C’mon in to our Alexa Room, Oct 8-14, 2021

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Next week – Kitchen Talk, Shopping Finds, Featured Recipes & Cocktail Hour Buzz

Let’s wine & dine with Alexa   

Tap into some of this culinary bounty that is an everyday part of Amazon Echo’s offerings – always CS-style recipes, sometimes tips and tidbits too

♦  Easy General Tso’s Chicken  Well the ingredient list is a bit long {that can be a good thing when it’s good stuff}, but it’s just 5 steps and a projected prep time of 22 min. Some of the reviewers disputed that time but in total gave this dish 4 stars {4 1/2 on the Alexa page}. Many noted better than take-out and it may well be the charred green beans that can take a bow for that.  From Epicurious

    Easy Apple Fritter Rings  Somebody else is tempting us with that adjective. This time it’s for a nice side dish or snack, which lives up to “easy” with a batter of just ginger ale & flour. There’s no amount given for the flour but this somewhat similar recipe for shrimp & fish, which also looks darn good from Rosemarie’s Kitchen, might suggest about a cup for the apple prep. Good starting point, anyway, and according to one of the comments you want a thin batter. From Tasty

Alexa tip – apples will keep at room temp for a short time, but for longer storage place in a perforated plastic bag, sprinkle with water and then into the coldest area of the fridge

♦  Bistro-Style Short Ribs  Just the briefest glance at what goes into the braising liquid will tell you everything you need to know about how deeply flavored those ribs are going to be. If you don’t have either of the two suggested appliances for browning the meat, I’m thinking you could use the same Dutch Oven they will eventually cook in. This recipe is credited to Tyler Florence, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and can verify he is every bit as personable and charming as he seems.  From Food Network

♦  Carrot Cake Oatmeal  In our 08.06.21 Salon we mentioned German chocolate cake flavors to spruce up oatmeal. Now Alexa has popped up this cakey idea too. And yep, all that confection’s signature stuff is in there. Btw, if you google this recipe you’ll see not only some variations, but as well a do-si-do, which is to say carrot cake made with oatmeal. I’m going to stay with this recipe though because it just looks so good.  From Tasty

  Chocolate Semifreddo  As the name telegraphs and CS-ers probably know, a semifreddo is “half frozen,” and emerges from the freezer somewhat soft. This one is helped along that path by a warm chocolate glaze. It’s quite the festive dessert.  From Tastemade

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Aug 20-Sept 16, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

While we’re on a brief break, please enjoy past Salons & and other CS pages. See you right back here on Sept 17. Happy Labor Day!

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – So, I finally made Joanna Fluke’s chocolate chip crunch cookies. They’re featured in her bakery-themed book series and dvds, also among the recipes in her cookbook based on the bakery goods in that fiction realm. Links for all below in Shopping Finds        I did tweak a bit. First, I used a cup of chocolate chips and a cup of butterscotch chips, because I happened to have those on hand. Second, I measured with an ice cream scoop {walnut sized cookies – nope}. It made 26 and still baked at 375 in 10 min. I know this sort of undoes the whole idea, but not sure about the crunch. A commenter said she used Corn Chex™ {because that’s what she had on hand}, and wondering if just personally I’d like that texture better. The flavor in any case is excellent.        Need to use up some taters? Here’s a tasty, and I’d say healthful too, way to do just that. Thai Curry Potato Soup on Ihe Idaho Potato Commission site, calls upon assertive seasonings that are slightly tamed by coconut milk and chicken bouillon. Interesting garnishes too.

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Shopping Finds – For Joanna Fluke’s items on Amazon.  Mystery novels   Movies based on the novels   Cookbook with recipes from the stories.        More sparkly stuff! OK, don’t see them in my stores yet but maybe in yours. Nestle ® Toll House ® Disco ™ Semi Sweet & Edible Glitter Morsels. How fun is that??? See more on their page.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Our featured item last week was especially for dog lovers. This week, if you’re a dog lover and a coffee lover, this one’s for you. Or maybe for a friend who shares those two passions. “Who’s a good coffeehound???”  Browse on Zazzle, your choice, mug or tee.

   On the Table  

Featured Recipes

Jacques Pepin’s Cream Cheese Soufflé

Wait, come back! Despite a rep that precedes it and not always in the most favorable way, this savory souffle could not be easier. The link actually takes you to a YouTube video where the platinum-credentialed chef himself shows you how it’s done. At the end of the demo there’s a list of ingredients and amounts. That his dishes are so elegant yet simple is a common refrain in the comments. From the Masters at Home series on PBS.

Giant cheese stuffed cracker

While it may borrow some style notes from pies, this is indeed a big-a cracker. And the title really should say CHEESE ’cause that filling blends a whole lot of cheddar, cream cheese and Parm. After the two crusts are baked, it’s all fridge. I did wonder if the crust would be so crackery that it would shatter when cut, but no, demo shows the wedge coming out nice and smooth, pie-like. Interesting way to shape the dough too. From Food Network.

