New in “Cocktail Hour Buzz,” CooksSalon, May 6-May 12, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Cocktail Hour Buzz 

sundowner snacks, drinks, chat, and . . .

whenever I can, related resources & goodies on Amazon

whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

{links within my items go to the sources shown in red – any links underneath items take you to Amazon unless otherwise indicated, and then only ones with the lock icon}

♦♦♦  In last week’s Salon we talked about the McCarthy salad, found in actress Sharon Gless’ memoir and named after her famous granddaddy –  and promised a follow-up tale about his wife’s foray into the culinary world. Marguerite Gilbert McCarthy would not give Neil the requested divorce, but he left her anyway. Did she sit home weeping and wailing? Nope. Moved herself to Hillsboro NH, and turned her attention to writing cookbooks, and one {Gless didn’t say which} became a national best seller. Of the three, two are are still available and the third says limited availability.  Amazon

A note about the 1-star rating for the “Queen” one – turns out it’s based on the seller not the book, and it’s not even totally clear if the person actually bought the book. But I couldn’t see what the commenter was talking about and, further, I looked up the seller and found a 93% approval rating.

“The Cook Is in the Parlor”

“The Queen Is in the Kitchen”

“Aunt Ella’s Cook Book” {this is the limited one}

“Apparently There Were Complaints” by Sharon Gless

♦♦♦  Well here’s an interesting promise. “36 Snacks That Taste Better Homemade.” Most seem to fit a busy lifestyle too. Here are just some that beg to be on the to-make list: Birthday Cake Puppy Chow, Double Chocolate Cereal Treats, 2-ingredient {plus choice of garnishes} Pimento Cheese Crackers, Brown Sugar Spiced Nut Mix, we could go on.  MyRecipes

36 Snacks That Taste Better Homemade | MyRecipes

♦♦♦  Pizza and calzones are pretty much always welcome additions to the Happy Hour table. In fact set out some variations {make, buy, order}and nothing else is needed, unless you’d maybe like to set out say some dishes of olives, pepperoncini, pepper flakes, e.g. But now for the wine-loving group, what to serve alongside? Look who’s got that covered.  Food & Wine

The Perfect Wine and Pizza/Calzone Pairings

Homemade pizza on AllRecipes  ♦  Homemade calzones on AllRecipes

Pizza cookbooks, 4 star & up

♦♦♦   Turns out tequila and spring make a pretty good match, especially with refreshing add-ins and generous ice. The link opens on a page with Añejo and soda and some helpful tips plus a tequila-y version of a Moscow Mule. But now don’t miss this – the dots at the bottom take you to even more pages of recipes, one more appealing than the next.  Patron

Tequila Cocktails for Spring

From our 04.22.22 Salon   Good Housekeeping’s easy “25 Appetizers for Cinco de Mayo {and beyond}”

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March 25-March 31, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Cocktail Hour Buzz 

sundowner snacks, drinks, chat, and . . .

whenever I can, related resources & goodies on Amazon

whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

{any links under these items take you right to Amazon unless otherwise indicated – and then only ones with the lock icon}

♦♦♦  I’m guessing many of us have made roll-up appetizers. Crescent rolls, wonton wrappers, and puff pastry are all good for this purpose. But Molly Yeh has a different take, a welcome technique that takes care of all the filling at once, and apportions it equally. Yes! While the spinach and feta rugelach she’s making here looks darn good, our own creative variations are just waiting to check in. A demo reveals all.  🍕🍕 = clue  Food Network

Molly Yeh’s “Girl Meets Farm” show on Food Network

And here’s a rockin’ rollup with cheddar & bacon from Jeff Mauro, The Kitchen, FN

Found this on Amazon . . .

