Easy, Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, Feb 19-Feb 25, 2021

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New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Carrots gone wild. Tasty and somewhat unexpected ways to use them up. Find salads, soup, smoothie, stir fry, fried rice, and desert bars in this story from Clean Plates. Also see a carrot prep & demo below in Alexa’s Room    Ha! another way to make oatmeal a bit more appealing. Thanks to MyRecipes for Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, further elevated with bananas, peanuts and honey. Btw, that same post also suggests toasting and stirring the oats for a couple of minutes over low heat before adding the liquid.    Bring some south into your kitchen no matter where you live with these 25 Classic Southern Recipes from Southern Living.

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Shopping Finds – Have you seen these? So clever. Designed to look like Mason jars but actually reusable plastic bags that tuck neatly into freezer, fridge or pantry. Four sizes, three packages 30-50, 10.99 -20.29. Prime eligible, 4 1/2 stars, and an Amazon’s Choice. Dimensions are shown on the page.   The reviews for the brownies from Prepared Pantry’s mix glow right off the page. Their most recent newsletter features a recipe for using the Seriously Fudgy mix to make pretty brownie cake pops. You’ll also find other flavors such as thick & chewy, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate chip blondies.

This week’s featured CS Kindle on Amazon – good for students, other writers, too! On Kindle, read it today, use it tomorrow. “Be a Better Business Writer in Nine Easy Steps”. You can also view this book, and others, and other items here on CS in BJN’s Eclectic Mall.

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Kitchen Talk – Finding fun ways to play with the gold and silver decorating sugar I originally bought for the tie dye cookies featured in our 02.05.21 Salon. Striped both on a homemade banana donut, just gold on a chocolate filled pastry, a combo on buttered carrots, and just silver on my fave sundae, chocolate ice cream with marshmallow topping. One thing, how much the sugar sparkles depends on how much light is on it.    More fun. Blood oranges, which I’ve long heard of but just recently had in my kitchen. You slice through the darkish peel to find juicy, crimson fruit waiting inside. Expect a nice balance of sweet and tart {and also red drops on your hands}. Squeeze into water, add ice, and you’ll have an “ade” that looks sort of exotic.    Still playing with making my own marshmallow topping.

   On the Table   

Feature – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars

So, the Pillsbury refrigerated dough I used for the tie dye cookies mentioned above in Kitchen Talk made such good cookies I decided to take another look at their site for other recipes based on this dough. And just look what I found!

After the ready to go dough there are just a half dozen ingredients. And four steps.

Four of those ingredients add up to an elevation. Store-bought caramel sauce is kicked up with more butter and brown sugar and, somewhat unexpectedly, graham cracker crumbs. Interesting!

It rates 4 stars and the comments delivered rave reviews. One tip therein, two of the cooks said they lined the pan with parchment paper.

The top of my to-make list is getting pretty crowded but this has to go there. Will report the results in a future Kitchen Talk.

{Photo from Pillsbury site}

Next week – Aunty Peggy’s Ham & Beef Tavern Chili, a storied dish

Recipe  ♦  Pillsbury recipe pages    Pillsbury cookbooks on Amazon

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make caramelized banana peanut butter cheesecake? Are those all the right words, or what??? Prep for a large rich cheesecake meets up with a cup of creamy peanut butter, destined for a graham cracker crust. Then . . . it’s topped with sliced bananas that have been glazed with a creamy, buttery caramel sauce. And guess what? No bake! We can say our thanks for this recipe, once again, to Tasty.

Alexa displays: Show me this recipe. This option appears with every recipe that pops up on the screen. You can also just request it by name later – the good news at that point is that other possibilities also come along for the ride. The bad news, however rare, can occur when the request includes a quite unfamiliar name that Alexa may not recognize.

This happened recently with Socca, though as always you can of course look it up on line. The other good news embedded here is the opportunity every now and then to learn about a new food. Btw, Socca?  Born in Genoa, popularized in Nice, it’s like a cross between a pancake and a pizza, topped at will a la the latter. Here’s what I found on google and the first prep shown is the same one that had been shown by Alexa.

Alexa says request: How do I make roasted carrots with pistachio pesto? We previously posted a darn good recipe for roasted carrots in our 06.12.20 Salon. No harm though in taking a look at how it’s done in this demo. But what was really intriguing in this offering from Epicurious was the pistachio pesto, which interestingly takes a “nose to tail” approach to the carrots. Also wondering how it might work to just sub pistachios for whatever nuts you now use in a classic pesto prep.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play the song quiz

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦  Molly Yeh of “Girl Meets Farm” on Food Network brings us a substantial happy hour treat. It starts with a multi-flavored Bloody Mary and ends with a multi snack. Anchoring the latter is a mini reuben sandwich on a stick that also holds a cornichon, the whole shebang then cozying up to the required celery stalk. Btw, one of the ingredients in the cocktail is caraway which bridges nicely to the rye bread in the reuben. And, it seems Yeh has a broad definition of happy hour, telling us, “Bloody Marys wake you up in a way coffee wishes it could.”   