Giant taco roll

Can two things from the same folks make a pattern? Who cares, this sounds like some tasty fun. A wrap made of baby corn tortillas is lightly baked with cheese inside and out. Then in goes a savory filling of ground beef, beans, pico, pickled jalapenos, black olives, seasonings and more cheese, baked and sliced. From Food Network.

Nutella Marshmallow French Toast 

One bite and you’ll want s’more {sorry!}. And simple as can be. I personally like this prep because of the quick dip in the egg/cream mixture and then into the pan. Those who may prefer the more custardy version could certainly let it sit in the drink a while longer.  No Nutella? Do what I did and mix melted chocolate chips with cashew butter {or pb or almond butter}. Btw you could make at least two and maybe more given the amount of egg & cream. From Tasty.

Italian Style Eggplant Parmesan

Well I guess most of us already attribute that dish to this culture. But . . . maybe some of the ingredients do earn this Parm extra Italian credits. Fresh tomatoes rather than a canned products as the base of the sauce. Fresh basil rather than dried. Fresh salted mozzarella. And freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. That’s a whole lot of mmm mmm. From Epicurious.

Their very best pizza recipes

From classic Chicago style deep dish and veggie to breakfast and dessert dishes. And so many ways to put it on the table – English muffin, pocket, pretzel, rolled, snack and casserole versions, also keto and gluten-free options, and yep dessert too. 26 in all. From Food Network.

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

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

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. Echo owners, also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the prep . . .

Reuben Dips  When this came up on the screen and I went to AllRecipes to fetch the prep for you, wowsie, about a bazillion came up. So I just linked to the whole AR page and if you click it, the one that should appear in the first slot is the same one that was on Alexa’s screen and of the ones I checked really looks the best to me, and it is 5 stars. Also see an alternative below particularly suited to Happy Hour.

Chicken Tamale Pie  Got a moment? Send your cursor back to the link, click, and see just how good and satisfying this looks. It’s loaded with lots of chicken, plus beans, scallions, salsa, and seasonings, all topped with a buttery, cheesy, cornmeal crust. Rave comments for this one give it its 4.5 stars. From Food Network.

Extra Crispy Spicy Fried Cauliflower  Well the double hit of a coating that includes both flour and cornstarch likely says crispy’s gonna happen. And with a teaspoon of cayenne and two tablespoons of hot sauce you can probably expect that spicy promise to deliver too. With many other flavors also checking in, this is a really nice side dish, but thinking it could easily jump into snackland and right down into Cocktail Hour Buzz. From Tasty.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

   As promised, here is the dip referenced above in Alexa’s Room. This one is a Slow Cooker Reuben Dip which could keep warm on the snack table. Whichever one you make, whichever way you make it, probably want a big surrounding pile of rye or pumpernickel pieces or even rye crackers.

   Bad news. Tequila Day was last month and some of us might have missed celebrating it. Good news. Patron has give us enough tequila-based drink recipes to last us till next year’s big day. Shown, watermelon basil margarita. Cheers!

  Trisha Yearwood always brings us such fun food. And tasty too! As a fine example, her Cheese Straws which get an added kick from garlic powder, black pepper and cayenne. Not only great finger food, but thinking could also be pretty good dippers. Demo too. On Food Network.

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Aunty Peggy’s Ham & Beef Tavern Chili, Feb 26-March 4, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – How about this? Homemade edible cookie dough! Food Network tells us exactly how to go about it, offering peanut butter, chocolate chip, and birthday cake versions. The latter mixes white chocolate chips and sprinkles into the cookie dough. Be sure to note the essential flour toasting step in the Cook’s Note shown for each recipe.    In listing ways to boost your immunity, Clean Plates notes these foods: elderberry, garlic, colorful fruits and vegetables, black and green tea. Here’s the full story  Prefer to drink one of these boosters? See below in our Cocktail Hour Buzz.

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Shopping Finds – When a condiment, despite its origins in a single small food stall, has chef and celeb enthusiasts, logo clothing, a fanzine, an appreciation society, and now a presence in 30 countries – it’s probably worth a taste, huh? Called Lao Gan Ma, it’s an amped up chilli oil in several varieties and be forewarned, it really is a little addictive. Here’s a story about it. And if you can’t find it locally, you can order from Amazon  This would be useful for any of us, but also what a fun gift for any cooking friend. Called a Supoon – Silicon Sit-up Scraping Spoon, those few words telegraph its two main functions. One, the “squeegee” edge to scrape a bowl or pan clean. Second, the off the counter design “to keep it clean.” It also nicely has measuring lines. And I would add one more perk – if the pic is accurate, it lets you measure “hands free.” On Amazon, other colors too, though some may not always be available.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Pug mug! Are these just about the cutest, most lovable little guys??? T-shirt available too. See both, plus other breeds and our Shelter Dog design right here on CS on our Eclectic Mall page.

