Ghirardelli Chocolate Lava Cake, Feb 21-Feb 27, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Just a reminder

photo credits, link sources not ID’d in text, and partnerships are listed at the end of every Salon

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

 TIDBITS – coffee cake a la you / bacon ways / cooks’ source    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – longevity somewhat unmasked    FEATURED RECIPE – just look at this indulgence    TIP – interpretive lasagna    THE WEEK – biggie foodfest tix / taco tamer / word of the day

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  How’s this for a magnetic headline, “How to Make Your Greatest Coffee Cake Yet“? OK, truth be told the story isn’t quite what I thought the headline meant, which is to say one, single, el supremo, award-worthy, crowd goes wild, recipe. But maybe it’s in fact something better. Three steps guide you through mixing and matching elements so that you end up with a customized confection with all your favorite stuff.

  OK, this one too: “10 Ways You Never Thought You’d Use Bacon.” For CS-ers, some items in this Food & Wine list will be new ideas, others tasty reminders. Bacon pancakes and bacon-wrapped shrimp may well fall into that latter category. But how about Almond Joy bacon, caramel bacon popcorn, cheesy garlicky bacon bread??? Some may even be breakfast-friendly enough to keep your coffee cake company.

  Cooks Illustrated is currently offering a discount and free trial for its “All-Access Membership.” It’s described as including favorite cooking techniques and recipes, unbiased equipment and ingredient ratings, videos, mobile app, free shipping in their shop, and viewing of all 20 seasons of their hit TV show. I am not a member, so just passing this along for your look-see. Scroll down on the linked page.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Wow, is this an interesting book

The total mystery of longevity may still be somewhat elusive, but this enlightening read sure puts some cracks in the case. It takes an in-depth look at four diverse regions of the world, termed “blue zones,” where an extraordinary number of folks burst through the actuarial tables to reach and blow past age 100.The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest

What makes the stories even more intriguing is how many of these centenarians are still so mentally alert and physically active. As a side note, what seems to be a privilege of 100-plusing, and perhaps even a factor in that achievement, is a hearty touch of feistiness.

The author Dan Buettner and his team were most conscientious in verifying birth dates to make certain the tales of longevity were true. Then it was a matter of close observation and personal interviews to The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100determine lifestyle, food and beverage consumption, work habits, family life, social interaction, and other {some maybe unexpected} activities.

Some clear patterns emerged that then led to a list of conclusions for each area. As a result, “The Blue Zones” can show you how to “make simple adjustments to your lifestyle that can add years to your life.” And looking at the superseniors in those zones, it could add life to your years as well.

To bring the lessons right to our stoves, Buettner also published “The Blue Zones Kitchen,” and there are other spin-offs as well. Most are multiple formats, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

“The Blue Zones”    “The Blue Zones Kitchen”      Other books based on the blue zones

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Do try this at home

One of the sweetest ways to give a restaurant dinner a big finish is with a delectable chocolate lava cake. But why wait till your next outing when you can make it in your own kitchen. While the prep is a little on the long side, there’s really nothing difficult about it.

If you do click onto the recipe, may want to meander a bit while you’re there. You’ll find several categories of preps to tap into.

One with some really pretty and great sounding treats is the Holiday Desserts category. Some candidates for the to-make list: layered chocolate cheesecake, mini chocolate raspberry brownie trifles, chocolate-orange mousse cake, dark chocolate almond butter bon bons, dreamy fudge pie {yikes, stop!}.

Chocolate lava cake recipe    Ghirardelli recipe page

  TIP  

If you like your lasagna with more filling than noodles . . .

You’re going to love this technique. It was on I believe the first episode in this season’s Marcus Samuelsson PBS series, “No Passport Required.” He took us along with him for a tasty tour of Philadelphia’s Italian community.

It was at Ralph’s, now the oldest Italian restaurant in America. Now let’s pause for a ‘fess up: since the camera didn’t stay continuously on the process, I may have missed the addition of more noodles.

So let’s call this my preferred interpretation. Whether theirs or mine, it begins with a layer of gravy {red sauce}, and then an interesting noodle pattern.

Starting at the short end of the baking pan, two noodles are placed end to end so that they meet in the middle with the rest draped over the long sides of the pan across from each other, and so on till there’s a full layer, and then other noodles are positioned over the short sides of the pan. All is then covered with the ricotta mix, seasoned meat, and more gravy.

That’s where there’s a good chance we part company. Was there another layer of noodles?

I chose to think not. With or without more noodles, we would both then repeat the ricotta/meat/gravy, and then fold the draped noodle ends over the filling, topping it all off with more gravy.

Click here to see {and interpret} for yourself}

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  There are foodfests all over the country and calendar, but maybe the granddaddy of them all is the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, one I had the supreme pleasure of attending a few years back. You would find first class food from first class chefs as far as the eye can see, and oceans of beverages for paired perfection. Classes and demos, dinners and tastings, up front and personal encounters. Bonus feast for the eyes: the spectacular Rockies backdropping the entire experience. This year it takes place June 19-21, but tickets {passes} are already available.

  If the Danish in the bakery section of your market is packaged like they are at mine, there are slots that hold the rolls at an angle. This will sound like a change of subject – as much as I love tacos, what I like a lot less is the shells being so uncooperative and flopping around when you’re trying to fill them.

  Do you see where this is going? {OK, guess the answer isn’t so mysterious given I totally tipped it with the photo}. As you can see, you can park the shells right in those slots and fill away. And, yes, I’m aware of the flat-bottomed shells, just don’t prefer them.

  To quote South Park [yeah, OK, should be too old to find it so amusing}: I learned something today. But what makes it a bit unexpected is that it’s sourced from . . . a crossword puzzle{!} Here ’tis. Sapid means having a strong, pleasant taste. Hey, that could be the Punch Sauce from last week, with the latter coming into play after the honey contribution. In the interest of full disclosure, it can also refer to talk or writing being pleasant or interesting.

This week’s: 

Photo credits – books-Amazon / lava cake-Ghirardelli site / lasagna-PBS & youtube

Link sources – coffee cake-MyRecipes / bacon-Food & Wine / all books-Amazon / lava cake-Ghirardelli site / lasagna-youtube / Classic in Aspen tix-Food & Wine fest site

Partnerships – Amazon / PBS {member, not affiliate}

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

So far next week: red wine braised red cabbage, St Pat’s Day kitchen decs, ancient dining, copycat restaurant recipes, hash browns redo, movie question, Shirley Temple take-offs, cookie fix, up your etiquette, fake foods

Last week, just below: more good press for eggs, power breakfasts, online food help, Unofficial Downton Abbey cookbook, shrimp & grits casserole with bonus soup, save the avocados, pig pickin’ cake, punch drunk sauce, another recipe source

Looking for something in CS?

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

Questions, comments?

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

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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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Old English Beef a la Mode, Feb 07-Feb 13, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – veggies ready for their close-up / the good egg / 12 tasty secrets    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – look out, fat    FEATURED RECIPE – Beef a la Mode, no ice cream    TIP – peanuts ‘fess up   THE WEEK – pot pie upgrade / un-donuts / thank you, pudding

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Love vegetables? Want to love vegetables? Let Jamie Oliver help with his PBS show, “Jamie’s Ultimate Veg,” designed to give veggies international flair and a starring role on the plate. Continuing Saturdays through Feb 22, in my time zone at 2:30p. Some interesting episode subjects: Bigged-Up Broccoli, Charred Salad, Bean Burger.

  The Well-Done newsletter poses the question: Are hard-boiled eggs good for you? Good news here, and some surprising news too. Even better, their take on the best way to make them.

  The same newsletter, same issue, teases us with this headline: “12 Secret Ingredients That’ll Make Your Cooking So Much Better.” Among the recipes with a secret, brownies, pecan pie, extra crispy roasted vegetables, impressive desserts, and the mysterious “cretons.” You can scroll down to see all the dishes as an alternative to the slide show.

