Celeb’s Bloody Mary Gazpacho with Seasoned Shrimp, June 11-June 17, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Though Prepared Pantry sells mixes and other baking necessities, owner Dennis Weaver is quite generous with posting even recipes that don’t require those goods. And this one, for the classic cheesy brunch dish, is a keeper. How to Make Any Quiche You Can Imagine shows us a basic prep and tips, then one for the classic Lorraine, variations, and then helpful resources.        Need to peel tomatoes? Here’s what I did as an alternative to the dip in boiling water, wait to cool, method. Halved the matoes and placed them cut side down on a plate, covered with a paper towel, nuked for 1 min. Depending on their size may take less or more time. Cooled quick, peeled easy as you can see on the front one.        If, as many do, you believe food can be medicine, this list is for you. Foods that can clear arteries, on google.

Shopping Finds – A name we’ve trusted for years has published a new cookbook with a title that can warm the hearts of all Cs-ers. Easy Meal Prep by Good Housekeeping offers preps developed by their test kitchen chefs, “using their best time-saving, flavor building wisdom combined with their genius plan-ahead tips and tricks.”        When a recipe calls for a certain amount of an item – meat, fish, taters, or even ingredients in some baking preps that go by weight rather than volume – you can always get it just right with a kitchen scale. I use mine {shown, an “Amazon’s Choice”} quite a bit, more than I expected. Nice that they’re quite inexpensive on Amazon, some with discounts or coupons. The photo link goes to that product, and the blue link goes to scales that are 4 stars and up.

This week’s spotlight CS page – Are you looking for a cookbook for yourself or as a gift? Below the CS-published books on our page, you’ll find links to Amazon’s best sellers and top rated ones, and as well popular ethnic categories, all just a click away, CS Food Books & CookBooks

   On the Table  

Feature – Bloody Mary Gazpacho with Shrimp, snack & cocktail all in one!

We’ve seen a lot of recipes for gazpacho flavored bloody marys, but loved coming across this more substantial reversal. We can thank Adam Richman,  known for Man v Food, The Food That Built America, and Modern Marvels, but here showing us how this is done on the Today Show.

Richman remixes all the best flavors of both and then adds the tasty bonus of flavorful shrimp. In sum, pretty much snack squared.

Now in his intro he notes the novel notion of stirring vodka into soup, but then the prep doesn’t really include this, though it is in the shrimp marinade. Of course if the chef isn’t looking you could certainly tip a bit of the spirit into the gazpacho anyway.

Many layers of flavor going on here, and especially love the add-in of olive juice and the generous hand with the hot sauce. Fun to serve by the cup for happy hour, or upgrade to a bowl for lunch or dinner.

Recipe Notes – I pureed only half of the vegetables and left the rest diced, which created a juicier consistency. And if you do that might want to make spoons available, and as well some crusty toast for dipping into those juices. Also, when the shrimp were pretty much done I turned up the heat just long enough to create a nice char.

Next week – Watermelon/Chocolate Dessert Board, oh my

Recipe  ♦  Cold Soup Recipe Books, 4 stars & up on Amazon

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & 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.oll

Alexa says request: How do I make cinnamon roll s’mores? Tastemade’s prep starts with croissant dough that you gussy up, roll, slice, bake. So already I’m thinking maybe you could do this with refrigerated dough cinnamon rolls. Selective shortcuts are a good thing. And now I’m wondering something else – how it would work to pull out some of the center of each baked roll {wait, don’t toss, save for a snack} and tuck the marshmallow half down inside. Or . . . just do it as specified. 😁

Alexa says request: How do I make 40 garlic clove chicken?  Let’s set aside the fear right here. You don’t have to peel them! Nope, the cloves cook along with other ingredients to flavor browned chicken thighs and then emerge ready to pop out and be scooped onto crusty bread. This dish is from Tasty and there’s a demo too.

