No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Jan 22-Jan 28, 2021

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Quick Bites – What’s better than a celebrity chef recipe for cornbread? Five celeb chef recipes for cornbread. What’s even better yet? Someone on insider.com willing to test all five, take us through each process, and give us the results. You have to search a bit, but there are links in each description that will send you to the recipe.    A slide show from USA Today lifted the curtain on how pickle juice can elevate fried chicken, calling it a magical combination. Quite intriguing, but didn’t say exactly say how to go about that {amount, timing, other ingredients}. But AllRecipes does with its Pickle Brine Chicken recipe.    Thinking ginger root must have hired a pr agent since I’m seeing more and more about its health benefits and flavor perks. Food & Wine brings us no fewer than 29 ginger recipes in this slide show {or scroll for full list}, including an intriguing one for ginger-roasted acorn squash that adds greens for a very pretty platter. {Hey, could put these three together for a mighty fine dinner}

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Shopping Finds – Did you know this? Panera Bread offers a decent variety of pantry items for contactless delivery or curbside ordering or pickup. See the details.     And did you know about this kitchen tool? You hold it kind of like a knife, run it over certain fruits or vegetables or even pastry or say slices of Swiss cheese for salad and end up with perfect uniform shreds. Many variations here on Amazon, all quite reasonably priced.

Also, CS Designed, Zazzle-crafted“I’m Being Trained by a Sweetie I Adopted from the Shelter” – see MUG on Zazzle page, TEE on Zazzle page OR preview BOTH here on CS page

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Kitchen Talk – All my previous ice cream breads have to move over, because there’s a new fave in this kitchen. Peppermint! Yes, peppermint stick ice cream bread, a semi-sweet treat that just dances in the mouth. See the original recipe in our 07.17.20 Salon, and remember, just three ingredients. Could be quite nice on the Valentine’s table.    Hot news! Yahoo Life reports that research presented at the recent AMA Scientific Sessions cited a wide-ranging chile pepper study that shows consuming these palate igniters could be instrumental in avoiding major diseases and increasing lifespan. The favorite spicy cookbook in this kitchen is The Fiery Cuisines, 5 stars on Amazon and notable for balancing flavor and heat in dishes from across the food groups and around the world.

   On the Table 

Feature – No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This might border on illegal {if so, blame Tasty.co & Alexa}. Or at least something you might not want to mention to your dentist.

Rich cheesecake goes a big step richer with melted chocolate chips blended in. Then cozies up to a thick layer of peanut butter that’s gone all sweet with powdered sugar.

Would certainly be good as is. But looked sort of plain, so melted another 1/4 cup of chips to drizzle overall.

While a number of desserts taste better after sitting out of the fridge for a while, this is best nice and chilled. Probably don’t need to add that small slices will suffice.

So, just for the heck of it thought I would see if Amazon offers a ready-made chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and yep they do, and quite showy but also quite pricey. What you might find surprising though are the other choc/pb items on the page including even coffee.

Recipe Notes – I cut this recipe in half and made it in a deep dish pie plate. It calls for just chocolate chips, but I opted for semi sweet and wondering if even bittersweet might work. Also, ran both layers through the food processor so they would turn out silky smooth. Note that it needs fridge time in the process and afterward.

Next week – Loaded Mashed Potato Cups, 3 ways, all fun

Recipe  ♦  Chocolate peanut butter goodies 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 tater tot breakfast pizza? Tater tots + egg = a crispy, tasty crust, especially if you heed some of the commenters who seasoned both the potatoes and the eggs. Then, the toppings, yum. Two cheeses, bacon, the eggs, pepper, not in the list but looks like parsley in the demo, and then avocados. Check other comments too for different topping suggestions. However it came together, these folks love this recipe from Tasty.

Alexa says request: How do you make cinnamon roll pancakes? AllRecipes wins this delectable derby with their 4 1/2 star recipe. Let the description on the page tell the rest of the story – “Sweet and delicious buttermilk pancakes with a butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon swirl filling. These are great any time of the day and less time consuming than making real cinnamon rolls!” Wow, add the above prep and we’re talking a 5-star brunch.

My request: Most of the time Alexa is quite amazing in putting together the parts of your request to deliver exactly what you’re looking for. In this case though, it took some “negotiating.” What I really wanted was a 5-star recipe for New Orleans style barbecued shrimp which as you all know is a whole different category of bbq. After trying this and that I finally decided to name drop and asked for a barbecued shrimp recipe by Emeril. Voop up it came and Voila! 5 stars. On Food Network and actually called Emerilized Barbecued Shrimp, it has more ingredients than maybe most others but oh my each one just layers on more flavor.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play dinner party music, such as classic jazz or classic rock

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

♦  Well look who dropped down out of her room. Alexa! That’s because she popped up some party food on her screen. S’Mores Popcorn. It comes to us from Giada on Food Network, and indeed has all the right stuff. You’ll see that she gives it a bit of a Valentine’s look, and woohoo it starts with store-bought popped corn.

  Well I’d say definitely soothing, but Food & Wine goes all in and declares, “Hot Cocktails Are Like Heating Lamps for the Soul,” and then goes on to describe some toddy siblings found in restaurants around the country. And fear not, there’s a link to another F&W story with actual recipes.