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Kitchen Talk – I love fresh garlic, but sometimes garlic powder can be so convenient. Even Cook’s Country says don’t “dis” it as it “works well alongside other spices in everything from dry rubs to chili, mashed potatoes, and garlic bread.” They add, just use it right by first hydrating it with a bit of water. OK, from now on then.    KitchenAid has announced that its 2021 color of the year is Honey, calling it “a reminder of the sweetness of coming together in the kitchen.” Well we’ll second that, and in fact their rendition really is a nice warm, cozy color.    Need to thin a tomato based sauce? Instead of water add extra flavor with a bit of vegetable juice.

   On the Table  

Feature – Aunty Peggy’s Ham & Beef Tavern Chili

She was one of my dad’s three sisters. Their uncles, my great uncles, owned taverns in the Chicago suburbs, and served cups of this chili gratis to their patrons.

I don’t know the dates of operation for those establishments. The family was sort of vague about that.

Decades ago, Aunty Peggy’s tavern chili won a recipe contest conducted by the Chicago Tribune. I don’t know which was the greater thrill for her, the win itself or seeing her picture in this prestigious paper.

Much as I love this stuff, a friend in Chicago probably makes it even more than I do. She likes it in its pure form but recently discovered it’s even better with smoked ham.

I use that too now. I also like a bit more chili powder and a couple of tablespoons of cumin. Depending on the heat level in the chili beans, I may add some hot sauce.

It’s tasty and satisfying just as is, but toppings are good too. Here I used cheddar, sour cream and a bit of green onion.

Next week – Bailey’s Chocolate Cheesecake Pots, hello St. Pat’s Day

Recipe  ♦  Chili cookbooks, 4 stars & up

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

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

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

Alexa says request: How do I make chicken pot pie by Wolfgang Puck? The first part of that title tells you we’re talking comfort food and the second part says it’s going to be something special. And it is, because here classic meets upgrade. As a bonus Chef Puck himself delivers the demo. And as another perk, there’s a tip on checking sauce consistency that can be applied well beyond this dish. Thanks, Tasty, for giving us this recipe.

Alexa says request: How do I make chocolate dipped cannoli cupcakes? Is there any part of that title that isn’t a winner. And what I like even further is that it’s based on a cake mix, and that instead of hollowing out the cupcakes they’re just kind of smooshed down to make room for the filling inside and then also piled up to then be dipped in chocolate. Then looking back at the promise in the title, yep, that filling is classic cannoli including the mini chocolate chips. Thanks again! Tasty, for this boffo recipe and demo too.

My request: What’s the best way to store cookies ? At room temperature in an airtight container, then should be good for 2 weeks. If you want, put plastic wrap between the cookies to preserve their moisture. But if the cookies are made with dairy products in the frosting or filling then store in the fridge. Cookies can also be stored in the freezer, though not recommended for frosted ones.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – recommend a recipe – when you request this she will ask if you want to search by dish or ingredient.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

   Elderberry and as well elderflower are popular ingredients for drinks, both alcoholic and non, usually added as a syrup. Both of these gifts from the elder tree are often credited with boosting immunity. Here’s a google link to cocktail recipes for both. These Amazon pages feature the syrup and a lot more.  Elderberry  Elderflower  Cheers!

   Does your grocery store have these? Crafted of wild caught salmon swirled around cream cheese with shallots and capers, they’re tailor made for the snack table. Cut a bagel in half, then each half in 4 or 6, top each piece with a pinwheel and voila – appetizers! Can sprinkle with dill weed as shown here, or tuck a cuke slice underneath, e.g. Would also taste good on crackers, pretzel rolls, rye bread I think.

   Have teetotalers in your circle? Or should I say “teatotalers”??? A recent find may have the adult beverage crowd setting aside their glasses for a cup of what I recently found – tea that tastes like birthday cake. First the bad news – the found is lost. Now the good news – google has actually multiple sources for this treat. And these are on Amazon.

   Amy Reily’s newsletter this month features an article that is perfect for the times, perfect for lovers of wine. Titled, “How to Host a Zoom Wine Tasting,” it actually covers both joining an existing Zoom wine tasting as well as hosting a virtual tasting of your own.

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

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

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

           

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Easy, Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, Feb 19-Feb 25, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Carrots gone wild. Tasty and somewhat unexpected ways to use them up. Find salads, soup, smoothie, stir fry, fried rice, and desert bars in this story from Clean Plates. Also see a carrot prep & demo below in Alexa’s Room    Ha! another way to make oatmeal a bit more appealing. Thanks to MyRecipes for Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, further elevated with bananas, peanuts and honey. Btw, that same post also suggests toasting and stirring the oats for a couple of minutes over low heat before adding the liquid.    Bring some south into your kitchen no matter where you live with these 25 Classic Southern Recipes from Southern Living.

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Shopping Finds – Have you seen these? So clever. Designed to look like Mason jars but actually reusable plastic bags that tuck neatly into freezer, fridge or pantry. Four sizes, three packages 30-50, 10.99 -20.29. Prime eligible, 4 1/2 stars, and an Amazon’s Choice. Dimensions are shown on the page.   The reviews for the brownies from Prepared Pantry’s mix glow right off the page. Their most recent newsletter features a recipe for using the Seriously Fudgy mix to make pretty brownie cake pops. You’ll also find other flavors such as thick & chewy, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate chip blondies.

