Giada’s fresh & simple salmon dish, Jan 17-Jan 23, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – cheesy chicken galore / pudding shots! / cheeseboard upgrade    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – top-rated cheeseboards    FEATURED RECIPE – a touch of spring     TIP – it’s a wrap   THE WEEK – Tejano cooking / donuts from what ??? / a tasty, testy past 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

I so look forward to receiving the MyRecipes online newsletter because it’s always filled with good stuff that I like to share with you. But sometimes a single newsletter is just a total culinary home run and one I just caught up with from last month is a perfect example. All three tidbits come from that one newsletter

  Here’s another one of those {at least to some of us!} irresistible headlines. 34 Cheesy Chicken Casseroles. So much good stuff here, classics like parmesan and enchiladas to some a bit more out there including a loaded baked potato version and a Tex-Mex squash combo. Btw, if you don’t want to do the slide show, should be able to just scroll down on the page that opens with the link. And . . . “surf” takes a turn next week in our Featured Recipe, baked seafood au gratin.

  Oh yum. Move over jello shots, here comes pudding. After pudding of your choice and alcohol of your choice, the variations are endless, as their story, “How to make pudding shots: the easy, boozy treat you never knew you needed,” shows in living color. It’s sort of like a spirited, drinkable, trifle. Now, it doesn’t specify where the alcohol goes, but guessing jello shot vets know it will be mixed into the pudding. Some other pudding shots I saw online combined everything into one mixture, but this layered approach makes a really nice presentation.

  So the holidays are over, but the reasons/excuses for a party large or small are fortunately never ending. A star of the show can often be a selection of cheeses. But have to say I never realized that “This ingredient is a crucial addition to your cheese board.” Not trying to be mysterious here, but before you click the link, see if you can guess what ingredient is not usually on the board but in fact makes great sense to join the array. I like it!


And continuing  the subject . . .

It’s like a cheeseboard superstore at Amazon. Yikes is this some good looking stuff.

Choose your material, choose your size, choose your shape, choose your amenities, choose your price – it’s all there. To give you a bit of a head start on filtering your options, our link below takes you to only boards that are 4 stars & up.

Did someone say amenities? Yep, some of these items come with slots or niches for serving utensils or even better a slide-out drawer {shown}, or slide out trays for extra surface, or cracker trenches to keep them nice and neat, or with their own little bowls or cheese markers, and at least one that stores as a compact wedge and then swivels open to an 18″ tiered circle {shown}.

Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any OccasionAnd even if you’re not in the market right now? Might want to take a look anyway since most of the boards on the Amazon pages are “dressed,” and as such offer a wealth of ideas on how you could assemble your own goodie mix. Or you can find all kinds of help with our link to colorful books on cheeseboards for all occasions.

Note that you can click on the illustrations to go directly to that item on Amazon. This book, btw, is an Amazon Best Seller.

Cheeseboards 4 stars & up    Cheeseboard books 4 stars & up


Just simply good 

Even though spring is not yet even close to visible on the horizon, a touch of it can come to your plate with this fish dish from Giada. And because the salad accompaniment is so “springly,” the goodness of the salmon remains the star of the show.

The filet is treated gently in both the prep and the cooking process. A quick broil and done.

As for that light, bright salad, it actually serves double duty, as a bed under the fish and then as a garnish. That would be a lightly dressed mix of fennel, radish, and basil, a great counterpoint to the richness of the salmon. Btw, I also used some of the pretty and flavorful fennel fronds as garnish.

Giada continues her focus on tasty, healthful dining. You can keep up with offerings by signing up for her newsletter, link in the upper corner of her page.

Giadzy’s Broiled Salmon with Fennel Salad   Giada’s cookbooks    Giada’s DVDs


But wait . . . there’s more

Encore! This is indeed a re-run but it fits in well with our other sections this week.

There are suggestions galore online on the best way to store packaged store-bought cheese. This is what has always worked well for me . . .

Cut off the end of the package wrapper. Then cut along both top edges all the way to the back, but leaving the back intact so that you end up with a kind of hinged flap.

After slicing off the cheese you need, fold the two loose ends of the wrapper over the cheese, and place it in a food storage bag, pressing the opened end tightly against the inside of the bag so the wrapper ends stay in place as you press out the air, seal the bag, and fold the rest of it around the block of cheese.

If you’re rather use devices designed for that purpose, we have a link below to that page on Amazon.

Cheese keepers, 4 stars & up


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  The cookbook, “AMA – A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” served up a nice discovery. Though I’d heard of it before, had never really delved into Tejano cooking, the south Texas home vs nationwide commercial version of Tex-Mex. It’s marked by lots of beef, chili plain and simple, lots of chiles fresh and dried, cumin, and two surprises – considerable German influence and more bacon than I expected. The title refers to the chef/author Josef Centeno’s LA restaurant, Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Mexican Food Cookbooks, Tex-Mex Cooking, Mexican and Spanish Recipes)whose name in turn honors Centeno’s great grandmother’s cooking, and the cuisine is the product of four generations of food-oriented Tejanos {Texans of Mexican heritage} on both sides of his family. Haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but surely will.

