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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bake it like Buddy

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

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

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

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

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

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Good Morning! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

♦  TIP  

Vegetables have never been so scary

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

Here’s the link

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

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room 

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – Baking kit/Amazon, others/mine

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Tiny Hot Dogs, the book . . . with recipes 

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

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

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

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

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Tiny Hot Dogs, the video . . . three ways

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

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

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

Tiny Hot Dogs video    Home & Family show

  TIP  

Corn x 3

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

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

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

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

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Getting saucy with a first class cookbook, July 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 – fun pastry gallery / meatballs {etc} on the move / cookie secret    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – it saves money too    FEATURED RECIPE – put this on a lot of stuff    TIP – but no fire breathing    THE WEEK – great New Orleans cookbook / riotous bread pudding / jalwho now???

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  If the name Dominique Ansel is at all familiar, it may well be because he is the original cronut guy. But thanks to “Food  & Wine”  we can take a look at what he’s up to now, pastries that mimic New York icons. No matter what those confections look like, they are not what they seem. Just fun to see.

  Well you can pretty well rest assured food delivery is here to stay when the practice is now being tested by IKEA. For now just in Paris, but if it succeeds could your neighborhood location be next. I must say I would welcome having their awesome lingonberry preserves show up at my door as opposed to me showing up at their bazillion sq ft building and parking lot.

  This could almost be a parlor game – guess the surprise ingredient in an otherwise fairly classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Right you are, buttermilk. Follow the link for the exact details from Food52. Btw, wonder if a similar upgrade could be achieved with buttermilk powder.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Be adventurous, save the planet

While a good many of us do our best to reduce food waste, I’m guessing most of us may not have  ventured into this book’s realm of “Cooking With Scraps” by Food52 columnist Lindsay-Jean Hard. She does, bless her heart, make it ever so easy, devoting each chapter to a single ingredient and its possible, if unexpected, roles. Cooking with Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals

Although as it turns out, lots of the preps are not so far out, such as the mix of apple peels & cores, white and brown sugar, that yields a simple apple syrup. And then there’s the, ahhhh, banana peel cake {although the cooks in Food Network’s The Kitchen declared it excellent}.

No matter which recipes you may or may not want to try, by the last page you may well start viewing the whole concept as a fun, creative game. You might be daring the trash can to continue claiming peels, cores, rinds, seeds, leaves, stems, stalks, pits, pulp, grounds, cobs, leftover bits, cooking liquids and stale stuff – neener, neener, you’ll now have some fine ideas for these food bonuses.

The book is 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover {good discount} and Kindle {huge discount}, Prime eligible. Also, an Amazon Best Seller.

“Cooking with Scraps” Lindsay-Jean Hard at Food52

♦  FEATURED RECIPE 

Dazzling coffee table book . . . with recipes

The restaurant creds: Gramercy Tavern, in biz over two decades, nine James Beard Awards including “Outstanding Restaurant” and “Outstanding Chef in America,” darling of the critics, 4 1/2 stars on Yelp with over 2700 reviews.The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook

The book: “The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook,” by GT’s chef Michael Anthony and founder Danny Meyer – 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover {good discount}, Kindle {phenomenal discount}, Prime eligible.

The premise: to reproduce “the spirit of the cooking at GT, and to create your own versions of our recipes . . . {and} the book will look great on your coffee table, but I want you to take it into the kitchen and use it well.”

The recipes: much like the beloved NYC restaurant’s dishes, offer familiar takes in an upscale style, such as sugar snaps with lobster, carrot cake with carrot glaze, slow roasted pork with bacon broth. Our feature – a creamy, herby, citrusy sauce, in the book a flounder topper but ever so good on other fish, poached chicken breasts, grilled veggies, and on and on.

One of the best lessons: how easy it is to take a dish from basic to breathtaking, with either composition or topping. Shown, another fish dish, char, joined by a rainbow of veggies and flowers – you don’t even have to go this far, just some garnishes of different shapes, colors, textures drawn from what may well already be in your fridge.

Superb sauce recipe    “Gramercy Tavern cookbook”  

  TIP  

Slaying the Dragon {Fruit}

Well this is a bunch of fun. As scary as dragon fruit may be to look at, it’s ever so easy to enjoy.

The link below from Real Simple takes you through selection at the store, prep and apps at home. There’s a demo too, and one thing that’s shown in there but not mentioned in the text is cutting off the tough stem before halving the fruit lengthwise.

So just what do we have here? It’s juicy and mildly sweet which makes it quite refreshing, but you may even want to hit it with some honey or agave. The texture to me is much like a red plum. Those seeds are barely noticeable, not crunchy as in raspberries.

No matter how you serve it, probably best to run a spoon along between the white and red parts. This will likely leave some of the fruit attached to the rind, which is a good thing because that part is decidedly less sweet. So, CS friends, get out your “swords” and go for it.

