Cocktail Hour Buzz, Jan 14-20, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

  Flying high takes on a whole new meaning as the New Zealand winery Invivo launches what is being called “the worlds first winery airline,”  which will operate within the country. A chartered plane will deliver guests to destination towns where they can enjoy exploration time, an overnight stay, and a visit to origin vineyards.  From Food & Wine

  Shrimp toasts are a’comin {oops, age-busted by a song}. These traditional Asian appetizers are always just so satisfying, and now you can make them at home with a pretty easy process. A whirl in the processor with fairly familiar ingredients, a quick dip in hot oil and voila! Shrimp Toasts. The story calls them a cocktail hour staple.  From msn.com

 This quesadilla is actually an encore, originally appearing as a Feature Recipe in CS over a year ago. It’s here partly because it’s a perfect cold weather snack, which it can so easily become with smaller slices and maybe sans the egg. But mostly because it’s just so full of flavor, exactly as you’d expect from a Bobby Flay creation, loaded with bacon, hash browns, onions, peppers, cheese, salsa and chives – and deserved another time in the spotlight. From Food Network site

Flay’s cookbooks on Amazon    Flay items & other celeb chef items on our CS page

  Another round of desserts for everyone. OK, so these boozy confections were posted as holiday treats, but thinking they could make any day a holiday. Among the goodies, Mudslide Pie, Grasshopper Cheesecake, and Rum Truffles. Great for the sweet side of the snack table, many already individual servings, and the rest can be cut down to size. You should be able to scroll down on the site and see all the recipes listed rather than doing the slideshow.  From AllRecipes

  Finish off the season in tasty style with these “16 Best Snacks for Game Day.” Wowsie, 7-layer taco dip, firecracker shrimp with bleu cheese dressing, mini brioche lobster rolls, lots more. Here too, should be able to scroll to full list.  From Food & Wine

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Jan 7-Jan 13, 2022, Favorite Recipes from a Year of CS

Join us next week as we temporarily skinny down to a weekly Cocktail Hour Buzz while we explore an exciting new CooksSalon project

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 

Deconstructed Tamales – Pulled Pork  Cheese Grit Cake   Leave it to Trisha Yearwood to turn grits into a funfest. The dish starts with fried cheesy grits cakes. Then Mexi-seasoned pulled pork. And then on with the corn salsa, sour cream, green onions and cilantro. I did use the thick and creamy grits right from the pot rather than chilling and frying. Avocados make a great accompaniment. And, any leftover pulled pork makes a mighty fine sandwich or tortilla wrap.   Recipe    Trisha Yearwood Cookbooks    From 01.15.21 Salon

          

Cherry Cream Cheese Coffeecake   The base of this cake s a buttery marvel. Add the rich cream cheese layer and the flavor bombs that are cherries, and it’s destined to be a crowd pleaser. And, yep, it’s big enough to serve a crowd too. As you can see, I used a rectangular pan instead of the springform, though. Great for breakfast of course, but add a big scoop of ice cream and it transforms right into dessert. You really do want to let it cool completely before removing it from the pan.   Recipe    From 05.14.21 Salon

Loaded Mashed Potato Cups   This is such a perfect fit with all we love here at CS and it’s easy to see why. First, mashed potatoes just on their own qualify for the comfort food hall of fame. But here they’re joined by more good stuff – bacon, chives, parm and seasonings, cheese stuffing, sour cream topping. And it’s an easy prep. Ingredients that are few, familiar, likely already at hand. No complicated techniques. And a pan probably pretty much all of us already own. And by varying its platemates it can move from breakfast/brunch to lunch to dinner. Btw, also a great opp to use up leftover mashed.   Recipe  ♦  Top potato cookbooks on Amazon  ♦  From 01.29.21 Salon