Still dealing with a holiday “gift” of extra pounds and inches?

Are they still being unwelcome guests at your waistline and beyond?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form. There are also full chapters excepted into 99-cent books. All on Kindle, so you can just tap & start fat-zapping.

See all the Dieter’s Survival Guide books on this Amazon page

New Marketplace debuts next week

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Awesome beef roast with an English accent – yikes, this is good!

Well, there may be no ice cream in this Beef a la Mode but it does fold in some surprising spices more typically associated with dessert. Combined with the aromatics, the medley yields a full of flavor roast.

The recipe comes from the charming cookbook “Dinner with Dickens.” Notes tell us “Dickens writes about visiting Johnson’s famous à la mode beef house near London’s Drury Lane. and this is where he has David Copperfield treat himself to a ‘small plate of that delicacy.'”

The origin recipe, also shown on the page, tells us, “You may serve it up hot or cold.” Author Pen Vogler’s prep, “updated for the modern kitchen,” suggests we serve with carrots and greens. I actually put the carrots in the pan to roast with the beef, potatoes too, more opps for absorbing those flavors.

Dinner with Dickens: Recipes inspired by the life and work of Charles DickensIn page after page, foodie tales from the Victorian era accompany such historical preps as candied French plums, roly poly jam pudding, lobster patties, Yorkshire pie, tea cakes, and a libation called Smoking Bishop. Also, punch sauce which we’ll talk more about next week, when you’ll see how well named it is.

What makes this an especially nice gift book is a cover that almost has the feeling of tapestry. Right now at least, at a good price on Amazon.

Recipe    “Dinner with Dickens” cookbook

  TIP  

This is too important not to have its own spotlight

In the 01.10.20 Salon, in My Week, I referred to cookies I had made but without the usual peanut butter filling because they would be consumed by folks I didn’t know, and accordingly didn’t know if any of them might have peanut allergies. You can use the link if you want to go back and see how what I did at the time.

In that item I also made passing reference to a way that I had subsequently recalled that would allow you to make your favorite peanutty recipes and solve this every time, and it deserves more than that quick note. And that’s regardless of whether the ingredient was peanuts or peanut candy or peanut butter, or peanut whatever, and it would work for any type of dessert.

So obvious, I’m rather chagrined I hadn’t thought of this on my own. It’s simply a matter of topping the cake or cupcake or cookies or pie, et al, with whole or chopped peanuts.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – even a single peanut half sends up a red flag to anyone with this kind of serious allergy.

Shown are half peanuts on chocolate chip cookies baked in a mini muffin tin, and when removed from the oven stuffed with a small Reese’s peanut butter cup {the kind you unwrap}.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Do you ever buy pot pies from the deli in your grocery store for a quick and easy dinner? The ones from my market are pretty darn good, loaded with lean and tender meat. But here’s how they can be fairly easily upgraded – top them with your own gravy. And, OK, ‘fessing up, if I don’t have available homemade gravy I do use, and have ever since a high profile chef told me this is his plan B – dry mix. But here’s a big ps to that. No matter what kind I’m using – chicken, turkey, pork – I always blend it with a brown gravy one, really kicks the flavor.

  Puff pastry donuts – the rest of the story. In our 01.17.20 Salon we featured a demo by Mad Genius for making donuts with this pastry. Couldn’t find the sheets so picked up a package of Pepperidge Farm shells, dipped them in peanut oil and baked as directed. Let me take a moment here to say I share a lot of good stuff from my kitchen which might indicate there are no flops. Wrong! Usually keep those to myself.

  But, ‘fessing up, these guys didn’t bake right {the oil?}, fell apart when I tried to entirely remove the centers to look like donuts, and had to go back in the oven looking like so many onion rings until they crisped up. But I let them cool a bit and then hit them with powdered sugar. So, if you erase donuts from your mind, and replace that image with say the Italian cookie pizzelles, hey not so bad. Just . . . not . . . donuts.

  So, was looking for ways to use the rest of the chocolate pudding from our 01.24.20 Salon item on my version of pudding shots in the My Week section. And then, yay, decided to press it into service as yet another oatmeal helper. Not bad at all! And then staying in the cereal “aisle,” if you want to go all kid with dry cereal, put the pudding under it instead of milk or cream over it. Say, with peanut butter Chex. {OK, yeah, did that – nice combo!}.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / all others-mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe-CS recipe page / Dickens book-Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon / PBS-membership, not affiliate

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

So far next week: more egg bennies, energy breakfasts, celeb helpline, another Downton Abbey cookbook, Aspen fest, pig pickin’ cake, punch sauce, classic savory sauce

Last time, just below: F&W’s Best-Ever Dishes, foodie app, taming the late-night hungries, Marketplace announcement, 5-star seafood au gratin, taming the brown sugar, rye in what???, my pudding shot, taming the food budget

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Baked seafood au gratin, Jan 24-Jan 30, 2020

NEXT SALON FEB 7, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  New feature on the way 

I just love my Amazon Echo Show and as I noted before, was so pleasantly surprised to discover how food-oriented it is. But I realize not everyone has this device, so will be sharing some news, tips, recipes, et al, on a regular basis, starting soon, and on a page right here on our Salon site.

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

  TIDBITS – Best-Evers / this app’s for you / taming the late-night hungries    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – announcement    FEATURED RECIPE – 5-star seafood dish    TIP – taming the brown sugar    THE WEEK – rye in what??? / I take a shot / taming the food budget

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well, when a so respected food publication like Food & Wine offers up their 40 Best-Ever Recipes, it sort of snags your attention. So much great stuff! Guest-worthy poached eggs in a rich red wine sauce. Says here, ultimate chocolate mousse. Acclaimed Vietnamese chef’s sizzled pancakes with a savory filling. Julia Child’s ham steak in Madeira {she called it “a fast dish for fancy people”}. “Dreamy and homey” Breton butter cake. Star of the cocktail party, Tiki snack mix. And more, more, more.

  C’mon, get app happy. The new Food Network Kitchen app features star chefs cooking in real time in interactive sessions {yes, you can submit questions}, recipes, classes, episode reruns, even says grocery delivery {?} More details at the link just above.

  Oh, a pox on those late night hungries. But, yay, this kind of thing is right in Cooking Light’s wheelhouse. Their listing of Our Six Best Healthy Late-Night Snacks includes options that can fill you up without weighing you down. And if we might also modestly suggest our “Big Snacks and Subs{titutes} Lists,” two chapters excerpted from “Dieter’s Survival Guide” into a stand-alone Kindle book, 99 cents.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Marketplace is undergoing a remodel. Watch for a new, easier to navigate format. Coming soon.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Surf and . . . cheese 

I came across a recipe for seafood au gratin that actually seemed a little short on flavor, but was sufficiently interested in this kind of dish to turn to a source I often rely upon and that’s AllRecipes. Eureka and hooray!

The one featured here is generous with bounty of the sea and with just enough other stuff to enhance the stars of the show and hold it all together. Also nice that it yields a party size dish.

No party planned? It actually does freeze and reheat {gently} quite well {one comment, “leftovers were even better”}.

While I was fairly true to the recipe I did make some minor changes based on personal preferences. Interestingly, the comments show many folks tweaked and yet it still turned out good. Seems if you follow the basics of the recipe you can adjust and improvise at will. Majority of ratings are 5 stars.

Recipe  

  TIP  

Oh, bad word, bad word, bad word

That very well may be your soliloquy when you right-now need the brown sugar only to discover it’s turned into something that would be right at home in the petrified forest. Let’s just say, Drat!

Here’s what has worked best for me to prevent the sugar from ever reaching that stage. It starts with a glass jar with a tight-fitting stopper.

