Gussied, extra melty, grilled cheese sandwich, July 10-July 16, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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


Nothing wrong with classic grilled cheese. The happy harmony of toasted bread and melty cheese is the epitome of comfort food.

But this variation from Eat This Not That!’s best comfort foods in our 05.29.20 Salon is sufficiently removed to be a whole different dishes. For starters, instead of just cheese, the filling is cheese, and, and. With other ingredients that create a whole new extra melty texture.

Two things about that filling. Given the amount of cheese, you might want to increase the pimento, jalapeno and scallions. In fact, “truth in advertising,” I reserved some of each of them to place along the cutline to be sure you would be able to see them.

The other thing. Once you have the cheese mix – cheddar, yogurt, mayo, hot sauce – you could add more stuff, or other stuff entirely. Thinking ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, tomato, corn, black beans, nuts, grapes or . . . and . . .

And if you happen to have leftovers, great in or on an enchilada. Or for an extra tasty mac & cheese, and then once again add in at will. Or not. Btw, the recipe page also has a garlicky tomato soup recipe.

Substitutes if needed: regular mayo instead of olive oil mayo, green bell pepper in place of jalapeno, red or white onion in place of scallions.

Next week: Ice Cream Bread {this is a big surprise}



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

  CS-ers are quite awesome at avoiding waste. But even now, when there are still times and places where we can’t necessarily rely on being able to readily replace any of our groceries, it’s especially helpful to know how to keep potatoes fresh, including shopping, storage and washing tips. Now, sometimes despite our best efforts those taters can go bad, and this same story gives you those telltale clues that can make clear this has happened.

  Wow, follow this link at your own risk. You might be surprised by that innocent looking box in your pantry that in fact can become any number of Super Moist Cake Mix Recipes. It’s not exactly breaking news that you can turn this Betty Crocker staple into a fine cake in lots of flavors. But there are so many variations – poke cakes, dump cakes, sheets, bundts, a festive rainbow version. And cupcakes and shortcakes and even cone cakes and cake pops.

  But wait, there’s more, coloring outside the lines of the cake category – squares, crisps, trifles, pancakes, breads, cookies, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake. As a nice bonus, also many fun decorating ideas, with this pic from their site being just one example.

  Yet another super helpful guide from, this one citing Eat This Not That! This kind of thing is helpful anytime but now more than ever. In effect you can eat and drink your way to telling disease neener neener when you fill your plates and cups with these “Best Foods to Strengthen Your Immune System.” To your health!

“Make America Decent Again” collection crafted by Zazzle – see it right here on CS

Tees, Sweats, Hoodies, Mugs, Hats, Buttons, Tote Bags – nice styles & colors

CS Marketplace Directory

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!




Link for tasty leftover turkey recipes on google

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

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

Check delivery times in item listings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other flavors, plus biscuits. Valastro dog treat baking kits

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

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


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


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???


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.


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


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


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


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

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

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

All pages ©2019

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


Stars Wars Bacon {& other out of this world dishes}, June 21-27, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – desserts & more for doggies / outside dining guide / spirited ice cream    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – sno cones at home!    FEATURED RECIPE – Chewie’s Bacon from Star Wars Cookbook BB-Ate {M – I’ll take mine straight, please  TIP – neener, neener, chocolate    THE WEEK – mug cakes have cousins / too much basil? / chocolate, chocolate, chocolate book

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  On your culinary journey, how about taking the dog{s} along? We already noted doggie beer in our 05.31.19 Salon. But did you know there’s actually cake mix and frosting for dogs, also ice cream, jello mix, peanut butter, cookies including creme filled, “mallows,” pie, cupcakes {called pupcups}, and some of them even come in gift boxes. As we noted in the Dog Beer item, you might want to check with your vet. Pretty much all of these can be found on Amazon.

  Starts tomorrow, and so timely. The Create channel from PBS is staging a marathon that can help us take the party onto the patio. Or into the yard. Or on a picnic. In the information for my area, “Dining Al Fresco” runs from 6a-noon on June 22, repeats at 6p same day and on June 23 at noon. Great for July 4, Labor Day, any beautiful summer day or evening.

  A special nod to summer cocktail hour from . . . Häagen-Dazs??? Yes! Their new “Spirits Collection” says cheers with Amaretto Black Cherry Almond, Bourbon Praline Pecan, Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle, Rum Tres Leche, Stout Chocolate Pretzel Crunch, Irish Cream Brownie, and the one I’ll be snatching out of the freezer – which takes a different form – Irish Cream Cookie Squares. Another round of ice cream for everyone!


Cool summer-long treat for just under $25

OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, there will be some extra expenses, but oh what fun to choose thoseNostalgia SCM502 Vintage Snow Cone Maker DASH DSIM100GBPK02 Shaved Ice Maker + Slushie Machine with with Stainless Steel Blades for Snow Cone, Margarita + Frozen Cocktails, Organic, Sugar Free, Flavored Healthy Snacks for Kids & Adults, Pinktasty add-ons. Yes indeed you have your very own Sno Cone Machine.