  This taste-intensive Tex-Mex dip for the cocktail hour from Las Vegas celeb chef Les Kincaid – “Combine over lo-med heat until cheese melts, 1 lb Velveeta cubed, 8 oz jar cheese spread, 1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, 1 bunch green onions sliced and 4 oz chopped green chiles – serve with chips and an assortment of veggies.” It’s quite amazing how so few ingredients, simply stirred together, can create such big flavor.

   We previously talked about martini variations – not the kind of drinks that bear no resemblance to the classic cocktail but adopt that name because they are served in a martini glass. But rather the requisite gin or vodka and vermouth, with the variations being usually just a single add-in, as in our previous references to the “dirty” one with olive juice or my fave with jalapeno or other hot pepper juice. Meanwhile there’s been a low level trend of a few years now of adding pickle juice to adult beverages. Tried it in a tini. Nope.

   While advice may not always be appreciated, this example might be welcome. “7 Best Cocktails to Drink While Cooking Weeknight Dinners.” Now if you’re wondering what makes these  sips different from others, here’s what the folks at Food & Wine say: “There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day. There’s something even more therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day with a drink in your hand. Skip the martini— what you need is something quick, refreshing and relatively low proof so you’ll still be coherent by the time supper is ready.” {btw, the martini link takes you to F&W’s prep}

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Easy Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, Feb 12-Feb 18, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Hello, bacon lovers! And rejoice as msn/lifestyle brings us these 10 most Creative Bacon Dishes from across the country. And I know all you clever CS-ers can replicate these bacony foods and beverages right in your own kitchens.     As far as we can tell, these foodfests are still scheduled in these locales for this year. South Beach, May 20-23.  Aspen, Sept 10-12. Austin, Nov 5-7.  Food + Funny. On Feb 17 PBS/Create is teaming chef Curtis Stone and chef/comic Alex Thomopoulos for a “Moveable Feast” through Australia.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve already seen ice cream for dogs. But here’s what’s new – ice cream for dogs from Ben & Jerry’s    In Amazon’s Hot New Releases, and “hot” applies doubly here – Mott’s Hot Apple Cider Keurig pods.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item  If we thought the new year would see high fives across the aisle and a bipartisan chorus of kumbaya in govs in DC and beyond . . . nope! Let’s flash this message everywhere we can.  See all 5 “Decent” items on our Eclectic Mall page.

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Kitchen Talk – Here’s one of those magnetic headlines I came across from MyRecipes. Why Snack Dinner is the Best Thing You Can Make for Yourself Tonight”  Wow, there are some fine looking assemblies here. But shown is the plate we featured from our cheese board in the 01.22.21 Salon and to the article’s point, it sure did add up to dinner.   So, had a lot of Genoa salami hanging around and decided to put it in the food processor with the other ingredients that would typically go into ham salad {including peanuts, love peanuts in ham salad}. Turned out good. But, duh, now had even more leftovers. Hmmm. After using some for sandwiches, mixed the rest with egg and bread crumbs, browned in a skillet, and then I had something I could freeze. Some has already come back out to join eggs and salad for a boffo brunch.    When you’re making chili, e.g., do you brown the meat trimmings and add veggies to make a stock? Me too. Then usually strained, defatted and made it into gravy. But recently instead added into the chili. Turned out to be a tasty idea.

   On the Table 

Feature – Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie

For being so simple, this savory treat from Food Network is a supremely satisfying dish. Tater tots, which are already somewhat seasoned, make a tasty base for an easy combo of cheddar and bacon, later joined by sauce and chives.

You know what’s a big bonus? That sauce! And as a double down, you’re likely to have some left over to kick up other preps you creative CS-ers can imagine.

One thing, looking at FN’s rendition {link below} the light color of the sauce makes me think they pulled back on the Sriracha. Depending on your heat tolerance, might want to taste as you mix.

And an egg good is so good on here. But just take a look and you can see how it’s sort of a natural playmate for these particular ingredients.

And with eggs, what a great centerpiece for brunch, especially joined by guac, tomatoes and olives. But you sure don’t have to wait for Sunday.

Recipe Notes – After the tater tots are baked, the assembled dish needs to bake for only about 5 minutes.

Substitutions if needed – Thinly sliced green onion tops can stand in nicely for chives. Also, you could certainly consider other cheeses or a combo.

