Thin Mint/Banana Cream Pie {+caramel}, March 22-28, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – pb&j mug cake / spirited chocolate donuts / phooey on freezer burn    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Martha tells all    FEATURED RECIPE – Girl Scout cookie dessert & an oopsie & bonus recipes   TIP – talkin’ cheese    THE WEEK – fresh pb / toast 2.0 / good read, no recipes?

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  So, in our Feb 15, 2019 Salon we shared a link for mug cake recipes on google, all kinds of flavors. Now I’ve come across a one dear to my palate. Peanut butter and jelly mug cake! And like the others it’s pretty much 5-min or less from taking the empty mug out of the cabinet to taking the filled mug out of the nuker. You have to scroll a bit through the text to reach the directions, and once there note that there’s an alternative for making a fudgier, peanut butterier version.

Could this be the best way ever to start your day? To be honest, the folks at Irish Central actually position these donuts, Chocolate Baked Guinness Donuts with Irish Cream Glaze, in the dessert slot. I say, your choice. Since I already have Guinness for the Irish stew featured in our 03.15.19 Salon, just may give this a try. And if I do, CS friends will be among the very first to know.

What is freezer burn, what does it look like, what does it do to food – and most important, how can we avoid it. Food & Wine has the answers in this super helpful article.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“The Martha Manual”

We first mentioned this new book from Martha Stewart in our 03.08.19 Salon, noting its thorough coverage of cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry, decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining – and cooking which we promised would get a closer look.

Here her comprehensive take guides us on tool repurposing, produce purchases, freezer use, leftovers, ingredient timesavers, basic methods, kitchen troubleshooting, baking skills, and frosting tips. Within each, so much illustrated detail.

There aren’t really recipes, but you will find preps in this section. For example, I found instructions for vegetable broth, nut butters, corncob chowder, baked butternut, pan sauces, parchment cooking, a proper omelet, refrigerator pickles, more.

Party prone cooks may also be interested in the “Host and Entertain” and “Celebrate” sections. The former is food oriented,  the latter fun oriented.

The 387 pages add up to a blueprint for an easy, organized, enjoyable life with a whole lot of pretty touches along the way. It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, now $24.50 {vs $35} for hardcover, $14.99 for Kindle.

“The Martha Manual”    Stewart’s other books & more

CS Marketplace Cook-friendly books, videos, tees & sometimes more

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Thin Mints rule the crust

The oopsie first. In our 02.08 19 Salon I mentioned that the Girl Scout cookies available on Amazon didn’t indicate any time limits, which was true. But decided I better check a little further and received this reply: “. . . usually just during the first few months of the year – until we run out of this year’s stock.” Right now Thin Mints and others still show as available.

The pie recipe on the site is actually for peppermint chocolate cheesecake on a Thin Mint crust. You can access this by clicking the link below, selecting Thin Mints from the recipe list, and then scrolling down to the pie and, I might mention, passing a whole bunch of other good stuff on the way.

I started with their crust prep, 10 oz bag Thin Mints crushed and mixed with 3T melted butter. But then went a simpler route, filling it with banana cream pudding and after thoroughly chilled, decorating it with some caramel striping.

Note: if you can no longer find these cookies, you can still make a comparable crust for either the cheesecake or the pie {or any other filling} with store-bought chocolate mint cookies. I’ve done this previously the same way, 10 oz bag, 3 T melted butter.

And, a chuckle: This is from one of the Internet cartoon collections: How many boxes of those Thin Mints do I have to eat before I start seeing results???

Girl Scout cookie recipes  ♦  GS cookies on Amazon  

♦  TIP  

Cheese It!

I just came across some tips from the “Hot & Cheesy” cookbook that I had kept note of because they seemed particularly valuable. Here’s some of what author Clifford A Wright has to say . . .

  • Store cheese separately from other foods {like in a compartment}
  • When aged cheese melts, it will be grainy
  • When young cheese melts, it will be creamier
  • It should be cooked briefly and gently, just until is has fully melted
  • It’s easier to grate, crumble or slice when it’s cold
  • 1 cup of shredded or crumbled cheese weighs about 3 ounces
  • {love this one} “Nonfat cheeses never melt, but I don’t use them, as they have no taste”

“Hot & Cheesy” Cookbook

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Thinking next time I make that Thin Mint/banana cream pie I’ll decorate it with peanut butter stripes. Maybe what brought that to mind is the fact that pb has two honorary mentions in this week’s Salon. And that brings me to this question? Do you ever make your own? It really is so easy, just dump a jar of peanuts of your choice in the food processor. I don’t even add oil, but rather just keep processing until the nuts release enough of their own oil until, voila! peanut butter.

♦  Bye bye breakfast blahs. That’s what I thought when I read this Food & Wine article, “12 Healthy Ways to Spice Up Your Morning Toast.” For some folks, Healthy is a caution, for others an invitation. Think both groups will be happy with these flavorful and colorful a.m. upgrades. Actually the dozen is spread over three “bases” – peanut butter, ricotta, and avocado. Here is my pb/carrot strips/chile garlic sauce/lime strips.

  So, now reading Rhys Bowen’s “Heirs & Graces,” her next Spyness book after “The 12 Clues of Christmas,” featured in our 03.08.19 Salon. It’s off to a good start with Mummy smack dab in the spotlight, but not for long as Georgiana could have predicted. One thing I want to note though – I haven’t seen any recipes in this one. So if you’re just looking for a good read from this top selling mystery author, probably any of her books would be fine, but if it’s recipes you crave may want to give it a leaf-through first.

