Boffo Bean Dip that comes with 4 News Flashes, May 21-May 27, 2021

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Kitchen Talk – Southern Living shares great ways to start the day with their Breakfast Casseroles Worth Waking Up For. Scroll down on their page for such casserole versions as Cheesy Sausage Croissant, Banana Bread French Toast, Bacon & Cheddar Grits Quiche, Cinnamon Roll, Huevos Ranchero, and Breakfast Enchiladas.        When is an egg carton not an egg carton? When it transforms into a holder to portion and preserve rice. Here’s what I did – treated the compartments with non stick spray, filled all 24 with rice, covered the top tray with a cut-to-fit piece of plastic wrap, holding the wrap in place turned top over bottom, closed up and into the freezer. As you can see, when you subsequently open the carton, most of the top portions pop out on their own {you can just close the top back over them after removing what you want}, and if they don’t just push on the bottom of the sections. Where the two have been removed you can see the shininess of the plastic wrap.       Chocolate in, chocolate on, and a pistachio chaser in this Chocolate Pistachio Wreath Bread that the description calls ooey gooey. From Midwest Living, a Meredith Corporation publication.

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Shopping Finds – Have you heard of goldbelly.com? I hadn’t until recently when I started coming across it as the ordering source for various food items. What it does is connect you to restaurant food via mail order. That means you can set your table with specialties from, e.g., Marcus Samuelsson, Daniel Boulud, Stephanie Izard, Guy Fieri, Carla Hall, as well as from steakhouses, ethnic places, bbq joints, and more, more, more. They also show you the reviews behind their 4.7 star rating.        So, I’ve now excavated a KitchenAid stand mixer from the back of a cabinet. I’d inherited it, never used, but now ready to give it a go. If you have one in hiding or are thinking of buying one, their cookbook can be a BIG help, with not just preps but also tips and techniques. And if you’d like to check out the various mixer models on Amazon, just click here.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – “Golden” moms and dads, this mug’s for you. You can find three mugs styles and lots of shirt choices too, all right here on our CS Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Super tasty dip – and the flashes?

First surprise or did you already know this? Until it was revealed actually in a commercial I had no idea that Amy in Big Bang Theory not only plays a neuroscientist – she is one! With a phd from UCLA.

Second, in addition to that and Emmy nominated, award winning actress, Mayim Bialik’s resume includes this – she’s also a cookbook author, capturing her culinary passion in “Mayim’s Vegan Kitchen.”

Page after page delivers the third news flash – vegan doesn’t have to mean bland or boring. Classic dishes are all over these pages and what’s so interesting is how they’re bombarded with intense flavors that boot out the non-plant components in such a way that we’ll never miss them.

And then the actual recipe, Mexican Bean Dip, {below in Notes} showcases the fourth revelation. Look at the ingredients – all familiar, all likely already in your kitchen. Whether a whole meal or just some of its parts, we’ve all likely been cooking vegan stuff for years. It’s just plant-based, not scary at all. And of course it would make a great cocktail snack, a worthy addition to CHB below.

Recipe Notes – You may want to add a bit more soy or some salt, and I did add more cumin, then served with vegs and three kinds of corn chips {no guarantee they were vegan though}. One other thing, I didn’t go full frijoles on this, but rather left it a little chunky.

The prep is so simple, we’re just going to run it right here: saute 1/4 c chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 T finely chopped celery in 1 T olive oil until soft, about 5 min; add 1 1/2 c or a 14-oz can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed plus 1/4 t ea soy sauce & ground cumin and 1/8 t cayenne {opt}; puree in a blender or processor until smooth; serve with veggies and warm tortillas.

A few additional bio notes from her Wiki page. Most folks first came to know Bialik in her starring role in the tv series Blossom. Along the way she’s also written books for kids and parents {and become a mom herself}. She’s as well a founding member of a Jewish organization that advocates for the ethical treatment for animals. 

Next week – Lasagna Bites, a flavor blast morning, noon, or night

“Mayim’s Vegan Cookbook”   Vegan cookbooks on Amazon, 4 stars & up    Bialik on Wiki

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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 pineapple upside down pancakes? So, the fave cake for dessert becomes a new pancake for breakfast. And just like the classic there’s butter, brown sugar, sweet cherries, of course the pineapple rings, even rum if you want {another round of breakfast for everyone}, and pineapple syrup to top it all off. This morning treat is from Tasty.