Dragon fruit primer

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So, was looking at some leftovers in the fridge and freezer, all in the sweet realm, and hmmm, starting thinking, how much could I stretch the boundaries of bread pudding. Here’s what went into the mix: half of an apple pie, about two banana donuts, a store-bought cinnamon roll, half a dozen no-bake chocolate/coconut cookies, maybe a half cup of peanut butter pudding, the bottom of a jar of Nutella, also to give the name some legitimacy about a cup of bread, and then because I’ve become such a fan, 2T of malt powder.

♦  Btw, used a bread pudding recipe in my favorite New Orleans cookbook, “La Bouche Creole,” as a guide for the eggs, milk and vanilla. One thing, since the bread and its friends were of indeterminate measure, started with just 3 c of milk rather than the specified 4 and that was just right. So here’s the problem with improvising – if it turns out good, and oh boy did it, you really can’t recreate it. Oh well, enjoy now, try others in the future, and hope you will too.

  In the 06.21.19 Salon I noted an item on our “Eclectic” page about a book where the main characters are the grandchildren of Sherlock and Watson. At one point the grandaughter, Charlotte Holmes says, “I’d heard quite a bit of rot from him about the curative powers of chicken jalfrezi.” Eh? So, to the “Diner’s Dictionary” and once again wasn’t disappointed. In brief, jalfrezi, Indian but familiar in the UK since the late 1900s it says, is a “medium-to-very hot curry featuring meat, fish, or vegetables cooked in a sauce made with onions, tomatoes and fresh chillies {sic}.”

So far next week: tell-all Shake Shack book + sauce recipe, chile rellenos go snacky, healing foods, coffee rules {maybe}

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – books/Amazon, fish dish/Maura McEvoy in the cookbook, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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The Tasting Panel has spoken, May 3-16, 2019

Next Salon, May 17, 2019 – see you then!

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – chicken insurance / leftover makeover / do this first    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – beautiful Mom’s Day gifts ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – makin’ Zuni Cafe’s iconic chicken    TIP – avocado love    THE WEEK – the SuperTasters have approved these dishes / the powder caper

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

It’s not likely you’re ever going to hear anyone order chicken “rare.” And we sure as heck don’t want to serve it that way. So “How Long to Cook Every Cut of Chicken” from MyRecipes can provide some very welcome “chicken insurance.” Get the scoop on roasting, grilling, pan frying and deep frying, so that as the subhead says, “you never botch your bird again.” As a bonus there’s a demo on breaking down a whole chicken, which can be a real money-saver.

♦  More from MyRecipes. In the 04.19.19 Salon we spotlighted 30 dishes that are even better as leftovers. So how cool is this for a follow-up, “25 recipes to use up your leftovers.” And this is nice, for some of the items you may also find a recipe for the star that started the show, and then more than one use as leftovers. If as planned I make the chicken parmesan dip you’ll sure see it in a future My Week. Oooh maybe the burger bun donuts too!

And more. You may already do “The First Thing Great Chefs Do Before They Start Cooking” {we’d like to think “wash their hands” but we’ll take that as a given}. I already do this “thing” and was familiar with the French term for it, but sure did learn some extra tricks here. And not only for cooking.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Beautiful food gifts for mom

So much good stuff here. Whether she has a sweet tooth or a “savory” tooth,  chances are excellent you’llShimmering Delights Gourmet Gift Basket find a gift she’ll love.

There are varying arrays of tea, coffee, snacks, cookies, candy, cheese, chips & Tranquil Delights Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket Set with Tea and Cookies (Peony)salsa, plus a breakfast collection, Bloody Mary kit that includes a cutting board, and a “shimmering” gourmet collection. Some also tuck in a nice selection of pampering beauty products.

The latter is shown here along with the Tranquil Delights Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket Set with Tea and Cookies. If you’d like to see a wider array of Mother’s Day gifts, click the second link – and though there’s a huge number of possibilities, fear not, you can narrow your search by type of product, rating, brand and more, and after selecting your initial category, more factors including price and Prime eligible.

Food gifts on Amazon  ♦  Other Mother’s Day gifts

Shimmering collection shown    Spa & tea set shown

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A San Francisco classic 

Those of us who’ve had the memorable pleasure of dining at Zuni Cafe know it’s an experience to be treasured ever after. New York Times recently featured the iconic Market Street restaurant on the 40th anniversary of its founding by Billy West, who was joined in 1987 by the revered chef Judy Rodgers, sadly no longer among us – but it goes well beyond the cliche to say her legacy lives on with every meal still served there.