Rolled, Wrapped & Stuffed. Great Appetizers from Around the World

♦♦♦   Five main claims to fame define this new line of mixers – clean ingredients only, lowered calories, light and refreshing taste, crafted in the USA. And the 5th biggie? These Betty Buzz mixers are the creation of actress Blake Lively, and come to us as tonic water, sparkling lemon lime, Meyer lemon club soda, sparkling grapefruit, and ginger beer. Lively, as a non-drinker herself, made sure they are also delicious on their own. Even so the site is quite generous with recipes for spirited libations.  Shown is the Strawberry Ginger Limelight.  bettybuzz.com

The Betty Buzz “Drink Inspirations” page

Blake Lively bio on imdb

♦♦♦   So, in a previous Salon we talked about making grilled cheese variations and cutting them party-size for the snack table. Here’s one we all may not have thought about. It’s Ree Drummond’s French Onion Grilled Cheese. Yowsie is this a stack-up of goodness, with onions x 3, cheese x 2, butter x 2, a blast of Dijon plus a touch of thyme. And since I didn’t have the fried onions, I substituted diced and crisped leftover onion rings. Yum.

Btw, instead of scattering the cheese shreds on the sandwich, I melted them right into the cooked onions and then formed it all into two bread shapes.

Grilled Cheese for Happy Hour in our 01.28.22 Salon

♦♦♦  So, what about snacks when cocktail hour is at 35,000 feet ? Of course you can just pair your beverage with a Lilliputian bag of peanuts. Or you can bring along a taste of home . . . literally . . . twice. With these 17 Best Travel Snacks – packaged treats mostly but as well cheese and even a frozen item – that it says here are TSA-approved. And they likely are since the general rule for both checked and carry on bags is – solid food yes, liquids and gels no.  🥨  Taste of Home

TSA page regarding food

Google page for other airplane snack ideas

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Zazzle

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Food Lovers T-Shirts page here on CS    Food Lover Mug page here on CS

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

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This week’s Cocktail Hour Buzz in CooksSalon, Feb 11-Feb 17, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Cocktail Hour Buzz

sundowner snacks, drinks, chat, and . . .

whenever I can, related resources & goodies on Amazon

whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦♦♦  Will you be clinking glasses this Valentine’s Day? How about something extra special in those glasses. Say, like one of these Champagne Cocktails. Fresh fruit, citrus, bitters, spices, syrups, liquors & liqueurs bring their own special enchantments to this bubbly party.  Food & Wine

All About Champagne from Whole Foods

And then along came this one . . .

Ina Garten’s strawberry/raspberry champagne cocktail

♦♦♦   For the chocolate component of that special day, we’re bringing back into the spotlight a CS favorite – Chocolate-Filled Chocolate Chip Sandwich Bars. Depending on how much is on the Happy Hour table, you can leave them normal size as shown here, or cut them into candy-size pieces. These are really, really, good.  Food & Wine

More information in the original o4.26.19 Salon

♦♦♦  Prepping a game day table? Here’s an idea  – how about letting the crockpot take over some of the work. If you have more than one, even better. Because may we present for your tasting pleasure, 40 Big Game Crockpot Appetizers. Get ready to scoop out, e.g., Peach & whiskey wings, Cheesy pizza fondue, Peppered meatballs, Hot crab or ham & cheese dip, Party mix or party nuts, Buffalo chicken dip, sliders or egg rolls.  Taste of Home

Are slow cookers safe? Yes if . . . says Univ of Minn Ext

Top rated slow cooker cookbooks on Amazon

♦♦♦  Planning to start the party early? How about Bloody Marys. Or better, a Bloody Mary Bar. Whichever, the beverage can turn into a conversation piece with this Bloody Mary Backstory about its origins in Paris, theories about the name with one involving Hemingway and also why he wanted tomato juice, and the essential ingredients.  Food & Wine

Google page of “best bloody mary” recipes    Top rated bloody mary mixes on Amazon    Bloody Mary Bar in our 08.06.19 Salon

♦♦♦  Woohoo for Iowa State University for giving us all this – “a first-of-its-kind large scale analysis that connects specific foods to later-in-life cognitive acuity.” But the thank you is in the results. Cheese best by a long shot – and alcohol {specifically red wine} was related to actual improvements. You can find all the details here in this story on the U site, that also btw mentions a couple of other findings. We also have to thank a top tier food read for pointing us to the study.  Food Network Magazine