Next week – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, starting with store-bought cookie dough

Recipe  ♦  Tater Tot cookbooks on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make No-churn Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream? Oh my, with a title like that about all we need to do is add this recipe link. Maybe just note that both the peppermint and the chocolate make more than one appearance. From Food Network. Really sounds good.

Alexa says request: How do I make Mexican Cornbread Salad? This is nice, something like a 7-layer salad but as the title suggests with a decided south of the border accent. Colorful too! See it here from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: Play the cookie dough secret video  Well, this couldn’t be easier. Chill the dough – 30 min in the fridge or 15 in the freezer. It says the fat will melt more slowly in the oven and thus help prevent overspreading. As a bonus chilled dough is easier to handle, and sturdier for cut-out cookies. Left it in too long? Just let the bowl sit on the counter until the dough softens a bit.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play sleep and meditation sounds

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  CS Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson gives five stars to a recipe she passed along for a sambal sauce to be drizzled on cod, but as she and I noted it could be equally good on other fish, maybe even chicken. I’ve since made this sauce, and btw did use it on cod, and my palate and I 100% agree with her rating – sweet and spicy, tangy and tasty. You can see it right here on parade.com.

   How fun would this be for a sweet finish to cocktail hour? A cousin to last week’s tie dye cookies but this time it’s candy all the way as once again Trisha Yearwood shows us how to play with our food. White chocolate meets pastel wafers to create bark that’s an edible work of art. Melt x 5, spread, drizzle, swirl, then chill {both you and the confection}. Done!

   A pop quiz – when are ice cubes not cubes? When they’re spheres or hexagons or sticks. Or opt for classic cube shape but tiny or HUGE. Many trays are made of silicone or other easy release material and some come with lids. All right here on this Amazon page.

   Here’s a whole bunch of stuff we love tucked into one book. It’s Susan Spungen’s new work, “Open Kitchen,” a place, her site says, to “welcome company and enjoy togetherness.” It goes on to describe her entertaining approach as a “‘get-ahead’ cooking philosophy that ensures streamlined, stress-free preparation, so you can spend more time opening your kitchen to new menus, flavors, and guests–effortlessly.” Kindle and hardcover on Amazon.

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

                       

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

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 ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, Nov 20-Nov 26, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New! Another of our very own CS designs

Coffeehounds, this one’s for you. And if you’re a dog lover, it’s even more for you. Especially if you know the answer to this – “Who’s a Good Coffeehound???”

Crafted by CA-based Zazzle, it’s offered as a classic design, two tone, morphing, stein and travel mug.

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Whole lot of enhancements for the dining room table in this “30 Deliciously Easy Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides” story from MyRecipes    Have you noticed that the beef or chicken in some Asian dishes is not just tender but super soft? Yahoo Sports {?} explains it all in its story, “Velveting is the Chinese Technique That Takes Stir-Fries to the Next Level.” And yes, it is something you can try at home.    There a promise of being good and good for you tucked into this tale of “The Wellness Tea Concentrate to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season.” It actually does sound pretty tasty. Also from MyRecipes.

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Shopping Finds – Have you heard of Chef’s Gold? Quite interesting, made from prime beef tenderloin fat trimmings, formed into “bricks,” and dry aged along with the beef. This msn.com story calls it “the secret to adding serious flavor to any cut of meat,” later noting it can also transform mashed potatoes. There’s a link to the source but it’s incorrect – use this instead, Snake River Farms – the site does show the lock icon.    Hands up, who loves chocolate? You? Shout it from your shirt with our own “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate / then everything else” tee, with images of the title goodies tucked right into the letters. From Zazzle, with details on our CS food-themed tees page. You can also go all chocolate on our CS food-themed mugs page.

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Kitchen Talk – A great recipe source is most food product websites. And a nice perk is by definition the prep likely shortcuts the process with store-bought goods. I recently tapped into the Barilla site and found a nice minestrone with an unexpected ingredient – butternut squash. This Tomato & Basil Minestrone recipe starts with their pasta sauce of the same name.   So had some of the spinach puree left over from last week’s squash polenta casserole, and found a good home for it in a grilled cheese & tomato sandwich. A really good home.    NFG? Ehhhh? So heard this term on Fieri’s GGG, and don’t know if it has currency beyond this show but it stands for something worth thinking about – Non Functional Garnish. Meaning don’t plop on top something that doesn’t add to the dish, doesn’t go with the dish, or worst of all detracts from it.

   On the Table  

Feature – A surprising mix of ingredients, easy & sooooo good

This sweet potato casserole is one of my most crowd-pleasing recipes. The original is by a favorite chef, Nick Stellino, and the only major difference between my version and that one is that his is a souffle and mine isn’t, and then there are some minor variations in seasoning amounts.