Alexa says request: How do I make peach caprese salad with balsamic cherries ? Is this the perfect warm weather salad or what? Fresh peaches stand in for the usual tomatoes, but mozzarella and fresh basil are still checking in. And then there are the cherries, yummed up with not only the balsamic but as well olive oil, shallots, s&p. And as a bonus, this Katie Lee medley on Food Network is quite pretty.

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, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon 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

   Well maybe it depends on the size of your appetite {or mouth?}. Either way, these tasty Two-Bite Parmesan Biscuits cozy up quite nicely to your preferred adult beverage. Freshly grated parm {and maybe herbs} add savoriness on the inside and crunch on the outside. From Food & Wine.

   Food Network brings some tasty fun to the party with Mini Meatball Sliders, created by Trisha Yearwood. Meatballs seasoned with store-bought pesto and other fine flavors nestle into mini potato rolls along with some marinara, yours or not.

  Food & Wine checks back in to complete the happy hour equation with these 33 best rosés to drink right now. Domestic and imported, exceptional quality “at every price imaginable,” pricing from everyday to collectibility, many styles, all so nice for the season.

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

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

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

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And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> 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 ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Melinda’s Tropical Shrimp Cocktail, April 23-29, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Leftover ham? Thankfully there are lots of ways to re-purpose it. But here’s another option, at least for some meals. Leave the ham as is in beautiful slices and let variation check in as tasty platemates. You can go big in your side dish choices with 101 from Epicurious or tame it down with 19 from AllRecipes, all ham-friendly.      We’ve talked before about, what to me anyway is a relatively new term, Pantry Meals. To avoid a trip to the store or maybe even to avoid waste, dip into the goodies already on hand. Here’s yet another take, “14 Recipes You Can Make Using Pantry Staples,” from Food & Wine.     So, Ree Drummond’s “perfect” spinach salad {04.09.21 Salon} sure looks like it can live up to its billing. But decided to make it and see for myself. Gotta say, pretty darn close. I did add a few halved cherry tomatoes for color.

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Shopping Finds – We hardly ever see butter knives on the dining table anymore, but a newer version just may become a staple in the kitchen drawer because it can rescue us from a culinary problem – hard butter. As you run it over the top of an uncooperative stick, a lineup of small holes in the blade pick up curls that can quickly soften to usability. For bread. For pancakes. For baking. And? They’re called butter spreaders, but you have to be a wee careful because some just regular butter knives on the Amazon page also use this description.     No, we don’t have an affiliation with Oreos even though this is the second mention in a couple of weeks. But came across these Birthday Oreos on Amazon and they are just so festive, so cheery, so-gift-ready.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – With June weddings just around the corner, time to think about bride gifts. One with a whimsical touch is our pretty, flowery “Just Married” tee. For the honeymoon trip, to relax into the day after the ceremony, or just to say, “Yep, did it!” On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Shrimp cocktail goes Caribbean, in a fresh & spicy way

It’s first important to note that this recipe comes from Melinda, known for decades as a major force in the hot sauce realm. In fact, I blame, uhhh credit, them with my own introduction long ago to the wonders of habanero peppers.

Melinda doubles down in this prep with the distinct potential to move the cocktail into incendiary territory. But what makes it all quite manageable is that the pepper’s legendary heat comes up against a counterbalance of cucumber, tomato, pineapple, orange, avocado, and more.

A really nice mix. Small servings would make a good first course or addition to the buffet table. But it’s also substantial enough for more generous scoops atop lettuce, spinach, or other greens to serve as a satisfying lunch or dinner.

Btw, still not hot enough for you? Do as we did and drizzle on a bit more Melinda.

Recipe Notes – The recipe actually specifies grapefruit and suggests orange as a sub, which what I did choose.

Next week – Chocolate malt brownies with malt marshmallow frosting

Recipe    Hot sauce cookbooks, 4 stars & up

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & 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 a croque madame casserole? It’s probably not too far fetched to call a croque monsieur the national sandwich of France. Simple as it is, the secret is in the top notch ingredients – crusty bread lightly grilled, lean ham, good Gruyere, homemade béchamel. Add a fried egg and it becomes a madam. While most I’ve seen were open face, I’ve also come across ones that were regular sandwich style with double bread, enclosed like a croissant, or even stacked up. But until Alexa put this on the screen, I’d never encountered the croque madame casserole – and glad I did. From Epicurious.