So far next week: tater flake tricks, you eat whaaaat?, best biscuits, braid your eggs, spud art, wowsa pancake, cauliflower upgrades

Looking for something in CS? – scroll and check Misty’s previews OR enter the item in the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: Donuts/Irish Central, Martha book/Amazon, Martha pic/her site, cheesecake/Girl Scouts site, banana cream/mine, cheese dish/Wright’s book, pb/mine

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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Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie {oh my}, Feb 22-28 & March 1-7, 2019

This is a 2-week Salon in view of the delayed post while security was updated

Due to offer deadline, the 03/08 Marketplace is here, kitchen art on 03/08

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat  

Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – XO sauce decoded / Laissez les bons temps rouler! / ube decoded    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – {art for cooks now next week} this week – cooking for kids    FEATURED RECIPE – make this . . . now!    TIP – kiwi hacked    THE WEEK – cheesy t.c. / the sugar cookie sheet pan experience / yabbies??? {M – OK, yeah, this would be OK in my supper dish}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Ancient Chinese secret? Probably not since these days it’s all on google. The subject is XO sauce, found roundly on Asian restaurant menus, but now interestingly appearing in offerings in other ethnic realms. Some of the whys can be found in this getflavor.com story. But if it’s the recipe you crave, back to google for those resources.NOWFE

  Folks who have been to New Orleans probably agree it’s always a fun place to visit. But  April 3-7 the good times go into overdrive with “Come to Your Senses,” the 27th anniversary of The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, a chance to sample the bounty, and maybe pick up a tip or secret in the process, from the city’s top chefs and restaurants. And to pair it all with selections from over 1,000 wines from around the world. Tastings, seminars, dinners and more.

  Every now and then you come upon something so fun and different you just want to share it. In this case it’s “ube” – whaaaaaat? – an almost startlingly purple yam, native to the Philippines {and maybe elsewhere?}. This “Taste” article fills in some more blanks, including its classic use as an ingredient in ice cream, bread filling, cakes, and the star of the show – yam jam.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Great offer for kids – but hurry

We sure know that from the young people’s competitions on Food Network. You watch that and think, yikes talent is sure not limited by age.

Your children may not aspire to tv kitchens, but for any that do show an interest in cooking, this stuff is for them. It’s a confidence builder comes with a whole lot of fun.

From America’s Test Kitchens, it outfits them with the cookbook and apron shown. “Using kid-tested and approved recipes . . . just right for cooks of all skill levels,” it features photos, tips, and techniques for recipes covering breakfast, snacks, beverages, dinners and desserts.

Through this March 6, the two-piece “Young Chef Bundle” is available at a discount. If you would prefer just the book, that’s available from Amazon, and also at least for now, offered at a discount.

The bundle from ATK    Just the book, from Amazon

CS Marketplace – Cook-friendly books, videos, tees & sometimes more

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

One of the best desserts I’ve ever made 

This is the kind of confection you should probably cut into small slices, but chances are that ain’t happening. This Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie is just soooooooo good.

It comes from a cookbook by David Venable known to many from his QVC show, “In the Kitchen with David.” The title is short but every word warms your heart, “Comfort Food Shortcuts,” specializing in satisfying dishes that marry your cooking talents to grocery store convenience, showing us the latter in his recipes.

True to the title promise, lots of dips, soups, saucy preps, noodles, casseroles, rich desserts. On my personal do list: bananas foster pancakes, pepperoni stuffed cheesy breadsticks, chocolate stuffed bread {with store-bought bread!}, peach enchiladas, and the intriguing comeback sauce {in an upcoming Salon}.

Meanwhile, with its crackly crust and soft melty interior, could anything possibly make our featured pie any better? Hmmmm, maybe cozying up to a nice scoop of French vanilla ice cream.

Recipe page    “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook  

♦  TIP  

Kiwi in 3-2-1

Passing this along because if you have the right implement and this works, would be a pretty neat trick. The right implement being uncoated wire beaters on your hand mixer.

Mine are thickly coated so I couldn’t try this. You can see the full details via the link which takes you to the Cooking Light story, but it has to do with pressing the beater into each half kiwi and then twisting to pop out four even quarters from the skin.

If anyone tries this, appreciate it if you let me {and then the rest of us} know how it works. Please see the Let’s Chat page for guidelines on sending stuff along.

Kiwi trick

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Well on the way out of the supermarket, a book called “Hot & Cheesy” seemed to jump right into my hand from a bargain book bin. Despite the title, nothing salacious about it but in a sense it is rather sinful. This stuff can’t be good for you but it sure does sound good. You’ll see next week because there’s exactly where our Featured Recipe is coming from.

  So now have made the sheet pan sugar cookies twice, {recipe link in the Jan 18 Salon}, and enjoyed them both times but couldn’t resist some tweaks. One was cutting down the white sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 of a cup and they’re still sweet enough. Also put them in a larger pan, 10×15. Now if you prefer the blondie-like texture mentioned in their recipe notes, by all means stay with the 9×13.

–  The other tweak – pressing chocolate chips into the cookies the moment they’re removed from the oven. You could mix them into the dough, but believe them when they say this is a sticky {and I’d add, stiff} dough.

  Well, you just never know where you might pick up a bit of food-related information. And in this case, a most unlikely source – “The Origin Story” by David Christian, a chronology from the Big Bang to projections for the future. So the author is picturing our long ago ancestors sitting around a fire “finishing a meal of mussels, freshly caught fish, yabbies, and wallaby steak.” Yabbies? Discovered it’s a crustacean most notably in Australia that looks like a lobster but is actually related to crayfish. More on google.

So far next week: butter basted ribeyes, hot & cheesy dish, cooking for kids, best bacon, Irish Guinness stew, cheese storage, honoring Bourdain

Looking for something in CS? – scroll and check Misty’s previews OR enter the item in the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

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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St Pat’s Day special, Feb 15-21, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

Help yourself to a bounty of resources!

  CatChat  

Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – speed shopping / wine time / cake for one    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – A-1 resource    FEATURED RECIPE – Irish potato cakes and more for St Pat’s    TIP – it’s in the book    THE WEEK – rye, rye again / flavy gravy / burger desperation

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Here’s some welcome help for any cook. Are you like this too? Some parts of grocery shopping can be fun or at least interesting. But most days I think most of us would like toVin65 Template Wine Regions be able to do just what this headline says in a story on the MyRecipes site: “How to Get In and Out of the Grocery Store Faster.”

  You may not find yourself casually traveling through Pahrump NV. But given the better chance that you might visit Las Vegas, a short drive away is the newly expanded and remodeled Pahrump Winery. And yes, the vineyard is right there, which means if you hit it right you can also take part in a grape stomp – and any time you can learn a lot about wine, from seeding to sipping. Details of products, tours, events, and restaurant at the site for this multi-award winning winery.

  For some reason a dorm fave seems to be popping up a lot these days, and not just for kids anymore either. It’s the mug cake, ready in 5, just mix and nuke. The default is chocolate of course, but this google page shows a number of preps and variations.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

I know I’ve mentioned this book before, but was just browsing through it again and so love this read. Open to just about any page and you may well come upon something fascinating.

