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

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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

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

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

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

   On the Table  

Feature – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups – and tasty variations 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next week – Our fave cook-loving gifts from 2020

Recipe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

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

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

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

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

   On the Table  

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

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

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

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

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

{Photo from Williams-Sonoma recipe page}

Next week – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

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

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

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

   “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

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

     Zazzle                                       SunFrog

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Note

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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”

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

 Let’s chat   

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

   On the Table  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Substitutions if needed – see above about replacing steak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

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

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

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

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

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A Classic Canadian Sweet Treat, no-bake, Oct 9-Oct 15, 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 – Salad greens, so crisp and fresh . . . until they aren’t. Why do they insist on racing ahead of other produce to go bad? Well, MyRecipes has some insights in that regard, and not only the “why” but also Exactly How to Store Salad Greens Until You Need Them. Salad saved.    That same post has an instructive article on when to use a food processor, when to use a blender, and when to just work by hand. See it here   CleanPlates is offering a free 10 day Wellness Tune-up, based on the belief that “most of the time, a few small tweaks to your routine, diet, or self-care is enough to make a difference in how you feel every day.” The link takes you to their site rather than the offer so you can check out the context.

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

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

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

 On the Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original recipe    Other recipes on Google    Nanaimo Bars on Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

Cocktail Hour Buzz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hearty Cheese Ravioli Soup, Sept 18-Sept 24, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

My “Make America Decent Again” – 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle

See it right here on CS  OR Go right to the Zazzle page

Let’s Chat

Quick Bites – Take a dog to lunch? Turns out quite a few restaurant chains will welcome Rover or Fifi  🐶  and maybe even sweeten the deal with water and treats. Often the pups and their moms & dads are seated outdoors which many places are now emphasizing anyway. Here are a lot of sources on google  Milk Street fans, Season 4 starts Sept 19. Now the team is going on the road, in fact around the world, where they’ll, as PBS says, “meet cooks who inspire a new style of home cooking.” In my time zone, Saturdays at noon.

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Shopping Finds – On a recent episode of Fieri’s GGG one of the contestants selected ginger syrup for his dish – and that was new to me so looked for at the grocery store but nope, but thank you Amazon, found it there.    I guess we had to know it would be coming – face masks with food themes! I found these on the well established Eat This Not That site but the masks they show come from various sources so you may want to do a pre-check. If you do go on those sites, maybe even more food you can “wear.”

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Kitchen Talk –  So far have used the ginger syrup on waffles and in tea. Much as I can’t abide ginger in baked goods, love it every other way and this joins that collection. How else might you use it? Here’s what google says.    Btw, did not waste that original caramel sauce from our 09.04.20 Salon, but instead mixed it with soba noodles, a little chicken bouillon, chicken, carrot shreds, topped with green onion & chopped peanuts. That worked.     My quest continues for a really good oven fried chicken recipe – you’ll be the first to know.

 

 On the Table

Cheese Ravioli Soup – just a big bowl of good

Such a satisfying dish, and thank you Taste of Home. Now, don’t be frightened by the long-ish ingredient list.

Step one, brown the ground beef, and then add and cook all the sauce ingredients.

Step two, cook the ravioli, combine with the sauce and heat through.

Step three, stir in parm, top with parsley. Done!

Even though I know this is a very tasty bowlful, I was curious why the recipe rated just 3 1/2 stars. Ha! we could have guessed this one – not like soup. The only other criticism was not enough ravioli for the sauce.

Commenters loved the taste and no one downgraded on this point. That’s all good in my book {bowl?}

Recipe    Taste of Home cookbooks on Amazon

Recipe Notes – I used frozen ravioli and worked fine. What else? just bring on the crusty bread.

Next week  – Peach Pecan Cobbler, a warm and satisfying fall dessert . . . or breakfast

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

Visit with Alexa on Amazon Echo right here in the Salon on our own CS page. In the chat this week . . .

Philly Cheese Steak Bread – three come up but we like the one “in a box,” crispy fried chicken, a wine joke {alert – groaner!}

Visit here with Alexa

Cocktail Hour Buzz 

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

  Jello takes its place among the very best party centerpieces. Whaaaaat? It’s true and to believe it you really have to see these jello cakes on the Food & Wine site and also recently featured in the magazine. High art worthy of a museum, and edible too. But don’t know who could bear to bite into these beauties.

♦  Love leftover makeovers! “My favorite way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Plop the potatoes in the middle of saran wrap. Using the wrap, roll into a 3″ log and seal. Refrigerate on a plate (it will leak). In the morning, slice into discs and fry in a sprayed pan for perfect hash browns.” – Bob & Colleen

This is probably more entertainment than research, but even so you might want to take a look at this brief video {X-rated for implied language} posted by Food & Wine. “Here’s What Bartenders Think of You Based on Your Drink Order.” I was watched it, was amused, then invoked that same implied language – OK, good, now just make my {darn} cocktail.