Alexa says request: How do you make chocolate covered pretzel toffee? So, chocolate covered pretzels have been been satisfying our sugar cravings for quite some time. Serious Eats sweetens the deal with the addition of rich toffee. Here’s the recipe, credited to Lucy Baker. Thanks, Lucy!

My request: Do you have a recipe for baked hot dogs? The actual reason for this request was a guess that if such existed it would deliver an easy way to prepare several franks at once in the oven. Not only did a prep like that come up from AllRecipes, but even better for Baked Chili Hot Dogs. You can probably predict the ingredients. But what’s helpful here is quantities, pan size, time, and temp.

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, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon 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

   Wait, what, they’re keeping stuff from us??? Food & Wine tells all in 12 Wines That Serious Collectors Don’t Want You to Know About. There’s also a link in the story for best Prosecco rosés to buy now.

  The inspiration goes back to a coffee shop in suburban Chicago where our group convinced the owners to combine the olive burger and cheeseburger and make us olive cheeseburgers. Now, here it is in crispy snack form – brown 1/3 lb ground beef {fine crumble] with 2T minced onion and s&p, then add 2T minced pimento olives, 1T mayo and 1 t ea mustard & buffalo ranch. To assemble: Lay six 6″ eggroll wrappers on a work surface with the points toward you. Place a slice of American cheese on each, about a 1/2″ in from the point closest to you. Divide the meat mixture evenly, covering the cheese slices. Fold up the corner closest to you then roll it up, tucking in the sides as you go. Moisten and press to seal any open edges. Place seam side down in a baking pan treated with non-stick spray. Brush very lightly with peanut oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake at 400 for 10 min or until golden. Note that you can certainly substitute equal amounts of condiments of your choice. And then of course it’s easy enough to make multiples of this recipe. And called? Mini Olive Cheeseburger Eggrolls!

   Have you noticed – dips are almost always hits on the snack table. MyRecipes shows us how to mix it up with 18 Things to Stir into Mayo for Instant Sauces & Dips. The good news is that most of these tasty add-ins are likely ready and waiting in your kitchen.

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 food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> 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 ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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So fun, Hasselback Pizza Chicken, April 9-April 15, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Have you heard of this? Tea latte, officially dubbed London Fog. The basics are tea and steamed milk and then customization sets in. What’s your pleasure? Perhaps vanilla syrup or brown sugar, other sweeteners, maybe a touch of lavender. Thanks to Google see it all here, how to make or where to buy.      Love Oreos but hate the gluten? Rejoice! Yep, there are now gluten-free Oreos. Regular and Double Stuf. See them on the Oreo site.      Burger lovers love burgers anytime of the year, but as the weather turns balmy, there just seems to be something extra special about those tasty patties, in the pan or on the grill. For folks who might like to change up the current faves will want to take a look at the Best 33 Burger Recipes from Food & Wine.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve played a lot recently with sparkly and colored sugar. But here comes a whole different take – sparkly syrup! Found Strawberry Sparkle on Amazon – I couldn’t really see glittering in the pix but one of the reviewers who had poured it into sparkling waters said, loved watching the sparkles swirl around the bubbles. And a company called Runamok {not familiar with them but shows the lock icon} offers a Maple Sparkle Syrup. Btw, on the Amazon page you can also find jars of mica, the stuff that creates the blingy magic.    For you, for someone just setting up housekeeping, for your cookster friend? Wowsie, 24-pc kitchen utensil set, #1 Amazon Best Seller, Prime eligible, $24.99.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item Who’s rescued a dog from a shelter and given it a loving forever home. You? Someone you know? This mug not only showcases that good deed in a kind of whimsical way, but also just may encourage others to go forth and do likewise. “I’m being trained by a sweetie I adopted from the shelter.” Find it right here on our CS mug page. Or choose a tee instead on our CS T-shirt page.

