Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups {etc!}, Nov 27-Dec 3, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

One of our own CS items, crafted by Zazzle

In a party mood? Even if it’s just hanging with the householders, you can still dress the part with CS’ very own Party Party Party {then everything else} tee. Images of party parts tucked right into the letters – balloons, beverages, music. Choose from different styles, sizes & colors, or in a nice mug also various colors & styles. On Zazzle page see delivery date to the right under pic.

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – I’ve definitely upped my French fry intake since reading that they’re a regular part of Betty White’s diet. And while I’m fine with then as is, there are some intriguing ideas in the Chelsea Davis story, “I tried 10 ways to make frozen fries better, and there are 9 hacks I’d definitely do again,”  on insider.com via google news. You’ll find seasonings, toppings and cooking techniques.   Food & Wine checks in with Recipes for Two, and start to finish they do look quite satisfying, with a nice spectrum of pasta, vegetable entrees, seafood, steak & other meat, and a”supersilky” no-bake chocolate custard.    Wait! Don’t throw out that muffin pan just yet. This tip, also from F&W, may salvage it. See the step-by-steps at “How to clean grimy muffin pans the easy way.” Could this also work with regular baking pans?

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Shopping Finds – Here’s a timely present for yourself or any food lovers. These cook-friendly calendars on Amazon feature all kinds of edibles, drinkables, and interests. Just some examples – fruits & veggies, herbs, cupcakes, baking, coffee, cocktails, and the chocolate one shown.    Know anybody that needs to keep bandaids in the kitchen? This could be just the solution. Finger guards! Fingies hide behind the metal barrier as the knife goes to work. I’m wondering if it could also help in creating more uniform slices.

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Kitchen Talk – So now, armed with a good cooking method for quinoa {in Alexa section, 11.20.20 Salon}, I’m reaching beyond the Mex bowl {11.06.20 Salon} to another savory app, using it as a substitute for rice in a now inaptly named “fried rice.” But here’s what’s nice about quinoa – it’s every bit at home in sweet versions. And here’s one little kids, big kids, really big kids, just may like – for each cup of cooked quinoa, 1 T ea {or more to taste} peanut butter and jelly. Here I used apricot preserves and topped it all with swirls of syrup and chopped peanuts.

   On the Table  

Feature – Giant Chocolate Almond Butter Cups – and tasty variations 

I don’t necessarily make the recipes from “Alexa’s room.” But in this case . . . resistance was futile. We first mentioned this confection from AllRecipes in our 11.06.20 Salon.

They’re a take off on the Reese’s classic, but made in muffin cup liners, and with almond butter. You could put them in an actual muffin tin but since it helps to give them a little room to spread out a little I arranged them in a baking pan.

The recipe calls for dark chocolate chips {I used 60%}. You may be tempted to go with a sweeter chip, but this really is a good foil for the richness of the filling.

One change I did make for the second batch was to melt the entire 12 oz bag. So, those variations . . .

First it’s very easy to cut down the almond butter recipe to use it in just four of the cups. The others? As shown here, along with the almond butter, marshmallow cream just as it comes from the jar, and hazelnut spread mixed with powdered sugar as for the almond butter.

Recipe Notes – maybe my house is too warm, but these really didn’t fully set up until I refrigerated them {and btw, according to the label almond butter needs to be in the fridge}. It is a good idea to let them sit out a while before serving. As long as you can stand the wait, anyway.

Next week – Our fave cook-loving gifts from 2020

Recipe

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make Come ‘ere Puddin’ Pie? OK, when Alexa pops a recipe like this up on the screen you sorta just have to have a look. Turns of the more formal name is Chocolate-Ginger Pudding Pie, and it tucks in the title ingredients twice. First, chocolate wafers and ginger snaps in the crust. Then, bittersweet chocolate and – this is interesting – candied ginger joining cream, powdered sugar and more in the filling. It’s the creation of celeb chef Aarti Sequeira on the Food Network site.

Alexa says request: How do I make curried chicken & apple wraps? Food Network steps forward with another celeb chef for this recipe. Credit Giada for a mix that goes so far beyond chicken and apples it could threaten flavor overload {that’s a good thing}. Think mango, raisins, goat cheese, hot sauce – ahhhh, maybe you’d just like to take a look.

My request: Alexa, what spices go well with sweet potatoes? So, thinking the sweet potato casserole in last week’s Salon {11.20.20} would be good for Christmas too. One thing I had mentioned in the recipe notes is that if you think you might not like the thyme specified in the prep you might substitute nutmeg. But then just thought I’d see what Alexa thought and she replied, in addition to nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or baking spice, the latter being kind of an interesting possibility.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you the time or temp in locations around the world

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Oh, what a joy it is to bring into the Salon for you some fine words from celebrated chef Daniel Boulud, one of my top faves of the chefs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. This interview comes to us from epicurious, and the impetus for it is Boulud’s new book, “Daniel: My French Cuisine”, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. In the interview he notes that while his other cookbooks made French cuisine quite approachable, this one is more complicated, then revealing how we can actually have fun with serious recipes. Paraphrasing my favorite takeaway, Just cook, don’t worry how wrong or right you are. I have his “Chef Daniel Boulud, Cooking in New York City” which I love, and here is a full list of his books on Amazon.

  Highlight, print, and save for Jan 1. The beauty of these 23 Best Hangover Foods, is that for the most part they are indeed foods, not drink concoctions or say exercises that are the last thing in the world you feel like doing. Even better, they’re likely already on hand, in your household. Neener, neener New Year’s Eve excesses! From Healthline.

   Let’s hear it for Science – and red wine! Victor Marchione on the LifeHack site {shows lock icon} headlines his tale about a new study as follows – “A glass of red wine can replace 1 hour of exercising.” Did I just hear some early New Year’s resolutions going back to the drawing board? Read all about it. Sent to CS by BLV.

♦  “Your recipes are incredible” – Linda Faso, Las Vegas. Well thank you so much and what a nice way to end our last regular Salon until next year. Happy cooking, Linda!

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Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce, Nov 13-Nov 19, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – What the heck happens to meat we put in the freezer, where’s the taste and texture we bought? This story, “The Game-Changing Trick That Makes Defrosted Meat Taste Better,” explains why it changes and how to fix it. Btw, as not a big fan of balsamic wondering if other vinegars might work. But if you’re happily in that camp go for it.    It’s not surprising that lots of veggies are more nutritious raw, but what may be? – 12 Surprising Vegetables That Become Healthier When They’re Cooked. We already knew this about tomatoes but some in this American Journal of Clinical Nutrition list on the Yahoo/Life site are kind of unexpected.    They’re becoming an ever bigger thing – hot cocoa bombs – cocoa and maybe more inside a chocolate shell that “explodes” in hot milk. What fun! You can let google show you how to make them, or buy them in stores or online including Amazon. and the same page has molds to make your own.

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Shopping Finds – Are you familiar with ghee” – butter slowly cooked to separate out the milk solids and yield a rich clear liquid that this Bon Appetit article calls butterscotchy but I’ve always thought of as nutty. The article covers uses and how to make your own, but also their recommendations about where to buy it.    I just LOVE these toaster oven pans. Seems so often what I had available was too small for the food or too big for the oven, but Goldilocks style, these are just right. Non-stick, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Prime eligible. And reasonable too! – at this writing $13.35 for the set, shows reg as $19.99.