Top rated Wine & Cheese pairing books

{The Swatchbook one is particularly clever}

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This week’s Cocktail Hour Buzz in CooksSalon, Feb 4-Feb 10, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Cocktail Hour Buzz

sundowner snacks, drinks, chat, and . . .

whenever I can, related resources & goodies on Amazon

whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

{links below items take you right to Amazon unless otherwise indicated}

♦♦♦  Hooray for this complete blueprint for your game day get-together. It’s from “Giada Entertains,” and though a re-run it’s timeless in terms of the festive suggestions for decorations, pompoms, mini take-home pix, serving tricks, and a Beer Bar. And of course – recipes! For bacon & blue cheese truffles, margarita wings, individual snack mixes, and football-shaped walnut cookies. Here’s “Giada’s Kickoff Party” episode in its entirety.  Food Network

There may be a tiny ad banner in the lower right corner of the screen – can just ignore it, as you’ll still see the full show

Giada’s Cookbooks    Giada’s Videos    Beer 101 on Vinepair {shows SSL}

♦♦♦  Have you seen the bags of mini bell peppers in your market? That is an easy, colorful appetizer just waiting to happen. Here we stuffed the cleaned, halved peppers with a mix of 4 oz softened block cream cheese, garlic salt, dried parsley and just enough avocado ranch to make a nice consistency, still thick enough to survive a bite without depositing the rest of the filling on the floor. Toppings were, clockwise from rightmost, smoked paprika, chopped pimento olives, green onions, chopped pepperoni, dill weed, and for a sweet touch, diced dates. The CS Kitchen

Bell Pepper Cookbooks, stuffed & more

How to grow your own bell peppers on The Gardener’s Path {shows SSL}

♦♦♦  Pink Champagne or . . . one of these “15 Best Pink Valentine’s Day Cocktails”? A nice range of flavors and true to the title, pretty creations ranging from delicate petal hues to a rosy blush. Here are some sips that will have me checking for ingredients. Blueberry mint cocktail, White hot chocolate with pink frosting, Honeyed cherry daiquiri.  Country Living

♦♦♦  Take your pick from these 50 Easy Snacks for the Big Game. Wowsie, dips, salsas, wings, nachos, poppers, bacon-wrapped tenders & smokies, cheese or veggie meatballs, bite-size pizzas & corn dogs, garlic knots, tasty veggies too. Below are some that sounded especially good. We made the crackers linked below and shown here, and it’s almost magic how the humble cracker can become a first class snack.  AllRecipes

Alabama Fire Crackers    Chicken Nachos w/Refried Beans

Greek-Inspired Snack Board

♦♦♦  Bad weather before the game? Ran out during the game? Don’t want to get out of your pjs? If you have an Amazon Echo Show, you can ask Alexa, “Which liquor stores deliver?” and then just watch the screen for the results.  Alexa

Echo Styles on Amazon

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Appreciate anytime you can visit affiliate partners, linked below or in features above

Amazon

Click link above for Amazon homepage, Below for Echo Show, Echo Dots, Echo Studio, Especially for Kids – 

Browse Amazon Echo styles right here – all a foodster’s dream resource 

Zazzle

Click link above for Zazzle homepage, Below for CS-Designed, Zazzle-Crafted Items {direct Zazzle links on these pages}

Food Lovers T-Shirts page here on CS    Food Lover Mug page here on CS

ETC

Want to be among the first to know about new Salons?