Tuck a one-gallon freezer bag into the jar and transfer the sugar from its packaging into this bag. Don’t seal it but fold the open end over to completely cover the contents, and then lay a folded dampened paper towel on top of it.

Last, place a plastic sandwich bag over the top and tightly insert the stopper. Depending on how long the sugar is stored, you may need to occasionally replace the moist paper towel.

Now, if despite your best efforts the sugar goes all concrete anyway, there are ways to rescue it instead of tossing it. The link below will take you to google’s offerings, and other one is for our handy little Kindle booklet that includes storage tips.

Softening brown sugar  ♦  50 Ways, 99 cents

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  In our 02.14.19 Salon, we talked about turning stale rye bread into croutons, as a topper for soup or salad, subsequently also posting that they could be popped atop seasoned sauerkraut or right into your mouth as a snack. Now Jamie Oliver has a sweet use for leftover rye – in easy chocolate cookies. That went onto my try-list right away. Btw, google says 100 grams is just over 3 1/2 oz.

  So, tried my own version of the pudding shots we featured in the 01.17.20 Salon. Here’s what’s layered in: caramel dip, chocolate pudding mixed with marshmallow vodka, repeat those two, then sour cream, chopped peanuts and chocolate sauce. If If I do say so myself . . .

  I recently heard some news on Food Network’s, “The Kitchen,” that unfortunately in general terms is not news to any of us. It has to do with how much the price of food has increased in the past 10 years. It’s the specific that inspires some gasps. 26% !!! Here’s one of the show’s episodes that focuses on budget-friendly dishes and shopping tips too. Here’s another.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – all are mine
  •  Link sources –  chocolate cookies/Jamie Oliver site
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far for Feb 7: ooey gooey oatbars, bacon x 10, cooking like the Dickens, peanut signal, pudding for breakfast, tried the donuts 🙄 , peasto???

Last week, just below:  cheesy chicken galore, pudding shots, cheeseboard upgrade, top-rated cheeseboards, Giada’s salmon – touch of spring, cheese storage, Tejano cooking, donuts from what ???, a tasty, testy past 

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Giada’s fresh & simple salmon dish, Jan 17-Jan 23, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – cheesy chicken galore / pudding shots! / cheeseboard upgrade    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – top-rated cheeseboards    FEATURED RECIPE – a touch of spring     TIP – it’s a wrap   THE WEEK – Tejano cooking / donuts from what ??? / a tasty, testy past 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

I so look forward to receiving the MyRecipes online newsletter because it’s always filled with good stuff that I like to share with you. But sometimes a single newsletter is just a total culinary home run and one I just caught up with from last month is a perfect example. All three tidbits come from that one newsletter

  Here’s another one of those {at least to some of us!} irresistible headlines. 34 Cheesy Chicken Casseroles. So much good stuff here, classics like parmesan and enchiladas to some a bit more out there including a loaded baked potato version and a Tex-Mex squash combo. Btw, if you don’t want to do the slide show, should be able to just scroll down on the page that opens with the link. And . . . “surf” takes a turn next week in our Featured Recipe, baked seafood au gratin.

  Oh yum. Move over jello shots, here comes pudding. After pudding of your choice and alcohol of your choice, the variations are endless, as their story, “How to make pudding shots: the easy, boozy treat you never knew you needed,” shows in living color. It’s sort of like a spirited, drinkable, trifle. Now, it doesn’t specify where the alcohol goes, but guessing jello shot vets know it will be mixed into the pudding. Some other pudding shots I saw online combined everything into one mixture, but this layered approach makes a really nice presentation.

  So the holidays are over, but the reasons/excuses for a party large or small are fortunately never ending. A star of the show can often be a selection of cheeses. But have to say I never realized that “This ingredient is a crucial addition to your cheese board.” Not trying to be mysterious here, but before you click the link, see if you can guess what ingredient is not usually on the board but in fact makes great sense to join the array. I like it!

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

And continuing  the subject . . .

It’s like a cheeseboard superstore at Amazon. Yikes is this some good looking stuff.

Choose your material, choose your size, choose your shape, choose your amenities, choose your price – it’s all there. To give you a bit of a head start on filtering your options, our link below takes you to only boards that are 4 stars & up.

Did someone say amenities? Yep, some of these items come with slots or niches for serving utensils or even better a slide-out drawer {shown}, or slide out trays for extra surface, or cracker trenches to keep them nice and neat, or with their own little bowls or cheese markers, and at least one that stores as a compact wedge and then swivels open to an 18″ tiered circle {shown}.

Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any OccasionAnd even if you’re not in the market right now? Might want to take a look anyway since most of the boards on the Amazon pages are “dressed,” and as such offer a wealth of ideas on how you could assemble your own goodie mix. Or you can find all kinds of help with our link to colorful books on cheeseboards for all occasions.

Note that you can click on the illustrations to go directly to that item on Amazon. This book, btw, is an Amazon Best Seller.

Cheeseboards 4 stars & up    Cheeseboard books 4 stars & up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just simply good 

Even though spring is not yet even close to visible on the horizon, a touch of it can come to your plate with this fish dish from Giada. And because the salad accompaniment is so “springly,” the goodness of the salmon remains the star of the show.

The filet is treated gently in both the prep and the cooking process. A quick broil and done.

As for that light, bright salad, it actually serves double duty, as a bed under the fish and then as a garnish. That would be a lightly dressed mix of fennel, radish, and basil, a great counterpoint to the richness of the salmon. Btw, I also used some of the pretty and flavorful fennel fronds as garnish.

Giada continues her focus on tasty, healthful dining. You can keep up with offerings by signing up for her newsletter, link in the upper corner of her page.

Giadzy’s Broiled Salmon with Fennel Salad   Giada’s cookbooks    Giada’s DVDs

  TIP  

But wait . . . there’s more

Encore! This is indeed a re-run but it fits in well with our other sections this week.

There are suggestions galore online on the best way to store packaged store-bought cheese. This is what has always worked well for me . . .

Cut off the end of the package wrapper. Then cut along both top edges all the way to the back, but leaving the back intact so that you end up with a kind of hinged flap.

After slicing off the cheese you need, fold the two loose ends of the wrapper over the cheese, and place it in a food storage bag, pressing the opened end tightly against the inside of the bag so the wrapper ends stay in place as you press out the air, seal the bag, and fold the rest of it around the block of cheese.

If you’re rather use devices designed for that purpose, we have a link below to that page on Amazon.

Cheese keepers, 4 stars & up

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  The cookbook, “AMA – A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” served up a nice discovery. Though I’d heard of it before, had never really delved into Tejano cooking, the south Texas home vs nationwide commercial version of Tex-Mex. It’s marked by lots of beef, chili plain and simple, lots of chiles fresh and dried, cumin, and two surprises – considerable German influence and more bacon than I expected. The title refers to the chef/author Josef Centeno’s LA restaurant, Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Mexican Food Cookbooks, Tex-Mex Cooking, Mexican and Spanish Recipes)whose name in turn honors Centeno’s great grandmother’s cooking, and the cuisine is the product of four generations of food-oriented Tejanos {Texans of Mexican heritage} on both sides of his family. Haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but surely will.