♦  “Never serve oysters in a month that has no paycheck in it.” – P J O’Rourke

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Kentucky Butter Poke Cake, Sept 11-Sept 17, 2020

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 – Walmart offers daylong suggestions in the feature “Quick Homemade Healthy Meal Ideas for Busy Weekdays.” The trick here is to sneak extra fruits and vegetables into, e.g., smoothies, breakfast tacos &burritos, lunch wraps, afternoon snacks, hearty soups, and dinner sandwiches.    Did you know, maybe under the banner of any excuse for a party, over 100 countries celebrate Sept 17 as “Halfway to St Patrick’s Day”?    Bring it to the table with “All the Irish Potato Recipes you could ever need” {see Kitchen Talk} – and maybe a bit of corned beef and a wee dram.

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Shopping Finds – Well just in time for Halloween, Cello Cheese in bringing to market a pumpkin spice rubbed version of their fontals {a fontina sibling}, described as smooth and creamy, mild and sweet, and “wonderfully buttery.” On their site you can find Where to Buy  Culinary icon Ruth Reichl {see her storied career on her site} has several books steeped in the food world, but maybe none a better window on her approach to opportunities and challenges than “Save Me the Plums” {on Amazon}, her life and times as editor of Gourmet Magazine.

On BJN’s Eclectic Mall – Tired of the vitriol now routinely flying back and forth across the aisle in our governmental bodies from DC to local? My “Make America Decent Again” items {7 in all} send the message loud & clear. You can find some details below, all details at the BJN link shown.

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Kitchen Talk – I made the Champ {from potato story above, shown here}, basically mashed with green onions, but there’s some fun in the technique – served in individual bowls, it’s spooned up from the outside in so the taters can be dipped in a central well of melted butter. Btw, if you do want a recipe, you can click the link underneath in the story rather than going through their alternate process.    I continue to discover the many ways grits are great. The latest – topped with chili! and a little cheese  🧀  stirred into the grits can’t hurt.   Another goodie from The Food Lab book, featured last week on Amazon – to smash or not to smash? Your burger, that is. Turns out it’s a matter of timing. FL says, to end up with nice browning without losing juices, smash within the first 30 seconds of the patty hitting the hot skillet.

 On the Table

Kentucky Butter Poke Cake – even richer than it sounds

In this confection from the Betty Crocker site, there’s cream cheese in the cake, more cream cheese in the rich frosting that is poked into the cake and spread on top as well. And then stir both butter and buttermilk into the mix. This is a really good cake.

And it’s a big cake, so you can play. I topped part of it with the sliced almonds called for in the recipe, though I didn’t mix them into the frosting as specified. Other parts of the rich, creamy surface were treated to a dusting of cinnamon, and yet others a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa. Though truth be told it’s fabulous just as is, unadorned.

Two really helpful items on the recipe page: a slide button that keeps your screen from going dark while you’re working, and a sidebar of expert tips. Thanks, Betty!

Recipe Notes – I left the frosting a little thicker so it wouldn’t soak the cake too much and accordingly poked with the blunt end of a skewer rather than a fork. Even in a pan slightly smaller than 9 x 13, my cake was done in 30 min, maybe because less wet. It also freezes very well, and in fact the texture seems even silkier when thawed.

Substitutions if needed – Other nuts, chopped, should also be fine.

Next week – Hearty Ravioli Soup, bountiful enough to be an entree

Recipe Betty Crocker cookbooks on Amazon Betty Crocker recipe page

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

Visit with Alexa on Amazon Echo right here in the Salon for this week’s chat – Bobby Flay’s Cuban hamburger, vanilla wafer cake, green onion-cheddar doughnuts

Visit with Alexa

Cocktail Hour Buzz 

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

  Food and Wine lifts the curtain – along with our spirits – on “Our Best Brunch Cocktails.” What makes them especially brunch-y? Starring roles for fresh fruits and vegetables, fruity liqueurs, colorful garnishes, even decorative ice cubes. 16 super sippers in all.

  Perfect for the month that also hosts National Cheeseburger Day, from a member of our Tasting Panel. “Do the readers know about secretburger.com? They’re staging cool events all over the country, through Sept 13, often benefiting charities, meanwhile treating diners to “secret” off-menu dishes created by chefs cutting loose from their everyday cooking. Everybody wins!” – Debbie, Las Vegas. Scroll down on the site to see about your town.

A bit of party advice from the Playboy book featured in last week’s Salon: “Meticulous planning, comfortable digs, elaborate platters may be important to your reputation as a host, but vital to it is your understanding that every prearranged drinking session calls for two kinds of alchemy: the first is mixing potables; the second, mixing people.”

  Regarding the former, “. . . their purpose is to create fun and amity.” For the latter, in smaller gatherings, “guests who’ll be as compatible as gin and tonic.” And for larger parties, “two or three abrasive acquaintances may provide just the catalytic force needed to transform a low-key soiree into an uninhibited revel – like yeast in small quantities, they often guarantee the lively but controlled fermentation on which good parties rise.”

