deen’s latest online newsletter, and don’t know if this is new or just never saw it before, but at the bottom is a link for Ask our Helpline. Looks like you can submit a question right to Deen or her team. Nice.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Ooh, naughty, “Unofficial”!

Guessing no laws were harmed in the preparation of this interesting book of recipes and tales. Meanwhile, what a fun look at history, all about food.

The promise is in the intro. “Indeed while the upstairs elite of Downton may seem miles – rather The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapés to Christmas Plum Pudding―More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairsthan feet – away from the downstairs inhabitants, servants and aristocrats alike share a nearly fanatic appreciation for rich food, a fact that quickly becomes apparent once you begin flipping through the “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.”

Some of those rich preps: Christmas pudding, beef Wellington, showy Duchess potatoes, scones with clotted cream, and jammy Bakewell tarts. One likely to be featured in an upcoming Salon is red wine braised red cabbage.

Ahhhh, maybe it is a little edgy, as a cover caution notes “This book is unofficial and unauthorized . . . not authorized, approved, licensed, or endorsed by Carnival Film & Television Ltd., its writers or producers, or any of its licensees.” Wonder if it arrives in a plain brown wrapper.

“The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook”

now {pretty much} ready for its closeup

The CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A classic Southern casserole and lots of it 

It doesn’t get much more traditional on the Southern table than shrimp and grits. Grits, whaaaat? OK, hold back your groans for a moment.

When you see the fine flavors in this dish you’ll be thanking the grits for being on the job to soak it all up. It’s rich with cream and cheese, savory with aromatics, kicked up with bacon, “souped up” with wine and broth.

Now, about that soup promise. In the description on the main page: “You’ll want to eat the ‘shrimp gravy,’ or pan sauce. It’s that delicious.”

That main page is titled “Casseroles to make every month in 2020” from Southern Living, a nicely reliable source of good recipes. The prep for the shrimp dish, this month’s selection, is linked below, and we’ll be featuring more from this feature in future Salons.

I haven’t tried this yet and despite the length of my to-make list, this one has a priority stamp on it.

Shrimp & Grits Casserole recipe    Southern Living  

  TIP  

So, why didn’t I already realize this trick 

As noted in a previous Salon, a way to make guacamole in advance is to mix all the ingredients, except sour cream and lime if you usually them. Then, top the mixture with some lime juice and a thin layer of sour cream, making sure to cover the mix completely, and then cover and refrigerate the container.

So recently, and atypically, I had some leftover chopped avocado. Yikes, can’t waste avocado, a permanent member of my personal food pyramid.

Light bulb comes on at 1000 watts overhead. Just like with guacamole, cover it with lime juice, frost it with sour cream, cover and refrigerate.

But here’s the thing. Forgot about it for five days. Nuts!!!

The good news, as you can see, perfect. Just perfect. Thank you lime juice and sour cream.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  On a recent show Ree Drummond made a “pig-pickin’ cake.” Eh? If she explained the name I missed it, so found out on good ol’ google that at southern pig roasts, rather than have the meat cut into slices or portions, guests  just pick off what they want, and so the event is known as a pig pickin,’ and typically this particular cake is served for dessert. So just like cake served at a birthday party is birthday cake, this one served at a pig pickin’ is pig pickin’ cake. It really sounds good with layers of yellow cake, mandarin oranges and pineapple plus cream cheese frosting.

  English puddings dating back centuries refer to a steamed or boiled dish, sweet or savory, fairly solid in texture, unlike what we mix from a package. I found this hot, citrusy Punch Sauce for those kinds of puddings in Dinner with Dickens, featured in last week’s Salon. It’s quite well named, counting wine, rum and brandy among the ingredients. I actually found it a little strong and tempered it with some honey.

  I did get a kick out of the note in the cookbook from the Pickwick Papers saying “if ever hot punch did fail to act as a preventive, it was merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.” Here’s a google page for the sauce, and the deliaonline one is very close to the Dickens prep.