The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and DrinkOf course it’s also a fast resource for an individual ingredient, a single food item, or an entire dish. Alphabetical, thank you. What fun!

And whether you’re in those pages for a casual stroll or a specific search, 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.

Here are the cover blurbs: “Be warned – this is a dangerously fascinating book,” “stuffed with delightful morsels in a digestible form,” “a quirky irresistible volume.” Hardcover, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

Diner’s Dictionary 

CS Marketplace

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

What could be more Irish??? 

The recipe comes from the Irish Central newsletter, and the main ingredient is potato. That sure seems to add up to the perfect brunch dish or dinner side for St. Patrick’s Day. Even better, it comes to your kitchen with few ingredients, easy technique.

Fadge (Irish Potato Cakes). Image: Getty.

Btw, you can make a healthy version of these potato cakes with olive oil or a tasty version with bacon fat. I know where my vote would go.

This prep appears on a page with several other Irish recipes, including one for traditional Irish Brown Bread. In fact you could probably plan your entire St. Pat’s dinner right here, entree, side dishes, bread and dessert.

Recipe for Fadge {Irish Potato Cakes} – scroll on page

♦  TIP  

How to’s too!

In addition to everything listed above in Marketplace, the comprehensive Diner’s Dictionary occasionally yields suggestions for uses and preps as well. You could pretty much make stuff from like Bubble & Squeak to Bubble Tea just from the descriptions here.

As another example, under Miso, after the definition there’s this: “as a dressing for salads, as a flavouring for pickles, and in marinades . . . {or} more adventurous options, such as miso-glazed baby back ribs. A bit of a surprise appears under Gravy, in the form of quite detailed instructions for oysters in something we may not now think of as gravy, a wine/broth mixture enhanced with ground almonds and seasonings, maybe even egg yolk and cheese, drawn from a 14th century cookbook.

{Btw, if you want those details just email me, here {bjnosek@gmail.com}

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  You may recall the rye croutons from the last week’s Salon? At that time mentioned them as a tasty addition to soups and salads. Just discovered another great use – atop sauerkraut! Although I served this as a side dish, since that the kraut already had joined bacon, onion, garlic and tomato, this also works as an entree. A bit of sour cream won’t hurt either.

  Do you ever make your own Italian beef? Most recently I used paper thin slices of eye of round, but have also been known to let the deli take care of this part. For broth – beef bouillon, lots of fresh garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, and a bit of gardinere {with more to go on top of the sandwiches}. But here’s what I want to pass along – if you have leftover broth, yay, add a bit of thickening for a super flavorful gravy.

  Had such a taste for a hamburger but – bummer – no ground beef in the freezer. And not the kind of day that encouraged a trek to the store. So . . . . . made a burgerless burger. Melted cheddar on a bun, piled on lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and topped all with a mix of mayo, mustard, ketchup and French dressing. Sides of fries and bell pepper salad and, really, barely missed the meat. In fact a pretty darn good veggie plate.

So far next week: New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, kitchen art, chocolate chip cookie pie

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

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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Girl Scout Cookie Desserts, Feb 8-14, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

  CatChat  

Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – Are you being bad? / sheet pan comes to breakfast / tater tricks  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – help with Valentine’s gifts {M – make mine tuna}    FEATURED RECIPE – Girl Scout cookies, a fab ingredient    TIP – cakes 5.0    THE WEEK – rye redux / butternut squash – one recipe, two uses / choclo {whaaaaat?}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  If you like to bake, you might also like to take a look at this article posted on Well Done. You’ll find guidelines and fixes for such aspects as reading instructions, measuring, heating the oven, ingredients, mixing, pans, under the banner “18 Bad Baking Habits You Need to Stop.”

  If you’ve ever been to a French bakery or cafe, whether here or there, chances are good the menu featured the country’s classic open face sandwich, the Croque Monsieur, basically ham & swiss on good toasted bread sauced with bechamel. Food and Wine brings us the prep for a version called Croque Meurice after its origins, and what’s interesting is that it taps into sheet pan convenience. Btw, if you cut these large enough and top each square with a fried egg it would be a handy take on Croque Madame.

  Potato art – This is too bizarrely funny not to share. It is about food. But not as food. A new Internet sensation involves posting videos of putting makeup on, yep we already tipped it, potatoes. Although I guess as we think about it, that’s maybe a small step from the years ago kids game, Mr. Potato Head. Thinking now, this could be fun – if we used food color pens they could actually be served as a party dish. Thanks, Irish Central, for the chuckle.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Little late with a Valentine’s gift?

There’s a good chance Amazon can help. Almost anyone, I think, would appreciate a Valentine Treasures Fruit Gift Basketlovely gift basket with chocolate, maybe a stuffed animal, decorations.

In the links below, the first one leads to everything that comes up for chocolate gift baskets, the second narrows the selections to baskets specifically for Valentine’s Day, and the third lists only those rated four stars and up. At any level you can also customize in additional ways.

Btw, the “container” isn’t always a basket, sometimes a box, tin or tower. Of course check out the delivery dates but many if ordered now will arrive before the big day, including this one.

All gift chocolate baskets    For Valentine’s    Best rated    Basket shown

CS Marketplace

Need something even faster? Browse lots of instant gift cards on Amazon

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Girl Scout Cookies Gone Wild 

Well this whole tasty sequence began with a visit to a site I really like called MyRecipes. The draw was a story on desserts made with Girl Scout cookies {link below}. 

So then I hit Google to see when the cookies are available and that led to several discoveries. First, on the Girl Scouts site you can enter your zip code and get a big listing of dates and places for the booths.

Second, there are also cookie-based recipes on the site. Shown here are cupcakes made with Thin Mints which are crushed and mixed with cream cheese for a filling inside chocolate cake topped with ganache.

Another revelation came in the Google search, and it’s this – Girl Scout cookies are available on Amazon. Just to check I clicked on the Thin Mints and there doesn’t appear to be any “season” for them which is to say they seem to be available year ’round.

Recipe page on the Girl Scouts site {scroll on page for cupcakes}

MyRecipes article  ♦  Girl Scouts homepage    GS cookies on Amazon  

♦  TIP  

Skeptical, but my reason may not be your reason

Either way, it is an interesting idea. Tapping into a tale with the maybe slightly hyperbolic headline, “How to make any cake 1,000 time better” – with the answer being, folding in whipped cream.

