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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Tiny Hot Dogs, the book . . . with recipes 

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

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

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

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

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Tiny Hot Dogs, the video . . . three ways

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

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

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

Tiny Hot Dogs video    Home & Family show

  TIP  

Corn x 3

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

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

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

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

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, hot dog tray/Home & Family on Youtube, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Jose Andres’ Sweet Potato Sundae, Sept 20-Sept 26, 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 – Dine like Downton / Impossible-possible? / Green Goddess rules    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Halloween party fun    FEATURED RECIPE – Andrés at his playful best    TIP – cookies {and more} as Halloween decorations    THE WEEK – tasty add-ins / tested the nuked eggs / greens trick

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Do a Downton? According to “Rach,” to dine like the Crawleys, just simply serve oysters, soup, fish, fowl, main dish with sauces & veggies, dessert, fruit & cheese, and a final savory {!} From the recent issue of “Rachel Rae Every Day Magazine” {yikes, deep, deep discount at this Amazon link, but be quick}. Or you could go into full D/A party mode with “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook,” with not only preps and their backstories and context but as well a guide to throwing a theme party complete with etiquette tips and customs of the times.

♦  Have you tried the Impossible Whopper? It’s actually not bad and for folks avoiding or minimizing meat it can be a nice alternative – I know there’s been some buzz about the fact it’s cooked on the same surface as the beef ones, but there’s a note on their site that says you can request all vegetarian prep. Truth be told I’ll probably be sticking with the original. Meanwhile, for those interested, here are the “Impossible” stats, listing the recipe {scroll down on the page} and the nutritional values {scroll down more}.

♦  Here’s a blast from the past, today as good as ever in both its classic form and some updated versions. I went to AllRecipes for an original and as usual the site did not disappoint. Here’s the link for their authentic Green Goddess dressing {OK, it does use creme fraiche instead of the traditional sour cream which of course you could put right back in the recipe}. But it was the “Food & Wine” newsletter that brought the old favorite to mind with its roster of Green Goddess variations for salads, burgers and crudites.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

More party fun, spooky style

Hard as it might be to believe, Halloween is right around the corner. The summer holidays may be in the rear view mirror but a whole party season rolls out on Oct 31.

If you’re hosting a get-together, you can find so much good stuff  to set a festive tone. For the table, plates, cups, flatware and centerpieces. For the rest of the room, decorations scary-ed up with pumpkins & skeletons, ghosts and goblins, spiders and disguises, on gift bags, banners, inflatables, so much more.

Even wearables so you can dress the part. That includes “ugly” sweaters and – too cute! – miniature ones so the cakes or cupcakes can dress up too.

As we’ve come to expect, Amazon had it all. And as always, after following the link I post below, you can click away to customize the search, find just what you want.

Halloween party stuff galore People-size ugly Halloween sweaters

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Indulge in this rich dish as an entree, side, even dessert 

The vast scope of Jose Andres’ creativity, flavor mastery, passion, and even playfulness comes together in his Sweet Potato Sundae. And like so many of his dishes, it’s uncomplicated, simply enhanced in a way that the main ingredient clearly remains the star of the show.

And uncomplicated also means . . . easy for us home cooks. This recipe calls for just seven ingredients, only one of which needs to be cooked and nothing needs mixing, and overall minimal prep. And, oh, is it ever good, even with the peanut butter Chex I used instead of Rice Krispies.

Since I served it as a side dish, I topped it with a scoop of cream cheese instead of ice Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbookcream. Thinking you could also use sour cream even though that will not exactly look like a scoop {but then neither will the ice cream once it hits the warm tater}. Who cares, would still taste great with any of those toppers.

The recipe is from Andrés’ book, “Vegetables Unleashed,” our Spotlight last week. Page after page delivers the super chef’s innovative ways with veggies, and some fruits too, in a book that’s called “a love letter to the plant world.”

Recipe    “Vegetables Unleashed”    Other Andrés books

  TIP  

Easy, edible Halloween decs

Cookies offer one of the easiest ways to make dessert part of the decorations. If your store doesn’t have orange frosting, just buy white {vanilla, sour cream, e.g.} and using a drop at a time add red and yellow food coloring. As you can see here I upped the pumpkin-ness on the second set with just another drop of red.

To make it easy on yourself just use any store-bought cookie that has a flat side. Frost away and then “make a face.” If you are using raisins or chocolate chips or chunks {think chips would work better but I had chunks so chunks it was} affix them while the frosting is still soft.

If you use food color pens, first chill the cookies until the frosting is fully set, and then take a couple at a time out of the fridge. Also, it seems easier to create the grooves with either a toothpick or the pen when the frosting is chilled.

