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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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



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

Getting the kitchen better organized!!!

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

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



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

Kitchen organization items, 4 stars and up


Who might like a warm bowl of fudgy comfort food? 

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

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

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

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe    Hershey’s recipe page  


To peel or not to peel?

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

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

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


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

This week’s

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

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

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

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

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019

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


Rich Pumpkin Caramel Dip, Sept 27-Oct 3, 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 – Does Fido have to sign for it? / foodfests galore / “Apeel-ing” news    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – kitchen pockets  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – decadent dippin’    TIP – poached to perfection  ♦  THE WEEK – seafood ho! / woohoo peanut sauce / peanut butter Chex mix 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Woof, arf, bark, bowwow {translation – please send the kit with beef and don’t be stingy}.  Yes, the dog’s day has come in the form of delivered meal kits. To make sure the kit is a fit, there are variously questionnaires, algorithms, even a personal care manager. Meals are generally precooked, pre-portioned, ready to eat. Check meal delivery for dogs and you’ll discover there are actually several sources. Bone appetite! {sorry}

  Some October food/bev fests – will you be in any of these cities? Dripping Springs TX, Dripping with Taste Trail, Oct 1-30 / Long Beach Peninsula WA, Wild Mushroom Celebration, Oct 1-Nov 15 / Tucson AZ, Flavors of Tucson, Oct 3 / Laguna CA, Taste of Laguna, Oct 3 / Denver CO, Great American Beer Festival, Oct 3-5 / Las Vegas NV, Food & Wine Festival, Oct 4 & 5 /  Suffolk VA, Peanut Festival, Oct 10-13 / Clermont FL, BBQ & Blues Festival, Oct 11-13 / Wellfleet MA, Oysterfest, Oct 19 & 20 / Chicago IL, James Beard Foundation’s Taste of America, Oct 24 & 25 / Atlanta GA, Whiskies of the World, Oct 26.

  Have you heard of Apeel? Inspired by the revelation that perishability is responsible for a great percentage of global food waste and thus significant world hunger, James Rogers founded that company to develop an edible coating, invisible and flavorless, that can help produce last 2-3 times longer. Treated fruits and vegetables are already appearing in major grocery stores. Rogers calls the process, “{using} food to preserve food.”


Bet we all know where this idea came from

Thinking some innovative soul looked at the shoe bag hanging on the closet door and thought, hmmm, I do believe 2 Pack - SimpleHouseware Crystal Clear Over The Door Hanging Pantry Organizer (52" x 18")that could serve a totally different useful purpose. And here it is.

A nice clear bag for your pantry door. Actually, two of them.  A quick glance shows just some of the possibilities.

Spices may well be the first choice since those things have the darnedest way of ending up all over the place. Little hand towels, the k-cups, small to medium bottles, jars and boxes. Or, lots and lots of utensils out of the drawers, out of the countertop holders, off the never-enough hooks, and all organized right into those pockets.

And pretty reasonable! A 2-pk, so 30 pockets total, for $12.97, 5 stars on Amazon. Prime Eligible too.

Door hanging pantry organizer


Pumpkin + caramel = mmm mmm

The Libby’s site is well into the season with pumpkin recipes galore that go tasty miles beyond pie. Cheesecake, cookies, pudding, brownies, soup, chili, pasta sauce, rice dishes, vinaigrette, even a s’mores version . . . and this rich and rippin’ good dip.

Bring on the apple and pear slices, big soft pretzels, donut holes, or do a double down with one of Libby’s pumpkin cookies. Or how about drizzled over French vanilla ice cream or a graham cracker with a toasted and mashed marshmallow or mixed into whipped cream and plopped atop pumpkin pie.

