Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburgers, Oct 2-Oct 8, 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”

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Quick Bites – If you’re not a subscriber, may want to pick up the Oct issue of Food Network Magazine, loaded with ideas for turning food into edible Halloween decorations – pumpkin sherbet bowls, vampire donuts, apple monster mouths, banana mummies, candy infused vodka, so much more.    Here’s my own simple take, cheese pumpkins with black olive features and green pepper stems served on Triskets {American or loaf cheese, let sit out a bit so decs can sink in}.    Food Network keeps the holiday theme going with 30 hours of Halloween programming this month. See the rest of the story right here.

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Shopping Finds – If you have a Michaels near you, your crafty side can take a tasty turn. Really tasty, because we’re talking Oreos, joining candies and icing in a Spooky Graveyard Chocolate Cookie Kit. Wooooooooohoo.    So I had read about the scarcity of Clorox disinfectant wipes, just now googled and learned people are looking but not finding, one saying they’re still “near impossible to find.” But there are other ones on Amazon, and though the prices can look scary at first, the unit price is generally 12-19 cents. Worth a look.   I just love that my Albertson’s now is carrying Vienna hot dogs, sport peppers and yep the neon green relish. Miss those Chicago dogs!

Dog lovers, tees & mugs for 19 breeds, all say “I’m Being Trained By a ___” at BJN’s Eclectic Mall

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Kitchen Talk – Sometimes your mornings just cry out for an indulgence. Here’s how I solved that. Two toaster waffles, nice and crispy, filled with chocolate frosting and peanut butter. The fruit  😁  makes all the guilt go away.    Btw, a CS friend told me she used a waffle to make an extra tasty version of French toast. Why not!    Just bought chocolate brownie ice cream which in addition to being destined for any number of spoons will also be the basis for my next take on ice cream bread. Coming soon!

 On the Table

Utensils at the ready – dive in!

Let’s start with some ‘fessing up. I pushed and shoved those ingredients around so you could see all of them in the photo. In real life, the result of all those juicy add-ons plus sauces over and under is likely a lovely mess of stuff stacked on, and sliding off of, other stuff.

Now the cheese sauce might hide some of those artistic sins. But if it doesn’t – who cares, that’s half the fun and all the reason for the knife and fork.

No matter how it looks, it’s a super savory plateful. Here’s how it comes together. Start by heating an oven or toaster oven to 250F and setting aside the tops of four hamburger buns.

Whisk 2/3 c mayo, 1/3 c Ranch, and 1/4 c ea mustard & ketchup. Place the bun bottoms on a baking sheet or pan and spread each with about a T of the mix. Pour the rest into a medium saucepan over low heat.

Top the bun bottoms with slices of onion, tomato, pickle & cooked bacon, then into the preheated oven. Cook four big burgers to desired doneness. As they cook, slightly increase the heat under the sauce and add 12 oz of American cheese in chunks, whisking till smooth, then 2T beef bouillon.

Remove buns from oven and top with burgers and then cheese sauce. Serve with or without bun tops.

Recipe Notes – The finished cheese sauce measures 2 cups, allowing for a generous serving for each burger. You may not want to use it all or you may want to let others serve themselves.

Shortcuts – Prepare the bacon, bouillon, and condiment mix the day before. Slice the vegetables in advance, or even reduce the number of toppings {bottomings?}. If you like the frozen cooked burgers at the store, they’ll work just fine here too, and cook quickly in the nuker. Opt for easy side dishes, e.g., potato chips and deli salads.

Next week – a celebrated Canadian sweet treat, and a CS alternative

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

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

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

Alexa says request: how to make a cookie cheesecake. Along with some expected, but tempting nonetheless, recipes that came up, there was one that was a real category buster. Giada’s chocolate cookie cheesecake dip. Yikes, how good does that sound, and the six-ingredient list means it’s easy too. Demo and dipper ideas included on this Food Network page.

Alexa says request: how to make flavored popcorn. Several for the all time fave caramel. But so many other choices here, I’m going to link some of the more “say what?” flavors for popcorn: gelatin from AllRecipes, chicken dinner from Serious Eats {we’ve talked about these fine folks before}, pad thai from AllRecipes, chocolate orange brown butter from Food Network Kitchen.

My request: Alexa find a Cajun recipe from Emeril: Lots come up, all also from Food Network Kitchen. Let’s choose a real New Orleans classic, chicken and smoked sausage gumbo, based of course on the holy trinity and enlivened with seasonings. And a big bonus here is the prep for Emeril’s Rustic Rub.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, national news, local news, sports, weather, skills, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, including Alexa usually guiding you through recipes step by step, on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page 

Cocktail Hour Buzz

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

  Thank you, thank you! When I posted the bacon peanut butter corn muffins in the 06.19.20 Salon, “. . . those sound delicious.” And then later, “They are delicious!” – Dina Titus

  If I say leftover wine, and you laugh uproariously, move along, nothing to see here. But on the chance that phenom does occur in your kitchen, take a look at these 7 smart uses for leftover red wine.

  OK, I’m a total dolt about initiating anything on evites, but those of you savvy in this regard may want to check out hosting virtual parties on their platform. Have to say it does look pretty easy and says it’s free.

