Southern shrimp & grits with “bonus soup,” Feb 14-Feb 20, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – more good press for eggs / power breakfasts / online food help    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – lawless Downton cookbook    FEATURED RECIPE – shrimp dish squared    TIP – save the avocados!    THE WEEK – pig pickin’ dessert / punch drunk sauce / another recipe source 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Another source weighs in on the benefits of eggs. And while pretty much this whole Clean Plates story is contained in the headline, “It turns out an egg a day isn’t so bad for your heart after all,” it goes on to detail the studies and source. Even better, it touts the eggy perks of delivering “a quick dose of protein and flavor to settle hunger in a snap.”

  The same newsletter offers a tasty and colorful take on “7 energizing breakfast recipes to help fuel your week.”  What you’ll find: an overnight oat prep, loaded egg cup, “best” green smoothie, breakfast cookies, breakfast sandwich, and two breakfast bowls. All look and sound quite yum.

  So, was perusing Paula Deen’s latest online newsletter, and don’t know if this is new or just never saw it before, but at the bottom is a link for Ask our Helpline. Looks like you can submit a question right to Deen or her team. Nice.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Ooh, naughty, “Unofficial”!

Guessing no laws were harmed in the preparation of this interesting book of recipes and tales. Meanwhile, what a fun look at history, all about food.

The promise is in the intro. “Indeed while the upstairs elite of Downton may seem miles – rather The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapés to Christmas Plum Pudding―More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairsthan feet – away from the downstairs inhabitants, servants and aristocrats alike share a nearly fanatic appreciation for rich food, a fact that quickly becomes apparent once you begin flipping through the “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.”

Some of those rich preps: Christmas pudding, beef Wellington, showy Duchess potatoes, scones with clotted cream, and jammy Bakewell tarts. One likely to be featured in an upcoming Salon is red wine braised red cabbage.

Ahhhh, maybe it is a little edgy, as a cover caution notes “This book is unofficial and unauthorized . . . not authorized, approved, licensed, or endorsed by Carnival Film & Television Ltd., its writers or producers, or any of its licensees.” Wonder if it arrives in a plain brown wrapper.

“The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook”

now {pretty much} ready for its closeup

The CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A classic Southern casserole and lots of it 

It doesn’t get much more traditional on the Southern table than shrimp and grits. Grits, whaaaat? OK, hold back your groans for a moment.

When you see the fine flavors in this dish you’ll be thanking the grits for being on the job to soak it all up. It’s rich with cream and cheese, savory with aromatics, kicked up with bacon, “souped up” with wine and broth.

Now, about that soup promise. In the description on the main page: “You’ll want to eat the ‘shrimp gravy,’ or pan sauce. It’s that delicious.”

That main page is titled “Casseroles to make every month in 2020” from Southern Living, a nicely reliable source of good recipes. The prep for the shrimp dish, this month’s selection, is linked below, and we’ll be featuring more from this feature in future Salons.

I haven’t tried this yet and despite the length of my to-make list, this one has a priority stamp on it.

Shrimp & Grits Casserole recipe    Southern Living  

  TIP  

So, why didn’t I already realize this trick 

As noted in a previous Salon, a way to make guacamole in advance is to mix all the ingredients, except sour cream and lime if you usually them. Then, top the mixture with some lime juice and a thin layer of sour cream, making sure to cover the mix completely, and then cover and refrigerate the container.

So recently, and atypically, I had some leftover chopped avocado. Yikes, can’t waste avocado, a permanent member of my personal food pyramid.

Light bulb comes on at 1000 watts overhead. Just like with guacamole, cover it with lime juice, frost it with sour cream, cover and refrigerate.

But here’s the thing. Forgot about it for five days. Nuts!!!

The good news, as you can see, perfect. Just perfect. Thank you lime juice and sour cream.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  On a recent show Ree Drummond made a “pig-pickin’ cake.” Eh? If she explained the name I missed it, so found out on good ol’ google that at southern pig roasts, rather than have the meat cut into slices or portions, guests  just pick off what they want, and so the event is known as a pig pickin,’ and typically this particular cake is served for dessert. So just like cake served at a birthday party is birthday cake, this one served at a pig pickin’ is pig pickin’ cake. It really sounds good with layers of yellow cake, mandarin oranges and pineapple plus cream cheese frosting.

  English puddings dating back centuries refer to a steamed or boiled dish, sweet or savory, fairly solid in texture, unlike what we mix from a package. I found this hot, citrusy Punch Sauce for those kinds of puddings in Dinner with Dickens, featured in last week’s Salon. It’s quite well named, counting wine, rum and brandy among the ingredients. I actually found it a little strong and tempered it with some honey.

  I did get a kick out of the note in the cookbook from the Pickwick Papers saying “if ever hot punch did fail to act as a preventive, it was merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.” Here’s a google page for the sauce, and the deliaonline one is very close to the Dickens prep.