By the way their recipe page, linked below, also features a fudge pumpkin dip and one made with cookie butter. In fact given the many ways here you can cook up the ol’ jack o’ lantern you could do an entire pumpkin-based dinner with totally different flavors in every dish. {and nope, no partnership with Libby’s}

Pumpkin caramel dip recipe    Libby’s recipe page 


As promised, how I poach an egg

Yes, it’s multi-step, but I like to think worth it. Bring the egg to room temp either by letting it sit out or warming it in water. Treat the bottom of your pan with non-stick spray, and tip the pan a bit to fill it with water so the spray is disturbed as little as possible. Add a splash of vinegar and set the pan over med hi heat. Fold a paper towel in quarters and treat the inner half with non-stick spray.

For each egg, crack into a sauce dish. Have a plastic slotted spoon ready. When the water is boiling, slide the egg in and immediately, and gently, run the slotted spoon underneath it, giving it a little shove. Reduce heat to create a very gentle bubbling on the surface,

I set the timer for 4 min – given the bit of time elapsed from the steps above, it probably cooks about 4 min and 10 sec – you may want to adjust this. When the timer goes off, gently remove the egg with the slotted spoon onto the prepared paper towel, closing it between the quarters. Gently flip over the whole works so the other side drains too. Then, enjoy!


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Oh, happy day! In an interesting book called “Moveable Feasts” – full of facts and anecdotes about how “long distance food” is sourced and shipped, arriving on our tables from even half a world away – I found this gem. Legal Sea Foods ships! I love their food but rarely am I where they are. Hello LSF website!

  In our 08.16.19 Salon, peanut butter cilantro sauce was our Featured Recipe, and it was quite good as is. But it occurred to me that with a bit of tweaking it could become an outstanding Thai peanut sauce. Tried it and now the only one I’ll use from now on. Here ’tis – in a food processor till blended, 1/4 c ea peanut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce & lime juice {liquids first}, then 1/2 c peanut butter, 4 garlic cloves & 2″ peeled med size ginger root both roughly chopped, 2 T red pepper flakes, 1/4 t salt. One possible tweak: might use sriracha instead of flakes.

  Well I’ve always like Chex cereals but the peanut butter one out now moved immediately to the top of the list. I used it recently in a mix with dry roasted peanuts, honey roasted peanuts, jalapeno pretzels, and garlic rye chips, later enhanced with a “donation” of sesame sticks. Tasty. Did not use any coating but if you prefer it that way, here’s a loaded peanut butter Chex party mix from their site.

So far next week: tiny hot dogs the book, tiny hot dogs the video, a beery nice story, dare to make a flying jacob, ice cream for breakfast, fresh corn x 3, hamburger cooking trick, another all-in, just as good mashed up

Last week, just below: Downton dinners, Impossible burger, Green Goddess dressing, Halloween party decorations, José Andrés Sweet Potato Sundae, cookies {and more} as Halloween decorations,  tasty add-ins, tested the nuked eggs, easy greens trick

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, 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 – Organizer/Amazon, Dip/Libby’s site, egg dish/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Martha’s Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork, Aug 9-15, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – S’mores cake! / Uber what now? / well that’s one way to deal with a red wine stain    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – a whole new fry-day    FEATURED RECIPE – Martha goes spicy    TIP – kitchen tangle, your days are numbered    THE WEEK – egg salad 2.0 / weird sammie upgrade / oink too! {M – could I have the other parts?}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  A classic summertime treat just got even cooler and sweeter. I hope the picture police don’t come after me because I just had to share the image of this S’mores Cake ice cream cake. It’s on the Tasting Table page but from Pinterest and some of those are public domain and some aren’t – as always we credit the pic below. And yes, the recipe is on the page too.

  Am I missing something here? So, on some evenings you just don’t want to cook, and it’s Uber Eats to the rescue. All well and good. But now in select cities in the west, Uber is testing a “Dine-In” option. Rather than having me try to describe it, since I’m not exactly clear on the benefit, you can see the story for yourself. Then, what do you think?

  So, last week in Tidbits {which is immediately below this week’s Salon} we ran a link to an article about removing red wine stains. Came across this and thought it was pretty funny – don’t remove the stain, go with it! Here’s that solution.


What do you see?