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Kitchen Talk – So, I was watching the Food Network Show, Food Paradise, and a chef put a layer of bread stuffing on the chicken and vegetables in a pot pie before fitting it with the crust. That made me wonder, why not just use the stuffing as the crust, even better maybe on a turkey pot pie, or make the whole thing as a casserole.     May I say, no matter what else might be in your salad, a topping of crushed Doritos and hot sauce can kick it right into the exciting zone.    The squash recipes we featured in our 10.23.20 Salon, all from Food & Wine, drew me magnet style to one particular recipe, mostly because I dearly love butternut, here in an interesting merger with polenta {I used less}, sage and smoked cheese. Lots of the steps can be completed in advance, including any toppings, my choice being pureed spinach and seasoned tomato sauce. But I liked it best with just a bit of melted butter, and the next day. Be sure to read the recipe comments.

   On the Table  

Feature – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

I haven’t made this yet, and I don’t know at what point I will. But it looks like such a nice holiday dessert I wanted to share it now.

It comes from the Food Network host I mentioned previously, whose treasure of a show is Delicious Miss Brown. I just love about everything she makes, and pretty sure this will be no exception.

This cake is kind of a showstopper. One of those creations you almost don’t want to ruin by cutting into it.

But just start thinking about the graham cracker/brown sugar crust, the creamy filling {with a secret}, the buttery apple crumb layer, all topped with {store-bought, thank you Miss Brown} caramel sauce, and – hand me the knife.

{Photo and Recipe from the Food Network page}

Recipe notes – probably any caramel sauce would work nicely, but I really like the kind that comes in a tub, usually found in the produce section, but so rich and thick you may want to warm it slightly to make it more spoonable.

Recipe    Miss Brown’s show page on Food Network

Next week – My favorite sweet potato casserole, featuring some unexpected ingredients

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make an Oreo Roll Cake? Anything starting with 3 packs of Double Stuf Oreos cant be all bad – especially when chocolate frosting, butter and confectioners sugar also join the party. This is from another newly-discovered foodie site {thank you, Alexa}, Tastymade, which also folds in travel and home design. One thing that’s a little puzzling in the directions is solved in the demo which shows you use only about four pieces of the filling for the frozen part. It will all come clear on the Oreo Cake Roll recipe page.

Alexa says request: How do you make bread burgers? Well wasn’t sure quite what to expect here, maybe a stuffed dish. burgers on bread instead of buns, burgers with bread in them {other than just crumbs} ??? None of the above. Rather, Alexa delivered a couple of recipes that had bread in the title, the first one a burger with {Alexa!} bread and butter pickles. But the other one was a little truer to the promise and a tasty choice at that, Pepperoni Garlic Bread Cheeseburgers from the respected Serious Eats site. The “bread” is actually a bun but who cares when the assembly includes gussied up garlic butter and pepperoni turned into a sauce with, yep, more garlic.

Alexa says request: How do I make buttercup marshmallow s’mores ? So, am I the only one new to buttercup squash? Sounds like a delightful discovery, even more so with this unusual prep. Here’s the original recipe from Food Network Kitchen. Then may I be so brazen as to suggest my own likely version. Mix all of the cooked & scooped squash with the maple syrup, butter, cream cheese and salt {and maybe some ginger} and heat through. Scoop back into the shells, top with toasted marshmallows, shaved chocolate, graham cracker crumbs.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you a food joke {get your groan ready}

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Dressed to impress – not you, the hot dogs! CS-er, and displaced Chicagoan, BLV sends along this boffo find for other Windy City ex-pats and anyone who wants to make a delightful hot doggy discovery. Vienna® Chicago-Style Condment Kit, and that means yellow mustard, neon green relish, perky sport peppers and celery salt. Just add onions and the dogs {NO KETCHUP}. Pour beverages of choice, fill a bowl with chips, and what a fun evening of chat, games, or movies. It’s available online from Walmart {link above}.

 We’ve invited Chef Phillip Dell of Las Vegas into our Salon to talk about food, his bbq sauce, and indoor grills, and even share one of his rib recipes, and we’re honored he accepted. His resume features many impressive wins, not the least of which is Chopped Champion on Food Network.

  First of all, big congratulations on qualifying for the World Food Championships. Can you tell us a little about this competition?Every year the creators of the WFC (MMA Creative) put on qualifying events to create entry opportunities for foodies to win. In doing so, the winning competitor then secures a spot in the big show – The World Food Championships! It’s the pinnacle of what we like to call, food sport, the competition competitors all hope to not only compete in, but WIN! Competitors from all over the world come together to compete in one of ten categories, to take home at least a piece of over $100,000 in prizes and cash. They had to be canceled this year, and are now scheduled for November of 2021.   

  And what was that winning dish? It looks fabulous.
In this competition we were tasked to incorporate a La Lechonera marinade into our dishes. Since I love everything barbecue, I just knew I had to go that direction. Here is the description of the winning dish I entered in the Chef category – Mojo Costillas Cortas (magical short ribs – CAUTION! May cause mild to severe cravings!}.Rich and succulent beef short rib is nestled in soft, cheesy jalapeno grits and turns magical when topped with criollo bacon jam. It’s a fiesta for your taste buds.
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  And we also need to talk about your very own bbq sauce, Sweet Addiction
We are very excited to finally have our sauce available to everyone!  For years, people have asked where they could get my bbq sauce after tasting it on the famous – Original Pork Star! (as featured on Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats and Carnival Kings), finger-licking ribs or even drizzled over vegetables. Now it’s available! at both Premier Barbecue and Fire and BBQ Concepts in Las Vegas, and both are happy to ship it to you. In the very near future, we hope to offer it online. 
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  Here at CooksSalon we like dishes that are first and foremost comforting, satisfying, and fairly easy in terms of ingredients and techniques. Would you have a recipe like that you might share with us?
I for one find anything cooked outdoors to be comforting, especially ribs! You see, I have many childhood memories around ribs. They make my heart and taste-buds smile. I hope you will enjoy this recipe for Artisan Style Ribs as much as I do. Please note:  All recipes are just that- A recipe!  Change them as you feel fit. And, flavor profiles are very subjective, so use a seasoning that gives you all the warm and fuzzy feelings associated with comfort food. For me that could be my own concoctions, or a blend from companies like Oakridge BBQ Seasonings (Competition pork and beef) or Brantley Creek (you really must try the “pecan rub”).
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  Now turning from food to prep, it would be great to hear your take on indoor grills. Do they have a place in our kitchens, are there particular features we should look for?
The short answer is – YES! Not everyone can have a grill outdoors, so I say, get it where you can. A good ventilation system is always helpful, but you can still produce great food on an indoor grill nevertheless. I am a huge fan of gas-powered kitchen equipment, as they tend to have the most consistent cooking capabilities. However, electric is perfectly fine too. Just look for something that is heavy duty and has the highest btu output. This will help when it comes to heat retention and recovery.
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  Anything else you’d like to add?
I am blessed you asked me for this interview- Thank you!  I wear many hats, and they are ever changing. The easiest way to find out what’s cookin’  is to please follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date. I have also started a new Youtube channel – Chef Phillip Dell Presents where I hope to help share some of my many recipes.
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And thank you Chef

 “A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety” – The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

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Looking for something in CS?