Easy! Just put “Preview List”  in the Subject line, and email me at the link shown above for comments & questions

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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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Cocktail Hour Buzz, Jan 14-20, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 

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

          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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December 17-23, 2021, Lots of Cook-Loving Gifts

See you right back here Jan 7, 2022

with our great recipe roundup from 2021

Hosted by  Barbara J Nosek

Happiest Holidays! From Thanksgiving Eve to New Year’s Day

The first links go to the full Salon posts, the final ones right to the items

The photos are also linked       Check for delivery times in item listings

Selected gift won’t arrive in time? You can always email or text an

Amazon gift card      And Kindle books can be delivered in a flash

01.29.21  Pantry Cooking Cookbooks   While this may have risen in popularity during the pandemic, there certainly are ongoing reasons to love a guide to using up what’s already on hand. Saving time, saving money, making space, avoiding waste. While the book shown snagged the definitive title you can find others to browse at the link, some including suggestions for the best staples to keep in your pantry or fridge to play a supporting role for whatever creative dish your making with the foods you want to use up whatever main ingredients you’re working with.   Amazon

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

07.23.21  Herb savers {or savors}   Yes indeed, you can drop them in a glass of water, wrap them in damp paper towels and plastic, stick them in the freezer, make a paste, a compound butter, or flavored oil out of them. But only a couple of those preserve the herb’s freshness. And none of them can do it in style like these designer herb keepers.  Shown are just two of the many possibilities. On the page you’ll also see an avocado version and companion storage containers.  Amazon

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04.09.21  Sparkly Syrup, and now more  We featured sparkly maple syrup back then. And in the past we’ve also played with sparkly sugar and salt to be sprinkled on this and that. But we found on Amazon – edible glitter – that can go in or on just about anything. And how holiday-perfect is that for  a foodie friend or a blingy addition to your own kitchen. The one shown includes flakes and stars in so many pretty colors,  and the link takes you to even more sources. Maple Sparkle Syrup   Edible glitter

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10.29.21  Offset Spatula & 02.26.21 Supoon  They may look like cousins, but their zig zags have quite different roles. The spatula is one of my best cooking & baking helpers ever, inexpensive too. With it you can easily smooth out, e.g., tomato sauce, cheese mixtures, cake batter, pie fillings, etc, edge to edge. Then, the Suppoon Sit-Up Scraping Spoon, and what a fun gift for any cooking friend.  It’s helpful x 3 – “sits up” on the counter, no spoon rest needed. It scrapes bowls and pans clean. And it’s a measuring spoon with t & T lines. Both may be  at your market, or otherwise the links take you to Amazon. Offset Spatula   Supoon

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04.30.21  The Big Fun Kids Baking Book  Know any budding chefs, maybe even still in grammar school? Thinking they would just love this cookbook. If you’ve seen the kids’ baking competitions you know these munchkins turn out some pretty awesome confections. Recipes here for muffins, quick breads, brownies, bars, cookies, cupcakes & cakes, and there’s one extra fun chapter on Fake-Out Cakes, designed to look like other foods. Darn good creds too, created by the editors of Food Network Magazine, and a New York Times Bestseller.  Amazon

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11.12.21  Food Themed Candles  What a perfect hostess gift for a food-focused friend, or even a festive touch for your own holiday get-togethers. Vanilla you might expect. But how about salted caramel, warm buttered bread, lemon pound cake, blueberry muffins, pecan Belgium waffles, fresh strawberries, chocolate {shown},  marshmallow – and this too-fun cereal bowl. You can of course also search for a specific food.  Amazon

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06.04.21  Dried Fruit Gift Packs  There are so many ways this is a great gift. First, of course, it’s tasty, sweet and varied. Second, it’s such a colorful present, so festive. Third, there are so many choices of assortments, some also including nuts. And fourth, some even come in reusable containers, or on reusable platforms, boxes, platters, trays, boards – and the one we see here that pulls up accordion style and pops up a handle to become a fruit basket. The link takes you to all the beautiful possibilities.  Amazon

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05.14.21  Bento boxes  For your party-giving friends, here’s a fun way to serve snacks individually rather than communally. When I’ve had a bento box in Asian restaurants it was a little box of drawers, but these are mostly compartmented trays, or stacked boxes, both disposables and reusables. During the year we featured another way for personalized snacking – “jarcuterie” – little jars to be filled with “sticks” of say carrots, celery, cuke, green onions, deli meat, cheese, bread sticks, pretzel rods, etc. – the link takes you to a nice array of possibilities. All on Amazon.  Disposable Bentos   Reusable Bentos   Mini jars