To me, this looks like a cute little alien that dropped out of the mothership to bring futuristic help to the kitchen. Especially if you’d like a future that includes fried foods without the oil-driven frying.Dash DFAF455GBAQ01 Deluxe Electric Air Fryer + Oven Cooker with with Temperature Control, Non Stick Fry Basket, Recipe Guide + Auto Shut Off Feature, 6 qt, Aqua

For appetizers, desserts, wings, fries, it guarantees your food will come out crisp every time. Set the temp, set the timer, go do something else for a while {they say “minutes”}.

Cook-friendly features include auto shut-off, cool touch housing, all non-electric parts dishwasher safe. Match your kitchen with an exterior of black, white, red, aqua. Recipe book too, and recipe database access.

The chicken photo shows their crispy promise. It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Prime eligible, at this writing $20 discount. Some comments: “awesome,” “great recipes,” “everything comes out perfect.”

Dash Electric Air Fryer on Amazon


Tasty, Spicy, Easy!

Not just the most tender ever pork. But also, those spicy and herby ingredients join onions and tomatoes and play together for hours in the slow cooker, all emerging as a unified bounty of flavor, ready to pile onto a bun or a plate, or as the recipe suggests, into taco shells with cheddar or {and?} sour cream. Btw, feel free to add even more spice.

And because it’s Martha behind this Spicy Pulled Pork, you already can pretty much guess there are cooking tips too. And as she notes, the easy prep all comes together in a matter of minutes.

Martha has a entire cookbook devoted to slow cooker recipes {good discount right now on Amazon}. As it promises, “110 recipes for flavorful, foolproof dishes {including desserts}, plus test-kitchen tips and strategies.”

Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork recipe  “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker” cookbook  

Stewart’s other cookbooks    Other slow cooker cookbooks, 4 stars & up


Kitchen help – from the office supply store?

I love this storage trick. No more the jumble of baking sheets, cooling racks, toaster oven pans, and cutting boards that used to fight it out for space in the cabinet.

Now they play nice in folder holders, the kind you’d find at Office Depot or Amazon. And you can multiple the capacity by additionally storing more of these kinds of items between the ends of the sorter and the cabinet walls. I actually use three of them.

Btw, this {she noted shamelessly} is one of the 50 kitchen tricks you’ll find in my Kindle book, 99 cents,  linked just below. Also a link for folder holders/sorters on Amazon, most pretty inexpensive, like under $20,  and saw one with 8 slots on sale for just under $10.

“50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks”   Folder sorters 


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Love egg salad? Love hummus? I recently arranged a “marriage” of the two. It still had the classic ingredients of onion, celery, a bit of dill pickle relish {some folks might prefer sweet} and then, the hummus in place of mayo. You know what – keeper!

  In our 05.17.19 Salon I mentioned two long ago experiences that had come together to create a grilled chocolate/cheddar sandwich. Now a new bit of information, a Food Network Magazine article on sprinkling smoked paprika on a whole buffet of foodstuffs including grilled cheese, sparked a memory of a wondrous chile/chocolate pie at a since-closed restaurant – all clearly suggesting that my sammie could go for an upgrade. Except I sprinkled cayenne. Thanks everybody!

PS – have the napkins handy!

  We CS-ers are pretty darn good at avoiding food waste. So guessing maybe we all can appreciate a comment by darling Tyler Florence on his Bite Club Show on Food Network a few weeks back. While creating pork dishes he said they use everything, “even the oink.”