The story spotlights such specialties as Caesar salad, ricotta gnocchi, espresso granita, chocolate Gâteau Victoire, even the hamburger. But it was the hauntingly good wood-roasted chicken for two on warm aromatic bread salad that most stays with me from our visit.The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Resturant

I subsequently made this dish {shown} from my Zuni Cafe cookbook, which also btw includes the salad, gnocchi, hamburger, and granita. The chicken was spectacular, which prompted a do-list of such other items in the book as prosciutto with chestnuts in olive oil, artichoke caponata, corn-shrimp bisque, and mock {which is to say easier – she calls the original “formidable”} porchetta.

This cookbook, by Judy Rodgers, is a very unselfish offering. All her tip, tricks. and techniques are right there – in fact “cooking lessons”  is part of the subtitle. It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Kindle & Hardcover, Prime eligible.

Recipes on google    NY Times article    Zuni cookbook    Zuni Cafe 

  TIP  

Be gentle now

A helpful hint from Ree Drummond. When you’re adding diced avocado to a salad, wait until you’ve tossed all the other ingredients.

Then gently fold the cubes into the mix. Your avocado will thank you.

Btw, did you know that in the correction pronunciation, Haas rhymes with glass. Click the link for lots more about this versatile star of the produce world.

California Avocado

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Oh what a beautiful week at CooksSalon. A buffet of dishes, candidates for future appearances in CooksSalon, took center stage. Then a quartet of SuperTasters gave the whole array, appetizers to desserts, a thorough vetting, sometimes needing second and third “tests” to be absolutely certain their evaluations would be accurate.

>  Yay, eight thumbs up for chicken parmesan dip, buffalo cauliflower, French endive “hand” salads, shrimp Louie, queso eggs in phyllo cups, ham club sandwich rollups, lemon cheesecake tarts, date/nut scones, and salted chocolate caramel tartlets. Mega thanks and a tip of the toque to Christine McKellar, Debbie Vinson, and Layne Whiteman for helping make sure CS brings you just the best-est recipes.

> So then, all those dishes will be coming your way in the near future. Meanwhile, for a weekly serving of the top happenings in Las Vegas, be sure to tune in to Christine’s site, Vegas Only Entertainment.

♦  In our 02.01.19 Salon we talked about discovering malted milk powder and putting it to use in muffins, oatmeal . . . and coffee. Now the Caribou Coffee chain has added menu items that incorporate malted milk powder into both hot and cold coffee beverages. Do you think they read it first in CooksSalon? 😉😁🤣

So far in the next Salon: best stews, bulk shopping trick, 10 new ways with bacon, that sandwich is what now???

SECURE ACCESS THROUGH MY LINK TO AMAZON HOME PAGE

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: Mom’s Day gifts & Zuni book/Amazon, others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Fun & Mega-Flavor Shaking Beef, April 19-25, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – meatloaf upgrade / sweet tv / dishwasher does whaaaat???    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Anti-Anxiety Diet {M – what the heck is anxiety???  FEATURED RECIPE – shake-a-steak    TIP – lovin’ the leftovers    THE WEEK – scraps=gravy! / another tasty toast 2.0 / mug cake made even easier

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

{M – hey my friends – that’s all of you, right? – mom added two new pix to my Gallery}

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Like meatloaf? Want to hear an interesting tweak? Emma Laperruque writing in Food 52 first reveals the secret that Rao’s meatballs are made extra juicy by adding 2 cups of water for 2 lbs of ground beef. That gave her the idea to experiment with meatloaf using this same trick. She had to change it up here and there but eventually perfected the steps that “took an otherwise humble meatloaf over the top.” The rest of the story on this better meatloaf is also here as she parses the five ingredients.

 Celeb baker Buddy Valastro is giving four bakers a chance to take the cake in a big way. Each week in the four-episode series of Bake You Rich, a baker’s “winning item will available to order on the Carlo’s Bakery website.” Valastro and a team of judges will determine the winner after the three-round challenge. On Food Network Sundays, 10/9c.

There’s a commercial where an adorable little girl asks, “What does the dishwasher do?” Turns out, possibly some unexpected things, in fact seven according to suggestions by MyRecipes. The adventurous may want to try all  “7 Things You Didn’t Know Your Dishwasher Could Do”  – I’m mostly inclined to tap into those that expand on its cleaning and sanitizing capabilities.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Eat Yourself Calm

It’s just simply a sign of our fast moving times that many of us experience stress to some degree, at some times. For us food folks, there’s some really good news, brought to us by  Ali Miller, author of “The Anti-Anxiety Diet.”

You may not agree with all her premises – even she discarded some of them along the way – but what really resonated with me was when she talks about arriving at an ultimate The Anti-Anxiety Diet: A Whole Body Program to Stop Racing Thoughts, Banish Worry and Live Panic-Freeturning point. “. . . I understood how to treat people, not diseases! . . . to resolve the root cause of dysfunction, rather than managing a symptom . . .  to use food as medicine to functionally address imbalance in the body.”

