Ultimate Coconut Cake, “the coconut-tiest,” May 17-23, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – F&W IDs best stews / new roles for bacon {M – OK, let’s get started!} / shopping secret    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – steak guru    FEATURED RECIPE – coconut to the nth degree    TIP – coconut perks  ♦  THE WEEK – sammy fun / super side dish found  ♦  PLUS – new Amazon direct link

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

News, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

There just may be enough cool evenings left to enjoy a good stew. Especially when we can find ones that somewhat transition into spring with say a bounty of seafood in a light broth, or freshening with lemon and dill, or the addition of spring greens into the mix. Depth of flavor brings all the dishes in Food & Wines best ever one- pot dishes into one big tasty family.

♦  Any quarrels aside with the headline {I have faith CS friends certainly may have already thought of some of these}, any “meat candy” fan may want to take a look at “10 Ways You’ve Never Thought to Use Bacon” also courtesy of F&W. Here you’ll find not just breakfast ideas but as well snacks and seasoning, sandwiches and entrees, even a meetup with Almond Joy. Demo for one of them too.

Who would like to go shopping at one of the bulk stores? Who can’t because they don’t have a membership?? Who can now say, gonna shop there anyway??? Folks who read “The Simple Little Hack That Lets You Shop Costco and Other Wholesale Clubs Without a Membership”  from Real Simple – that’s who. Note I have not tried this, but think it certainly may be worth a look.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Like a PhD in Steak

In the “Franklin Barbecue” book, featured in our 03.16.18 Salon, Aaron Franklin schooled us on Q from A to Z. Now the iconic pitmaster, known and revered for his eponymous Austin TX restaurant and PBS show, is taking us by the hand through what may be America’s favorite entree in “Franklin Steak.”

The very moment you open the book you’ll know you’re in for a treasure trove of steakery. On the inside cover and facing page is a flow chart of all the steaks, guiding you through bone v boneless, cooking indoors or out, thickness, aging, on down the chart to exactly how to cook the particular cut.Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef.

And that’s just the beginning. He goes on to in effect walk with you during the buying process, covering grading, marbling, sources, and designations. While that purchase could occur at a farm or ranch or even online, the book recognizes that for most of us that’s going to be at the grocery store or butcher shop and here Franklin goes into good detail on what to look for.

There’s so much more, the jargon, aging, storage, testing for doneness, and of course the actual cuts and, elaborating on that opening chart for the “best way to cook”each. While the chart and other chat focuses on grill-cooking, chapter three gives us a cheat sheet for pan cooking, with even more on this subject in chapter five.

And then as well, recipes for side dishes and sauces plus beverage recommendations, The book is four stars on Amazon, hardcover {pretty good discount} and Kindle, Prime eligible.

Details on –  “Franklin Steak”    “Franklin Barbecue” {5 stars} 

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A cake for all seasons 

Coconut cake is one of those dessert delights that is just sweet and substantial enough to be satisfying in cool and cold weather, tropical enough to be welcome in warm and hot seasons. But think we all know this confection can fall anywhere on a spectrum from dry and chew-challenging to moist and flavorful.

Leave it to MyRecipes, one of my favorite sites, to deliver the epitome of the latter to us. The claim is in the name – “Ultimate Coconut Cake,” calling it the “coconut-tiest cake you can make.”

And the recipe makes good on that promise, big time my friends, with coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut extract, coconut flour, coconut milk, coconut cream, and flaked coconut.

As they say here, “For when you’re really, really serious about coconut.” By way, if you have trouble finding some of the less familiar items in your market, it’s good ol’ Amazon to the rescue, links below.

Recipe    coconut sugar    coconut flour    coconut cream

  TIP  

Super food?

With a little stretch, turns out the cake in our Featured Recipe could actually be good for you {!} It seems more and more we’re finding out how coconut in its many forms has any number of health benefits.

Fortunately this is a “health food” that tastes good. And so versatile besides. Tap into this link for more about the nutritional aspects of coconut and ways to incorporate it into your own cuisine.

Coconut Board

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of the Tidbits in our 03.22.19 Salon revealed odd eating choices among various food editors. And that prompted one of my own. Theirs often dated back to childhood, while this one is actually a recent discovery.

Two experiences collided to create a sweet and savory take on a classic sammie. And you know what, it is sooooooooo good.

Some years ago I read in an MFK Fisher book that one should never eat chocolate without bread. Coincidentally enough at a media event shortly thereafter one of the food rooms solely featured platters of large cubes of crusty bread and good chunk chocolate.