This week’s featured CS Kindle on Amazon – good for students, other writers, too! On Kindle, read it today, use it tomorrow. “Be a Better Business Writer in Nine Easy Steps”. You can also view this book, and others, and other items here on CS in BJN’s Eclectic Mall.

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Kitchen Talk – Finding fun ways to play with the gold and silver decorating sugar I originally bought for the tie dye cookies featured in our 02.05.21 Salon. Striped both on a homemade banana donut, just gold on a chocolate filled pastry, a combo on buttered carrots, and just silver on my fave sundae, chocolate ice cream with marshmallow topping. One thing, how much the sugar sparkles depends on how much light is on it.    More fun. Blood oranges, which I’ve long heard of but just recently had in my kitchen. You slice through the darkish peel to find juicy, crimson fruit waiting inside. Expect a nice balance of sweet and tart {and also red drops on your hands}. Squeeze into water, add ice, and you’ll have an “ade” that looks sort of exotic.    Still playing with making my own marshmallow topping.

   On the Table   

Feature – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars

So, the Pillsbury refrigerated dough I used for the tie dye cookies mentioned above in Kitchen Talk made such good cookies I decided to take another look at their site for other recipes based on this dough. And just look what I found!

After the ready to go dough there are just a half dozen ingredients. And four steps.

Four of those ingredients add up to an elevation. Store-bought caramel sauce is kicked up with more butter and brown sugar and, somewhat unexpectedly, graham cracker crumbs. Interesting!

It rates 4 stars and the comments delivered rave reviews. One tip therein, two of the cooks said they lined the pan with parchment paper.

The top of my to-make list is getting pretty crowded but this has to go there. Will report the results in a future Kitchen Talk.

{Photo from Pillsbury site}

Next week – Aunty Peggy’s Ham & Beef Tavern Chili, a storied dish

Recipe  ♦  Pillsbury recipe pages    Pillsbury cookbooks on Amazon

♦  ♦  ♦

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

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

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

Alexa says request: How do I make caramelized banana peanut butter cheesecake? Are those all the right words, or what??? Prep for a large rich cheesecake meets up with a cup of creamy peanut butter, destined for a graham cracker crust. Then . . . it’s topped with sliced bananas that have been glazed with a creamy, buttery caramel sauce. And guess what? No bake! We can say our thanks for this recipe, once again, to Tasty.

Alexa displays: Show me this recipe. This option appears with every recipe that pops up on the screen. You can also just request it by name later – the good news at that point is that other possibilities also come along for the ride. The bad news, however rare, can occur when the request includes a quite unfamiliar name that Alexa may not recognize.

This happened recently with Socca, though as always you can of course look it up on line. The other good news embedded here is the opportunity every now and then to learn about a new food. Btw, Socca?  Born in Genoa, popularized in Nice, it’s like a cross between a pancake and a pizza, topped at will a la the latter. Here’s what I found on google and the first prep shown is the same one that had been shown by Alexa.

Alexa says request: How do I make roasted carrots with pistachio pesto? We previously posted a darn good recipe for roasted carrots in our 06.12.20 Salon. No harm though in taking a look at how it’s done in this demo. But what was really intriguing in this offering from Epicurious was the pistachio pesto, which interestingly takes a “nose to tail” approach to the carrots. Also wondering how it might work to just sub pistachios for whatever nuts you now use in a classic pesto prep.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play the song quiz

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦  Molly Yeh of “Girl Meets Farm” on Food Network brings us a substantial happy hour treat. It starts with a multi-flavored Bloody Mary and ends with a multi snack. Anchoring the latter is a mini reuben sandwich on a stick that also holds a cornichon, the whole shebang then cozying up to the required celery stalk. Btw, one of the ingredients in the cocktail is caraway which bridges nicely to the rye bread in the reuben. And, it seems Yeh has a broad definition of happy hour, telling us, “Bloody Marys wake you up in a way coffee wishes it could.”   

  This taste-intensive Tex-Mex dip for the cocktail hour from Las Vegas celeb chef Les Kincaid – “Combine over lo-med heat until cheese melts, 1 lb Velveeta cubed, 8 oz jar cheese spread, 1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, 1 bunch green onions sliced and 4 oz chopped green chiles – serve with chips and an assortment of veggies.” It’s quite amazing how so few ingredients, simply stirred together, can create such big flavor.

   We previously talked about martini variations – not the kind of drinks that bear no resemblance to the classic cocktail but adopt that name because they are served in a martini glass. But rather the requisite gin or vodka and vermouth, with the variations being usually just a single add-in, as in our previous references to the “dirty” one with olive juice or my fave with jalapeno or other hot pepper juice. Meanwhile there’s been a low level trend of a few years now of adding pickle juice to adult beverages. Tried it in a tini. Nope.