Artsy Confections   For these Tie Dye Cookies, Molly Yeh divides sugar cookie dough into three pieces, each blended with food color, then formed into “balls” that are slightly flattened and baked. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of sanding sugar. “Fessing up, I did use refrigerated dough.  Then, this Painted White Chocolate Bark comes not surprisingly from Trisha Yearwood who just excels at making food fun. The chocolate mingles with different colors of candy melting wafers, all merrily swirled together into these edible works of art.    Cookie Recipe from 02.05.21 Salon    Candy Recipe from 02.12.21 Salon  ♦  Food color on Amazon    Decorating sugar on Amazon

Loaded Vegetarian Nachos   Yes, indeedy, veggies can be tasty and fun and appetizing, here even a bit of a showpiece. In fact we vote for renaming them Fiesta Nachos because, as you can see it’s just such a celebration of colors and textures. It’s more ingredients than we usually feature but so worth it and you actually could if you want limit the toppings. And, yes, there actually are chips in there, and then all topped off sour a scoop of sour cream. One shortcut that I used was canned lentils, still stirring in though  all the seasonings.  Recipe    From 09.24.21 Salon

Oreo Cake Balls {or just cake as shown here}  Oh my. Oreo crumbs and cream cheese packed like little snow balls, quick freeze, dip in melted chocolate, refrigerate, done.  They are so, so, easy to make and that might be the bad news because, mercy, they are rich and even luxurious. And they’re fun, the round shape ready to become sports balls, funny heads, bling, and in fact star pastry chef Buddy Valastro turned them into pretty eyeballs. As an alternative, you can just pat the mixture into a pan and use the chocolate chips to make a ganache frosting, as seen here.  Like the richest ever brownie.   Recipe from 06.25.21 Salon    Redo in 08.06.21 Salon    Cake ball books on Amazon

Ham & Beef Tavern Chili   My great uncles owned taverns in the Chicago suburbs, and served cups of this chili gratis to their patrons. I don’t know the dates of operation for those establishments. The family was sort of vague about that. So, this was passed down to me by my Aunty Peggy who actually won a recipe contest with it conducted by the Chicago Tribune. I do like a bit more chili powder and a couple of tablespoons of cumin. And depending on the heat level in the chili beans, I may add some hot sauce. It’s even better with such toppings as cheddar, sour cream and a bit of green onion. Recipe    Chili cookbooks, 4 stars & up    From 02.26.21 Salon

Snacks for Dinner   This is not so much a recipe you’d cook or bake, but rather one for putting together a pretty plate. It all began when I cam across this magnetic headline :“Why Snack Dinner is the Best Thing You Can Make for Yourself Tonight”  Wow, there are some fine looking assemblies here. And in fact we were pretty much already on board with this array, shown, even though it was actually representing our cheese board featured in a previous Salon and, btw, this plateful indeed added up to to dinner.    The full article    From our 02.12.21 Salon   Cheese board story in our 01.22.21 Salon

Lasagna Bites   Yikes, these are good, and very lasagna-y even though there’s no pasta in sight. Rather, they’re made with wonton wrappers that are fitted into your muffin tin. The filling holds to tradition though with pretty much classic lasagna ingredients. It calls for ground turkey, but notes the original used ground beef, and so did I. As you can see, its versatility carries it all over the hours. A great appetizer for sure. But also, send it morningside with a poached egg, so satisfying for breakfast or brunch. Add some sides and it moves right on in for lunch or dinner.    Recipe  ♦  From 05.28.21 Salon  ♦  Italian appetizer cookbooks

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake   Rich cheesecake goes even richer with one layer that blends in melted chocolate chips & a second one of sweetened peanut butter, each separately whirled in the food processor till silky smooth. I did add a drizzle of melted chips, also cut the prep in half and used a deep dish pie plate. FYI, Amazon offers a ready-made chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, quite showy but also quite pricey. What you might find surprising though are all the other choc/pb items on the page including even coffee.   Recipe   Chocolate peanut butter goodies on Amazon

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FN Host’s Tie Dye Cookies, Feb 5 – Feb 11, 2021 {1}

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 –  Credit goes to AARP for telling us about these 10 Best Superfoods for Your Eyes Well look what Pillsbury did with its crescent rolls – transformed them into a circle of creamy, spicy goodness. Their Buffalo Chicken Crescent Ring is kind of fun too, like a tasty craft  project.    Much as we CS-ers love to cook, guessing there are days when we could welcome “What to Cook When You Are Tired of Cooking” from MyRecipes.