Even longer ago I was on a road trip in the Midwest with friend Peggy that included a stop at Stuckey’s. Back in the car first I was already munching on chocolate fudge blended with cheddar cheese. When Peggy got back to the car she asked what it was and when I told her, her face went all eww-y.

Just try one I said. Next I know the car door opened and slammed, followed in short order by friend returning with two boxes of her own, face now all smiley.

Guessing most CS friends can see what’s coming. Yep. Toasted cheese and chocolate, sauteed in a bit of butter till both are all melty. Oh my.

♦  It was a “crapples” moment when I realized that one of the cookbooks I’d donated to a local cause had my favorite red cabbage recipe. An extensive online search did not produce anything like the prep I remembered. And now, Eureka. Found this one thank you Food & Wine that, while tucking in a different ingredient or two, yields the same hearty flavor profile as the one that went away. Think you might like it too.

So far next week: food lab, new celeb blog, behind the black curtain, chicken parmesan dip, Martha’s wisdom, comeback sauce

YOU CAN CLICK HERE FOR SECURE ACCESS VIA MY LINK TO AMAZON HOME PAGE

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – coconut cake/Greg Dupree on the MyRecipes site, Franklin book/Amazon, sandwich/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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The Tasting Panel has spoken, May 3-16, 2019

Next Salon, May 17, 2019 – see you then!

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – chicken insurance / leftover makeover / do this first    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – beautiful Mom’s Day gifts ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – makin’ Zuni Cafe’s iconic chicken    TIP – avocado love    THE WEEK – the SuperTasters have approved these dishes / the powder caper

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

It’s not likely you’re ever going to hear anyone order chicken “rare.” And we sure as heck don’t want to serve it that way. So “How Long to Cook Every Cut of Chicken” from MyRecipes can provide some very welcome “chicken insurance.” Get the scoop on roasting, grilling, pan frying and deep frying, so that as the subhead says, “you never botch your bird again.” As a bonus there’s a demo on breaking down a whole chicken, which can be a real money-saver.

♦  More from MyRecipes. In the 04.19.19 Salon we spotlighted 30 dishes that are even better as leftovers. So how cool is this for a follow-up, “25 recipes to use up your leftovers.” And this is nice, for some of the items you may also find a recipe for the star that started the show, and then more than one use as leftovers. If as planned I make the chicken parmesan dip you’ll sure see it in a future My Week. Oooh maybe the burger bun donuts too!

And more. You may already do “The First Thing Great Chefs Do Before They Start Cooking” {we’d like to think “wash their hands” but we’ll take that as a given}. I already do this “thing” and was familiar with the French term for it, but sure did learn some extra tricks here. And not only for cooking.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Beautiful food gifts for mom

So much good stuff here. Whether she has a sweet tooth or a “savory” tooth,  chances are excellent you’llShimmering Delights Gourmet Gift Basket find a gift she’ll love.

There are varying arrays of tea, coffee, snacks, cookies, candy, cheese, chips & Tranquil Delights Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket Set with Tea and Cookies (Peony)salsa, plus a breakfast collection, Bloody Mary kit that includes a cutting board, and a “shimmering” gourmet collection. Some also tuck in a nice selection of pampering beauty products.

The latter is shown here along with the Tranquil Delights Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket Set with Tea and Cookies. If you’d like to see a wider array of Mother’s Day gifts, click the second link – and though there’s a huge number of possibilities, fear not, you can narrow your search by type of product, rating, brand and more, and after selecting your initial category, more factors including price and Prime eligible.

Food gifts on Amazon  ♦  Other Mother’s Day gifts

Shimmering collection shown    Spa & tea set shown

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A San Francisco classic 

Those of us who’ve had the memorable pleasure of dining at Zuni Cafe know it’s an experience to be treasured ever after. New York Times recently featured the iconic Market Street restaurant on the 40th anniversary of its founding by Billy West, who was joined in 1987 by the revered chef Judy Rodgers, sadly no longer among us – but it goes well beyond the cliche to say her legacy lives on with every meal still served there.

The story spotlights such specialties as Caesar salad, ricotta gnocchi, espresso granita, chocolate Gâteau Victoire, even the hamburger. But it was the hauntingly good wood-roasted chicken for two on warm aromatic bread salad that most stays with me from our visit.The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Resturant

I subsequently made this dish {shown} from my Zuni Cafe cookbook, which also btw includes the salad, gnocchi, hamburger, and granita. The chicken was spectacular, which prompted a do-list of such other items in the book as prosciutto with chestnuts in olive oil, artichoke caponata, corn-shrimp bisque, and mock {which is to say easier – she calls the original “formidable”} porchetta.