I wasn’t surprised to find them on Amazon, but didn’t expect to see so many choices. I particularly liked the one on a little cart shown here, but there are others that look more like kitchen appliances, at least one based on a Disney character, a Jelly Belly version, some retro designs and more.

While some can be a bit pricey, there are also well rated selections in the $20s and $30s. And many of them are Prime eligible.

Sno-cone machines on Amazon    Sno Cone Syrups

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageNew – a CS EXTRA, just for Sherlock Holmes fans


Even the smallest Star Wars fans will “get” the subhead for this cookbook 

And that is – “BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch.” Such references resonate The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunchthroughout “The Star Wars Cookbook,” quite compact because it’s actually directed to kids with requisite alerts for adult supervision.

But even “big kids” can appreciate these flavorful creations “brimming with intergalactic goodness.” And so “Adventure and tastiness will be yours” takes shape as such early day goodies as peanut buttery BB-8 Energy Balls, cheesy Maz Kanata Frittata, cocoa-y Starkiller Pancakes

. . . and our Featured Recipe “Chewie’s Bacon,” one of those preps where a simple technique yields a high flavor combo – sweet and salty {and if you want, peppery}.

Since I was making bacon anyway for another dish {German potato salad!}, I tested the recipe on a few slices. It turns out with a nice rich color, as you  can see here – the two middle slices are Chewie-d, the others destined for the potato salad. Though after tasting the recipe ones, realized what a great addition they would be and – into the salad they went.

It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover and Kindle {both discounted}, Prime Eligible. Turns out there are other Star Wars cookbooks too.

Recipe page    “Star Wars Cookbook/BB-Ate”    Other Star Wars cookbooks  


Chocolate mystery – solved / chocolate problem – solved

Aha! In our 06.07.19 Salon I wondered about an instruction in the chocolate peanut butter mousse prep that called for mixing the chocolate with water, because I thought that would make the chocolate seize up.

Now in the David Leibovitz book on chocolate {see “Week” below}, he says that indeed while a drop or so of water will cause melted chocolate to seize, a lot of water won’t. The rule of thumb he states is that “if you need to melt chocolate with a liquid, there should be at least 25% of the liquid to the chocolate.”

Nestled in here is a great tip for when a bit liquid, water or otherwise, does accidentally hit a pan of just chocolate. Though it may seize and seen ruined, now we know that whisking in more of that liquid can make it smooth again.

I’m pretty sure none of us would want to sabotage some chocolate just to see if this works. But should that unhappy thing occur, this is at least something we can try.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Mug treats gone wild! Look what I found in the grocery store that takes mug-for-one well beyond cake: Ghiradelli brownies, Betty Crocker brownies including a Hot Fudge version plus muffins, Udi gluten-free brownies, and Duncan Hines brownies, muffins, pancakes and coffee cakes.  If you can’t find them in your store, or prefer online shopping, most of these are available on this Amazon page – for some brands, scroll down for variations and of course you can always use the search window.

  Well here’s a problem I’m hoping to have, though maybe should be careful what I wish for. In case you already need to know What to do With Too Much Basil, MyRecipes has some answers. Meanwhile my little garden is showing some promise, actually seems to be doing better since I brought it inside.

  The Featured Recipe in our 04.12.19 Salon was Chocolate Salted Caramel Tartlets from David Lebovitz book, “My Paris Kitchen.” In his intro he noted his passion for chocolate and now I’ve discovered that comes fully to life in another of his books, “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide.” Wow, back story, tasting hints, health benefits, buying tips, resources and – yes! – recipes. Reading this one cover to cover.

So far next week: Yogi and Booboo would love this page, chuck the fork and enjoy the salad x 3, this dragon breathes refreshment rather than fire, food & murder, new food color fun

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – sno cone machines & book/Amazon, bacon & basil/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Ham & Egg & Cheese Breakfast Braid, April 5-11, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon 

  TIDBITS – quirky food / tater flake tricks / KitchenAid’s “bio”    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – biscuit books {recipes too}    FEATURED RECIPE – braid your eggs    TIP – fun, funny taters    THE WEEK – boffo pancake / cauliflower tricks / cauliflower find {M – you can have mine}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

Do you have some weird food preferences or eating habits? Chances are they fade into tameness vs these confessions, all the more notable because they come from food editors. When I saw the one about burnt popcorn I war reminded of a long ago boss who I observed on company retreats send a bagel back two and three times because the kitchen couldn’t believe he really did want it black as charcoal. Btw, this is worth a look just to see the expressions on various celebs as well as on an adorable pug.

OK, ‘fess up, is there a box of potato flakes tucked at the back of your pantry shelf, hidden from public view? Well bring that treasure into the light, because while they can still serve as in-a-flash mashies, we see here that they can also enhance an unexpected array of other foods – think deviled eggs, meatloaf, bread and breading, e.g. I’ll fess up I do often have them on hand, mainly as a repair kit in case the real thing turns out too thin {hate that}, but now inspired to try some of these other apps as well.