♦  Here’s something the whole food-loving family can gather around with fave snacks & beverages. The Hallmark series, Murder She Baked, revolves around a baker who has the unfortunate habit of stumbling upon dead Murder, She Baked: Complete Collectionbodies. In the course of dealing with family, juggling two men, and going where angels dare to tread, main character Hannah {Alison Sweeney} takes us into her Cookie Jar Cafe & Bakery, the front of the house for community interactions and, more to our point, the kitchen for spoonfuls of baking technique and culinary history along with teasing glances of fabulous baked goods. The link takes you to the series page on Amazon.

  As a side note, while watching a Two & a Half Men rerun, a scene with Jason Alexander involved peach cobbler. Then in short succession, one of the episodes of this series fully centered on peach cobbler. That was it, had to track down a good recipe for this sweet treat and that led to the featured recipe in last weeks Salon. Btw, the actress who plays Hannah’s mom, Barbara Niven, may well also be familiar to you.

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?

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This savory sauce on steak is just the beginning, March 13-March 19, 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 – Irish hangover cures / using up milk / juice reuse    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – food read    FEATURED RECIPE – savory creamy herbed steak sauce    TIP – say nuts to tight bottle caps    THE WEEK – made the shrimp & grits / gussied up eggs / virtual Paris 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks and 

  Well perhaps you won’t need this, but just in case you do . . . you can thank this authoritative source, IrishCentral, for The Best Irish Hangover Cures. It was originally posted for New Year’s Day but we all know what other beverage-centric Day is coming. Clearly you have to use your own judgment here {we’re guessing it will have returned by morn after apparently leaving the building last night}.

  So, I found an article about using up milk, especially welcome since this is such a perishable product. But when I went to share it with you here, ummmm, seems it became “un-found.” No worries, can probably “re-find” it on google. Did, bonanza! All kinds of folks ready to suggest ways to do this very thing.

  Wait! Don’t throw this out either, at least not just yet. First, let’s take a look at “Liquid Leftovers Get a Second Chance in the Kitchen.” It offers ways to repurpose pickle juice and other brines {see one more below in My Week}, whey {you may have it without realizing it}, and liquids from bean cooking, canned tuna, poaching meats, tofu, plus leftover oils. I particularly like the tuna one.


“Recipe for a Perfect Wife,” Yeas 3, Nays 1

What quickly turns this into a fascinating read is the interplay of two women, generations apart and unknown to each other, who connect through a house, a cookbook, and the next door neighbor. The launching point is when Alice and Nate move into the home previously owned by Nellie and Richard.

In page after page we see their parallels regarding husband and family, neighbors and friends, sex and Recipe for a Perfect Wife: A Novelpregnancy, decor and wardrobe, gardening and cooking, work and play, and yes, secrets. The device puts a klieg light on changes, both within the lives of the two women and between the generations, as well as what vestiges can survive down through the years.

The second yea is for the recipes from the 1950s cookbook Alice finds in the basement, once belonging to Nellie’s mom but with notations from Nellie. Wow, preps for such mid-century favorites as tuna casserole, meatloaf with oatmeal, herbed cheese popovers, rose caramels {with actual petals}, boiled chocolate cookies and baked Alaska, about a dozen in all.

The third one comes from other readers. with 77 of them giving it an average 4-star rating. And they join the kudos in the cover comments.

So, the “nay” arrives with the last page where the story arc seems to stop short, leaving us with no clue about Alice’s next step. Or, is there? Among her various options there might be hints she’s contemplating one last parallel.

“Recipe for a Perfect Wife”    Other books by Karma Brown

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Fourth time was the charm 

It started with a recipe in one of the old English cookbooks I’ve been going through. A topper for beef called Chasseur Sauce sounded just so good.

But as it turned out, as much as I love mushrooms didn’t like them in this prep, and also wanted it a bit more flavor. Ha! will make my own variation.

So, second version. Nope. Third version. Nope. Fourth version. Eureka! Flavor bomb!

Here’s the thing. Try a nice thick ribbon of it on steak for sure. But no need to stop there.

Instead of beef, nap it on sauteed chicken breasts or boiled peeled shrimp. Beat into scrambled eggs. Mix with cooked rice and maybe a bit of green onion for a hot side dish. Or with pasta instead, straight or blended with marinara. Use it as a baked tater topper. Thin a little with another dressing or pickle juice for a salad dressing or egg salad. Take it right from the refrigerator {it will have thickened} to serve as a dip for chips, crackers or veggies. And, and, and . . .  ???


♦  TIP  

This didn’t work . . . but then

So I came across a handy tip that I thought was worth a try. But truth be told, should have realized the fatal flaw right from the start.

The subject: uncooperative jar lids. We’ve all I’m guessing had the experience of lids that can resist such heroic efforts as banging on the carpet, running under water, beating the rim with a heavy utensil.

The tip was to use a nutcracker, basic, not the kind of the Suite of the same name. But, ahhhhh, unless you have one sized to crack coconuts chances are the nutcracker isn’t going to span the lid.

But . . . don’t chuck the nutcracker yet. It is a perfect fit for bottles, e.g., water, soda, ketchup, taco sauce, vanilla extract, certain vinegars, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and especially already opened syrup bottles. Oh yeah, and sake, possibly Champagne, and also leftover wine {hahahah} that you’ve re-corked.

