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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Celeb chef recipes – and it gets even better from there

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Acclaimed chef Curtis Stone is just the start 

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

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

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

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

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

  TIP  

“Easy does it” appetizers or mini desserts

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

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

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

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

Phyllo cups at Amazon  Food Network article

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

This week’s

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

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

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

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

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Dec 6 – Dec 12, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

♦  TIDBITS – thaw it fast / apple crisp punch / throwback dinners  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – handy kichen organizers    FEATURED RECIPE – a bowl of chocolaty goodness    TIP – that is the question    THE WEEK – eggy love / salad-style burrito / heating up Parm corn butter

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I came, I thaw, I conquered. OK, the grammar gets a bit tortured and Caesar’s ashes just turned over, but may I redirect your attention to “How to Quickly and Safely Thaw Anything” – a rescue move for those moments when, OH NO, dinner that should be on the table in short order is still in the {censored} freezer. Having just come upon it, haven’t yet given it a try, but sure seems to make sense.

  This just looks so refreshing. A peek at the ingredients tells you that promise is quite likely to be fulflled. And as you can see right here, it’s pretty too! Two perfect attributes for a holiday libation. Called Apple Crisp Punch, the magic is in the sweet and sour pours and colorful garnishes.

  One link led to another and I found myself on the page, “23 Dinners That Got Us Through the Great Depression.” Since the very first one calls for a slow cooker, guessing some updates may have checked in. Even so, some good stuff here, with many that really are easy on the budget, a hot doggy one that’s sure to be a kid fave, some good looking soups and salads, and yep, meatloaf.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Resolution?

Are you doing 2020s yet? Or, if you’re like me, the one I’m about to pose is an ongoing aspiration.

Getting the kitchen better organized!!!

One of the previous Salons {08.09.19} talked about wrangling at least one set of items, the flat kind of stuff like baking sheets, cooling racks, cutting boards, et al, into a folder holder from the office supply store. And another {09.27.19} featured hanging bags for small items.

But lately I’ve been haunting the Amazon kitchen organization section for more help, and found some I think you might like: stylish towel hooks, pan and lid rack {I actually have one of these already and love it not only for the anti-clutter perk but also because it keeps the pan bottoms off other pans’ inner surfaces}, practical and whimsical drying rack {cloth over “cactus” too?}, sink caddy that lets the sponge and cloth air-dry, and could probably accommodate your kitchen brush too.

                             

 

Btw, the link below goes to only the top rated items. And you know what the #1 best seller in this category is – a portable paper towel holder, finishes from $5.99-$18.99.

Kitchen organization items, 4 stars and up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Who might like a warm bowl of fudgy comfort food? 

I have to ‘fess up that I haven’t made this yet, but yikes it sounds so good, so holiday-ey, that I wanted to share it now. I certainly will make it some time in the new year and tell you all about it.

But just look at the source and the ingredients and the picture and I think we can be pretty confident that this is going to be a very good thing. The promise is in the name – Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

It’s from Hershey’s where you’ll find tons of other great looking recipes on its site, so I have a link below to the whole shebang, where you can also search by various filters. And of course a link right to our Featured Recipe.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe    Hershey’s recipe page  

  TIP  

To peel or not to peel?

I happen to be in the former category, which is to say I’ve always peeled fresh ginger. You too?

Well, this food editor says we’re doing it all wrong, and also tells us why. See if you agree that we should “never peel ginger.”

Btw, though she kind of disdains using a spoon tip if you do/did peel, I’ve actually found this to be quite a good method. Easy over the bumps, minimum waste.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  In a recent show, Ina Garten mentioned a combo that may not be generally top of mind but happens to one of my favorites too – poached eggs atop seasoned greens {and for mine, bacon too}. And do you know what, alone or accompanied, it’s so perfect for any time of day or night. We did talk about this, including the starting point and seasonings, in our 09.20.19 Salon. Btw, this time I topped it with a bit of hot sauce. All good.