The result it says, is a light consistency . . . a lighter texture,” and that where they lose me because I like desserts that are. ummm, toothy. But I realize some of you, dear friends, do prefer a lighter touch and a link is here for you to see the details.

Meanwhile, we also discover that the idea was inspired by the cookbook, “BakeWise,” which “won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Baking and Dessert Cookbook in 2009.”

The Whipped Cream Trick    “BakeWise” on Amazon, 4 1/2 stars

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So, a package of rye bread that is supposed to close with a sticky tab – didn’t. As a result, a good four slices turned zwieback-y. Didn’t want to waste it, so hello Google. The solution that was most appealing was to turn them into croutons, which is exactly what I did, sauteeing cubes in a garlicky mix of butter and peanut oil. Turned out to be great toppers for butternut squash soup, pea soup, and really any salad.

  And about the butternut squash soup, now have my final version. Truth be told the preceding variations were good, but the “winner” was the one that most let the title veggie take an undisputed starring role. It starts with about a 3 lb squash, baked until very tender, cooled till handle-able.

  In a large pot 3-4 cloves minced garlic are lightly sauteed in 4 T butter, and then joined by 2 c prepared chicken bouillon, 1/2 T honey, 1 t sage, 1/2 t ea pepper and nutmeg. Let this simmer while you peel, seed and rough cut the squash, and then mash or blend it smooth with a 1/2 c cream.

  Whisk in the squash scoop by scoop until blended, and then add 1 cup Italian shredded cheese. Whisk until melted and mixture is hot. Serve as soup or, as originally pursued, over pasta as shown here topped with a bit of parm and parsley.

  I don’t make a steady diet of “Chopped” on Food Network, but did tune in recently and learned about an ingredient I’d never heard of before. Have you? It was choclo, a large kernel style of corn grown in Peru. The contestants did some interesting preps with it which you can view here {full episode}.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

 

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Sooooo easy, sooooo good Nutella Brownie Cookies, Feb 1-7, 2019

  CatChat  

 

Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – guide to wine fridges / pb French toast / best bacon {M – whadizit, whadizit, whadizit???   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – “cover” stories    FEATURED RECIPE – love these cookies!  ♦  TIP – finger salads    THE WEEK – new fave ingredient / bookin’ / fast mac

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

Yay! Four new pix in my gallery – mom calls it “Misty & bacon, the rest of the story”

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Do you love wine? Then you might very well enjoy connecting with ILoveWine.com. Here’s a recent article posted on the site, guiding you to the best wine coolers, size and style, for your home. I do have a wine cooler and just love it, also keep  my coffee in there. On the site you’ll find all kinds of helpful wine information along with a form to sign up for the newsletter. Worth a look for any wine lover.

  Peanut butter fans, beat a path to this link {fortunately it’s just a few words away}. Hooray Food & Wine for bringing us Peanut Butter French Toast. In addition to giving pb a starring role, it comes together with a rich drenching sauce, crunchy crust, and – my personal fave – a light touch so it isn’t soaked to death before cooking. Be trying this one real soon.

  Well this is cool. Food & Wine completes our breakfast or brunch with – bacon! In this story the premier mag serves up The Best Bacon in America, in different categories, from designer offerings to supermarket brands.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Keep the pot hot

A recent story on the MyRecipes site listed some helpful ways to cover a pan that either doesn’t have a lid or has a lid that has gone into hiding. It also mentions as an alternativeModern Innovations Elegant 18/8 Stainless Steel Universal Lid with Adjustable Steam Vent, Fits All 7" to 12" Pots and Pans, Replacement Frying Pan Cover and Cookware Lids having on hand a universal lid.

I’ve had one of these for years and make very good use of it. While I don’t have any lid-less pots or uncooperative lids, this particular cover is great for all my frying pans and I’ve also used Silicone Lids Extra Large Set of 6 Sturdy Suction Seal Covers. Universal fit for Pots, Fry Pans, Cups and Bowls 5" to 12". Natural grip handles that interlock for easy use and storage. Food Safe.it to cover big bowls of hot food.

Amazon has lots of these available but I’ve featured one like my own, large at 12 1’2″ and with an adjustable vent, though there’s also a link below where you can browse all of them. Also found a handy set of six with sizes not only for your pots but as well for other dishes and even pitchers, all in silicone. Both featured items are rated 4 1/2 stars.

Selected lid   Silicone 6-lid set   All universal lids    All silicone lids

MyRecipes article    CS Marketplace

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Every word in the title is a winner 

Thank you, thank you, thank you Food 52. How often do we encounter a dish – a dessert in this case – that’s easy peasy easy AND totally indulgent.

So, yeah, I wasted no time making these “3-Ingredient Nutella Brownie Cookies.” Yikes there are more words in the title than there are ingredients.

This is actually an amalgam of Nutella cookies and Nutella brownies, and recipes are shown for these individuals too. The final one adds up to four ingredients with the addition of a bit of salt.

Whichever version, could they be any easier? You know what, maybe they could. When I make them again, and you bet there will be an “again,” I’m going to see how it might work in a sheet pan.

Notes: A 13 oz jar is just right. I did use parchment paper, but if you don’t have it at hand then, chances are good baking {not cooking} spray would work OK, or at least it’s never failed me. I did 8 minutes and that was perfect.

Recipe  

♦  TIP  

Salad as finger food???

So at one of my home salons, I was serving sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken wings, pickles & olives. How to include salad without having to drag out forks and bottles of dressing?

Here’s how. I lined up small disposable glasses. Poured in the bottom of each some of my fave/easy salad dressing, equal parts of ranch and Wishbone original Italian.

Then arranged pluckable strips of veggies around the perimeter of each glass. In this version: carrots, celery, cuke, red, green and yellow bell peppers, and then added a two-radish “centerpiece,” all against a frilly lettuce leaf backdrop. Easy for me, easy for guests.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  After all these years I’ve discovered malted milk powder. Of course since childhood I’ve had malteds {and wow are those getting harder to find}, but never before had the powder in my pantry. First use was for a re-do of bran muffins that came out way too dense – broke them up, added egg, milk, vanilla and the powder and baked in a sheet pan, all better.

Second, yay, found it’s another “oatmeal helper.” And then, though I pretty much always take coffee and tea straight black, recently added some of the powder to coffee and that made a nice “snack.” Haven’t tried it in tea yet but could give a whole new meaning to a “cream tea.”