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Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Fennel & Peperonata, Nov 6-Nov 12, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

  Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Did you buy canned pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving? Wait! Indeed the pie is traditional, but just maybe you might like to take a look at these “21 Delicious Desserts That Start with a Can of Pumpkin” from MyRecipes. Cake, squares, bread, cookies, cupcakes, coffee cakes, pie variations including pumpkin mousse, and then a giant step sideways into fudge and candied nuts.    Well this tale from My Recipes starts out with dealing with lime-less guac and goes on to an interesting take on getting creative with citrus and other acidic components..     I wasn’t familiar with kirbiecravings.com, but it does show the lock icon and really has some pretty interesting stuff on the site. Among the recipes is an apple bread with no flour, butter or oil.

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Shopping Finds – In case you thought singing, dancing, acting, winning top awards and being an all-around nice person defined the limits of Dolly Parton’s talents – Nope! Williams-Sonoma adds “all-star baker” to her resume on their Dolly Parton Baking Collection page. You’ll find both baking accessories and pre-made items, all very pretty    Wear your passion. Visit my page right here on CS for t-shirts featuring coffee, chocolate, and ice cream – and the one that declares, “In this house I’M the celebrity chef.”

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Kitchen Talk – So, after featuring the chocolate ice cream bread last week, discovered I still had some slices of the previous incarnation, the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream bread {08.07.20 Salon} in the freezer that I wanted to use up. Remembering the friend who “French toasted” a waffle, yep, did the same with this bread. And what was so nice even before the butter and syrup, it had all the good flavors of the ice cream bread.    So I know I’m late to the “quinoa party,” but have been thinking about joining in ever since I saw the Mexican version {mine shown} in the Breakfast Bowls feature in our 07.31.20 Salon. Then found tri-color quinoa and that sealed the deal. Note that though the recipe site shows slices of tomato and avocado and hard cooked egg as toppers, and the directions call for dicing and mixing in, I opted for chopping & topping and a swirl of hot sauce.    Bacon jam! Order it from Amazon or make your own, and then spoon it onto a burger, baked potato, grilled cheese, or a cheese plate. I especially liked it on eggs. Some of the commenters said they gave jars of it as gifts. I actually combined a few different bacon jam recipes from those I found on google.

   On the Table  

Feature – Baked rigatoni with sausage, fennel, and peperonata – cheesy too! 

Isn’t it great when you find a tempting recipe not only on the way to something else but also in a rather unexpected place. In this case the source is Williams-Sonoma, whose site I was visiting to find more information on the Dolly Parton baking collection mentioned above in our Shopping Finds.

Of course they do sell food, it’s just that I usually think of them more in terms of cooking and serving rather than prepping. But lo and behold the emporium’s site has a whole lot of recipes.

This one is definitely going on my do list. Hard to resist a winning combo of Italian sausage, three kinds of peppers, two kinds of cheese, and a new fave, fennel.  CS friends, even if like me you really, really, don’t like its siblings licorice and anise, give fennel a try – when cooked, it takes on the most wonderful flavor and texture.

Now one thing to note – the recipe calls for “prepared tomato sauce” which my best guess is just simply canned sauce. Amidst top ratings in the comments there’s a lesser one that refers to the sauce as bland, and I think I would probably have the same reaction. So, along with so much else good going on here, surely if we want we can add some seasonings, or use flavored tomato sauce or pasta sauce.

{Photo from Williams-Sonoma recipe page}

Next week – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Recipe    Williams-Sonoma recipe page    Williams-Sonoma cookbooks on Amazon

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make almond butter cups? Oh my, could this rival peanut butter cups? The actual recipe is titled Giant Homemade Almond Butter Cups, and AllRecipes says its prep is the “perfect combination of bitter, sweet and healthy.” And pretty darn easy too, just pouring melted chocolate into lined muffin cups, then balls of almond butter mixed with confectioners sugar, more chocolate, let sit on the counter, done!

Alexa says request: How do you make chicken parmesan roll ups? Now here’s something interesting that can happen with an Alexa request. If you follow a recipe to its source on your computer, maybe even just to print it, you could well come upon an alternative that you like even better. And I did! Now to be fair the original options were just fine, and I have absolutely nothing against the vegetables they included, but I wanted a dish truer to the classic and I sure found it in Chicken Parmesan Rollatini at Food Network Kitchen.

My request: Alexa, give me a cooking tip. She replies with “How to Cook for Just Yourself,”, something that may be exactly what’s going on right now. Among other points, it lists as a perk that you can always make meals that you, you, enjoy. It goes on to cover shopping, prepping, and storing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you what well known people have birthdays today – say Alexa, what’s the birthday roundup?

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, food, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Found this on the way to something else too – Chocolate Party Pie. Cook and stir 3 3/4 oz chocolate fudge pudding mix, 2 c milk, 2 T packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa & a slightly beaten egg in a saucepan on med heat until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat & blend in 2 T butter. Cool 5 min stirring twice. Pour into 8″ baked & cooled pie shell. Chill. Top with whipped cream. Easy pie-sy.

   I’ve previously mentioned how much I love Tajin, salty and spicy and citrusy, so good sprinkled on steak, eggs, raw veggies, corn on the cob, tacos, etc, etc, etc. Now I’ve discovered how perfect it is as the rimmer for a bloody mary. Doesn’t hurt to stir some in too! My market carries Tajin but if yours doesn’t and you want to try it Amazon does have it. {So, in the process of finding the link for you also discovered they have Tajin-flavored snacks}.

   Ha, found it! And not surprisingly, it was YouTube that served up this demo for making ginger syrup. What was a surprise is the connection to cocktails. I did gasp a bit when he threw out the strained ginger. Yikes, it probably wouldn’t have the strength of the original, but surely could be used in any recipe calling for ginger, just use more and that would be no problem as the recipe yielded at least a 1 1/2 cups of the stuff. As noted in a previous Salon, if you prefer pre-made you can find it at Amazon.

   “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

♦  ♦  ♦

CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

     Zazzle                                       SunFrog

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

eb4823      c74abc

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Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Bread, Oct 30-Nov 5, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites –     If you’ve been familiar with WalMart over the years you know that the company has regularly increased its emphasis on food. And now their newsletters include some pretty darn good looking recipes, such as a recent one for Apple Cider Glazed Salmon with the contrasting flavors of honey and whole grain mustard.    Yikes, at least six different gremlins can make our cookies go flat, according the this story we were re-directed to from the current “Today’s Fresh Finds” post.    It’s chili season! And this is really kind of interesting, 5 Secrets to a Healthier, Heartier Chili from Clean Plates, and there’s a lot of good emphasis is on the hearty part.

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Shopping Finds – A perk of watching Fieri’s GGG show is the possibility of discovering grocery store products you didn’t know existed. Though in this case maybe you did. Did you? – it’s bacon flavored popcorn.     But did you know about this, and oh yum, yum, yum. Reese’s peanut butter sauce {on Amazon}. Truth be told, I wish it had the chocolate too, but hey we can add that if we want. No disappointment indicated in the reviews, 4+ stars. Btw, there’s also a topping version.    And then kind of mashing up those two themes, a shopper on a more recent GGG episode introduced us to peanut butter powder. How the heck would you use that? Here’s what google has to say.

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Kitchen Talk – Nachos chillin’ out. Sort of a reverse of my Mexican salad {09.04.20 Salon}, a Dorito or corn chip base topped with smashed avocado, tomato, Mex onions, black olives, jack shreds, sour cream, cilantro and hot sauce {shown}.    Did you make any of the cheese pumpkins from our 10.02.20 Salon? Leftovers? With or without the olives and green pepper, let the whole disk sink into a bowl of hot cream soup.    My new favorite Food Network host brings us the show of the same name, Delicious Miss Brown. What comes out of this kitchen hits 10 on the comfort food scale, accompanied by a generous side dish of southern hospitality. Just one recent example, a scoop of butter-caramelized onions added inside a grilled cheese sandwich {and don’t spare the cheese}.