   Here’s how Ashe Cayne in “The Unspoken” dresses up a charcuterie plate: cured meats, hard and soft cheeses, olives, grilled artichoke hearts, pepper & fig spread, bruschetta, crackers, fresh & dried fruit, strawberry jam. There are just a couple of pages in this Amazon 4-star book where you wouldn’t want to be eating at the time, but it’s otherwise a relentlessly unfolding mystery in the toughened hands of Cayne, a Shakespeare-quoting, Food Network-watching Chicago detective, hard boiled and soft boiled. Here’s my recent plateful.

  Heard on Food Paradise, Food Network, “You season both sides because you eat both sides.” Kind of a cousin to Emeril’s oft-said “I hate one-sided tasting food.”

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Favorite Recipes from CS 2020, Jan 8-Jan 14, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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To see the full details for each dish, including recipe, context, recipe notes and any relevant substitutions click the opening link with the date – to see the recipe only click the closing link

07.17.20, Food Tips for Our Times  Fruit Pizza There’s a good chance there might be some extra fruit, fresh and canned, in the house these days, after stocking up for baking, dressing up a holiday table, received as gifts. A fun and colorful way to put it to good use is a fruit pizza. And at the same time show off your artistic skills! Just layer different colors of fruit and jam on a baked pizza crust spread with soft cream cheese and voila! a work of art. And so pretty! Here are some other suggestions for fruit pizzas that google found.

05.13.20, Featured Recipe  Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan  Just looking at the name tells you it’s a pretty good bet it tastes pretty darn good. And it does! This chicken pepperoni parm is already a plate of flavor. But in fact I did add some Italian seasonings to the tomato sauce or you could certainly use a jarred marinara. I also sautéed the chicken as is in butter/olive oil instead of breading it. Add crusty bread and a green salad and it’s done and yum. More good news – it all bakes on a sheet pan.  Recipe 

04.03.20, My Week  “Potato Snow”  What a fun and festive way to play with taters. See the pic? – that’s “potato snow,” and oh so easy too! Per the recipe, simply push boiled, peeled, towel-dried potatoes through a coarse sieve with a wooden spoon letting them “pile high into a snowy mountain slope.” Or do that several times to make a “range.” Another recipe I found {on an unsecured site}, suggested adding onion salt and garlic salt to the cooking water rather than trying to mix it in afterward. The prep I used is from The Secret Garden Cookbook.

10.23.20, Featured Recipe  Bobby Flay’s Cheesy Bacon & Tater Quesadilla  This is a perfect example of Chef Flay’s passionate take on southwest cuisine. The title foodstuffs join onion and peppers in a tasty tortilla stack, topped with a nice fried egg, fresh tomato salsa, and chopped chives. A perfect way to start the day. Especially a day with a late and lazy start. Bloody Marys anyone? The recipe is on the Food Network site.  Recipe

07.17.20, Featured Recipe  Ice Cream Bread  Wow, the unique flavor of ice cream right in your bread? And just 3 ingredients. In the original sojourn I used French vanilla, then played with some variations. The result is sweeter than bread, less sweet than cake, with a texture kind of between French bread and pound cake. Those subsequent variations  – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough {08.07.20}, Chocolate Brownie {10.30.20} Each good as is, but also happily welcome toppings.

10.02.20, Featured Recipe  Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburgers  This is one satisfying plateful, a happy gathering of onion, tomato, pickle, bacon, burgers, buns, plus a condiment mashup, and savory cheese sauce. And this is nice. Lots of the elements can be prepped in advance. To make life even easier, use store-bought burgers if there are some you like, and fill out the plate with deli-supplied or pantry & fridge ready side dishes. Might also like to take a look at these google-found alternatives for burger sauces.

06.19.20, Featured Recipe  Bacon Peanut Butter Corn Muffins  One bite and you’ll see why these goodies took a top award in a Taste of Home contest. Yowza are they good. And happily the come together with ingredients likely already in residence in your pantry and fridge. Great as is for breakfast. Or with the caramel ice cream topping, Poof! Dessert! Or go all in for dessert with the suggested alternate of chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. And you know what, thinking this topping would be just as happy on a regular pan of cornbread or even pancakes, French toast, regular toast. Recipe 

11.20.20, Cocktail Hour Buzz  Baked Mini Ham & Cheese Sandwiches  This hearty snack actually was part of a reply when we invited “Alexa” into CHB and asked her for cocktail snacks made with cheese. These minis sounded so good, and then tasted as good as they sounded. Pretty easy too. One of the others that’s now high up on our to-make list is the Filled Parmesan Baskets, and then maybe the Stuffed Artichoke Hearts. If you would like to see the other snacks and their recipe links, just click on the 11.20.20 above. All are from AllRecipes, and there’s demos too. Recipe

09.18.20, Featured Recipe  Cheese Ravioli Soup  A big bowl of good, and thank you Taste of Home. Despite the long-ish ingredient list, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. 1} brown the ground beef, then add the sauce ingredients. 2} cook the ravioli, combine with the sauce and heat through. 3} stir in parm, top with parsley. Done! So what brought its rating down to 3 1/2 stars. Not the flavors. Nope, instead critics said it was more like an entree than soup – and we couldn’t agree more! Thick, hearty and satisfying.  Recipe 