  Maybe this is why that latter idea came to mind. While I do love a good mystery, my knowledge of the top writers in the realm is pretty shallow so it wasn’t until I discovered the Mystery Writers Cookbook {Jan 11 Salon} that I’d heard of Rhys Bowen, and her penchant for including food in her stories. Which leads me to my first foray into her list, “The 12 Clues of Christmas,” where a cream tea [the real kind} plays a supporting role.

  I have a mac & cheese recipe that is quite a crowd pleaser and that’s what I generally make. But recently I had an ingredient that I wanted to use up, and that was an almost full jar of queso dip. Yep, combined it with some cooked mac from the freezer and voila! – instant, decent, and even a bit spicy m&c.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

So far next week: Girl Scout cookie desserts, cake upgrade, rye bread re-do, butternut squash soup/sauce, choclo {whaaaaat?}

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

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{It’s a secret} tasty toast, for Jan 18-24, 2019

  CatChat  

Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – awesome eye of round / a sheet of cookies / some human food = good doggie treats    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – bye bye pounds    FEATURED RECIPE – wait till you see    TIP – ham, let us count the ways    THE WEEK – chicken tenders “cordon bleu” / easy Mex salad / Mother Sauce book t.c.

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS  

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  In case you didn’t see this on Food Network – a beautiful eye of round prepped by Jeff Mauro on The Kitchen. I love this cut of meat, but his version including a savory dry rub looks like it would take it to a whole new level and can’t wait to try it. Here’s the recipe in case you would like to give it a go too. The page also has a demo.

  The sheet pan moves into the cookie realm. In this case, sugar cookies. The beauty of this kind of cookie is while it’s great tasting on its own, it’s also a blank canvas for all kinds of flavors and decorations. And the beauty of this method is that you can skip a whole bunch of steps. Thanks Food 52!

  Who’s a good boy! Or girl! And who wants a treat??? {Btw, I just love that commercial where the guy says to his dog, Do you want to eat, Do you want to eat, over and over – and finally the dog says, Tomorrow night let’s just assume I want to eat!!!} So, Southern Living knows our four footed good boys and girls like treats and has compiled a list of people food that dogs can not only have but that they say is actually good for them. Also some no-no’s.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

OH ! OH !

Have extra holiday pounds now overstaying their welcome? 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 or keep you from shedding the ones you want gone. Some quite tasty.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s available in the “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 CS Marketplace, .99-$2.99.

CS Marketplace

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Did you resolve to buff up your cooking game?

Well hooray, here you go. Ina Garten just may have given us the book we’ve all been waiting for.Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks

Pro results for  the full spectrum of “am” cooks, from gourmet level to “Is this one the frying pan?” Here you’ll find how to taste, season, plate, arrange a bar, measure, test for doneness, cut, bake, prep, make stock, time, substitute – like a pro.

And . . . pro results without complex recipes. So, about our Feature. If I had ‘fessed up in the headline that these are cauliflower toasts, would you have clicked past so fast your screen would have spun??? But just look at these . . . in addition to the title veggie there’s prosciutto, three kinds of cheese, chives, seasonings and a touch of spice. Pretty easy too. Thanks “Barefoot Contessa.”

Recipe    “Cook Like a Pro”    Ina’s other cookbooks

CS page of cooking substitutions on this site

  TIP  

Still have leftover holiday ham in the freezer?

You probably already know some tasty ways to use it up. But, just in case you would like a few more ideas, here’s Tasting Table at your service with a trio of dishes that can take that porky delight into whole new realms. All pretty easy too.

Transforming ham leftovers

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Where we talk cooking and other salon-y subjects

  Well this was darn good. And, cheers, it starts with store bought chicken tenders. Here’s what I did – melted butter in a skillet over med-lo heat, split the tenders length wise and placed cut side down in the hot butter for just about a minute, then turned over and topped each pair with two slices of Swiss and two slices folded in half of thinly sliced ham. Covered just until cheese had melted enough to hang onto the ham, then flipped over, covered again till all heated through. Poured the butter over the servings.

  In addition to the restaurant clone Mexican salad we talked about in last week’s salon, there’s another I like to make that’s pretty darn good. In fact at one get-together after four of us had seconds, one of the guests went and picked up the platter and proceeded to finish it off by herself – didn’t ask if anyone else wanted more because I think she didn’t want to risk the answer.

  So, it’s sliced avocados drizzled with ranch {could substitute stirred sour cream}, topped with chopped red pepper, green onion and black olives black sliced olives.

  Years ago I clipped a recipe for a potato casserole and not only has it been a go-to dish ever since, but in more recent times I’ve started using a version of the sauce – now called my own personal Mother Sauce – for other preps. Later this year I’m going to round up all these tasty dishes into a Kindle book. I hope you’ll like it.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week: wine cooler guide, salad as finger food, my version of butternut squash sauce, speedy mac & cheese

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

 

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10 Favorite CS Recipes from 2018, Jan 4-10, 2019

From celeb chefs, awesome cookbooks, foodie newsletters, food boards

{some links take you directly to the recipe, others to the relevant salon}

In no particular order – we love them all!

Giada’s Raspberry-Cherry Chocolate “Pop” Tarts recipe

For an extra kick, she uses pop rocks as part of the filling! More happy news – the sweet treat is made almost entirely of ganache, easy ganache, the topper adds a festive splash of color, and they’re already individual servings – no carving required.

Charlie Palmers Acorn Squash with Vegetable Chili

Craving something hearty and warming? One chef that sure can make good on that kind of promise is big guy Charlie Palmer, a celeb chef whose repertoire ranges from high style to downright down-home. Here, he combines two winter faves, a sweet and tender squash serving as a receptacle for a gently spiced garden-full chili. Though of course you are welcome to turn up the heat with more cayenne or other incendiary ingredients. A tasty dish for the family, a showy dish for guests.

Forget those stingy little individual chocolate lava cakes. Go big or  . . . no, just go big. And this panful is just the way to do it. Thanks to this boffo foodie newsletter for an easy and rewarding way to send the sweet tooth into decadent overload. Also called a Brownie Pudding Cake, every spoonful delivers a generous eruption of melty chocolate. Grab a big utensil, tell everyone else to stand clear, and have at it.