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04.30.21  Decorative Wine Decanters  Want to wow friends with a touch of class for their cocktail scene –  or even your own. How about a decanter or decanters, instead of the just bottles. Amazon has lots of the traditional squat-bottomed ones, but also some interesting different forms, some swan-like, some elegant crystal, some seeming to have emerged from a first class art studio. Many quite reasonable including the very pretty Dublin design shown here.  Decanters   Dublin Decanter

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07.23.21  “How to Cocktail”  &  11.12.21  “The Food & Wine Guide to Perfect Pairings”  Now there’s a how-to book with a lot to like. It’s from America’s Test Kitchen and  promises, “After rigorous recipe testing, we’re able to reveal not only the ideal ingredient proportions and best mixing technique for each drink” – but also how to make big batches, plus your own tonic, liqueurs, vermouths, and cocktail cherries, wrapping up with a snack section.  What I especially like about the pairing guide is the page after page of ready-made duos, with the bonus that it’s from the pros at Food & Wine. The subtitle tells all: “150+ Delicious Recipes Matched with the World’s Most Popular Wines.” Both, Kindle & hardcover, Prime eligible, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. “How to Cocktail”   “The Food & Wine Guide to Perfect Pairings”

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Recipes Galore & More, Dec 10-Dec 16, 2021

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Happiest Holidays! From Thanksgiving Eve to New Year’s Day

Next week – woohoo, our best cook-loving gifts from this year on CS

      Let’s Chat    

Kitchen TalkIf buttery desserts are your thing, who better to ask than Land O Lakes. And hurray, we found a good ‘ol downhome one, so perfect for this time of year. Their classic apple cobbler is easy too, just 5 steps. Well, given that the 1st one is light the oven and the 5th one is serve, really 3, unless you consider adding a scoop of vanilla a step rather than a given 😁        Salsa, salsa cruda, salsa fresco, pico de gallo, aaaaaaaaaaah, what’s the difference? MyRecipes untangles it with this salsa scoop   Trouble sleeping? Can food help? Let’s ask the experts. According to The Sleep Foundation, these are The Best Foods to Help You Sleep. The good news is there’s some good stuff in this list. Zzzzzzzz.

{photo thanks to Land O Lakes site}

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping FindsWant to shock your pancakes? Hit them with some wildside syrups. Talking botanicals & barks, and such interesting flavors on Amazon – lemongrass, hibiscus, geranium, basil, peppermint bark, wild cherry bark, cinnamon bark, and hickory. Any of these syrups could I think also jazz up coffee and cocktails.     Want to “holiday up” your kitchen?  Wow, does Amazon have you covered. Chair covers, centerpieces, napkins, tablecloths, runners, wall hangings, fridge decor and more.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Perfect gift for dog moms & dads – take a look and see if their {or your} baby is pictured on one of our tees or mugs. All right now in our Eclectic Mall

  Featured Recipes 

Bacon Cheeseburger Bake

These fun dish combines two welcome techniques – sheet pan baking and a pull-apart dish. What gives the prep extra interest {not that it needed it when we already have bacon and cheese} is the foundation of Hawaiian rolls, the flavor boost of canned tomatoes with garlic & onion, and a buttery, tangy glaze. In the oven, out of the over, party-ready.  From Taste of Home

Explosion Cakes

It was Tasty.com that first alerted me to this birthday cake phenom. And they say that credit goes to The Flour Shop in NYC for inspiring the confection. May I add though that bd or not, this cake would be a primo conversation piece on any table, maybe especially a holiday one. As you’ll see at the link there are other sources with variations on the theme, all quite spectacular.  On Google.

Guess what I found for you on Amazon! “The Power of Sprinkles: A Cake Book by the Founder of Flower Shop” – all about those colorful stacked cakes, and in a funny nod to the main title, this: “any mistake can be covered by sprinkles.” Prime eligible, $7.59 {70% discount}.

Beefy Tortilla Rollups

These Tortilla Rollups pack a lot of flavor into the colorful, almost artsy, resulting pinwheels. For that we can credit jalapeno cream cheese, pimento cheese and salsa among other goodies.