  So, my old toaster oven gave up the ghost and so ordered a top-rated one from Hamilton Beach. Yikes, it’s didn’t look this big online, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be a good thing, and as a bonus has a convection function. Did have a few questions though and while I was on hold, among the recorded messages was the news that their website included recipes. Well . . . who among us despite data-pigging files online, bulging boxes, ready-to-burst notebooks, and overstuffed kitchen crannies, doesn’t want yet another recipe source. Wow, way more comprehensive than I expected, more soon.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / shrimp & grits-Southern Living site / all others-mine
  •  Link sources –  books-Amazon / shrimp & grits recipe-Southern Living site / pig pickin’ cake-google
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Ghiradelli lava cake, book on longevity and the who/why, shirts with message to DC, recycled taco holder, new foodie word, Aspen bonanza, best coffee cake, big cooking resource, wily ways with bacon

Last week, just below veggies ready for their close-up, the good egg, 12 tasty secrets, fat avoidance kindle book, Beef a la Mode/no ice cream, peanuts ‘fess up, pot pie upgrade, un-donuts, thank you chocolate pudding

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

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All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Shrimp curry with spinach a la Downton Abbey, Jan 10-Jan 16, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – dinner in 30 / toddy & bonus spoon trick / Chai goes “kookie”    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – busy person’s diet guide    FEATURED RECIPE – flavors burst out of history    TIP –your pans will thank you    THE WEEK – the peanut indicator / treasure trove of food resources / steam up, up & away

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I’m guessing pretty much every one of us could make good use of this. From Food & Wine online, 30-min dinners in an illustrated slide show with links to the recipes. You’ll find steak & chops, fish & seafood, pasta dishes, burger creations, veggie entrees, soup and eggs. I’m thinking of trying one of the chicken recipes, either the spicy Mexican one or the stir fry with Chinese cabbage.

  It’s sure the right time of year for this libation, and we can thank IrishCentral for a fine hot toddy prep. But what I found equally interesting is a tip embedded here. I haven’t had the nerve to try it and certainly not encouraging you to either – but if you do hope you’ll share it with the rest of us. Or maybe this is something lots of folks already know about and use. It involves placing a metal spoon into the glass which it says will keep it from breaking.

We have to guess this refers to when the hot water is added – clearly something is missing in that part of the prep. It would seem to mean some of the hot water is added to the glass in advance to heat it up, then discarded before proceeding with the other ingredients. I looked at some other recipes and most just put in everything at the same time. Cheers!

  And I just bet these would go great with that toddy. Chai-spiced snickerdoodles! Another flavorful winner from MyRecipes.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The “weight” is over! {or it can be}

Is taking off some pounds among your 2020 resolutions?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form.

You can see the full series, available on Amazon, in our Marketplace, .99-$2.99.

CS Marketplace on this site

  FEATURED RECIPE  

History in every bite 

This just might be high on the list of most fun looking at and for recipes. The Downton Abbey Cookbook serves up delectable back stories for all the preps, plus Downton tidbits, snippets of relevant dialog, and even how to host a Downton-themed party.The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Curries carry their own piece of history. To quote the book, “In season 4 {Rose’s father} is appointed governor of Bombay and moves to India, which at the time was under British rule: in 1877, Queen Victoria was declared empress of India, and in 1887 she had five Indians brought over to act as her personal attendants.” *

They continue, “British fascination with India went back much further, however, and the first curry recipes appeared in English cookery books in the eighteenth century. By the time Downton opens in the Edwardian period, curries were almost as British as fish and chips, and were often seen as a way to use up leftovers.” {kudos!}

What I found so amazing about this curry is that for all its simplicity, it’s loaded with flavor. And would certainly marry every bit as well with chicken or pork – hmmm, wonder how it would be mixed with just rice as a side dish or meatless entree.

*  This was the real-life basis for the movie, “Victoria & Abdul.”

Recipe page on this site    “The Downton Abbey Official Cookbook”  ♦  Other Downton items  

  TIP  

Save the cookware!