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Shopping Finds – Bakers, do you know about this magazine? Just received a flyer for “Bake from Scratch,” subtitled The Go-to Resource for Artisan Home Bakers, adding that it offers pro tips and visual guides. Haven’t decided yet it there’s room in my magazine rack for one more resident. In case you like to consolidate your purchases, the link takes you to Amazon and the price there is the same as on the magazine’s site.  Thinking of getting a multicooker? The folks at Cook’s Illustrated took an in-depth look at these appliances and reported the #1 pick as the 8 qt Duo-Evo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, and in 2nd place the 8-qt Express XL Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. The links take you to Amazon – the Duo-Evo is I believe the correct one because the titles match; the second is the right one because the model numbers match. Here now is the rest of the story and a chance to sign up.

This week’s CS-written item on Amazon  How’s the diet resolution going? If you need help, you just may find it in our quick-read Kindle book loaded with ways to avoid fat traps in everyday situations and also including  a “free zone,” “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide”

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Kitchen Talk – Could this be one of the best tasting flour-free cookies ever? The miracle is that these Flourless Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies from LiveWellBakeOften actually become . . . cookies! Because this is all that goes into them: almond butter, coconut sugar {or brown, which I used}, egg, vanilla, and chocolate chips.     Thinking whenever I next have a party, this would be a conversation-worthy side dish. French Onion Soup Casserole from Southern Living    Yum! Made french fries {store bought, frozen} in my new Ninja Grill and they were fabulous. I’m guessing there’s likely already a bit of oil on them but no more was needed to yield crispy exteriors, fluffy interiors. Also, the rest of the dinner wasn’t quite ready so just closed the cover back up and hallelujah they held that perfect condition.

   On the Table 

Feature – Tie Dye Cookies

Have to wonder if Molly Yeh, host of Food Network’s “Girl Meets Farm,” is a student of Trisha Yearwood because like the latter she clearly likes to play with her food. And may I offer as Exhibit A, these oh so fun tie dye cookies.

Start with sugar cookies. Divide and conquer with food coloring. Twist and shout. OK, maybe not shout, but form into a ball. Sparkles complete the festive results.

Yeh used red, blue and yellow, but this cute idea could be emerge in any number of color combos. For example, a nice red and white, maybe pink too, for Valentine’s Day.

The recipe calls for nuking the dough so it can be under-baked and still safely consumed. Note that an asterisk under the ingredients provides an alternative for♦ fully baking the cookies.

Here’s another alternative. I used refrigerated cookie dough, easily divided into 12 cookies. A keeper.

Recipe Notes: I made the colors a little more marble-y to look even more like tie dye, and did the kneading inside plastic wrap. Also, rolled some of the cookies in gold sanding sugar, others in silver, with a light touch. Btw the Pillsbury cookie dough I used said on the package it can be consumed raw

Next week – Cheesy, Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, add eggs for a tasty way to start your day

Recipe  Molly Yeh cookbooks  ♦  Girl Meets Farm

Food color on Amazon    Decorating sugar 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 you make giant grilled cheese kebabs? To me, one of the biggest perks of my Echo Show is discovering new food sites, sources for the recipes that pop up on the screen. In this case it’s Tastymade which does show the lock icon. The recipe looks like great fun, and you creative folks I’m sure would come up with variations. Not too surprisingly the suggested accompaniment is tomato soup. One thing, expect to need clean-up on aisle 5, aka your grill pan.