{. . . and for some fun with real taters, see the Tip below}

  Whether you own a KitchenAid or not, do or don’t plan to own one, this is a quite fascinating look at the veteran powerhouse appliance. Here you’ll find the backstory on its history, role in the military, marketing launch, and even how it became a money maker for housewives at the time. I have a decades old one that belonged to my mom and it still works just fine.

–  Something I found interesting, presumably still applicable today, is that as the company developed new accessories they were designed to fit all their machines no matter when they were produced. You can browse here on Amazon if you want, to see the sleek models available today.


Biscuit Bliss

A couple of articles recently served as a reminder of how even the most basic meal {not that there’s anything wrong with that!} can move into a new dimension if a basket of Biscuits & Scones: Southern Recipe Collection! (Southern Cooking Recipes)homemade biscuits comes to the table.

Easy Baking From Scratch: Quick Tutorials Time-Saving Tips Extraordinary Sweet and Savory ClassicsOne was a Food & Wine slide show and the other a story on great biscuits in Natchez MS, including baking tips and a recipes for butter biscuits and sweet potato biscuits.

And that sent me to Amazon to see if there are cookbooks specializing biscuitry. Of course there are. Here are just two that look pretty darn good, the Easy Baking offering biscuits and more, and both of these cookbooks are rated 5-stars.

F&W slides    Natchez biscuits    Biscuit books    Best rated

“Biscuits & Scones: Southern Recipe Collection” {Southern Cooking Recipes}

“Easy Baking from Scratch: Quick Tutorials, Time Saving Tips”

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page


Showy brunch dish – tasty! – easy!

I first saw this recipe in the AllRecipes magazine {yikes I love their stuff} and was immediately taken with its appealing look and promise of satisfying flavors. Then, to see if I could share it with a link checked the AllRecipes site and woohoo! there it was.

The ingredients, amounts and baking procedure are the same for both. And both start with two cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough and a filling of ham, cheese, scrambled eggs and optional mustard.

The magazine one though called for cutting slits in the dough and folding over the filling to make two loaves. The one on the site made one large loaf, using the dough from one can as the base and separating the dough in the other into the perforated 8 pieces to fold over the filling.

I think this one is easier. One thing, I did sort of angle the individual pieces to create more of a braided look in the final result. Could be nice for Easter morning.

Recipe   AllRecipes mag sub on Amazon    Eggy cookbooks

♦  TIP  

Go ahead, play with your food

In this case – taters! One of the Tidbits in our 02.08.19 Salon talked about some Internet fun involving putting makeup on potatoes, and I added a note to the effect that it could be even more fun to use food coloring pens on baked potatoes and serve them as party food.

OK, so now the tests are over and the results are in. The Easter egg design {OK, no art critics need weigh in!} went on before baking, the Christmas tree hot out of the oven and the pumpkin after the potato cooled. All were OK, but the skin on the unbaked potato is easiest to work with.

I did check with World of Color whose “Gourmet Writer Food Decorator Pens” I used to make sure there were no problems with subjecting the “ink” to heat. And good news, no problems at all.

The pens I used    Others on Amazon


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

Actually did this a couple of weeks ago, just catching up with sharing how I used the rest of that buttermilk {that seemed to be in a bottomless carton}, still hanging around after the dressing test, oatmeal stand-in for milk, and Irish soda bread ingredient. Love the recipe on my buttermilk pancake mix box – melt a T butter in a 9″ pie pan in a 450 oven, combine 1 c mix, 1/2 c water, 1 egg, pour into pan, bake 15 min. So . . . substituted 3/4 c buttermilk for the water. Rich! Buttermilk squared.

  Cauliflower haters may well be folks whose only experience with the snowy veg is as a soggy flavorless mess. But that latter quality, its fairly bland flavor profile, is exactly what the “lovers” value, treating it as a blank canvas just waiting to accommodate any number of ingredients and techniques.

  MyRecipes stars it in a ton of preps here, fried, baked, mashed, grilled and au gratin-ed. And nice, it can stand in for potatoes as in the list’s shepherd’s pie, for meat in the tandoori dish, for rice in the risotto cakes. For the mashed, btw, no reason it can’t take a ladle of gravy.

♦  As a follow-up to the above, if you’d like to use cauliflower as a replacement for rice, but dread the ricing step – finding the food processor leaves some pieces too big and other too small, or {noooooooooooo} trying to do it by hand – you’ll be happy to know there’s a good chance your supermarket already has riced cauliflower in the produce section. It worked like a charm in risotto – here’s the recipe I used, on the Mann’s site, didn’t add mushrooms but did stir in chopped fresh dill just before serving.

So far next week: ancient foods, do you dukkah, Salted Caramel Tartlets, more potato flakes fun, classic pork roast, cookie dough trick, Resurrection rolls

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


Emeril’s Italian sausage stuffed turkey breast, for Nov 16-22, 2018


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

  TIDBITS – Save your food / overcook your broccoli / wash your cocktails     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – hello, egg lovers / reader-wear   FEATURED RECIPE – Emeril’s easy, showy turkey {M – gimme, gimme gimme!}    TIP – pide party    THE WEEK – then watch out for vampires / upsized nachos / food show trove

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Save it for another day. Your food that is.  And it will all last longer if we follow these tips to avoid the “12 Storage Mistakes That are Spoiling Your Leftovers” And even better it adds “How to Fix Them.”