This cookbook, by Judy Rodgers, is a very unselfish offering. All her tip, tricks. and techniques are right there – in fact “cooking lessons”  is part of the subtitle. It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Kindle & Hardcover, Prime eligible.

Recipes on google    NY Times article    Zuni cookbook    Zuni Cafe 

  TIP  

Be gentle now

A helpful hint from Ree Drummond. When you’re adding diced avocado to a salad, wait until you’ve tossed all the other ingredients.

Then gently fold the cubes into the mix. Your avocado will thank you.

Btw, did you know that in the correction pronunciation, Haas rhymes with glass. Click the link for lots more about this versatile star of the produce world.

California Avocado

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Oh what a beautiful week at CooksSalon. A buffet of dishes, candidates for future appearances in CooksSalon, took center stage. Then a quartet of SuperTasters gave the whole array, appetizers to desserts, a thorough vetting, sometimes needing second and third “tests” to be absolutely certain their evaluations would be accurate.

>  Yay, eight thumbs up for chicken parmesan dip, buffalo cauliflower, French endive “hand” salads, shrimp Louie, queso eggs in phyllo cups, ham club sandwich rollups, lemon cheesecake tarts, date/nut scones, and salted chocolate caramel tartlets. Mega thanks and a tip of the toque to Christine McKellar, Debbie Vinson, and Layne Whiteman for helping make sure CS brings you just the best-est recipes.

> So then, all those dishes will be coming your way in the near future. Meanwhile, for a weekly serving of the top happenings in Las Vegas, be sure to tune in to Christine’s site, Vegas Only Entertainment.

♦  In our 02.01.19 Salon we talked about discovering malted milk powder and putting it to use in muffins, oatmeal . . . and coffee. Now the Caribou Coffee chain has added menu items that incorporate malted milk powder into both hot and cold coffee beverages. Do you think they read it first in CooksSalon? 😉😁🤣

So far in the next Salon: best stews, bulk shopping trick, 10 new ways with bacon, that sandwich is what now???

SECURE ACCESS THROUGH MY LINK TO AMAZON HOME PAGE

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: Mom’s Day gifts & Zuni book/Amazon, others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Cheese and more cheese, March 8-14, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat – Misty previews this week’s salon  

♦  TIDBITS – rich rib-eye / best bacon methods {M – mom, may I suggest you try all of them} / honoring Bourdain     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – kitchen art    FEATURED RECIPE – hot & cheesy spaghetti    TIP – cheese storage    THE WEEK – Martha Manual, first look / Irish Guinness Stew / oh-oh

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  If you’re going to indulge, might as well go for it. Food & Wine shows the way down this culinary path with its prep for Butter-Basted Rib Eyes. Ye gods, this is my favorite cut anyway, and seldom say no to butter, so for all of us in this “bunch,” let’s give it a whirl.

  We all pretty much know how to cook bacon. But . . . do we know the best way to cook bacon. Food 52 gives us the benefit of their research {oh, the sacrifice!}, for turning out perfecto strips. But . . . the answer has a bit to do with your preferences. In that regard, still helpful. Tune in here for the results.

  Oh, this is nice. Food & Wine reports that Chef Bourdain’s native New Jersey is creating an Anthony Bourdain Food Trail, linking the state’s 10 restaurants that were featured in the NJ episode in season 5 of “Parts Unknown.” On that itinerary, a roadstand, inn, deli, oyster house, steakhouse, and more.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Sprucing up for Spring? How about some kitchen art

Which is to say, how about some kicky food posters to give your kitchen or dining nook a colorful newHome Comforts Framed Art for Your Wall Kitchen Casserole Tomato Mozzarela Baking Dish 10x13 Frame look? Shown here, just a couple of the many artsy possibilities available.

As you scroll through the various options you’ll see designs dedicated to herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables, casseroles & ethnic foods, coffee & tea, beer & wine, dishes & utensils, chefs wall26 Canvas Prints Wall Art - Still Life Various of Spices on Rustic Wooden Table Food/Kitchen Concept | Modern Wall Decor/Home Decoration Stretched Gallery Canvas Wrap Giclee Print - 12" x 18"& kitchenware, collages & sayings.

For friends who like to cook, or are just food-a-philes, this could be a nice housewarming gift. Or any occasion gift.

Some are already framed. Others await your special touch. Saw several at $9.99.