My non-egg version is denser and needs to bake only until heated through. Those who favor a lighter touch will want to stay with the original.

Either way, an unexpected ingredient combo makes this a winning companion for ham, chicken, turkey – I even like it with a nice pork roast or even Mexican food. But the next time I make it, very tempted to add the topping from one of the recipes from the MyRecipes story above.

Below are links for all three . . .

Recipe Notes – if the thyme in the recipe isn’t to your taste, nutmeg is an interesting alternative.

Next week – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups {and sweet variations}

My version on our Recipe Page    The one from the MyRecipes story {above} with the topping  

Nick Stellino’s original    Stellino’s cookbooks

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make enchilada rice? Well, here we are right back on the Tasty site, where the recipe gets even better because the full title is “One Pot Enchilada Rice.” A quick glance at the ingredient list shows this is a fiesta in a pan. What doesn’t show in the print but does is the demo is ways to use it other than just on a plate, which is in a taco, wrapped in a tortilla and something I was already planning on, topped with a fried egg. Btw, cheese is listed as optional, hahahahaha, more likely doubled.

Alexa says request: How do you make a Twix Lovers Cake? So, this recipe from Food Network shows a wonderful cake, both in appearance and in the rich ingredients that start with a cake mix. It does call for making chocolate mousse, but if you’ve had satisfactory results with a mix or premade, that could be a worthy shortcut. It also calls for making ganache, which is actually quite easy. This cake is likely to be quite the crowd pleaser.

My request: What’s the best way to cook quinoa on the stove ? As a newbie I relied on the package directions but something didn’t seem clear. Thanks to Alexa, I now have a method that works great. Combine 1 part of well rinsed and drained quinoa with 2 parts water {or broth}. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed and the grains have curly tails. I like this visual check, don’t even have to worry about timing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play podcasts

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Get lit – twice. Friend Norene sent along an adorable mini-book titled Tequila Mockingbird, which in turn is adapted from a full size tome, “Tequila Mockingbird, Cocktails with a Literary Twist,” an Amazon best seller that loosely ties classic reads to cocktails with such related names as Rye and Punishment, Brave New Swirled, Frangelico and Zooey. Some spinoffs too on the same page. Of course I’m not really suggesting you get drunk because we know that can be painful. As these t-shirts, also on Amazon, say “One Tequila/Two Tequila/Three Tequila/Floor.”

♦  Look who we invited into the Salon. Alexa! This special visit, “downstairs” so to speak, is to ask her for cocktail snacks made with cheese. Here’s what she found. Baked Ham & Cheese Party Sandwiches {shown}   Filled Parmesan Baskets  ♦  Beer Cheese Pretzel & Dip Dip {includes recipe for pretzels which also incorporate beer and cheese and could be fun, but could certainly use store-bought}   Stuffed Artichoke Hearts   Jamie’s Baked Brie    Double Tomato Bruschetta. All from AllRecipes. Demos too!

   See, replicate, voila! – beautifully upgraded presentations on your table. Chef Pete Ghione has a remarkable talent for assembling dishes in ways that take colorful all the way to eye-poppingly artistic. Probably no reason you couldn’t make many of these pretty entrees and more seen here on his Instagram page.

   “What could be healthier than the food you love” – Marie Barone {Everybody Loves Raymond}

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     Zazzle                                       SunFrog

Looking for something in CS?

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Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce, Nov 13-Nov 19, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – What the heck happens to meat we put in the freezer, where’s the taste and texture we bought? This story, “The Game-Changing Trick That Makes Defrosted Meat Taste Better,” explains why it changes and how to fix it. Btw, as not a big fan of balsamic wondering if other vinegars might work. But if you’re happily in that camp go for it.    It’s not surprising that lots of veggies are more nutritious raw, but what may be? – 12 Surprising Vegetables That Become Healthier When They’re Cooked. We already knew this about tomatoes but some in this American Journal of Clinical Nutrition list on the Yahoo/Life site are kind of unexpected.    They’re becoming an ever bigger thing – hot cocoa bombs – cocoa and maybe more inside a chocolate shell that “explodes” in hot milk. What fun! You can let google show you how to make them, or buy them in stores or online including Amazon. and the same page has molds to make your own.

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Shopping Finds – Are you familiar with ghee” – butter slowly cooked to separate out the milk solids and yield a rich clear liquid that this Bon Appetit article calls butterscotchy but I’ve always thought of as nutty. The article covers uses and how to make your own, but also their recommendations about where to buy it.    I just LOVE these toaster oven pans. Seems so often what I had available was too small for the food or too big for the oven, but Goldilocks style, these are just right. Non-stick, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Prime eligible. And reasonable too! – at this writing $13.35 for the set, shows reg as $19.99.