Franklin BBQ’s Cole Slaw

This was one of our most accessed recipes all year. It’s from the book “Franklin Barbecue,” a master course in q – with chapters on the smoker, wood, fire, smoke, and most of all the meat – and a few recipes from one of the top pitmasters in the U.S, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, also known for his PBS show.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

This is like a whole array of flavorful cravings all in one dish, a Bertinelli signature by the way, and a great way to start the day. It’s from her cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” featuring personal notes that intro each section and each recipe. This particular prep combines sausage, cheese, maple syrup, hot sauce, eggs, cheese, and bacon, some in the baking mix, some sandwiched between the halves of the homemade biscuits.

Ree Drummond’s Cap’n Crunch Chicken Strips

Ree Drummond’s “Come and Get It” cookbook has to be one of the most helpful ever because for every single recipe she shows step by steps with photos. This simple and satisfying dish from the book is also shown on her site and that’s what we’ve linked. And guess what – it also shows the step the step process too, even though this is an extremely easy prep.

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crusted Cheesecake with Raspberries

You know when she’s in the kitchen, a polished result will be coming out of the kitchen and this elegant dessert is no exception. A buttery chocolate wafer crush, rich cream cheese/whipped cream filling, and pureed raspberry topping = mmm mmm. And, yay, all no bake! A real show stopper! And in addition to a link for the printed recipe, the page also includes a demo so you can see her at work.

Les Kincaid’s Perfect Prime Rib

Image result for prime rib picturesWorking with an expensive cut of meat can be quite scary, but you can cook a prime rib with confidence, thanks to this detailed recipe from chef/cookbook author/cooking instructor/syndicated wine show radio host Les Kincaid. Even better, he also shares a jus prep and extra cooking tips. {Science of Cooking picture}

Eggs Rockefeller from the Egg Board

And who would know eggs better??? In this clever take on the oyster dish, these beautifully poached eggs sit atop a rich mix of bacon, spinach, heavy cream, parm, a touch of spirits if you wish and more, right down to the bread crumb topping. And may I add one thing – I’d replace that fork with a spoon to scoop up every last bit of goodness.

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars {go to 11.09.18}

This is from the ever so helpful “What Can I Bring?” cookbook, filled cover to cover with satisfying dishes that are for the most part make-ahead, multiple-serving, and fairly easy to transport. It features the made-in-heaven pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, and wait till you see an additional flavorful ingredient – two choices actually, theirs and mine. Either would be good, mine was a matter of what was handy.

Next week so far: Appetizers, Mexican salad, butternut squash pasta sauce

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Martha’s Slow Cooker Sicilian Style Beef Stew, for Dec 14-20, 2018

  CatChat  

Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – Bacon pairing for cocktail hour {M – I’ll take mine with a fine bowl of water} / kitchen cheat sheet / a mega cheat sheet from the CIA    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – book for the reader/cook / ’tis the season    FEATURED RECIPE – so tender, so tasty    TIP – meatloaf???  ♦  THE WEEK – squash sauce / accidental cake / fare facts to share, coming soon

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  This is a cocktail party idea you can definitely try at home. AP reported on a StillwaterBrown Sugar Bacon Jerky Candied Bacon MN restaurant, Brick & Bourbon, that offers a “bacon flight.” Whaaaaaat? Even though a fairly thorough search turned up no detail, quite certain we can figure this out for ourselves. Especially with help from this page on google, offering a bunch of ways to flavor this fave.

Want a head start? Take a look at this Brown Sugar Bacon Jerky Candied Bacon ready to go on Amazon {shown}, and other options on the site.

  Well this is handy. The MyRecipes site has listed out 13 ratios that cover a whole spectrum of cooking activities. Like – vinaigrette 3:1, pasta 3:2, muffins 2:2:1:1 – and then of course spells out what those numbers stand for. They suggest memorizing them, but may I suggest highlight/print or copy/paste/print.

  Have a spare $7.97 a month to polish your culinary talents? That amount would buy you membership in a brand new program from the Culinary Institute of America, DISH, and in turn access to technique videos, top chef demos, the recipe collection, lots more. Click the link here to see the full spectrum

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Mystery writers + recipes = one perfect book for the reader/cook

“The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook” offers, as the cover says, “wickedly good recipes” from a star studded lineup of writers – Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die ForCoben, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Scott Turow and a host of, again quoting the cover, “other acclaimed plot stirrers.” Including Richard Castle {!}

In the intro, author Kate White makes the point that mystery coming to the table is a bit of a natural given the genre’s “countless scenes that mix murder and food,” adding that “it would be a crime not to celebrate this idea.”

As for the recipes, some are purloined from the books, others are authors’ favorites, and each one starts with the dish’s backstory. There are so many good preps here, and you can expect to see several in the 2019 salons, starting right away on Jan 11.

“The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook” 

Best selling mysteries on Amazon    Top rated mysteries on Amazon

At CS Marketplace: “Especially for . . .” – “Cooks”  “Readers”  “Dog Lovers”

Extra for all – as you enjoy the feasts and gifts and good cheer of the holiday season, perhaps you can also share some of that bounty. And if you do choose to do so, an easy way is available with the links at the bottom of the page. You may want to check further but I’ve done my best to see that these are all highly rated and regarded charities.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A Party hearty dish with an Italian accent 

Some really interesting flavors set this tasty dish apart from classic stew. In addition to the requisite beef chuck, this pot also welcomes the likes of fennel, rosemary, orange zest and olives.

There’s also an interesting tip to enhance the beef flavor. Though it cooks for hours, according to Stewart the prep time is just 35 minutes. And it serves, she say, 4-6

She recommends serving with mashed potatoes and that is indeed a good combo. But take a look back at the Nov 30 salon for the item about turning leftover mashed potatoes into gnocchi – and that’s what I used for this tasty stew.

Recipe    Martha Stewart’s cookbooks  ♦  Her magazine

{btw, the Martha Manual would be a welcome book for any beginning cook}

  TIP  

Maybe meatloaf

I know this makes little sense, but as much as I adore hamburgers have never been a fan of meatloaf and for that matter meatballs either. Always seemed too dense and often lacking in flavor perhaps because of the breadcrumbs taking over. But watching Ina Garten make her mini meatloaves on Food Network, thinking she just may have solved both. First, she cooks the onions along with other good stuff {see recipe}, and second she blends it with a fork and as she says you can actually see that the mixture is “fluffy.”