   On the Table 

Feature – Hasselback Pizza Chicken, easy fun

Once again Alexa popped up a recipe where resistance was fu-tile. And so here it is, “upstairs,” in the Featured Recipe spotlight.

This is so fun. Like chicken parm meets pizza meets a technique usually confined to the potato province.

I did take a couple of CS-liberties here. Marinara instead of puree. Pepperoni instead of salami. But you know what, it sure seems the original would be great too.

I also experimented with cooked chicken breasts from the deli counter, baked until heated through and the cheese was all melty. Worked just fine.

I opted for fries and slaw as platemates, but think pasta or even risotto could work well. Some kind of salad is almost always a good counterpoint.

Thanks, Tasty!

Next week – Creamy topped caramelized pineapple, quick and easy

Recipe  ♦  Chicken Cookbooks, 4 stars & up

♦  ♦  ♦

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & 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 perfect spinach salad? So, when that popped up on the screen sort of had to see how it might live up the hype. Here’s what backs up the hype for a perfect spinach salad – peppered bacon, onions caramelized in the bacon fat, mushrooms also sautéed in the fat {with license to add more fat if needed}, baby spinach, and – look out – more bacon fat in the dressing  {cardiologists, look away}. From Ree Drummond.

Alexa says request: How so I make potato cannolis? As the description says, Think of this as two potatoes for the price of one. That’s because the shell is rolled and crisped potato slices, and the filling is creamy mashed potatoes, mixed with Gruyere and little hits of nutmeg and salt. A sprinkle of chives adds a touch of color to the fun. This recipe comes from Tastemade.

My request: Show me some Nutella recipes Of the bunch that she pulled up, I think the one going on the to-make list is the Easy No Bake Nutella Pie from AllRecipes. Btw, the results also included a couple of ways to make your own version of Nutella.

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, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

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

  Eately offers up some wine suggestions for the snack table and the sweet table. The page also includes a link for their wine & cheese guide.

  Our CS Tasting Panel judged this a hit. Chicken Parm Dip! Starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken {yay!}, then gets saucy and also adds in seasonings and cheese. Serve piping hot from the oven with crostini & veggies as dippers. And be prepared – it makes a lot. The good news, so many tasty ways to use the leftovers.

  Who loves margaritas {hand raised}? If you can still find the April/May issue of Taste of Home you’ll find 10 ways to gussy up the classic. Can’t find. Well then, double down instead with this page on their site, “20 of Our Best Margarita Recipes.”

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 food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

      ♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

 

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> 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 ©2021 CooksSalon.com

eb4823     c74abc 

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Oh my, Chocolate Fudge Party Pie, April 2-April 8, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Remember our fast, easy way to color eggs with food color pens. See our 07.26.19 Salon for tips & details.      They’re not just for people anymore. What? The recipes on MyRecipes. Here are their 13 preps for pets. If you have any concerns about these preps, please check with your vet.      Sometimes the headline just pulls you in and then the opening line seals the deal – like this one, “What if I told you that I could guarantee perfectly cooked, perfectly tender pork chops, every time?” It turns out How to Cook Tender Juicy Pork Chops Every Time from the kitchn is a matter of cut, brine and oven.

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Shopping Finds – You don’t have to be too many pages in to “Open Kitchen” to realize that all of the preps a re just so pretty, so party-ready. And that’s all the more notable because tons of work is definitely not part of the equation here. Both aspects are pretty well covered in the claim that this cookbook is “full of contemporary, stylish, and accessible dishes that will delight and impress with less effort.” By Susan Spungen, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover and kindle, Prime eligible.       What would we do without whisks??? But does your inventory include this French design? Here’s where it shines – anytime you’re prepping say a sauce right in the pan, this is the one that incorporates those ingredients that try to hide all around the bottom edges, often missed by the pointy guys. Set of two mini French whisks, $5.90 on Amazon, 4 1/2 stars, Prime Eligible.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Stake you claim right on your mug. “In This House I’M the Celebrity Chef” On our Food-Themed Mugs page right here on CS. Also says it loud and clear on our Food-Themed T-Shirts page. This same saying is also available on an Apron on our Zazzle page.