We can thank Cooking Light for this revelation about a possible mistake we’re making with our pots and pans and bakeware. One simple and effective way, they say, to prolong their life, and especially the finish, is to allow some cooling time before hitting them with water. See the full story here.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So I made cookies for some of my favorite people over the holidays and one of my favorite cookies is chocolate chip stuffed with a peanut butter cup. But what about possible peanut allergies for folks beyond the friends who may indulge without realizing there’s pb inside. So, instead used a caramel filled chocolate kiss. But afterward remembered something I’d read long ago which is – whenever this might be a concern, put an actual peanut, whole or chopped, atop the goodie. What a great idea. Next time.

  Do you have an Echo Show? I do now, the “8,” and among all the other features, what a bonanza for cooks. The rotation on the screen regularly features recipes and if you opt for one of them, a demo pops up followed by the actual prep in text form. And if you miss clicking it, you can just ask for it and sweet Alexa brings it right back. Or you can request a recipe and chances are several will appear as in the photo showing roast chicken options. Food podcasts too! What a fun and cook-friendly toy! {And no, not a freebie from Amazon}

  Could be my imagination. Often when I’m making stock, I’ll use a lot of water to be sure all the ingredients are totally immersed with plenty of room to frolic around as they cook. But then after they’ve done their best and are strained out, I let the stock continue to cook and evaporate somewhat to concentrate the flavors. When I was doing that recently I wanted to hurry the process but without boiling steam into the stock. Did this work? –  I turned on the vent fan and it sure seemed like those vapors stepped up their ascent into the ionosphere.

This week’s: 

  •  Photo credits – book/Amazon, all others mine
  •  Link sources –  books, movie, Echo/Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Tex Mex cookbook, seafood au gratin, cheesy chicken casseroles, pudding shots, cheese board upgrade, puff pastry donuts

Last week, just below: top tasty recipes from 2019 on CS

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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10 last minute gifts for cooks & their kitchens, Dec 20, 2019 – Jan 2, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

ALL THE BEST TO OUR SALON FRIENDS THROUGHOUT THIS JOYOUS SEASON

LET’S MEET RIGHT BACK HERE ON JAN 3, 2020

WE’LL GREET THE NEW YEAR WITH RECIPES  GALORE, THE TASTIEST FROM 2019

Link for tasty leftover turkey recipes on google

  Here are some of this year’s top featured items that might rescue procrastinators 

Click the item link to go to the Amazon page, and Salon link for that week’s recipes & resources

Check delivery times in item listings

The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink

Marketplace, 02.15.19  I just love Diner’s Dictionary. Open to just about any page and expect to find something fascinating.

Of course it’s also a fast resource for an individual ingredient, a single food item, or an entire dish. Alphabetical, too. What fun!

And happily, you may find in some cases not only the definition, but as well characteristics, uses, and origins, plus related geography, history, literature, law, commerce, and notable people. Hardcover, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. Diner’s Dictionary 

Featured Recipe, 02.22.19  Our recipe that week, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, is hands-down one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.

It comes from David Venable, of the QVC show “In the Kitchen with David, in his “Comfort Food Shortcuts,” specializing in satisfying dishes that marry your cooking talents to grocery store convenience.

Lots of dips, soups, saucy preps, casseroles, rich desserts. E.g., bananas foster pancakes, pepperoni/cheesy breadsticks, chocolate stuffed {store-bought!} bread, peach enchiladas. “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook

wall26 Canvas Prints Wall Art - Still Life Various of Spices on Rustic Wooden Table Food/Kitchen Concept | Modern Wall Decor/Home Decoration Stretched Gallery Canvas Wrap Giclee Print - 12" x 18"

Marketplace, 03.08.19  A kicky food poster can add a fun, whimsical touch to any kitchen or dining area. And so many choices, framed and unframed.

There are designs dedicated to herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables, casseroles & ethnic foods, coffee & tea, beer & wine, dishes & utensils, chefs & kitchenware, collages & sayings. There’s a link for that week to the top rated selections. Spice poster

Marketplace, 03.22.19  Martha’s total take on cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry, decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining . . .

And cooking too! Tool repurposing, produce purchases, freezer use, leftovers, timesavers, basic methods, troubleshooting, baking skills. No actual recipes, but guides for veggie broth, nut butters, pan sauces, parchment cooking, a proper omelet, and more.