I actually used deli beef instead of dried beef, and just four tortillas with extra generous filling. Also thinking if you don’t want the jalapeno heat, onion & chive cream cheese would be a tasty substitute.

As a bonus, the red salsa and green onions give it a bit of Christmas spirit. Btw, if you substitute, do keep the pimento cheese.  From AllRecipes

Coconut Desserts with a bonus

At least that’s the promise, that they will “transport you right to the tropics.” The star ingredient can check in as sweetened or unsweetened,  flaked or shredded or chips, or as coconut oil, milk, cream, custard, or extract, sometimes tapping more than one. And the tropical vibe is helped along in the various dishes by, e.g., key limes, pineapple, bananas, lemon, oranges, rum, and spices. Of the 35 preps, have my eye on the slow cooker Coco-Loco Chocolate Fondue.  From Southern Living

Easy Hot Sandwich Recipes

What is it about a good sammie that is just so satisfying?? And at this time of year adding the word hot into the equation makes it even better. And, yes, these do look good. Lots of variety too. Now here’s the thing – after the first half dozen keep scrolling and you’ll see the sausage & pepper heroes, and then keep scrolling for more and more hot sandwiches. So, lots to love too.  From Food & Wine

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

 Thanks goes to CS Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson for these tasty tidbits for the sweet side of the snack table. No-Bake Cookies recipe: Bring to a boil 2 c sugar, 1/2 c margarine {butter?}, 1/2 c milk & 2 T peanut butter, cook for 1 min. Off heat, quickly mix in 2 T cocoa, 1 t vanilla & 3 c quick cooking oats. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper, cool, store leftovers in fridge.

Debbie adds, “I’ve found 1 cup of sugar is plenty, but I am very generous with the peanut butter, cocoa and vanilla. I also add walnuts.” And think I would add a bit of salt. I left them as is dropped from the spoon but I guess you could also flatten them a bit cookie-like. Lots of ways to play, all good.

   Well how fun is this??? But there is a danger here – it may be too pretty to eat, as you can see. This edible holiday wreath is actually a charcuterie board. Of course you crafty CS-ers can make this your own with your choice of elements. But do include apples because this festive idea comes from the Washington Apple Commission {photo too}. Probably don’t necessarily make it apple shape though.

♦  Wow, how nice to see someone honoring the classic cocktails. That someone is Liquor.com and that’s exactly what highlights their “11 Cocktails to Make for the Holidays” featuring such oldies but goodies as Brandy Alexander, Tom & Jerry, even a Flip. Cheers!

Snack chat: heard from competing chef Jonathan Wakefield on Last Call Food Brawl, the Atlanta-based episode “Wings & Bar Bites,” on Travel Channel – “If you want to make a late night snack, wrap it in bacon . . . There’s always room for bacon” –   {applause, applause}

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Recipes Galore & More, Nov 26-Dec 2, 2021

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Happiest Holidays! From Thanksgiving Eve to New Year’s Day

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Kitchen TalkIn KT in our 11.12.21 Salon we talked about finally adding Gochujang to our seasoning repertoire but noted we’d not yet used it. Not being a big fan of ketchup, always used taco sauce for fries. Now? Gochu is the go-to!      If you need a decadent  treat in a hurry, here you go. Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug. Thanks Food & Wine.      Baking for the holidays? This could be helpful. The article “Don’t Make These Pie Dough Mistakes” from MyRecipes identifies a half dozen ways the process can go bad no matter which technique you use. {I’m trying not to take personal the one that says, Your fat particles are too big.}

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Shopping FindsI just finished a truly pleasant read. Pamela Kelley’s tale of three sisters brought together inside “The Restaurant,” is a love story x 3, revealed by some gems excavated along the way – their Gram’s love secret behind the secret, the subplot for pet lovers, and love of comfort food, including a fish technique. Make that four when you add in the gentle love between the sisters who’ve lived apart for such a long time. Multiple formats, 4 stars on Amazon.   Which salsa to buy? This salsa taste test by MyRecipes gives you the scoop. Most should be at your market, but if not or you just want it delivered to your doorstep there’s a large selection on Amazon.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Looking for gifts for cooks? There’s quite a treasure trove for you right here on CS – books, videos, gift cards, and merchandise, all from star power names, and all linked to trusted Amazon or the chef’s own site. Btw, did you know you can give Kindle books as presents using the Buy For Others button? Instant and easy. See it all on our Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop.