  So, my old toaster oven gave up the ghost and so ordered a top-rated one from Hamilton Beach. Yikes, it’s didn’t look this big online, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be a good thing, and as a bonus has a convection function. Did have a few questions though and while I was on hold, among the recorded messages was the news that their website included recipes. Well . . . who among us despite data-pigging files online, bulging boxes, ready-to-burst notebooks, and overstuffed kitchen crannies, doesn’t want yet another recipe source. Wow, way more comprehensive than I expected, more soon.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / shrimp & grits-Southern Living site / all others-mine
  •  Link sources –  books-Amazon / shrimp & grits recipe-Southern Living site / pig pickin’ cake-google
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Ghiradelli lava cake, book on longevity and the who/why, shirts with message to DC, recycled taco holder, new foodie word, Aspen bonanza, best coffee cake, big cooking resource, wily ways with bacon

Last week, just below veggies ready for their close-up, the good egg, 12 tasty secrets, fat avoidance kindle book, Beef a la Mode/no ice cream, peanuts ‘fess up, pot pie upgrade, un-donuts, thank you chocolate pudding

Looking for something in CS?

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

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All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Old English Beef a la Mode, Feb 07-Feb 13, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – veggies ready for their close-up / the good egg / 12 tasty secrets    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – look out, fat    FEATURED RECIPE – Beef a la Mode, no ice cream    TIP – peanuts ‘fess up   THE WEEK – pot pie upgrade / un-donuts / thank you, pudding

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Love vegetables? Want to love vegetables? Let Jamie Oliver help with his PBS show, “Jamie’s Ultimate Veg,” designed to give veggies international flair and a starring role on the plate. Continuing Saturdays through Feb 22, in my time zone at 2:30p. Some interesting episode subjects: Bigged-Up Broccoli, Charred Salad, Bean Burger.

  The Well-Done newsletter poses the question: Are hard-boiled eggs good for you? Good news here, and some surprising news too. Even better, their take on the best way to make them.

  The same newsletter, same issue, teases us with this headline: “12 Secret Ingredients That’ll Make Your Cooking So Much Better.” Among the recipes with a secret, brownies, pecan pie, extra crispy roasted vegetables, impressive desserts, and the mysterious “cretons.” You can scroll down to see all the dishes as an alternative to the slide show.

Still dealing with a holiday “gift” of extra pounds and inches?

Are they still being unwelcome guests at your waistline and beyond?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form. There are also full chapters excepted into 99-cent books. All on Kindle, so you can just tap & start fat-zapping.

See all the Dieter’s Survival Guide books on this Amazon page

New Marketplace debuts next week

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Awesome beef roast with an English accent – yikes, this is good!

Well, there may be no ice cream in this Beef a la Mode but it does fold in some surprising spices more typically associated with dessert. Combined with the aromatics, the medley yields a full of flavor roast.

The recipe comes from the charming cookbook “Dinner with Dickens.” Notes tell us “Dickens writes about visiting Johnson’s famous à la mode beef house near London’s Drury Lane. and this is where he has David Copperfield treat himself to a ‘small plate of that delicacy.'”

The origin recipe, also shown on the page, tells us, “You may serve it up hot or cold.” Author Pen Vogler’s prep, “updated for the modern kitchen,” suggests we serve with carrots and greens. I actually put the carrots in the pan to roast with the beef, potatoes too, more opps for absorbing those flavors.

Dinner with Dickens: Recipes inspired by the life and work of Charles DickensIn page after page, foodie tales from the Victorian era accompany such historical preps as candied French plums, roly poly jam pudding, lobster patties, Yorkshire pie, tea cakes, and a libation called Smoking Bishop. Also, punch sauce which we’ll talk more about next week, when you’ll see how well named it is.

What makes this an especially nice gift book is a cover that almost has the feeling of tapestry. Right now at least, at a good price on Amazon.

Recipe    “Dinner with Dickens” cookbook

  TIP  

This is too important not to have its own spotlight

In the 01.10.20 Salon, in My Week, I referred to cookies I had made but without the usual peanut butter filling because they would be consumed by folks I didn’t know, and accordingly didn’t know if any of them might have peanut allergies. You can use the link if you want to go back and see how what I did at the time.

In that item I also made passing reference to a way that I had subsequently recalled that would allow you to make your favorite peanutty recipes and solve this every time, and it deserves more than that quick note. And that’s regardless of whether the ingredient was peanuts or peanut candy or peanut butter, or peanut whatever, and it would work for any type of dessert.

So obvious, I’m rather chagrined I hadn’t thought of this on my own. It’s simply a matter of topping the cake or cupcake or cookies or pie, et al, with whole or chopped peanuts.  It doesn’t have to be a lot – even a single peanut half sends up a red flag to anyone with this kind of serious allergy.

Shown are half peanuts on chocolate chip cookies baked in a mini muffin tin, and when removed from the oven stuffed with a small Reese’s peanut butter cup {the kind you unwrap}.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Do you ever buy pot pies from the deli in your grocery store for a quick and easy dinner? The ones from my market are pretty darn good, loaded with lean and tender meat. But here’s how they can be fairly easily upgraded – top them with your own gravy. And, OK, ‘fessing up, if I don’t have available homemade gravy I do use, and have ever since a high profile chef told me this is his plan B – dry mix. But here’s a big ps to that. No matter what kind I’m using – chicken, turkey, pork – I always blend it with a brown gravy one, really kicks the flavor.