Don’t worry about the art {clearly I didn’t} just have fun and giggle as you go. Gather them onto a platter or let them grin from individual plates. Also, you can take a look at our 07.26.19 Salon for bell pepper pumpkins and our 04.05.19 Salon for a pumpkin-ized baked potato {along with its Easter and Christmas buddies}.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Some favorite add-ins to share with you. Two are new – chopped black olives in egg salad, liquid smoke in baked beans, canned or homemade. And two longtime faves, used recently – chopped green olives in tuna salad, a touch of dark chocolate in chili.

♦  So, tried the egg in the nuker trick. Two things about the prep – first it does not specify egg size or egg temp. The second thing, and I’m sorry I didn’t see this when I posted it in the Aug 30, 2019, Salon, the recipe talks about the process cooking the yolk faster than the white and says if you want the “white” softer take it out sooner – think that should have been “yolk.” Anyway, used a room temp large egg, and cooked for the specified one minute, and the yolk {shown} was cooked hard – nuts.

  Did a second one for 50 seconds and the yolk was better, but even though covered in water there was a soft spot in the white on top – in this case no problem, flipped it over onto hot greens. Even so think I’ll stay with my multi-step process which I’ll post in full in next week’s Tip.

  About those greens mentioned just above. I found a great way to have a nice mix of colors, flavors and textures without loading the cart with countless bags or having to cook forever. It’s very likely your market has a plastic tub of what’s called Fresh Herb Salad {triple washed and ready to eat}. Perfect! For the entire 5 oz package, 6-8 slices of bacon fried crisp, drained and crumbled. In the bacon fat, or replacing some or all with butter or olive oil, a small onion diced, seasoned and cooked till golden, 2 minced garlic cloves cooked briefly, then in with the greens and fresh ground pepper and stir, stir, stir. Greens folks will know that these cook down like someone poked them and let all the air out. Sprinkle on bacon and dig in.

So far next week: FoodFests across the country, package for Fido, Doritos Chicken casserole, nice poached eggs, awesome peanut sauce, woohoo delivery discovery, peanut butter chex mix, 

Last time, just below: Emeril & Julia & recipes, lunch to go, high or low, chocolate/cheese pairings, Jose Andres’ love affair with veggies, chocolate/peanut butter cookie bars, more veggie love, good tv series, unusual pb sammies, laundry tip

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – decs/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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Cookies your dentist would hate, Sept 13-Sept 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 – Emeril & Julia & recipes / lunch to go, high or low / may not be expecting this pairing    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – celeb’s love affair with veggies – yours too?    FEATURED RECIPE – recipe redo out-does original     TIP – more veggie love    THE WEEK – good tv series / calling all pb lovers / laundry tip {whaaaaat}

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Emeril posts an annual tribute to Julia Child in her birth month {actually Aug}, and in the recent one noted his appreciation for the years she mentored him, adding that “she taught so many people including me that cooking should be approachable and fun,” a legacy he honors to this day. Or as the beloved chef herself put it, he quotes, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” The full story includes recipes.

  MyRecipes sure has the waterfront covered, or more specifically, the lunch front. In adjacent stories you can learn “6 Money-Saving Tips for Packing Your Own Lunches” and “3 Back-to-School Lunches for Fancy Eaters.” Guessing any, all, of the above would be acceptable to both big and small kids.

  Well it seems my cheddar and chocolate {and subsequently cayenne} sandwich is becoming less odd by the moment. Take a look at this story on cheese and chocolate pairings from no less a source than Food & Wine {scroll through}. And more on this sandwich aspect in My Week below.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Fall in love with veggies – celeb Andrés shows you how

The name José Andrés may well be familiar to you from tv, his restaurants and cookbooks, and most admirably the thousands of meals he’s provided to victims of natural disasters {right now in the Bahamas}. His new cookbook, “Vegetables Unleashed,” features a cover that pretty well tells the tale of its tone and content.Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook

While Andrés is not a vegetarian, he sure knows how to find, as his co-author Matt Goulding notes, “pin-up worthy” fruits and vegetables. And then adds, “If you don’t believe in the sensuousness of produce, José has done his best to change that in these pages.”

Lots of tips and tricks too, along with a mini bio, anecdotes, food-centric tours of areas of Spain, and buying notes, plus pantry, tool, and gardening guides. Also some uniquely Jose-style “rules.”