  I just love the Mad Genius tips. This time it’s donuts, which he calls the easiest ever and they just may be. The magic is in puff pastry, and the rest of the story is in his donut demo. Btw, since I don’t do a lot of deep frying, I made some by dipping both sides of puff pastry shells in peanut oil and then baking them per instructions. {Hold off for Part II in two weeks.}

  Oh, the memories. As a Chicago native and long time Las Vegas resident, the story is of more than passing interest. My first contact with any of the elements was when my husband and I, visitors at the time, dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant near the Las Vegas convention center – called Villa d’Este, it was parlayed from a previous site called Villa Venice, in turn previously Anjoe’s. After a history of a gunshot, a fire, Chicago mob ties, and a touch of Sinatra, it eventually evolved into Piero’s, now an equally famous institution for almost four decades. One of my very favorite chefs, Hubert Keller, will visit this legendary restaurant during his January 25 “Secrets of a Chef” episode on PBS.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – cheeseboards & book/Amazon, all others/mine
  •  Link sources – cheeseboards, books. dvds/Amazon, recipe/Giada’s site, donut demo/Food & Wine site, history of Villa d’Este, now Pierro’s/ imgur.com {shows “lock” icon}
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: more cheesy goodness with a baked seafood au gratin, 40 best-ever recipes from top source, my own pudding shot, chocolate cookies with surprise ingredient, new fave baked beans

Last week, just below: shrimp curry with spinach, 30-min dinners, hot toddy prep {plus bonus tip}, chai-spiced snickerdoodles, bye bye holiday pounds, save the cookware, food resources keep Echo-ing, “venting”

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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“Multi celebs'” hearty, entree-worthy Tuscan soup, Dec 13 – Dec 19, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – Our measurement equivalents page / PBS upcoming cooking shows / stress less  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – fascinating chef memoir    FEATURED RECIPE – super satisfying soup    TIP – it’s easy . . . or easier  ♦  THE WEEK – edible wreaths / breakfast-dinner do si do / sweet fun 

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  As you cook and bake, bake and cook, did you know you can find a whole bunch of “how much?” answers on our Measurement Equivalents page? You’ll find spoons to spoons, spoons to cups, cups to ounces, plus drops, pinches and dashes. There’s also a link to the AllRecipes conversion chart for baking pan sizes. And finally, a list of common ingredients translated to spoons and cups, ounces and pounds.

No Passport Required  PBS has you covered with some nice holiday cooking shows, and others. The first one – this very night – launches season 2 of No Passport Required, a culinary journey across the U.S., starting with Seattle. Each week super chef Marcus Samuelsson, he of the incredible backstory {his book}, introduces us to a particular city’s take on American cuisine and culure.

  On 12.20 we take a seat at tables across the country with Lidia Bastianich. Also on 12.20 join the celebration of the America’s Test Kitchen 20th Anniversary Special {looks like it might be on tonight too}. Then on 12.21 it’s feasts and more on their Create track’s Joy to the World. Finally, on 12.22 virtually open The Houston Cookbook. Check your local listings for all this foodie fun.

  Nice little tip I found, actually in the HGTV Magazine. A bit of a stress buster as you prepare holiday feasts. In essence it says, concentrate primarily on one main dish, and then supplement with starters and sides you can make in advance and serve at room temp. And may I add . . . some prepared dished from your market make that part even easier, and no guilt allowed.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Celeb chef recipes – and it gets even better from there

World renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has given us a memoir that’s as easy to consume as his acclaimed cuisine in its multi-awarded forms. We’re virtually at his side as his takes his apprentice test in France, travels the world with the French army, polishes his skills in a succession of Michelin-starred kitchens, suffers setback, and celebrates triumphs.

And regarding the setback and triumphs, and especially the very last one – with his team. Always with his team. And with that team, he now oversees, directly or via a license agreement, about 40 restaurants around the world.

A personal note is sounded right at the start when he tells us why he gives such enormous credit to his mom, not only for her cooking mastery but as well for her devotion to quality, service, and a solid work ethic. The latter was essential since she cooked lunch and dinner for a large family and on-site business staff, leading him to say about the home kitchen, “I basically grew up in a restaurant doing 60 covers a day.”

The book is called, “JGV / A Life in 12 Recipes,” and the subtitle is so relevant because those preps mark notable moments or turning points is his storied career. They may seem long, but part of each one is like a one on one chat about the recipe, including his recounting of the POTUS-noted pea guacamole controversy. I’ll be making his carrot sauce for seafood, and will of course share.

When you see that the book rates 3 1/2 stars from six people, I encourage you to look at the detail. There’s a 3 star review that takes issue with the editing, then a 5 star and 4 star. The other three are ratings with no reviews and no sourcing. Here are some other views. All in all, I found this such an enjoyable and enlightening read.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “JGV”     His “Home Cooking” cookbook    His other books 

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Pagesend a message to all of DC, “Make America Decent Again”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Acclaimed chef Curtis Stone is just the start 

This is sort of a hybrid celeb chef creation. With all the root vegetables, it’s primarily Curtis Stone’s version and what I particularly like about the way he makes it is that the veggies stay in instead of flavoring the broth and then being discarded, and the bread stays out, which is to say served alongside the soup rather than cooked into it.

And the demo in the link below shows a collaborative effort with Stone and Rachael Ray, during one of her broadcasts, both handling the prep. But then there are other cooks for this broth {and, no, they didn’t spoil it} too, touches by Giada and Ann Burrell.

So, building on Stone’s recipe, I added a can of diced tomatoes and {my own contribution} a cup of vegetable juice in place of 2 cups of the chicken broth. Also spinach {which Stone condones} instead of kale, and a lot of it, half a bag in fact, along with a half package of fresh basil, as well as a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

A good crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment, and Stone’s recipe calls for ciabatta which would be great. But I found a Tuscan loaf in my grocery story, and that seemed only natural.

Stone’s Tuscan Soup recipe    Other ones on google     Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

  TIP  

“Easy does it” appetizers or mini desserts

In our 07.12.19 Salon we featured phyllo cups and fillings, one of the Tasting Panel selections. These handy little holders are available already shaped and baked from the grocery store or Amazon {despite seeming quite delicate, mine from Amazon arrived fully intact}.

Shown here, just a couple of possibilities from opposite ends of the spectrum. An appetizer filling of eggs scrambled with sausage, onion, green pepper and cheese. And then a dessert version with a layer of caramel {from a store-bought tub} topped with a layer of ganache, though truth be told you could certainly just spoon on a thick hot fudge from the fridge, such as Mrs. Richardson’s.

Want to make it even easier? Put out the empty shells and a variety of fillings and let your guests create their own little dessert buffets. That also would mean no waste from shells with moist fillings that would not survive as leftovers.

See more possibilities in the July Salon linked above and a Food Network slide show linked below. All so festive and perfect for holiday get-togethers and all such fun whoever fills them up!

Phyllo cups at Amazon  Food Network article

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of my favorite things to make, and give away, this time of year is edible wreaths. Really pretty easy, basically the same prep as the classic Rice Krispies treats, but made instead with corn flakes to simulate, along with the help of some green food coloring, foliage. The original Kellogg’s recipe calls for making this cookie size and sometimes I do this. But more often I make them a little bigger or a lot bigger. Also in place of the red hots I use red M&Ms, attached with a bit of sugar water. And one time, instead of wreaths I shaped the entire mixture into a Christmas tree and then used all colors of M&Ms as ornaments and melted chocolate for the trunk.

  Here’s what happened. Had taken some of the turmeric eggs {07.19.19 Salon} and a container of rice out of the freezer to make, along with some cooked salmon, kedgeree for breakfast, only to discover two surprises. Ham slices in with the eggs and some corn nestled next to the rice. Had also taken out a container of my cheesy potatoes as a side dish for the dinner steak. Cut up some onion to start breakfast and the wheels began to turn. Hmmmm. Cheesy potatoes, ham, corn, onion – sounds like a pretty good hash to me, along with salt & pepper and some parsley, sauteed in butter, paired with salad. Yep, parts of breakfast became dinner, and to counterbalance, that dinner steak became the next day’s breakfast, nestled alongside eggs & toast.

  So, we end the last of our regular Salons for the year on sweet note that turns a holiday classic into a whimsical treat. The prep’s pretty sweet too. Cooked sweet potatoes, mixed with melted butter and brown sugar, formed around a marshmallow, rolled in crushed cereal, baked until heated through and a bit of the mallow peeks out.  I used peanut butter Chex but next time thinking pecans or walnuts. Good & fun!