   While advice may not always be appreciated, this example might be welcome. “7 Best Cocktails to Drink While Cooking Weeknight Dinners.” Now if you’re wondering what makes these  sips different from others, here’s what the folks at Food & Wine say: “There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day. There’s something even more therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day with a drink in your hand. Skip the martini— what you need is something quick, refreshing and relatively low proof so you’ll still be coherent by the time supper is ready.” {btw, the martini link takes you to F&W’s prep}

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

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

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

                       

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

eb4823     c74abc 

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Cobbler – Peach, Pecan & a Touch of Caramel, Sept 25-Oct 1, 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

Alexa has been promoted! Now find her every week right here on the main Salon page

   Let’s Chat   

Quick Bites – Is your muffin tin phoning it in, just showing up for . . . muffins??? Let Food & Wine expand its job description with these 10 Spectacular Non-Muffin Recipes to Make in Your Muffin Tin. You can run the slide show or just scroll down on their page to find crustless quiche bites, mini black bottom cheesecakes, open face egg and ham sandwiches, maple-bacon popovers, brownie bites and the rest    Takeout is a nice indulgence, but if it’s a little more prevalent these days you might want to take a look at this nutritionist’s take on making your order a bit healthier with these 7 Simple Swaps on the Clean Plates site.     Indulgence meets healthy in this Cheeseburger Salad from MyRecipes.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – I don’t know about you but it seemed I never had enough spatulas . . . until I found this festive set. Plus a food brush! Right now the 7-pc spatula set is $8.99, Prime eligible, 5 stars, and an “Amazon’s Choice.”    Want to decorate the kitchen for Halloween? And to cite the spirit of the Salon – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you – Amazon’s got you covered.    If you’re having trouble finding bouillon powder, as I have, you might try the jarred bases which I have found at the grocery store – have to be careful of the saltiness but quite the flavor whammy.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – So, I finally took a look at the necktag that was on the ginger syrup {09.18.20 Salon}, and in   addition to a recipe for seasoned ginger party nuts, even more uses – ice cream, baked chicken, oatmeal {always like some help in that bowl}, yogurt parfait, chocolate cake, even cocktails . . . and roasted carrots to which I added a bit of butter, and mmm-mmm.    If you’re avoiding gluten, have I got a recipe for you. The title, Flourless Oat Banana Muffins, doesn’t do it justice given its flavor boosters of peanut butter, honey, spices and chocolate chips. Actually even better the next day.

      On the Table 

Peach cobbler – five ingredients – tons of yum

As this week’s title tells you, the peach filling has some company in the pan. Pecans for crunch, bits for extra richness.

About the bits. The recipe calls for toffee but once I spotted caramel chips, a substitution was immediately in play.

And this tasty dish couldn’t be easier. Layer, sprinkle x 2, stir briefly, sprinkle x 3. Ready to bake.

About the baking. This prep is actually designed for campfire cooking, buried in hot coals. It bakes in a parchment-lined Dutch Oven.

No problem. I used a 9 x 13 pan treated with baking spray. Then based on other cobbler recipes, baked at 350 for 50 minutes covered. Checking if it’s done all the way through can be dicey since the tester will be going through the fruit too. If you’re not sure, remove a scoop of the cobbler and use the tester on some of the cake that’s fallen to the bottom.

Recipe Notes – You could certainly still use parchment paper if you wanted. I think next time I would skip the brief stir, maybe instead just using the back of a spoon to press down a little bit of the cake mix. Sweetness is front and center here so if too much add a dollop of sour cream.

Next week – Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburger, savory sauce under and over

Recipe on the AllRecipes site    Cobbler 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.

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 do you make a French omelette? Of the four that immediately pop up on the screen, we’re going to link to Chef John’s prep on AllRecipes because he is more detailed on what makes it an authentic French omelette, also shunning extra ingredients because as he says, it’s “just eggs and butter, no filling . . . 10% ingredients, 90% technique.” Demo too.

Alexa says request: How do you make banana bread cake? But the option from Food Network Kitchen takes it a big step further. Called Banana Bread Lava Cake, it’s rich in spices and of course bananas, but the star of the show, the “lava,” the secret ingredient – here revealed – is ice cream bars! This one also has a demo.

My request: Alexa, how do you soften hard brown sugar? Wikihow is cited for two solutions, one that calls for imprisoning the sugar with a slice of bread or apple in a plastic bag, the other pressing the nuker into service. But if you go to the Wikihow site for this advice you’ll actually find six ways.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

{Echo owners, if you say Alexa play oldies {others too?} the lyrics scroll on the screen – let’s sing along!}

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

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

♦ Perfect for the food-centric chat in our Salons. “Parsley, thyme and basil are typical savory herbs used to enhance the flavor of meat. But my favorite herb is rosemary. It’s great with chicken, beef or pork, great flavor and great fragrance as the meat cooks. You’ll find it in many Spanish recipes.” – Pld, Chicago

{Photo from Amazon, source of a variety of herb seeds}

  One of perhaps the best pieces of advice from the Playboy book featured in our 09.04.20 Salon: Take care of all  the preliminaries hours before or, if possible, the day before the event – e.g., amassing ice cubes, polishing brandy snifters, shopping, cooking, marinating, table setting, disks for the stereo, setting out cocktail napkin napkins, or if that’s the plan, hiring help. And then the real nugget: during the party Relax! – “. . . enjoy yourself at your own party.”