  Featured Recipes 

Pizza Tots

Well these are fun. Mozzarella and pepperoni are wrapped in seasoned hash browns and deep fried to golden crispiness. A nice dip in marinara and the pizza vibe is complete. Demo shows all the steps and details.  From Tasty

Chocolate Lasagna

Really? Well let’s take a look. Cream cheese stands in for ricotta. Chocolate pudding replaces Italian sauce. And admittedly a stretch, chocolate chips top it all instead of Parm. All in all, seems to qualify for the lasagna category, just checking in for dessert rather than main course.  From Southern Living

Bake Sale Winning-est Gooey Oat Bars

Oh CS-ers, these are good. The tender buttery crust is just the tasty start. After baked golden it’s spread with a filling reminiscent of pecan pie but instead of nuts a mix of coconut and other sweet treat goodies, in the case of ours here – chocolate chips, dates, and raisins. Then a final flurry of powdered sugar makes it pretty. As with many baked goods, even better the next day.  From Food Network

Butter Chicken

That star ingredient is magnetic enough, but then add in the wave after wave of flavor contributed by fragrant, maybe even exotic, Indian seasonings. And even so, chances are many of them are already in your pantry and fridge, like onion, garlic, yogurt, brown sugar, canned tomatoes. This is definitely going to hover near the top of my to-make list.  From Food & Wine

Sheet Pan Brunch Dishes

Well this could be a darn welcome resource for the holidays, especially if you have house guests. Generally sheet pan dishes simplify things and the ones here seem to be no exception. Among the preps, giant bacon-green chile Dutch baby, Breakfast disco fries, Ultimate sheet pan eggs {love the descrip!}, Slab quiche, Salsa roasted potatoes, Berry breakfast pizza, 21 in all.  From MyRecipes

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

   Say what? Doing shots after the entree{s}? Turns out it’s a French tradition known as a trou normand. And it’s quite an interesting concept. The link takes you to a story on MyRecipes that pours out the whole story, the what and the why – and what the heck that term even means.

   If you can still find a Oct/Nov 2021 copy of Taste of Home, among the other always fine food features you’ll find one entitled “Wisecrackers,” {sorry could not find a link}, with a “Tasty Ten” ways of dressing up a basic or fancy cracker. Just some of the ideas, Apple butter, white cheddar, pear and sliced toasted almonds. Hummus, green & black olives, garlic, feta, and a drizzle of olive oil. Queso fresco, shredded pork, salsa and jalapeno.

Can’t find it? Just start with any crackers you have and look upon them as blank canvases, just waiting to be turned into little works of art with the help of your fridge and pantry.

  Nothing wrong with some mini desserts on the snack table. Like these! Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bites, from AllRecipes. Great holiday flavor. And easy to make right in your muffin tin.

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Recipes Galore & More, Nov 12-Nov 18, 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 – use our links as we Wine & Dine with Alexa