Alexa says request: How do I make white chocolate pudding? The details reveal that it’s even better than the title would tell us. An Oreo cookie layer in the bottom of the individual serving glasses, and then grated chocolate on top. In the middle of course the main event, a rich and creamy white chocolate pudding. This comes from Ree Drummond on her Food Network show. Demo too!

Alexa says request: What’s the cheese ball story? We’re familiar with a number of things that can close down roads. But cheese balls? Yep, that actually happened late last year when a truck overturned on Interstate 495 in Maryland spilling out 20,000 pounds of the snack. After two hours of cleanup of the cheesey escapees and the resulting fuel spill plus lots of rerouting, all was well . . . mostly anyway. No human injuries but it appears none of the cheese balls survived.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play the spelling game {adult & kid versions}

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 Christine McKellar posted a plu-perfect dish for a wintry night on her Vegas Only Entertainment site. Wait till you see the layer upon layer of flavor in this Creamy Sausage Stew. And while there are lots of ingredients, fear not, just a few steps and it’s ready to go to the slow cooker {or I would guess a large pot OK too} and emerge as big bowls of goodness. 

  The same issue of Cook’s Illustrated that ran the cooker feature above offers this recommendation for spirits to stock in the basic home bar: Tequila, Vodka, Rum, Gin, Brandy, and Whiskey. Saying further, for cocktails stay with bottles in the $15-$40 range, upping the ante then for anything meant to be sipped on its own.

  Credit Ina Garten for this sexy cocktail snack. Large butterflied dates are filled with bleu cheese and wrapped with prosciutto, then warmed in the oven. Mmmmm. Here’s the whole recipe on Food Network. Btw, something Chef Garten used for a different drink but that I think could cozy up to a margarita is a rim of both salt and sugar.

   “Anyone who tells a lie has not a pure heart, and cannot make a good soup” – Beethoven 

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Dec 4, 2020, Gifts Cooks Will Love, From This Year on CS

ALL THE BEST TO OUR SALON FRIENDS THROUGHOUT THIS JOYOUS SEASON

LET’S MEET RIGHT BACK HERE ON JAN 8, 2021

WE’LL GREET THE NEW YEAR WITH “THE GREAT RECIPE ROUND-UP OF 2020”

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

Check for delivery times in item listings

03.27.20  Marketplace  What fun for anyone, or anyone who loves both eating out and eating in. Todd Wilbur’s “Top Secret Recipes . . . Step by Step/Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home” – is just that. Specifically, 125 recipes from over 60 sources – think fast food outlets, family restaurants, ethnic places, breakfast spots, steakhouses, coffee emporiums and dessert bars. The packaged goods clones include Twinkies®, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels®, Fudgsicles®, a couple of Girl Scout cookies, and more.  “Top Secret Recipes Step by Step”

🎄  🧧  ✨   🎵  🎁  🎄  🎅  💖  🤶  🍗  🎄 🥂  🎵  🍰 🎄

10.23.20  Cocktail Hour Buzz  While I’m guessing we probably all know some folks that can likely defy this promise, for the most part this is a very welcome prospect – wine glasses that won’t, or maybe we should say strongly resist, tipping over. They’re 12 oz and because of the design the maker says they’re “naturally aerating.” Hand blown, stemless, all in all very stylish. Prime eligible and right now at a nice discount. Set of two, by Culinex. Four and a half stars and an “Amazon’s Choice.”  “Spill-Proof Wine Glasses!”