  Puff pastry donuts – the rest of the story. In our 01.17.20 Salon we featured a demo by Mad Genius for making donuts with this pastry. Couldn’t find the sheets so picked up a package of Pepperidge Farm shells, dipped them in peanut oil and baked as directed. Let me take a moment here to say I share a lot of good stuff from my kitchen which might indicate there are no flops. Wrong! Usually keep those to myself.

  But, ‘fessing up, these guys didn’t bake right {the oil?}, fell apart when I tried to entirely remove the centers to look like donuts, and had to go back in the oven looking like so many onion rings until they crisped up. But I let them cool a bit and then hit them with powdered sugar. So, if you erase donuts from your mind, and replace that image with say the Italian cookie pizzelles, hey not so bad. Just . . . not . . . donuts.

  So, was looking for ways to use the rest of the chocolate pudding from our 01.24.20 Salon item on my version of pudding shots in the My Week section. And then, yay, decided to press it into service as yet another oatmeal helper. Not bad at all! And then staying in the cereal “aisle,” if you want to go all kid with dry cereal, put the pudding under it instead of milk or cream over it. Say, with peanut butter Chex. {OK, yeah, did that – nice combo!}.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / all others-mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe-CS recipe page / Dickens book-Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon / PBS-membership, not affiliate

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

So far next week: more egg bennies, energy breakfasts, celeb helpline, another Downton Abbey cookbook, Aspen fest, pig pickin’ cake, punch sauce, classic savory sauce

Last time, just below: F&W’s Best-Ever Dishes, foodie app, taming the late-night hungries, Marketplace announcement, 5-star seafood au gratin, taming the brown sugar, rye in what???, my pudding shot, taming the food budget

Looking for something in CS?

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

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All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Baked seafood au gratin, Jan 24-Jan 30, 2020

NEXT SALON FEB 7, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  New feature on the way 

I just love my Amazon Echo Show and as I noted before, was so pleasantly surprised to discover how food-oriented it is. But I realize not everyone has this device, so will be sharing some news, tips, recipes, et al, on a regular basis, starting soon, and on a page right here on our Salon site.

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

  TIDBITS – Best-Evers / this app’s for you / taming the late-night hungries    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – announcement    FEATURED RECIPE – 5-star seafood dish    TIP – taming the brown sugar    THE WEEK – rye in what??? / I take a shot / taming the food budget

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well, when a so respected food publication like Food & Wine offers up their 40 Best-Ever Recipes, it sort of snags your attention. So much great stuff! Guest-worthy poached eggs in a rich red wine sauce. Says here, ultimate chocolate mousse. Acclaimed Vietnamese chef’s sizzled pancakes with a savory filling. Julia Child’s ham steak in Madeira {she called it “a fast dish for fancy people”}. “Dreamy and homey” Breton butter cake. Star of the cocktail party, Tiki snack mix. And more, more, more.

  C’mon, get app happy. The new Food Network Kitchen app features star chefs cooking in real time in interactive sessions {yes, you can submit questions}, recipes, classes, episode reruns, even says grocery delivery {?} More details at the link just above.

  Oh, a pox on those late night hungries. But, yay, this kind of thing is right in Cooking Light’s wheelhouse. Their listing of Our Six Best Healthy Late-Night Snacks includes options that can fill you up without weighing you down. And if we might also modestly suggest our “Big Snacks and Subs{titutes} Lists,” two chapters excerpted from “Dieter’s Survival Guide” into a stand-alone Kindle book, 99 cents.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Marketplace is undergoing a remodel. Watch for a new, easier to navigate format. Coming soon.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Surf and . . . cheese 

I came across a recipe for seafood au gratin that actually seemed a little short on flavor, but was sufficiently interested in this kind of dish to turn to a source I often rely upon and that’s AllRecipes. Eureka and hooray!

The one featured here is generous with bounty of the sea and with just enough other stuff to enhance the stars of the show and hold it all together. Also nice that it yields a party size dish.

No party planned? It actually does freeze and reheat {gently} quite well {one comment, “leftovers were even better”}.

While I was fairly true to the recipe I did make some minor changes based on personal preferences. Interestingly, the comments show many folks tweaked and yet it still turned out good. Seems if you follow the basics of the recipe you can adjust and improvise at will. Majority of ratings are 5 stars.

Recipe  

  TIP  

Oh, bad word, bad word, bad word

That very well may be your soliloquy when you right-now need the brown sugar only to discover it’s turned into something that would be right at home in the petrified forest. Let’s just say, Drat!

Here’s what has worked best for me to prevent the sugar from ever reaching that stage. It starts with a glass jar with a tight-fitting stopper.

Tuck a one-gallon freezer bag into the jar and transfer the sugar from its packaging into this bag. Don’t seal it but fold the open end over to completely cover the contents, and then lay a folded dampened paper towel on top of it.

Last, place a plastic sandwich bag over the top and tightly insert the stopper. Depending on how long the sugar is stored, you may need to occasionally replace the moist paper towel.

Now, if despite your best efforts the sugar goes all concrete anyway, there are ways to rescue it instead of tossing it. The link below will take you to google’s offerings, and other one is for our handy little Kindle booklet that includes storage tips.