So far next week: no-cook dinners, funny food book, farmers market tips, dinner on a stick, peanut cilantro dip, cilantro recipes, reviving spices, a A-Team approach to a grilling basket, two-stick trick

Last week, just below: pizza help x 2, Irish breakfast, red wine stains, kids cookbooks, no bake lemon cheesecake tarts {easy!}, parchment paper & squash tricks, scones ps x 2   

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 – s’mores cake/Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table, air fryer & chicken/Amazon, all others/mine

All pages ©2019

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



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




Breakfast {oh my} by Valerie Bertinelli, for April 20-26, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Valerie’s wow wow wow Breakfast Biscuit Sammies   Stephanie Izard interview link    Test your oven temp    Cocktail hour reading    Book takes  you way behind the scenes with a rock star, Michelin-starred chef    Can you hear the eggs?    My week in food & more 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well not sure why the Daily Beast is getting into food again, but no argument from me, especially when they bring us insights into the creative processes of super Chicago chef Stephanie Izard. You may have seen her recently, among other places, on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet” where she made it through the grueling {no pun intended} path to earn the coveted title of Iron Chef.  Interview

  Maybe you can try this at home, especially if you’re a “handyperson,” or have access to one. A recent edition of the Hometalk newsletter shows how to check and if necessary correct your oven temp. Btw anyone who’s into DYI will find a bonanza in this free online publication.   Oven step by step   Hometalk

  For some folks nothing says 5 o’clock like an icy cold martini. Now how about some verbal buzz as well for cocktail hour? The Daily Beast at your service with an irreverent look at the classic cocktail’s “tipsy march through time,” beginning in 1882. Along with the history, tales of the ingredients including the two meanings of “dry,” and some recipes too. Drink it in

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Go deep behind the scenes in Marco Pierre White’s kitchen-centric memoir

This might be one of the best glimpses ever of the backstage drama in Michelin-starred restaurants, the passion, the pressure, and yeah the hi-jinks too. And White was a catalyst for all three. England’s original The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chefrock star chef takes us into the kitchens for most of the book  {and sometimes into the dining room to make nice with some, or make sure others never come back} and then after hanging up his apron in 1999, into the world of building a restaurant empire.

“His story is genius, his voice is his own, and the tale retold is just as much fun as it was watching the whole chaotic conundrum evolve the first time around” – Mario Batali

“. . . in all his haggard, debauched-looking, obsessively driven glory – we dreamed of nothing more than to be just like him” – Anthony Bourdain

4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Kindle, Paperback {discounted}, Audio

“The Devil in the Kitchen” White’s cookbook, “White Heat”   CS Marketplace 

Featured Recipe  

Start the day right with decadence on a plate

If you watch Valerie Bertinelli’s Food Network show, you already know that she has a talent for combining flavorful ingredients into the stuff of cravings. And all of that passionate goodness is front and center in her new cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” while her friendly self seems to step right out of the pages with the personal notes that intro each section and each recipe.

The one we’re featuring here sure does capture all of the above, starting with her remembrance of a dish her mom used to serve to her dad’s poker buddies, reserving some for Valerie to have the next day for breakfast. That breakfast, with the addition of a few more ingredients, evolved into this breakfast, an attractive stack-up that is so hearty, so satisfying, so full of tasty stuff.

Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

From Valerie Bertinelli’s “Valerie’s Home Cooking”

3 c all-purpose baking mix

1 lb ground spicy pork sausage

4 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese {about 16 oz}

1 T pure maple syrup, plus more for serving

1 T hot sauce, plus more for serving

2 t olive oil

8 large eggs

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t black pepper

8 pepper jack cheese slices

8 bacon slices, cooked

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Combine the baking mix, sausage, cheese, syrup, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Shape into 16 {1 1/4″} balls and, with wet hands, flatten each slightly into a disk. Place the disks about 1″ apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and cooked though, about 15 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-hi. Add the eggs, reduce the heat to med-lo, cover, and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are soft, about 2 min, or to the desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with the 1/4 t each of salt and pepper.

Place one slice of the cheese on the bottom half of each sausage biscuit. Top with the eggs and bacon. Top with the remaining sausage biscuit halves. Serve with more hot sauce or maple syrup, if desired.

Notes: Valerie says you can make these the night before to grab on-the-go in the morning . . . also, that you might try different cheeses, e.g., cheddar or regular jack in place of the pepper jack. Watch for more to come from this book: her Bloody Mary Tea Sandwiches, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp with Cherry Cola Sauce, Spicy Shrimp Soup.