So many interesting recipes, but a few were just absolutely intriguing. The roasted kabocha squash that became an edible “crust” for a cheesy quiche with sauteed veggies. The Catalan-style spinach with apple, dried fruits, mixed nuts, almond butter and wine. And the sweet potato sundaes which I just promoted to next week’s Featured Recipe.

“Vegetables Unleashed” by José Andrés

  FEATURED RECIPE  

These cookies – oh yeah 

In the 04.26.19 Salon our Featured Recipe was chocolate filled chocolate chip cookie bars. And oh they were good.

So, hmmmm, could they be just as good with peanut butter cookies instead of chocolate chip? Tried it. Answer – yep!

I additionally changed the recipe a bit from the one mentioned above because I wanted the peanut butter version to be more peanut butter-y. The overall prep is the same and still ever so easy.

What I did different was use one package of pb cookie mix blended with 2 T smooth peanut butter for each layer, top and bottom. The chocolate layer stayed the same as the original.

If possible, even richer. Get the big glass of cold milk ready.

Recipe in our April 26 Salon

  TIP  

Maybe not for everyone

Our featured book in the Spotlight above put me in mind of a long ago incident. My boss and I were invited to the home of a supplier for dinner. Among the many dishes on the tables were several that were just plain veggies, no sauces or extraneous ingredients.

“How,” my boss asked the supplier’s wife {an excellent cook I might add}, “are you making me like vegetables?” “Oh,” she said, “I just add a little sugar to the cooking water.”

Could be something to think about when the vegetables seem to be a little short on fresh flavor, or to make them more palatable to young palates. I particularly like this idea when corn is out of season and I’m using canned.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Have you seen this fascinating series on the History channel, called “The Food that Built America”? Wow is it good. The one I saw recently covered the origins, growth, advances & setbacks and, most interesting, the personalities {and their passions} that led to today’s Kellogg’s, Post, Hersheys, Mars, KFC, and McDonald’s.

  Hello, pb fans. So, I thought my grilled cheese/chocolate/cayenne sandwich would probably be considered odd, but these peanut butter combos in the latest Taste of Home issue take the category to a whole new level. The familiar “Elvis” is probably the tamest of the bunch. I am a huge pb fan, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to venture in until I saw the spicy pork version – turned out quite good, like a sate sandwich.

  Stepping out of the kitchen {but staying in the house} – to share a laundry tip, and once again wondering if pretty much everyone already thought of this. So I have some new bright burgundy sheets. Was wondering if they were colorfast, so threw in a clean white towel from the rag stack with them, and that told the tale. Yay no “donations”! But if they had turned the towel pink, no big loss.

So far next week: Impossible Whopper unmasked, sweet potato sundae, tasty add-ins, those nuker eggs – tested, greens shortcut

Last time, just below: nukin’ the eggs trick, bubbles in a can, odd coffeemaker cleaner, gussy & helpful lunch totes, creamsicle dessert, notes in a tote, pizza reheat verified, EZay mole, see you on the Bridge beloved Misty

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book Amazon, 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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Cool, creamy creamsicle cheesecake, Aug 30-Sept 12, 2019

Next Salon Sept 13, 2019 – Happy Labor Day!

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 – nukin’ the eggs / bubbles where??? / odd coffeemaker cleaner    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – gussy, helpful lunch totes    FEATURED RECIPE –  make it light or make it dense    TIP – notable    THE WEEK – pizza reheat verified / EZay mole / see you on the Bridge beloved Misty

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Modesty aside, I make a darn decent poached egg but ‘fessing up, it does entail a number of steps. So, somewhere along the line I will be trying this nuker method, but meanwhile wanted to share it with you. The tale teller says the microwave offers “in fact, the best way to make a consistently delicious poached egg.” When I do, will sure let you know.

  OK, which of you dear CS-ers will be first to try this? CA-based Andre Champagne Cellars is now offering its bubbly . . . in cans. Choose Brut or Brut Rose, the former the company says with hints of lemon and pear, the latter with raspberry and cranberry. Available online and at retailers you can find on their site.

  Well I guess if you can put your “teeth” in this stuff, it would seem it would be safe for your coffeemaker. I first found this on MyRecipes, the trick of cleaning your coffee maker with denture tabs. Given the sources they cite in the story and the number of other sites I found with this same idea, again it would seem to be OK. But we all can make up our own minds.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Transporting lunch in style

Well I must say, lunch bags now are sure a lot different than the cartoon lunch box I had as a kid and the brown bags that accompanied me some days to an office. Good looks and practical applications are now the order of the day.

Some are insulated, others have beverage compartments or other extra pockets or pull-out drawers, and at least one is a reusable take on the classic brown bag. Selections for little kids and “big” kids.