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Kitchen Talk – So, I was watching the Food Network Show, Food Paradise, and a chef put a layer of bread stuffing on the chicken and vegetables in a pot pie before fitting it with the crust. That made me wonder, why not just use the stuffing as the crust, even better maybe on a turkey pot pie, or make the whole thing as a casserole.     May I say, no matter what else might be in your salad, a topping of crushed Doritos and hot sauce can kick it right into the exciting zone.    The squash recipes we featured in our 10.23.20 Salon, all from Food & Wine, drew me magnet style to one particular recipe, mostly because I dearly love butternut, here in an interesting merger with polenta {I used less}, sage and smoked cheese. Lots of the steps can be completed in advance, including any toppings, my choice being pureed spinach and seasoned tomato sauce. But I liked it best with just a bit of melted butter, and the next day. Be sure to read the recipe comments.

   On the Table  

Feature – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

I haven’t made this yet, and I don’t know at what point I will. But it looks like such a nice holiday dessert I wanted to share it now.

It comes from the Food Network host I mentioned previously, whose treasure of a show is Delicious Miss Brown. I just love about everything she makes, and pretty sure this will be no exception.

This cake is kind of a showstopper. One of those creations you almost don’t want to ruin by cutting into it.

But just start thinking about the graham cracker/brown sugar crust, the creamy filling {with a secret}, the buttery apple crumb layer, all topped with {store-bought, thank you Miss Brown} caramel sauce, and – hand me the knife.

{Photo and Recipe from the Food Network page}

Recipe notes – probably any caramel sauce would work nicely, but I really like the kind that comes in a tub, usually found in the produce section, but so rich and thick you may want to warm it slightly to make it more spoonable.

Recipe    Miss Brown’s show page on Food Network

Next week – My favorite sweet potato casserole, featuring some unexpected ingredients

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make an Oreo Roll Cake? Anything starting with 3 packs of Double Stuf Oreos cant be all bad – especially when chocolate frosting, butter and confectioners sugar also join the party. This is from another newly-discovered foodie site {thank you, Alexa}, Tastymade, which also folds in travel and home design. One thing that’s a little puzzling in the directions is solved in the demo which shows you use only about four pieces of the filling for the frozen part. It will all come clear on the Oreo Cake Roll recipe page.

Alexa says request: How do you make bread burgers? Well wasn’t sure quite what to expect here, maybe a stuffed dish. burgers on bread instead of buns, burgers with bread in them {other than just crumbs} ??? None of the above. Rather, Alexa delivered a couple of recipes that had bread in the title, the first one a burger with {Alexa!} bread and butter pickles. But the other one was a little truer to the promise and a tasty choice at that, Pepperoni Garlic Bread Cheeseburgers from the respected Serious Eats site. The “bread” is actually a bun but who cares when the assembly includes gussied up garlic butter and pepperoni turned into a sauce with, yep, more garlic.

Alexa says request: How do I make buttercup marshmallow s’mores ? So, am I the only one new to buttercup squash? Sounds like a delightful discovery, even more so with this unusual prep. Here’s the original recipe from Food Network Kitchen. Then may I be so brazen as to suggest my own likely version. Mix all of the cooked & scooped squash with the maple syrup, butter, cream cheese and salt {and maybe some ginger} and heat through. Scoop back into the shells, top with toasted marshmallows, shaved chocolate, graham cracker crumbs.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you a food joke {get your groan ready}

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Dressed to impress – not you, the hot dogs! CS-er, and displaced Chicagoan, BLV sends along this boffo find for other Windy City ex-pats and anyone who wants to make a delightful hot doggy discovery. Vienna® Chicago-Style Condment Kit, and that means yellow mustard, neon green relish, perky sport peppers and celery salt. Just add onions and the dogs {NO KETCHUP}. Pour beverages of choice, fill a bowl with chips, and what a fun evening of chat, games, or movies. It’s available online from Walmart {link above}.

 We’ve invited Chef Phillip Dell of Las Vegas into our Salon to talk about food, his bbq sauce, and indoor grills, and even share one of his rib recipes, and we’re honored he accepted. His resume features many impressive wins, not the least of which is Chopped Champion on Food Network.