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources – measurements/CS, all books/Amazon, HGTV/HGTV site, Stone’s recipe/Rachel Ray show, items on Offerings page/Sunfrog  
  • Partnerships – Amazon, PBS {member, not affiliate}, items on Offerings page/SunFrog

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

Next week: Top gifts for cooks featured this year in Marketplace, many with short shipping times

Last week, just below: thaw it fast, apple crisp punch, Depression-era dinners, handy kitchen organizers, hot fudge pudding cake, peel ginger?, eggy love, salad-style burritos, heating up Parm corn butter- two ways

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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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Fudge-filled blast from the past, Nov 15-Nov 21, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

♦  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – Thank-full help / cheese help / Cookbook Club help    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – join Flay in the kitchen    FEATURED RECIPE – timeless tasty classic  ♦  TIP – tv “guide”    THE WEEK –  frozen, really ??? / Parm butter 2.0 / Yay Twain

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  The Create Channel by PBS is bringing “Thank-full” to your livingroom for Thanksgiving help in your kitchen. Kevin Breton, Sara Moulton, Vivian Howard and the crew from America’s Test Kitchen, plus style expert Christy Rust, come together to deliver tips on what goes on your table and for the table itself. In my directory, Sat Nov 23, 6am-noon & 6pm-midnight, repeats Nov 24 from noon-6pm, and again on TG day from 6am-noon.

  Plan on setting out a cheese platter this holiday season? Take a tip {or more} from Food & Wine Top Ten, by learning “6 Common Cheese-Serving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”

  So, have you and maybe some like-minded friends ever thought about starting a cookbook club? It’s much like a succession of potlucks but with each dish tested from a particular cookbook. The discussion then centers on not just the food but also the book. As well, the subject of the book becomes the theme of the dinner. In the article, “How to Have a Successful Cookbook Club,” MyRecipes shows you the ropes.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bobby Flay in home kitchen mode

Kind of nice to see a celeb out of the chef whites and more into our realm, as captured in Flay’s new “Bobby at Home” cookbook. And it becomes extra endearing when you see that he dedicates the book to his mom, Dorothy Flay, saying each page “is filled with the spirit of her memory and a lust for life that only she could attain.”

Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen: A CookbookFlay calls this a collection of favorite dishes that he serves to family and friends. And at home, he says, “it’s a pace that’s steady but focused and where the food is always abundant and served family style.” And as well not too different from us CS folks, those gathered eat, drink, play games, listen to music, even “solve the problems of the world.”

And here’s most of all what the chef says this book is all about. “Don’t just think of these dishes as a means to feed someone, but as a way to gather the people in your life you want to spend quality time with . . . I hope they bring as much joy to your table as they do to mine.”

Here are some of the dishes that I look forward to putting on my table: almond crusted baked manchego, red chile caesar salad, green chile cheeseburger, coconut red curry spot prawns, chocolate hazelnut crema catalana. The book also delivers Bobby’s essential pantry & equipment guide, clever cocktail preps, and basics that Flay calls the building blocks he uses to start and finish his dishes with flavor.

“Bobby At Home” cookbook, 4 1/2 stars, Prime eligible, big discount, at Amazon

Flay’s other books    Flay’s DVDs

  FEATURED RECIPE  

 Jump into the way-back machine 

Where we re-discover one of the most notable winners in Pillsbury’s annual Bake-Off® Contest. Yep it’s the Tunnel of Fudge Cake from 1966, where magic happens right in the bundt pan.

Not familiar with the mysterious transformation that takes place as it bakes? An inner ring of fudge, a melty Tunnel of Fudge Cakechocolatey surprise, is revealed when this famous treat is cut into slices. And then a cocoa-rich glaze takes it right to the wonderful brink of wretched excess.

As the recipes instructs, “don’t scrimp on the nuts, or it won’t work.” {No idea why} Also scroll down to see the note about testing for doneness.

And another nice thing when you scroll on the page. Yet other very fine recipes. Sweet bonus.

Recipe

  TIP  

Write on!

This is quick and simple and if it’s something you’re not doing, I hope you will find it helpful. It’s always part of my routine now.

It’s just this. I make sure I always have a tablet and pen at hand when I’m watching a cooking show. Some of you may prefer to do this on your electronics.

Whichever it is, you’re always ready to make note of a cooking tip or technique, a recipe you may want to check on the show’s site, a cookbook featured during the broadcast. Easier {for some of us anyway!} than trying to remember it all.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  A tale of two veggies, one canned, one frozen. Oh yeah, fresh is best but can’t compete with the storage perks of those in the pantry of freezer. But, ummm, those guys need help. I recently tried whole canned green beans in the hopes they’d have a little more life than the frenched one. Nope. So, two steps. First, drain and pour into a jar of dill pickle juice. Second, chop and hide in salads. Now just came across “6 Ways to Make Frozen Cauliflower into Something Delicious.” The roasted version does sound promising.

  So, as much as I enjoyed the Parm corn butter mentioned in our 11.01.19 Salon, made as the recipe specified, I found a way I think like it even more. Pureed. Here, you see it melting on a toasted baguette, all snuggled up to some baked mostaccioli.

  Paging through my charter issue of Milk Street magazine, subtitled “The New Home Cooking,” I came across a favorite but long since forgotten quote from Mark Twain: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside” {in some citations, “a success”}. Thinking the antacid industry could adopt this as its motto.

So far next week: bacon pimento cheese dip, jar salad {& other easy lunches}, best yet for Parm corn butter, primo baking book, pie tips & recipes

Last week, just below:  Irish Whiskey pumpkin pie, save on NOWFE tix, what to do if you’ve eaten recalled food, kicky kitchen timers, savory sweet potato casserole, marshmallow equivalents, clever waffle appetizers, cinnamon apple pull aparts, saving the casserole 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – cake/Pillsbury site, paper & keyboard/Pete O’Shea, book/Amazon, other/mine

Link sources –  all Flay items/Amazon, recipe/Pillsbury site, cauliflower/MyRecipes. Milk Street/magazine site

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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My favorite sweet potato casserole, Nov 8-Nov 14, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – another round of pie for everyone / save on NOWFE tix / what to do if you’ve eaten recalled food    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – kicky timers    FEATURED RECIPE – savory sweet potato casserole  ♦  TIP – measuring the marshmallow  ♦  THE WEEK – how waffle {actually tasty and clever} / cinnamon apple sweet goes simple / saving the casserole 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Add a touch of Irish to your Thanksgiving dessert? That online newsletter that brings the Emerald Isle to the U.S., IrishCentral, is currently featuring a recipe for Irish Whiskey Pumpkin Pie. OK, the title also says Halloween but NOWFEdon’t we usually top off dinner with this traditional treat on TG?

  Planning to be in New Orleans next March? Early Bird tix are now available for the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, 03.18-03.22, 2020. Right now 23% off on major events. I attended this some years ago and it was a gastronomic bonanza back then, and have to think it can only have become exponentially better.

  So, we’d all hope never to have something in our pantry or fridge that ends up in a recall, but doodoo happens. This guide from F&W Daily tells you exactly “What to do”  if you’ve already consumed some of the stuff.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Good timing!

Kitchen times sure have come a long way from just the simple hand-set tick-tick-tickers. Though those are sure available too, though now in a number of stylish selections, like the 1st one shown that manages to be vintage and modern all at once.

Now there are interesting variations in both technology and design. Some are multi-setting, some count up or down, some can time up to almost 100 hours, some have a visual countdown, some stick on the refrigerator, even saw some little guys in a 12-pack, could hand these out like party favors.

Here are a few others I found interesting. Click any one to go to the Amazon page.