Alexa says request: How do you make cheeseburger pie? Even better, AllRecipes serves up a Quick Cheeseburger Pie. The flavor vibe starts with seasoned beef and the sharper taste of Swiss cheese, and then gets kicked up with dill pickle and dill pickle juice. The crust goes a little faster than one that’s rolled out and fitted as it’s just patted into place. Of course a store-bought one would be faster yet.

Alexa says request: How do I make a cake bomb? Oh Tastemade, you are baaaaaaad. Exhibit A? This No-Bake Cookies & Milk Cake Bomb. Yikes, wait till you see it and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Btw, if the instructions don’t paint a clear picture of the prep, no worries, the demo does. One other thing, you’ll see how to make cookie milk, which just may have a promising future in your kitchen all on its own.

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. Some connect to Amazon 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

   I found this on the editor’s page in Food & Wne, part of a piece on “getting out of a rut,” March 2021 issue. And it’s a pretty cool idea, sort of an upgrade on cocktail hour snacks. Or as Editor Lewis says, “Snack-ify dinner,” by setting out hearty snacks on a platter or sheet pan. He adds, “It’s fun, easy, and cleanup is a cinch.”

   Pretty much by definition, a heavy appetizer usually has meat in a starring role, with cheese not far behind. If those appetizers come from deli fave Boarshead, both often come to play. Case in point, this beautiful board from their appetizer recipe page which is filled with fabulous ideas that just could quite easily add up to a dinner party.

  Thinking about traveling again? This could be just the final nudge you need. “5 Amazing Wine Destinations in Africa for Delicious Drinks and Beautiful Views.” Uncorked for us by Food & Wine.

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

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Pour a cup – Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, May 14-May 20, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Feeling old school? Dip into these 17 Nostalgic Recipes to Bring Back in 2021 from MyRecipes. Casserole it, stuff it, or just “go big with meat and potatoes.” {also see Cocktail Hour Buzz below for vintage appetizers}       Or update a long time classic in a sweet and tasty way. These French Toast Bars from FoodTalkDaily take the flavors of the breakfast treat and transform them into a kind of blondie brownie. Given the cream cheese swirl it’s almost like a stuffed version.        Make it tasty, not waste-y. This can help. Look what you can make with leftover mashed potatoes! from Prepared Pantry, the source of some of the best baking mixes, aka top notch shortcuts. You’ll find biscuits, mashed potato salads, and omelets and when you scroll down on any of the pages there are even more possibilities which is how I cam across these super stuffed spuds.

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Shopping Finds – If you like to bake but time is not on your side, Prepared Pantry mentioned above can be your cavalry. Way too many products to list here, but all the major categories are represented – breads, breakfast goods, desserts, along with such accessories as syrups, jams and sauces. And pretty much every week there are tips, recipes, specials and even sometimes free stuff.        Still working on that get-organized resolution for this year? These counter organizers make it pretty easy, and I really like the wire rack ones especially those that have the little front walls so everything is secure yet visible. The link takes you to just those rated 4 stars and up on Amazon.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Will there ever be a time when we can stop having to send this message to our legislators? In the meantime, we have five items with variations that let you display that message, “Make America Decent Again,” or literally send to your representatives. Find all choices on our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Cherry Cream Cheese Coffeecake, so good

I actually made this once before so already knew it was going to be something wonderful. Even though in that previous incarnation I had substituted apricot filling for cherry.

The thing is this dough is a buttery marvel. So when you add a cream cheese layer and a fruity topping it’s destined to be a winner.

As you can see, I used a rectangular pan instead of the springform, though certainly the prescribed pan should work just fine. I did line it with parchment paper {see more about this in Notes}

One other nice thing, it can slip into dessert mode just as is. Of course a side of ice cream can’t hurt.

And as good as it is, I do have a tweak in mind the reprises the apricot filling. You’ll be among the first to know if it does turn out share-worthy.