10.09.20, Featured Recipe  Nanaimo Bars {and “Plan B”}  For at least seven decades these rich bars have been on celebratory tables in Canada. Rich, yeah! A chocolately, nutty, graham cracker crust, topped with amped up butter cream frosting, topped with a kind of ganache where the cream is replaced by butter. Indulgent! Even so, I played with an alternate, “NaNaNo Bars,” – a bit less complicated, a bit less crumbly, and a bit less sweet, maybe more creamy. You can see details of this version if you want in the 10.09.20 Salon. Recipe

Our Featured Recipe when we return to regular Salons Jan 11: a full of flavor tamale makeover

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Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups {etc!}, Nov 27-Dec 3, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

One of our own CS items, crafted by Zazzle

In a party mood? Even if it’s just hanging with the householders, you can still dress the part with CS’ very own Party Party Party {then everything else} tee. Images of party parts tucked right into the letters – balloons, beverages, music. Choose from different styles, sizes & colors, or in a nice mug also various colors & styles. On Zazzle page see delivery date to the right under pic.

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – I’ve definitely upped my French fry intake since reading that they’re a regular part of Betty White’s diet. And while I’m fine with then as is, there are some intriguing ideas in the Chelsea Davis story, “I tried 10 ways to make frozen fries better, and there are 9 hacks I’d definitely do again,”  on insider.com via google news. You’ll find seasonings, toppings and cooking techniques.   Food & Wine checks in with Recipes for Two, and start to finish they do look quite satisfying, with a nice spectrum of pasta, vegetable entrees, seafood, steak & other meat, and a”supersilky” no-bake chocolate custard.    Wait! Don’t throw out that muffin pan just yet. This tip, also from F&W, may salvage it. See the step-by-steps at “How to clean grimy muffin pans the easy way.” Could this also work with regular baking pans?

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Shopping Finds – Here’s a timely present for yourself or any food lovers. These cook-friendly calendars on Amazon feature all kinds of edibles, drinkables, and interests. Just some examples – fruits & veggies, herbs, cupcakes, baking, coffee, cocktails, and the chocolate one shown.    Know anybody that needs to keep bandaids in the kitchen? This could be just the solution. Finger guards! Fingies hide behind the metal barrier as the knife goes to work. I’m wondering if it could also help in creating more uniform slices.

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Kitchen Talk – So now, armed with a good cooking method for quinoa {in Alexa section, 11.20.20 Salon}, I’m reaching beyond the Mex bowl {11.06.20 Salon} to another savory app, using it as a substitute for rice in a now inaptly named “fried rice.” But here’s what’s nice about quinoa – it’s every bit at home in sweet versions. And here’s one little kids, big kids, really big kids, just may like – for each cup of cooked quinoa, 1 T ea {or more to taste} peanut butter and jelly. Here I used apricot preserves and topped it all with swirls of syrup and chopped peanuts.

   On the Table  

Feature – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups – and tasty variations 

I don’t necessarily make the recipes from “Alexa’s room.” But in this case . . . resistance was futile. We first mentioned this confection from AllRecipes in our 11.06.20 Salon.

They’re a take off on the Reese’s classic, but made in muffin cup liners, and with almond butter. You could put them in an actual muffin tin but since it helps to give them a little room to spread out a little I arranged them in a baking pan.

The recipe calls for dark chocolate chips {I used 60%}. You may be tempted to go with a sweeter chip, but this really is a good foil for the richness of the filling.

One change I did make for the second batch was to melt the entire 12 oz bag. So, those variations . . .

First it’s very easy to cut down the almond butter recipe to use it in just four of the cups. The others? As shown here, along with the almond butter, marshmallow cream just as it comes from the jar, and hazelnut spread mixed with powdered sugar as for the almond butter.

Recipe Notes – maybe my house is too warm, but these really didn’t fully set up until I refrigerated them {and btw, according to the label almond butter needs to be in the fridge}. It is a good idea to let them sit out a while before serving. As long as you can stand the wait, anyway.

Next week – Our fave cook-loving gifts from 2020

Recipe

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 I make Come ‘ere Puddin’ Pie? OK, when Alexa pops a recipe like this up on the screen you sorta just have to have a look. Turns of the more formal name is Chocolate-Ginger Pudding Pie, and it tucks in the title ingredients twice. First, chocolate wafers and ginger snaps in the crust. Then, bittersweet chocolate and – this is interesting – candied ginger joining cream, powdered sugar and more in the filling. It’s the creation of celeb chef Aarti Sequeira on the Food Network site.

Alexa says request: How do I make curried chicken & apple wraps? Food Network steps forward with another celeb chef for this recipe. Credit Giada for a mix that goes so far beyond chicken and apples it could threaten flavor overload {that’s a good thing}. Think mango, raisins, goat cheese, hot sauce – ahhhh, maybe you’d just like to take a look.