All beautifully illustrated, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.  “The Martha Manual”

American Masters: James Beard DVDMarketplace, 05.31.19  This precious DVD takes you right inside the mind of a culinary legend, an iconic chef, the “First Foodie” – James Beard. We hear from him and from those who knew him best in this fascinating tale.

And it is indeed the whole story, from childhood travails, to mom’s influence, early challenges, founding role in The Four Seasons and its pioneering devotion to seasonal cuisine,  personal & professional relationships, cookbooks, ascent to legendary status, post-mortem inspiration for the James Beard Foundation and Awards.  “James Beard” DVD

Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker Makes 20 Icy Treats, Includes 2 Reusable Plastic Cups & Ice Scoop – BlueMarketplace, 06.21.19  Oh, how fun is this??? Some lucky person’s very own Sno Cone Machine!

In addition to the adorable little cart shown here, there are others that look more like kitchen appliances, at least one based on a Disney character, a Jelly Belly version, some retro designs and more.

There’s also a link in that week’s Salon to the full range of designs, styles, and prices. Cart-style sno cone machine

The Great Book of ChocolateMy Week, 06.21.19  In April we had featured David Lebovitz’ recipe for chocolate salted caramel tartlets from his book, “My Paris Kitchen.” In the intro he had noted his passion for chocolate.

This Lebovitz  tome, “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide” sure proves that to be true. He gives us chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – back story, tasting hints, health benefits, buying tips, resources and – yes, indeedy! – recipes.

Choco-philes just may want to read this one cover to cover like a pleasurable fine novel.  “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide

The Official Downton Abbey CookbookTidbits, 09.20.19  In her magazine earlier this year, Rachael Ray told us that “to dine like the Crawleys,” just simply serve oysters, soup, fish, fowl, main dish with sauces & veggies, dessert, fruit & cheese, and a final savory. But what would that be specifically?

To the rescue, a Downton Abbey cookbook. And not just recipes, but also their backstories and context. Plus, a guide to throwing a Downton-themed party complete with etiquette tips and customs of the times.

A Downton cocktail book too.  “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook”

Marketplace, 10.25.19  In our original Salon we featured “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro’s cake kits for humans, including the mix, the filling, the icing, even the pan. But those may not be available in time. {The links are still available on the original Salon page if you’d like to check}.

Originally we showed here a complete Valastro gift kit for dogs, but when I just now checked the link – nada. There are however individual Valastro baking kits for dog goodies, such as the chicken parm bites shown here.

Other flavors, plus biscuits. Valastro dog treat baking kits

Marketplace, 11.08.19  Kitchen timers these days range from the classic tick-tick-tickers to some with advanced functions. And so many designs, some fun, some stylish, some ready to stick to the fridge, some multi-packs so inexpensive they could be party favors or stocking stuffers.

Equal time for kitty-lovers. And could this one be any cuter??? There are also companion kitchen items on the Amazon page. And you can also find a link to the full array on the Salon page. Cat-and-Mouse Design Timer

 

You might also like to browse in our CooksSalon

Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

Gift Shop link is right within CooksSalon. All others on this page go to Amazon. Please see original Salons for available photo credits & partnerships or contact me for information regarding Salons that predated these listings

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

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Dec 6 – Dec 12, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

♦  TIDBITS – thaw it fast / apple crisp punch / throwback dinners  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – handy kichen organizers    FEATURED RECIPE – a bowl of chocolaty goodness    TIP – that is the question    THE WEEK – eggy love / salad-style burrito / heating up Parm corn butter

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I came, I thaw, I conquered. OK, the grammar gets a bit tortured and Caesar’s ashes just turned over, but may I redirect your attention to “How to Quickly and Safely Thaw Anything” – a rescue move for those moments when, OH NO, dinner that should be on the table in short order is still in the {censored} freezer. Having just come upon it, haven’t yet given it a try, but sure seems to make sense.

  This just looks so refreshing. A peek at the ingredients tells you that promise is quite likely to be fulflled. And as you can see right here, it’s pretty too! Two perfect attributes for a holiday libation. Called Apple Crisp Punch, the magic is in the sweet and sour pours and colorful garnishes.