Recipe Notes – The recipe has been in my files for quite a while, and with no attribution, so please let me know if any of you folks might know the source    I used vanilla instead of almond extract    In my oven was done in 50 min    You really do want to let it cool completely before removing it from the pan

  Some time back we suggested one way to work with inherently uncooperative parchment paper was to put it in the pan curl up and then start plopping whatever is going in to push it into the corners. We since passed along a tip about crumpling up the paper and then smoothing it into the pan. Cooks Illustrated recently offered their take that involved a few drops of water spread in the pan before adding the parchment. That worked pretty good too but I think the crumpling worked best.

Next week – Mexi Bean Dip, and 4 surprising things about it.

Recipe  ♦  Coffee Cake cookbooks, 4 stars and up

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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 a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake? The ingredients for the most part are telegraphed in the title. But then along comes something else to add a blast of sweetness and creaminess. See what it is in this prep from SideChef.

Alexa says request: How do I make ravioli alfredo with artichokes? Food Network’s version starts with store-bought mushroom ravioli and frozen artichoke hearts. The sauce is rich with butter, wine, cream, Parm and shallots, plus nutmeg and tarragon, with the final dish given another vibe with the colorful addition of peas. Go here for the recipe.

Alexa says request: How do I make bacon pork chops? Oh my, oh my, look what came up. Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Chive Stuffed Pork Chops! Once you have all the good stuff in the title not much more is needed except the garlic salt, pepper and parsley. Good ol’ AllRecipes gives us this 4-star prep.

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. Some connect to Amazon 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

   Well this is inviting. 25 Bottles of Wine to Drink to Become a Wine Expert. Now one thing they say is of course you don’t have to buy them all at once. But more to the point of the title, and calling it like a game, “Follow the path in order. Each bottle leads to the next. You accumulate experience. But instead of retiring at the end, you wind up with a bunch of wine smarts and the rest of your days ahead of you. Not bad, right?” The Food & Wine slide show tells all.

   If for any number of reasons you don’t want to set up a table-ful of cocktail snacks how about this – Bento Boxes! While the original hides tasty treasures in little drawers, current commercial versions use compartmented trays. I found these 5-opening disposables with lids at Amazon, which also offers a selection of reusables. May, though, want to part from tradition and replace that rice with more finger food.

   Some time back a CS-er asked if we might know of some “other vintage snacks like the anchovy one you featured {from the Playboy Party Book, 10.30.20 Salon} to serve at a themed cocktail party.” And now what popped up in my mailbox from Southern Living? 35 Vintage Party Appetizers. Hey, maybe a themed Bento Box???

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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

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

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

♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> 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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Tasty Ham & Tater Cake-ettes, March 19-March 25, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Please note – CooksSalon was recently subjected to what’s known as a brute force attack, which means launching thousands upon thousands of attempts to crack your password. Fortunately WordPress alerted me to this activity and I was eventually able to get it fixed, though losing some content in the process.

Clearly it could have been much worse. So, if you have a site and see anything like this going after it, do everything you can to stop it because what I saw on google said that otherwise they won’t stop until they’re successful.

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – This was an interesting journey. When Stanley Tucci was in Rome for his “Searching for Italy” series he was served meatballs with a cocoa powder sauce. Ehhh? Went to google and did find one sauce for spaghetti with cocoa powder from The Spice House, but just a 1/4 t among many other seasonings. Interestingly, the search also turned up a marinara with dark chocolate from Gimme Some Oven. Could be worth a try.    I’ve now added multi-colored sugar to the “toys” and should have some goodies to show you next week    And here’s another journey, one that started with an online comment that sweet potatoes didn’t have to be pierced before baking. Googled, decided they probably should. But several stories showed the sweets topped with peanut butter. Really? Tried it, pretty good, but maybe see if classic toppings could play nice with pb to make a sauce. The result –  2 T brown sugar, generous pinches of salt, nutmeg and cinnamon worked into 1/2 stick softened butter, then blended with 1/4 c peanut butter. Be sure the taters are good and hot if you want the sauce to be all melty.

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Shopping Finds – Have you seen these? Clips that stick. More specifically, Magnetic Multipurpose Bag Clips on Amazon. Pretty too! They’re clips so they, by def, close bags of all sorts. But because they’re also magnetic they can turn your fridge into the place for grocery lists, coupons, reminders, notes, appointment slips, photos, even lightweight holiday decorations.    One somewhat unexpected place I like to shop now – Bass Pro Shops. For the sports stuff? Nah. It’s for their food section, especially the wide selection of salsas, but also because there are so many interesting items there that I don’t see anywhere else.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Let’s all scream – for Ice Cream! If you look closely you’ll see flavors galore tucked right into the letters. And as those words say, only after there’s been Ice Cream Ice Cream Ice Cream will there be everything else. Find in on our Food Themed Mugs page. On our Food Themed T-shirts page too.