  I just love the Mad Genius tips. This time it’s donuts, which he calls the easiest ever and they just may be. The magic is in puff pastry, and the rest of the story is in his donut demo. Btw, since I don’t do a lot of deep frying, I made some by dipping both sides of puff pastry shells in peanut oil and then baking them per instructions. {Hold off for Part II in two weeks.}

  Oh, the memories. As a Chicago native and long time Las Vegas resident, the story is of more than passing interest. My first contact with any of the elements was when my husband and I, visitors at the time, dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant near the Las Vegas convention center – called Villa d’Este, it was parlayed from a previous site called Villa Venice, in turn previously Anjoe’s. After a history of a gunshot, a fire, Chicago mob ties, and a touch of Sinatra, it eventually evolved into Piero’s, now an equally famous institution for almost four decades. One of my very favorite chefs, Hubert Keller, will visit this legendary restaurant during his January 25 “Secrets of a Chef” episode on PBS.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – cheeseboards & book/Amazon, all others/mine
  •  Link sources – cheeseboards, books. dvds/Amazon, recipe/Giada’s site, donut demo/Food & Wine site, history of Villa d’Este, now Pierro’s/ {shows “lock” icon}
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: more cheesy goodness with a baked seafood au gratin, 40 best-ever recipes from top source, my own pudding shot, chocolate cookies with surprise ingredient, new fave baked beans

Last week, just below: shrimp curry with spinach, 30-min dinners, hot toddy prep {plus bonus tip}, chai-spiced snickerdoodles, bye bye holiday pounds, save the cookware, food resources keep Echo-ing, “venting”

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 ©2020

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


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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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


Good timing!

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

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

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

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

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

Full array of timer choices


A surprising mix of ingredients = sooooo good

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

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

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

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


Who doesn’t love marshmallow stuff???

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

Marshmallow Equivalents

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


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


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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

All pages ©2019

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




Hello full-of-flavor black eyed peas, for March 2-8, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Pillsbury Bake-Off Grand Prize Winner    Genius rolling pin    Fridge bare – dinner saved    Important note on Instant Pot    Title recipe    Taming the carrot   Resource links


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks

  In case you haven’t seen this – here’s the winner, including the recipe, in the 48th Pillsbury Baking-Off. Interestingly, includes crushed pineapple and ginger beer or ginger ale.  Bejewled cranberry-orange rolls

  This is one of those things that you have to say, why didn’t someone think of this before??? {OK, if someone has, please let me know and I’ll acknowledge it right here}. So “this” is a set of rolling pins with end pieces that sit 1/8″ and 1/4″ respectively above your work surface. What that means is that when those end pieces contact the counter you know that your dough is exactly that measure. Genius! As icing on the roller, their smooth wax finish shuns that sticky dough. See it on Amazon

  Well this is handy. “Taste of Home” is giving us a whole bunch of solutions to that “oh no” moment otherwise known as “What to Make for Dinner When Your Fridge is Bare.” You’re saved right here

  CS Marketplace Spotlight


In the Feb 9 post below we featured the Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 qt 9-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker in this spot. Thus far there are no reported problems with this specific appliance.

But we also linked to other models and one of those according to several sources is now the subject of a recall. It’s the Gem 65 8-in-1 Multicooker, with batch codes of 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734, and 1746, which can apparently overheat and even melt.

Oddly, I didn’t find anything about this on the Instant Pot website. If you do own one of these models, may want to contact them {link below} at “Support”or check with the seller.

Instant Pot website

Featured Recipe

I have to say I’ve wondered if black eyed peas have been given the rep of bringing you luck if consumed on New Year’s Eve just to get people to eat them at least once a year. Is that rude? It’s just that they can be so blaaaaand.

Not in this recipe! Thanks to ham, mirepoix, and aromatics, plus a unique egg topping and the cozying up of oven-crisped greens on the plate, you might just want to make this one throughout the seasons.

Even bigger thanks to David Hoover who created this dish for his Crispy Bird restaurant in Indianapolis. And to Tasting Table for bringing it to us.

Black Eyed Peas with Crispy Collard Greens

from the Crispy Bird

Recipe    Crispy Bird    Tasting Table


You may well already be aware of this little trick, but in case not . . . when cutting carrots {green onions, etc}, the resulting circular slices can get frisky and roll off the work surface {did I hear a tiny giggle}. Foil them by cutting at an angle. Not rolling and as a bonus, look nicer too. Btw this is one of the tips in my 50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks” – 99 cents on Kindle.

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