Ultimate Coconut Cake, “the coconut-tiest,” May 17-23, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – F&W IDs best stews / new roles for bacon {M – OK, let’s get started!} / shopping secret    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – steak guru    FEATURED RECIPE – coconut to the nth degree    TIP – coconut perks  ♦  THE WEEK – sammy fun / super side dish found  ♦  PLUS – new Amazon direct link

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


News, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

There just may be enough cool evenings left to enjoy a good stew. Especially when we can find ones that somewhat transition into spring with say a bounty of seafood in a light broth, or freshening with lemon and dill, or the addition of spring greens into the mix. Depth of flavor brings all the dishes in Food & Wines best ever one- pot dishes into one big tasty family.

♦  Any quarrels aside with the headline {I have faith CS friends certainly may have already thought of some of these}, any “meat candy” fan may want to take a look at “10 Ways You’ve Never Thought to Use Bacon” also courtesy of F&W. Here you’ll find not just breakfast ideas but as well snacks and seasoning, sandwiches and entrees, even a meetup with Almond Joy. Demo for one of them too.

Who would like to go shopping at one of the bulk stores? Who can’t because they don’t have a membership?? Who can now say, gonna shop there anyway??? Folks who read “The Simple Little Hack That Lets You Shop Costco and Other Wholesale Clubs Without a Membership”  from Real Simple – that’s who. Note I have not tried this, but think it certainly may be worth a look.


Like a PhD in Steak

In the “Franklin Barbecue” book, featured in our 03.16.18 Salon, Aaron Franklin schooled us on Q from A to Z. Now the iconic pitmaster, known and revered for his eponymous Austin TX restaurant and PBS show, is taking us by the hand through what may be America’s favorite entree in “Franklin Steak.”

The very moment you open the book you’ll know you’re in for a treasure trove of steakery. On the inside cover and facing page is a flow chart of all the steaks, guiding you through bone v boneless, cooking indoors or out, thickness, aging, on down the chart to exactly how to cook the particular cut.Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef.

And that’s just the beginning. He goes on to in effect walk with you during the buying process, covering grading, marbling, sources, and designations. While that purchase could occur at a farm or ranch or even online, the book recognizes that for most of us that’s going to be at the grocery store or butcher shop and here Franklin goes into good detail on what to look for.

There’s so much more, the jargon, aging, storage, testing for doneness, and of course the actual cuts and, elaborating on that opening chart for the “best way to cook”each. While the chart and other chat focuses on grill-cooking, chapter three gives us a cheat sheet for pan cooking, with even more on this subject in chapter five.

And then as well, recipes for side dishes and sauces plus beverage recommendations, The book is four stars on Amazon, hardcover {pretty good discount} and Kindle, Prime eligible.

Details on –  “Franklin Steak”    “Franklin Barbecue” {5 stars} 


A cake for all seasons 

Coconut cake is one of those dessert delights that is just sweet and substantial enough to be satisfying in cool and cold weather, tropical enough to be welcome in warm and hot seasons. But think we all know this confection can fall anywhere on a spectrum from dry and chew-challenging to moist and flavorful.

Leave it to MyRecipes, one of my favorite sites, to deliver the epitome of the latter to us. The claim is in the name – “Ultimate Coconut Cake,” calling it the “coconut-tiest cake you can make.”

And the recipe makes good on that promise, big time my friends, with coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut extract, coconut flour, coconut milk, coconut cream, and flaked coconut.

As they say here, “For when you’re really, really serious about coconut.” By way, if you have trouble finding some of the less familiar items in your market, it’s good ol’ Amazon to the rescue, links below.

Recipe    coconut sugar    coconut flour    coconut cream


Super food?

With a little stretch, turns out the cake in our Featured Recipe could actually be good for you {!} It seems more and more we’re finding out how coconut in its many forms has any number of health benefits.

Fortunately this is a “health food” that tastes good. And so versatile besides. Tap into this link for more about the nutritional aspects of coconut and ways to incorporate it into your own cuisine.