My request: Alexa, what spices go well with sweet potatoes? So, thinking the sweet potato casserole in last week’s Salon {11.20.20} would be good for Christmas too. One thing I had mentioned in the recipe notes is that if you think you might not like the thyme specified in the prep you might substitute nutmeg. But then just thought I’d see what Alexa thought and she replied, in addition to nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or baking spice, the latter being kind of an interesting possibility.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you the time or temp in locations around the world

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

   Oh, what a joy it is to bring into the Salon for you some fine words from celebrated chef Daniel Boulud, one of my top faves of the chefs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. This interview comes to us from epicurious, and the impetus for it is Boulud’s new book, “Daniel: My French Cuisine”, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. In the interview he notes that while his other cookbooks made French cuisine quite approachable, this one is more complicated, then revealing how we can actually have fun with serious recipes. Paraphrasing my favorite takeaway, Just cook, don’t worry how wrong or right you are. I have his “Chef Daniel Boulud, Cooking in New York City” which I love, and here is a full list of his books on Amazon.

  Highlight, print, and save for Jan 1. The beauty of these 23 Best Hangover Foods, is that for the most part they are indeed foods, not drink concoctions or say exercises that are the last thing in the world you feel like doing. Even better, they’re likely already on hand, in your household. Neener, neener New Year’s Eve excesses! From Healthline.

   Let’s hear it for Science – and red wine! Victor Marchione on the LifeHack site {shows lock icon} headlines his tale about a new study as follows – “A glass of red wine can replace 1 hour of exercising.” Did I just hear some early New Year’s resolutions going back to the drawing board? Read all about it. Sent to CS by BLV.

♦  “Your recipes are incredible” – Linda Faso, Las Vegas. Well thank you so much and what a nice way to end our last regular Salon until next year. Happy cooking, Linda!

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

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

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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?

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

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A Classic Canadian Sweet Treat, no-bake, Oct 9-Oct 15, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

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Quick Bites – Salad greens, so crisp and fresh . . . until they aren’t. Why do they insist on racing ahead of other produce to go bad? Well, MyRecipes has some insights in that regard, and not only the “why” but also Exactly How to Store Salad Greens Until You Need Them. Salad saved.    That same post has an instructive article on when to use a food processor, when to use a blender, and when to just work by hand. See it here   CleanPlates is offering a free 10 day Wellness Tune-up, based on the belief that “most of the time, a few small tweaks to your routine, diet, or self-care is enough to make a difference in how you feel every day.” The link takes you to their site rather than the offer so you can check out the context.

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Shopping Finds – Have you discovered the Prepared Pantry? It sells all kinds of stuff to make your baking life easier but also routinely posts recipes and great tips.    So, I saw a reference on F&W’s Today’s Fresh Finds post about Amazon delivering fresh plants, and with the Chicago CS-er’s tip about rosemary in our 09.25.20 Salon still fresh in mind, started wondering if Amazon offers herb plants. They do, but the reviews were pretty dismal. The good news is there are bunches of herb starter kits that come with just about everything but a gardener.

{shown, the “paint & plant” pizza herb growing kit, clickable}

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Kitchen Talk – Did have some leftover cheese/condiment sauce from last week’s featured burgers, and the first re-purposing found it in a skillet with mac, a bit of cream, cooked shrimp, chopped almonds and parsley {shown}. For the rest I reached back through the decades for a impromptu version of a dish called Welsh rarebit, melty on toast with a sprinkling of crisp bacon. Sliced tomatoes good with this.    And that piqued my curiosity about the rarebit, so right to one of the favorite books in my library, Diner’s Dictionary, and it did not disappoint. Turns out it was originally called Welsh rabbit though it it did not originate in Wales and the latter was never in the dish. While it always starts with toast and melted cheese, ethnic variations may see other ingredients mixed with the cheese and various topping. Our version here with bacon and green onion would be a kind of Irish/Yorkshire mashup.    Have you looked at your rice cooker manual lately? No? So I came across mine in the process of looking for a different manual, and paging through it reminded me of the other uses it has, reheating rice, steaming veggies, et al.

 On the Table

From the title did you know what they are? – Nanaimo Bars!

These rich bars {according to google, say nuh NYE mo} are sure to be on the table at pretty much any holiday celebration or other traditional get-togethers in Canada. And it’s been ever thus for over seven decades. It has a rather colorful history on Wikipedia which is linked below.

And rich, oh yeah. {As shown, right} a chocolately, nutty, graham cracker crust, topped with amped up butter cream frosting, topped with a kind of ganache where the cream is replaced by butter. Indulgent!

Even so, I started thinking I would like those same flavors in a bar that was a bit less complicated, a bit less crumbly, and a bit less sweet, maybe more creamy. By the time I got through tweaking, ahhhh, we were looking at somewhat more than six degrees of separation from the original.

Say hello to – “NaNaNo” bars. Here’s {left} my version . . .

Bottom layer – 1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs, 5 T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 c chopped almonds, 1 stick melted butter, combined and pressed into an 8×11 pan lined with parchment paper {see Notes}.

Middle layer – 1/2 stick room temp butter, 2 T coconut milk {or half & half}, 2 T coconut pudding powder, 1 c confectioners sugar, blended smooth in a food processor, spread over crust {see Notes}.

Top layer – 2 T butter and 2/3 c bittersweet chocolate, chips or chunks, nuked, whisked, and cooled for 2 min, poured over, smoothed out. Cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile the original recipe I used, from Food Network, is linked below.