  Just catching up with mentioning this. The jar salad featured in our 11.22.19 Salon as we noted yielded quite a sizable bowlful, almost like the jar was hiding extra stuff in a secret compartment. So, yep, there were leftovers. And where they headed afterward {minus the lettuce} was one of my favorite ways to use them up, after in this case a brief cooking step – right into tortillas to make tasty burritos. A little extra jack on top didn’t hurt.

♦  A Parm corn butter add-on. We first talked about making this elote-style spread in our 11.01.19 Salon. Now, watching one of the Thanksgiving specials on Food Network I saw a reference to an original elote prep that included cayenne. Why not??? A natural I think. Btw, in the same Salon linked above for jar salads we talked about heating up the corn butter the other way, in a pan on the stove, to cook flavor-layered scrambled eggs.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – punch/Nolet’s Gin, kitchen org/Amazon, cake/Hersheys, egg/mine
  •  Link sources – thaw/MyRecipes, punch/Nolet’s gin, Depression dinners/Taste of Home, kitchen org/Amazon, cake recipe/Hershey’s, ginger/Yahoo 
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Giada’s hearty Tuscan soup, celeb chef memoirs with recipes, fill a phyllo, ingredient measurement help, stress tip, impromptu ham hash, wreath cookies, sugar from where???

Last week, just below: chocolate frosting with a secret, chocolate Yule log recipes, pumpkin pancakes, holiday kitchen decor, bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, easy garlic, all-in cookie pie crust, decorated marshmallows for cocoa, hot sugar icing 

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Sauce with Cocoa, Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, any of my partnership connections in the current week’s Salon

will be listed in the information box below, along with the photo credits & link sources

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

  TIDBITS – chocolate frosting with a secret / chocolate Yule log recipes / pumpkin-y pancakes    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Merry Kitchen!  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – cocoa loco   TIP – easy garlic  ♦  THE WEEK – the next all-in / merry mallows / a hot trend 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It looks so innocent, a luscious layer of chocolate frosting. But this icing might need some ice to counteract it. The current Food & Wine online newsletter offers up a prep for Chile Chocolate Buttercream, with the hidden heat of ancho powder and cayenne. Having some time back enjoyed pie with a chocolate-ancho filling I can tell you this sweet-hot interplay can be quite addictive. Btw, there’s also a recipe for the cinnamon cake underneath.

  Was so happy to see IrishCentral feature a Bailey’s Chocolate Yule Log, only to discover it was not a recipe but rather a retail item, and adding insult to injury seemingly only to be available in Ireland and the UK. Not to be deterred, tried Amazon for us. Not even on Amazon! So, back to one of my most reliable sources for great preps, AllRecipes. And there found some good looking Chocolate Yule Logs, which if one were so inclined could certainly not be harmed by the addition of a little spirit.

  So, then Irish Central redeemed itself with a feature on pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes. And, yep, complete with recipe. Nice treat for a holiday morning breakfast, maybe with a bit of bacon or sausage, some colorful fruit. Btw, I quite like this newsletter, and if you might too, can subscribe in the upper task bar on that page.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Deck your kitchen!

Why should the living room have an exclusive on all the festive decor??? Especially when we have so many ways to bring the seasonal colors and images right into the kitchen.D-FantiX Snowman Refrigerator Magnets Set of 16, Cute Funny Fridge Magnet Refrigerator Stickers Holiday Christmas Decorations for Fridge, Metal Door, Garage, Office Cabinets (Large)

Large stores, even pharmacies, often feature items for this very purpose. The ones we’re showing here are on Amazon.

Some are temporary additions like refrigerator magnets {shown}, appliance handle covers, wall decor {shown}, even chair slipcovers. Some are temporary replacements such as towels, tablecloths, napkins, table runners, and dish drying mats.

And this adorable tie-back set. And more. And all such fun.