All on Amazon    Spice poster    Casserole poster    Top rated food posters

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

If you like melty cheese dishes, this could be the cookbook for you 

Although our featured prep is quite spicy, most of what is delivered to the plate is kind to the palate in the “Hot & Cheesy” cookbook. All in 390 pages by James Beard winning Clifford A Wright.

So what will you find? Meat & vegetable creations, pizza & pasta, sandwiches & crepes, rice & egg preps, sauces & dips, and both sweet & savory pastries.

In addition to such cheesy choices as hot crab dip, bacon-onion rolls, pork chops stuffed with pecans and bleu cheese, chicken grilled with ham & cheese, there are ethnic classics including saganaki, raclette, queso fundido and fondues. Great tips too for selecting, measuring, cooking, serving and storage.

Our Feature, Spaghetti with Fresh Chiles, is not only tasty but pretty as well {but OK, maybe not a cardiologist’s fave}. After a bit of chopping involved, brief cooking, it’s smooth sailing to the table. A nice counterpoint, salad with cucumbers.

Recipe  ♦  “Hot & Cheesy” cookbook    Other Wright cookbooks

♦  TIP  

Keeping the cheese

If your household is like mine, cheese doesn’t stay around very long. But on those occasions when maybe you bought a larger size, or perhaps have a lot of different kinds, you sure don’t want any of it to go bad. After trying different methods, this is what I’ve found works best . . .

Leave it in the store package, which you’ve cut along the top on three sides. After each use tuck the wrapper tightly around on all sides, and then place it in a zip bag, wrapping that tightly around after squeezing out as much air as possible.

Btw, this cheese tip is one of the 50 food and kitchen tricks in my kindle book on Amazon – 99 cents.

“50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks”

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Just started looking through Stewart’s new book, “The Martha Manual.” As the title promises this big tome is chock full of techniques for life’s necessities – cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry – and then some of the more creative aspects – decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining and yep cooking. We’ll look at that latter section soon and share in an upcoming Salon.

  Stew instead? In our Feb 15 Salon we featured Irish potato cakes, on a page that filled in the rest of the meal with roast chicken, sides, brown bread & dessert. But the same source, Irish Central, not surprisingly also offers us a prep for Irish beef stew, enriched with Guinness. Thinking that the brown bread would be a great accompaniment for this hearty dish. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  Took baby steps this week on the way to finally learning to use a mandolin. Pray for my fingers.

So far next week: Guinness stew, “jolly chicken,” fave tequila, foodie fiction, and I’ll rye if I want to 

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

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

 

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

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat  

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

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

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Great offer for kids – but hurry

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

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

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

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

The bundle from ATK    Just the book, from Amazon

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

One of the best desserts I’ve ever made 

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

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

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

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

Recipe page    “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook  

♦  TIP  

Kiwi in 3-2-1

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

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

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

Kiwi trick

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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

  CatChat  

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

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

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

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

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

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

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

“The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook” 

Best selling mysteries on Amazon    Top rated mysteries on Amazon

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

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

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A Party hearty dish with an Italian accent 

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

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

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

Recipe    Martha Stewart’s cookbooks  ♦  Her magazine

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

  TIP  

Maybe meatloaf

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

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

Mini meatloaf recipe    Food Network    Barefoot Contessa episodes

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

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

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

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

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

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

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
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Ree’s Easy Rich Caramel Brownies, for Nov 30-Dec 6, 2018

  CatChat  

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

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

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Oh these cookbooks are such fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Six Sisters cookbooks

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

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

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Chef-crafted rich brownies with caramel – easy caramel!

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

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

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

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

  TIP  

Well this makes it a Well Done/My Recipes trifecta

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

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

Good gravy

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

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

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

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

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

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me 
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Ladies of the Night Pasta, for Nov 23-29, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – a food shopper’s dream / getting food-smarter / bar USA   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Leftovers solved {M – let ME solve this!!!} / Party Party Party shirts    FEATURED RECIPE – the name’s as interesting as the dish is tasty    TIP – crushing squash {not literally}    THE WEEK – really lemony!!!  / the avocado / the rant

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It’s a long time since I’ve been in Miami but may well be worth a trip, given it’s on its way to becoming a food hall capital. These emporiums typically gather a great array of food vendors and restaurants under one roof. In the city now you can find the multi-ethnic St Roch Market, the Italian flavored La Centrale {shown} and Casa Tua Cucina, and the Asian themed  1-800-Lucky. Rumors swirl of more to come.

  Are you a label reader? If so, good for you, as this can be so important in terms of spying unwelcome ingredients, avoiding personal allergens, checking fat/sodium content, and just generally cultivating healthful eating. So, you may want to know about new label requirements from the FDA {thanks to Food & Wine} within the next three years.