Original recipe    Other recipes on Google    Nanaimo Bars on Wikipedia

Recipe Notes – in the linked recipe: custard powder = pudding mix, and icing sugar = confectioners sugar. If you chill the crust it will be a little easier to spread the creamed layer, but if you don’t and a few crumbs pop through, no biggie, just creates a bit of a marble effect. While these are good right out of the fridge, let them sit out a while and they are transformed.

And a hint – while parchment paper is our friend when removing goodies from the pan, not so much when we’re first putting stuff in, instead sitting up high as if trying to survey the kitchen. So, just leave it in the that position, curved side up, and start piling the mixture into the middle and gradually flattening it out. Then hold the paper tight to the side of the pan closest to you and push the mixture into the far side and corners, then reverse and, hooray, all done.

Next week – Steak pizzaiola, where tender beef goes Italian in a big, robust way

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 sandwich skewers:  We chose to link the chicken and bacon shish kabobs, where the title ingredients share the perch with mushrooms and pineapple, and a sweet and sour green onion marinade is promoted to basting sauce. Yummers. From AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: how to make taco meatballs: They had us at cheese-stuffed. The Tasty site pulls all the right tastes into these cheese-stuffed taco meatballs, with taco chips for a corn vibe and taco-compatible jack cheese for the melty center. Salsa, sour cream, and cilantro top it all off.

My request, Alexa do you have recipes for vegetarian lasagna? Yikes, 25 come to the screen. But one of the 5-stars comes from a site new to me, SideChef. New to you or not? Proprietarily called, Vegetarian Lasagna, it uses tofu and cottage cheeses instead of ricotta but after that goes on quite the flavor spree and certainly doesn’t stint on the cheese working in three more kinds.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – ask you entertainment trivia

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.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

Cocktail Hour Buzz

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

  Friend Norene from the Midwest calls our attention to the growing trend of ghost kitchens, facilities professionally decked out like those in full service restaurants but offering delivery only. And now even national chains are dipping into this concept, including a couple in her area – and maybe in yours.

 In our 02.18.19 Salon, we talked about making garlic croutons to use up rye bread. Subsequently in our 03.15.19 Salon, we mentioned a few more uses for these tidbits including as a “cocktail companion,” and a new batch I just made served this very purpose . . . and very well!

  Letters, we get . . . uh, emails} “Years ago at a party I had a wonderfully light cocktail called a Butterfly. The only thing I recall is that it had two kinds of vermouth and was kind of fruity. But when I try t find it online, all the options that come up call for grapes and I know there were no grapes. I’m wondering if it could be in the Playboy book {09.04.20} you mentioned a couple of weeks back.” – Joanna T, Seattle

  You’re in luck  or at least I think you are. The book shows a recipe for a Butterfly cocktail made from 1 1/2 oz dry vermouth, 3/4 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz Red Dubonnet and 1/2 oz orange juice. “Shake everything well with ice. These Halloween traditions all have Irish originsStrain over rocks in prechilled old-fashioned glass.” And it does call this drink “extremely light.” Cheers!

  Planning a family night on Halloween? Turn off the lights, turn on a single flashlight, and creep each other out with these Irish tales about Oct 31 which the Celts called Samhain and believed it was when the veil is thinnest between this world and the otherworld. IrishCentral {source of the photo} tells all in Ancient Irish Myths That Invoke the Spirit of Samhain. Beverage of choice – maybe Bloody Marys?

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Cobbler – Peach, Pecan & a Touch of Caramel, Sept 25-Oct 1, 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

Alexa has been promoted! Now find her every week right here on the main Salon page

   Let’s Chat   

Quick Bites – Is your muffin tin phoning it in, just showing up for . . . muffins??? Let Food & Wine expand its job description with these 10 Spectacular Non-Muffin Recipes to Make in Your Muffin Tin. You can run the slide show or just scroll down on their page to find crustless quiche bites, mini black bottom cheesecakes, open face egg and ham sandwiches, maple-bacon popovers, brownie bites and the rest    Takeout is a nice indulgence, but if it’s a little more prevalent these days you might want to take a look at this nutritionist’s take on making your order a bit healthier with these 7 Simple Swaps on the Clean Plates site.     Indulgence meets healthy in this Cheeseburger Salad from MyRecipes.

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Shopping Finds – I don’t know about you but it seemed I never had enough spatulas . . . until I found this festive set. Plus a food brush! Right now the 7-pc spatula set is $8.99, Prime eligible, 5 stars, and an “Amazon’s Choice.”    Want to decorate the kitchen for Halloween? And to cite the spirit of the Salon – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you – Amazon’s got you covered.    If you’re having trouble finding bouillon powder, as I have, you might try the jarred bases which I have found at the grocery store – have to be careful of the saltiness but quite the flavor whammy.

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Kitchen Talk – So, I finally took a look at the necktag that was on the ginger syrup {09.18.20 Salon}, and in   addition to a recipe for seasoned ginger party nuts, even more uses – ice cream, baked chicken, oatmeal {always like some help in that bowl}, yogurt parfait, chocolate cake, even cocktails . . . and roasted carrots to which I added a bit of butter, and mmm-mmm.    If you’re avoiding gluten, have I got a recipe for you. The title, Flourless Oat Banana Muffins, doesn’t do it justice given its flavor boosters of peanut butter, honey, spices and chocolate chips. Actually even better the next day.