   On the Table 

Feature – Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Bread – just three ingredients!

Previously I’ve made this recipe with French Vanilla ice cream, and then Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. I found the texture of those two be midway between French bread and pound cake.

This one – you could frost. It comes closest to actual cake, a nice moist chocolate cake.

It’s good as is. It would be good with frosting. It was good with cherry pie filling, a Black Forest vibe, and also nestled into a bed of caramel or just crisped in a skillet. And as with the other two, it freezes very nicely.

All in all it’s such an easy prep. Just ice cream, self-rising flour and a bit of sugar, then into a small pan, bake and done.

 Original recipe in 07.17.20 Salon

Recipe Notes – I’ve learned: 1} You don’t need to buy premium ice cream but you do want to use good quality for the best texture, 2} The baking time can vary based on the flavor you use, so you need to test each time, and 3} While the bread is very good on day one, it’s even better in the days following. One other thing, though it’s fun working with gussied up ice cream, I really liked the French vanilla one best.

Next week – Baked rigatoni with sausage, fennel and peperonata – tomatoey, creamy, cheesy

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make Pizza Tots? Oh yum, tots with a surprise inside. Pretty easy too, simply a matter of mixing store bought shredded hash browns with eggs and seasonings and forming small handfuls of the mixture around mozzarella and pepperoni, then freezing and frying. And voila! Pizza Tots, on the Tasty site, demo included.

Alexa says request: How do make peanut butter cake? Tasty delivers again! The actual full title is Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake. Well, guess that pretty much tells us everything we need to know. Except maybe the good news that all the richness builds on the convenience of cake mix.

My request: How do you open a stubborn jar? Alexa sends us to Wikihow, and this is so cool. First are some ways to “get a grip,” then using tools to break the air seal, then a Community Q&A that addresses various tight spots, and finally a demo. By the time you reach the end, that lid shouldn’t stand a chance.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell a spooky story

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  I’ve been fascinated with Ferran Adria, motive force of the iconic El Bulli named World’s Best five times, ever since a long ago profile in Esquire. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my mind around having him attend one of our live Salons. The good news is, the fact that we have to link to this wondrous interview from Epicurious on our online get-together instead means we can all enjoy his extraordinary take on food, cooking, and life.

  I want to note that I did have the extreme pleasure of meeting his brother Albert, who needs to be acknowledged for all the behind the curtain work he did and does in the duo’s sideways-thinking, laboratory-intensive approach to what goes on the plate and how it’s to be enjoyed.

  Must love anchovies. Don’t? Move along, nothing to see here. Do? Then you’re going to love these throwback cocktail hour snacks – Anchovy Toasts, with 8 filets of the fishies minced into 4 oz gruyere, 1/2 c mayo & 4 T parm, on buttered toast, sprinkled with paprika, 5 min at 450F. From Playboy’s Host & Bar Book, originally featured in our 09.04.20 Salon on Amazon. For whatever molecularly-inspired reason {oops, some Adria sneaked in}, these go so very well with nicy, icy martinis.

  More foodie chat in the Salon. These veggie sculptures are just so cool, and really we could do many of these ourselves for our plates or platters or table. Take a veggie, take a knife, and go! Now since cyber stuff and I are not always bffs, this is likely going to be a two-step thing. When you click the link for the video the download will probably show in your lower task bar, and will say Done xxx. Just click the up arrow and then Open.

–  Note that this forwarded MP4 has been safety-checked by Avast. Our CS contributor, Patti Tripp of Las Vegas, says she would try it, but “I am the one who stuck her hand in a moving blender, so attempting this with a knife is, well, not the best or safest of ideas.”

  Be sure to see the recipe link above in the Alexa section for Pizza Tots.

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Bobby Flay’s Bacon/Tater Quesadillas w/Salsa & Eggs, Oct 23-Oct 29, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Squash season! While I like mine with just a bit of butter and brown sugar, I have to say there are some good looking renditions in Food & Wines offering of Our 36 Best Squash Recipes, such as mashed winter squash with Indian spices, baked butternut squash with cheese polenta, winter squash with gruyere gratin, savory ricotta squash tart, acorn squash saltimbocca. {thanks to Jeffery Martin at Wikimedia Commons for the photo}    We like to share stories on avoiding waste whenever we see them so hoping you’ll take a look at this one on storing sweet potatoes from Extra Crispy. Love sweet potatoes!    So, Well Done sent us to MyRecipes sent us to Reddit for this hack on heating two bowls of food at once in the nuker. I have not tried this.

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Shopping Finds – I know flavored syrups have been around for a long time, but was sort of surprised to discover how many infused maple syrups are available, and so many sound so good.  The link takes you to the page I saw on Amazon.    MyRecipes, especially as a protégé of AllRecipes, I think is a pretty trusted source. So I paid attention when they posted their pick for favorite pie filling. The winner: Duncan Hines Simply Pie Fillings & Toppings, available in apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, raspberry & strawberry.    Could help avoid waste? Amazon identifies this Automatic Food Sealer with starter kit as one of its current “Hot Releases.” Four and a half stars, Prime Eligible.

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Kitchen Talk – I’m inspired by the current Better Homes & Gardens to “put down the carving knife” and instead turn the surface of pumpkins, real or craft, into pop art. The cover punkin gets its festive look from tissue paper, Better Homes And Gardens Magazine October 2020while others in the story call upon electrical tape, cording, yarn, and paint – brushed on, splattered on, or a fun trick where you blow bubbles into it {don’t inhale}.    The other pic? Popcorn balls? Nope, but first, in our 09.25.20 Salon we linked a story on foods other than muffins you can make in your muffin tin. I have another way I like to use that pan, and that’s to freeze {covered} individual portions of various items, in the case here cooked macaroni. Also good for rice, cooked shrimp, stuffing, frozen veggies, cooked veggies, e.g. Just be sure to treat the cups with non-stick spray so the food can be popped out and into a freezer bag.    Another good use for the ginger syrup {09.18.20 Salon} – in a spicy stir-fry, a tasty offset to the peppers.

   On the Table 

Feature – Bobby Flay’s Bacon & Hash Brown Quesadillas with Salsa & Eggs

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Flay – briefly – and enjoying dinner at his Mesa Grill – not so brief!. No, you want to linger over this fiesta of flavors, a showcase for his passionate take on southwest cuisine.

And so I was drawn magnet-style to this quesadilla {OK, the bacon helped}. That bacon plus homemade hash browns join onion and peppers and cheese in a tasty tortilla stack, topped with a nice fried egg, fresh tomato salsa, and chopped chives.

A perfect way to start the day. Especially a day with a late and lazy start. Bloody marys anyone?

The recipe is on the Food Network site. If the same page comes up that I saw, you should be able to also scroll down for a demo showing pumpkin gooey butter cake.

Recipe   Flay’s cookbooks, Amazon     Flay items & other celeb chef items on our CS page

Recipe Notes – The recipe makes four very generous servings, and if there will likely be leftovers, just leave the eggs and salsa off the extra stacks and and freeze them. I diced the potatoes instead of grating and cooked them together with the onions, par-fried bacon, pepper and chile powder in the oil. The salsa has the unusual addition of honey and truth be told I was kind of skeptical about it, but in fact it brings a nice touch of richness to the party. Possibilities in advance: make salsa, cook potatoes, lightly fry bacon, chop onions & chives.