  First of all, big congratulations on qualifying for the World Food Championships. Can you tell us a little about this competition?Every year the creators of the WFC (MMA Creative) put on qualifying events to create entry opportunities for foodies to win. In doing so, the winning competitor then secures a spot in the big show – The World Food Championships! It’s the pinnacle of what we like to call, food sport, the competition competitors all hope to not only compete in, but WIN! Competitors from all over the world come together to compete in one of ten categories, to take home at least a piece of over $100,000 in prizes and cash. They had to be canceled this year, and are now scheduled for November of 2021.   

  And what was that winning dish? It looks fabulous.
In this competition we were tasked to incorporate a La Lechonera marinade into our dishes. Since I love everything barbecue, I just knew I had to go that direction. Here is the description of the winning dish I entered in the Chef category – Mojo Costillas Cortas (magical short ribs – CAUTION! May cause mild to severe cravings!}.Rich and succulent beef short rib is nestled in soft, cheesy jalapeno grits and turns magical when topped with criollo bacon jam. It’s a fiesta for your taste buds.
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  And we also need to talk about your very own bbq sauce, Sweet Addiction
We are very excited to finally have our sauce available to everyone!  For years, people have asked where they could get my bbq sauce after tasting it on the famous – Original Pork Star! (as featured on Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats and Carnival Kings), finger-licking ribs or even drizzled over vegetables. Now it’s available! at both Premier Barbecue and Fire and BBQ Concepts in Las Vegas, and both are happy to ship it to you. In the very near future, we hope to offer it online. 
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  Here at CooksSalon we like dishes that are first and foremost comforting, satisfying, and fairly easy in terms of ingredients and techniques. Would you have a recipe like that you might share with us?
I for one find anything cooked outdoors to be comforting, especially ribs! You see, I have many childhood memories around ribs. They make my heart and taste-buds smile. I hope you will enjoy this recipe for Artisan Style Ribs as much as I do. Please note:  All recipes are just that- A recipe!  Change them as you feel fit. And, flavor profiles are very subjective, so use a seasoning that gives you all the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with comfort food. For me that could be my own concoctions, or a blend from companies like Oakridge BBQ Seasonings (Competition pork and beef) or Brantley Creek (you really must try the “pecan rub”).
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  Now turning from food to prep, it would be great to hear your take on indoor grills. Do they have a place in our kitchens, are there particular features we should look for?
The short answer is – YES! Not everyone can have a grill outdoors, so I say, get it where you can. A good ventilation system is always helpful, but you can still produce great food on an indoor grill nevertheless. I am a huge fan of gas-powered kitchen equipment, as they tend to have the most consistent cooking capabilities. However, electric is perfectly fine too. Just look for something that is heavy duty and has the highest btu output. This will help when it comes to heat retention and recovery.
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  Anything else you’d like to add?
I am blessed you asked me for this interview- Thank you!  I wear many hats, and they are ever changing. The easiest way to find out what’s cookin’  is to please follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date. I have also started a new Youtube channel – Chef Phillip Dell Presents where I hope to help share some of my many recipes.
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And thank you Chef

 “A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety” – The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

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Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Fennel & Peperonata, Nov 6-Nov 12, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Did you buy canned pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving? Wait! Indeed the pie is traditional, but just maybe you might like to take a look at these “21 Delicious Desserts That Start with a Can of Pumpkin” from MyRecipes. Cake, squares, bread, cookies, cupcakes, coffee cakes, pie variations including pumpkin mousse, and then a giant step sideways into fudge and candied nuts.    Well this tale from My Recipes starts out with dealing with lime-less guac and goes on to an interesting take on getting creative with citrus and other acidic components..     I wasn’t familiar with kirbiecravings.com, but it does show the lock icon and really has some pretty interesting stuff on the site. Among the recipes is an apple bread with no flour, butter or oil.

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Shopping Finds – In case you thought singing, dancing, acting, winning top awards and being an all-around nice person defined the limits of Dolly Parton’s talents – Nope! Williams-Sonoma adds “all-star baker” to her resume on their Dolly Parton Baking Collection page. You’ll find both baking accessories and pre-made items, all very pretty    Wear your passion. Visit my page right here on CS for t-shirts featuring coffee, chocolate, and ice cream – and the one that declares, “In this house I’M the celebrity chef.”

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Kitchen Talk – So, after featuring the chocolate ice cream bread last week, discovered I still had some slices of the previous incarnation, the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream bread {08.07.20 Salon} in the freezer that I wanted to use up. Remembering the friend who “French toasted” a waffle, yep, did the same with this bread. And what was so nice even before the butter and syrup, it had all the good flavors of the ice cream bread.    So I know I’m late to the “quinoa party,” but have been thinking about joining in ever since I saw the Mexican version {mine shown} in the Breakfast Bowls feature in our 07.31.20 Salon. Then found tri-color quinoa and that sealed the deal. Note that though the recipe site shows slices of tomato and avocado and hard cooked egg as toppers, and the directions call for dicing and mixing in, I opted for chopping & topping and a swirl of hot sauce.    Bacon jam! Order it from Amazon or make your own, and then spoon it onto a burger, baked potato, grilled cheese, or a cheese plate. I especially liked it on eggs. Some of the commenters said they gave jars of it as gifts. I actually combined a few different bacon jam recipes from those I found on google.