“Valerie’s Home Cooking”

4 stars on Amazon, Kindle, Hardcover {discounted}, Prime eligible

  Valerie’s other books    Valerie’s movies, TV, workout  DVDs


One of the bonuses of reading Marco Pierre White’s fascinating book is that along the way we pick up a cooking tip here and there from White himself or one of his accomplished peers. Valerie’s recipe reminds me of one that came from right from White: when you’re frying eggs, if you can hear them cooking, you know the heat is too high.

A Peek at My Week

  Gosh, I remember chiffon cakes from when I was kid {censored} years ago, almost always on the table for a special celebration. So it brought back some pretty happy memories when I came across this demo from the pros at CIA. Have a look  {Even if your browser doesnt support the video, you’ll still have access to their recipe}

  One of my fave ways to get that five-a-day is a sandwich filled with a produce stand worth of good stuff. But, and especially if you’re not a vegetarian, it can seem like something’s missing – and there is – meat and cheese! So here’s what I did recently kick it up – whisked together about equal parts of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, added some herbs, freshly ground pepper, finishing salt – and then dipped away. This one happened to be tahini, cucumber, shaved carrots, onion, cilantro and mayo. Napkins at the ready!

  I guess this qualifies because it starts out with a kitchen item, but then colors outside the lines of the salon a bit, because I re-purposed it for the bath. Have a counter-top wine rack you no longer use? Oh, is it great for storing shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, mousse, body wash in all those openings. So neat!

  Posted  Mystic River  on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted  ThunderShirt & Thunder Ease on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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



Celebrate Prime Rib Day . . . with Prime Rib, for April 13-19, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Cooking questions, cooking answers, cooking tips    Faking the pastry    Meet Lidia Bastianich in person    “Tee Party”    Perfect prime rib    Smashing garlic    Re-purposing fudge frosting, fudge sauce, cherry tomatoes {no, not in the same dish!}


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Cooking questions? Cook’s Illustrated may well have the answers in their book published a fewKitchen Smarts: Questions and Answers to Boost Your Cooking IQ months ago, “Kitchen Smarts”: “packs together hundreds of definitive, researched, kitchen-tested answers to questions large and small, common and bizarre.” It follows their “Kitchen Hacks”50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks of a few years earlier, also on the same Amazon page. Then there’s also my “50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks.”

Theirs has a lot more than mine but also costs more than mine, though offering some nice discounts. Both of theirs on Kindle and paperback, mine on Kindle at 99 cents. We all earn 4 1/2 stars. Btw, you can also email me Qs at any time and I will do my best to bring you answers.    Smarts   My “50,” 99 cents

  Well when you see a subject line that says, “How to Trick Anyone Into Thinking You’re a Pastry Pro,” you sort of have to go to the site and read the story. I did. You can too. Right here

  Want  to meet Lidia Bastianich? The restaurateur, cookbook author and tv star is currently hitting cities from coast to coast to introduce her new book, “My American Dream,” a “heartwarming, emotional and revelatory memoir.”  You can connect with her in the selected venues now through May 11.  Lidia’s Tour Schedule   “My American Dream” on Amazon

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Party like a kitchen star

This fun t-shirt embodies favorite party elements, balloons, streamers, confetti, and spirited beverages. Colorful too!

Other colors available, men’s & women’s, many sizes.

Tees, sweats, hoodies – hats too.

A’ll crafted at Michigan company SunFrog.

Party Party Party shirts    Hats    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe  

Friday, April 27 is Prime Rib Day!

Celebrate in your own kitchen or out at a great steakhouse. If you happen to be in Las Vegas . . . may we suggest Oscar’s inside the iconic glass dome of the Plaza Hotel downtown. It’s bone-in right from the carving station and will sit alongside the steakhouse classics, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and Yorkshire pudding. $40 p/p

What, you’d rather do it yourself? Are you in luck because we have right here a boffo prep from Las Vegas’ own celebrity chef, also cookbook author and cooking instructor, Les Kincaid. And, here ’tis . . .