Softening brown sugar  ♦  50 Ways, 99 cents

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  In our 02.14.19 Salon, we talked about turning stale rye bread into croutons, as a topper for soup or salad, subsequently also posting that they could be popped atop seasoned sauerkraut or right into your mouth as a snack. Now Jamie Oliver has a sweet use for leftover rye – in easy chocolate cookies. That went onto my try-list right away. Btw, google says 100 grams is just over 3 1/2 oz.

  So, tried my own version of the pudding shots we featured in the 01.17.20 Salon. Here’s what’s layered in: caramel dip, chocolate pudding mixed with marshmallow vodka, repeat those two, then sour cream, chopped peanuts and chocolate sauce. If If I do say so myself . . .

  I recently heard some news on Food Network’s, “The Kitchen,” that unfortunately in general terms is not news to any of us. It has to do with how much the price of food has increased in the past 10 years. It’s the specific that inspires some gasps. 26% !!! Here’s one of the show’s episodes that focuses on budget-friendly dishes and shopping tips too. Here’s another.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – all are mine
  •  Link sources –  chocolate cookies/Jamie Oliver site
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far for Feb 7: ooey gooey oatbars, bacon x 10, cooking like the Dickens, peanut signal, pudding for breakfast, tried the donuts 🙄 , peasto???

Last week, just below:  cheesy chicken galore, pudding shots, cheeseboard upgrade, top-rated cheeseboards, Giada’s salmon – touch of spring, cheese storage, Tejano cooking, donuts from what ???, a tasty, testy past 

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

And continuing  the subject . . .

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

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

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

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

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

Cheeseboards 4 stars & up    Cheeseboard books 4 stars & up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just simply good 

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

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

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

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

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

  TIP  

But wait . . . there’s more

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

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

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

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

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

Cheese keepers, 4 stars & up

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

This week’s

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

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

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

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

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Shrimp curry with spinach a la Downton Abbey, Jan 10-Jan 16, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – dinner in 30 / toddy & bonus spoon trick / Chai goes “kookie”    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – busy person’s diet guide    FEATURED RECIPE – flavors burst out of history    TIP –your pans will thank you    THE WEEK – the peanut indicator / treasure trove of food resources / steam up, up & away

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I’m guessing pretty much every one of us could make good use of this. From Food & Wine online, 30-min dinners in an illustrated slide show with links to the recipes. You’ll find steak & chops, fish & seafood, pasta dishes, burger creations, veggie entrees, soup and eggs. I’m thinking of trying one of the chicken recipes, either the spicy Mexican one or the stir fry with Chinese cabbage.

  It’s sure the right time of year for this libation, and we can thank IrishCentral for a fine hot toddy prep. But what I found equally interesting is a tip embedded here. I haven’t had the nerve to try it and certainly not encouraging you to either – but if you do hope you’ll share it with the rest of us. Or maybe this is something lots of folks already know about and use. It involves placing a metal spoon into the glass which it says will keep it from breaking.

We have to guess this refers to when the hot water is added – clearly something is missing in that part of the prep. It would seem to mean some of the hot water is added to the glass in advance to heat it up, then discarded before proceeding with the other ingredients. I looked at some other recipes and most just put in everything at the same time. Cheers!

  And I just bet these would go great with that toddy. Chai-spiced snickerdoodles! Another flavorful winner from MyRecipes.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The “weight” is over! {or it can be}

Is taking off some pounds among your 2020 resolutions?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form.

You can see the full series, available on Amazon, in our Marketplace, .99-$2.99.

CS Marketplace on this site

  FEATURED RECIPE  

History in every bite 

This just might be high on the list of most fun looking at and for recipes. The Downton Abbey Cookbook serves up delectable back stories for all the preps, plus Downton tidbits, snippets of relevant dialog, and even how to host a Downton-themed party.The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Curries carry their own piece of history. To quote the book, “In season 4 {Rose’s father} is appointed governor of Bombay and moves to India, which at the time was under British rule: in 1877, Queen Victoria was declared empress of India, and in 1887 she had five Indians brought over to act as her personal attendants.” *

They continue, “British fascination with India went back much further, however, and the first curry recipes appeared in English cookery books in the eighteenth century. By the time Downton opens in the Edwardian period, curries were almost as British as fish and chips, and were often seen as a way to use up leftovers.” {kudos!}

What I found so amazing about this curry is that for all its simplicity, it’s loaded with flavor. And would certainly marry every bit as well with chicken or pork – hmmm, wonder how it would be mixed with just rice as a side dish or meatless entree.

*  This was the real-life basis for the movie, “Victoria & Abdul.”

Recipe page on this site    “The Downton Abbey Official Cookbook”  ♦  Other Downton items  

  TIP  

Save the cookware!

We can thank Cooking Light for this revelation about a possible mistake we’re making with our pots and pans and bakeware. One simple and effective way, they say, to prolong their life, and especially the finish, is to allow some cooling time before hitting them with water. See the full story here.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So I made cookies for some of my favorite people over the holidays and one of my favorite cookies is chocolate chip stuffed with a peanut butter cup. But what about possible peanut allergies for folks beyond the friends who may indulge without realizing there’s pb inside. So, instead used a caramel filled chocolate kiss. But afterward remembered something I’d read long ago which is – whenever this might be a concern, put an actual peanut, whole or chopped, atop the goodie. What a great idea. Next time.