She notes that food can have a good or bad effect on our brain chemistry. “In fact,” she says, “foods can regulate mood, emotions, and brain-signaling pathways.”

And the rest of the book tells us the “what’ of that discovery starting with the chapter, “Remove Inflammatory Foods,” and continuing with resetting, repairing, restoring, rebounding and rebalancing. Along the way there are self-tests, quick reference charts, the actual diet plan and then, bless her heart, recipes.

“The Anti-Anxiety Diet” – read more on Amazon

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Shake it up, baby 

Oh boy this is good. What? A dish with the what-fun name of Shaking Beef. I recently came across this Food & Wine recipe with an interesting technique – apply a 20-min marinade of classic Asian flavors to cubes of a good steak, then give a shake shake shake in a hot skillet, and pour the flavorful mix of meat and juices over a colorful salad. Winner!

The meat is so tender, and as a bonus the super flavorful juices create a dressing for the salad. Btw, thanks to the high heat, some of that marinade/cooking sauce can turn a bit crispy, another bonus. Note, I did add just a splash of rice wine vinegar to the mix.

Also added a bit of shaved carrot to the salad for extra color and crunch. Served it with some of the leftover cauliflower risotto and avocado. Years ago had never thought about the latter in this ethnic until I had it in sushi, but even so did hit it with a bit of Sriracha to further gussy up the Asian vibe.

Recipe

  TIP 

This old word can have a new tone

“What’s for dinner?” If your answer is “leftovers” does the rest of the family repeat the word much like Seinfeld would say “Newman“???

Well here’s some good news. You can indeed save time by cooking in bulk and still have your family even happier to see an encore thanks to the MyRecipes site where you’ll find  “30 Recipes That Are Way Better As Leftovers.”

They call upon the slow cooker, pressure cooker, and Instant Pot and of course the good ol’ skillet and oven. There are pasta dishes, ethnic specialties, casseroles, stir frys and noodle bowls. Among the interesting twists: meat loaf bundt cake, blt lasagna, “meaty” vegetarian chili.

I made the Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole, which is just layers and layers of lively flavors, and yes even better round two as the sauce further marries with the chips, cheese and chicken. As a bonus, a demo takes you through the prep, step by step.

Chicken Chilaquiles recipe    All 30

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

Waste solved. Nothing wrong with folks who like fat on meat, I just don’t happen to be one of them. So when I’m prepping a roast I tend to overtrim, as I did for the Irish Guinness stew {03.15.19 Salon}. To offset the “guilt,” I charred the trimmings in a hot skillet, seasoned with beef bouillon, garlic salt, and pepper – then removed to a soup pot along with pan drippings deglazed with a bit of wine, plus carrots, onions, and celery – cooked, strained, chilled, skimmed – and thickened into a flavorful gravy.

Have you tried any of the gussied up breakfast toast ideas from our 03.22.19 Salon yet? Thanks to Food & Wine we learned about a dozen colorful a.m. upgrades on a base of peanut butter, ricotta or avocado. Here’s my take on the smoked salmon one with a couple of tweaks, cream cheese instead of ricotta, fresh dill instead or orange strips. So good!

Guess what I found??? OK, maybe you already have. In our 02.15.19 Salon we included chocolate mug cake and in our 03.22.19 Salon, peanut butter and jelly mug cake. Both pretty fast and easy. But you know what’s even faster and easier – Betty Crocker’s mix. Just add a bit of water, nuke, let set – poof, mug cake.

So far next week: Chocolate cookie bars {ganache filled!}, doing the dukkah, , speedy cookies, recipe hack, Guinness donuts – made ’em, be a whipped cream sculptor

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: book/Amazon, all others/mine 

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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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

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

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.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

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

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

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

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

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

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: books/Amazon, all others mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Irish Guinness Beef Stew, March 15-21, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat – Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – kitchen oopsies / mac salad, classic & more / where the chefs go    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – food as fiction star    FEATURED RECIPE – simple tasty stew {M – I’ll have some, hold the veggies}   TIP – soda bread & other buttermilk delights    THE WEEK – combine the three subjects and you have cocktail hour & entree

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  Tidbits  

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

Yikes, could any of us really be making over 100 mistakes in the kitchen. For CS-ers, probably not, but we might be making some of them. MyRecipes shows us how to mend our wayward ways with this roster of “130 Extremely Common Kitchen Mistakes and How to Fix Them.” Could browse the whole list, or maybe just use your page’s search function to see if a particular problem is covered.