      On the Table 

Peach cobbler – five ingredients – tons of yum

As this week’s title tells you, the peach filling has some company in the pan. Pecans for crunch, bits for extra richness.

About the bits. The recipe calls for toffee but once I spotted caramel chips, a substitution was immediately in play.

And this tasty dish couldn’t be easier. Layer, sprinkle x 2, stir briefly, sprinkle x 3. Ready to bake.

About the baking. This prep is actually designed for campfire cooking, buried in hot coals. It bakes in a parchment-lined Dutch Oven.

No problem. I used a 9 x 13 pan treated with baking spray. Then based on other cobbler recipes, baked at 350 for 50 minutes covered. Checking if it’s done all the way through can be dicey since the tester will be going through the fruit too. If you’re not sure, remove a scoop of the cobbler and use the tester on some of the cake that’s fallen to the bottom.

Recipe Notes – You could certainly still use parchment paper if you wanted. I think next time I would skip the brief stir, maybe instead just using the back of a spoon to press down a little bit of the cake mix. Sweetness is front and center here so if too much add a dollop of sour cream.

Next week – Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburger, savory sauce under and over

Recipe on the AllRecipes site    Cobbler 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.

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 do you make a French omelette? Of the four that immediately pop up on the screen, we’re going to link to Chef John’s prep on AllRecipes because he is more detailed on what makes it an authentic French omelette, also shunning extra ingredients because as he says, it’s “just eggs and butter, no filling . . . 10% ingredients, 90% technique.” Demo too.

Alexa says request: How do you make banana bread cake? But the option from Food Network Kitchen takes it a big step further. Called Banana Bread Lava Cake, it’s rich in spices and of course bananas, but the star of the show, the “lava,” the secret ingredient – here revealed – is ice cream bars! This one also has a demo.

My request: Alexa, how do you soften hard brown sugar? Wikihow is cited for two solutions, one that calls for imprisoning the sugar with a slice of bread or apple in a plastic bag, the other pressing the nuker into service. But if you go to the Wikihow site for this advice you’ll actually find six ways.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

{Echo owners, if you say Alexa play oldies {others too?} the lyrics scroll on the screen – let’s sing along!}

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

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

♦ Perfect for the food-centric chat in our Salons. “Parsley, thyme and basil are typical savory herbs used to enhance the flavor of meat. But my favorite herb is rosemary. It’s great with chicken, beef or pork, great flavor and great fragrance as the meat cooks. You’ll find it in many Spanish recipes.” – Pld, Chicago

{Photo from Amazon, source of a variety of herb seeds}

  One of perhaps the best pieces of advice from the Playboy book featured in our 09.04.20 Salon: Take care of all  the preliminaries hours before or, if possible, the day before the event – e.g., amassing ice cubes, polishing brandy snifters, shopping, cooking, marinating, table setting, disks for the stereo, setting out cocktail napkin napkins, or if that’s the plan, hiring help. And then the real nugget: during the party Relax! – “. . . enjoy yourself at your own party.”

  Well, we don’t know if Linus will see the Great Pumpkin for this first time ever this year. But what whiskey-sippin’ folks can see for the first time ever this year is Pumpking Pumpkin Whiskey, a sibling to the well-established Pumpking Imperial Ales by Southern Tier Brewing.  🍺  Cheers.  

  More foodie chat. The acronym DOP on such Italian treats as salumi, fromaggi, olive oil, balsamic vinegars, stands for “protected designation of origin” . . .  showing that it “is legally guaranteed by the European Union to be ‘authentic, or made in the original town or region with traditional ingredients'” (in other words: no mystery ingredients). This bit of instruction from Eately and thanks for making us smarter.

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Smoked Salmon Pizza with Cream Cheese & Dill, Aug 7-Aug 13, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

We’re going to enjoy a bit of a summer break, and when we see you right back here on Sept 4, 2020, it will be with a new look featuring a breezier format, faster reading, and a permanent emphasis on easy comfort food recipes plus a new chatty feature. 

We’ll also introduce an Alexa page with recipes, tips and more. Plus an expanded shopping experience that you can tap into without leaving home. Cooking tips will move to social media.

So you don’t miss a thing, this would be a great time to sign up for weekly email “invitations” which you can do at the right or by joining our social media family with the icons at the bottom of the post.

  COMFORT FOOD  

Could this be summer’s most perfect dish?

Credit for creating the original smoked salmon pizza most likely goes to Wolfgang Puck and most assuredly goes to this famed and acclaimed chef for its high profile and popularity from coast to coast and probably beyond. But over the years others have checked in with their own variations for the crust and add-ons of this cool treat.

Our feature here is an amalgam of flavors that I like best from the number of recipes I viewed. It doesn’t stray too far or add too much because a great deal of the culinary charm of Puck’s signature dish is its simplicity. And, no baking!

I started with a store-bought baked pizza crust. Smoothed on a nice layer of cream cheese, then smoked salmon, bits of tomato and green onion, and then a good sprinkling of dillweed {fresh dill is even better}. Avocado is sort of a natural match with the salmon.

I’ve included links below to Puck’s original and a google page of other sources. Once you lay down a good crust, a creamy layer and the smoked salmon you already have something wonderful and anything else is at the pleasure of your imagination.