  Do you have an Echo Show? I do now, the “8,” and among all the other features, what a bonanza for cooks. The rotation on the screen regularly features recipes and if you opt for one of them, a demo pops up followed by the actual prep in text form. And if you miss clicking it, you can just ask for it and sweet Alexa brings it right back. Or you can request a recipe and chances are several will appear as in the photo showing roast chicken options. Food podcasts too! What a fun and cook-friendly toy! {And no, not a freebie from Amazon}

  Could be my imagination. Often when I’m making stock, I’ll use a lot of water to be sure all the ingredients are totally immersed with plenty of room to frolic around as they cook. But then after they’ve done their best and are strained out, I let the stock continue to cook and evaporate somewhat to concentrate the flavors. When I was doing that recently I wanted to hurry the process but without boiling steam into the stock. Did this work? –  I turned on the vent fan and it sure seemed like those vapors stepped up their ascent into the ionosphere.

This week’s: 

  •  Photo credits – book/Amazon, all others mine
  •  Link sources –  books, movie, Echo/Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Tex Mex cookbook, seafood au gratin, cheesy chicken casseroles, pudding shots, cheese board upgrade, puff pastry donuts

Last week, just below: top tasty recipes from 2019 on CS

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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“Multi celebs'” hearty, entree-worthy Tuscan soup, Dec 13 – Dec 19, 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 – Our measurement equivalents page / PBS upcoming cooking shows / stress less  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – fascinating chef memoir    FEATURED RECIPE – super satisfying soup    TIP – it’s easy . . . or easier  ♦  THE WEEK – edible wreaths / breakfast-dinner do si do / sweet fun 

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  As you cook and bake, bake and cook, did you know you can find a whole bunch of “how much?” answers on our Measurement Equivalents page? You’ll find spoons to spoons, spoons to cups, cups to ounces, plus drops, pinches and dashes. There’s also a link to the AllRecipes conversion chart for baking pan sizes. And finally, a list of common ingredients translated to spoons and cups, ounces and pounds.

No Passport Required  PBS has you covered with some nice holiday cooking shows, and others. The first one – this very night – launches season 2 of No Passport Required, a culinary journey across the U.S., starting with Seattle. Each week super chef Marcus Samuelsson, he of the incredible backstory {his book}, introduces us to a particular city’s take on American cuisine and culure.

  On 12.20 we take a seat at tables across the country with Lidia Bastianich. Also on 12.20 join the celebration of the America’s Test Kitchen 20th Anniversary Special {looks like it might be on tonight too}. Then on 12.21 it’s feasts and more on their Create track’s Joy to the World. Finally, on 12.22 virtually open The Houston Cookbook. Check your local listings for all this foodie fun.

  Nice little tip I found, actually in the HGTV Magazine. A bit of a stress buster as you prepare holiday feasts. In essence it says, concentrate primarily on one main dish, and then supplement with starters and sides you can make in advance and serve at room temp. And may I add . . . some prepared dished from your market make that part even easier, and no guilt allowed.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Celeb chef recipes – and it gets even better from there

World renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has given us a memoir that’s as easy to consume as his acclaimed cuisine in its multi-awarded forms. We’re virtually at his side as his takes his apprentice test in France, travels the world with the French army, polishes his skills in a succession of Michelin-starred kitchens, suffers setback, and celebrates triumphs.

And regarding the setback and triumphs, and especially the very last one – with his team. Always with his team. And with that team, he now oversees, directly or via a license agreement, about 40 restaurants around the world.

A personal note is sounded right at the start when he tells us why he gives such enormous credit to his mom, not only for her cooking mastery but as well for her devotion to quality, service, and a solid work ethic. The latter was essential since she cooked lunch and dinner for a large family and on-site business staff, leading him to say about the home kitchen, “I basically grew up in a restaurant doing 60 covers a day.”

The book is called, “JGV / A Life in 12 Recipes,” and the subtitle is so relevant because those preps mark notable moments or turning points is his storied career. They may seem long, but part of each one is like a one on one chat about the recipe, including his recounting of the POTUS-noted pea guacamole controversy. I’ll be making his carrot sauce for seafood, and will of course share.

When you see that the book rates 3 1/2 stars from six people, I encourage you to look at the detail. There’s a 3 star review that takes issue with the editing, then a 5 star and 4 star. The other three are ratings with no reviews and no sourcing. Here are some other views. All in all, I found this such an enjoyable and enlightening read.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “JGV”     His “Home Cooking” cookbook    His other books 

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Pagesend a message to all of DC, “Make America Decent Again”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Acclaimed chef Curtis Stone is just the start 

This is sort of a hybrid celeb chef creation. With all the root vegetables, it’s primarily Curtis Stone’s version and what I particularly like about the way he makes it is that the veggies stay in instead of flavoring the broth and then being discarded, and the bread stays out, which is to say served alongside the soup rather than cooked into it.

And the demo in the link below shows a collaborative effort with Stone and Rachael Ray, during one of her broadcasts, both handling the prep. But then there are other cooks for this broth {and, no, they didn’t spoil it} too, touches by Giada and Ann Burrell.