  Well this is interesting. Tasting Table has given us a roster of spirits, mixers, and add-ins that are all American made – so, as they say, you can stock an all-American bar at home. Two notes. First, you’ll probably want to add some other stuff that may or may not  have a domestic pedigree. And, since they did not include a vodka I’d like to suggest Tito, a nice clean taste without being filtered to death.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Leftovers mean easy meals ahead

30 Holiday Leftover Makeover Recipes : Recipes For Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Holiday Leftover Recipes Book 1)And here are the books that tell you how. The holiday one shown here and several others are available on Kindle for just $2.99. Others come in additional formats.

The one called “30 Holiday Leftover Makeover Recipes: Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” is rated 4 1/2 stars.Dot's Secret Little What to do with Leftover Turkey Cookbook

The turkey one rates 5 stars, and is offered in various formats and prices.

Holiday Leftovers cookbook    Turkey Leftovers cookbook    Other leftovers cookbooks

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

Extra for everyone – Going to a holiday party? Go in comfort. Go in style. Just pop on one of our “Party Party Party / tomorrow everything else” shirts. Click to see a larger image, along with other styles, sizes and colors.  On SunFrog     On Zazzle

  FEATURED RECIPE  

 A pasta dish . . . “as we like it”

Called “Ladies of the Night Pasta,” it pulls together rotini {I used penne}, chicken, sausage, mushrooms and more in a pretty quick process. Maybe a takeoff on another speedy pasta, “Puttanesca,” a reference to those same Ladies and titled it’s said because they could easily prep it between “gentleman callers” and the aroma acting as an additional lure.

Btw, this one says it “serves 6-8 customers.”😉

The recipe’s name, also the title of a Broadway play, and the chapter it came from, “The Taming of the Stew,” will make total sense when we look at the source. It’s the “As You Like It” cookbook from the gift shop at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

I couldn’t find this cookbook or any cookbook in the theater’s online gift shop, though it may well be on the actual shelves – but did find a different one of theirs on Amazon. Pretty cool to add to your collection and at the same time contribute to a worthy cause, at the Guthrie or any other cultural shop.

Recipe page    “Much Ado About Food: A Guthrie Theater Cookbook

  Guthrie Theater

  TIP  

Butternut squash is a holiday favorite and also a personal favorite. So was happy to see Real Simple give us a tutorial for the veggie.

About that. Something I learned – cut before peeling. Something I’d suggest – use a grapefruit spoon. Something I’m probably not doing – much of a recipe junkie as I am, not likely to use any here, but only because winter squash is another food I like pretty much pure.

In fairness, the dishes sound quite interesting and may well be a nice addition to your table. You’ll find a roasted version with mustard vinaigrette, a soup that includes parsnip {another personal fave}, and a “pizza-like flatbread.”

Crushing the squash

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Like lemon? Like cake? Then think you might like this. Especially since it has a store-bought head start – twice. So, for  the lemon cake used “the box” but put the juice of a large lemon in a measuring cup and added water to make the cup of liquid required for the mix. While it baked, blended 8 oz cream cheese with 1/2 of a 10 oz jar of lemon curd for the filling. And then “the can” of lemon frosting blended with the rest of the curd for the top. Lemony!

  What, never? Aarón Sánchez, who you may know from his tv gigs, cookbooks or New Orleans restaurant, says never put an avocado “anywhere near an oven” – ruins the magic he says. But the chef doesn’t leave you hanging, instead offering tips and a fish taco recipe. Btw, there’s an add-on to the Sanchez story from Buzz60 which intros vegan avocado beer. OK.

  Fair warning: soapbox ahead. The Sanchez piece further noted that if contestants present him with “baked (or roasted, or sauteed) avocado, they’d better be ready for a raised eyebrow.” Hopefully Sanchez doesn’t go beyond a lifted brow. Because one of my BIG bugaboos in competition shows is when judges base an evaluation on personal preference rather than sound culinary principles. I’ll keep the  name to myself but one particular female judge is routinely guilty of this practice.

So far next week: Ree’s Caramel Brownies, easy/showy party courses, dress like a pro {your salad, that is}, awesome breakfast dish

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

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Andres’ Great Big Bowl of Goodness, for Nov 2-Nov 8, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – tv show stars leftovers {M – told her before I’d be happy to take care of that stuff} / rim like a pro / don’t throw those water balloons, freeze ’em    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – give yourself celeb status / easy gifting of top cookbooks  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – a “strike” with this kind of bowl-ing  ♦  TIP –  . . . and some “spares” ♦  THE WEEK – make-do is a woohoo / keep on truckin’ / dip for your face 

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Have you watched ”Scraps”? Just as the name would imply, this Katie Couric-produced tv show addresses makeovers for leftovers. This season, its second, just debuted on 10.11, and on the page, with a couple of steps, you can watch episodes, or just go directly to recipes. Other food shows on this FYI network too.