Puck’s recipe on the Food & Wine site     Google page of recipes     Wolfgang Puck cookbooks 

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

  Time on your hands? If you own a copy of Diner’s Dictionary, you can spend many pleasurable moments just paging through its entries that often bring into the mix detail on uses, history, geography, literature, people, anecdotes and more. Take that, google.

  What prompted a recent trip through its treasures was a reference to Dan Dan noodles in Food & Wine. It’s a dish I’ve seen referenced many times before, so it was time to see what this was all about, and there it was. “Street Food from the Szechwan province of west central China, consisting of noodles cooked in a spicy sauce that typically includes Szechwan pepper. Dan Dan refers literally to the carrying pole used by street vendors.” Next, searching for an awesome recipe.

  Remember the ice cream bread we featured in our 07.17.20 Salon? Made the 3-ingredient wonder again, this time with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Oh, yeah. The dough part turned into a kind of butterscotchy caramel as it baked, and then there’s the sprinkling of chips. Next time thinking chocolate ice cream bread.

  Hey, bakers! Did you know there’s a community for you hosted by Taste of Home. Called Bakeable, it offers “everything you want to know about baking, including the very best recipes, gorgeous inspiration and easy step-by-step instructions.” But wait, there’s more. “Join our active community of bakers by taking part in a monthly baking challenge.”

  Be careful. There’s apparently another threat to our health and well being in these times as cited in “Why the Pandemic Could Be Causing More Kitchen Fires.” This Food & Wine story looks at some possible reasons, at the same time acknowledging cause and effect is not totally verified. Nevertheless, the reasons serve as a cautionary tale, and just as important, the article details what to do if a kitchen fire does happen.

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Cobb Salad goes global x 3, July 31-Aug 6, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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We want to help us all stay safe – and find joy in the kitchen, our own special haven

  COMFORT FOOD  

Salad at its tasty best 

Well I had a bonus discovery here, aside from the salads, and likely many all you are already in this loop. But for those who aren’t, as I was wasn’t, there is a great food site preemptively called Food.com, which is actually in the same biz family as Food Network and Cooking Channel among other brands.

So that’s where I found the boffo Mexican Cobb shown here, recipe by PanNan. It comes together with the freshness of Mex veggies, the richness of cheese, and the heartiness of chicken and beans. And, so pretty!

Rachael Ray’s fan blog gives us the Italian version, straight out of Ray’s Express Lane Meals cookbook. In this one the side by side ingredients give the chicken some competition with salami and Italian peppers to kick it all up.

One of CS’ faves, Taste of Home, checks in with a taste of Asia, or more specifically Thai. The chicken and veggie-rich mix takes on a whole new life with the drizzle of peanut-sesame dressing.

Next week: Smoked Salmon/cream cheese pizza

Mexican Cobb Salad    Italian Cobb Salad    Thai Cobb Salad  

Rachael Ray’s Express Lane Meals cookbook on Amazon

♦  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

  Experts say a good breakfast can get us off to a good start with benefits that last well into the day. And with today’s extra challenges that may be even more necessary than usual. Now you may well agree with that and still think . . . borrrrring. Well, now, see if this might change your mind. “These 5 Beautiful Breakfast Bowls Will Brighten Up Your Morning” from Clean Plates- surprisingly satisfying combos.

  Need a treat? Like Black Forest Cake? If yes to both you may well be ready for a Black Forest Sundae. And it’s just what it sounds like in terms of the tasty components. The news is in the sourcing. French vanilla ice cream left over from the ice cream bread, 07.17.20 Salon. Cherry filling leftover from our fruit pizza, also 07.17.20 Salon. Chocolate sauce left over from our banana split {breakfast!}, 06.26.20 Salon.

  This site is like “don’t waste food” central. Called Save the Food, it helps you do just that with prep and storage tools, recipes that give a second life to otherwise trash-bound items, a lesson in how much money you can save with these practices, even a party planner that guides you on amounts to purchase, plus stories galore in the Community. As they say on the site, become a food waste warrior.

Send a message to both sides of the aisle in DC & beyond with Tees, Sweats, Hoodies, Mugs, Hats, Buttons – nice styles & colors

“Make America Decent Again” collection crafted by Zazzle – see it right here on CS  OR go right to the Zazzle page

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You can still see full-featured Salons in the Archives, 04.10.20 & earlier

Looking for something in CS?

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

Questions, comments?

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

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

and I’m associate of Amazon, Zazzle, and SunFrog, only

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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Turkish Eggs – a flavor blast, July 24-July 30, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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We want to help us all stay safe – and find joy in the kitchen, our own special haven

  COMFORT FOOD  

Oh my goodness, this is good 

Thank you AllRecipes! These Turkish Eggs send waves of flavor over breakfast, brunch, any time you want to turn poached eggs into a wonderfully satisfying meal.

Luckily, despite its exotic vibe, other than maybe the aleppo pepper, probably everything else is already in your household. What isn’t, likely has a ready substitute {see below}.

I used chili pepper flakes instead of aleppo but note that the latter is way milder and so best not to use the same amount of any dried hot pepper. Just taste as you go.

Also, I pretty much combined the latter two items in a single butter sauce that I used under and over the eggs. And though I’m a big fan of jalapenos didn’t want “pieces” in an otherwise fine textured sauce. Did add a bit more cayenne to compensate.