Substitutions if needed – while it won’t be the same intense flavor you could probably use chile powder in place of ancho powder.

Next week – Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Bread – sooooooo easy

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How to make French style beef? Oh my, a winner emerged in short order, a slow cooker treatment of a beef chuck roast, rich with broth, veggies, herbs, and a sun dried tomato tapenade. It’s Beef Provençale, from Food Network Kitchen.

Alexa says request: How to make cheese waffles? Among the results was an interesting take that went one better. Ham & Cheese Waffles, with those two guest ingredients going right into the batter. Served warm with butter and maple syrup. From Epicurious.

My request: Do you have a good Bolognese sauce recipe? I’m guessing a good many of you have had this experience too. You throw together an impromptu version of a known dish and it turns out great. But then somehow you just can’t re-create it and nor do any of the recipes you find. For me, that’s a Bolognese sauce. and under the banner of hope springs eternal going to try a 5-star one Alexa found from Side Chef, a site we just recently discovered. If it’s what I’m looking for, you’ll be the first to know.

And this unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – flip a coin {make your choice before you ask}

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Big kids tap into their inner little kids with, say, jelly glasses of . . . peanut butter whiskey. Called, and with good reason, Skrewball, it’s just as it sounds, whiskey and peanut butter which, as the maker says, “go together so well the make pb&j jealous.”  Those folks, the husband and wife creators and their team, have lots of fun on their website with the name and while there you’ll also see their hashtag, and meanwhile will leave it to your imagination.

  Good thought, broaden your sipping horizons even further! One thing may be of interest regarding cocktails — cocktails from around the world.  Sure, most everyone knows about margaritas and mojitos, but how about the lesser known cocktails like Pimm’s Cup (UK), Aperol Spritz (Italy),  Caipirinha (Brazil), Kir Royale (France)” – Linda K-P, Orlando

  Guessing there are some folks that can defy this promise, but for the most part this is a very welcome prospect – “spill-proof wine glasses!” They’re 12 oz and “naturally aerating.” Four and a half stars and an “Amazon’s Choice.”

   Btw, just as with the rye croutons, the bacon croutons in Kitchen Talk in last week’s Salon also make a mighty fine cocktail snack. Hot, warm, or cold.

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A Classic Canadian Sweet Treat, no-bake, Oct 9-Oct 15, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

Let’s Chat

Quick Bites – Salad greens, so crisp and fresh . . . until they aren’t. Why do they insist on racing ahead of other produce to go bad? Well, MyRecipes has some insights in that regard, and not only the “why” but also Exactly How to Store Salad Greens Until You Need Them. Salad saved.    That same post has an instructive article on when to use a food processor, when to use a blender, and when to just work by hand. See it here   CleanPlates is offering a free 10 day Wellness Tune-up, based on the belief that “most of the time, a few small tweaks to your routine, diet, or self-care is enough to make a difference in how you feel every day.” The link takes you to their site rather than the offer so you can check out the context.

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Shopping Finds – Have you discovered the Prepared Pantry? It sells all kinds of stuff to make your baking life easier but also routinely posts recipes and great tips.    So, I saw a reference on F&W’s Today’s Fresh Finds post about Amazon delivering fresh plants, and with the Chicago CS-er’s tip about rosemary in our 09.25.20 Salon still fresh in mind, started wondering if Amazon offers herb plants. They do, but the reviews were pretty dismal. The good news is there are bunches of herb starter kits that come with just about everything but a gardener.

{shown, the “paint & plant” pizza herb growing kit, clickable}

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Kitchen Talk – Did have some leftover cheese/condiment sauce from last week’s featured burgers, and the first re-purposing found it in a skillet with mac, a bit of cream, cooked shrimp, chopped almonds and parsley {shown}. For the rest I reached back through the decades for a impromptu version of a dish called Welsh rarebit, melty on toast with a sprinkling of crisp bacon. Sliced tomatoes good with this.    And that piqued my curiosity about the rarebit, so right to one of the favorite books in my library, Diner’s Dictionary, and it did not disappoint. Turns out it was originally called Welsh rabbit though it it did not originate in Wales and the latter was never in the dish. While it always starts with toast and melted cheese, ethnic variations may see other ingredients mixed with the cheese and various topping. Our version here with bacon and green onion would be a kind of Irish/Yorkshire mashup.    Have you looked at your rice cooker manual lately? No? So I came across mine in the process of looking for a different manual, and paging through it reminded me of the other uses it has, reheating rice, steaming veggies, et al.

 On the Table

From the title did you know what they are? – Nanaimo Bars!

These rich bars {according to google, say nuh NYE mo} are sure to be on the table at pretty much any holiday celebration or other traditional get-togethers in Canada. And it’s been ever thus for over seven decades. It has a rather colorful history on Wikipedia which is linked below.

And rich, oh yeah. {As shown, right} a chocolately, nutty, graham cracker crust, topped with amped up butter cream frosting, topped with a kind of ganache where the cream is replaced by butter. Indulgent!

Even so, I started thinking I would like those same flavors in a bar that was a bit less complicated, a bit less crumbly, and a bit less sweet, maybe more creamy. By the time I got through tweaking, ahhhh, we were looking at somewhat more than six degrees of separation from the original.

Say hello to – “NaNaNo” bars. Here’s {left} my version . . .

Bottom layer – 1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs, 5 T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 c chopped almonds, 1 stick melted butter, combined and pressed into an 8×11 pan lined with parchment paper {see Notes}.

Middle layer – 1/2 stick room temp butter, 2 T coconut milk {or half & half}, 2 T coconut pudding powder, 1 c confectioners sugar, blended smooth in a food processor, spread over crust {see Notes}.

Top layer – 2 T butter and 2/3 c bittersweet chocolate, chips or chunks, nuked, whisked, and cooled for 2 min, poured over, smoothed out. Cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile the original recipe I used, from Food Network, is linked below.

Original recipe    Other recipes on Google    Nanaimo Bars on Wikipedia

Recipe Notes – in the linked recipe: custard powder = pudding mix, and icing sugar = confectioners sugar. If you chill the crust it will be a little easier to spread the creamed layer, but if you don’t and a few crumbs pop through, no biggie, just creates a bit of a marble effect. While these are good right out of the fridge, let them sit out a while and they are transformed.

And a hint – while parchment paper is our friend when removing goodies from the pan, not so much when we’re first putting stuff in, instead sitting up high as if trying to survey the kitchen. So, just leave it in the that position, curved side up, and start piling the mixture into the middle and gradually flattening it out. Then hold the paper tight to the side of the pan closest to you and push the mixture into the far side and corners, then reverse and, hooray, all done.

Next week – Steak pizzaiola, where tender beef goes Italian in a big, robust way

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

So, pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: how to make sandwich skewers:  We chose to link the chicken and bacon shish kabobs, where the title ingredients share the perch with mushrooms and pineapple, and a sweet and sour green onion marinade is promoted to basting sauce. Yummers. From AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: how to make taco meatballs: They had us at cheese-stuffed. The Tasty site pulls all the right tastes into these cheese-stuffed taco meatballs, with taco chips for a corn vibe and taco-compatible jack cheese for the melty center. Salsa, sour cream, and cilantro top it all off.