Btw, a crab cracker is much the same thing as a basic nutcracker and chances are you have one or another or both in your utensil drawer. In case not, here’s a link . . .

Basic nut crackers

Items featured here also appear in our weekly Tip Tuesday posts on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So I made the shrimp and grits, the Featured Recipe in our 02.14.20 Salon. Yikes, now I’m a grits convert. ‘Course this prep did have a lot of help from onions, garlic, bacon, cheese etc. I don’t think mine actually created soup, but it does have a kind of juicy, loosey texture. And though this is likely the proper consistency, based on what I’ve been served in Southern restaurants and also the recipe’s soup promise, in fact I liked the leftovers even better after reheating tightened it all up a bit. So if you wanted, you could achieve this with extra baking time, or another egg, or more cheese. The flavor though needs no help at all. Even so, now planning to be brave and try a plainer version.

  Well how pretty is this??? You just never know where or when a kitchen tip will come your way. In this case the source was a nice lady at a political event who mentioned how much she loved pickled eggs created by dropping peeled hard cooked eggs into the juice from store-bought pickled beets. And they take on the color so quickly you can do them one at a time {vs needing enough juice to cover a bunch of them}. Wouldn’t a bowl of those be a nice addition to the Easter table? Because it’s beet juice it’s safe and easy to use, and pretty much “free.”

  Btw, also tried this with unpeeled hard cooked eggs – in a separate container – but the color really didn’t stay on. Maybe cook the eggs right in the beet juice, though would need quite a bit more juice. For the peeled and unpeeled, transferred them to a baking rack set over paper towels atop sticky wrap to dry for a bit before refrigerating. Btw II, I just dunked these in juice right from the fridge, but if you want to follow an actual recipe, here you go.

  Reading right now “The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris,” even though no plans right now to be back in that culinary capital. It is interesting though to read author Patrica Wells’ descriptions of her tasting experiences and even better the 40 restaurant-inspired recipes. She covers, bistros, brasseries and restaurants along with reservations, ordering, dining hours, tipping and more as well as side notes and observations. One of the latter I especially liked: “You know it’s a good restaurant when you are already planning and looking forward to a return visit before you pay the bill.”

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – book-Amazon / others-mine
  •  Link sources – liquids-Epicurious / books, nutcracker-Amazon / sauce recipe-CS page / eggs-Taste of Home
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: compare your food spending, brunch watch, foil trick, rack ’em up, the promised apple cheddar crisp, seriously interesting food book, leftover pizza 2.0, its a what now???

Last week, just below: bakers source, brown sugar chewies, chefs who nuke, “secret” recipes source, “best ever” Irish stew, oopsie fixes, cheese crackers where?, crochet dinner, easy spice up for fries

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

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


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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


What a sweetheart of a novel

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

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

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

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

“Friendship Bread”    Gee’s other books in Avalon


Just, yum 

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

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread recipe    Wishes & Dishes  


I say All-in, you say . . .

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

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

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

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


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

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

All pages ©2019

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


Oh Louie, what you do to shrimp & more, June 28-July 4, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

♦  TIDBITS – baked taties in the slow cooker? / “confetti” in your party cake / stock v broth    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – let’s get the picnic started {M – that basket looks heavy, let me take something out of there to make it easier for you to carry  FEATURED RECIPE – shrimp louie and louie gone wild    TIP – forkless salad x 3    THE WEEK – dvds t.c. / food pen “class” t.c. / sorta foodie mystery

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Can this really work? “Food & Wine” is I would think a totally reliable source, but their prep for baking potatoes in the slow cooker scares me a little. I guess the benefit is not having to heat up the oven, though the toaster oven would seem to be a viable alternative. Anyway if you want to check it out click this link, though I feel more comfortable sending you to one that appeared within their story for “Baked Potato Recipes.” Some really good stuff here!

  No qualms about this one from F&W. Could this birthday cake possibly be any more festive. And what make it even more fun is that its party perfect presentation remains a surprise until it’s cut. Dessert and decoration all in one! See the recipes for both cake and frosting and the full photograph here.

  Broth vs stock. The differences come to us from a connected string of sources, starting with, picking up the story from Reader’s Digest, who in turn quotes, under the banner, “This is the real difference between stock and broth.” See what you think. {I apparently make “brock” because I always season stock – bouillon, peppercorns, fresh garlic, sometimes parsley}


Just watch out for Yogi

Not just for picnics in the park, but as well, outdoor concerts, fireworks celebrations, beach parties, or just toting goodies from your kitchen to your backyard. What? Pic-a-nic baskets!Picnic Basket Set for 4 Person | Insulated Red Picnic Hamper Set | Picnic Table Set | Picnic Plates | Picnic Supplies | Summer Picnic Kit | Picnic Utensils Cutlery Flatware

And oh just wait till you see what’s available, from simple to elaborate, from inexpensive to aiyyyy! And in addition to many variations of the classic wicker hamper, there are also backpacks, shoulder bags, Picnic Insulated Bag, Oumers 32L Large Size Insulated Picnic Basket - BBQ Meat Drinks Cooler Bag -Folding Collapsible Cooler Basket for Family Vacations Parties Outdoor Travel, Keep Food Cold Storageorganizer baskets, and cooler bags.