Served this with crisped flour tortillas which also made great scoopers. One thing to note: once you break into the eggs and start that scooping, the changed look can be interpreted two ways. A mess on a plate. Or, a culinary work of abstract art on a crockery canvas. Your choice.

Substitutions if needed: dillweed to taste instead of fresh, dried parsley to taste instead of fresh, peppers as above or chili powder in place of aleppo.

Next week: Cobb Salads go ethnic

Turkish Eggs recipe    Aleppo pepper on Amazon

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

♦  If you have Prime Video, a treat awaits called Food Safari. As they say, it “takes you on a culinary journey across Australia.” Host Maeva O’Meara’s eclectic tastes take us right to the stoves of professional chefs and passionate home cooks from one end of the continent to the other and maybe most surprising, deep inside the diversity of cuisine found here.

♦  Like to bake? Take some enjoyable time to wander through the site called What’s Baking, Babycakes. When you see that one of host Jennfer Gilbert’s baking tabs is “Candy Bar,” you can pretty well jump to the conclusion that decadence is a predominant ingredient here. Some of the recipes featured when I tuned in: Milky Way Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Icing, Boston Cream Pie Popsicles, Chocolate Nutella Toffee Cake. Aiyyyyyy.

♦  Use up your boxed pasta. Use up your summer veggies. End up with one of these “10 Healthy Pasta Recipes for Summer.” Thank you Clean Plates.

♦  A bit of whimsy, that starts with, Is your dishwasher running? OK, close your eyes, take a deep breath, relax. And with a little {OK, a lot of} imagination you can mentally transport yourself to an oceanside resort. Take your escapes wherever you can.

Send a message to both sides of the aisle in DC & beyond with Tees, Sweats, Hoodies, Mugs, Hats, Buttons – nice styles & colors

“Make America Decent Again” collection crafted by Zazzle – see it right here on CS  OR go right to the Zazzle page

CS Marketplace Directory

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

You can still see full-featured Salons in the Archives, 04.10.20 & earlier

Looking for something in CS?

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

Questions, comments?

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

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

and I’m associate of Amazon, Zazzle, and SunFrog, only

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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Bacon Peanut Butter Corn Muffins, June 19-June 25, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

We want to help us all stay safe – and find joy in the kitchen, our own special haven

  COMFORT FOOD  

Award winner 

This week’s featured recipe took third place in a recent Taste of Home contest. We can only imagine how many dishes this one had to beat out for that honor. And yowza are they good.

Let us count the ways to love these Bacon-Peanut Butter Corn Muffins. The first one is right in the title!

But here’s what’s more. It comes together with ingredients likely already in residence in your pantry and fridge.

It’s great as is for breakfast. But if you go ahead with the optional caramel ice cream topping, Poof! Dessert! Likewise with the suggested alternate of chocolate chips and chocolate syrup.

I’d also add kudos for something we’ve talked about before in our Salons. By putting peanuts in the topping there’s not only some nice added crunch, but also a bright red flag for folks who are allergic and may not know there’s peanut butter in the mix.

Btw, if you’re a fan of flavor overload, while you’re on their site take a look at the Savory Cracker Snack Mix, using the search window on their menu bar.

Recipe notes – thinking this topping would be just as happy on a regular pan of cornbread or even pancakes, French toast, regular toast. Then ‘fessing up, I actually drizzled with maple syrup – good!

Next week: Shrimp turns pasta “Fra Diavolo

ToH recipe    Taste of Home cookbooks on Amazon    Taste of Home magazine

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

♦  Craving a Big Mac®? Don’t want to go get it? A clone to the rescue yet again. And also, once again, it’s Eat This Not That that’s sending it in. In fact, they claim this is “The Best Copycat Big Mac Recipe'” {sic, which is to say, no ® i their headline}. Fries with that?

♦  Any reason why party-style dishes can’t find a home on the family table? Nope. And this one is so, so easy, and  proportions just fine no matter how few or how many places are set at that table. Start with these little phyllo shells {available from Amazon if you can’t get to, or get them from, your grocery store]. And then fill away because they arrive ready to use.

Mine shown at the right starts with some soft cream cheese that’s been further softened with a bit of sour cream, pushed down a bit in the center to create a well for cocktail sauce, and then turned into a mini cocktail with a cooked shrimp, quartered and dusted with dillweed, garnished with a celery sprig.

You could also use canned tiny shrimp, as shown at the left. For either – snack, appetizer, entree add-on, all good.

♦  Well, who knew. Turns out your produce sort of needs to practice social distancing too. A site called wellandgood tells us that certain fruits and veggies produce a gas that helps them ripen but can cause adjacent produce to ripen too fast and spoil. Tap into “The biggest mistake you’re making with your produce that causes it to go bad faster” for all the details of what to keep away from what. Especially helpful when replacements right now are not necessarily a sure thing.

♦  Need some foodie-style amusement? International Movie Data Base, a boffo information source for not just movies, but tv series, casts, stars, production folks, and other assorted celebrities, rates these selections as “The Best Food Themed Movies and Series” – popcorn slightly extra.

“Make America Decent Again” collection crafted by Zazzle – see it right here on CS

Tees, Sweats, Hoodies, Mugs, Hats, Buttons, tote bags – nice styles & colors

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