Coconut Board


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of the Tidbits in our 03.22.19 Salon revealed odd eating choices among various food editors. And that prompted one of my own. Theirs often dated back to childhood, while this one is actually a recent discovery.

Two experiences collided to create a sweet and savory take on a classic sammie. And you know what, it is sooooooooo good.

Some years ago I read in an MFK Fisher book that one should never eat chocolate without bread. Coincidentally enough at a media event shortly thereafter one of the food rooms solely featured platters of large cubes of crusty bread and good chunk chocolate.

Even longer ago I was on a road trip in the Midwest with friend Peggy that included a stop at Stuckey’s. Back in the car first I was already munching on chocolate fudge blended with cheddar cheese. When Peggy got back to the car she asked what it was and when I told her, her face went all eww-y.

Just try one I said. Next I know the car door opened and slammed, followed in short order by friend returning with two boxes of her own, face now all smiley.

Guessing most CS friends can see what’s coming. Yep. Toasted cheese and chocolate, sauteed in a bit of butter till both are all melty. Oh my.

♦  It was a “crapples” moment when I realized that one of the cookbooks I’d donated to a local cause had my favorite red cabbage recipe. An extensive online search did not produce anything like the prep I remembered. And now, Eureka. Found this one thank you Food & Wine that, while tucking in a different ingredient or two, yields the same hearty flavor profile as the one that went away. Think you might like it too.

So far next week: food lab, new celeb blog, behind the black curtain, chicken parmesan dip, Martha’s wisdom, comeback sauce


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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – coconut cake/Greg Dupree on the MyRecipes site, Franklin book/Amazon, sandwich/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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


10 Favorite CS Recipes from 2018, Jan 4-10, 2019

From celeb chefs, awesome cookbooks, foodie newsletters, food boards

{some links take you directly to the recipe, others to the relevant salon}

In no particular order – we love them all!

Giada’s Raspberry-Cherry Chocolate “Pop” Tarts recipe

For an extra kick, she uses pop rocks as part of the filling! More happy news – the sweet treat is made almost entirely of ganache, easy ganache, the topper adds a festive splash of color, and they’re already individual servings – no carving required.

Charlie Palmers Acorn Squash with Vegetable Chili

Craving something hearty and warming? One chef that sure can make good on that kind of promise is big guy Charlie Palmer, a celeb chef whose repertoire ranges from high style to downright down-home. Here, he combines two winter faves, a sweet and tender squash serving as a receptacle for a gently spiced garden-full chili. Though of course you are welcome to turn up the heat with more cayenne or other incendiary ingredients. A tasty dish for the family, a showy dish for guests.

Forget those stingy little individual chocolate lava cakes. Go big or  . . . no, just go big. And this panful is just the way to do it. Thanks to this boffo foodie newsletter for an easy and rewarding way to send the sweet tooth into decadent overload. Also called a Brownie Pudding Cake, every spoonful delivers a generous eruption of melty chocolate. Grab a big utensil, tell everyone else to stand clear, and have at it.

Franklin BBQ’s Cole Slaw

This was one of our most accessed recipes all year. It’s from the book “Franklin Barbecue,” a master course in q – with chapters on the smoker, wood, fire, smoke, and most of all the meat – and a few recipes from one of the top pitmasters in the U.S, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, also known for his PBS show.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

This is like a whole array of flavorful cravings all in one dish, a Bertinelli signature by the way, and a great way to start the day. It’s from her cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” featuring personal notes that intro each section and each recipe. This particular prep combines sausage, cheese, maple syrup, hot sauce, eggs, cheese, and bacon, some in the baking mix, some sandwiched between the halves of the homemade biscuits.

Ree Drummond’s Cap’n Crunch Chicken Strips

Ree Drummond’s “Come and Get It” cookbook has to be one of the most helpful ever because for every single recipe she shows step by steps with photos. This simple and satisfying dish from the book is also shown on her site and that’s what we’ve linked. And guess what – it also shows the step the step process too, even though this is an extremely easy prep.