♦  Good idea! “I get a lot of inspiration from the food I have when I go on trips” Ree Drummond on her Pioneer Woman show on Food Network

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Homemade donuts, glazed, jelly, more, May 8-May 14, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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

  COMFORT FOOD  

Raise your hand

. . . if you think donuts sit way atop the list of comfort foods. But can’t go to the store right now? Paula Deen says you don’t have to. Tap into her “How to Make Doughnuts at Home” feature and turn out some beautiful glazed rounds that she tops with sprinkles – but guessing CS-ers may have some ideas of their own.

And we don’t have to stop there.

AllRecipes offers a way to turn jelly sandwiches into jelly donuts. What fun! If you do use the link below and go onto their site, you might also want look into their jelly donut cupcakes.

Many cultures have their own versions of filled donuts, often looking like what some of us call bismarcks. This is what Wikipedia has to say and it includes quite the “linkfest”. . .

jelly, or jam doughnut is a doughnut filled with jam filling. Varieties include the German BerlinerAustraliaBritain and Nigeria‘s jam doughnuts, sufganiyot from Israel, and the jelly-filled doughnuts sold in the United States and CanadaJapanese anpan are similar to the Berliner, except they contain red bean pasteKrafne from Southern Europe also include a jelly-filled variety. In Italybomboloni are popular. Bavaria and Austria also have a jelly doughnut known as Krapfen that is typically filled with apricot jam and topped with powdered sugar.

One more thing to consider. I’ve found that almost any cake or sweet bread {date nut, e.g.} batter can be spooned into donut pans and baked, usually about 10 minutes {like mine shown here}.  A great way to use up extra batter.

Next week – Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan

Deen’s donut recipe    AllRecipes jelly donuts

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  In our 04.24.20 Salon we suggested adding another dimension to phone visits with a libation tied to the time of day – morning coffee, afternoon tea, cocktail hour sip, evening cocoa. Washington Post food pro Mary Beth Albright has upped the ante with her suggestion of a Zoom-powered cocktail party {more about her in the next item}. And now Walmart has taken the idea all the way to hosting a virtual dinner party. Truth be told it was a little short on details but maybe all “guests” could make the same dish from a recipe the host provided, which could be one of these menu ideas that was included in the Walmart entry.

  Albright hosts online cooking demos, free to all. Called the “Quarantine Cooking Show,” it’s very much in tune with the times. Given that ingredients can be hard to find, she tends to concentrate on what’s likely on hand, also noting possible substitutes or even when you can simply leave something out. One of her comments sets the tone for all the shows: “You take what you have on hand and make something great.” As you can guess from the reference above it’s not always about food. For her virtual cocktail party she made Quarantinis.

  Did you know the Feeding America site has a search window where you can check for food banks near you? Tap into this resource if you are in need – of if you possibly can, donate even a couple of non-perishables since most of them are suffering great shortages right now as they try to help others. All of their scores at CharityNavigator are in the 90s.

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Tasty, satisfying, and famous potato soup, April 24-April 30, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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

  COMFORT FOOD  

Do try this at home 

If you’re a big fan of Panera’s baked potato soup, you may be looking like this 😥. It’s not a matter of not being able to go to the restaurant, and presumably can’t pick it up or have it delivered either.

According to Food Network Magazine, the soup is just no longer on the menu. Then the same mag comes to the rescue with its Copycat Baked Potato Soup.

Rich in cream, bacon, seasonings, and three kinds of cheese, it’s a bowlful of indulgence. The title above is the one used in the magazine, but when you go to the link you’ll see that online Panera Bread Baked Potato Soup, 16 ozit’s Almost Famous Baked Potato Soup.

‘Fessing up – I’m doing a little double dipping here. While my soup shown here is very similar to the FN one, it’s tweaked a bit to accommodate a test for a cookbook I’m planning.

Also note that subsequent to coming across this recipe, I’ve now seen that you can buy Panera’s soup in the grocery store and also on Amazon {shown left, linked below}. Haven’t tried it yet, but good to know.

Next week: Cookies & Cream Bread Pudding

Recipe    Food Network Magazine    Amazon

♦  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  A study in Lancet Microbe shows that in the most common conditions, the corona virus can live for 3 hours on printing and tissue paper, 2 days on wood and cloth, 4 days on glass and paper money, 7 days on stainless steel and plastic, 7+ days on the exterior of surgical masks.

  First you take a package of ramen noodles. And then you make your choice of these “24 Tasty Recipes.” Not just gussied up soups but also main dishes, stir frys, sides and salads. Some get quite creative with the seasoning packet. And one unique app has you divide the cooked noodles into a muffin tin, bake until crisp, and then use as “buns” for sliders. Thanks “Taste of Home.”

  So if we can’t visit friends and family in person, we can still use our cells or landlines to stay in touch and many of us are doing exactly that. There’s a fun way you can make that phone visit just a bit more like the real thing. Instead of just a call, share a morning coffee, afternoon tea, cocktail hour sip, or nighttime cocoa, each person ready with the appropriate beverage. Nice.

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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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