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10.30.20  Shopping Finds  And a find it is indeed. Reese’s has taken its peanut butter a step further into the sauce realm. How many ways would you use it? Best think of lots of them because it comes in a 4.5 lb tub. I do sort f wish they’d taken a page from the candy and maybe swirled in some chocolate, but hey we can add that if we want. No disappointment indicated in the reviews, 4+ stars on Amazon, and an Amazon Choice. Btw, there’s also a topping version.  Reese’s peanut butter sauce 

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11.13.20  Shopping Finds  For anyone that uses the toaster oven on a regular basis, these pans are so handy, so welcome. I have them and just LOVE them. Four sweet little helpers that fit most ovens, with the two sheet pans and baking pan checking in at 11 x 7.75, and the baby pizza pan at 4″ also suitable for say rolls or muffins. Non-stick, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Prime eligible. And reasonable too! – at this writing $13.35 for the set, shows reg as $19.99. Toaster Oven Pans

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07.17.20  Featured Recipe  This book was actually linked in that Salon in conjunction with our featured recipe that week, the 3-ingredient Ice Cream Bread. But we thought just maybe some folks might be interested in making their own ice cream. And if so, how about turning to the ice cream icons. Their recipe book offers a bowlful of inventive flavors made with fruit, candy and cookies and even includes some of their “greatest hits.” Kindle and Prime Eligible paperback, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, very reasonably priced.  Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

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10.09.20  Shopping Finds  What cook wouldn’t like to have fresh herbs available right in the kitchen. Especially when there are a number of options that make it so easy. In addition to the seeds or seedlings, they arrive variously with pots or self watering peat pots, potting soil or potting soil disks, seedling trays, plant markers, tools, gloves, grow light, growing guide. Some it seems include just about everything but a gardener. The pot shown {clickable} comes with paints so you can decorate it however you want.  Herb Starter Kits

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11.13.20  Quick Bites  They’re becoming an ever bigger thing, and that’s how they ended up in our newsy section. These “bombs” are made with cocoa or other ingredients inside a chocolate shell that “explodes” in hot milk. What fun! You can google them to see how to make them. Or you may be able to find them in your local grocery or general merchandise store. Or you can, no surprise there, find them on Amazon. The same Amazon page also has the molds to make your own.  Hot Cocoa Bombs

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11.20.20  Salon Topper  This sturdy cup is offered as a classic design, two tone, frosted, and morphing in both 11 oz & 15 oz sizes, plus as a stein and travel mug. Any would be great when you’re in the Salon and having a “Cuppa with Alexa.” Our very own CS design, and crafted by CA-based Zazzle, it’s perfect for that unique morning group. Yep, Coffeehounds, this one’s for you. And if you’re a dog lover, it’s even more for you. Especially if you know the answer to this – “Who’s a Good Coffeehound???”

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09.25.20  Shopping Finds  Anyone who cooks a lot will welcome having {finally} enough spatulas, one of the handiest tools in the kitchen on a par with whisks and good knives. And even better, in different sizes and styles with some flat and some scooped for different tasks. Plus a food brush. And on top of it all, so pretty, so festive. Heat-resistant, non-stick silicone and dishwasher safe. Right now the set is $13.50, Prime eligible, 5 stars, and an “Amazon’s Choice.”  7-pc Spatula Set

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05.22.20  Tips for Our Times  So, in this item in the Salon we were suggesting a tasty way for cooks and other food-o-philes to spend some enjoyable time at home. And that was online food-themed crossword puzzles. But . . . that’s a little hard to give as a gift, though we still like the general idea. So, decided to see what Amazon might have to offer and we found what looks like a goodie – as the site says, ” over 50 new food themed word searches and word scrambles by puzzle master Emily Jacobs.” Food for Fun

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

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New! Another of our very own CS designs

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

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

  Let’s chat   

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

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

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

   On the Table  

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

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

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

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

Below are links for all three . . .