Kikkerland Vintage Streamline Kitchen Timer, Red  YOOYIST Commercial 4 Channels Kitchen Timers Restaurant Timer Loud Alarm Cooking Reminder Stainless Steel Clear Display for Multiple Events      Joie Meow Cat 60-Minute Kitchen Timer Home Decor Products    Kitchen Timer, OVEKI Magnetic Countdown Digital Timer,One Button Operation for Teacher kids and Elderly,for classroom home work fitness     JTX Kitchen Timer Cooking Timer Reminder 60-Minute Mechanical Countdown Clock Time Management

2nd – set more than one timer on the same device – the one shown can handle four, but there are others with six and eight. 3rd – note that for the adorable Meow timer there are also companion measuring cups, measuring spoons, and spatula {btw, this timer might be a better match for the measuring items}. 4th – yikes, you might be able to see this one from the next room. 5th – could this be any cuter, and just $13,99, Prime eligible

Full array of timer choices

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A surprising mix of ingredients = 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. Here are links for both . . .

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

  TIP  

Who doesn’t love marshmallow stuff???

I came across this helpful chart that I thought would be especially useful for the holiday season that’s now just around the corner. It all comes from Kraft, for their jet-puffed mallows and their creme.

Marshmallow Equivalents

7 oz Marshmallow Creme = approximately 1-1/2 cups
13 oz Marshmallow Creme = approximately 3 cups
1 Regular Marshmallow = 13 Miniature Marshmallows
8 Regular Marshmallows = 1 cup
16 oz bag Miniature = 8 cups
10.5 oz bag Miniature = 5-1/2 cups
50 Miniature Marshmallows = 1/2 cup Miniature Marshmallows
5 Regular Marshmallows = 1/2 cup
64 Regular Marshmallows = 16 oz bag

And

While we’re on the subject of mallows, just in case you find yourself in desperate need of tiny decorations that look like iced cakes – and are edible! – grab a regular marshmallow and some food color pens or gels. Voila!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  What a clever idea. An old issue of “Food & Wine” had a feature on one-handed party snacks {leaving the other one free for your beverage of choice}. It showed skewered items, spreads on crackers, and this one – caviar waffle bites. Elegant for sure but it’s the “format” that’s such fun, putting fillings into  single strips of a waffle. Is that just a beginning or what??? Like, alternating dollops of egg salad and chicken salad, or melted cheese and taco meat, or go sweet with a variety of preserves. A new delight in every bite and colorful too! {do I even need to say it, that we’d be considering the frozen aisle in the grocery store vs the homemade waffles}

♦  As much as I loved the cinnamon apple pie bread featured in our 10.18.19 Salon, I was sure drawn to a recipe with a similar flavor profile, but that offered the convenience of store-bought rolls. Even so, I made it simpler yet but want to give it another tweak. Meanwhile if you would like to take a look at the original, here ’tis Cinnamon Apple Pull-Apart Bread.

  Btw, meant to mention, regarding last week’s Dorito Chicken Casserole {11.01.19} that I didn’t waste this dish that turned out 85% excellent, 15% flop. Nope, rescued it with queso dip. All good.

So far next week: TG help from PBS, start a cookbook club, Bobby Flay cookbook, tunnel of fudge cake, Twain quote, corn butter revisited, cooking show tip, cheese platter guide

Last week, just below: recipe pre-test, donairs, perfect carrots, Lidia’s Italian celebration cookbook, Dorito chicken casserole links, take-out container surprise, Parm corn butter, soup rescue, cheesy chat 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – NOWFE pic/NOWFE site, timers/Amazon, Stellino/his site, others/mine

Link sources –  NOWFE/NOWFE site, timer array/Amazon, Stellino recipe/his site, Stellino books/Amazon

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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Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread, Oct 18-Oct 24, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, the information panel below will show any link destinations not identified in the text

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

  TIDBITS – bread-keeping / quark unmasked / food show returns   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – lovely book    FEATURED RECIPE – perfect for fall    TIP – look out ‘fridge   THE WEEK – nachos > burritos / Catalan-style spinach / dinner metric 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Bread lovers, rejoice. So sad when we open the package in the pantry or fridge and find hockey pucks, a touch of green {or white}, or a soggy mess. Leave it to Food & Wine to clue us on how to avoid all that with “5 Secrets to Storing Bread {and making it last longer.” Thanks!

  Quark? Hmmm?? Isn’t that something out of particle physics??? Not for folks who love trying new things in the kitchen. Turns out in our realm it’s a dairy product, sort of a hybrid between cheese and yogurt, that you can make yourself. The surprising thing, given the prep procedure, is how the taste is described. See that and uses too in this article about Quark by MyRecipes.

  It’s one of the most popular cooking shows on PBS and it returns to our living rooms Oct 19. It’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” a treasure trove of home cooking, with quick preps for busy families. Watch for actual home cooks showing us regional fare from Mississippi, Miami and Key West. As they say, check your local listings – mine say 12:30 pm.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

What a sweetheart of a novel

Welcome to the town of Avalon where it doesn’t take long for the reader to feel like a visitor or maybe even a resident. That’s in great part thanks to author Darien Gee’s talents at establishing a sense of place, and even more theFriendship Bread: A Novel deft introduction of main characters and secondary players in such a way that they retain clear identities rather than dissolving into a blur.

But the book’s title, “Friendship Bread” telegraphs the real star of the show. Throughout, the starter and loaves work their way into these lives variously taking on the roles of nourishment for the body, an elementary school hit, a conversation opener, coin of the realm, a source of humor, a community organizer, the inspiration for both “thank yous” and “Oh nos!” – even the cause of panic in the streets and the underpinning for a mission of mercy.

We follow the bread all the way to the story’s satisfying conclusion. And then there’s . . .  recipes!

The bread, the people, the situations both social and serious often center around the town’s tea shoppe. Feel free to pull up a chair.

“Friendship Bread”    Gee’s other books in Avalon

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just, yum 

I’ve come upon this site before and always found it so interesting. Called Wishes & Dishes, it’s chock full of great looking recipes, starting right with the homepage. In fact, not sure I’ll be able to resist the banana bread brownies with chocolate peanut butter ganache. Also party tips, holiday specialties, and the eclectic Wishes section.

And here, they bring us Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread, so moist and flavorful, a sweet treat for breakfast, snack or dessert. As it says in the intro: “Forget the pie crust and get all the flavors of fall . . .”

Quite easy too. After chopping the apple it’s pretty much just measure, mix, and wait while it bakes. Maybe a quirk of my oven or altitude, after max baking time the center still wasn’t totally set though the edges were. So, I just shut off the oven, left the bread in there for another 25 minutes, and then all good . . . really good.

Btw, there’s a demo on the page which can be helpful but doesn’t include any amounts. When you scroll down you’ll come across a button to Get Recipe – maybe it’s just my unfortunate relationship with electronics but this took me somewhere into the cyber hinterlands.

But . . . if you just keep scrolling on the original page – eureka! – there’s the recipe. After the ingredients you’ll see an arrow. Just scroll right past that into the directions. Then the fun begins! Thanks W&D!

Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread recipe    Wishes & Dishes  

  TIP  

I say All-in, you say . . .

So, we’ve seen a few all-in dishes in past Salons, bread pudding, chocolate pie, stew. And there are very likely more to come because this kind of thing is a great way to use up odd and ends rather than waste them.

It was interesting then to discover a similar phenom in an older version of Better Homes & Gardens. It was part of various strategies for “a better dinner tonight.”

They called one of the suggestions “Clean out the fridge,” and in this particular case the destination was a curry. Into coconut milk base went chicken, veggies, Thai green curry paste and lemons.