Variously, you’ll find places for cutlery, plates, wine bottles, wine glasses, corkscrew, blanket, plus in some, food storage containers and auxiliary insulated compartments. Soooo many amenity combinations.

Shown here just two possibilities. Many are Prime eligible and available for next day delivery.

Here’s what you can find on Amazon    These are rated 4 stars and up 

Found this on RealSimple – how to pack a cooler


Thank you Ina Garten! 

{and Tasting Panel}

How about you? I’ve always found Louie sauce to be a little too sweet. There’s a good chance that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be, but it appears Ina Garten’s tastes run a lot like mine.

Her recipe {which she calls “Louis”} uses a lot of the typical ingredients, but delivers a result that’s rich and tangy. Could be the horseradish and sriracha Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks{!} Our Tasting Panel gave it a big thumbs up in a dish of cold poached shrimp {Garten used it as a dipping sauce for roasted shrimp}.

But then I discovered a bonus, actually two of them. And again, how about you? I find pasta salads one of the most difficult dishes to make flavorful, not matter what other ingredients go in there. Solved! This sauce is fabulous on a mix of mac, sweet peppers, black olives, celery, really your choice.

The other app? Spread it on a bun with the other usual suspects and you can have a creditable clone of a favorite fast food burger. Haven’t tried it yet, but thinking it would be good on a regular garden salad.

Ina’s recipe    It’s from this book, Garten’s “Cook Like a Pro”  


Fun Salads. Forget the forks

Whether for a family meal and a friendly get-together, if all the other dishes are finger foods, who wants to drag out forks just to have salad. Good news – don’t have to!

The first way is actually a prep approved by our savvy Tasting Panel, and that is colorful diced veggies on French endive leaves that have been painted with dressing. I used ranch but whatever you like will do just fine.

The next is the skewer trick. Just go with whatever produce is poke-able and serve dressing on the side. Pickles and olives are good on there too. And some cheese cubes wouldn’t hurt either.

Our third forkless salad is served in individual cups that have dressing in the bottom. Make it pretty with a border of lettuce leaves and then some sticks – carrots, celery, bell pepper, zucchini, e.g. – then plop a radish right in the middle.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Finally started viewing my culinary dvds from The Great Courses. Aiyyyy, why did I wait so long, these are fabulous. Gathering tips to share.

♦  Oh yeah, playing with the food color pens again. Especially since I now have a new set with not only more colors but as well thick and thin tips. What fun! Food by food I’m assembling a “class” to show you the ways we can even further gussy-up the holidays with these artsy tools. Some time next month we’re going to devote an entire Salon to this festive endeavor – thinking July 26 Salon.

  So, just finished reading “The Cooking School Murders,” an engaging tales, but after the interesting cooking class scene the story shifts away from the school and to the title happening – even so food does make an appearance in subsequent pages thanks to neighborly dinners, Greg’s special diet, and “Edward.”One thing in there that sent me to google was a reference to “rat cheese” – whaaaaat? So distilling what I found, it mainly defines an inexpensive cheddar. Guess cheapie stuff to put in the traps???

So far next week: Irish food, scary food {but doesn’t have to be}, coffee table cookbook, slaying the dragon, jal-what now???, ice cream in a hurry

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – cake slice {cropped}/Food & Wine site, picnic baskets & book/Amazon, all others/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Irish Guinness Beef Stew, March 15-21, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat – Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – kitchen oopsies / mac salad, classic & more / where the chefs go    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – food as fiction star    FEATURED RECIPE – simple tasty stew {M – I’ll have some, hold the veggies}   TIP – soda bread & other buttermilk delights    THE WEEK – combine the three subjects and you have cocktail hour & entree

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  Tidbits  

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

Yikes, could any of us really be making over 100 mistakes in the kitchen. For CS-ers, probably not, but we might be making some of them. MyRecipes shows us how to mend our wayward ways with this roster of “130 Extremely Common Kitchen Mistakes and How to Fix Them.” Could browse the whole list, or maybe just use your page’s search function to see if a particular problem is covered.

Probably nowhere in the world is mac salad as revered as it is in Hawai’i. The basics are overcooked mac, Hellman/Best mayo, and finely grated onion. Where it goes from there determines if it’s tasty or just filling. The Taste newsletter has an interesting story on the island view, some restaurant variations, accompaniments, and then a recipe for a classic version. Btw scroll to the bottom of their page if you’d like to sign up

  The food is reportedly first rate, progressive yet traditional, and most of all “unfussy” according to this nytimes article about Yardbird – Hong Kong birthed by Canadian-born owners – soon to bring its vibe to the USA, starting in Los Angeles. Two reasons you might care – first because you just may want to try some of these simple preps at home, and second because you just might find yourself tableside or barside chatting with – and drawing secrets from – top level chefs who apparently flock {sorry!} to Yardbird.


Rhys Bowen’s “The Twelve Clues of Christmas”

Calling on the lexicon of the book’s 1930s setting, this is a dashed good tale, alive with characters you’d like to join in the drawing room for afternoon sherry. Including – yes – Noel Coward.