  Kudos to writers who craft headlines that all but grab you by the hand and tug you into the story. Like: “Go ahead, please cook the daylights out of your broccoli.” While that may go against all your instincts, it fact this is a recipe for soup {with cheese too, may have used more 😉, and nothing wrong with also “on”} and says the prolonged cooking is the key to its “sweet, nutty, vegetable flavor.”

  Washed any cocktails lately. Appears this is a new thing but quickly finding its way across the country. The reality doesn’t quite match the term, but this basically involves adding a savory element mainly via fat. Forbes gives a number of examples and if you scroll down to the one called Pork Chops and Applesauce you’ll get some idea of the technique. Sounds rather intriguing, and the adventurous just may want to try this at home {or not}.


OK, who wants eggs?

A chorus of I do I do I do, etc? No problem with this “Rapid Egg Cooker,” No 2 best seller in Kitchen and Dining on Amazon. Looks good too!

I’m going to order one of these for myself just to see how the heck it does scrambled and omelets. That middle picture might offer a clue. It also of course makes hard cooked, soft cooked and poached.

It certainly would be a nice gift for any egg lover. But how handy would this guy be for any morning, but especially Sundays and holidays. And if you’re like this too, eggs aren’t just for breakfast any more.

Also in white and yellow. It’s rated 4 1/2 stars with hundreds of reviews. Starts at $14.99.

  Rapid Egg Cooker    Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers in Kitchen & Dining

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

 Extra for Book Lovers . . . who have book lovers on their gift list. This t-shirt sort of says it all.“Reading Reading Reading / everything else” This one is my design, but if you click the Marketplace link just above and scroll down to the Book Lovers section, you can also connect to other shirts for readers/writers, and other nice items for readers including gift cards.


Emeril’s turkey breast with savory sausage stuffing

This is so perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to prep a whole turkey – easier to carve too! Plus, it’s quite a showy dish, a great centerpiece for whatever else completes the table.

Best of all, you know it’s going to be a mouthful of flavor thanks to Emeril’s lively take on ingredients. That comes into play in the stuffing, a delectable mix of Italian sausage, sourdough bread, aromatics, apple, chestnuts, goat cheese and seasonings galore.

If you click the second link below you’ll arrive on a page with the chef’s other Thanksgiving entrees. As well there’s a box of links there for his other course dishes. Bon appetit!

Recipe    Other Emeril dishes    Emeril’s cookbooks    Emeril’s merchandise


How about for your next pizza party . . . you don’t make pizza???

And instead, make pide. Or to fold in the pronunciation, instead of pea-zuh, pea-duh. One distinct difference is that it’s brushed with butter instead of tomato sauce, but otherwise many similarities.

So, this interesting dish with Turkish origins starts with a nice dough that gets patted into a long oval, and then topped with – whatever you like – but often meat, cheese, veggies, and sometime an egg too. The edges are then folded in to create a kind of edible canoe.

Can’t quite picture the process? No problem, we’ve got the demo by an Australian chef. And as well, a yahoo page of other tasty information and recipes.

Pide demo    All about pide


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

♦  Well you just never know where you’re going to encounter a food tip. In the current issue of “Smithsonian,” a reader asks how garlic can manage to, let  me say, “perfume” not only your breath but as well your skin and perspiration. The answer has to do with a chemical that isn’t digested and thus passes into the bloodstream. But here’s where the tip comes in – you can neutralize garlic breath with apples. lemons, parsley, spinach or mint. For the skin – “wash with salt and lemon or a dab of toothpaste, or rub your hands across a stainless steel utensil under running water.”

  How do you like your tacos? I favor the soft, rolled kind, usually flour tortillas for beef or shrimp, corn for pork or chicken. But some folks like the crunchy kind so I have those available for get-togethers. Then, though, what about the leftovers? They can certainly be used for an occasional crunchy taco, or crumbled for regular nachos.

  Or . . . as I recently did, split in half for nice big individual nachos. These are topped with cheese {twice}, tomatoes, black olives, and serranos. By the way, those center pieces that you want to remove so they are mostly flat – those are for while-you’re-cooking snacks.

  If you haven’t already discovered this treasure trove, don’t let it take you as long as it’s taken me. Talking about the secondary PBS channel “Create,” PBSCR in the tv listings. I actually have seen a program or two on this network but just this week delved into the schedule and oh my goodness, shows on regional cuisine, ethnic preps, cooking techniques, celeb features, and more. True to its name other creative arts are represented as well. Time slots for your area might be different, but if you want to click on the link here at least you can see if there’s something you want to track down.