  Holiday get-togethers are just around the corner, and festive beverages can be part of the fun. A site called VinePair offers a schooling on rimming the glasses with a number of good things beyond salt, and tips on how to do it. Though this is cocktail-based, why not get creative with soft drinks too.

  And I just love this party idea for chilling your beverages from Hometalk {once there, scroll to the right}. Regular ice in the bucket is replaced by ice filled balloons – so festive and no melting all over the place making everything drippy.

  One thing though, I’m wondering if once you take a bottle out if it’s hard to replace among the balloons. Maybe a second container inside? Btw, if you’re a crafty sort, this site can keep you busy every day with projects from their super-creative contributors.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“In this house I’M the celebrity chef”

Proclaim it with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, and evening cocoa, and what the "In this house I'M the celebrity chef" Long Apronheck pour in your beverage of choice at cocktail hour.

Or say it with a tee, sweat, hoodie or apron. Wear your proud statement.

Any will make clear to one and all just who rules this kitchen.

For you, or your cook-tastic spouse, friend or family member.

Just FYI, this is my own design. Mugs & shirts at Michigan company SunFrog. Apron at Zazzle.

Mugs    Shirts    Apron

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

Extra for Cooks – or more specifically, those who have folks on their gift list who are cooks. For most, cookbooks are always welcome. But how to choose from the zillion available? This can help if you want to shop on Amazon. Best selling cookbooks   Best rated cookbooks

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Wait till you see how much good stuff goes into one boffo bowl 

Leave it to José Andrés to take a humble bowl from the cabinet and fill it meatlessly to 5-star perfection. The picture tells most of the story.

You can see the flavor, texture, and color contrasts of carrots, scallions, corn, edamame, and bok choy, among other main ingredients. What you don’t see is the dimension altering garlic yogurt sauce and soy ginger dressing.

Btw, that beautiful egg is in neither the ingredients list nor directions. But heck what doesn’t get even better with an eggie crown???

And the recipe title is the mouthful, “Inspired by Beefsteak’s Kimchi-Wa Bowl.” If, like me you’re not a big fan of kimchi, fear not, it’s really just a garnish and as such you can – oops, forgot to add it.

Recipe    Jose Andre cookbooks  

♦  TIP  

Bowl over your family, your guests, even yourself

Because it’s not just Andrés. Bowl cuisine is an emerging trend in restaurants at all levels. And this is one we can so easily bring into our own kitchens.Clean Eating Bowls: 50 Superfood Paleo Bowl Recipes for Clean Eating, Increased Energy, and Vibrant Health

As this story picked up by ProChef SmartBrief notes, these dishes are easy to eat, encourage adventurousness, and can look quite pretty. Easy to build too, because there are no rules.

But there are suggestions to get you started. Just check out this google page.

And of course, trust Amazon to bring you books all about it, including the one shown. And many others

Food bowl cookbooks

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  So when I went to make some shredded beef for a Mexican buffet I found I didn’t have the taco seasoning that I wanted to use in the cooking water. So I substituted what I did have – a steak marinade mix. And what a pleasant surprise. Had never used this for anything before but will likely apply it in other ways too – maybe sometime even on steak {!}

  I just caught up with what’s turned out to be one of my favorite new shows on Food Network – Andrew Zimmern’s “Big Food Truck Tip,” where for six episodes he visited these mobile eateries across the country. The name derives from the fact that in each city the best of the three trucks he checks out will receive a $10,000 “tip.”

Though the truck trend is not new, it’s also not going way, but rather increasing as time goes by. Surely contributing to the popularity is that so many of them serve just such great food, usually fast, and with a come-as-you-are vibe. Episodes so far ran in Sept & Oct, and you can catch up with all of them on the Food Network site.

  Since I always make sure to have a good supply of avocados, some can get iffy. So was happy to see these 5 ways to use them up. They’re all quite interesting but the one I tried wasn’t food {or wasn’t supposed to be} – sort of a guacamole facial. It’s nice, skin feels refreshed when it goes on, soft when it comes off, and with a bit of a glow {or was that the turmeric???}. Btw, though you can store leftovers, I just spooned out what I needed and put some crackers to the rest.