Perfect Prime Rib from Les Kincaid

Serves 6-8

 1 (4-pound) bone-in standing rib roast

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
For jus

2 cups beef broth

1 small fresh rosemary sprig

1 small fresh thyme sprig

1 garlic clove, smashed

 Preheat oven 360 degrees F.

One hour before you plan to cook, take the roast out of the refrigerator. Season the roast on all sides liberally with salt and pepper. Don’t add water to the pan, and don’t cover it!

In a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, tarragon and rosemary and mix well. Spread the herb butter all over the roast, applying the heaviest layer to the fat cap.

Place the roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and cook for about 2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature deep in the center of 125 degrees F for medium-rare.

Transfer the roast to a platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes. Cut the meat away from the bones and slice the roast thickly or thinly against the grain as desired. Separate the leftover beef rib bones and serve them along with the meat.
Make jus:

Skim fat from pan juices. Add broth, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and deglaze pan by simmering on top of stove over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Transfer to a small saucepan and add any juices that have collected on platter. Gently simmer 10 minutes. Skim fat and season jus with salt and pepper.

NOTES {from Les}: To make the best prime rib:

A thermometer is the absolute best way to guarantee the roast turns out exactly the way you want it. For an accurate reading, push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or bone (or the pan).

Medium Rare = 130-140 degrees F
Medium = 145-155 dfegrees F

Remember that the roast’s temperature will rise at least 5 degrees after you remove it from the oven.

Allow the roast stand for 15 or 20 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the center.
Also, allow at least 6 ounces of cooked, trimmed meat per adult. A boneless roast will give you about two servings per pound, and a bone-in roast will give you one to one-and-a-half servings.

Les Kincaid’s website


Truth be told, prepping garlic can be a pain in assorted parts of the anatomy. Thanks to the late, funny, and much missed Mr. Food, the process actually can be painless. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half and place cut side down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

In addition to not having the pieces stick to everything in sight, there’s the added bonus that you can so easily create whatever result you want. Stop when the pieces are coarse, or continue to make them finer, or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss.

A Peek at My Week

  As I’m sure you all know, leftovers tease our creativity . So true in a recent pancake venture, said ‘cakes coming out of the freezer because I’m about to experiment with a new recipe {if good, you’ll “hear” it here}. Hmmm, some pears that need to be used up could be good toppers. What else. Hey {however rare} leftover fudge frosting. It went like this, melt a chunk of butter, pour in some maple syrup, stir in a good dollop of frosting till blended and hot, add the diced pears and cook till heated through, plop on. Mmm mmm.

  Leftover leftovers? Well as it turned out, didn’t need all the syrup for the pears so stirred in some hot sauce, peanut butter, and a bit of dissolved beef bouillon. Voila! Impromptu {OK,  totally non-authentic, but really good nonetheless} mole! And that will go on tonight’s bean and cheese burritos.

  Those who regularly check in here know we HATE to waste food. So when I recently spied some cherry tomatoes going crepe-y, grabbed a small skillet and the olive oil. Heated that up and tossed smashed garlic, salted a bit, till fragrant, oh just a minute or two, then in with the ‘mators and a good glug of hot sauce. Cooked until a lot of the juice evaporated, then piled atop quartered avocado. Yeah it was good! Proportions to your taste of course, but I used five smallish garlic cloves for 8 tomato-ettes.

  Posted Oprah’s Book Club pick on my Nice Life Books site– Thursdays

♦  Posted  The Daily’s “Countdown of 10 Cutest Puppies – on YouTube”  link on my DoggieShirtz site – Thursdays

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


Jose Andres’ Scallops with savory roasted sauce, for March 30-April 5, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

    Giada on parm v parm    Easy nut milk    Who needs a recipe?    Do-it-all container set    Title recipe   Yet another excuse for chocolate   My week in food & more  


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Giada explains the difference between parmesan {grated, shredded, block} and parmigiano, plus how to use and when to use. Very informative.  Video

  Nut Butter -> Nut Milk. Yum! Thanks “Bon Appetit”  Here’s how!