So far next week: Ladies of the Night pasta, skewer-mania, your patriotic bar, Sanchez on the soapbox, BJN on the soapbox

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
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Martha’s slow cooker carne guisada {that means gravy!}, for Oct 12-18, 2018


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

  TIDBITS – best ever one-pots / eat well & do good / awesomeness for your 9×13’s    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT– best cookers / pet warmers {M – let the dogs have ’em, I never go outside}    FEATURED RECIPE – boffo tacos    TIP – José plays, you drink  ♦  THE WEEK – chop chop / yum to come / “genius” tips

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Stew season! The folks at Food & Wine have culled through decades of recipes from their pages to bring us “Best Recipes Ever: Stews and One-Pot Dishes.” The lineup features downhome favorites, regional preps and ethnic specialties, all rich and hearty.

  Need a break from the kitchen now and then? Or maybe on vacation? If so, and one of José Andrés’ restaurants is in the area, maybe consider making this your destination one night. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this Beard-winning, Michelin-starred chef, notable for his world class tasting menus, and can confirm he has a larger than life personality – but we now know he also has a larger than life heart. Andrés organized kitchens that served 3.6 million meals to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and to date more than 80,000 meals in the Florence-bashed Carolinas.

  Move over sheet pans, and make room for your 9×13 cousins. Taste of Home is showing a dozen preps, and woohoo all are contest winners. One I found interesting is for monkey bread, single layer instead of the usual bundt style {and the grand prize winner}. And one you can bet I’ll be trying, and sharing, is the double layer cheesecake bars.


Stew all day – dinner, not you

One of the things I love about Amazon is that whatever you’re looking for it’s likely you’re going to find lots of choices. What keeps it from becoming confusing is that you can zeroElite Platinum Maxi-Matic Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in on your preferences with the options listed in the left side menu.

While for all of you, my friends, that is of course a personal decision, Cadet Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steelthere’s a particular selection I like to make when featuring something here in CooksSalon. And that is, what are the top offerings. So pretty much any time I’m showing such items, beyond a Electric Rice Cooker Food Steamer - Small 5 Cup (Uncooked) Mini Rice Maker Steamer for Grains and Hot Cereal with One Touch Control and Automatic Keep Warm Functionspecific product you’ll also see a link to best seller, best rated, or both.

Inspired by the stew recipes noted in this week’s Tidbits, thought we could take a look at slow cookers in that regard. Nice, many of them are prime eligible.

Best selling slow cookers    Best rated slow cookers

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

Extra for Dog Lovers – here comes cold weather, time to get out the warm coats for you and the puppydogs. Don’t have any for the four-pawed ones? Browse right here with these direct links to Amazon or Zazzle.


Tacos from the slow cooker – yep!

So, thanks to a bunch of Yelp-ers, I learned the difference between carne asada and carne guisada. The former grills the meat and the latter simmers it in a savory gravy.

Onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, broth and seasonings are all in the mix. And then the slow cookers infuses all those flavors into browned cubes of beef chuck or bottom round.

Even better, the prep comes from the kitchen guru Martha Stewart. See more of her slow cooker recipes in the link below, and a lot more in her dedicated cookbook.

Recipe    39 more slow cooker recipes from Martha

Her slow cooker cookbook    Her other cookbooks


Sipping the Andrés way

José Andrés plays with his food. His website has a page of videos showing exactly that and while all are quite fascinating and fun to watch, most are not really for the home cook, calling into service, e.g., sous vide, sheets of ice, flamethrowers, exotic ingredients, or complex steps.

But at least one of them does fall reasonably within the home kitchen realm. It’s a drink for two and quite appealing both in appearance and probable taste. How about though if both of the people at those straws pledge no driving afterward.

Just for your amusement, may want to check out some of his other videos.

Señor y Señora Sandí-Tiki Cocktail demo    Andres’ page of videos


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Do you have one of those small choppers, either hand crank or electric? Why did I have to see someone else do this to realize how perfect it is for mincing garlic and ginger, both otherwise a bit of a pain in the patootie. Works great!

  In the process of browsing Jose Andrés’ site, found so many recipes I’d like to  try. I think the first one is going to be something he says is inspired by a kimchi bowl he serves at his Beefsteak restaurant – but actually the kimchi is a topping and as such I’d call optional {a good thing, not a fan} – everything else comes together so flavorfully, may well be an upcoming Featured Recipe.

  And the beat goes on. Here, BuzzFeed shares some “genius” slow cooker tips, for meats, chili, dumplings, bread pudding, mac & cheese and more. All from notable chefs, each has a brief explanation and then a link for more information.

So far next week: ice cream for breakfast, potato chips for breakfast, sweet potatoes for a crowd, smokin’ bagels {literally!}

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


Lidia’s buttery, chocolately rum-y cake, for Oct 5-11, 2018


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

  TIDBITS – Meet Lidia / Oldies that are goodies / IQ food    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – 50 kitchen helps 99 cents    FEATURED RECIPE –  Should this cake be outlawed    TIP  – keep it clean    THE WEEK – oh my, date caramel sauce / out dam-ned spot {M – if she’s talking to a dog, I’m in/ nice spice   

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Lidia fans, take note – chef/author/tv host/restaurateur Lidia Bastianich has announced the dates for her fall tour and book signing in support of her new memoir, “My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family and Food.” {See below for her decadent cake recipe and book link}

  Thanks to an item in Cook’s Illustrated, I can share with those interested in such things a treasure trove of old time kitchenware. I previously saw a store like this at Ferry’s Landing Blue & White Tea Canistersin San Fran and it was fascinating. This one though is The Shop at Monticello – yes, that one and the property is open for tours.