 

   On the Table 

Feature – Chocolate Fudge Party Pie, a festive delight in every bite

Party? Well that can be, as our CS watchwords say, for a crew, or for two, or just for you. The festive spirit knows no limitations.

And with that in mind we put the spotlight on a big bunch of decadence. Borrowing a line from Reese’s, not sorry!

The original {shown in CHB, 11.06.20 Salon} on a somewhat ancient newspaper clipping, calls for a cooked filling. This re-do takes a clue from our Bailey’s chocolate pots {03.05.21 Salon} and replaces the egg with cream cheese for no-cook, no-bake {except for the crust} prep that’s still pretty faithful to the original.

Here’s what I used: 8 oz cream cheese, 1 c milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 T softened butter, 3.5 pkg chocolate fudge instant pudding mix, 2 T ea cocoa and brown sugar, all in the food processor. Into the baked crust, covered in the fridge for a few hours or till completely set. Easy!

Serve with whipped topping. Or our new friend, colored sugar. Or both!

Recipe Notes – You probably could use a ready-made graham cracker crust but I really think that could send the sweetness over the edge. Why a party pie? Thinking because with so many rich ingredients would probably be for a special occasion . . . and because it would likely be the star of any get-together.

Next week – Hasselback Pizza Chicken, as tasty as it is fun

Recipe  ♦  Pie cookbooks on Amazon, 4 stars & up

♦  ♦  ♦

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & 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 donut bread pudding? So, what actually comes up is even better, Cider Donut Bread Pudding. And if the picture tells the true tale, it is beyond moist. I’m guessing the large apple and cup and a half of cream help in that regard. This is 5 stars, from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make Shepherd’s Pie Potato Bowls? What an interesting dish. And quite rich, with the major culprit being butter – brushed onto the potato skins, mashed into the potatoes, mixed into the shepherd’s pie ingredients, and then crowning the finished “bowl.” The recipe comes from Food Network.

My request: Do you have recipes for leftover ham? And up came preps for soups, salads, sandwiches and casseroles. This one was kind of an unusual application, Ham, Bean and Kale Slaw by Serious Eats. But I was drawn most of all to the Sheet Pan Cubanos by the easy method, and the interesting option of using chicken or turkey instead of pork.

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, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

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

  Campari fan? You’ll probably want to take a look at these 18 Delicious Campari Cocktails to Make at Home from Food & Wine. If you’re new to this Italian aperitivo note that F&W calls it herby, citrusy and pleasantly bitter. It’s also an essential in the popular drink Negroni, starring in recipes all over google.

   Foodtalkdaily seems to favor the sweet side of the prep spectrum {not that’s there’s anything wrong with that!}, but here it gives us a delectable appetizer, baba ganoush. While you may already be familiar with this smoky eggplant dip, what you may like to know as well is that it satisfies a lot of diets – being keto, gluten-free and vegan. The site suggests serving with pita, crackers or sliced veggies, and the next day I’ve discovered it’s a quite nice spread on morning toast.

  There’ll be no just sitting around a table for these folks. Nope. Sipping meets adventure in these Most Extreme Wine Tastings Around the World. Think undersea to high in the sky to deep in a cave and more.

   “Unquiet meals make ill  digestions” – Shakespeare {pic from Wikimedia}

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 food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

      ♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

 

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> 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 ©2021 CooksSalon.com

eb4823     c74abc 

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Smoky Poblano Corn Pudding, March 26-April 1, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – While cold March winds are still a-blowin,’ nice hot chicken soup remains a welcome counterpoint. And it’s Better Homes and Gardens at your service with bowls of their Best Recipes, many hearty enough to easily serve as a main meal.      Meanwhile MyRecipes has their own Best, and it’s a goodie. Our Best Restaurant Copycat Recipes {and some packaged goods too}. Yay! Legendary rolls, breads breakfasts, soups, sandwiches, sauces, desserts and beverages, ethnic specialtes, even Bailey’s, Nutella and Chili’s Baby Back Ribs      Oh what fun this colored sugar is! Especially as a decorating substitute for those {hand raised} who do not like sprinkles. A glittery upgrade for simple peach ice cream and whipped cream  A sparkly update on bagel and cream cheese. And as if donuts aren’t already fun enough, a step even beyond the chocolate frosting. Link goes to Amazon.      See Cocktail Hour Buzz below for yet another happy app.