  “Look Ma, No Recipe” titles an article from the cook-friendly Food 52,  happily describing content that delivers on that promise. The page opens with a freestyle lasagna, but then you can also scroll down for a number of others, spaghetti bolognese, “World Championship Pesto” and more.  Page

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Boffo Containers

Guess we all might have a pantry-ful  of recycled plastic containers, and reusing is good for sure. But for some jobs we just need glass, and Amazon calls the material in this set the “strongest glass available.”[5-Pack] Glass Meal Prep Containers - Food Prep Containers with Lids Meal Prep - Food Storage Containers Airtight - Lunch Containers Portion Control Containers - BPA Free Container [29 ounce] The beauty of it is, each 6.5” x 4.75” x 2” compartment can serve as a mixing bowl, then go in the oven/microwave/freezer, store leftovers, take goodies to work or play with no leaking, no spilling en route.

The five pack rates 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, features airtight locking lids {separate usage instructions}, and sells for $25.99 with free shipping for Prime members.

Popular enough to appear on Page One of best selling kitchen items on Amazon, nice enough to be a thoughtful gift.

Set of 5 glass containers with locking lids    CS Marketplace

Featured Recipe

The chef famous for gold standard cuisine . . . and a heart of gold

You may know chéf Jose Andrés from his cookbooks, cooking shows, travelogs, and restaurants. What you may or may not know about him is his untiring work through his World Central Kitchen providing meals and training and equipment all over the planet. Read more about it at his website.

Andrés is considered a pioneer in bringing small plates to the U.S., bearing his personal signature of high flavor, deep color – that sure comes to a crescendo in the dish, lobster with clementines and grapefruit in saffron oil, shown at the right, and from his cookbook, “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” and talk about making it authentic, his recipe on page 30 tucks a copper penny into the equation to get the traditional effect.

His scallop recipe, our feature this week {right}, is one of so many generously shared on his site. As a bonus, you’ll learn how to make the classic Spanish sauce Romesco {do you know the essential “secret” ingredient?}

Andres’ Scallops recipe  ♦  His “Tapas” cookbook

{cookbook – 4 stars, good discount, Prime Eligible, now at Amazon}

Andrés website  ♦  His other cookbooks  ♦  Videos of his “Made in Spain” show


I discovered – and fortunately it was years ago, from one of the fine books by M.F.K. Fisher {find her books in our list} – that, however unexpectedly, chunk chocolate and good bread add up to a match made in culinary heaven. Now along comes José Andrés with an enhancement, also from his tapas cookbook. He starts with rustic bread, toasted, and dark chocolate, melty on the bread, and then sprinkles with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Whether you go with just room temp bread and chocolate or this upgraded version, it’s one of the easiest, most welcome, desserts you can serve.

A Peek at My Week

  Once again tossed leftovers into broth to make a tasty soup, in this case rice with vegetables, steamed dumplings, and shrimp that had been cooked in garlic oil, lemon, soy sauce, and a touch of sriracha all in chicken bouillon.

  Just thrilled to discover that my Albertson’s is now carrying Chicago’s iconic Vienna hot dogs.

♦  Made Nobu’s Matsuhisa Salsa again this week and realized all over how really good this is, originally posted here on Feb 9 as our featured recipe.

  How did I miss this before? – the boffo steak feature for next week comes from Morton’s Steak Bible and while going through the book found a recipe for black bean soup that just might be a clone of one I had decades ago in a restaurant in Ybor City, a Florida town known at least then for its Cuban culture – if it’s as good as it sounds, you’ll see it here is a future chat.

  Posted “Remains of the Day” by Kazao Ishiguro on my Nice Life Books – Tuesdays

  Posted “21 Dog Friendly Vacations” link on my DoggieShirtz – Wednesdays

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