Probably nowhere in the world is mac salad as revered as it is in Hawai’i. The basics are overcooked mac, Hellman/Best mayo, and finely grated onion. Where it goes from there determines if it’s tasty or just filling. The Taste newsletter has an interesting story on the island view, some restaurant variations, accompaniments, and then a recipe for a classic version. Btw scroll to the bottom of their page if you’d like to sign up

  The food is reportedly first rate, progressive yet traditional, and most of all “unfussy” according to this nytimes article about Yardbird – Hong Kong birthed by Canadian-born owners – soon to bring its vibe to the USA, starting in Los Angeles. Two reasons you might care – first because you just may want to try some of these simple preps at home, and second because you just might find yourself tableside or barside chatting with – and drawing secrets from – top level chefs who apparently flock {sorry!} to Yardbird.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Rhys Bowen’s “The Twelve Clues of Christmas”

Calling on the lexicon of the book’s 1930s setting, this is a dashed good tale, alive with characters you’d like to join in the drawing room for afternoon sherry. Including – yes – Noel Coward.

Are there some narrative gliches? I’d say a few, but what do I know. Bowen is a hugely successful mystery writer whose works often reside on best seller lists.

More to the point for CS-ers, it’s rich in detail about the many fine meals served during the 12 days of a holiday get-together of family, friends and strangers in a large mansion in a small English village. The plan is a “perfect old fashioned English Christmas,” but – oops – pesky murders get in the way.

As another bonus, when finally the perps are unmasked and the ends tied into a pretty bow – recipes! Mincemeat pie, sausage rolls, Christmas pudding, brandy butter and more. Plus blurbs on the parlor games played and holiday traditions observed.

First found Bowen in a mystery writers cookbook {12.14.18 Salon}. Would I read her again – you bet!

“The Twelve Clues of Christmas”    Bowen’s other books

“Mystery Writers of America Cookbook”

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Still time to make Irish Guinness Stew for St Pat’s 

It’s actually a pretty simple prep. Some chopping of course, but then it’s just a matter of IRISH: How To Be Irish + The Big Irish Cookbooksimmering until the beef is fall apart tender.

If you hate fat as much as I do, you’ll want to buy a piece a bit more than the required 2 lbs so you have that much after trim. Not talking about just marbling – that’s good stuff.

Also, I did add peas & carrots. And looking at their pic {Salon, just below}, though the recipe doesn’t call for the latter, looks like they did too.

All in all though, this was a pure dish that let the beef and beef flavor shine. Need some other Irish dishes in a hurry? Browse the instant Kindle choices at the second link.

Recipe    Irish cookbooks on Kindle  

  TIP  

“Eurekae!”

Eureka – I found it! – I’m guessing is singular  So . . . calling on my Latin classes of {censored} years ago, taking a leap of faith that my title is plural.

Back story – I certainly don’t dislike bottled Ranch dressings and use them quite a bit. But every now and then would like one that tastes more like the fresh-made versions found in some restaurants.

Accordingly, embarked on a quest to make my own {still ongoing}. Problem, though, what to do with the leftover buttermilk. Turns out – lots of things.

Thank you google for this page of possibilities. One was a recipe for slow cooker oatmeal, which I applied to a regular batch and yay one more way to make the cereal more palate-friendly. The recipe I did use was for Irish soda bread, on The Kitchn website, and I think it was just as good as the one I usually buy at Sprouts. Loooooove it toasted, and a bit of apricot preserves can’t hurt either.

Getting rid of – eh, that is using up – buttermilk

Irish Buttermilk Soda Bread recipe

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

Do you like tequila? I sure do like not-too-sweet margaritas, and occasionally a little glass of a nice tequila. Nice? For me that means smooth and rich, just enough sensation on the throat to know you just had a sip of the yield of the blue agave. Have for now found my number one fave – El Padrino. And nope, not a sip or cent in compensation, likely don’t even know of the mention.

Sometimes you just don’t want to cook. And sometimes a serendipitous thread leads you to tasty alternative. So in that article linked in the 02.22.19 Salon on ube, there was a mention of Jollibee, which coincidentally recently opened here in town and which had garnered woohoos on our Nextdoor app.

–  Now, tried it. Seems extra juicy, maybe the citrus marinade google shows for most recipes? And when paired with a bit of crunchy breading, a good bite indeed. Misty? Hoovered it!

  Actually finished those rye croutons some time back, but just remembered something else I wanted to mention about them. Great just on their own! Afternoon munch, cocktail companion, late night snack. {caution on the latter, morning garlic breath}

So far next week: Guinness donuts, another mug cake, Martha’s wisdom, Thin Mint/banana cream pie w/pb, cheese tips, upgrade your morning toast, culinary lesson

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

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

Photo credits: book pix/Amazon, all others my own

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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St Pat’s Day special, Feb 15-21, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

Help yourself to a bounty of resources!

  CatChat  

Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – speed shopping / wine time / cake for one    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – A-1 resource    FEATURED RECIPE – Irish potato cakes and more for St Pat’s    TIP – it’s in the book    THE WEEK – rye, rye again / flavy gravy / burger desperation

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Here’s some welcome help for any cook. Are you like this too? Some parts of grocery shopping can be fun or at least interesting. But most days I think most of us would like toVin65 Template Wine Regions be able to do just what this headline says in a story on the MyRecipes site: “How to Get In and Out of the Grocery Store Faster.”