{PS on the sugar – as much as possible add it just before serving because being sugar there may be some melting. Although if it’s going onto something sturdy like cream cheese, as on the bagel here, you can let it just blur into a different pretty pattern. Something more liquidy like whipped topping, maybe not so much.}

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Shopping Finds – Have you heard of the sausage company called Seemore??? Oh my goodness wait till you hear their flavors. Chicken Parm, Chicken Soup, Broccoli Melt, La Dolce Beet-A, Loaded Blue Diamond Almonds, Bold Spicy Dill Pickle, 6 OunceBaked Potato. In a sausage! All can be ordered directly from them. I have to say I’ve never heard of these folks before, but their products are sold at Whole Foods and Amazon.      So, I had this somewhat addictive spicy dill snack mix, that was then {how rude} discontinued. Went online to see about something similar. Did, but wow, some unexpected pricing.Can This Help You FINALLY Quit Smoking ??? Finally found something not only dilly and reasonable but also a brand name. Blue Diamond Bold Spicy Dill Pickle Almonds on Amazon, and maybe at your own market.

This week’s featured CS item on Amazon – If quitting smoking is still one of your 2021 goals, maybe this can help. Our Kindle book of reinforcements about all the good to be gained and the bad to be gone when you kick this butt. Use with or without other methods. On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table 

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & 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 banana split cake? And it’s a no-bake cake! A vanilla wafer crust is layered with a cheesecake-like mix, then topped with crushed pineapple and sliced bananas, and then non dairy topping, chopped walnuts and maraschino cherries. This prep is from AllRecipes.

So, a couple of notes. First, you may want to be a bit more generous with the walnuts. Second, ummm, a most important classic topping is not represented – chocolate syrup! which you are of course free to add, or maybe chocolate chips on top.

Alexa says request: How do I make bacon jalapeno chicken? So, while this is a fairly simple  and most appealing dish, it’s based on a Traeger Grill. If you have one, yay, here’s their recipe. Meanwhile so the rest of us don’t have to miss out entirely, found these Chicken Bombs with Bacon and Jalapenos on AllRecipes. Oh boy, Monterey jack and cream cheese are wrapped up in there too, then all glazed with bbq sauce.

Alexa says request: How do I make smoky poblano corn pudding ? The smoky and the poblano elements start off this recipe with a trip to the oven for the peppers to get nice and charred. They then merge their smokiness with butter and whipping cream, cheddar and chives, to turn the frozen corn into a beautiful casserole. Thanks for this super side dish also goes to AllRecipes.

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, shopping lists,  delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

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

  Sparkly sugar comes to happy hour. And its sweet contribution so nicely plays against this vodka sour. As you can see, I didn’t use it in the usual way. Instead of upending the glass into the sugar thus creating only a narrow coating inside and out, I ran the cut lime about a 1/2 inch down around the rim on the outside, then rolled the glass back and forth on a band of the sugar. This method also means no sugar on the inside to be washed away as you make the drink. This sugar on Amazon.

   Like your beer well aged? Archeologists have uncapped quite a discovery in Egypt – what’s regarded as the oldest biz-size brewery in the world, dating back over 5,000 years. OK, probably no suds left in these tanks, but it’s estimated that at its peak, the facility could pour out 5,900 gallons of beer at a time. Turns out though most of the output was used ritually rather than for consumption. Cheers! {or not}

  While I don’t have an Aldi’s in my town, their map shows a bunch east of the Mississippi and even a sprinkling on the other side of the river. And so for all you folks in Aldi towns, here is the Well Done Newsletter’s report from EatingWell on best wines there under $15.