  Well, we don’t know if Linus will see the Great Pumpkin for this first time ever this year. But what whiskey-sippin’ folks can see for the first time ever this year is Pumpking Pumpkin Whiskey, a sibling to the well-established Pumpking Imperial Ales by Southern Tier Brewing.  🍺  Cheers.  

  More foodie chat. The acronym DOP on such Italian treats as salumi, fromaggi, olive oil, balsamic vinegars, stands for “protected designation of origin” . . .  showing that it “is legally guaranteed by the European Union to be ‘authentic, or made in the original town or region with traditional ingredients'” (in other words: no mystery ingredients). This bit of instruction from Eately and thanks for making us smarter.

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Saucy, spicy, savory Cajun shrimp, June 5-June 11, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  COMFORT FOOD  

Fieri finds “real-deal” Cajun in Mooresville, Indiana

It’s called Zydeco’s and that real deal is not just a matter of serving up all the classics, but as well making some of the essential ingredients in-house and flying in some of the rest. Guy says, when you’re inside you really are in New Orleans.

This recipe from his cookbook, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: The Funky Finds in Flavortown,” is an adaptation of the one provided to Fieri by co-owner and New Orleans native Carter Hutchinson. Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp is not for the faint of palate – any hint of red in the buttery/garlicky sauce is not from tomatoes {there are none}, but from hot peppers – ground, flaked and liquid.

That’s indeed Big Easy style, with the requisite crusty bread pressed into service after the shrimp is gone to scoop up every last bit of the sauce. Expect to have butter residue to the elbows immediately afterward, and garlic wafting from your pores possibly for days.

You also could have had pretty much this same dish if you ever happened to have gone years ago to a place called Slicker Sam’s in Melrose Park, a suburb west of Chicago, and probably today at other select places outside New Orleans. Just make sure wherever it is, it’s the “real deal.”

Both cookbook links below take you to Amazon. Fieri’s books generally rate four stars and up.

Next week: Honey roasted carrots

Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp recipe on Food Network    This DDD cookbook    Other Fieri cookbooks

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  Quick pickup at Trader Joe’s, back home, minutes later, dinner! And hooray for the number of ingredients too. It’s all promised in their list of “Meals {that} Have Fewer Than Four Ingredients and Take 10 Minutes to Make.” They’ve done a boffo job of packing a lot of flavor and texture into a little bit of stuff. Thanks Cooking Light for posting this. {Just a quick PS, more accurate to say four or fewer ingredients

  How about a nice ice cream dessert with a kick? This sweet treat is the result of Fieri’s visit to a place called Union Woodshop in Clarkston MI, and the recipe in the book {above} for a Maple Bourbon Pecan Sundae is courtesy of that restaurant’s Chef Aaron Cozadd. Thinking despite the title this would be quite good even without the bourbon, and then maybe some vanilla instead.

We should note that Cozadd makes his own vanilla ice cream for this sundae, using the nitrogen freezing method. I’ve had this prep before and the ice cream turns out so smooth, so creamy, it’s almost in a class by itself. A lot of cautions go along with this process, so maybe ice cream from the store would do just fine.

  Joanna Gaines, known to many as a cookbook author and more, is posting cooking demos on her Youtube channel. What’s so nice about this format vs live tv is you can pause the video to make notes or whatever, or run it back to see something again. There is a subscribe button but you can just go ahead and watch any of these Magnolia Table episodes. May want to start with the French Silk Pie. Meanwhile if you’d like you can browse her cookbooks and more on Amazon.

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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”

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10 last minute gifts for cooks & their kitchens, Dec 20, 2019 – Jan 2, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

ALL THE BEST TO OUR SALON FRIENDS THROUGHOUT THIS JOYOUS SEASON

LET’S MEET RIGHT BACK HERE ON JAN 3, 2020

WE’LL GREET THE NEW YEAR WITH RECIPES  GALORE, THE TASTIEST FROM 2019

Link for tasty leftover turkey recipes on google

  Here are some of this year’s top featured items that might rescue procrastinators 

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

Check delivery times in item listings

The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink

Marketplace, 02.15.19  I just love Diner’s Dictionary. Open to just about any page and expect to find something fascinating.

Of course it’s also a fast resource for an individual ingredient, a single food item, or an entire dish. Alphabetical, too. What fun!

And happily, you may find in some cases not only the definition, but as well characteristics, uses, and origins, plus related geography, history, literature, law, commerce, and notable people. Hardcover, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. Diner’s Dictionary 

Featured Recipe, 02.22.19  Our recipe that week, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, is hands-down one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.

It comes from David Venable, of the QVC show “In the Kitchen with David, in his “Comfort Food Shortcuts,” specializing in satisfying dishes that marry your cooking talents to grocery store convenience.