But, heck, you could start out with fridge cleaning and end up with soup, salad, burritos, pasta, quiche, “Dagwood” sandwiches, gumbo, paella . . . and whatever else could emerge from the lively imagination of all you creative CS-ers.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  As a follow-up to our Tip above, some weeks back I made burritos with a cousin of this technique. A place nearby makes these fabulous nachos with shredded beef, cheese, black olives, onions, peppers, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on, oh yeah, french fries. After rescuing the fries, I wrapped all the leftover toppings in tortillas and froze the burritos for future enjoyment.

  I have a side dish to share with you, and the fact it is so good is far from a surprise since it’s the creation of flavor master JoséAndrés. It’s his Catalan-Style Spinach and while I’m as big a fan as anyone of the pure taste of lightlyVegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook cooked fresh spinach, this one takes the veggie into a whole new incredibly rich dimension. I first came across the prep in the chef’s “Vegetables Unleashed” cookbook, and it differs just a bit from the one linked here. If you want the best of both recipes, add a chopped shallot or comparable amount of onion, and mixed nuts instead of just pine nuts {I used slivered almonds and halved pecans}, and mixed dried fruits instead of just raisins {I used raisins and chopped dates}. Wondering with a bit of chicken if it couldn’t transform into an entree.

  Here’s one way you know you’re in the presence of a really, really, good dinner, whether at your home table, a host’s table, or a restaurant table. You realize you’re reaching capacity, and you’re just going to have to forego something on that beautiful plate. But what??? There are just no viable candidates. Do I have a solution? Nope. My job here was just verifying that you have had the good fortune to be face to plate with this kind of memorable dinner. Yes, thank you, I did have one such experience this very week.

So far next week: bacon and egg breakfast enchiladas, marshmallow equivalents, bake a cake like Buddy, Jose Andres quote, Watergate Salad, pizza plus

Last week, just below:  cola & peanuts meet in the bottle {yep}, best rotisserie chicken, keeping ‘shrooms fresh, whole book of grilled cheese mania, caterer to the star’s chocolate cake from mix – good/ rich/ easy, cuss-free wrapping, jammy eggs, fun & spooky food, savory salteñas 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – books/Amazon, food array/Acabashi on Wikimedia Commons, bread/mine

Link sources – Sara’s Weeknight Dinner/Sara Moulton, Catalan-style spinach/Jose Andres, all books/Amazon

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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Tiny Hot Dogs x 2, Oct 4-Oct 10, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

♦  TIDBITS – {encore!} ice cream for breakfast / go take a flying jacob / beer backstory    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – tiny hot dogs, read    FEATURED RECIPE – tiny hot dogs, watch  ♦  TIP – corn on the cob, takes 1, 2, 3    THE WEEK – Choctaw stew / burger tip / tater redux

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Yes, indeedy, we ran this before {as did Food & Wine} and just as they regarded it as worthy of an encore, so do we! And in fact it was way up there as a favorite Tidbit among CS-ers. What? “19 Ways to Enjoy Ice Cream for Breakfast.” Ignore where the sun is, hit the freezer, etc, and enjoy!

  Have you ever heard of this? When Guy Fieri took his Diners, Drive-ins & Dives to Krokstrom in Kansas City, we were introduced to a dish called Flying Jacob, an unlikely combo of chicken, bacon, bananas, cream, spicy ketchup and peanuts that became a sensation when the recipe was submitted by a man named Jacobsson and printed in the Swedish mag “Allt Om Mat” {All About Food} in the 70s, and has unpredictably maintained shelf life to the present day. Here is the reprint AOP published after crowd pressure and it includes a link to the original recipe. You can google many variations including casserole versions.

  And so it was born. The stronger, hoppy brew many folks now enjoy at happy hour was the result of transport issues rather than flavor r&r. Beer sent by Britain on a long, hot journey to its soldiers in India would often arrive flat and sour. They found though that if they raised the alcohol content and added fresh hops to the barrels, the beer not only survived the trip but “tasted pretty good.” You might agree because today we know this quaff as India Pale Ale. Another tidbut from Moveable Feasts, the book that lifts the veil on how foods travel from a whole lot of “theres” to your plate, first mentioned in our 09.27.19 Salon..

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Tiny Hot Dogs, the book . . . with recipes 

Mary Giuliani {no, not a relative, as she is constantly asked} is a caterer to the stars and sometimes we know who the Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bitesmarquee folks are and sometimes not. What we discover more often is what she serves them.

And that brings us to the “tiny” reference. Giuliani shuns the usual gussy celeb fare for what might be characterized as upscale snack food, served in bite size pieces as telegraphed in the book’s title, “Tiny Hot Dogs.” That means her party tables will be laden with, e.g., mini versions of lobster rolls, corn dogs, spring rolls, turkey clubs, and variations on grilled cheese.

And recipes for all of those items mentioned above, as well as others, are included in the book. Along the way you’ll also come upon some catering tales, her foodie bio, some straight-talk revelations, and a bit of droll humor. All in all, quite enjoyable.

“Tiny Hot Dogs,” 4 1/2 stars    Her previous book, “The Cocktail Party,” 4 stars   

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Tiny Hot Dogs, the video . . . three ways

Giuliani brought her book title to life when she appeared on a charming show called Home & Family, on the Hallmark Channel. Her tiny hot dogs demo from that time is now on YouTube and is linked below.

You’ll see three ways to kick up the flavor on what are alternatively called pigs in a blanket, but bite-size, maybe two-bite. She also shows a compatible sauce for each.

You will also discover something you might find surprising. The only reason it wasn’t a revelation to me is that I had just finished reading a book on catering and learned how common this time-saving practice is in the industry. Turns out with the right sourcing, no quality is lost with this shortcut.

Tiny Hot Dogs video    Home & Family show

  TIP  

Corn x 3

What is it about corn that is just so satisfying. On the cob, off the cob, plain, flavored, cooked, raw, all so good. Here’s some buzz I hope you’ll find helpful . . .

So, in view of the fact that corn off the cob does quite well in the freezer, wondered why I couldn’t just freeze the whole cob. Never know until you try. Just tightly wrapped it, uncooked, in a paper towel and then in foil, and in it went.  The picture here shows it thawed, looking not bad, though for whatever reason it seems to survive the freezer better, in terms of both taste and texture, when it’s off the cob. I can probably say that with more conviction after trying one of these methods I belatedly found.

Street corn {elote} in a dish! So, had some kernels that I’d taken off the cob and frozen, no cooking, and thought it might be interesting to hit it with elote flavors. Found this recipe for a casserole which I used as a guide for ingredients but since I wasn’t using the prep’s 10 oz of corn, actually just did a toss into the skillet. Sauteed salted garlic in butter, then in with the corn, lime juice, a bit of hot sauce & some monterey jack, and when nice and hot into the dish with a bit more cheese to melt on top plus a sprinkling of fresh basil {in place of cilantro}. Excellent.

OK, again not remembering the source but best guess is Rachael Ray’s magazine that I saw a tip for removing corn silk. My previous go-to method? A paper towel. After Rach? A dedicated toothbrush! Now – even more recently, in an episode from Season 1 of “A Chef’s Life,” the silk remover was a regular household scrub  brush, ahhhh, that we’d like to think also solely dedicated to the task – sure covers a lot more ground {cob}.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  This time the all-in is stew, though not really a stretch I’ll admit. But what happened was, something in a book reminded me of a story I read when I was just a mini-foodie about three kids stranded on a floating island. Other than that main premise all I recall is that they made something called Indian stew. Googled and found Choctaw Stew –  close enough though the one in my memory also had tomatoes so added those along with celery & kosher salt though none of the three in this recipe – said no to green beans & squash but yes to garlic & hot peppers, and large-diced the potatoes – my broth of choice was a mix of chicken & beef, all in the slowcooker on low for 8 hours. Quite tasty.