So often our family and friends gather in the kitchen anyway, so why not make their surroundings sing Christmas and more. Just as good, why shouldn’t you have a joyful setting as you prepare those holiday goodies.

The full array on Amazon 

 BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageIf you’d like to send a strong message to both sides in D.C., please consider my new items on the Offerings page that say, “Make America Decent Again.”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t get any better

I think it has something to do with the cocoa. It just adds such a deep, rich dimension versus other forms of chocolate.

And just like we like it, at least some of the time, the prep has few ingredients, simple technique. As flagged in our notes, though it calls for rum and many folks will find this a welcome addition, I used vanilla and it was still just so good.

The prep also tells us to use it cold, right from the fridge or after a brief stand at room temp. I did use it that way and also tested it heated, both over ice cream {work, work, work!}. As you can see, the ice cream does get melty with the warmed sauce but I actually liked it better that way.

The fact that it’s good however you use it is no surprise. It comes from the sweet genius of the late “Queen of Cake,” Maida Heatter, and appears in her book listed below.

Recipe    Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking”

  TIP 

Easy garlic trick

Thanks to the late and dear Mr. Food for this one. When you need to add garlic to a dish, put the knife or press back in the drawer and take out a fork.

You can start with whole cloves unless they’re extra large, then slice those in half horizontally. Now take your fork start pushing into the edges {not right down over the whole top}, and continue around the perimeter, gradually working your way toward the middle, pressing the tines toward the work surface and pulling them back toward you. If necessary, turn over and repeat on the other side.

The primary beauty of this technique is that in short order you’ll have coarse chopped garlic ready to go. Or you can continue to work the fork for a finely chopped result. Or, if you need the garlic in paste form, add a bit of salt and then mash down and back and forth with the fork. Voila, paste.

The bonuses? No more pieces flying off the work surface, sticking to the knife, and clinging to your fingers.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  My latest all -in. Pie crust! In our 08.23.19 Salon we talked about a pie filling made up of various chocolate items from the pantry and fridge. Now the chocolate vibe has gone into a crust in the form of cookies collected also from the pantry and fridge. There were stripes, stripes with frosting, chocolate coated mint cookies, even a couple of fortune cookies {nice little pockets of crunch}, crushed to crumbs and then mixed with melted butter in the classic graham cracker crust proportion of 1 1/4 cups to 1/3 of a stick. Now in the freezer awaiting filling and pretty sure one of them will host cheesecake. I’m guessing any cookies would do the trick.

  So, I saw such a cute way to serve cocoa on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show. She dipped marshmallows in melted chocolate mixed with a bit of coconut oil and then pressed some into pistachios, others into coconut. Next, for each cup of her white chocolate cardamom cocoa, she speared the two kinds of marshmallows on a wooden skewer and laid it across the rim. Adorable. But, oops, in the next scene when the cups are served, the marshmallows had done a backflip so all the pretty toppings were hiding face-down in the cocoa. Ummm, should we tell her about the two-stick trick from our 08.16.19 Salon???

Wait, wait, wait let me make two things perfectly clear. First, could this have been by design so that the chocolate melted into the white cocoa? Maybe. But even more notable, I love the food she does, and the whimsical touches she often shows us, some of which we’ve featured in previous Salons. So, face-up or face-down, a cool idea. Btw, for mine shown here I crushed spicy peanuts and M&Ms.

  Care to experiment? I plan to do so with whatever baked good I make next. This technique is called hot sugar icing, a matter of topping the unbaked cake or cobbler with sugar and then, uh oh, hot water. But the promise is a crunchy, candy-like sugar crust. The link takes you to the Taste article, and then a link at the bottom to a recipe for pear cherry cobbler, which include the amounts and instructions for the hot sugar upgrade.