  One link led to another and I found myself on the page, “23 Dinners That Got Us Through the Great Depression.” Since the very first one calls for a slow cooker, guessing some updates may have checked in. Even so, some good stuff here, with many that really are easy on the budget, a hot doggy one that’s sure to be a kid fave, some good looking soups and salads, and yep, meatloaf.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Resolution?

Are you doing 2020s yet? Or, if you’re like me, the one I’m about to pose is an ongoing aspiration.

Getting the kitchen better organized!!!

One of the previous Salons {08.09.19} talked about wrangling at least one set of items, the flat kind of stuff like baking sheets, cooling racks, cutting boards, et al, into a folder holder from the office supply store. And another {09.27.19} featured hanging bags for small items.

But lately I’ve been haunting the Amazon kitchen organization section for more help, and found some I think you might like: stylish towel hooks, pan and lid rack {I actually have one of these already and love it not only for the anti-clutter perk but also because it keeps the pan bottoms off other pans’ inner surfaces}, practical and whimsical drying rack {cloth over “cactus” too?}, sink caddy that lets the sponge and cloth air-dry, and could probably accommodate your kitchen brush too.

                             

 

Btw, the link below goes to only the top rated items. And you know what the #1 best seller in this category is – a portable paper towel holder, finishes from $5.99-$18.99.

Kitchen organization items, 4 stars and up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Who might like a warm bowl of fudgy comfort food? 

I have to ‘fess up that I haven’t made this yet, but yikes it sounds so good, so holiday-ey, that I wanted to share it now. I certainly will make it some time in the new year and tell you all about it.

But just look at the source and the ingredients and the picture and I think we can be pretty confident that this is going to be a very good thing. The promise is in the name – Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

It’s from Hershey’s where you’ll find tons of other great looking recipes on its site, so I have a link below to the whole shebang, where you can also search by various filters. And of course a link right to our Featured Recipe.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe    Hershey’s recipe page  

  TIP  

To peel or not to peel?

I happen to be in the former category, which is to say I’ve always peeled fresh ginger. You too?

Well, this food editor says we’re doing it all wrong, and also tells us why. See if you agree that we should “never peel ginger.”

Btw, though she kind of disdains using a spoon tip if you do/did peel, I’ve actually found this to be quite a good method. Easy over the bumps, minimum waste.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  In a recent show, Ina Garten mentioned a combo that may not be generally top of mind but happens to one of my favorites too – poached eggs atop seasoned greens {and for mine, bacon too}. And do you know what, alone or accompanied, it’s so perfect for any time of day or night. We did talk about this, including the starting point and seasonings, in our 09.20.19 Salon. Btw, this time I topped it with a bit of hot sauce. All good.

  Just catching up with mentioning this. The jar salad featured in our 11.22.19 Salon as we noted yielded quite a sizable bowlful, almost like the jar was hiding extra stuff in a secret compartment. So, yep, there were leftovers. And where they headed afterward {minus the lettuce} was one of my favorite ways to use them up, after in this case a brief cooking step – right into tortillas to make tasty burritos. A little extra jack on top didn’t hurt.

♦  A Parm corn butter add-on. We first talked about making this elote-style spread in our 11.01.19 Salon. Now, watching one of the Thanksgiving specials on Food Network I saw a reference to an original elote prep that included cayenne. Why not??? A natural I think. Btw, in the same Salon linked above for jar salads we talked about heating up the corn butter the other way, in a pan on the stove, to cook flavor-layered scrambled eggs.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – punch/Nolet’s Gin, kitchen org/Amazon, cake/Hersheys, egg/mine
  •  Link sources – thaw/MyRecipes, punch/Nolet’s gin, Depression dinners/Taste of Home, kitchen org/Amazon, cake recipe/Hershey’s, ginger/Yahoo 
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Giada’s hearty Tuscan soup, celeb chef memoirs with recipes, fill a phyllo, ingredient measurement help, stress tip, impromptu ham hash, wreath cookies, sugar from where???