My request, Alexa do you have recipes for vegetarian lasagna? Yikes, 25 come to the screen. But one of the 5-stars comes from a site new to me, SideChef. New to you or not? Proprietarily called, Vegetarian Lasagna, it uses tofu and cottage cheeses instead of ricotta but after that goes on quite the flavor spree and certainly doesn’t stint on the cheese working in three more kinds.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – ask you entertainment trivia

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

Cocktail Hour Buzz

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Friend Norene from the Midwest calls our attention to the growing trend of ghost kitchens, facilities professionally decked out like those in full service restaurants but offering delivery only. And now even national chains are dipping into this concept, including a couple in her area – and maybe in yours.

 In our 02.18.19 Salon, we talked about making garlic croutons to use up rye bread. Subsequently in our 03.15.19 Salon, we mentioned a few more uses for these tidbits including as a “cocktail companion,” and a new batch I just made served this very purpose . . . and very well!

  Letters, we get . . . uh, emails} “Years ago at a party I had a wonderfully light cocktail called a Butterfly. The only thing I recall is that it had two kinds of vermouth and was kind of fruity. But when I try t find it online, all the options that come up call for grapes and I know there were no grapes. I’m wondering if it could be in the Playboy book {09.04.20} you mentioned a couple of weeks back.” – Joanna T, Seattle

  You’re in luck  or at least I think you are. The book shows a recipe for a Butterfly cocktail made from 1 1/2 oz dry vermouth, 3/4 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz Red Dubonnet and 1/2 oz orange juice. “Shake everything well with ice. These Halloween traditions all have Irish originsStrain over rocks in prechilled old-fashioned glass.” And it does call this drink “extremely light.” Cheers!

  Planning a family night on Halloween? Turn off the lights, turn on a single flashlight, and creep each other out with these Irish tales about Oct 31 which the Celts called Samhain and believed it was when the veil is thinnest between this world and the otherworld. IrishCentral {source of the photo} tells all in Ancient Irish Myths That Invoke the Spirit of Samhain. Beverage of choice – maybe Bloody Marys?

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

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CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

       Zazzle                                       SunFrog

   

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

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Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburgers, Oct 2-Oct 8, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

Let’s Chat

Quick Bites – If you’re not a subscriber, may want to pick up the Oct issue of Food Network Magazine, loaded with ideas for turning food into edible Halloween decorations – pumpkin sherbet bowls, vampire donuts, apple monster mouths, banana mummies, candy infused vodka, so much more.    Here’s my own simple take, cheese pumpkins with black olive features and green pepper stems served on Triskets {American or loaf cheese, let sit out a bit so decs can sink in}.    Food Network keeps the holiday theme going with 30 hours of Halloween programming this month. See the rest of the story right here.

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Shopping Finds – If you have a Michaels near you, your crafty side can take a tasty turn. Really tasty, because we’re talking Oreos, joining candies and icing in a Spooky Graveyard Chocolate Cookie Kit. Wooooooooohoo.    So I had read about the scarcity of Clorox disinfectant wipes, just now googled and learned people are looking but not finding, one saying they’re still “near impossible to find.” But there are other ones on Amazon, and though the prices can look scary at first, the unit price is generally 12-19 cents. Worth a look.   I just love that my Albertson’s now is carrying Vienna hot dogs, sport peppers and yep the neon green relish. Miss those Chicago dogs!

Dog lovers, tees & mugs for 19 breeds, all say “I’m Being Trained By a ___” at BJN’s Eclectic Mall

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – Sometimes your mornings just cry out for an indulgence. Here’s how I solved that. Two toaster waffles, nice and crispy, filled with chocolate frosting and peanut butter. The fruit  😁  makes all the guilt go away.    Btw, a CS friend told me she used a waffle to make an extra tasty version of French toast. Why not!    Just bought chocolate brownie ice cream which in addition to being destined for any number of spoons will also be the basis for my next take on ice cream bread. Coming soon!

 On the Table

Utensils at the ready – dive in!

Let’s start with some ‘fessing up. I pushed and shoved those ingredients around so you could see all of them in the photo. In real life, the result of all those juicy add-ons plus sauces over and under is likely a lovely mess of stuff stacked on, and sliding off of, other stuff.

Now the cheese sauce might hide some of those artistic sins. But if it doesn’t – who cares, that’s half the fun and all the reason for the knife and fork.

No matter how it looks, it’s a super savory plateful. Here’s how it comes together. Start by heating an oven or toaster oven to 250F and setting aside the tops of four hamburger buns.

Whisk 2/3 c mayo, 1/3 c Ranch, and 1/4 c ea mustard & ketchup. Place the bun bottoms on a baking sheet or pan and spread each with about a T of the mix. Pour the rest into a medium saucepan over low heat.

Top the bun bottoms with slices of onion, tomato, pickle & cooked bacon, then into the preheated oven. Cook four big burgers to desired doneness. As they cook, slightly increase the heat under the sauce and add 12 oz of American cheese in chunks, whisking till smooth, then 2T beef bouillon.

Remove buns from oven and top with burgers and then cheese sauce. Serve with or without bun tops.

Recipe Notes – The finished cheese sauce measures 2 cups, allowing for a generous serving for each burger. You may not want to use it all or you may want to let others serve themselves.

Shortcuts – Prepare the bacon, bouillon, and condiment mix the day before. Slice the vegetables in advance, or even reduce the number of toppings {bottomings?}. If you like the frozen cooked burgers at the store, they’ll work just fine here too, and cook quickly in the nuker. Opt for easy side dishes, e.g., potato chips and deli salads.

Next week – a celebrated Canadian sweet treat, and a CS alternative

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

So, pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: how to make a cookie cheesecake. Along with some expected, but tempting nonetheless, recipes that came up, there was one that was a real category buster. Giada’s chocolate cookie cheesecake dip. Yikes, how good does that sound, and the six-ingredient list means it’s easy too. Demo and dipper ideas included on this Food Network page.

Alexa says request: how to make flavored popcorn. Several for the all time fave caramel. But so many other choices here, I’m going to link some of the more “say what?” flavors for popcorn: gelatin from AllRecipes, chicken dinner from Serious Eats {we’ve talked about these fine folks before}, pad thai from AllRecipes, chocolate orange brown butter from Food Network Kitchen.

My request: Alexa find a Cajun recipe from Emeril: Lots come up, all also from Food Network Kitchen. Let’s choose a real New Orleans classic, chicken and smoked sausage gumbo, based of course on the holy trinity and enlivened with seasonings. And a big bonus here is the prep for Emeril’s Rustic Rub.

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Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, national news, local news, sports, weather, skills, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, including Alexa usually guiding you through recipes step by step, on an interactive screen.

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Cocktail Hour Buzz

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Thank you, thank you! When I posted the bacon peanut butter corn muffins in the 06.19.20 Salon, “. . . those sound delicious.” And then later, “They are delicious!” – Dina Titus

  If I say leftover wine, and you laugh uproariously, move along, nothing to see here. But on the chance that phenom does occur in your kitchen, take a look at these 7 smart uses for leftover red wine.

  OK, I’m a total dolt about initiating anything on evites, but those of you savvy in this regard may want to check out hosting virtual parties on their platform. Have to say it does look pretty easy and says it’s free.

♦  Here’s something the whole food-loving family can gather around with fave snacks & beverages. The Hallmark series, Murder She Baked, revolves around a baker who has the unfortunate habit of stumbling upon dead Murder, She Baked: Complete Collectionbodies. In the course of dealing with family, juggling two men, and going where angels dare to tread, main character Hannah {Alison Sweeney} takes us into her Cookie Jar Cafe & Bakery, the front of the house for community interactions and, more to our point, the kitchen for spoonfuls of baking technique and culinary history along with teasing glances of fabulous baked goods. The link takes you to the series page on Amazon.