Are there some narrative gliches? I’d say a few, but what do I know. Bowen is a hugely successful mystery writer whose works often reside on best seller lists.

More to the point for CS-ers, it’s rich in detail about the many fine meals served during the 12 days of a holiday get-together of family, friends and strangers in a large mansion in a small English village. The plan is a “perfect old fashioned English Christmas,” but – oops – pesky murders get in the way.

As another bonus, when finally the perps are unmasked and the ends tied into a pretty bow – recipes! Mincemeat pie, sausage rolls, Christmas pudding, brandy butter and more. Plus blurbs on the parlor games played and holiday traditions observed.

First found Bowen in a mystery writers cookbook {12.14.18 Salon}. Would I read her again – you bet!

“The Twelve Clues of Christmas”    Bowen’s other books

“Mystery Writers of America Cookbook”

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page


Still time to make Irish Guinness Stew for St Pat’s 

It’s actually a pretty simple prep. Some chopping of course, but then it’s just a matter of IRISH: How To Be Irish + The Big Irish Cookbooksimmering until the beef is fall apart tender.

If you hate fat as much as I do, you’ll want to buy a piece a bit more than the required 2 lbs so you have that much after trim. Not talking about just marbling – that’s good stuff.

Also, I did add peas & carrots. And looking at their pic {Salon, just below}, though the recipe doesn’t call for the latter, looks like they did too.

All in all though, this was a pure dish that let the beef and beef flavor shine. Need some other Irish dishes in a hurry? Browse the instant Kindle choices at the second link.

Recipe    Irish cookbooks on Kindle  



Eureka – I found it! – I’m guessing is singular  So . . . calling on my Latin classes of {censored} years ago, taking a leap of faith that my title is plural.

Back story – I certainly don’t dislike bottled Ranch dressings and use them quite a bit. But every now and then would like one that tastes more like the fresh-made versions found in some restaurants.

Accordingly, embarked on a quest to make my own {still ongoing}. Problem, though, what to do with the leftover buttermilk. Turns out – lots of things.

Thank you google for this page of possibilities. One was a recipe for slow cooker oatmeal, which I applied to a regular batch and yay one more way to make the cereal more palate-friendly. The recipe I did use was for Irish soda bread, on The Kitchn website, and I think it was just as good as the one I usually buy at Sprouts. Loooooove it toasted, and a bit of apricot preserves can’t hurt either.

Getting rid of – eh, that is using up – buttermilk

Irish Buttermilk Soda Bread recipe


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

Do you like tequila? I sure do like not-too-sweet margaritas, and occasionally a little glass of a nice tequila. Nice? For me that means smooth and rich, just enough sensation on the throat to know you just had a sip of the yield of the blue agave. Have for now found my number one fave – El Padrino. And nope, not a sip or cent in compensation, likely don’t even know of the mention.

Sometimes you just don’t want to cook. And sometimes a serendipitous thread leads you to tasty alternative. So in that article linked in the 02.22.19 Salon on ube, there was a mention of Jollibee, which coincidentally recently opened here in town and which had garnered woohoos on our Nextdoor app.

–  Now, tried it. Seems extra juicy, maybe the citrus marinade google shows for most recipes? And when paired with a bit of crunchy breading, a good bite indeed. Misty? Hoovered it!

  Actually finished those rye croutons some time back, but just remembered something else I wanted to mention about them. Great just on their own! Afternoon munch, cocktail companion, late night snack. {caution on the latter, morning garlic breath}

So far next week: Guinness donuts, another mug cake, Martha’s wisdom, Thin Mint/banana cream pie w/pb, cheese tips, upgrade your morning toast, culinary lesson

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

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

Photo credits: book pix/Amazon, all others my own

All pages ©2019

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


Sooooo easy, sooooo good Nutella Brownie Cookies, Feb 1-7, 2019



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

  TIDBITS – guide to wine fridges / pb French toast / best bacon {M – whadizit, whadizit, whadizit???   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – “cover” stories    FEATURED RECIPE – love these cookies!  ♦  TIP – finger salads    THE WEEK – new fave ingredient / bookin’ / fast mac

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

Yay! Four new pix in my gallery – mom calls it “Misty & bacon, the rest of the story”


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Do you love wine? Then you might very well enjoy connecting with Here’s a recent article posted on the site, guiding you to the best wine coolers, size and style, for your home. I do have a wine cooler and just love it, also keep  my coffee in there. On the site you’ll find all kinds of helpful wine information along with a form to sign up for the newsletter. Worth a look for any wine lover.

  Peanut butter fans, beat a path to this link {fortunately it’s just a few words away}. Hooray Food & Wine for bringing us Peanut Butter French Toast. In addition to giving pb a starring role, it comes together with a rich drenching sauce, crunchy crust, and – my personal fave – a light touch so it isn’t soaked to death before cooking. Be trying this one real soon.

  Well this is cool. Food & Wine completes our breakfast or brunch with – bacon! In this story the premier mag serves up The Best Bacon in America, in different categories, from designer offerings to supermarket brands.