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

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

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

Nick Stellino’s original    Stellino’s cookbooks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

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

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

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

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

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Bobby Flay’s Bacon/Tater Quesadillas w/Salsa & Eggs, Oct 23-Oct 29, 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”

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Quick Bites – Squash season! While I like mine with just a bit of butter and brown sugar, I have to say there are some good looking renditions in Food & Wines offering of Our 36 Best Squash Recipes, such as mashed winter squash with Indian spices, baked butternut squash with cheese polenta, winter squash with gruyere gratin, savory ricotta squash tart, acorn squash saltimbocca. {thanks to Jeffery Martin at Wikimedia Commons for the photo}    We like to share stories on avoiding waste whenever we see them so hoping you’ll take a look at this one on storing sweet potatoes from Extra Crispy. Love sweet potatoes!    So, Well Done sent us to MyRecipes sent us to Reddit for this hack on heating two bowls of food at once in the nuker. I have not tried this.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – I know flavored syrups have been around for a long time, but was sort of surprised to discover how many infused maple syrups are available, and so many sound so good.  The link takes you to the page I saw on Amazon.    MyRecipes, especially as a protégé of AllRecipes, I think is a pretty trusted source. So I paid attention when they posted their pick for favorite pie filling. The winner: Duncan Hines Simply Pie Fillings & Toppings, available in apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, raspberry & strawberry.    Could help avoid waste? Amazon identifies this Automatic Food Sealer with starter kit as one of its current “Hot Releases.” Four and a half stars, Prime Eligible.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – I’m inspired by the current Better Homes & Gardens to “put down the carving knife” and instead turn the surface of pumpkins, real or craft, into pop art. The cover punkin gets its festive look from tissue paper, Better Homes And Gardens Magazine October 2020while others in the story call upon electrical tape, cording, yarn, and paint – brushed on, splattered on, or a fun trick where you blow bubbles into it {don’t inhale}.    The other pic? Popcorn balls? Nope, but first, in our 09.25.20 Salon we linked a story on foods other than muffins you can make in your muffin tin. I have another way I like to use that pan, and that’s to freeze {covered} individual portions of various items, in the case here cooked macaroni. Also good for rice, cooked shrimp, stuffing, frozen veggies, cooked veggies, e.g. Just be sure to treat the cups with non-stick spray so the food can be popped out and into a freezer bag.    Another good use for the ginger syrup {09.18.20 Salon} – in a spicy stir-fry, a tasty offset to the peppers.

   On the Table 

Feature – Bobby Flay’s Bacon & Hash Brown Quesadillas with Salsa & Eggs

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Flay – briefly – and enjoying dinner at his Mesa Grill – not so brief!. No, you want to linger over this fiesta of flavors, a showcase for his passionate take on southwest cuisine.

And so I was drawn magnet-style to this quesadilla {OK, the bacon helped}. That bacon plus homemade hash browns join onion and peppers and cheese 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. If the same page comes up that I saw, you should be able to also scroll down for a demo showing pumpkin gooey butter cake.

Recipe   Flay’s cookbooks, Amazon     Flay items & other celeb chef items on our CS page

Recipe Notes – The recipe makes four very generous servings, and if there will likely be leftovers, just leave the eggs and salsa off the extra stacks and and freeze them. I diced the potatoes instead of grating and cooked them together with the onions, par-fried bacon, pepper and chile powder in the oil. The salsa has the unusual addition of honey and truth be told I was kind of skeptical about it, but in fact it brings a nice touch of richness to the party. Possibilities in advance: make salsa, cook potatoes, lightly fry bacon, chop onions & chives.

Substitutions if needed – while it won’t be the same intense flavor you could probably use chile powder in place of ancho powder.

Next week – Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Bread – sooooooo easy

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 to make French style beef? Oh my, a winner emerged in short order, a slow cooker treatment of a beef chuck roast, rich with broth, veggies, herbs, and a sun dried tomato tapenade. It’s Beef Provençale, from Food Network Kitchen.

Alexa says request: How to make cheese waffles? Among the results was an interesting take that went one better. Ham & Cheese Waffles, with those two guest ingredients going right into the batter. Served warm with butter and maple syrup. From Epicurious.

My request: Do you have a good Bolognese sauce recipe? I’m guessing a good many of you have had this experience too. You throw together an impromptu version of a known dish and it turns out great. But then somehow you just can’t re-create it and nor do any of the recipes you find. For me, that’s a Bolognese sauce. and under the banner of hope springs eternal going to try a 5-star one Alexa found from Side Chef, a site we just recently discovered. If it’s what I’m looking for, you’ll be the first to know.