   “Life is a combination of magic and pasta” – Federico Fellini quoted in Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy”

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Easy Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, Feb 12-Feb 18, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Hello, bacon lovers! And rejoice as msn/lifestyle brings us these 10 most Creative Bacon Dishes from across the country. And I know all you clever CS-ers can replicate these bacony foods and beverages right in your own kitchens.     As far as we can tell, these foodfests are still scheduled in these locales for this year. South Beach, May 20-23.  Aspen, Sept 10-12. Austin, Nov 5-7.  Food + Funny. On Feb 17 PBS/Create is teaming chef Curtis Stone and chef/comic Alex Thomopoulos for a “Moveable Feast” through Australia.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve already seen ice cream for dogs. But here’s what’s new – ice cream for dogs from Ben & Jerry’s    In Amazon’s Hot New Releases, and “hot” applies doubly here – Mott’s Hot Apple Cider Keurig pods.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item  If we thought the new year would see high fives across the aisle and a bipartisan chorus of kumbaya in govs in DC and beyond . . . nope! Let’s flash this message everywhere we can.  See all 5 “Decent” items on our Eclectic Mall page.

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Kitchen Talk – Here’s one of those magnetic headlines I came across from MyRecipes. Why Snack Dinner is the Best Thing You Can Make for Yourself Tonight”  Wow, there are some fine looking assemblies here. But shown is the plate we featured from our cheese board in the 01.22.21 Salon and to the article’s point, it sure did add up to dinner.   So, had a lot of Genoa salami hanging around and decided to put it in the food processor with the other ingredients that would typically go into ham salad {including peanuts, love peanuts in ham salad}. Turned out good. But, duh, now had even more leftovers. Hmmm. After using some for sandwiches, mixed the rest with egg and bread crumbs, browned in a skillet, and then I had something I could freeze. Some has already come back out to join eggs and salad for a boffo brunch.    When you’re making chili, e.g., do you brown the meat trimmings and add veggies to make a stock? Me too. Then usually strained, defatted and made it into gravy. But recently instead added into the chili. Turned out to be a tasty idea.

   On the Table 

Feature – Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie

For being so simple, this savory treat from Food Network is a supremely satisfying dish. Tater tots, which are already somewhat seasoned, make a tasty base for an easy combo of cheddar and bacon, later joined by sauce and chives.

You know what’s a big bonus? That sauce! And as a double down, you’re likely to have some left over to kick up other preps you creative CS-ers can imagine.

One thing, looking at FN’s rendition {link below} the light color of the sauce makes me think they pulled back on the Sriracha. Depending on your heat tolerance, might want to taste as you mix.

And an egg good is so good on here. But just take a look and you can see how it’s sort of a natural playmate for these particular ingredients.

And with eggs, what a great centerpiece for brunch, especially joined by guac, tomatoes and olives. But you sure don’t have to wait for Sunday.

Recipe Notes – After the tater tots are baked, the assembled dish needs to bake for only about 5 minutes.

Substitutions if needed – Thinly sliced green onion tops can stand in nicely for chives. Also, you could certainly consider other cheeses or a combo.

Next week – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, starting with store-bought cookie dough

Recipe  ♦  Tater Tot cookbooks on Amazon

Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & 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 No-churn Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream? Oh my, with a title like that about all we need to do is add this recipe link. Maybe just note that both the peppermint and the chocolate make more than one appearance. From Food Network. Really sounds good.

Alexa says request: How do I make Mexican Cornbread Salad? This is nice, something like a 7-layer salad but as the title suggests with a decided south of the border accent. Colorful too! See it here from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: Play the cookie dough secret video  Well, this couldn’t be easier. Chill the dough – 30 min in the fridge or 15 in the freezer. It says the fat will melt more slowly in the oven and thus help prevent overspreading. As a bonus chilled dough is easier to handle, and sturdier for cut-out cookies. Left it in too long? Just let the bowl sit on the counter until the dough softens a bit.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play sleep and meditation sounds

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, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

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

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

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

  CS Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson gives five stars to a recipe she passed along for a sambal sauce to be drizzled on cod, but as she and I noted it could be equally good on other fish, maybe even chicken. I’ve since made this sauce, and btw did use it on cod, and my palate and I 100% agree with her rating – sweet and spicy, tangy and tasty. You can see it right here on parade.com.