  You may not find yourself casually traveling through Pahrump NV. But given the better chance that you might visit Las Vegas, a short drive away is the newly expanded and remodeled Pahrump Winery. And yes, the vineyard is right there, which means if you hit it right you can also take part in a grape stomp – and any time you can learn a lot about wine, from seeding to sipping. Details of products, tours, events, and restaurant at the site for this multi-award winning winery.

  For some reason a dorm fave seems to be popping up a lot these days, and not just for kids anymore either. It’s the mug cake, ready in 5, just mix and nuke. The default is chocolate of course, but this google page shows a number of preps and variations.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

I know I’ve mentioned this book before, but was just browsing through it again and so love this read. Open to just about any page and you may well come upon something fascinating.

The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and DrinkOf course it’s also a fast resource for an individual ingredient, a single food item, or an entire dish. Alphabetical, thank you. What fun!

And whether you’re in those pages for a casual stroll or a specific search, 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.

Here are the cover blurbs: “Be warned – this is a dangerously fascinating book,” “stuffed with delightful morsels in a digestible form,” “a quirky irresistible volume.” Hardcover, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

Diner’s Dictionary 

CS Marketplace

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

What could be more Irish??? 

The recipe comes from the Irish Central newsletter, and the main ingredient is potato. That sure seems to add up to the perfect brunch dish or dinner side for St. Patrick’s Day. Even better, it comes to your kitchen with few ingredients, easy technique.

Fadge (Irish Potato Cakes). Image: Getty.

Btw, you can make a healthy version of these potato cakes with olive oil or a tasty version with bacon fat. I know where my vote would go.

This prep appears on a page with several other Irish recipes, including one for traditional Irish Brown Bread. In fact you could probably plan your entire St. Pat’s dinner right here, entree, side dishes, bread and dessert.

Recipe for Fadge {Irish Potato Cakes} – scroll on page

♦  TIP  

How to’s too!

In addition to everything listed above in Marketplace, the comprehensive Diner’s Dictionary occasionally yields suggestions for uses and preps as well. You could pretty much make stuff from like Bubble & Squeak to Bubble Tea just from the descriptions here.

As another example, under Miso, after the definition there’s this: “as a dressing for salads, as a flavouring for pickles, and in marinades . . . {or} more adventurous options, such as miso-glazed baby back ribs. A bit of a surprise appears under Gravy, in the form of quite detailed instructions for oysters in something we may not now think of as gravy, a wine/broth mixture enhanced with ground almonds and seasonings, maybe even egg yolk and cheese, drawn from a 14th century cookbook.

{Btw, if you want those details just email me, here {bjnosek@gmail.com}

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  You may recall the rye croutons from the last week’s Salon? At that time mentioned them as a tasty addition to soups and salads. Just discovered another great use – atop sauerkraut! Although I served this as a side dish, since that the kraut already had joined bacon, onion, garlic and tomato, this also works as an entree. A bit of sour cream won’t hurt either.

  Do you ever make your own Italian beef? Most recently I used paper thin slices of eye of round, but have also been known to let the deli take care of this part. For broth – beef bouillon, lots of fresh garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, and a bit of gardinere {with more to go on top of the sandwiches}. But here’s what I want to pass along – if you have leftover broth, yay, add a bit of thickening for a super flavorful gravy.

  Had such a taste for a hamburger but – bummer – no ground beef in the freezer. And not the kind of day that encouraged a trek to the store. So . . . . . made a burgerless burger. Melted cheddar on a bun, piled on lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and topped all with a mix of mayo, mustard, ketchup and French dressing. Sides of fries and bell pepper salad and, really, barely missed the meat. In fact a pretty darn good veggie plate.

So far next week: New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, kitchen art, chocolate chip cookie pie

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Girl Scout Cookie Desserts, Feb 8-14, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

  CatChat  

Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – Are you being bad? / sheet pan comes to breakfast / tater tricks  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – help with Valentine’s gifts {M – make mine tuna}    FEATURED RECIPE – Girl Scout cookies, a fab ingredient    TIP – cakes 5.0    THE WEEK – rye redux / butternut squash – one recipe, two uses / choclo {whaaaaat?}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  If you like to bake, you might also like to take a look at this article posted on Well Done. You’ll find guidelines and fixes for such aspects as reading instructions, measuring, heating the oven, ingredients, mixing, pans, under the banner “18 Bad Baking Habits You Need to Stop.”