So far next week: chocolate covered peanut butter bars, top-pop cookbook, baking tip, drink your leftovers

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

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Savory Sweet Potato Bake, for Oct 19 – Oct 25, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – ice cream for breakfast? how many ways? {M – make mine vanilla} / potato chips too? / bagels aflame    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – decking the halls / holiday perusing    FEATURED RECIPE – sweet potato casserole, two ways    TIP – do a Sprat, but save the fat    THE WEEK – sweet potato casserole, 3.0 / decadence tc / a celeb chef and I invite you to have some “debris”

{Mdear feline friends, please check out the two new photos mom put in my Gallery}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well Food & Wine has done it again, dangled a headline before us that just hoovers us into the story. It was in their online newsletter that they offered “19 Ways to Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast,” where you’ll find morning versions of sundaes & splits, cookies & cakes, tacos, and melted ice cream hot chocolate.

  And how about this for breakfast . . . potato chips??? I just loved the sassy tone in this Extra Crispy story that steamrollers over guilt and drags the bag out of the pantry, and its contents into eggs, one way or another.

  Food 52 is not slouch either when it comes to irresistible headlines. And again, it was well worth it. Enjoy the tale and recipe that follow “I Tried Chrissy Teigen’s Everything Bagel Casserole & Nearly Set My Kitchen on Fire,” the recipe from Teigen’s new “Cravings: Hungry for More” cookbook.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Bring Christmas right to the dining table

So much fun to decorate for the holidays, especially when such pretty stuff can be just a few clicks away in Amazon’s vast array. Santa Claus Hat Christmas Chair Covers, Miniko(TM) Santa Claus Party Gift Dinner Dinning Christmas Table Decorations Tableware Set Pack 4

Our main link below takes you to the page for tablecloths, table runners, place mats, ways to make it all so festive.

ITART 9 Pack Wine Bottle String Lights Cork LED Battery Powered Lights 15 Leds 2.5ft Multicolor Micro Small Silver Wire Shaped Fairy Light Crafts Table Centerpieces Wedding Parties Christmas DecorYou can also search on the page for other Christmassy touches such as Centerpieces, Lighting, and more.

Holiday table decor

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

Extra for Book Lovers – the “book store” at Amazon offers such a treasury of holiday reading, from coloring books, to novels, to cookbooks, to decorating guides. Browse them all for you, or “who. ”

  FEATURED RECIPE  

For Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or . . . right now!

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. Here are links for both . . .

My version on our Recipe Page    Nick Stellino’s original    Stellino’s cookbooks

  

  TIP  

If you’re like Jack Sprat . . .

 . . . and can eat no fat, or at least just plain don’t want to, then like me you trim, trim, trim, whether you’re cooking beef {see leftovers tip in My Week below}, chicken, pork, ham, whatever. But since I also don’t like waste, I use what I cut off, whether from the precooked or cooked meat.

And unless you’re a surgeon, the trimmings usually include some lean meat too, so all of that and any bones go into a pot of water along with carrots, onion, celery, garlic and a bit of bouillon powder. I cook till flavorful, letting some of the water cook off if necessary.

Let cool, then chill in the fridge till the fat rises to the top as a solid and can be scraped off and discarded. Then strain and use as is, or make gravy by thickening it with flour or cornstarch, or with the pureed cooking vegetables.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  An addendum to our Featured Recipe this week. I like dried thyme well enough, but for me it doesn’t take much to be too much, so my prep cuts the original measure to just a sort of healthy pinch. In case you don’t like thyme at all, one time I did substitute nutmeg and that worked out quite well. I do have to say though the thyme does add an interesting and not altogether unwelcome earthy dimension.

  So made the chocolate-topped peanut butter bars from the What Can I Bring cookbook featured in our Sept 21 salon. It made a lot and accordingly had a lot of taste testers. Kudos all around for this easy dessert, so right now planning to make it our Featured Recipe for the Nov 9 salon, right in time for the holiday tables. No-bake too!

  Have leftover cooked beef? One of the ways I’ve used it up ever since I had super chef Carlos Guia’s original at Commander’s Palace some time back – is as “debris,” and I swear it tastes way, way better than it sounds. In my version I shred the beef and heat it in beef broth or stock to which I’ve added garlic powder and pepper along with butter-sauteed onions. And then top each serving with a poached egg or two. Did just that this week, and along with some sourdough toast, an mmm-mmm brunch.