  As a side note, while watching a Two & a Half Men rerun, a scene with Jason Alexander involved peach cobbler. Then in short succession, one of the episodes of this series fully centered on peach cobbler. That was it, had to track down a good recipe for this sweet treat and that led to the featured recipe in last weeks Salon. Btw, the actress who plays Hannah’s mom, Barbara Niven, may well also be familiar to you.

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Cobbler – Peach, Pecan & a Touch of Caramel, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

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Alexa has been promoted! Now find her every week right here on the main Salon page

   Let’s Chat   

Quick Bites – Is your muffin tin phoning it in, just showing up for . . . muffins??? Let Food & Wine expand its job description with these 10 Spectacular Non-Muffin Recipes to Make in Your Muffin Tin. You can run the slide show or just scroll down on their page to find crustless quiche bites, mini black bottom cheesecakes, open face egg and ham sandwiches, maple-bacon popovers, brownie bites and the rest    Takeout is a nice indulgence, but if it’s a little more prevalent these days you might want to take a look at this nutritionist’s take on making your order a bit healthier with these 7 Simple Swaps on the Clean Plates site.     Indulgence meets healthy in this Cheeseburger Salad from MyRecipes.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – I don’t know about you but it seemed I never had enough spatulas . . . until I found this festive set. Plus a food brush! Right now the 7-pc spatula set is $8.99, Prime eligible, 5 stars, and an “Amazon’s Choice.”    Want to decorate the kitchen for Halloween? And to cite the spirit of the Salon – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you – Amazon’s got you covered.    If you’re having trouble finding bouillon powder, as I have, you might try the jarred bases which I have found at the grocery store – have to be careful of the saltiness but quite the flavor whammy.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – So, I finally took a look at the necktag that was on the ginger syrup {09.18.20 Salon}, and in   addition to a recipe for seasoned ginger party nuts, even more uses – ice cream, baked chicken, oatmeal {always like some help in that bowl}, yogurt parfait, chocolate cake, even cocktails . . . and roasted carrots to which I added a bit of butter, and mmm-mmm.    If you’re avoiding gluten, have I got a recipe for you. The title, Flourless Oat Banana Muffins, doesn’t do it justice given its flavor boosters of peanut butter, honey, spices and chocolate chips. Actually even better the next day.

      On the Table 

Peach cobbler – five ingredients – tons of yum

As this week’s title tells you, the peach filling has some company in the pan. Pecans for crunch, bits for extra richness.

About the bits. The recipe calls for toffee but once I spotted caramel chips, a substitution was immediately in play.

And this tasty dish couldn’t be easier. Layer, sprinkle x 2, stir briefly, sprinkle x 3. Ready to bake.

About the baking. This prep is actually designed for campfire cooking, buried in hot coals. It bakes in a parchment-lined Dutch Oven.

No problem. I used a 9 x 13 pan treated with baking spray. Then based on other cobbler recipes, baked at 350 for 50 minutes covered. Checking if it’s done all the way through can be dicey since the tester will be going through the fruit too. If you’re not sure, remove a scoop of the cobbler and use the tester on some of the cake that’s fallen to the bottom.

Recipe Notes – You could certainly still use parchment paper if you wanted. I think next time I would skip the brief stir, maybe instead just using the back of a spoon to press down a little bit of the cake mix. Sweetness is front and center here so if too much add a dollop of sour cream.

Next week – Knife & Fork Bacon Cheeseburger, savory sauce under and over

Recipe on the AllRecipes site    Cobbler cookbooks on Amazon

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

So, pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make a French omelette? Of the four that immediately pop up on the screen, we’re going to link to Chef John’s prep on AllRecipes because he is more detailed on what makes it an authentic French omelette, also shunning extra ingredients because as he says, it’s “just eggs and butter, no filling . . . 10% ingredients, 90% technique.” Demo too.

Alexa says request: How do you make banana bread cake? But the option from Food Network Kitchen takes it a big step further. Called Banana Bread Lava Cake, it’s rich in spices and of course bananas, but the star of the show, the “lava,” the secret ingredient – here revealed – is ice cream bars! This one also has a demo.

My request: Alexa, how do you soften hard brown sugar? Wikihow is cited for two solutions, one that calls for imprisoning the sugar with a slice of bread or apple in a plastic bag, the other pressing the nuker into service. But if you go to the Wikihow site for this advice you’ll actually find six ways.

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Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, national & local news, sports, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, alerts, Amazon delivery notifications, most security camera connections . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

{Echo owners, if you say Alexa play oldies {others too?} the lyrics scroll on the screen – let’s sing along!}

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦ Perfect for the food-centric chat in our Salons. “Parsley, thyme and basil are typical savory herbs used to enhance the flavor of meat. But my favorite herb is rosemary. It’s great with chicken, beef or pork, great flavor and great fragrance as the meat cooks. You’ll find it in many Spanish recipes.” – Pld, Chicago

{Photo from Amazon, source of a variety of herb seeds}

  One of perhaps the best pieces of advice from the Playboy book featured in our 09.04.20 Salon: Take care of all  the preliminaries hours before or, if possible, the day before the event – e.g., amassing ice cubes, polishing brandy snifters, shopping, cooking, marinating, table setting, disks for the stereo, setting out cocktail napkin napkins, or if that’s the plan, hiring help. And then the real nugget: during the party Relax! – “. . . enjoy yourself at your own party.”

  Well, we don’t know if Linus will see the Great Pumpkin for this first time ever this year. But what whiskey-sippin’ folks can see for the first time ever this year is Pumpking Pumpkin Whiskey, a sibling to the well-established Pumpking Imperial Ales by Southern Tier Brewing.  🍺  Cheers.  

  More foodie chat. The acronym DOP on such Italian treats as salumi, fromaggi, olive oil, balsamic vinegars, stands for “protected designation of origin” . . .  showing that it “is legally guaranteed by the European Union to be ‘authentic, or made in the original town or region with traditional ingredients'” (in other words: no mystery ingredients). This bit of instruction from Eately and thanks for making us smarter.

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Hearty Cheese Ravioli Soup, Sept 18-Sept 24, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Let’s Chat

Quick Bites – Take a dog to lunch? Turns out quite a few restaurant chains will welcome Rover or Fifi  🐶  and maybe even sweeten the deal with water and treats. Often the pups and their moms & dads are seated outdoors which many places are now emphasizing anyway. Here are a lot of sources on google  Milk Street fans, Season 4 starts Sept 19. Now the team is going on the road, in fact around the world, where they’ll, as PBS says, “meet cooks who inspire a new style of home cooking.” In my time zone, Saturdays at noon.

♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – On a recent episode of Fieri’s GGG one of the contestants selected ginger syrup for his dish – and that was new to me so looked for at the grocery store but nope, but thank you Amazon, found it there.    I guess we had to know it would be coming – face masks with food themes! I found these on the well established Eat This Not That site but the masks they show come from various sources so you may want to do a pre-check. If you do go on those sites, maybe even more food you can “wear.”