ICOLOR Dogs Design Hot Kids Neoprene Insulated Lunch Food Tote Bag Box cover baby bag Gourmet Handbag lunchbox Case For School work LB-115 by ICOLOR    8x4x10" 12 Pcs. Medium-Small Multi Color Reusable Tote Bags, Grocery Bags, Fabric Shopping Bags with Handles Eco Friendly- 100% Recyclable Bag         MAZFORCE Original Lunch Box Insulated Lunch Bag - Tough & Spacious Adult Lunchbox to Seize Your Day (Wolf Grey - Lunch Bags Designed in California for Men, Adults, Women)      PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure, Festive Gem

The Amazon page also features reusable snack bags and sandwich bags, and multi-packs of bags in  many colors. Filter your choice to your liking.

Reusable lunch bags on Amazon    Those that are 4 stars and up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

How about this as a sweet finish

. . . for your Labor Day get-togethers? It started when I saw a reference to creamsicle desserts, and that got me thinking about a creamsicle cheesecake.

But didn’t want one that was separated into layers but rather a rich blend that gave you the full experience with every forkful. Hello google, thank you Pillsbury. This is the one that is linked below.

One thing, I wanted a nice dense texture and so left out the whipped topping. It still actually came out a little softer than I wanted, though the flavor was quite creamsicle-y. Did a second version based on the AllRecipes cheesecake prep we featured in our 08.02.19 Salon, but in a nod to this original, a 6 oz can of thawed oj instead of the lemon juice and then orange jello powder – it {shown} was a little firmer, also good flavor, but think I want to keep tweaking.

Either, btw, could work nicely just spooned into dessert dishes. And a little chocolate drizzle can’t hurt. And if you really want to go into wretched excess in the pie version, use a graham cracker crust.

creamsicle cheesecake recipe

  TIP  

Not food, but a food companion

Just a little ps to our spotlight above. 🥪🥚🥕🧁💌😁

When I was just a kidlet taking lunch to school every day, every now and then my mom would secretly slip a little note into the tote. Something about the food, something funny, or just an I love you.

This was such a day brightener, and because they weren’t all the time they were always such a nice surprise when they did appear. A little touch of home while away from home.

This can be a sweet gesture by anyone packing lunch for anyone else. That means big kids too.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Verified! I tried the pizza reheating method linked in our 08.02.19 Salon. It involved the hot skillet step most of us probably already knew about. But here there’s a second step, drizzling just a few drops of water and covering the pan. Crust is crisp, top is melty. Hooray.

  My Mexican friends, you might want to look away. Because this fast, easy, minimum ingredient mole would never compare with the complex sauce in any of its variations that is such a fabulous staple of authentic Mexican cuisine. Maybe I can be forgiven because I have made sure to incorporate the most classic flavors in this blend. So, here ’tis – all in a food processor, slightly cooled fat from frying 2 strips of bacon {the bacon is your snack}, 1/4 c chicken stock, 1 T each peanut & sesame oil, 2 T chipotle sauce, 1/2 c smooth peanut butter, 1/4 c ea raisins & bittersweet chocolate chips, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 t cumin, 1/2 t onion powder, tiny pinch cinnamon. Shown here on shredded chicken.

♦  Very personal note: lost my precious Misty on Aug 20 after a mercifully brief illness. I’ve removed her photo, page links under the Preview, and Preview credit on the homepage, but her History Page and Gallery remain, links in the top bar. I’ve also added a note at the end of her History page. So, my CS friends, there’s now a FoodieCat just beyond the Rainbow Bridge, where golden catcaves are filled with soft pillows, moving toys, and platters of bacon and tuna, tended by hosts of angels ever-generous with hugs, kisses, brushies, and ear scratches.

So far next time: peanut butter chocolate cookies with a shortcut, laundry tip {what’s that doing here?}, Emeril + Julia = recipes, cheese/chocolate pairings, lunch on the go and in style, veggie passion, good food tv series

Last week, just below:  no-bake key lime, finding Netflix food shows, Taco Bell news & recipe, indoor grilling, griddles & smokers, bacon cheddar dip, Trisha Yearwoods’ chalkboard cookies, Venetian/English breakfast, all-in chocolate pie, gluttony good???

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – lunch totes 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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Kids’ bacon cheddar dip, Aug 23-29, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  FEATURED RECIPE  

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

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

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

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

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

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

  TIP  

Another whimsical way to decorate food – thanks Trisha!

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

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

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

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

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

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – grills & book/Amazon, cookies/Trisha Yearwood on Food Network, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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