So far next week: Hot fudge pudding cake, peeling ginger, flashback dinners, thaw it quick, kitchen organizers, elote add-on, next burrito, apple crisp punch

Last week, just below: pie guide, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from the best, bacon-pimento cheese dip, flour trick, another Parm corn butter app, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – pancakes/IrishCentral, decs/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe/CS Recipe Page Heatter book/Amazon, items on Offerings page/Michigan-based SunFrog
  • Partnerships – Amazon, SunFrog

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

So far next week: hot fudge pudding cake, kitchen organization,  

Last week, just below: bacon-pimento cheese dip, pie guide + recipes, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from a legend, flour help, try this with the Parm corn butter, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Bacon-Pimiento Cheese Dip, Nov 22-Nov 28, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – say Hi to pie / gravy trick / food vs sleep     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – baking book from the best    FEATURED RECIPE – all the right stuff    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK –  another Parm corn butter app / jar salads & other easy lunches / a quote to love

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Here comes pie season! America’s Test Kitchen helps us kick it off with its article, “A Slice of Pie.” You’ll find some tips on pie baking, a link to their pie book, an offer for their pie book, and their recipes for Perfect Pecan Pie, Apple Slab Pie, and The Best Pumpkin Pie.

  Afraid the leftover gravy might run out before the leftover turkey and stuffing do? No worries, because MyRecipes is here to tell you “How to make a rich, flavorful gravy using bouillon cubes.” And in fact you could use this prep anytime a gravy craving hits and the freezer isn’t cooperating.

  Insomnia? Don’t make it worse by indulging in “7 Bedtime Snack Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Sleep.” Even better, this Cooking Light article tells you why each of the items is a zzz-killer and, even better yet, what to have instead. It’s not about deprivation but rather, smart choices.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“Classic, can’t-fail recipes for a lifetime of happy baking”

How’s that for a cookbook promise??? And do you know why we can fully believe that – because the source of these recipes is Maida Heatter, “Queen of Cake,” three-time Beard winner, Beard Hall of Fame inductee, contributor to the New York Times, and creator of numerous baking books.

Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of CakeShe left us just this year, at age 102. At age 100 she took the stage to receive one of those awards and then starting chucking wrapped brownies into the crowd. Thinking she probably didn’t slow down after that either.

So here’s a collection of her favorites – cakes, pies tarts, muffins, brownies, cookies – complete with tips and techniques for the entire process. Two things quickly become obvious. One, Heatter really favors chocolate And second, the recipes often seem long, but that’s good news because she pretty much talks you through all the steps.

Here are just a few of her famous confections I’d like to make:  Budapest Coffee Cake, Bull’s Eye Cheesecake {this one is like a magic trick}, and Peanut Butter Puffs. But first of all her Chocolate Intrigue, “a moist cake with a fine texture and an extremely generous amount of chocolate. It keeps well, slices beautifully, and is quick and easy to make” – wow, are those ever all the right words {and btw, has a secret ingredient}.

Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking” – 4 1/2 stars on Amazon    Other Heatter books

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

A natural for the party table 

Yikes does this bacon-pimiento cheese dip look good. Flavorful, versatile and easy, just like we like it, right savvy CS friends?

The only cooking step could be the bacon. Or, as the prep suggests, use fully cooked bacon. After that, it’s just mix it all up, pour into a baking dish, into the oven, and then say c’mon, c’mon, c’mon until it’s done.

Serve with crackers and veggies as shown. Or other veggies, or crisped pita or tortillas, or sausage sticks. Or? And maybe a toast topper the next morning.

This tasty dip is on the Kraft/Food & Family site. Be careful, there are other tempting recipes on that page that beg to be added to your collection, like the chicken enchilada stew.

Kraft recipe  

♦  TIP  

Timely

In the process of looking for something else, I came upon my gram’s bread recipe. Oh my the memories of those heavenly loaves.

That immediately went on the do list for fall baking. And in a case of happy coincidence, Ina Garten had a bread baker on a recent show and he did one of those things that when you see it you say, well duh, of course.