So far next week: best chicken recipes, avoiding chicken cooking mistakes, double layer cheesecake bars, pasta tips 

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

 

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Martha’s slow cooker carne guisada {that means gravy!}, for Oct 12-18, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – best ever one-pots / eat well & do good / awesomeness for your 9×13’s    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT– best cookers / pet warmers {M – let the dogs have ’em, I never go outside}    FEATURED RECIPE – boffo tacos    TIP – José plays, you drink  ♦  THE WEEK – chop chop / yum to come / “genius” tips

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Stew season! The folks at Food & Wine have culled through decades of recipes from their pages to bring us “Best Recipes Ever: Stews and One-Pot Dishes.” The lineup features downhome favorites, regional preps and ethnic specialties, all rich and hearty.

  Need a break from the kitchen now and then? Or maybe on vacation? If so, and one of José Andrés’ restaurants is in the area, maybe consider making this your destination one night. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this Beard-winning, Michelin-starred chef, notable for his world class tasting menus, and can confirm he has a larger than life personality – but we now know he also has a larger than life heart. Andrés organized kitchens that served 3.6 million meals to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and to date more than 80,000 meals in the Florence-bashed Carolinas.

  Move over sheet pans, and make room for your 9×13 cousins. Taste of Home is showing a dozen preps, and woohoo all are contest winners. One I found interesting is for monkey bread, single layer instead of the usual bundt style {and the grand prize winner}. And one you can bet I’ll be trying, and sharing, is the double layer cheesecake bars.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Stew all day – dinner, not you

One of the things I love about Amazon is that whatever you’re looking for it’s likely you’re going to find lots of choices. What keeps it from becoming confusing is that you can zeroElite Platinum Maxi-Matic Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in on your preferences with the options listed in the left side menu.

While for all of you, my friends, that is of course a personal decision, Cadet Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steelthere’s a particular selection I like to make when featuring something here in CooksSalon. And that is, what are the top offerings. So pretty much any time I’m showing such items, beyond a Electric Rice Cooker Food Steamer - Small 5 Cup (Uncooked) Mini Rice Maker Steamer for Grains and Hot Cereal with One Touch Control and Automatic Keep Warm Functionspecific product you’ll also see a link to best seller, best rated, or both.

Inspired by the stew recipes noted in this week’s Tidbits, thought we could take a look at slow cookers in that regard. Nice, many of them are prime eligible.

Best selling slow cookers    Best rated slow cookers

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

Extra for Dog Lovers – here comes cold weather, time to get out the warm coats for you and the puppydogs. Don’t have any for the four-pawed ones? Browse right here with these direct links to Amazon or Zazzle.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Tacos from the slow cooker – yep!

So, thanks to a bunch of Yelp-ers, I learned the difference between carne asada and carne guisada. The former grills the meat and the latter simmers it in a savory gravy.

Onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, broth and seasonings are all in the mix. And then the slow cookers infuses all those flavors into browned cubes of beef chuck or bottom round.

Even better, the prep comes from the kitchen guru Martha Stewart. See more of her slow cooker recipes in the link below, and a lot more in her dedicated cookbook.

Recipe    39 more slow cooker recipes from Martha

Her slow cooker cookbook    Her other cookbooks

  TIP  

Sipping the Andrés way

José Andrés plays with his food. His website has a page of videos showing exactly that and while all are quite fascinating and fun to watch, most are not really for the home cook, calling into service, e.g., sous vide, sheets of ice, flamethrowers, exotic ingredients, or complex steps.

But at least one of them does fall reasonably within the home kitchen realm. It’s a drink for two and quite appealing both in appearance and probable taste. How about though if both of the people at those straws pledge no driving afterward.

Just for your amusement, may want to check out some of his other videos.

Señor y Señora Sandí-Tiki Cocktail demo    Andres’ page of videos

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Do you have one of those small choppers, either hand crank or electric? Why did I have to see someone else do this to realize how perfect it is for mincing garlic and ginger, both otherwise a bit of a pain in the patootie. Works great!

  In the process of browsing Jose Andrés’ site, found so many recipes I’d like to  try. I think the first one is going to be something he says is inspired by a kimchi bowl he serves at his Beefsteak restaurant – but actually the kimchi is a topping and as such I’d call optional {a good thing, not a fan} – everything else comes together so flavorfully, may well be an upcoming Featured Recipe.

  And the beat goes on. Here, BuzzFeed shares some “genius” slow cooker tips, for meats, chili, dumplings, bread pudding, mac & cheese and more. All from notable chefs, each has a brief explanation and then a link for more information.

So far next week: ice cream for breakfast, potato chips for breakfast, sweet potatoes for a crowd, smokin’ bagels {literally!}

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

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