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk –  So far have used the ginger syrup on waffles and in tea. Much as I can’t abide ginger in baked goods, love it every other way and this joins that collection. How else might you use it? Here’s what google says.    Btw, did not waste that original caramel sauce from our 09.04.20 Salon, but instead mixed it with soba noodles, a little chicken bouillon, chicken, carrot shreds, topped with green onion & chopped peanuts. That worked.     My quest continues for a really good oven fried chicken recipe – you’ll be the first to know.

 

 On the Table

Cheese Ravioli Soup – just a big bowl of good

Such a satisfying dish, and thank you Taste of Home. Now, don’t be frightened by the long-ish ingredient list.

Step one, brown the ground beef, and then add and cook all the sauce ingredients.

Step two, cook the ravioli, combine with the sauce and heat through.

Step three, stir in parm, top with parsley. Done!

Even though I know this is a very tasty bowlful, I was curious why the recipe rated just 3 1/2 stars. Ha! we could have guessed this one – not like soup. The only other criticism was not enough ravioli for the sauce.

Commenters loved the taste and no one downgraded on this point. That’s all good in my book {bowl?}

Recipe    Taste of Home cookbooks on Amazon

Recipe Notes – I used frozen ravioli and worked fine. What else? just bring on the crusty bread.

Next week  – Peach Pecan Cobbler, a warm and satisfying fall dessert . . . or breakfast

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

Visit with Alexa on Amazon Echo right here in the Salon on our own CS page. In the chat this week . . .

Philly Cheese Steak Bread – three come up but we like the one “in a box,” crispy fried chicken, a wine joke {alert – groaner!}

Visit here with Alexa

Cocktail Hour Buzz 

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Jello takes its place among the very best party centerpieces. Whaaaaat? It’s true and to believe it you really have to see these jello cakes on the Food & Wine site and also recently featured in the magazine. High art worthy of a museum, and edible too. But don’t know who could bear to bite into these beauties.

♦  Love leftover makeovers! “My favorite way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Plop the potatoes in the middle of saran wrap. Using the wrap, roll into a 3″ log and seal. Refrigerate on a plate (it will leak). In the morning, slice into discs and fry in a sprayed pan for perfect hash browns.” – Bob & Colleen

This is probably more entertainment than research, but even so you might want to take a look at this brief video {X-rated for implied language} posted by Food & Wine. “Here’s What Bartenders Think of You Based on Your Drink Order.” I was watched it, was amused, then invoked that same implied language – OK, good, now just make my {darn} cocktail.

♦  “Never serve oysters in a month that has no paycheck in it.” – P J O’Rourke

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Kentucky Butter Poke Cake, Sept 11-Sept 17, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Let’s Chat

Quick Bites – Walmart offers daylong suggestions in the feature “Quick Homemade Healthy Meal Ideas for Busy Weekdays.” The trick here is to sneak extra fruits and vegetables into, e.g., smoothies, breakfast tacos &burritos, lunch wraps, afternoon snacks, hearty soups, and dinner sandwiches.    Did you know, maybe under the banner of any excuse for a party, over 100 countries celebrate Sept 17 as “Halfway to St Patrick’s Day”?    Bring it to the table with “All the Irish Potato Recipes you could ever need” {see Kitchen Talk} – and maybe a bit of corned beef and a wee dram.

  ♦  ♦  ♦

Shopping Finds – Well just in time for Halloween, Cello Cheese in bringing to market a pumpkin spice rubbed version of their fontals {a fontina sibling}, described as smooth and creamy, mild and sweet, and “wonderfully buttery.” On their site you can find Where to Buy  Culinary icon Ruth Reichl {see her storied career on her site} has several books steeped in the food world, but maybe none a better window on her approach to opportunities and challenges than “Save Me the Plums” {on Amazon}, her life and times as editor of Gourmet Magazine.

On BJN’s Eclectic Mall – Tired of the vitriol now routinely flying back and forth across the aisle in our governmental bodies from DC to local? My “Make America Decent Again” items {7 in all} send the message loud & clear. You can find some details below, all details at the BJN link shown.

♦  ♦  ♦

Kitchen Talk – I made the Champ {from potato story above, shown here}, basically mashed with green onions, but there’s some fun in the technique – served in individual bowls, it’s spooned up from the outside in so the taters can be dipped in a central well of melted butter. Btw, if you do want a recipe, you can click the link underneath in the story rather than going through their alternate process.    I continue to discover the many ways grits are great. The latest – topped with chili! and a little cheese  🧀  stirred into the grits can’t hurt.   Another goodie from The Food Lab book, featured last week on Amazon – to smash or not to smash? Your burger, that is. Turns out it’s a matter of timing. FL says, to end up with nice browning without losing juices, smash within the first 30 seconds of the patty hitting the hot skillet.

 On the Table

Kentucky Butter Poke Cake – even richer than it sounds

In this confection from the Betty Crocker site, there’s cream cheese in the cake, more cream cheese in the rich frosting that is poked into the cake and spread on top as well. And then stir both butter and buttermilk into the mix. This is a really good cake.

And it’s a big cake, so you can play. I topped part of it with the sliced almonds called for in the recipe, though I didn’t mix them into the frosting as specified. Other parts of the rich, creamy surface were treated to a dusting of cinnamon, and yet others a sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa. Though truth be told it’s fabulous just as is, unadorned.

Two really helpful items on the recipe page: a slide button that keeps your screen from going dark while you’re working, and a sidebar of expert tips. Thanks, Betty!

Recipe Notes – I left the frosting a little thicker so it wouldn’t soak the cake too much and accordingly poked with the blunt end of a skewer rather than a fork. Even in a pan slightly smaller than 9 x 13, my cake was done in 30 min, maybe because less wet. It also freezes very well, and in fact the texture seems even silkier when thawed.

Substitutions if needed – Other nuts, chopped, should also be fine.

Next week – Hearty Ravioli Soup, bountiful enough to be an entree

Recipe Betty Crocker cookbooks on Amazon Betty Crocker recipe page

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

Visit with Alexa on Amazon Echo right here in the Salon for this week’s chat – Bobby Flay’s Cuban hamburger, vanilla wafer cake, green onion-cheddar doughnuts

Visit with Alexa

Cocktail Hour Buzz 

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Food and Wine lifts the curtain – along with our spirits – on “Our Best Brunch Cocktails.” What makes them especially brunch-y? Starring roles for fresh fruits and vegetables, fruity liqueurs, colorful garnishes, even decorative ice cubes. 16 super sippers in all.

  Perfect for the month that also hosts National Cheeseburger Day, from a member of our Tasting Panel. “Do the readers know about secretburger.com? They’re staging cool events all over the country, through Sept 13, often benefiting charities, meanwhile treating diners to “secret” off-menu dishes created by chefs cutting loose from their everyday cooking. Everybody wins!” – Debbie, Las Vegas. Scroll down on the site to see about your town.

A bit of party advice from the Playboy book featured in last week’s Salon: “Meticulous planning, comfortable digs, elaborate platters may be important to your reputation as a host, but vital to it is your understanding that every prearranged drinking session calls for two kinds of alchemy: the first is mixing potables; the second, mixing people.”

  Regarding the former, “. . . their purpose is to create fun and amity.” For the latter, in smaller gatherings, “guests who’ll be as compatible as gin and tonic.” And for larger parties, “two or three abrasive acquaintances may provide just the catalytic force needed to transform a low-key soiree into an uninhibited revel – like yeast in small quantities, they often guarantee the lively but controlled fermentation on which good parties rise.”

♦  Good idea! “I get a lot of inspiration from the food I have when I go on trips” Ree Drummond on her Pioneer Woman show on Food Network

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