Another trick just may seal the deal. A friend ordered meatloaf at a recent lunch get-together, and it was clear that the thick slices had been seared on the flat top creating a nice char. Almost looked like a hamburger! So, just might possibly maybe perhaps give it a try some time. Meanwhile, here’s Ina’s recipe. Demo too.

Mini meatloaf recipe    Food Network    Barefoot Contessa episodes

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Soooo, that alternate idea for a gnocchi sauce is to borrow from a classic ravioli recipe, and that is butternut squash filling, here going over though instead of in. I found this Betty Crocker prep that sounds pretty darn good. I think mine might be an adaptation but meanwhile you might want to give Betty’s version a try.

  A tasty mistake. So another tempting recipe in the “12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters Stuff” was gooey butter cookies. Easy! Cream 8 oz cream cheese with a 1/2 cup butter, beat in 1 egg and 1/4 t vanilla, Then slowly blend in a 16.5 oz box yellow cake mix. Roll in 1″ balls, then in powdered sugar, bake 1″ apart at 350 on an ungreased sheet 10-13 min.

  Yum. Got everything I need . . . oops, except not that cake mix but did have an 18.4 oz milk chocolate brownie mix. Heck, give it a try, I’ll just add a little cream to offset the extra mix. Well, not little enough or because it was brownie mix, didn’t end up like cookie dough. OOOOOK, into a pan and into the oven. Tastes great! Needless to say, very moist!

  Over our holiday break – starting after next week’s salon – I’ll finally get to “The Everyday Gourmet” dvds from Great Courses. And that means on into 2019 I’ll be able to share with you samples of whatever culinary wisdom awaits in this series. The book that accompanies the set promises lessons on ingredients, tools, various cooking methods, herbs & spices, sauces, and seemingly all the food groups including my favorite one – desserts!

Next week: totally devoted to very last minute gifts for cooks and foodies. You’re saved.

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

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Ree’s Easy Rich Caramel Brownies, for Nov 30-Dec 6, 2018

  CatChat  

Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon 

  TIDBITS – mashies go Italian / it’s OK, no yolk / ham it up {M – ham !!!   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – party time cookbooks / for celeb chef fans    FEATURED RECIPE –  oh these are goooooood    TIP – gravy rules    THE WEEK – no recipe required / skewer it / best dressed salads

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks

  Here’s a tasty way to transform leftover mashed potatoes into a whole new dish with an Italian accent. Gnocchi! And really, couldn’t be easier. I’m going to give this prep a try and if it turns out as good as it sounds, I’ll share as an item in a future My Week section of the Salon. Need to play with a sauce too, and actually have a somewhat unusual idea in mind.

  Never saw one, but in case you have . . . Well Done newsletter brings us assurances from MyRecipes that if you find a white egg yolk, no problem. No need to chuck it out. Just a matter of what the chicken ate, e.g., a bunch of white corn. Good news that we wouldn’t have to waste it.

  That same dual source also offers to school us on doing a boffo job on one of the season’s favorite entrees. Their list of “The 11 Most Common Mistakes People Make Cooking Ham – And How to Prevent Them”  is chock full of valuable information. Also includes a video on the best way to carve a spiral ham. And if you hang in there, other helpful demos follow.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Oh these cookbooks are such fun

If their cookbooks are any indication, for these six sisters life is an ongoing party. This is food that is fun, festive, a riot of colors and flavors.

Depending on the book, you also may well find cooking hacks, pantry help, storage tricks, menus, serving suggestions, decorating ideas, artistic flourishes, party activities, organization tips, instructions for homemade gifts, craft projects, even family traditions. One of the latter included in “A Year with Six Sisters Stuff,” communal and clever, is the “D-I-Y At-Home Family Restaurant.”

Here are some recipes on my do-list from a sampling of their books . . .

“Dinner Made Easy” – taco braid {shown}, crispy coconut chicken strips with pina colada dipping sauce, skillet pizza {actually a turbo charged mac}

“A Year with Six Sisters Stuff” – chicken cordon bleu bites, nutty caramel bars {shown}, mini garlic monkey bread

“12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters Stuff” – peppermint crunch ice cream pie, bacon & egg breakfast casserole {shown}, slow cooker chicken fajita soup

“Celebrate Every Season with Six Sisters Stuff” {my personal fave} – baked cheeseburger sliders, slow cooker chili cheese dip, St Patrick’s Day cupcakes {shown}

One that I don’t have at hand but that sounds equally interesting is their “Copycat Cooking with Six Sisters Stuff: 100+ Restaurant Meals You Can Make at Home.” It’s 5 stars on Amazon, and it seems their books are generally at least 4 1/2 stars. Good stuff!

All Six Sisters cookbooks

At CS Marketplace: “Especially for . . .” – “Cooks”  “Readers”  “Dog Lovers”

Extra for the cooks on your list – especially those who love celeb chef shows. Our special page right on this site lists easy links to the cookbooks, videos, items and giftcards of over 100 of the chefs you know from their tv shows, best sellers, and award winning restaurants. Within this treasure trove you’ll also find some books by these folks that go beyond cookbooks, including fiction and memoirs.  Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Chef-crafted rich brownies with caramel – easy caramel!

It’s the holidays, go for it! Which is to say, bake a batch of Ree Drummond’s Caramel Brownies, featured on a recent show. Maybe the best brownie I’ve ever had.

What makes the caramel so easy? It’s actually rich dulce de leche . . . out of a jar. And the brownie itself checks in with its own decadence thanks to butter, chocolate and cocoa, and extra vanilla. So good as is, could even skip the caramel and just use the powdered sugar.

Want the best dulce de leche for this recipe or another recipe or atop ice cream or just on a spoon??? Click below to see the ones with top ratings on Amazon.

Recipe    Ree’s cookbooks    Ree’s show videos    Best Dulce de Leche 

  TIP  

Well this makes it a Well Done/My Recipes trifecta

One more from the same twin sources cited in two Tidbits above, elevated to Tip section status. Why? You may or may not be making hard cooked eggs and ham this holiday season, but chances are pretty good you will be making gravy.

Gravy! Pour it on and so many already good dishes get booted into the culinary ionosphere. To make it extra good, follow these guidelines on when and how to use cornstarch or flour, and really for whenever you want to thicken a sauce.