   On the Table 

Feature – Ham and Tater Cake-ettes, love these

The first woohoo here is that these are just super tasty. The second is, no grating, because these cakes start with mashed potatoes.

There’s another interesting point in the prep. The crumbs serve not only as a coating, but also as an ingredient in the mix which, much as in say meatloaf, helps the whole shebang stick together.

And wow are they versatile, at home any time on the table. Thinking they could even make a nice snack.

For breakfast or brunch topped with fried or poached eggs, here paired simply with fresh tomatoes. For lunch, we followed the traditions for regular potato pancakes and paired the cakes with applesauce and sour cream. For dinner, plated them with sweet potato casserole and peas.

The prep popped up on Alexa, but had “feature recipe” written all over it. It comes from AllRecipes.

Recipe Notes – Since I really don’t do a lot of fried foods, I put four of the patties into a pan treated with baking spray, also sprayed the tops, and baked them for 20 min at 400, turning them over at the halfway point. As you can see here, they aren’t as “pretty” as the fried ones but I found them every bit as good. As always when oil is involved keep an eye on the proceedings especially if in a toaster oven.

Next week – Smoky Poblano Corn Pudding, put it in the Super Sides category

Recipe    Other leftover ham recipes on AllRecipes

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Alexa is on vacation from CS this week

No worries, she’ll be back next time

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. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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

   And following up on Alexa, here is some good news. “Found this on the abc.net.au site. Because of changes in the tariffs, their story says, Australia red wine prices should ‘plummet’ in various countries including ours” – LVB

  Lasagna Poppers? Oh, what fun! The seasoned beef, marinara and mozzarella merge into a filling for lasagna noodles, rolled, double breaded, and deep fried {some freezer steps in between}. Here’s the recipe From Tasty.

  So, in our 02.26.21 Salon we featured smoked salmon pinwheels in our Shopping Finds. And for sure they are convenient. But truth be told, you can pretty easily make your own. Here, wrapped them up with green onions and dillweed. And some on pumpernickel with cuke slices.

   This is variously attributed, but most citations give it to Steve Allen. “Do not allow your children to mix drinks. It is unseemly and they use too much vermouth.”

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

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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

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And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

 

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> 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

eb4823     c74abc 

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Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake Pots, March 5-March 11, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

No Salon March 12. See you right back here on March 19

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Have you heard of these? Japanese soufflé pancakes. Whisking, whipping, freezing, piping, and using cold egg whites yield a pancake like no other. Food & Wine lets us give it a try.    Can flour go bad? Sure don’t want you to get sick. So note what Healthline says about this, what to look for in terms of aroma and appearance.    Bon Appetit believes these are the only veggies we should buy frozen. Btw, in my experience frozen artichokes are way more tender than canned or jarred.

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Shopping Finds – As you may well have noticed, Tasty.co has become a favorite site, a great source of exactly the kind of recipes we love here. Just wanted to let you know they also make pet treats {which almost look like they could appear in our Cocktail Hour Buzz section} available at Petco. They’re based on their own recipes, also shown. One other perk of visiting the page, some pretty cool pupsters.    If you’re a Ree Drummond fan {not? never mind}, may like to know about her new seasoning line, all six quite perky. She says find them at Walmart or on Amazon. See more from Ree below in Cocktail Hour Buzz.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – A fave term joins a popular saying in this whimsical mug, “Who’s a good Coffeehound???” At our Food Themed Mugs page

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Kitchen Talk – I’m really enjoying the Stanley Tucci series on Italy and hope you are too {01.29.21 Salon}. Trying not to use as an excuse one of the bits of information from the first show – deep frying sterilizes food!!!    Just love grilled cheese with tomato. You too? Usually I keep it classic but this time nudged it into pizza territory with garlic powder, marjoram and mozzarella both above and below the tomatoes. Served with a pile of parsley, which I recently discovered is among the foods reported to counteract inflammation, treated with a squeeze of fresh lemon.    Assuming no dietary restrictions, finishing salts can instantly elevate so many dishes. But beware, somehow they manage to be saltier than {regular} salt.