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Kitchen Talk –  It’s four steps, 10 minutes, and the crowd goes wild. 1} Whisk two 8-oz cartons whipped cream cheese, 1/4 c powdered sugar, 1 t vanilla, and pour into a store-bought graham cracker crust. 2} Carefully spread up to two 12 oz cans {depending on pan depth} apricot filling. 3} Top with Cool Whip. 4} Refrigerate for a couple of hours. And Voila! Apricot Cream Pie from CS.      Found a recipe for tahini-smothered charred cabbage. The topping was actually a sauce that also stirred in honey, lemon and seasonings. Pretty good but I think it would be awesome with just tahini. A surprise was how good the cabbage was with the caramelization brought on by the charring. You can see that original recipe here, from Bon Appetit.      I made the actor’s Mexican chocolate cookies featured in our 10.01.21 Salon and they are really good. I did half with the pepitas and half without, and actually liked the latter better. Second, I also added a bit of cinnamon, a la Mexican hot chocolate. And the last thing, you could leave out all the Mexi flavors and this would still be an excellent chocolate cookie.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping FindsOK, how cool is this for your holiday get-togethers??? Food scented candles! Vanilla you might expect. But how about salted caramel, warm buttered bread, lemon pound cake, blueberry muffins, pecan Belgium waffles, fresh strawberries, chocolate {shown}, marshmallow & more. All right here on Amazon     So, I finally bought the trending Gochujang. Interesting. Sugar sweet, red pepper spicy, mustard tangy, vinegar puckery, all wrapped up with onion and garlic. Think I like it, tasted but yet to use it. Bottle says wings, bbq sauce, dips & marinades. Likely at your supermarket, and of course on Amazon.

This week’s featured item – Fabulous videos galore! Watch then in action – your fave chefs & food shows, movies too. You can also sort by best sellers and best rated. All right here in CS on our Chef, Food, Cooking DVDs page.

  Featured Recipes 

Sweet & Sticky Caramel Hazelnut Rolls

Oh my, are those just all the right words or what. From Giada, the prep toasts the hazelnuts, ups the caramel ante with agave, and zings up the whole thing with cinnamon and nutmeg. And nice, it all starts with store-bought crescent rolls. From Food Network

Sheet Pan Caprese Chicken

All the usual tasty suspects from the classic salad cozy up to chicken for an easy cheesy dinner. Pan juices and reduced balsamic top it to perfection. From Food Network

Baked Denver Omelet

Here’s another perfect way to start the day. And if you look at the comments below the linked recipe, you’ll see it’s eminently tweakable. Some added cooked potato, others mushrooms. Some made smaller versions. Some added more cheese on top. I added more cheese in the mix and used poblano instead of bell pepper. The prep even tweaked itself, calling for a baking dish in the directions, a cast iron skillet in the demo. From AllRecipes

Mexican Meatloaf Muffins

What a fab idea. South of the border flavors meet a classic family dish in your muffin tin. Topped with a distant and savory cousin of ketchup. Easy too! Thinking this is one of those preps that can come to the table any time of day or night. From Tasty

Their Best Loved Soup & Stew Recipes

This icon of home and hearth has assembled an awesome roster of what most folks might consider the dual epitome of comfort foods. The soups and stews here come to the bowl as classic preps, ethnic specialties, and veggie transformations. Just some: baked potato soup, vegetarian gumbo, fast pho, sausage & white bean stew, green chile pork stew, seafood stew. From Better Homes & Gardens

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

  Lunchbox Snacks Kids Will Love  So why is this in CHB? Well, looking at the stuff here, thinking we big kids should get in on the fun too. Some that seem an especially good fit for the snack table – Apple chips with honey-yogurt mint dip, Homemade cheddar cheese snack crackers, Cheesy pita chips, Crispy parm chickpeas, Smoked paprika popcorn, Pimento cheese puffs, Miniature corn muffins, Peanut butter and jelly cookie bars. From MyRecipes

  Books on wine pairing certainly have their place in our culinary realm, giving us solid guidelines for choosing a sip compatible with our menu. But, what I especially like about this one is the page after page of ready-made duos, with the bonus that’s it’s from a familiar name. It’s all in the title, “Food & Wine’s Guide to Perfect Pairings: 150+ Delicious Recipes Matched with the World’s Most Popular Wines.” Kindle & hardcover, Prime eligible, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

♦  Food & Wine again talks food {sort of} and beverage here, but overall it  could not be more 180 from the item above. Say someone at your Thanksgiving gathering shuns alcohol, but you would like to offer something in the holiday spirit as you all enjoy pre-dinner drinks. Jones Brand sodas, famous for their wacko flavors, has you covered – with their Turkey & Gravy Soda. Yes, you read that right. And wait till you see some of their other “you put what in that bottle???” creations.

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