Good gravy

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Well this is nice. A dish I actually made from a recipe can in fact just be put together according to your favorite version – which is to say, really, no recipe needed. What is it? Nachos in a sheet pan, corn corn chips topped with all the usual suspects – maybe some chorizo, tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, cilantro and of course cheese{s} – and then, fried eggs. Awesome breakfast or brunch. Pretty too. And here’s another breakfast idea {not the salad shown}.

  Another episode of “Pioneer Woman” had a dish that resonated with me because it offers a variation on a presentation trick I already use, and that’s serving an entire course on a skewer. In my “50 … Tricks” Kindle book it applies to appetizer, salad {shown, carrots and Brussels sprouts blanched}, and dessert. Drummond’s is a clever breakfast version, a lineup of sauteed sausage links, onion wedges, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers, plus cheese stuffed omelets, rolled and sliced. Gonna try this too.

  Lookout, here come some bragging rights and a secret. All inspired by a Basically newsletter from Bon Appetit that says we should dress our salads twice, first acidic and then creamy. Here’s how they do it. I’ve been doing this for years but in an easier {OK, and less pro} way. The secret: I mix equal parts of Wishbone Italian and a good Ranch. Truth be told, it’s a crowd pleaser.

So far next week: sassy soup, foodie jewelry, wine pairing, fave foodie writer on dining alone, millennials want whaaaaat???

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons
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Decadent chocolate-peanut butter bars, for Nov 9-Nov 15, 2018

  CatChat  

Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – do you create recipes? / good show! book too! / drink your leftovers    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – tv helps your gift list / for celeb chef fans    FEATURED RECIPE – chocolate, peanut butter and an unexpected ingredient {M – is it tuna ???}    TIP – weather report for your kitchen    THE WEEK – crisp French toast / Top Chef preview / humbug {no bah}

Misty’s History  ♦  Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Are you a creative cook? Do you like designing your own dishes, start to finish. You might then find interesting this shadowing of a chef as he develops a new dish “from vision to revision.” It’s a quite detailed account that in effect takes you inside the chef’s mind.

  “Salt/Fat/Acid/Heat” If those are some of your favorite flavors you’re in luck – twice! Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good CookingIt’s a new Netflix series, featuring Samin Nosrat who, as described in the Tasting Table story, “is a joy to watch on screen as she travels to Italy, Japan, the Yucatán and more in order to share culinary traditions from around the world.”

–   And second, the series is based on Nosrat’s book of the same name, subtitled “Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.” Btw, it was among the top picks for go-to cookbooks  gathered on Tasting Table’s facebook page.

  Well here’s a new use for your leftovers. Instead of in the trash, in your glass. As this tale tells, bartenders are finding creative ways to re-purpose this ready source of foodstuff into what one mixologist calls trash cocktails.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The lost & wanted can be found & acquired

While I’m not addicted to tv offers, there are certain items that I’ve found appealing and have in fact ordered. The problem is, often I see this stuff during “insomnia time” and don’t have quick access to pen, paper, and light.

As Seen on TvMy grocery store, and maybe yours too, has an “As Seen on TV” section and sometimes something I’ve missed is there and sometimes not. So I was quite happy to discover that good ol’ Amazon features these offers – 6,000 of them.

Don’t panic! You can narrow it down from there, e.g., 483 for Kitchen & Dining, and then you can further tame the search with such subcategories as utensils, cookware, storage items, appliances, and spice racks.

All “As Seen on TV” on Amazon    Kitchen & Dining section

At CS Marketplace: “Especially for . . .” – “Cooks”  “Readers”  “Dog Lovers”

Extra for cooks – who do you know that’s a fan of celeb chefs? Or maybe that’s you. My Kindle, “Celebrity Chef Book of Links” puts you just a click away from discovering the fascinating histories, restaurant locations, contact information, and access to blogs, newsletters and classes of the chefs we know from their tv shows, top rated eateries and best selling cookbooks, over 100 in all.  Celeb Chef Book

  FEATURED RECIPE  

You, your family, your guests just might swoon 

Remember this book from our 09.21.18 salon? The one that gives you tasty answers to the title question, “What Can I Bring?” What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Upwhatever the occasion or destination. The satisfying dishes here for the most part are make-ahead, multiple-serving, and fairly easy to transport.

In addition to author, Elizabeth Heiskell’s resume includes caterer, instructor, and TODAY show contributor. Which is to say, she sure knows her stuff, and 179 reviewers agree, giving this book 4 1/2 stars.

This recipe from the book features the made-in-heaven pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, and wait till you see an additional flavorful ingredient – two choices actually, theirs and mine. Either would be good, mine was a matter of what was handy.

Even better it’s no-bake, and if you use my other tweak, no cook either! All so good and easy.

Recipe Page    “What Can I Bring” cookbook   Other Heiskell books 

  TIP  

No storms in the kitchen

You may well be doing this already. Talking about when you’re using a hand mixer to blend something like flour or powdered sugar into a batter, and the danger looms of sending a snowstorm over your counter and everything thereon.

What I like to do is gently fold in the “snow” with a spatula. It doesn’t have to be totally mixed in – that’s what the appliance is for – but rather just sort of buried in the lower depths of the bowl.

Usually this would not be necessary with a stand mixer. But if the bowl is really full, might be a worthy precaution.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  How do you like your French toast? Personally I don’t care for what’s actually the classic prep, which calls for drowning the bread before cooking. This recipe for a crisp version from America’s Test Kitchen via AP calls for a much shorter soaking time but for me still too much. However, along with my usual dip-turn-out method, it’s the pre-step and the liquid ingredients that I found make one delish dish. See what you think.

  Thanks to Food & Wine’s online newsletter I recently saw the trailer for season 16 of “Top Chef” which debuts Dec 6, 9p ET on Bravo in Louisville KY. I like these kinds of shows where they compete and you both learn and enjoy. You can watch it too, right here, and the page also shows the 15 contestants so you can see if any are from your town.

  Browsing through the Diner’s Dictionary again and came upon this gem. “Humbug” {no bah}, referring to a taffy-like boiled sweet flavored with peppermint. It says that its eventual evolution from dessert to Scrooge’s rant “may be of similar inspiration to trifle.” There’s even more backstory covering time, place and literary reference. These kinds of finds pop up among more common entries in this chock-full compilation of “Word origins of food & drink.” I love this book.

So far next week: save the food, wash the cocktails, Emeril’s turkey take, garlic mouth fixes, pea-zuh or pea-duh??? 

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