And this unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – flip a coin {make your choice before you ask}

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  

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

  Big kids tap into their inner little kids with, say, jelly glasses of . . . peanut butter whiskey. Called, and with good reason, Skrewball, it’s just as it sounds, whiskey and peanut butter which, as the maker says, “go together so well the make pb&j jealous.”  Those folks, the husband and wife creators and their team, have lots of fun on their website with the name and while there you’ll also see their hashtag, and meanwhile will leave it to your imagination.

  Good thought, broaden your sipping horizons even further! One thing may be of interest regarding cocktails — cocktails from around the world.  Sure, most everyone knows about margaritas and mojitos, but how about the lesser known cocktails like Pimm’s Cup (UK), Aperol Spritz (Italy),  Caipirinha (Brazil), Kir Royale (France)” – Linda K-P, Orlando

  Guessing there are some folks that can defy this promise, but for the most part this is a very welcome prospect – “spill-proof wine glasses!” They’re 12 oz and “naturally aerating.” Four and a half stars and an “Amazon’s Choice.”

   Btw, just as with the rye croutons, the bacon croutons in Kitchen Talk in last week’s Salon also make a mighty fine cocktail snack. Hot, warm, or cold.

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

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

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

  Let’s chat   

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

♦  ♦  ♦

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.

♦  ♦  ♦

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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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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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?

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

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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

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  

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

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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Rich and creamy {& famous} clam chowder, April 10-April 16, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – “easiest” asparagus / salsa=16 dinners / corona through food?    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – our fun new mugs / adda Mada    FEATURED RECIPE – trick it up    TIP – read & ready    THE WEEK – there’s good and there’s good / possible leftovers resource / play without fear

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What a great time for an asparagus recipe, just when the tender spears are becoming available. Even better, “This might be the easiest way to make asparagus.” It’s in a skillet, few ingredients, says 5 minutes.

  As promised in last week’s Salon, here is AllRecipe’s offer of “16 Easy Dinners to Make with a Jar of Salsa.” Note as with many of these slide shows you can also opt to just scroll down and see the full list. I think my list-topper is likely to be the Black Bean Breakfast Bowl, or wait, maybe the Cilantro Lime Garlic Sauteed Shrimp {D’s Taco Pizza?}.

Thinking we’d all like to know the answer to this. “Can You Contract Coronavirus Through Food?” MyRecipes takes our previous posts a step further with “Why you need to pay attention before, during, and after your supermarket visits {and home deliveries}.” Their information is sourced from the CDC and FDA.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Cheer up your morning {or any time} with a fun CS mug

Our own CS mug collection {five is a collection, right?} is now on its own page right here on the Salon site. More will come in the days ahead.The Mug With A Hoop

For now, you can raise a toast to chocolate, coffee, ice cream, and parties. And rounding out the lineup, one I just love . . . “In this house I’M the celebrity chef” – you too?

All of them are our own designs. But credit for the craftwork goes to CA-based Zazzle, home of many fine crafts.

The page also gives you links to other food-themed mugs on Zazzle plus on Amazon and SunFrog. Some are more cups than mugs, like the clever one shown here from Amazon. Images are clickable.

CS Fun Mug page    CS Marketplace Directory

NEW, our “Make America Decent Again” collection on Zazzle now includes a tee, hoodie. button, sweatshirt and mug – all right now on BJN’s Eclectic Mall page

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Make as is or use their own trick

In our 03.27.20 Salon we featured Todd Wilbur’s book, “Top Secret Recipes/Step by Step.” I had mentioned that among the preps landing on my to-make list was this very one from the famous Boston {etc} restaurant group, Legal Sea Food.