Last week, just below: chocolate frosting with a secret, chocolate Yule log recipes, pumpkin pancakes, holiday kitchen decor, bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, easy garlic, all-in cookie pie crust, decorated marshmallows for cocoa, hot sugar icing 

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Sauce with Cocoa, Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, any of my partnership connections in the current week’s Salon

will be listed in the information box below, along with the photo credits & link sources

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  ♦

  TIDBITS – chocolate frosting with a secret / chocolate Yule log recipes / pumpkin-y pancakes    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Merry Kitchen!  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – cocoa loco   TIP – easy garlic  ♦  THE WEEK – the next all-in / merry mallows / a hot trend 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It looks so innocent, a luscious layer of chocolate frosting. But this icing might need some ice to counteract it. The current Food & Wine online newsletter offers up a prep for Chile Chocolate Buttercream, with the hidden heat of ancho powder and cayenne. Having some time back enjoyed pie with a chocolate-ancho filling I can tell you this sweet-hot interplay can be quite addictive. Btw, there’s also a recipe for the cinnamon cake underneath.

  Was so happy to see IrishCentral feature a Bailey’s Chocolate Yule Log, only to discover it was not a recipe but rather a retail item, and adding insult to injury seemingly only to be available in Ireland and the UK. Not to be deterred, tried Amazon for us. Not even on Amazon! So, back to one of my most reliable sources for great preps, AllRecipes. And there found some good looking Chocolate Yule Logs, which if one were so inclined could certainly not be harmed by the addition of a little spirit.

  So, then Irish Central redeemed itself with a feature on pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes. And, yep, complete with recipe. Nice treat for a holiday morning breakfast, maybe with a bit of bacon or sausage, some colorful fruit. Btw, I quite like this newsletter, and if you might too, can subscribe in the upper task bar on that page.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Deck your kitchen!

Why should the living room have an exclusive on all the festive decor??? Especially when we have so many ways to bring the seasonal colors and images right into the kitchen.D-FantiX Snowman Refrigerator Magnets Set of 16, Cute Funny Fridge Magnet Refrigerator Stickers Holiday Christmas Decorations for Fridge, Metal Door, Garage, Office Cabinets (Large)

Large stores, even pharmacies, often feature items for this very purpose. The ones we’re showing here are on Amazon.

Some are temporary additions like refrigerator magnets {shown}, appliance handle covers, wall decor {shown}, even chair slipcovers. Some are temporary replacements such as towels, tablecloths, napkins, table runners, and dish drying mats.

And this adorable tie-back set. And more. And all such fun.

So often our family and friends gather in the kitchen anyway, so why not make their surroundings sing Christmas and more. Just as good, why shouldn’t you have a joyful setting as you prepare those holiday goodies.

The full array on Amazon 

 BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageIf you’d like to send a strong message to both sides in D.C., please consider my new items on the Offerings page that say, “Make America Decent Again.”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t get any better

I think it has something to do with the cocoa. It just adds such a deep, rich dimension versus other forms of chocolate.

And just like we like it, at least some of the time, the prep has few ingredients, simple technique. As flagged in our notes, though it calls for rum and many folks will find this a welcome addition, I used vanilla and it was still just so good.

The prep also tells us to use it cold, right from the fridge or after a brief stand at room temp. I did use it that way and also tested it heated, both over ice cream {work, work, work!}. As you can see, the ice cream does get melty with the warmed sauce but I actually liked it better that way.

The fact that it’s good however you use it is no surprise. It comes from the sweet genius of the late “Queen of Cake,” Maida Heatter, and appears in her book listed below.

Recipe    Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking”

  TIP 

Easy garlic trick

Thanks to the late and dear Mr. Food for this one. When you need to add garlic to a dish, put the knife or press back in the drawer and take out a fork.

You can start with whole cloves unless they’re extra large, then slice those in half horizontally. Now take your fork start pushing into the edges {not right down over the whole top}, and continue around the perimeter, gradually working your way toward the middle, pressing the tines toward the work surface and pulling them back toward you. If necessary, turn over and repeat on the other side.

The primary beauty of this technique is that in short order you’ll have coarse chopped garlic ready to go. Or you can continue to work the fork for a finely chopped result. Or, if you need the garlic in paste form, add a bit of salt and then mash down and back and forth with the fork. Voila, paste.