When he put the dough in the bowl to rise, he sprinkled some flour on the inside of the bowl just above the loaf-to-be. So when it does rise, it won’t stick to bowl. Great idea.

It was timely for me and hopefully for you too. To paraphrase our featured author, Happy Baking!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I’m really liking the pureed version of the Parm corn butter {11.01.19}. And I may have discovered my favorite way yet of using it – to cook scrambled eggs. Just melt it in the pan, stir around the eggs till everything is incorporated, and enjoy. Because of the Parmesan already in there I didn’t add any salt but did hit it with a good shower of cracked pepper.

♦  Oh yeah, this is an idea for us. It’s not totally new, but it seems most often the jar trick has to do with ingredients for something to bake, and of course nothing wrong with that at all. But here, the jar holds ingredients for {usually} a salad, one of the “5 Quick and Clean Lunch Recipes That You Don’t Have to Reheat.” from Clean Plates. For mine, I went south of the border with avocado, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, cheddar cubes, black beans, lettuce and then ranch dressing, Btw, this 6″ jar yielded an Elaine-worthy “big salad.”

♦  Even though baking guru Maida Heatter is no longer among us, her 102-yr-old self was sure here long enough to pen the intro to the latest collection of her recipes, featured above. In that preamble, after recounting an incident where she was watching a tv doc talk about ways to reduce stress, and she yelled at the screen, “Bake cookies!,” she added these lines that I love: “Baking is a great escape. It’s happiness. It’s creative. It’s good for your health. It reduces stress.” Amen to that dear one.

So far next week: cinnamon cake with chocolate chile frosting, chocolate Yule logs, pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes, holiday decor for the kitchen, Maida Heatter’s bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, Andres’ veggie upgrade, taming the marshmallows, a new way to glaze, all-in pie crust

Last week, just below: Thanksgiving help, cheese help, Cookbook Club help, join Bobby Flay in the kitchen, tunnel of fudge cake, tv “guide,” frozen cauliflower goes good, Parm butter 2.0, Twain quote

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, cheese dip/Kraft, others/mine

Link sources – Heatter books/Amazon 

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bobby Flay in home kitchen mode

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

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

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

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

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

Flay’s other books    Flay’s DVDs

  FEATURED RECIPE  

 Jump into the way-back machine 

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

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

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

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

Recipe

  TIP  

Write on!

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

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

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

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Good timing!

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

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

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

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

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

Full array of timer choices

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A surprising mix of ingredients = sooooo good

This sweet potato casserole is one of my most crowd-pleasing recipes. The original is by a favorite chef, Nick Stellino, and the only major difference between my version and that one is that his is a souffle and mine isn’t, and then there are some minor variations in seasoning amounts.

My non-egg version is denser and needs to bake only until heated through. Those who favor a lighter touch will want to stay with the original.

Either way, an unexpected ingredient combo makes this a winning companion for ham, chicken, turkey – I even like it with a nice pork roast or even Mexican food. Here are links for both . . .

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

  TIP  

Who doesn’t love marshmallow stuff???

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

Marshmallow Equivalents

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

And

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

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Doritos Chicken Casserole, Nov 1-Nov 7, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – recipe pre-test / donairs / perfect carrots    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – celebrate & mangia    FEATURED RECIPE – links now, mine later    TIP – unexpected plate   THE WEEK –  Parm corn butter / soup ahoy / cheesy chat 

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well this is helpful. Long time Food & Wine executive food editor, and cookbook editor to culinary stars, Tina Ujlaki clues us on how to avoid some disappointments in the kitchen in “How to {sort of} know if a recipe will work.” Some smart tips here.

  I love discovering new foods and sharing them with Salon folks who may also be unfamiliar with them. In this case it was a wrap that echoes such dishes in other cultures as burritos, the recently featured saltenas, and gyros, most closely resembling the latter, though with  a touch of spice, and a creamy sweet and sour sauce. Called donairs, they hail from Eastern Canada., but can now be found across the provinces, sometimes lending their flavor profile to pizza, tacos, even saw an Eggs Benedict. Google has the scoop.