   On the Table  

Feature – Baked rigatoni with sausage, fennel, and peperonata – cheesy too! 

Isn’t it great when you find a tempting recipe not only on the way to something else but also in a rather unexpected place. In this case the source is Williams-Sonoma, whose site I was visiting to find more information on the Dolly Parton baking collection mentioned above in our Shopping Finds.

Of course they do sell food, it’s just that I usually think of them more in terms of cooking and serving rather than prepping. But lo and behold the emporium’s site has a whole lot of recipes.

This one is definitely going on my do list. Hard to resist a winning combo of Italian sausage, three kinds of peppers, two kinds of cheese, and a new fave, fennel.  CS friends, even if like me you really, really, don’t like its siblings licorice and anise, give fennel a try – when cooked, it takes on the most wonderful flavor and texture.

Now one thing to note – the recipe calls for “prepared tomato sauce” which my best guess is just simply canned sauce. Amidst top ratings in the comments there’s a lesser one that refers to the sauce as bland, and I think I would probably have the same reaction. So, along with so much else good going on here, surely if we want we can add some seasonings, or use flavored tomato sauce or pasta sauce.

{Photo from Williams-Sonoma recipe page}

Next week – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Recipe    Williams-Sonoma recipe page    Williams-Sonoma cookbooks on Amazon

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make almond butter cups? Oh my, could this rival peanut butter cups? The actual recipe is titled Giant Homemade Almond Butter Cups, and AllRecipes says its prep is the “perfect combination of bitter, sweet and healthy.” And pretty darn easy too, just pouring melted chocolate into lined muffin cups, then balls of almond butter mixed with confectioners sugar, more chocolate, let sit on the counter, done!

Alexa says request: How do you make chicken parmesan roll ups? Now here’s something interesting that can happen with an Alexa request. If you follow a recipe to its source on your computer, maybe even just to print it, you could well come upon an alternative that you like even better. And I did! Now to be fair the original options were just fine, and I have absolutely nothing against the vegetables they included, but I wanted a dish truer to the classic and I sure found it in Chicken Parmesan Rollatini at Food Network Kitchen.

My request: Alexa, give me a cooking tip. She replies with “How to Cook for Just Yourself,”, something that may be exactly what’s going on right now. Among other points, it lists as a perk that you can always make meals that you, you, enjoy. It goes on to cover shopping, prepping, and storing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you what well known people have birthdays today – say Alexa, what’s the birthday roundup?

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, food, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Found this on the way to something else too – Chocolate Party Pie. Cook and stir 3 3/4 oz chocolate fudge pudding mix, 2 c milk, 2 T packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa & a slightly beaten egg in a saucepan on med heat until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat & blend in 2 T butter. Cool 5 min stirring twice. Pour into 8″ baked & cooled pie shell. Chill. Top with whipped cream. Easy pie-sy.

   I’ve previously mentioned how much I love Tajin, salty and spicy and citrusy, so good sprinkled on steak, eggs, raw veggies, corn on the cob, tacos, etc, etc, etc. Now I’ve discovered how perfect it is as the rimmer for a bloody mary. Doesn’t hurt to stir some in too! My market carries Tajin but if yours doesn’t and you want to try it Amazon does have it. {So, in the process of finding the link for you also discovered they have Tajin-flavored snacks}.

   Ha, found it! And not surprisingly, it was YouTube that served up this demo for making ginger syrup. What was a surprise is the connection to cocktails. I did gasp a bit when he threw out the strained ginger. Yikes, it probably wouldn’t have the strength of the original, but surely could be used in any recipe calling for ginger, just use more and that would be no problem as the recipe yielded at least a 1 1/2 cups of the stuff. As noted in a previous Salon, if you prefer pre-made you can find it at Amazon.

   “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

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Ree’s hearty Steak Pizzaiolo, Oct 16-Oct 22, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Well, how welcome is this??? 20 Make-Ahead-and-Freeze Breakfast Ideas for Easier Mornings, from MyRecipes. And not just easier, good! Which is to say, pb&j  stuffed pancakes, nuts and berries baked oatmeal, sausage/gravy/egg sandwiches, other sandwiches, mini quiches & cups, even a breakfast burrito. Slide show or scroll down on site.    I just love the Irish Central newsletter, not only for the connection to the Irish sector of my ancestry but also related current news & historical tales – and recipes! Like this one for Irish Cheesecake made with Irish cream on a shortbread crust.   Preps for the times, 50 Recipes That’ll Help Boost Your Natural Immunity.”  From MyRecipes.