  If you’ve ever been to a French bakery or cafe, whether here or there, chances are good the menu featured the country’s classic open face sandwich, the Croque Monsieur, basically ham & swiss on good toasted bread sauced with bechamel. Food and Wine brings us the prep for a version called Croque Meurice after its origins, and what’s interesting is that it taps into sheet pan convenience. Btw, if you cut these large enough and top each square with a fried egg it would be a handy take on Croque Madame.

  Potato art – This is too bizarrely funny not to share. It is about food. But not as food. A new Internet sensation involves posting videos of putting makeup on, yep we already tipped it, potatoes. Although I guess as we think about it, that’s maybe a small step from the years ago kids game, Mr. Potato Head. Thinking now, this could be fun – if we used food color pens they could actually be served as a party dish. Thanks, Irish Central, for the chuckle.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Little late with a Valentine’s gift?

There’s a good chance Amazon can help. Almost anyone, I think, would appreciate a Valentine Treasures Fruit Gift Basketlovely gift basket with chocolate, maybe a stuffed animal, decorations.

In the links below, the first one leads to everything that comes up for chocolate gift baskets, the second narrows the selections to baskets specifically for Valentine’s Day, and the third lists only those rated four stars and up. At any level you can also customize in additional ways.

Btw, the “container” isn’t always a basket, sometimes a box, tin or tower. Of course check out the delivery dates but many if ordered now will arrive before the big day, including this one.

All gift chocolate baskets    For Valentine’s    Best rated    Basket shown

CS Marketplace

Need something even faster? Browse lots of instant gift cards on Amazon

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Girl Scout Cookies Gone Wild 

Well this whole tasty sequence began with a visit to a site I really like called MyRecipes. The draw was a story on desserts made with Girl Scout cookies {link below}. 

So then I hit Google to see when the cookies are available and that led to several discoveries. First, on the Girl Scouts site you can enter your zip code and get a big listing of dates and places for the booths.

Second, there are also cookie-based recipes on the site. Shown here are cupcakes made with Thin Mints which are crushed and mixed with cream cheese for a filling inside chocolate cake topped with ganache.

Another revelation came in the Google search, and it’s this – Girl Scout cookies are available on Amazon. Just to check I clicked on the Thin Mints and there doesn’t appear to be any “season” for them which is to say they seem to be available year ’round.

Recipe page on the Girl Scouts site {scroll on page for cupcakes}

MyRecipes article  ♦  Girl Scouts homepage    GS cookies on Amazon  

♦  TIP  

Skeptical, but my reason may not be your reason

Either way, it is an interesting idea. Tapping into a tale with the maybe slightly hyperbolic headline, “How to make any cake 1,000 time better” – with the answer being, folding in whipped cream.

The result it says, is a light consistency . . . a lighter texture,” and that where they lose me because I like desserts that are. ummm, toothy. But I realize some of you, dear friends, do prefer a lighter touch and a link is here for you to see the details.

Meanwhile, we also discover that the idea was inspired by the cookbook, “BakeWise,” which “won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Baking and Dessert Cookbook in 2009.”

The Whipped Cream Trick    “BakeWise” on Amazon, 4 1/2 stars

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So, a package of rye bread that is supposed to close with a sticky tab – didn’t. As a result, a good four slices turned zwieback-y. Didn’t want to waste it, so hello Google. The solution that was most appealing was to turn them into croutons, which is exactly what I did, sauteeing cubes in a garlicky mix of butter and peanut oil. Turned out to be great toppers for butternut squash soup, pea soup, and really any salad.

  And about the butternut squash soup, now have my final version. Truth be told the preceding variations were good, but the “winner” was the one that most let the title veggie take an undisputed starring role. It starts with about a 3 lb squash, baked until very tender, cooled till handle-able.

  In a large pot 3-4 cloves minced garlic are lightly sauteed in 4 T butter, and then joined by 2 c prepared chicken bouillon, 1/2 T honey, 1 t sage, 1/2 t ea pepper and nutmeg. Let this simmer while you peel, seed and rough cut the squash, and then mash or blend it smooth with a 1/2 c cream.

  Whisk in the squash scoop by scoop until blended, and then add 1 cup Italian shredded cheese. Whisk until melted and mixture is hot. Serve as soup or, as originally pursued, over pasta as shown here topped with a bit of parm and parsley.

  I don’t make a steady diet of “Chopped” on Food Network, but did tune in recently and learned about an ingredient I’d never heard of before. Have you? It was choclo, a large kernel style of corn grown in Peru. The contestants did some interesting preps with it which you can view here {full episode}.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

 

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Ladies of the Night Pasta, for Nov 23-29, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – a food shopper’s dream / getting food-smarter / bar USA   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Leftovers solved {M – let ME solve this!!!} / Party Party Party shirts    FEATURED RECIPE – the name’s as interesting as the dish is tasty    TIP – crushing squash {not literally}    THE WEEK – really lemony!!!  / the avocado / the rant

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It’s a long time since I’ve been in Miami but may well be worth a trip, given it’s on its way to becoming a food hall capital. These emporiums typically gather a great array of food vendors and restaurants under one roof. In the city now you can find the multi-ethnic St Roch Market, the Italian flavored La Centrale {shown} and Casa Tua Cucina, and the Asian themed  1-800-Lucky. Rumors swirl of more to come.