  The pros at Food & Wine tell us how to make carrots in a way that just might steal the spotlight from the entree. Roasting! The simple prep slightly caramelizes the veggie to bring out its natural sweetness. In addition to the main story, “How to roast carrots to perfection,” the page also includes links for alternately pickling, glazing, and pureeing into a dip.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

If you’re going to be celebrating anyway

. . . why not “celebrate like an Italian”??? You can do just that with Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook of the same name.

With a focus on fun and festivities, the TV chef promises the recipes are not only easy and delicious but as well fit any Lidia's Celebrate Like an Italian: 220 Foolproof Recipes That Make Every Meal a Party: A Cookbookcelebration, from a casual pizza party to a grand buffet. And that includes Italian-style libations.

Some of the preps that caught my eye: fried mozzarella sandwich skewers, leek/walnut/gorgonzola salad, eggplant parmigiana stacks, baked rigatoni with tomato sauce/meatballs/eggs, chocolate hazelnut bread parfait.

You’ll also find theme party guidelines, entertainment advice, wine tips, decor and service suggestions. And then with all that in your tool bag you’re ready to, as Lidia says in the book’s dedication, “have many grand and delicious moments.”

“Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian” cookbook    Bastianich’s other cookbooks    Her DVDs

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

So, here’s what happened 

I promised in last week’s look-ahead that our recipe for this week would be Doritos Chicken Casserole. And indeed I made this very dish.

The good news – excellent flavor. The bad news, did not at all like the topping, drawn from two recipes, just dried out.

What I’m doing then, rather than share a recipe that falls short of CS standards, is posting a google link for all kinds of variations of this dish. I have considered some of these, but didn’t like the idea that the chips might be soggy or there might be a shortfall on flavor – but I sure haven’t tried all and there may be some very good ones there.

Meanwhile, I know I have a good start on my version and will make the tweaks it needs. Watch for it soon.

Dorito Chicken dishes on Google

♦  TIP  

Did you know about this?

Those take-out cartons ubiquitous in Asian restaurants have a secret. Clue: they’re like a culinary version of a transformer.

Yep, turns out the classic kind can drop its flaps and become a “plate.” Though you may have to be a little careful if the food is extra saucy.

Leftovers? No problem, just fold the carton right back up. Add a bit of masking/freezer tape if needed.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Cool This prep takes elote, street corn, into a tasty new realm. Actually called Parmesan Corn Butter, it blends the main ingredients into a compound butter, suggested as a topping for grilled chicken, fish or steak. I’m thinking the stuff would even be good on toast or vegetables, but the way I did use it was {shown} on grilled shrimp.

  Soup rescue. So, I made a new chicken and vegetable soup. Despite having a lot of flavor elements, it just didn’t quite hit the mark. Nuts, after all that chopping. Aha! Poured in some vegetable juice and the whole character changed, richer, mouthier and wonderfully more flavorful.

  So, I tried Burger King’s new cheese tots. Not bad really, even if more tot than cheese. And, good or bad depending on your preference, not over-salted. One other thing, may not be as big as you might think, about the size of a silver dollar and maybe 1/2″ thick. Added some virtue to the equation by using them, cut up, as a salad topper. Also good the next morning cooked into scrambled eggs.

Meanwhile what is totally good there is the Twix pie. Yum. {and, no, no affiliation with BK}

So far next week: Salon-tested sweet potato casserole, Irish Whiskey pumpkin pie, NOWFE discount tix, recalls/now what, marshmallow chart, cinnamon apple bread {another version, this one using store-bought rolls}

Last week, just below: easy bottled salad dressing upgrades, pomegranate punch, Watergate salad, Cake Boss cake kits, bacon & egg brunch burritos, scary veggie platter, cookbook-loving bookstore, pizza rescue, Jose Andres’ spinach so rich 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, others/mine