The bonuses? No more pieces flying off the work surface, sticking to the knife, and clinging to your fingers.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  My latest all -in. Pie crust! In our 08.23.19 Salon we talked about a pie filling made up of various chocolate items from the pantry and fridge. Now the chocolate vibe has gone into a crust in the form of cookies collected also from the pantry and fridge. There were stripes, stripes with frosting, chocolate coated mint cookies, even a couple of fortune cookies {nice little pockets of crunch}, crushed to crumbs and then mixed with melted butter in the classic graham cracker crust proportion of 1 1/4 cups to 1/3 of a stick. Now in the freezer awaiting filling and pretty sure one of them will host cheesecake. I’m guessing any cookies would do the trick.

  So, I saw such a cute way to serve cocoa on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show. She dipped marshmallows in melted chocolate mixed with a bit of coconut oil and then pressed some into pistachios, others into coconut. Next, for each cup of her white chocolate cardamom cocoa, she speared the two kinds of marshmallows on a wooden skewer and laid it across the rim. Adorable. But, oops, in the next scene when the cups are served, the marshmallows had done a backflip so all the pretty toppings were hiding face-down in the cocoa. Ummm, should we tell her about the two-stick trick from our 08.16.19 Salon???

Wait, wait, wait let me make two things perfectly clear. First, could this have been by design so that the chocolate melted into the white cocoa? Maybe. But even more notable, I love the food she does, and the whimsical touches she often shows us, some of which we’ve featured in previous Salons. So, face-up or face-down, a cool idea. Btw, for mine shown here I crushed spicy peanuts and M&Ms.

  Care to experiment? I plan to do so with whatever baked good I make next. This technique is called hot sugar icing, a matter of topping the unbaked cake or cobbler with sugar and then, uh oh, hot water. But the promise is a crunchy, candy-like sugar crust. The link takes you to the Taste article, and then a link at the bottom to a recipe for pear cherry cobbler, which include the amounts and instructions for the hot sugar upgrade.

So far next week: Hot fudge pudding cake, peeling ginger, flashback dinners, thaw it quick, kitchen organizers, elote add-on, next burrito, apple crisp punch

Last week, just below: pie guide, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from the best, bacon-pimento cheese dip, flour trick, another Parm corn butter app, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – pancakes/IrishCentral, decs/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe/CS Recipe Page Heatter book/Amazon, items on Offerings page/Michigan-based SunFrog
  • Partnerships – Amazon, SunFrog

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

So far next week: hot fudge pudding cake, kitchen organization,  

Last week, just below: bacon-pimento cheese dip, pie guide + recipes, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from a legend, flour help, try this with the Parm corn butter, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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Bacon-Pimiento Cheese Dip, Nov 22-Nov 28, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – say Hi to pie / gravy trick / food vs sleep     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – baking book from the best    FEATURED RECIPE – all the right stuff    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK –  another Parm corn butter app / jar salads & other easy lunches / a quote to love

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Here comes pie season! America’s Test Kitchen helps us kick it off with its article, “A Slice of Pie.” You’ll find some tips on pie baking, a link to their pie book, an offer for their pie book, and their recipes for Perfect Pecan Pie, Apple Slab Pie, and The Best Pumpkin Pie.

  Afraid the leftover gravy might run out before the leftover turkey and stuffing do? No worries, because MyRecipes is here to tell you “How to make a rich, flavorful gravy using bouillon cubes.” And in fact you could use this prep anytime a gravy craving hits and the freezer isn’t cooperating.

  Insomnia? Don’t make it worse by indulging in “7 Bedtime Snack Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Sleep.” Even better, this Cooking Light article tells you why each of the items is a zzz-killer and, even better yet, what to have instead. It’s not about deprivation but rather, smart choices.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“Classic, can’t-fail recipes for a lifetime of happy baking”

How’s that for a cookbook promise??? And do you know why we can fully believe that – because the source of these recipes is Maida Heatter, “Queen of Cake,” three-time Beard winner, Beard Hall of Fame inductee, contributor to the New York Times, and creator of numerous baking books.

Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of CakeShe left us just this year, at age 102. At age 100 she took the stage to receive one of those awards and then starting chucking wrapped brownies into the crowd. Thinking she probably didn’t slow down after that either.

So here’s a collection of her favorites – cakes, pies tarts, muffins, brownies, cookies – complete with tips and techniques for the entire process. Two things quickly become obvious. One, Heatter really favors chocolate And second, the recipes often seem long, but that’s good news because she pretty much talks you through all the steps.

Here are just a few of her famous confections I’d like to make:  Budapest Coffee Cake, Bull’s Eye Cheesecake {this one is like a magic trick}, and Peanut Butter Puffs. But first of all her Chocolate Intrigue, “a moist cake with a fine texture and an extremely generous amount of chocolate. It keeps well, slices beautifully, and is quick and easy to make” – wow, are those ever all the right words {and btw, has a secret ingredient}.

Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking” – 4 1/2 stars on Amazon    Other Heatter books

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

A natural for the party table 

Yikes does this bacon-pimiento cheese dip look good. Flavorful, versatile and easy, just like we like it, right savvy CS friends?

The only cooking step could be the bacon. Or, as the prep suggests, use fully cooked bacon. After that, it’s just mix it all up, pour into a baking dish, into the oven, and then say c’mon, c’mon, c’mon until it’s done.

Serve with crackers and veggies as shown. Or other veggies, or crisped pita or tortillas, or sausage sticks. Or? And maybe a toast topper the next morning.

This tasty dip is on the Kraft/Food & Family site. Be careful, there are other tempting recipes on that page that beg to be added to your collection, like the chicken enchilada stew.

Kraft recipe  

♦  TIP  

Timely

In the process of looking for something else, I came upon my gram’s bread recipe. Oh my the memories of those heavenly loaves.

That immediately went on the do list for fall baking. And in a case of happy coincidence, Ina Garten had a bread baker on a recent show and he did one of those things that when you see it you say, well duh, of course.

When he put the dough in the bowl to rise, he sprinkled some flour on the inside of the bowl just above the loaf-to-be. So when it does rise, it won’t stick to bowl. Great idea.

It was timely for me and hopefully for you too. To paraphrase our featured author, Happy Baking!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I’m really liking the pureed version of the Parm corn butter {11.01.19}. And I may have discovered my favorite way yet of using it – to cook scrambled eggs. Just melt it in the pan, stir around the eggs till everything is incorporated, and enjoy. Because of the Parmesan already in there I didn’t add any salt but did hit it with a good shower of cracked pepper.

♦  Oh yeah, this is an idea for us. It’s not totally new, but it seems most often the jar trick has to do with ingredients for something to bake, and of course nothing wrong with that at all. But here, the jar holds ingredients for {usually} a salad, one of the “5 Quick and Clean Lunch Recipes That You Don’t Have to Reheat.” from Clean Plates. For mine, I went south of the border with avocado, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, cheddar cubes, black beans, lettuce and then ranch dressing, Btw, this 6″ jar yielded an Elaine-worthy “big salad.”

♦  Even though baking guru Maida Heatter is no longer among us, her 102-yr-old self was sure here long enough to pen the intro to the latest collection of her recipes, featured above. In that preamble, after recounting an incident where she was watching a tv doc talk about ways to reduce stress, and she yelled at the screen, “Bake cookies!,” she added these lines that I love: “Baking is a great escape. It’s happiness. It’s creative. It’s good for your health. It reduces stress.” Amen to that dear one.

So far next week: cinnamon cake with chocolate chile frosting, chocolate Yule logs, pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes, holiday decor for the kitchen, Maida Heatter’s bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, Andres’ veggie upgrade, taming the marshmallows, a new way to glaze, all-in pie crust

Last week, just below: Thanksgiving help, cheese help, Cookbook Club help, join Bobby Flay in the kitchen, tunnel of fudge cake, tv “guide,” frozen cauliflower goes good, Parm butter 2.0, Twain quote

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, cheese dip/Kraft, others/mine

Link sources – Heatter books/Amazon 

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

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