So, building on Stone’s recipe, I added a can of diced tomatoes and {my own contribution} a cup of vegetable juice in place of 2 cups of the chicken broth. Also spinach {which Stone condones} instead of kale, and a lot of it, half a bag in fact, along with a half package of fresh basil, as well as a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper.

A good crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment, and Stone’s recipe calls for ciabatta which would be great. But I found a Tuscan loaf in my grocery story, and that seemed only natural.

Stone’s Tuscan Soup recipe    Other ones on google     Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

  TIP  

“Easy does it” appetizers or mini desserts

In our 07.12.19 Salon we featured phyllo cups and fillings, one of the Tasting Panel selections. These handy little holders are available already shaped and baked from the grocery store or Amazon {despite seeming quite delicate, mine from Amazon arrived fully intact}.

Shown here, just a couple of possibilities from opposite ends of the spectrum. An appetizer filling of eggs scrambled with sausage, onion, green pepper and cheese. And then a dessert version with a layer of caramel {from a store-bought tub} topped with a layer of ganache, though truth be told you could certainly just spoon on a thick hot fudge from the fridge, such as Mrs. Richardson’s.

Want to make it even easier? Put out the empty shells and a variety of fillings and let your guests create their own little dessert buffets. That also would mean no waste from shells with moist fillings that would not survive as leftovers.

See more possibilities in the July Salon linked above and a Food Network slide show linked below. All so festive and perfect for holiday get-togethers and all such fun whoever fills them up!

Phyllo cups at Amazon  Food Network article

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of my favorite things to make, and give away, this time of year is edible wreaths. Really pretty easy, basically the same prep as the classic Rice Krispies treats, but made instead with corn flakes to simulate, along with the help of some green food coloring, foliage. The original Kellogg’s recipe calls for making this cookie size and sometimes I do this. But more often I make them a little bigger or a lot bigger. Also in place of the red hots I use red M&Ms, attached with a bit of sugar water. And one time, instead of wreaths I shaped the entire mixture into a Christmas tree and then used all colors of M&Ms as ornaments and melted chocolate for the trunk.

  Here’s what happened. Had taken some of the turmeric eggs {07.19.19 Salon} and a container of rice out of the freezer to make, along with some cooked salmon, kedgeree for breakfast, only to discover two surprises. Ham slices in with the eggs and some corn nestled next to the rice. Had also taken out a container of my cheesy potatoes as a side dish for the dinner steak. Cut up some onion to start breakfast and the wheels began to turn. Hmmmm. Cheesy potatoes, ham, corn, onion – sounds like a pretty good hash to me, along with salt & pepper and some parsley, sauteed in butter, paired with salad. Yep, parts of breakfast became dinner, and to counterbalance, that dinner steak became the next day’s breakfast, nestled alongside eggs & toast.

  So, we end the last of our regular Salons for the year on sweet note that turns a holiday classic into a whimsical treat. The prep’s pretty sweet too. Cooked sweet potatoes, mixed with melted butter and brown sugar, formed around a marshmallow, rolled in crushed cereal, baked until heated through and a bit of the mallow peeks out.  I used peanut butter Chex but next time thinking pecans or walnuts. Good & fun!

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources – measurements/CS, all books/Amazon, HGTV/HGTV site, Stone’s recipe/Rachel Ray show, items on Offerings page/Sunfrog  
  • Partnerships – Amazon, PBS {member, not affiliate}, items on Offerings page/SunFrog

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

Next week: Top gifts for cooks featured this year in Marketplace, many with short shipping times

Last week, just below: thaw it fast, apple crisp punch, Depression-era dinners, handy kitchen organizers, hot fudge pudding cake, peel ginger?, eggy love, salad-style burritos, heating up Parm corn butter- two ways

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Resolution?

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

Getting the kitchen better organized!!!

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

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

                             

 

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

Kitchen organization items, 4 stars and up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Who might like a warm bowl of fudgy comfort food? 

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

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

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

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe    Hershey’s recipe page  

  TIP  

To peel or not to peel?

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

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

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

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

This week’s

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

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

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

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

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Bacon-Pimiento Cheese Dip, Nov 22-Nov 28, 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 – say Hi to pie / gravy trick / food vs sleep     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – baking book from the best    FEATURED RECIPE – all the right stuff    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK –  another Parm corn butter app / jar salads & other easy lunches / a quote to love

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Here comes pie season! America’s Test Kitchen helps us kick it off with its article, “A Slice of Pie.” You’ll find some tips on pie baking, a link to their pie book, an offer for their pie book, and their recipes for Perfect Pecan Pie, Apple Slab Pie, and The Best Pumpkin Pie.

  Afraid the leftover gravy might run out before the leftover turkey and stuffing do? No worries, because MyRecipes is here to tell you “How to make a rich, flavorful gravy using bouillon cubes.” And in fact you could use this prep anytime a gravy craving hits and the freezer isn’t cooperating.