   On the Table  

Feature – Celebrate St Pat’s with spirit – Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake Pots

A confection made with Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur. And with the recipe from the staff of IrishCentral.

How much more St Pat’s can you get?

And here’s a nice perk. It’s no bake. Here’s another. Biscuits or crackers go as is into the bottom, no crust prep.

Now don’t be scared by the ingredient list. Here’s what I used: 12 broken up chocolate Teddy Graham snacks, 1 1/2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese {12 oz total}, 1/4 c heavy cream, 1/4 c Baileys {see note}, 1/2 c brown sugar, 2 T cocoa powder – btw, as best I could tell the conversion for the cocoa was actually 1 T, but I wanted it a bit more chocolatey.

The IrishCentral recipe, linked below, tells you how it all comes together. I’ve also linked the IrishCentral food & drink page in case you want to go bragh, I mean go bigger, for the Day, and also top rated Irish cookbooks on Amazon.

Recipe Notes – The recipe calls for the “chilled” cream cheese, not cold and not room temp, so I let it sit in the bowl for about 45 minutes before adding the other ingredients. And about the Bailey’s – while this is indeed what makes it Irish, for the kiddies or folks who don’t drink alcohol, I’d think you could sub chocolate milk and a bit of vanilla.

March 19, 2021 – Ham & Tater Cake-ettes, sort of like potato pancakes 2.0

Original recipe  ♦  Recipes on IrishCentral  ♦  Irish cookbooks, 4 stars and up

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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 Enchilada Rice? This prep is from AllRecipes and improves the title with the promise of Easy Chicken Enchilada Rice. The easy part is delivered, first, by calling upon a lot of store-bought goodies and, second, by having it all meet in a single skillet. Lots of flavor, and colorful too. By the way, we ran a veggie version of this dish in our 11.20.20 Salon.

Alexa says request: How do I make Nutella Mug Cake? Well, AllRecipes strikes again and once again ups the ante by giving us Fudgy Nutella Mug Cake. Preps in 5 min, cooks in 2, rests for 5, and go on in.

Alexa says request: How do I make an Italian omelet? It’s a trifecta as AllRecipes has the answer and, surprise, surprise, a promise is included in what they’re calling a Simple Italian Omelet. As with a French omelet the story is as much if not more about technique than ingredients. Still the filling here is quite nice, and yes simple, just goat cheese and chives.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – Calm your cat, comfort your dog

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. Some connect to Amazon 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

  Ranging from downhome to downright elegant, and from across the regions, I couldn’t agree more about these Top 20 Pasta Recipes from eately.com. “Italian is not my all time favorite cuisine, but these look well worth a try” – sent along by Esther Lodge Hevener

   Ree Drummond reminds us that deviled eggs are always a welcome addition to the snack table. In a recent show she topped them off with a shard of peppered bacon. I’ve also serve them wrapped in a strip of lean deli ham. Other possibilities, caviar, capers, black or green olive slices, chives, or sprinkled with paprika, dillweed, or the fave seasoning in this kitchen, Tajin. Truth be told though, I like them best just pure.

  Tasty.co strikes again. How fun are these cocktail snacks – Loaded Potato & Cheese Sticks! With bacon. Baked or fried. They’re sort of like mini cousins of the bacon-tater tot pie in our 02.12.21 Salon. Btw, lots of interesting stuff in the comments on the recipe page.

   So, watching a story on the MN State Fair on Food Network and one of the food vendors poaches eggs in the shell. Whaaaaat? Onto Google and still didn’t find exactly that but did come across a poaching trick that starts with a brief in-shell step {details here on the foodiewithfamily site}. But the line that brought a broad smile had more to do with cosmetics than technique when the author, showing a fine passion, said, “Pretty food makes everyone happy. It’s so nice to look at a pretty plate before dropping your face into it like a heathen.” – Rebecca

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

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Easy, Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, Feb 19-Feb 25, 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 – 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. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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.

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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

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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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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Jan 22-Jan 28, 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 – 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. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 r

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

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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

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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

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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

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