Lots of dips, soups, saucy preps, casseroles, rich desserts. E.g., bananas foster pancakes, pepperoni/cheesy breadsticks, chocolate stuffed {store-bought!} bread, peach enchiladas. “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook

wall26 Canvas Prints Wall Art - Still Life Various of Spices on Rustic Wooden Table Food/Kitchen Concept | Modern Wall Decor/Home Decoration Stretched Gallery Canvas Wrap Giclee Print - 12" x 18"

Marketplace, 03.08.19  A kicky food poster can add a fun, whimsical touch to any kitchen or dining area. And so many choices, framed and unframed.

There are designs dedicated to herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables, casseroles & ethnic foods, coffee & tea, beer & wine, dishes & utensils, chefs & kitchenware, collages & sayings. There’s a link for that week to the top rated selections. Spice poster

Marketplace, 03.22.19  Martha’s total take on cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry, decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining . . .

And cooking too! Tool repurposing, produce purchases, freezer use, leftovers, timesavers, basic methods, troubleshooting, baking skills. No actual recipes, but guides for veggie broth, nut butters, pan sauces, parchment cooking, a proper omelet, and more.

All beautifully illustrated, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.  “The Martha Manual”

American Masters: James Beard DVDMarketplace, 05.31.19  This precious DVD takes you right inside the mind of a culinary legend, an iconic chef, the “First Foodie” – James Beard. We hear from him and from those who knew him best in this fascinating tale.

And it is indeed the whole story, from childhood travails, to mom’s influence, early challenges, founding role in The Four Seasons and its pioneering devotion to seasonal cuisine,  personal & professional relationships, cookbooks, ascent to legendary status, post-mortem inspiration for the James Beard Foundation and Awards.  “James Beard” DVD

Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker Makes 20 Icy Treats, Includes 2 Reusable Plastic Cups & Ice Scoop – BlueMarketplace, 06.21.19  Oh, how fun is this??? Some lucky person’s very own Sno Cone Machine!

In addition to the adorable little cart shown here, there are others that look more like kitchen appliances, at least one based on a Disney character, a Jelly Belly version, some retro designs and more.

There’s also a link in that week’s Salon to the full range of designs, styles, and prices. Cart-style sno cone machine

The Great Book of ChocolateMy Week, 06.21.19  In April we had featured David Lebovitz’ recipe for chocolate salted caramel tartlets from his book, “My Paris Kitchen.” In the intro he had noted his passion for chocolate.

This Lebovitz  tome, “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide” sure proves that to be true. He gives us chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – back story, tasting hints, health benefits, buying tips, resources and – yes, indeedy! – recipes.

Choco-philes just may want to read this one cover to cover like a pleasurable fine novel.  “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide

The Official Downton Abbey CookbookTidbits, 09.20.19  In her magazine earlier this year, Rachael Ray told us that “to dine like the Crawleys,” just simply serve oysters, soup, fish, fowl, main dish with sauces & veggies, dessert, fruit & cheese, and a final savory. But what would that be specifically?

To the rescue, a Downton Abbey cookbook. And not just recipes, but also their backstories and context. Plus, a guide to throwing a Downton-themed party complete with etiquette tips and customs of the times.

A Downton cocktail book too.  “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook”

Marketplace, 10.25.19  In our original Salon we featured “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro’s cake kits for humans, including the mix, the filling, the icing, even the pan. But those may not be available in time. {The links are still available on the original Salon page if you’d like to check}.

Originally we showed here a complete Valastro gift kit for dogs, but when I just now checked the link – nada. There are however individual Valastro baking kits for dog goodies, such as the chicken parm bites shown here.

Other flavors, plus biscuits. Valastro dog treat baking kits

Marketplace, 11.08.19  Kitchen timers these days range from the classic tick-tick-tickers to some with advanced functions. And so many designs, some fun, some stylish, some ready to stick to the fridge, some multi-packs so inexpensive they could be party favors or stocking stuffers.

Equal time for kitty-lovers. And could this one be any cuter??? There are also companion kitchen items on the Amazon page. And you can also find a link to the full array on the Salon page. Cat-and-Mouse Design Timer

 

You might also like to browse in our CooksSalon

Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

Gift Shop link is right within CooksSalon. All others on this page go to Amazon. Please see original Salons for available photo credits & partnerships or contact me for information regarding Salons that predated these listings

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

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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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Bacon & Egg Breakfast Enchiladas, Oct 25-Oct 31, 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 – easy upgrade / pomey punch / whose salad???    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Buddy-bakin’    FEATURED RECIPE – just add a b-mary    TIP – veggies go scary   THE WEEK – cookbooks! / pizza rescue / spinach so rich 

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What a clever tip, actually a multi-tip, but all having to do with salad dressings. Bottled salad dressings. And how to upgrade the flavor with some simple tricks. The MyRecipes story, ‘How to Make Salad Dressings Taste Homemade,” starts from a broader perspective, including this line that will likely resonate with our Salon folks, “. . . often store-bought items reveal to you upon first taste exactly what they need to be a better version of themselves.” The detail then covers vinaigrettes plus dressings that are creamy, sweet or cheese-based. Good ideas!