The amped up flavor is thanks to such ingredients as bacon, onions, garlic, and spices. I actually used bottled clam juice for the stock, and here’s one of two ‘fess-ups – canned clams, added at the end and gently heated so they stayed tender.

The second ‘fess up requires a detour, in fact to Boston. I’m long familiar with Legal Sea Foods given that it was a mandatory stop any time my husband and I were in town.

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at HomeOne time while we were at the bar awaiting our table we had a pleasant conversation with the bartender. In the course of the chat we mentioned how we were all but addicted to their fish chowder.

Whether he should have told us or not, he did – the secret he said is a lot of Monterey jack cheese. The question was, is that true or not, but our fairly experienced taste buds thought it probably was and that’s what I’ve borrowed for the clam chowder in place of the flour and cornstarch, melting in till it was as thick as I wanted, and then the clams.

Btw, I learned something that’s reflected in the recipe link. Don’t know how many are in its “library,” but apparently Google posts entire books and that’s where the link will take you. If you’d rather have a real book in your hands, there’s also the Amazon link where you’ll see Wilbur’s work merits 4 1/2 stars, available at good discounts for both Kindle and paperback.

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

  TIP  

For some CS-ers, this is going to be a great big Duh!

Which is to say, you might take a look at the subject and say, well of course I do that. But not all of us do, all the time, and I’m as guilty as anyone else in this regard.

The subject is, reading the recipe. And not just right before you make it, but a day or two before you make it.

Do you have all the ingredients. And just as important, do you have enough of each ingredient. Are the necessary appliances in working order. Does anything have to be done in advance – marinating, baking, chilling, freezing. Or, can some of the steps be completed in advance.

Party time makes this pre-look even more critical, and now we’re likely talking more than one recipe. Are the necessary big bowls and pans going to be available or in use for something else. Is there room in the oven or on the stove for all the planned preps. Is there time to get it all ready.

So grab a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice, sit back and relax. And have a nice little read.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I was drawn to a headline regarding Quarantine Cakes on my Echo Show. Turns out they’re from a bakery in CA, designed for 1 or 2 people, frosted with coronavirus messages {“Stay 6 ft apart,” e.g.}. Not sure what I was expecting, but not exactly this, and not something available only locally. But maybe, intentionally or otherwise, there’s a message here anyway – don’t have to totally abandon good eating habits, but maybe this is a time to indulge in a few more treats than usual. We’ll do our best to help.

  In case you have an Echo Show, one of the features that’s quite handy is asking Alexa how to use up leftovers, as a general question or regarding a specific ingredient. I asked her about some leftover cooked shrimp and she came back with shrimp quesadillas and lemon garlic shrimp. You can then of course ask her for the recipe.

  Are you among those spending a little more time at home than usual these days. One possibility to pass the time is to . . . play with your food. And do it without fear because, cooks being among the most creative folks on earth, we can almost always find ways to turn the bad to good. E.g., I recently made a layer cake instead in a sheet pan, and after a guessed-at baking time the poked-in wooden skewer came out clean and the edges had started to pull away.

  But after it cooled somewhat discovered that actually the bottom was decidedly not cooked. Hmmmm. Hauled out a large skillet, in with a little oil, and then dropped in squares of the cake undercooked side down, until done and a little crisp. Over briefly for some crispness on the done side. Then cooled, wrapped portions in foil, and into the freezer to emerge on demand as tasty pancakes.

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – cup, mug, book-Amazon / recipe-my photo of Wilbur’s page / others-mine
  •  Link sources – cooking asparagus-MyRecipes / brownies-msn.com / photo links for cup & mug, books-Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon {ongoing – Amazon, Zazzle, SunFrog}

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

So far next week: Starting next week our Salon will convert for now to a more simple format, just two elements – a comfort food recipe and whatever food safety measures we can find

Last week, just below: taco shell the blank slate, best cobbler?, marinara + + , sheet pan 2.0, warm chocolate cobbler, flour trick, save the milk, fun with taters, impromptu dressing

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