You can go there or browse online to see actually all kinds of period items, some have Jefferson quotes, others have the Monticello fretwork pattern. For the kitchen though, you can find, e.g., hand-painted porcelain canisters {shown}, stoneware sugar and creamers, cast iron teapots, bowl-style chopping board with two handled chopper, mahogany salt box, Redware chocolate pot, Spode and Staffordshire pieces, tin plates, pewter whiskey beakers, so much more.

  The Clean Plates newsletter wants us to be smarter – by eating! The right stuff that is. The story says there are common foods that “actually help to reboot the brain and fuel a stronger memory,” and then tells us what they are and how they work their magic.


A whole lot of kitchen help for 99 cents

OK, I’ll ‘fess up, this is  my very own Kindle book. And I think there’s a good chance that some of the tips and tricks could be new to you.50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks

Among the entries are ways to extend the life of foods such as eggs, potatoes, cheese, celery, etc. There are also fun and fast desserts, easy party preps, knife skills, a boffo way to keep your counters clean, a storage idea for all your sheet pans and racks, and an unexpected technique to remove sticky from jars e.g. – 50 “helps” in all.

Did you know you can give Kindle books as gifts? This could be a nice stocking stuffer, and while the actual “stuffing” might seen a bit tricky for a digital item, a nice hand written note could serve the purpose, maybe even gift wrapped.

“50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks, 99 cents

♦   ♦   ♦

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


One bite and you may well say, Lidia you bad girl

It was actually curiosity that sent me to her recipe for Caprese Torte. Tomatoes, moz, basil?

Nope. Butter, almonds, chocolate, butter, orange, rum, evenLidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking: 150 Delicious and Simple Recipes Anyone Can Master breadcrumbs all check into this prep. Just look at the result!

And, yes, it’s every bit as good and rich as it looks. One thing, since some family members can’t have actual nuts, I used instead 1/2 cup of almond butter – don’t think that hurt at all!

Recipe is from “Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking.” This is the one she created with her daughter.

Recipe  ♦  “Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking”

Her memoir: “My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family and Food”

Lidia’s other books    Lidia’s tv show videos


A hint worth recyling

Pretty sure I shared this before. Now . . . doing so again because it ties so well into our Featured Recipe.

This is one of my favorite uses for sticky wrap {Press ‘n Seal, house brand}. Line the counter with a couple of long sheets, and then put all of your ingredients, measuring items and utensils on it.

The prep away. Flour showers, vanilla drips, used utensils go right on the the wrap as you work. Then it’s all bundled up and tossed, no mess, no clean-up.


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Aiyyyy, is this one of the easiest roads ever to decadence. Dates, water, a bit of salt, and voila! date caramel sauce. On ice cream, pancakes, waffles, pound cake, a spoon, all good.

  If you live in an area with hard water as I do, you welcome any hints on how to make your glasses and flatware come out of the dishwasher sans spots. Several sources I looked at recommended adding vinegar. Here’s one way from Reader’s Digest that involves a bowl. GE suggests pouring a cup into the dishwasher after the detergent compartment opens. And this tip site had success with pouring vinegar into the rinse aid compartment.

But the one I used this week from DaisyMaids called for simply pouring vinegar into the small chamber that doesn’t close – it says not to use the rinse aid compartment {?}, and then as usual detergent in the closed side. And that actually worked quite well. Think it’s probably a good idea though to check your dishwasher manual first.

  So, I’ve become like a Tajin addict. Not even sure how I happened to have the first bottle, appeared in my pantry by magic??? But now that I’ve discovered it in all its simplicity – really, just chile peppers, sea salt and lime – I’m showering the flavorful powder onto eggs, enchiladas, rice, bloody marys, and into my emerging shakshuka dish {coming soon as our Featured Recipe}. Thrilled that I’ve now found it in my Albertsons.

So far next week

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


Eggs Rockefeller, for Sept 28-Oct 4, 2018


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

  TIDBITS –  Octoberfests everywhere /  16 classics for beginners {and us?} / save your herbs    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Save, save, save / wow of a book     FEATURED RECIPE – Eggs Rockefeller {M – baaaaacon}, other poachie preps, eggy cookbooks    TIP  – how to make those poachies for a crowd     THE WEEK – cereal upgrade / save the pizza / posset ahead

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Some are this very weekend! What? OctoberFests, all over the country. They often sell fresh from the farm produce and products, hand out recipes, stage demos, and generally just offer a wagonload of fun. Find them in, e.g., Tulsa, Denver, Nashville, Providence, Milwaukee, New Ulm MN, and more. Check out the rundown here in the TravelPulse newsletter.

  Even the most experienced cook won’t necessarily excel at all the basics. So although this story in the Food & Wine online newsletter is titled “16 French Recipes Every Beginner Cook Should Master,” lots of us can benefit from these preps – among them, beef burgundy, roast chicken with herb jus, raspberry clafoutis, {Jacques Pepin’s} cheese toasts, crepes with creamy caramel {or skip the crepe part!}.