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Shopping Finds – You know, lots of people order cheese boxes and baskets as gift, and btw always a nice idea, but did you ever think about ordering one for yourself. Some are relatively inexpensive and deliver a nice variety of tastes and textures. And some of the combos replace some of the cheese with, e.g., crackers, sausages and jarred items that have a longer shelf life. There’s a huge selection on Amazon and you can narrow your search to find one that’s just right.    Last week we mentioned that primo baking source Prepared Pantry. This week we learned in their newsletter that the world’s most popular dessert is Sticky Toffee Pudding, and yep, they have a mix for it.

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Kitchen Talk – Quick, easy, really good – is that a winning trio or what. Talking bacon croutons, good hot from the oven, right out of the fridge or gently reheated, and shown here adding some crunchy magic to veggie salad and potato soup. In the linked Food Network recipe the croutons actually top a smooth sweet potato parsnip soup.     I’ve long used parsley or cilantro as pretty and flavorful garnishes. But lately I’ve started mixing a whole lot more right into salads and just love the fresh green taste the seems to perk up everything else.

   On the Table  

Feature – Steak Pizzaiola, and what’s so interesting about this Italian dish

I had never made this before so had to do a little checking to discover that in fact sweet and hot peppers are actually pretty traditional in this dish. Ree Drummond achieves that nicely with roasted red peppers and sliced pepperoncini.

The sauce hits all the Italian notes with garlic, onion, tomato, seasonings, and then in go the peppers. To top it off, literally, parsley and parm.

Btw, if you can’t find steak these days, or you like your fine cuts on their own, can’t see any problem with substituting any other beef cooked to tenderness. Guessing you probably have more than one favorite prep.

Ree’s Steak Pizzaiola recipe on the Food Network site    Her books on Amazon

Recipe Notes – The suggested accompaniment is ciabatta  bread and a good idea that is. But may I also suggest that if you have both left over, a darn good sandwich is in your immediate future.

Substitutions if needed – see above about replacing steak

Next week – Bobby Flay’s bacon/hash brown quesadilla with salsa and fried egg

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

So pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How to make Italian pot pie   Even though that was a topic that popped up on the screen some time back, requesting it now didn’t bring up anything that was exactly that. But among the tempting preps it did return was one for World’s Best Lasagna and yikes from the pic it has an excellent chance of living up to its billing especially since, and OK this is a personal preference, it looks nice and saucy unlike so many other versions.

Alexa says request: how to make marshmallow cake  Well there’s lot of good stuff here including super marshmallowy cheesecake, and another that uses the mallows as building blocks for an igloo. But our choice is one that balances the sweetness of marshmallows with the tartness of lemon curd, the Lemon Marshmallow Cake from The Kitchn.  And in honor of the coming holiday we’re going to link one more, the Marshmallow Web Ghost Cake from Food Network Kitchen, includes demo.

Alexa says request: What’s the best coffeemaker  Alexa taps into Consumer Reports for this one, identifying the Cuisinart model in the “drip”category. Here’s a page of them on Amazon. But on the Amazon best sellers page, after a cold brew machine in the top spot, it’s Mr Coffee who takes the honors at #2 and #3. And then if you search coffee makers, 4 stars and up, on the site some other guys come up.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you something “weird” {maybe on Oct 31 !}

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

And as we say below – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Perfect Salon buzz because we kitchen folks love this kind of stuff. You’ll find a super simple soy sauce trick, pre-flavoring pasta, expanding oj’s resume, unexpected lemon boost, a sweet baking trick, and one I’ll be using which is olive juice as a flavoring agent. From the Buzzfeed site, “18 Cooking Hacks That’ll Make You Say ‘How Come Nobody Told Me This Earlier?'”  – contributed by BLV

   Not everyone may want a cocktail. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy something special, nor does it mean you have to assemble a non-alcoholic punch or spend time prepping individual beverages. Nope, instead you could put out some fun and festive “designer” sodas, and leave it to Amazon to offer quite a collection.

  On the Departures site, 10 Cocktails to Drink This Fall “to keep yourself warm.” Here you’ll find such add-ins as grapefruit-cinnamon syrup, long pepper tincture, pumpkin-infused vermouth, brown sugar syrup, spiced honey, and maple syrup.

   So, a skeleton walks into a bar and says, Gimme a glass of water and a mop

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

     Zazzle                                       SunFrog

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

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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