Link sources – recipe eval/MyRecipes, all Bastianich/Amazon, Parm corn/Food & Wine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Bacon & Egg Breakfast Enchiladas, Oct 25-Oct 31, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – easy upgrade / pomey punch / whose salad???    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Buddy-bakin’    FEATURED RECIPE – just add a b-mary    TIP – veggies go scary   THE WEEK – cookbooks! / pizza rescue / spinach so rich 

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bake it like Buddy

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

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

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

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

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

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Good Morning! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦  TIP  

Vegetables have never been so scary

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

Here’s the link

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

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room 

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – Baking kit/Amazon, others/mine

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

What a sweetheart of a novel

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

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

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

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

“Friendship Bread”    Gee’s other books in Avalon

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just, yum 

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

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread recipe    Wishes & Dishes  

  TIP  

I say All-in, you say . . .

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

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

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

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

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Star caterer’s rich chocolate cake from mix, Oct 11-Oct 17, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

  TIDBITS – put whaaaat in your cola / best rotisserie chicken / keeping ‘shrooms fresh    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – grilled cheese mania    FEATURED RECIPE – so good, so rich, so easy    TIP – that’s a wrap ♦  THE WEEK – jammy eggs / spooky food / savory salteñas 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Well, here’s a new one on me. But it won’t likely be for anyone from the south, and that’s combining peanuts and cola, Coke as most postings say, Pepsi when I saw it, and one online rebel mentioned Dr. Pepper. I was enlightened by North Carolina chef Vivian Howard in Season 1 of her PBS series “A Chef’s Life,” where the proper technique was on display. Open the {must be} glass bottle, take a few swigs, pour in the peanuts using your hand as a funnel – while the demo ended there, it seems then you either chew and sip or drink up before snacking on the peanuts.

–  Chef Vivian translated this into a dish of brined and cooked pork belly glazed with Pepsi that had been cooked down with brown sugar and lemon juice, all topped with freshly hulled peanuts that had been boiled in a salty county ham stock until they were “kind of tender.”

  The first paragraph in this MyRecipes feature, “How to choose the best grocery store rotisserie chicken,” reminds us there are so many ways to use this cooked and flavorful entree or ingredient, and may even give us a few new ideas. But of course we want to start with the best one possible and there are three ways offered that help us do just that. And not only is it a time saver, but also it says here that vs the cost of a raw chicken and the flavor ingredients, the rotisserie one is a better value. As a bonus there’s a recipe for a fine looking chicken chilaquiles casserole.

  Thanks Extra Crispy for cluing us in on how to Keep Mushrooms Fresh because we all know what can happen to those little guys in a matter of days. In addition to some good tips, and the reasons for them, two other things I found of interest. One kinda funny, as the author refers to the mushrooms having “a temperament.” The second kinda creepy, news that the sneaky fungi can continue to grow even after harvesting  There’s a movie in there somewhere.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Grilled Cheese lovers, rejoice!

Because here’s an entire book of those comfort food wonders in all their golden glory. In the preemptively named “Grilled Cheese,” subtitled 50 recipes to make you melt, in addition to the preps you’ll also find a cheese guide, bread guide, and chat about putting it all together, along with some tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt

And then there’s a substantial list of add-ins – such fridge finds as pickles, veggies, cured meats, condiments and sauces – to gussy up your classic version. Author Marlena Spieler likens it to accessorizing a little black dress.

In the recipes there are some good basic sandwiches, but you can also go fancy with others that tuck in such upscale groceries as truffle paste, green olive tapenade, radicchio. These leaped onto my do list: rare roast beef, blue cheese and watercress . . . and {what I would regard as 2.0 versions of} chicken club, cuban, and torta . . . individual muffalettas . . . and mozzarella, prosciutto and fig jam.

Btw, that last one is on the cover {couldn’t you almost just take a bite right out of that???}. Whichever one you might choose to make, as Spieler says, “Breakfast, lunch, dinner, after school, or midnight snack . . . all are the perfect time for a grilled cheese sandwich.”