  UNE’s Food and Nutrition newsletter spotlights the unfortunate belief that “More than many other kitchen ingredients, herbs seem to become food waste.” The report, which covers both fresh and dried herbs, provides guidance on storage that extends their life.


Did you know about these warehouse deals at Amazon?

And while the deals are available in many categories, our special interest is what can go Electric Kettle Water Heater with SpeedBoil Tech, Glass Tea, Coffee Pot 1.8 Liter Cordless with LED Light, Borosilicate Glass BPA-Free with Auto Shut-Off and Boil-Dry Protectionright into the kitchen. Once there on the page, specific categories can be selected – kitchen & dining, event & party supplies, storage & NutriBullet NBR-1201 12-Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System, Grayorganization, lots more.

If you click furniture in the left hand column, you can then go the next step to furniture for kitchen and dining. Other search refinements are available too: rating, brand, color, price.

Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container, 14-Piece Set 1977447Examples shown: Electric Kettle Water Heater, Nutri Bullet 12-Piece, Rubbermaid Brilliance 14-Piece Food Storage Container Set.

All are Amazon best sellers and Rubbermaid’s Brilliance line recently received top billing in a food newsletter’s report on storage containers.

Home & Kitchen Warehouse Deals    All Warehouse Deals

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

Extra for Book Lovers – Don’t let being pro or con the co-author keep you from this mercilessly gripping political thriller. It pulls you in early on, ensnares you with taunting mini-revelations, and will not let you go. The book understandably gives you an inside look and in the process smacks down both sides of the aisle and the media too. By James Patterson and Bill Clinton: “The President is Missing”


Make those “poachies” {see below} sing!

I pretty much always have a taste for eggs anyway, but thanks to this week’s Tip the current craving is for preps calling for poached. So what better source than the Egg Board for some tasty recipe ideas.

And they sure didn’t disappoint. The one we’ve featured here is a take on oysters Rockefeller and that means a rich mix of bacon, spinach, heavy cream, parm, a touch of spirits if you wish and more, right down to the bread crumb topping.And you sure don’t have to stop there. Others shown pair the eggs with different kinds of hash, some Benedicts, mushrooms or asparagus, and a shakshuka {our own version, coming soon as our Featured Recipe}.

Note: excuse me but that fork needs to be a spoon – don’t want to miss a single goodie!

Eggs Rockefeller    Their other recipes using poached eggs


Want a bunch of poached eggs all at once?

The Mad Genius strikes again! {thanks to Food & Wine, via Well Done}. This time showing us how to make a dozen poached eggs all at the same time. And they did look darn good in his demo, which involves a muffin tin.

And they also looked like they held together, probably because of being confined in a small space. When I make poached as usual in a pan, always add a good splash of vinegar.

So, the next time I need 12 at once I’ll give this a try, or hmmmm . . . guess I could just use a few of the cups. If so, you will know.


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

♦  Thanks to my dearheart step-daughter for this one. Even though you know it’s good for you {well, depending on your selection}, do you find dry cereal can be a bit boring. Of course you can do some add-ins as we talked about with oatmeal, or use heavy whipping cream as previously noted for a rare treat. But here’s a way that’s likely already in your pantry. Mix two kinds, or three . . . or more! A different delight in every bite.

  Have you ever been stuck with a dinner-ruining pizza? Heading for the trash pizza? Wait!!! Make yourself a pb&j {bummer if you already mixed a ‘tini}. Enjoy. Then pull the toppings off the pizza, mix with a good marinara, add seasonings of choice, and use as pasta sauce {a little extra cheese can’t hurt!}. The crust? Top the slices with with garlic butter and parm and toast until crispy. No waste!

  Stay tuned! Think I have a boffo posset recipe in the works. Needs one more test, hopefully not more, and then should be able to post soon. Probably have to call it posset plus.

So far next week: IQ foods, date caramel, dense chocolate cake, shopping for old time kitchen finds 

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




Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Mint Cream, for July 13-19, 2018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview 

A perfect summer dessert {M – who cares?  Another 14 snacky ways to smack down the hangrys {M – I don’t get mad when my supper is late, but I sure can stage some A-1 lobbying}    Dun dun Dun dun cupcakes {M – ah phooey, not what it looks like}    Top grocery store    Amazon Prime Day – some goodies found for you    save the taters    Barbara’s week: yay for bolognese, yum on the scrambles, yes to the posset

Misty’s History  ♦  Misty’s Gallery 

♦  Tidbits  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  So, a couple sessions back we talked about being hangry {angrywhen you’re hungry}, causes and cures. Here’s I think a better take on the latter, 14 snacks each requiring just three ingredients. Two notes: most can be whipped up spur of the moments but a few require advance prep, and second IMO the one that looks worst probably tastes best. 14 Anti-hangrys

  Well if you’re a Las Vegas resident, or happen to visit during July 22-28, you can tap into yet another innovative sweet from Freed’s bakery, known to many as the star of the Food Network’s hit show “Vegas Cakes.” For those dates though, which coincide with Shark Week, the famed bakery is featuring not cakes but rather some clever cupcakes with a shark theme.