  Are you a label reader? If so, good for you, as this can be so important in terms of spying unwelcome ingredients, avoiding personal allergens, checking fat/sodium content, and just generally cultivating healthful eating. So, you may want to know about new label requirements from the FDA {thanks to Food & Wine} within the next three years.

  Well this is interesting. Tasting Table has given us a roster of spirits, mixers, and add-ins that are all American made – so, as they say, you can stock an all-American bar at home. Two notes. First, you’ll probably want to add some other stuff that may or may not  have a domestic pedigree. And, since they did not include a vodka I’d like to suggest Tito, a nice clean taste without being filtered to death.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Leftovers mean easy meals ahead

30 Holiday Leftover Makeover Recipes : Recipes For Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (Holiday Leftover Recipes Book 1)And here are the books that tell you how. The holiday one shown here and several others are available on Kindle for just $2.99. Others come in additional formats.

The one called “30 Holiday Leftover Makeover Recipes: Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” is rated 4 1/2 stars.Dot's Secret Little What to do with Leftover Turkey Cookbook

The turkey one rates 5 stars, and is offered in various formats and prices.

Holiday Leftovers cookbook    Turkey Leftovers cookbook    Other leftovers cookbooks

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

Extra for everyone – Going to a holiday party? Go in comfort. Go in style. Just pop on one of our “Party Party Party / tomorrow everything else” shirts. Click to see a larger image, along with other styles, sizes and colors.  On SunFrog     On Zazzle

  FEATURED RECIPE  

 A pasta dish . . . “as we like it”

Called “Ladies of the Night Pasta,” it pulls together rotini {I used penne}, chicken, sausage, mushrooms and more in a pretty quick process. Maybe a takeoff on another speedy pasta, “Puttanesca,” a reference to those same Ladies and titled it’s said because they could easily prep it between “gentleman callers” and the aroma acting as an additional lure.

Btw, this one says it “serves 6-8 customers.”😉

The recipe’s name, also the title of a Broadway play, and the chapter it came from, “The Taming of the Stew,” will make total sense when we look at the source. It’s the “As You Like It” cookbook from the gift shop at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

I couldn’t find this cookbook or any cookbook in the theater’s online gift shop, though it may well be on the actual shelves – but did find a different one of theirs on Amazon. Pretty cool to add to your collection and at the same time contribute to a worthy cause, at the Guthrie or any other cultural shop.

Recipe page    “Much Ado About Food: A Guthrie Theater Cookbook

  Guthrie Theater

  TIP  

Butternut squash is a holiday favorite and also a personal favorite. So was happy to see Real Simple give us a tutorial for the veggie.

About that. Something I learned – cut before peeling. Something I’d suggest – use a grapefruit spoon. Something I’m probably not doing – much of a recipe junkie as I am, not likely to use any here, but only because winter squash is another food I like pretty much pure.

In fairness, the dishes sound quite interesting and may well be a nice addition to your table. You’ll find a roasted version with mustard vinaigrette, a soup that includes parsnip {another personal fave}, and a “pizza-like flatbread.”

Crushing the squash

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Like lemon? Like cake? Then think you might like this. Especially since it has a store-bought head start – twice. So, for  the lemon cake used “the box” but put the juice of a large lemon in a measuring cup and added water to make the cup of liquid required for the mix. While it baked, blended 8 oz cream cheese with 1/2 of a 10 oz jar of lemon curd for the filling. And then “the can” of lemon frosting blended with the rest of the curd for the top. Lemony!

  What, never? Aarón Sánchez, who you may know from his tv gigs, cookbooks or New Orleans restaurant, says never put an avocado “anywhere near an oven” – ruins the magic he says. But the chef doesn’t leave you hanging, instead offering tips and a fish taco recipe. Btw, there’s an add-on to the Sanchez story from Buzz60 which intros vegan avocado beer. OK.

  Fair warning: soapbox ahead. The Sanchez piece further noted that if contestants present him with “baked (or roasted, or sauteed) avocado, they’d better be ready for a raised eyebrow.” Hopefully Sanchez doesn’t go beyond a lifted brow. Because one of my BIG bugaboos in competition shows is when judges base an evaluation on personal preference rather than sound culinary principles. I’ll keep the  name to myself but one particular female judge is routinely guilty of this practice.

So far next week: Ree’s Caramel Brownies, easy/showy party courses, dress like a pro {your salad, that is}, awesome breakfast dish

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

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