  Insomnia? Don’t make it worse by indulging in “7 Bedtime Snack Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Sleep.” Even better, this Cooking Light article tells you why each of the items is a zzz-killer and, even better yet, what to have instead. It’s not about deprivation but rather, smart choices.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“Classic, can’t-fail recipes for a lifetime of happy baking”

How’s that for a cookbook promise??? And do you know why we can fully believe that – because the source of these recipes is Maida Heatter, “Queen of Cake,” three-time Beard winner, Beard Hall of Fame inductee, contributor to the New York Times, and creator of numerous baking books.

Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of CakeShe left us just this year, at age 102. At age 100 she took the stage to receive one of those awards and then starting chucking wrapped brownies into the crowd. Thinking she probably didn’t slow down after that either.

So here’s a collection of her favorites – cakes, pies tarts, muffins, brownies, cookies – complete with tips and techniques for the entire process. Two things quickly become obvious. One, Heatter really favors chocolate And second, the recipes often seem long, but that’s good news because she pretty much talks you through all the steps.

Here are just a few of her famous confections I’d like to make:  Budapest Coffee Cake, Bull’s Eye Cheesecake {this one is like a magic trick}, and Peanut Butter Puffs. But first of all her Chocolate Intrigue, “a moist cake with a fine texture and an extremely generous amount of chocolate. It keeps well, slices beautifully, and is quick and easy to make” – wow, are those ever all the right words {and btw, has a secret ingredient}.

Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking” – 4 1/2 stars on Amazon    Other Heatter books

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

A natural for the party table 

Yikes does this bacon-pimiento cheese dip look good. Flavorful, versatile and easy, just like we like it, right savvy CS friends?

The only cooking step could be the bacon. Or, as the prep suggests, use fully cooked bacon. After that, it’s just mix it all up, pour into a baking dish, into the oven, and then say c’mon, c’mon, c’mon until it’s done.

Serve with crackers and veggies as shown. Or other veggies, or crisped pita or tortillas, or sausage sticks. Or? And maybe a toast topper the next morning.

This tasty dip is on the Kraft/Food & Family site. Be careful, there are other tempting recipes on that page that beg to be added to your collection, like the chicken enchilada stew.

Kraft recipe  

♦  TIP  

Timely

In the process of looking for something else, I came upon my gram’s bread recipe. Oh my the memories of those heavenly loaves.

That immediately went on the do list for fall baking. And in a case of happy coincidence, Ina Garten had a bread baker on a recent show and he did one of those things that when you see it you say, well duh, of course.

When he put the dough in the bowl to rise, he sprinkled some flour on the inside of the bowl just above the loaf-to-be. So when it does rise, it won’t stick to bowl. Great idea.

It was timely for me and hopefully for you too. To paraphrase our featured author, Happy Baking!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I’m really liking the pureed version of the Parm corn butter {11.01.19}. And I may have discovered my favorite way yet of using it – to cook scrambled eggs. Just melt it in the pan, stir around the eggs till everything is incorporated, and enjoy. Because of the Parmesan already in there I didn’t add any salt but did hit it with a good shower of cracked pepper.

♦  Oh yeah, this is an idea for us. It’s not totally new, but it seems most often the jar trick has to do with ingredients for something to bake, and of course nothing wrong with that at all. But here, the jar holds ingredients for {usually} a salad, one of the “5 Quick and Clean Lunch Recipes That You Don’t Have to Reheat.” from Clean Plates. For mine, I went south of the border with avocado, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, cheddar cubes, black beans, lettuce and then ranch dressing, Btw, this 6″ jar yielded an Elaine-worthy “big salad.”

♦  Even though baking guru Maida Heatter is no longer among us, her 102-yr-old self was sure here long enough to pen the intro to the latest collection of her recipes, featured above. In that preamble, after recounting an incident where she was watching a tv doc talk about ways to reduce stress, and she yelled at the screen, “Bake cookies!,” she added these lines that I love: “Baking is a great escape. It’s happiness. It’s creative. It’s good for your health. It reduces stress.” Amen to that dear one.

So far next week: cinnamon cake with chocolate chile frosting, chocolate Yule logs, pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes, holiday decor for the kitchen, Maida Heatter’s bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, Andres’ veggie upgrade, taming the marshmallows, a new way to glaze, all-in pie crust

Last week, just below: Thanksgiving help, cheese help, Cookbook Club help, join Bobby Flay in the kitchen, tunnel of fudge cake, tv “guide,” frozen cauliflower goes good, Parm butter 2.0, Twain quote

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, cheese dip/Kraft, others/mine

Link sources – Heatter books/Amazon 

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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Fudge-filled blast from the past, Nov 15-Nov 21, 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 – Thank-full help / cheese help / Cookbook Club help    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – join Flay in the kitchen    FEATURED RECIPE – timeless tasty classic  ♦  TIP – tv “guide”    THE WEEK –  frozen, really ??? / Parm butter 2.0 / Yay Twain

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  The Create Channel by PBS is bringing “Thank-full” to your livingroom for Thanksgiving help in your kitchen. Kevin Breton, Sara Moulton, Vivian Howard and the crew from America’s Test Kitchen, plus style expert Christy Rust, come together to deliver tips on what goes on your table and for the table itself. In my directory, Sat Nov 23, 6am-noon & 6pm-midnight, repeats Nov 24 from noon-6pm, and again on TG day from 6am-noon.