“Grilled Cheese” cookbook

  FEATURED RECIPE  

This full-of-good-stuff chocolate cake couldn’t be easier 

Last week {10.04.19 Salon} our CS Marketplace Spotlight featured a charming book by caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani. While much of the food parts of the book focused on the title dish, “Tiny Hot Dogs,” dessert was by no means overlooked.

In fact in the opinion of some folks {me, maybe you} everything else may well be overshadowed by the chocolate cake in this book. It’s a recipe, Giuliani tells us, that was given to her mother by her good friend Rita in the 1970s. Thus the full name, “My Mom’s Friend Rita’s Chocolate Cake.”

All of the ingredients are the stuff of cravings. And it all just mingles in a bowl pretty much all at once, then into the pan, into the oven, stand on one foot then the other till it’s baked and cool enough to dive in.

As Giulani notes, “It’s a really quick, easy, no-skill required, half box mix, half homemade cake that leaves your crowd happy.” What more could we ask.

Recipe    Giulani’s book, “Tiny Hot Dogs”    Giuliani’s other book, The Cocktail Party “  

  TIP  

Wrap it up cuss-free

Make no mistake, I still use aluminum foil for certain tasks. But when I want a fairly airtight way to store food, now I use sticky wrap. But just among us chickens, the unwrapping can inspire some hearty sailor language.

So, here’s the way I do it now. Lay the sheet sticky side down on a work surface. Place the food in the center, then fold the far side toward you over the food.

Next fold over the the edge closest to you about an inch to create a narrow flap {which will then have a sticky surface facing you}. Then then fold this side forward over the food, making sure to completely enclose the contents, and press to stick down.

Last, wrap both the ends underneath onto the sticky bottom side, and press to seal. Now you have a nice tight and neat package.

I store these in a freezer bag, marked with date and item. Then when I’m ready to use one of the servings, it’s ever so easy to unwrap by just bringing the ends back up and pulling up the flap you created. No cussing!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Have you joined the jammy egg craze? It’s basically an egg cooked kind of midway between hard boiled and soft boiled, and thus the “jammy” yolk. This MyRecipes story acknowledges all the factors involved in getting it just right, but then offers a technique that neutralizes a lot of the variables. I did it as described, but because I have {at least as far as boiling water is concerned} a “bad altitude,” increased the time to 7 minutes. Almost right. Then 7.5 and perfect. It appears this is the only aspect that may require adjustment.

  Oh, these are just great. All kinds of Halloween-decorated food, some adorable, some quite creepy, all so very clever. I couldn’t actually find a prep for the featured one, the eyeballs, but it looked like it was based on donuts, so I used powdered sugar donut holes. Then with this “canvas” before me, put on my beret, and got to work with food color gels, finishing with chocolate chip centers. Woooooohooooo MyRecipes.

  I’m guessing a number of CS-ers might share my impulse to hit Search any time they come across an unfamiliar food. That was the case recently when I saw a reference to Bolivian savory pastries called salteñas. I hope the Bolivians will forgive me but I was mainly interested in how the filling ingredients came together, so just made it as a kind of stew – eliminating the gelatin, dough & annatto butter. And what I discovered was a big flavor interplay of spicy and mild, acidic and sweet, soft and firm, salty and not. I liked it! You can check recipes and more at salteñas, I used the 5-star MyRecipes one as a guide.

So far next week: cinnamon apple pie bread, good show, storing bread, Friendship Bread, a.k.a all-in. nachos into burritos, José Andrés’ decadent spinach, good dinner meter

Last week, scroll down:  ice cream for breakfast, the oddball flying jacob, a beer backstory, tiny hot dogs the book, tiny hot dogs the demo, corn on the cob takes 1, 2, 3, Choctaw stew, burger cooking tip, the sweet potato sundae repurposed

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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