Keep the pot hot

A recent story on the MyRecipes site listed some helpful ways to cover a pan that either doesn’t have a lid or has a lid that has gone into hiding. It also mentions as an alternativeModern Innovations Elegant 18/8 Stainless Steel Universal Lid with Adjustable Steam Vent, Fits All 7" to 12" Pots and Pans, Replacement Frying Pan Cover and Cookware Lids having on hand a universal lid.

I’ve had one of these for years and make very good use of it. While I don’t have any lid-less pots or uncooperative lids, this particular cover is great for all my frying pans and I’ve also used Silicone Lids Extra Large Set of 6 Sturdy Suction Seal Covers. Universal fit for Pots, Fry Pans, Cups and Bowls 5" to 12". Natural grip handles that interlock for easy use and storage. Food to cover big bowls of hot food.

Amazon has lots of these available but I’ve featured one like my own, large at 12 1’2″ and with an adjustable vent, though there’s also a link below where you can browse all of them. Also found a handy set of six with sizes not only for your pots but as well for other dishes and even pitchers, all in silicone. Both featured items are rated 4 1/2 stars.

Selected lid   Silicone 6-lid set   All universal lids    All silicone lids

MyRecipes article    CS Marketplace


Every word in the title is a winner 

Thank you, thank you, thank you Food 52. How often do we encounter a dish – a dessert in this case – that’s easy peasy easy AND totally indulgent.

So, yeah, I wasted no time making these “3-Ingredient Nutella Brownie Cookies.” Yikes there are more words in the title than there are ingredients.

This is actually an amalgam of Nutella cookies and Nutella brownies, and recipes are shown for these individuals too. The final one adds up to four ingredients with the addition of a bit of salt.

Whichever version, could they be any easier? You know what, maybe they could. When I make them again, and you bet there will be an “again,” I’m going to see how it might work in a sheet pan.

Notes: A 13 oz jar is just right. I did use parchment paper, but if you don’t have it at hand then, chances are good baking {not cooking} spray would work OK, or at least it’s never failed me. I did 8 minutes and that was perfect.


♦  TIP  

Salad as finger food???

So at one of my home salons, I was serving sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken wings, pickles & olives. How to include salad without having to drag out forks and bottles of dressing?

Here’s how. I lined up small disposable glasses. Poured in the bottom of each some of my fave/easy salad dressing, equal parts of ranch and Wishbone original Italian.

Then arranged pluckable strips of veggies around the perimeter of each glass. In this version: carrots, celery, cuke, red, green and yellow bell peppers, and then added a two-radish “centerpiece,” all against a frilly lettuce leaf backdrop. Easy for me, easy for guests.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  After all these years I’ve discovered malted milk powder. Of course since childhood I’ve had malteds {and wow are those getting harder to find}, but never before had the powder in my pantry. First use was for a re-do of bran muffins that came out way too dense – broke them up, added egg, milk, vanilla and the powder and baked in a sheet pan, all better.

Second, yay, found it’s another “oatmeal helper.” And then, though I pretty much always take coffee and tea straight black, recently added some of the powder to coffee and that made a nice “snack.” Haven’t tried it in tea yet but could give a whole new meaning to a “cream tea.”

  Maybe this is why that latter idea came to mind. While I do love a good mystery, my knowledge of the top writers in the realm is pretty shallow so it wasn’t until I discovered the Mystery Writers Cookbook {Jan 11 Salon} that I’d heard of Rhys Bowen, and her penchant for including food in her stories. Which leads me to my first foray into her list, “The 12 Clues of Christmas,” where a cream tea [the real kind} plays a supporting role.

  I have a mac & cheese recipe that is quite a crowd pleaser and that’s what I generally make. But recently I had an ingredient that I wanted to use up, and that was an almost full jar of queso dip. Yep, combined it with some cooked mac from the freezer and voila! – instant, decent, and even a bit spicy m&c.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

So far next week: Girl Scout cookie desserts, cake upgrade, rye bread re-do, butternut squash soup/sauce, choclo {whaaaaat?}

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


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


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

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

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

“The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook” 

Best selling mysteries on Amazon    Top rated mysteries on Amazon

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

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


A Party hearty dish with an Italian accent 

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

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

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

Recipe    Martha Stewart’s cookbooks  ♦  Her magazine

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


Maybe meatloaf

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

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

Mini meatloaf recipe    Food Network    Barefoot Contessa episodes


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

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

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

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

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

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

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


Julia Child’s Salade Nicoise, for Aug 24-30, 2018

♦  CatChat – Misty previews what you’ll find in each section this week  

Tidbits  NYT online cooking classes / cook bacon in water? {M sounds OK to me} / smoking eggs?   CS Marketplace Spotlight  good foodie book / tee for readers   Featured Recipe  Julia Child’s Salade Nicoise   Tip  turning old fruit into easy new jam   Barbara’s Week  about that jam / shaping chocolate {M can’t have that} / plum duff {M – what the . . . }

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  Tidbits  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I have not taken these lessons, but since it’s a familiar source I’m fairly comfortable passing it along. The “New York Times” is offering online cooking lessons for, as it says, $1.25 a week. That leaves a lot of details to discover which you should be able to do here.

  A new way to cook bacon? In water?? And it’s crisp??? Yes and tender too which apparently is the water’s doing. So far I’ve just watched the video. If I try it you will sure know about it – good, so so, or never mind.