   How fun would this be for a sweet finish to cocktail hour? A cousin to last week’s tie dye cookies but this time it’s candy all the way as once again Trisha Yearwood shows us how to play with our food. White chocolate meets pastel wafers to create bark that’s an edible work of art. Melt x 5, spread, drizzle, swirl, then chill {both you and the confection}. Done!

   A pop quiz – when are ice cubes not cubes? When they’re spheres or hexagons or sticks. Or opt for classic cube shape but tiny or HUGE. Many trays are made of silicone or other easy release material and some come with lids. All right here on this Amazon page.

   Here’s a whole bunch of stuff we love tucked into one book. It’s Susan Spungen’s new work, “Open Kitchen,” a place, her site says, to “welcome company and enjoy togetherness.” It goes on to describe her entertaining approach as a “‘get-ahead’ cooking philosophy that ensures streamlined, stress-free preparation, so you can spend more time opening your kitchen to new menus, flavors, and guests–effortlessly.” Kindle and hardcover on Amazon.

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

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

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

                       

Looking for something in CS?

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

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

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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.
♦  ♦  ♦
And thank you Chef

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

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

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     Zazzle                                       SunFrog

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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

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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.

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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?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

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.

Want to join 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?

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

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Cobb Salad goes global x 3, July 31-Aug 6, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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We want to help us all stay safe – and find joy in the kitchen, our own special haven

  COMFORT FOOD  

Salad at its tasty best 

Well I had a bonus discovery here, aside from the salads, and likely many all you are already in this loop. But for those who aren’t, as I was wasn’t, there is a great food site preemptively called Food.com, which is actually in the same biz family as Food Network and Cooking Channel among other brands.

So that’s where I found the boffo Mexican Cobb shown here, recipe by PanNan. It comes together with the freshness of Mex veggies, the richness of cheese, and the heartiness of chicken and beans. And, so pretty!

Rachael Ray’s fan blog gives us the Italian version, straight out of Ray’s Express Lane Meals cookbook. In this one the side by side ingredients give the chicken some competition with salami and Italian peppers to kick it all up.

One of CS’ faves, Taste of Home, checks in with a taste of Asia, or more specifically Thai. The chicken and veggie-rich mix takes on a whole new life with the drizzle of peanut-sesame dressing.

Next week: Smoked Salmon/cream cheese pizza

Mexican Cobb Salad    Italian Cobb Salad    Thai Cobb Salad  

Rachael Ray’s Express Lane Meals cookbook on Amazon

♦  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

  Experts say a good breakfast can get us off to a good start with benefits that last well into the day. And with today’s extra challenges that may be even more necessary than usual. Now you may well agree with that and still think . . . borrrrring. Well, now, see if this might change your mind. “These 5 Beautiful Breakfast Bowls Will Brighten Up Your Morning” from Clean Plates- surprisingly satisfying combos.

  Need a treat? Like Black Forest Cake? If yes to both you may well be ready for a Black Forest Sundae. And it’s just what it sounds like in terms of the tasty components. The news is in the sourcing. French vanilla ice cream left over from the ice cream bread, 07.17.20 Salon. Cherry filling leftover from our fruit pizza, also 07.17.20 Salon. Chocolate sauce left over from our banana split {breakfast!}, 06.26.20 Salon.

  This site is like “don’t waste food” central. Called Save the Food, it helps you do just that with prep and storage tools, recipes that give a second life to otherwise trash-bound items, a lesson in how much money you can save with these practices, even a party planner that guides you on amounts to purchase, plus stories galore in the Community. As they say on the site, become a food waste warrior.

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