Can’t be there? Make your own? Here’s how they describe them: “signature vanilla cupcakes, filled with strawberry puree, topped with ocean blue cream cheese frosting and garnished with a grey fondant shark fin.”  Freed’s

  Is there one in your town? The 2018 Market Force Information survey found honors for highest customer satisfaction for a grocery store went to Wegman’s. Their 90 stores serve folks in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia.

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦

Woohoo, it’s almost here

July 16 is Prime Day at Amazon and the deals are delicious. Find grills both stand-up and tabletop, blender, coffee grinder, tea, protein bars, glassware, and of course many other categories. Save away!

Home & Kitchen Prime Day Launches  ♦  Grocery & Gourmet Food Prime Day Launches

All Prime Day offers    Not a Prime member? – Get started here

CS Marketplace

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

Readers Extra – Prime Day has a special offer for you too – tap into 66% off a 3-month membership in Audible Gold, open up a whole new world of books. Get the scoop here

♦  Featured Recipe  ♦

Can a refreshing dessert still include chocolate?  

Yes!!! And oh, is this one simple. Start with chocolate dipped strawberries – our featured prep calls for melting 4 oz coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate in a saucepan set over hot water, then dipping 16 large strawberries and refrigerating for about 10 min on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

Now as if those summer berries weren’t already refreshing enough, they’re served with mint cream made by whipping 1 cup heavy cream with 1/4 c powdered sugar and 2 T white creme de Mint, Puthina, പുതിന.JPGmenthe or 1/4 t mint extract. It’s then served on a bed of fresh mint leaves. Even on the hottest day, this can bring a cool autumn evening to your mouth.

The recipe comes from a James Beard winning cookbook called “Short & Sweet.” The latter word tells you, yep, it’s is all about desserts. And the former one, well hoorray for author Melanie Barnard, because pretty much all of the confections on these pages call for few ingredients, easy prep.

♦   ♦   ♦

Hardcover and paperback on Amazon, both discounted, two listings and not sure why the differing ratings. It may be Short and Sweet: Sophisticated Desserts in 30 Minutes or Lessworth noting that one of the complaints in a lower rating was the “significant emphasis on chocolate” {!!!} Another is valid or not depending on your point of view: “most of the recipes include alcohol,” though in fact she typically lists a non-alcoholic alternative, an extract or juice.

In the other listing, 58% of the reviewers gave it 5 stars, with this being representative: “Easy to follow, delicious recipes for family and friends. Recommend it highly to seasoned cooks or beginners.” Guess that’s what makes horse races – and cooking contests. Note, few copies left in both listings.

Short & Sweet 

♦  Tip  ♦  

Tater saver

I think most of us probably hate to waste food. So when I find a way to pull back from the trash anything that might be headed that way, I want to use it and share it. And that brings us to potatoes.

If you have some that are in that situation, cook and mash them however you usually do. Then divide themi into containers and freeze. What??? They’ll go all watery!!!

Yes, they will. Fear not. Thaw the container, use the lid to cover all but a corner and drain off the liquid. Then heat them in a nonstick skillet, pushing them around with a spatula until they’re hot and somewhat dried. They’ll be fine. Find other tater tricks and lots more in my 50 Kitchen Tricks kindle, 99 cents.

♦  A Peek at My Week  ♦

Step into my kitchen, my friends, and see what’s happening now 

  I had mentioned a few weeks ago finally finding a bolognese recipe that could parallel my impromptu one that refused to be duplicated. Well meanwhile {when it rains it pours} I found a couple of similar ones so cherry-picked from each and now will give it a try. If good, will share next week as our Featured Recipe.

  It seems scrambled eggs are showing up in lots of newsletters and magazines currently. Why?  Maybe a fast, easy, nutritious meal for our busy days? What is clear, though, is that there are divergent opinions, some quite robust, about the best way to get them from shell to plate. I picked up a tip or two, and here’s what I do now, though as you see I actually still like my scrambles pretty basic.

For each egg: a little olive oil in a shallow pan over low heat . . .  1/8 t chicken bouillon, lots of fresh ground pepper, whisk together right in the pan till desired doneness, for me, medium . . . whisk in 1 t of butter till incorporated {note that several recipes call for more butter, lots more butter}.

If I’m adding dried herbs they go in right at the start, and fresh I like to sprinkle on the finished eggs. If other goodies, after the initial ingredients are blended, then I switch to a spatula, though the texture will not be the same. Here’s a google round-up

  Well as much as I liked my tangerine posset, really would prefer it a little more tangerine-y. So thought I’d try using frozen tangerine juice concentrate. Good luck with that, can’t find it anywhere. If anyone does, please let me know. Meanwhile I do have another flavor in mind.

So far for next week: food truck tv competition, a top food/wine fest, how much butter & where???, cook’s bookshelf essential, decadent recipe, a kitchen hit, miss & maybe, things you do your dog hates.

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

Strawberry image by Popo le Chien, mint image from Wikimedia Commons