  Is this something a whole bunch of you are already doing? I like to cook hamburgers in a really hot pan to produce a nice char but, aiyyyyy, not so fond of the fat splat onto the stovetop. Ha! Now I use a deep pan and at least most of the spray stays inside.

♦  The Featured Recipe in our 09.20.19 Salon was the tasty treat by José Andrés, Sweet Potato Sundae. I meant to mention that afterward I mashed the leftovers till quite smooth, served some the next day, froze the rest. All good! Recall though that I had used cream cheese not ice cream, so a prep with the latter is untested.

So far next week: Pro chocolate cake from a mix, sticky wrap without cussing, satenas, jammy eggs, making mushrooms last

Last week, just below:  Delivery for Fido have to sign for it, foodfests galore, good veggie veggie fruit fruit news, kitchen pockets, pumpkin caramel dip, poaching eggs to perfection, Legal Sea Food, love this peanut sauce, peanut butter Chex mix 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, hot dog tray/Home & Family on Youtube, all 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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Kids’ bacon cheddar dip, Aug 23-29, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

R.I.P. Beloved Misty {note on her History page}

♦  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll down  

  TIDBITS – no-bake key lime / showfinder / pop goes the Taco Bell    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – outdoor grilling, phooey    FEATURED RECIPE – it’s bacony, tasty, and a multi-tasker    TIP – chalk up one of the fun-est cookie tricks ever    THE WEEK – Venetian/English breakfast / this time it’s pie / gluttony good???

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Room for one more no-bake dessert? It’s creamy key lime pie and wow is it easy. Just 8 ingredients, 3 steps. BUT, choose instead a store-bought graham cracker crust and it’s 5 ingredients, 2 steps. WAIT, not done. Choose plain over pretty and it’s 4 ingredients, 1 step! And, from MyRecipes, a darn reliable source of good stuff.

  Got Netflix? Did you know about the secret code that lets you instantly find all their food shows? Food & Wine tells all, how to access it, how to use it.

  Taco Bell fans, pack your bags for Palm Springs. That where the Mex chain is opening a pop-up hotel this month, with a menu of TB favorites gussied up a bit. Or, put your suitcase back on the shelf and just serve some of their Fire Chip Chilaquiles, recipe included in the story. And if you want to dress or accessorize for the occasion, there’s also an online TB store.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Love grilling – but the ” great outdoors”, not so much?

Solution – indoor grills. Yikes, who knew there are so many possibilities, both electric and stove top. Some good Amazon prices too, don’t know if always or special for end of the season.

They range from the quite gussy, like the plug-in Hamilton Beach shown, complete with view Hamilton Beach 25361 Electric Indoor Searing Grill with Removable Easy-to-Clean Nonstick Plate, Viewing Window, Stainless Steelwindow, adjustable heat, non stick surface, plus the hood, plate, drip tray all dish washer safe, $69.99 at Amazon {list $89.99}, 4 1/2 stars.

At the other end of the spectrum, stove top grill pans. Here, the Lodge 10.5 square inch cast iron griller, pre-seasoned, $18.90 at Amazon {list $44.30}, 4 stars.

But, as they say, wait, there’s more. Indoor griddles that sit atop your stove also are available with grill grooves. And, you can even find indoor smokers. Neener neener bees, mosquitos, wind, rain, etc.

Elec grill shown    Stove-top pan shown  ♦  4 star & up electric grills

4 star & up grill pans   4 star & up griddles    4 star and up stove-top smokers

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Bacon rules a cheesy dip that lives on in other tasty ways

In our 08.02.19 Salon we featured cookbooks for kids. Because of “my kid” Misty I had chosen to focus on ‘Bacon Artist.” Nice recipes for soup, salad, sandwiches and snacks, plus cooking methods and safety tips. Bacon Artist: Savory Bacon Recipes (Kids Can Cook!)

I mentioned that the first recipe I would likely try was the bacon cheddar dip, and now I’ve done exactly that, and hooray! As the title indicates, its first incarnation was as a dip, which the book suggests serving with crackers, chips, and such veggies as carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.

But oh, can it go way beyond that. Since the recipe makes quite a bit there were lots of leftovers after taking s star turn during cocktail hour with friends. It’s next use was a sauce for pasta, thinned a bit with bouillon, sprinkled with parsley and parm. Future uses: over sauteed chicken or shrimp, napped on scrambled eggs {such a natural with the bacon and cheese}, or maybe the book’s suggestion to roll it up in tortillas, chill, cut into pinwheels.

Amazon has the subject of kid cookbooks thoroughly covered. The link below filters the selections by best rating but you can further customize by age group, format, condition, Prime and more.

Bacon Cheddar Dip recipe  “Bacon Artist”    Cookbooks for kids, 4 stars and up

  TIP  

Another whimsical way to decorate food – thanks Trisha!

In our 07.26.19 Salon we drew designs on holiday food with food pens and food gels. Now during a recent episode of Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” she displayed another way to play.

But she went one better. Wait till you see how.

It started with butter cookie dough, cut into rectangles and then baked and cooled. Each was covered almost to the edge with store-bought royal icing that had been blended with black food coloring to create what looked much like a child’s small chalkboard.

So then we need . . . chalk. Oh what fun, Trisha nuked bright white candy melts until the mixture could be piped into silicone tube molds and refrigerated until firm. And then voila! Not only can you eat the decorated “chalkboard – you can also eat the “chalk.”

Trisha’s prep    Trisha’s cookbooks    tube molds at Amazon    Food Network

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So, came across a reference to “Venetian Breakfast,” and a google check outed it as a double contradiction. First, it’s a London phenomenon, more specifically for the stylish set in the early 1800s. Second, it was generally served in the early afternoon {!}  But what we CS-ers care more about – what was served? All my usual sources were frustratingly mum on the subject. But what I did find would seem to indicate the term refers to the time of the party rather than its dishes.

  So as to not go away totally foodless, I took a look at what’s known as a full English breakfast on the premise there could be some similarities. Here it is at its “fullest” – back bacon {much like ham}, fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or fried or grilled oatcakes or buttered toast, sausages {bangers}, white or black pudding {or both}, baked beans, sometimes even bubble & squeak, along with HP sauce, ketchup and marmite plus coffee, tea and fruit juices. The accounts of actual 1800s breakfasts also included beer, wine & ale.

  The newest “all-in” is a chocolate pie. The filling: the leftover cheesecake from the lemon tarts in the 08.02.19 Salon thawed from freezer and blended with a chocolate medley that had been melted into a can of sweetened condensed milk – a mixed bag of milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chips, some of a Lindt blueberry/acai chocolate bar, a Hershey’s bar with Reese’s Pieces, and the Hershey’s Gold bar with peanuts and pretzels that was decorated for Dad’s Day in our play-with-your-food Salon 07.26.19, probably about 2 cups in all – into a store-bought crust, then chilled till firm. And yes, luck struck again, because it turned out exceedingly good, dense like a thick mousse.

  Well here’s a different take on one of the Seven Deadlies – found in my notes from “American Food Writing,” quoting turn of the century columnist Elizabeth Robbins Pennell on gluttony which she says – “deserves  nothing but praise and encouragement . . .  it is the result and proof of the digestive organs being perfect . . .{m}orally it shows implicit resignation to the commands of nature . . . {and} love of good eating is an incentive to thought, a stimulus to the imagination.” Ohhhhhhhkay.

So far next week: peanut butter chocolate cookies, easy mole, creamsicle cheesecake™, what cleans your coffeemaker???, poachin, taking lunch, notes to go, verified – pizza reheat

Last week, just below: no-cook dinners, impromptu grilling basket, reincarnating spices, Calvin Trillin’s funny food book, cilantro peanut dip, cilantro recipes, two stick trick, farmers market tips, dinner on a stick, Trillin vignette

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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 – grills & book/Amazon, cookies/Trisha Yearwood on Food Network, all 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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