  When you see a reference to smoking eggs you sort of have to take a closer look at the article. This is interesting, and employs a grill technique that surprised me. Thanks to a google search, it turns out there is more than one way to do this, so clearly other folks have already discovered it. If I ever do, again you’ll be among the first to know.

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦ 

Another interesting food-centric novel

Kate Carlisle’s “Cookbook Conspiracy” is a nice, lighthearted mystery – well except for those pesky murders. Which is to say, a quick read, a likable narrator, and flashes of humor.A Cookbook Conspiracy (Bibliophile Mystery 7)

What adds interest is the fact that two other “characters” join the human cast. One is the title book that threads its way through the tale on a twisty path that leaves havoc in its wake, finally revealing its role in all that swirled through the events. And the other is the food, usually bounteous dinners, since almost all of the humans are chefs.

And thank you to those cooks who, fictional though they may be, generously share their recipes in the back of the book. Among them: the “triumphant” syllabub {might want to skip the version that calls for placing the bowl of ingredients under a cow}, and the “Crazy Delicious” apple dessert.

The book earns 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, one of a series, available in multiple formats.

“Cookbook Conspiracy”  ♦  Other Carlisle books

Also at CS Marketplace “Especially For Readers” & “Especially for Dog Lovers”

Readers Extra – proudly tell the world of your priorities with this “READING/READING/READING/everything else” t-shirt or hoodie

♦  Featured Recipe  

Julia Child – still teaching us the art of French cooking

I came across this site, and glad I did, but the “who” behind it is unclear. There is a first person message on the “About” page but no real ID.

Thanks! whoever you are! It’s because of you and Child’s cookbooksThe Way to Cook that we can make that above statement.

And it’s so timely that we feature one of the culinary legend’s dishes now because August is her birthday month. And this one, as the site notes, is particularly appropriate because it’s “probably one of the most famous salad recipes by Julia Child. It was one of Julia’s favorite dishes.” And, as well, a nice cool addition to any Labor Day get-togethers.

Btw, if you want to preserve the authenticity of this prep, follow this link for her recipe for French potato salad.

Julia Child’s Salade Nicoise

Recipe    Julia Child’s Recipes site    Julia Child cookbooks    Julia Child videos

♦  Tip  

Stop! Step away from the trash can with that pruny fruit

And “pruny” could refer to not just a plum, but a peach, cherries, berries, et al. Here’s a way to save from the trash what a story in the Extra Crispy newsletter calls even “the saddest leftover fruit” and instead turn it into small batch jam.

And let us hasten to add that “small batch” is key here, because there is no boiling, no pectin, no testing, no sealing, no looking for storage space for a bunch of jars.

Nope. This is like one jar’s worth that the story says will last for a month in the fridge, adding that probably won’t though, not because it goes bad but rather because it’s so good.

And I can give a Yep! to that. In “My Week” below you’ll find more about my experience with the prep.

♦  A Peek at My Week  

Join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  So, I took some liberties with this jam in the Tip. First, I did peel the fruit, and cut it quite small, about 1/4″ dice. Second, I used a bit less sugar. Third, once the fruit was super soft and the juice considerably reduced, I removed it from the heat and hit it with the immersion blender {be careful if you’re not using a deep pan, it will attack}. Last, I put the cover on tilted rather than tight while it cooled. Shown above is the one I made with two peaches.

  Some time back I ordered souvenir pens from a company that still sends me samples to this day. The one that just arrived was cushioned with the plastic piece you see here. And it was familiar because a pastry chef I once interviewed liked to use all kinds of items to create chocolate shapes and textures, including one like this to form nuggets, and many others sourced from well beyond the kitchen.

So if you’re a cook that likes to decorate your edibles, see what’s around your home that you can thoroughly clean, probably treat with non stick spray, and fill with chocolate, or press upon chocolate like a metallic doily to create a pretty design . . . or?

  Browsing through Diner’s Dictionary again. I just love this book! And not only because I can find foodie answers here faster than online, but even more because page after page has such interesting discoveries.

Just one of the entries on this journey: “Plum duff . . . one of the fortifying puddings of England is essentially the same in its beginnings as plum pudding, before it went upmarket The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drinkto become Christmas pudding – in other words, a plain boiled suet pudding enlivened with a more or less generous addition of raisins or currants {duff represents a former northern pronunciation of dough}.

“The earliest record of the term, though, is not that ancient. It comes from the mid-nineteenth century, in R.H. Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast {1840}: “This day was Christmas . . . the only change was that we had ‘plum duff’ for dinner.”The sociologist Henry Mayhew records it as being one of the foods for sale on the street in London in the 1850s, its itinerant vendor being known as a plum duffer.”

In one short blurb, a sense of time, place, taste, prep, commerce, history and as a bonus, a literary reference too.