  Plan on setting out a cheese platter this holiday season? Take a tip {or more} from Food & Wine Top Ten, by learning “6 Common Cheese-Serving Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”

  So, have you and maybe some like-minded friends ever thought about starting a cookbook club? It’s much like a succession of potlucks but with each dish tested from a particular cookbook. The discussion then centers on not just the food but also the book. As well, the subject of the book becomes the theme of the dinner. In the article, “How to Have a Successful Cookbook Club,” MyRecipes shows you the ropes.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bobby Flay in home kitchen mode

Kind of nice to see a celeb out of the chef whites and more into our realm, as captured in Flay’s new “Bobby at Home” cookbook. And it becomes extra endearing when you see that he dedicates the book to his mom, Dorothy Flay, saying each page “is filled with the spirit of her memory and a lust for life that only she could attain.”

Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors from My Kitchen: A CookbookFlay calls this a collection of favorite dishes that he serves to family and friends. And at home, he says, “it’s a pace that’s steady but focused and where the food is always abundant and served family style.” And as well not too different from us CS folks, those gathered eat, drink, play games, listen to music, even “solve the problems of the world.”

And here’s most of all what the chef says this book is all about. “Don’t just think of these dishes as a means to feed someone, but as a way to gather the people in your life you want to spend quality time with . . . I hope they bring as much joy to your table as they do to mine.”

Here are some of the dishes that I look forward to putting on my table: almond crusted baked manchego, red chile caesar salad, green chile cheeseburger, coconut red curry spot prawns, chocolate hazelnut crema catalana. The book also delivers Bobby’s essential pantry & equipment guide, clever cocktail preps, and basics that Flay calls the building blocks he uses to start and finish his dishes with flavor.

“Bobby At Home” cookbook, 4 1/2 stars, Prime eligible, big discount, at Amazon

Flay’s other books    Flay’s DVDs

  FEATURED RECIPE  

 Jump into the way-back machine 

Where we re-discover one of the most notable winners in Pillsbury’s annual Bake-Off® Contest. Yep it’s the Tunnel of Fudge Cake from 1966, where magic happens right in the bundt pan.

Not familiar with the mysterious transformation that takes place as it bakes? An inner ring of fudge, a melty Tunnel of Fudge Cakechocolatey surprise, is revealed when this famous treat is cut into slices. And then a cocoa-rich glaze takes it right to the wonderful brink of wretched excess.

As the recipes instructs, “don’t scrimp on the nuts, or it won’t work.” {No idea why} Also scroll down to see the note about testing for doneness.

And another nice thing when you scroll on the page. Yet other very fine recipes. Sweet bonus.

Recipe

  TIP  

Write on!

This is quick and simple and if it’s something you’re not doing, I hope you will find it helpful. It’s always part of my routine now.

It’s just this. I make sure I always have a tablet and pen at hand when I’m watching a cooking show. Some of you may prefer to do this on your electronics.

Whichever it is, you’re always ready to make note of a cooking tip or technique, a recipe you may want to check on the show’s site, a cookbook featured during the broadcast. Easier {for some of us anyway!} than trying to remember it all.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  A tale of two veggies, one canned, one frozen. Oh yeah, fresh is best but can’t compete with the storage perks of those in the pantry of freezer. But, ummm, those guys need help. I recently tried whole canned green beans in the hopes they’d have a little more life than the frenched one. Nope. So, two steps. First, drain and pour into a jar of dill pickle juice. Second, chop and hide in salads. Now just came across “6 Ways to Make Frozen Cauliflower into Something Delicious.” The roasted version does sound promising.

  So, as much as I enjoyed the Parm corn butter mentioned in our 11.01.19 Salon, made as the recipe specified, I found a way I think like it even more. Pureed. Here, you see it melting on a toasted baguette, all snuggled up to some baked mostaccioli.

  Paging through my charter issue of Milk Street magazine, subtitled “The New Home Cooking,” I came across a favorite but long since forgotten quote from Mark Twain: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside” {in some citations, “a success”}. Thinking the antacid industry could adopt this as its motto.

So far next week: bacon pimento cheese dip, jar salad {& other easy lunches}, best yet for Parm corn butter, primo baking book, pie tips & recipes

Last week, just below:  Irish Whiskey pumpkin pie, save on NOWFE tix, what to do if you’ve eaten recalled food, kicky kitchen timers, savory sweet potato casserole, marshmallow equivalents, clever waffle appetizers, cinnamon apple pull aparts, saving the casserole 

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 – cake/Pillsbury site, paper & keyboard/Pete O’Shea, book/Amazon, other/mine

Link sources –  all Flay items/Amazon, recipe/Pillsbury site, cauliflower/MyRecipes. Milk Street/magazine site

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

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

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

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

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Good timing!

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

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

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

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

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

Full array of timer choices

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A surprising mix of ingredients = sooooo good

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

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

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

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

  TIP  

Who doesn’t love marshmallow stuff???

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

Marshmallow Equivalents

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

And

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

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

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

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

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

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

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

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at 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 – NOWFE pic/NOWFE site, timers/Amazon, Stellino/his site, others/mine

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

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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