  Could this be the star of your cocktail party? First of all it’s based on the great taste of pomegranate without those pesky seeds {or, it doesn’t have to – feel free to leave out those interlopers}. Second, it has the sweet touch of one kind of wine and the refreshing sparkle of another. Third, it brings to the party that symbol of hospitality, pineapple, and one of the holidays’ fave fruits, orange. And fourth, it serves a crowd. Sip on. Thanks Food & Wine for this Sparkling Pomegranate Punch.

  Can a salad be scandalous? Well maybe not even if its name touches a 70s nerve. So the subject here is Watergate Salad, an unusual combo that tastes better than you might think. My mom was an early adopter of this prep and it was always a hit with dinner guests. As the MyRecipes story noted, while the the Deep Throat source was eventually revealed, the salad’s remains somewhat controversial. Who cares! Enjoy – and party! – whichever party you prefer.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bake it like Buddy

This may be the very closest we can come to making a cake just like the tasty creations of “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro. Even better than having a recipe.

Buddy Valastro Foods Perfect Cake Kits - Cake Mix, Cake Pans, Icing, and Filling (Banana Cream Cake)This is like having him right in your kitchen. In the form, that is, of one on his cake kits, available as either white cake or banana cream, and including the mix, the filling, the icing . . . even the pan.

The only thing that would be more authentic would be to have one of his cakes made for you. Oops, that’s also a possibility, with ordering instructions on his Carlo’s Bakery site, which we’ve linked below.

But wait there’s more. He also offers his own ready-to-use fondant in white and purple, plus gourmet crumb cake and peanut butter/carob treats for – wait for it – your dog!

Valastro cake kits    Carlo’s Bakery site    Valastro’s cookbooks    “Cake Boss” DVDs

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Good Morning! 

And it surely will be if these bacon and egg breakfast enchiladas are on the table. And, yes, breakfast would be good but these flavorful bundles have brunch written all over them, as actually the Food & Wine page mentions.

Don’t be scared by the ingredient list. It’s long but really just the result of a palate-tingling array of seasonings and spices, most of which are tossed into a quick sauce.

And pretty smooth sailing too, just the way we busy CS-ers like it. Most of us have cooked bacon and scrambled eggs before, and that’s about as difficult as this prep gets.

The green onion garnish and side scoop of sour cream add nice color and texture. But you know what, a ladle of refried beans and some ripe sliced avocado wouldn’t hurt either!

Can this be right. The Amazon link just below for the magazine shows $5 for a 1-year subscription {vs $71.88}. Does say limited time offer.

Food & Wine recipe    Food & Wine magazine {might be 2nd one down on page}

♦  TIP  

Vegetables have never been so scary

Cooking Light did the most clever thing with a vegetable platter. With deft arrangement it all comes together as a skeleton! Also on the page some pumpkin-faced cookies and other characters, “devil” eggs, vampire dip and oven-baked sweet potato tots with jalapeno garlic ranch – the latter two to keep Dracula away.

Here’s the link

Meanwhile the marshmallow chart originally scheduled for this week will appear in the 11.08.19 Salon. There’s a decorated mallow too.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room 

♦  So, went to a very dangerous place this week. Called Amber Unicorn, it’s a used book store with a truly eclectic offering, but here’s the thing – the cookbook collection rules. For folks like us, the debit card all but jumps out as you pass the register, waiting patiently there as you begin a long leisurely browse. If you’re in Las Vegas, or will be, it’s a list-topping stop. Now, the center is no longer a bustling place but no worries, still in a busy part of town.

♦  I was dismayed when I took leftover pizza slices out of the freezer and saw how skimpy they were. Solution: pile on! Olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish, pizza in, tomato slices on top. When baked enough to be fairly warm added fresh spinach, shredded mozzarella, pepper and marjoram, a drizzle of olive oil, then back in the oven. Topped each serving with a fried egg. Yeah, that was satisfying.

♦  In this My Week section last week {10.18.19 Salon} we posted a rich spinach recipes from Jose Andres’ cookbook, “Vegetables Unleashed.” There was something the chef said in his intro in the book that I quite liked and wanted to share. “. . . drive the extra mile, pay the extra dollar . . . Find the people and places that can give you a little taste of perfection.”

So far next week: Doritos Chicken Casserole, Take out containers do what???, Parmesan corn butter, favorite kitchen storage, star turn for carrots, cheesy addiction, donairs

Last week, just below: bread-keeping tricks, edible quarks?, food show returns, lovely novel, cinnamon apple pie bread recipe, taste instead of waster, nachos > burritos, rich Catalan-style spinach, dinner metric 

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 – Baking kit/Amazon, others/mine

Link sources – Valastro cake kits/Carlos Bakery, Valastro cookbooks & dvds & F&W mag/Amazon, others/self-ID 

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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