So far next week: easy batch-making for hamburgers, good news for dog owners, cleaning sheet pans, Alton Brown news

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


Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies {well named!}, for Aug 10-16, 2018

  CatChat – Misty previews what you’ll find in each section this week  

Tidbits – what is matriarchal cooking? / bacon mayo, whose idea?? {M – hold the mayo} /  Seattle food fest    CS Marketplace Spotlight – good novel, “State of the Onion” w/recipes / signed inmate-to-chef bio on ebay    Featured Recipe – Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies {M – didn’t get any}    Tip –  great lobster, twice  ♦  Barbara’s Week – tasty salad add-on {M – didn’t want any} / watermelon, party cut/ hope springs eternal

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery 

♦  Tidbits  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Oh I like this. Something I already do and you likely do too – has a name. Or at least it does for Chef Claudette who defines her new El Jardin in San Diego as a Matriarchal Restaurant – meaning it shows respect for the recipes, preps, and traditions of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other “matriarchs” in the family tree. Nice.

  OK, brace yourself. This tasty tip comes from the unlikely duo of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, with Jennifer Garner in a supporting role, and Food & Wine magazine as the producer. So, here’s how its comes together: at Snoop’s urging Stewart now crumbles bacon into mayo instead of fitting the slices onto a sandwich with the mayo separate, which was a component in the bacon-ed up lobster BLTs crafted by Stewart and Garner featured in  the magazine’s newsletter .

  If you have plans to be in Seattle in Nov, or would like to make them, you can tap into all the palate-pleasing bounty of the “Seattle EATS Cooking, Food & Wine Festival.” A production of America’s Test Kitchen, it promises to bring “dozens of the area’s best chefs and restaurants together so you can sample unlimited food, see cooking demos, meet the cast of our TV shows, and much more.” Nov 2 & 3, but tix are on sale now.

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦ 

Who do you know that loves food and fiction?

This is sort of like a culinary version of Perils of Pauline. White House assistant chef Olivia seems to have perfected the art of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, much to the dismay of her secret service boyfriend.State of the Onion (A White House Chef Mystery Book 1)

Her more preferable art, boffo cooking, merits equal time in this tale that is both entertaining and enlightening thanks to author Julie Hyzy’s meticulous research about the kitchens and protocols at both the White House and Camp David.

And hallelujah, after tempting our palates with dish descriptions throughout the book, she treats us to recipes for at least some of them after the story concludes with a scene that might leave you out of breath.

The first in a series, it’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, available in multiple formats. Also thought it might be interesting to look at some books penned by or about actual White House chefs. Both links are below.

“State of the Onion”    White House chef books    CS Marketplace

Also at CS Marketplace “Especially For Readers” & “Especially for Dog Lovers”

Especially for book lovers – who also love chef stories/inspiration/autographed items. And this chef has quite an inspiring story, moving from drug dealer on the streets of L.A. to imprisoned felon to upscale exec chef to Food Network host – and that upward boost was propelled by a most ironic twist of fate. His 1st-year book is signed to me and after a decade+ I’ve put it {and some celeb signed items, see below} on ebay. You can also find unsigned versions on Amazon, 4 1/2 stars.

♦  Featured Recipe  

Paid off already!

So in last week’s chat I mentioned being re-inspired to check package recipes and the very next day did just that with the oatmeal, where I saw a reference to a recipe on the underside of the cover. Disappearing oatmeal cookies!

Well that title is sort of irresistible. Turns out so are the cookies, and that name tells you they aren’t going to stick around very long once the word is out.

Notes – never one to pass up a suggestion to add chocolate chips, I split them with the raisins, using 3/4 cup each. Also, made some the tablespoon size and some larger, which you see here.

 Oatmeal cookie recipe    Cookie cookbooks on Amazon, 4 stars & up

♦  Tip  

Lobster fans, enjoy and then maybe again

Oh happy day. After getting disgruntled with my source for lobster tails, I googled the best rated lobster suppliers online and the results came back with a resounding vote for Cousins Maine Lobster. Had really just not gotten around to ordering from them when, woohoo, the company opened outlets in two local Smith’s stores. This first foray resulted in hot buttered lobster rolls served with their potato tots and bisque, all excellent.

And here’s the tip: if you have leftover bisque {I know, for some of you, hahaha} it makes a quite good pasta sauce, to which you can add any leftover lobster {ditto}. I added some shrimp and thinly sliced roasted red peppers, along with a little Hawaiian salt.

And here’s a second tip, good news for all you lobster lovers – Cousins has truck and restaurant locations in a whole number of places. Find them here.

♦  A Peek at My Week  

Join me in my kitchen & parlor

♦  OK, it took seeing “onion” in that book title above to remind me to use some of the pickled pearl onions in salad. I used it in egg salad, but would be equally good in others – green, tossed, tuna, kidney bean, potato, mac. A really tasty addition! {if you remember to do it, that is}

  Saw this trick for watermelon halves some time ago but this was the first time I tried it. Just great for a party. Easy to eat, guests’ choice of big piece or small piece. Works best with the smaller round ones.

  Have all the ingredients to try bolognese again. Hope to be able to share a boffo recipe with you soon.

Collectorsif you are interested in autographed items I also have books, letters, pix from Nicholas Pileggi, Sidney Sheldon, Stephen J Cannell, Janet Leigh, Phyllis Diller, and Bobby Hatfield on ebay – to see them all, click here {this is a one-time thing, not an ongoing CooksSalon feature}

Next week, so far – Watermelon tips, all about chiles, kitchen fails, celeb chef style stew, addendum to fast fries, salt & pepper for your dessert???

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