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crusted Cheesecake with Raspberries

You know when she’s in the kitchen, a polished result will be coming out of the kitchen and this elegant dessert is no exception. A buttery chocolate wafer crush, rich cream cheese/whipped cream filling, and pureed raspberry topping = mmm mmm. And, yay, all no bake! A real show stopper! And in addition to a link for the printed recipe, the page also includes a demo so you can see her at work.

Les Kincaid’s Perfect Prime Rib

Image result for prime rib picturesWorking with an expensive cut of meat can be quite scary, but you can cook a prime rib with confidence, thanks to this detailed recipe from chef/cookbook author/cooking instructor/syndicated wine show radio host Les Kincaid. Even better, he also shares a jus prep and extra cooking tips. {Science of Cooking picture}

Eggs Rockefeller from the Egg Board

And who would know eggs better??? In this clever take on the oyster dish, these beautifully poached eggs sit atop a rich mix of bacon, spinach, heavy cream, parm, a touch of spirits if you wish and more, right down to the bread crumb topping. And may I add one thing – I’d replace that fork with a spoon to scoop up every last bit of goodness.

No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars {go to 11.09.18}

This is from the ever so helpful “What Can I Bring?” cookbook, filled cover to cover with satisfying dishes that are for the most part make-ahead, multiple-serving, and fairly easy to transport. It features the made-in-heaven pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, and wait till you see an additional flavorful ingredient – two choices actually, theirs and mine. Either would be good, mine was a matter of what was handy.

Next week so far: Appetizers, Mexican salad, butternut squash pasta sauce


Breakfast {oh my} by Valerie Bertinelli, for April 20-26, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Valerie’s wow wow wow Breakfast Biscuit Sammies   Stephanie Izard interview link    Test your oven temp    Cocktail hour reading    Book takes  you way behind the scenes with a rock star, Michelin-starred chef    Can you hear the eggs?    My week in food & more 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well not sure why the Daily Beast is getting into food again, but no argument from me, especially when they bring us insights into the creative processes of super Chicago chef Stephanie Izard. You may have seen her recently, among other places, on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet” where she made it through the grueling {no pun intended} path to earn the coveted title of Iron Chef.  Interview

  Maybe you can try this at home, especially if you’re a “handyperson,” or have access to one. A recent edition of the Hometalk newsletter shows how to check and if necessary correct your oven temp. Btw anyone who’s into DYI will find a bonanza in this free online publication.   Oven step by step   Hometalk

  For some folks nothing says 5 o’clock like an icy cold martini. Now how about some verbal buzz as well for cocktail hour? The Daily Beast at your service with an irreverent look at the classic cocktail’s “tipsy march through time,” beginning in 1882. Along with the history, tales of the ingredients including the two meanings of “dry,” and some recipes too. Drink it in

CS Marketplace Spotlight

Go deep behind the scenes in Marco Pierre White’s kitchen-centric memoir

This might be one of the best glimpses ever of the backstage drama in Michelin-starred restaurants, the passion, the pressure, and yeah the hi-jinks too. And White was a catalyst for all three. England’s original The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chefrock star chef takes us into the kitchens for most of the book  {and sometimes into the dining room to make nice with some, or make sure others never come back} and then after hanging up his apron in 1999, into the world of building a restaurant empire.

“His story is genius, his voice is his own, and the tale retold is just as much fun as it was watching the whole chaotic conundrum evolve the first time around” – Mario Batali

“. . . in all his haggard, debauched-looking, obsessively driven glory – we dreamed of nothing more than to be just like him” – Anthony Bourdain

4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Kindle, Paperback {discounted}, Audio

“The Devil in the Kitchen” White’s cookbook, “White Heat”   CS Marketplace 

Featured Recipe  

Start the day right with decadence on a plate

If you watch Valerie Bertinelli’s Food Network show, you already know that she has a talent for combining flavorful ingredients into the stuff of cravings. And all of that passionate goodness is front and center in her new cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” while her friendly self seems to step right out of the pages with the personal notes that intro each section and each recipe.

The one we’re featuring here sure does capture all of the above, starting with her remembrance of a dish her mom used to serve to her dad’s poker buddies, reserving some for Valerie to have the next day for breakfast. That breakfast, with the addition of a few more ingredients, evolved into this breakfast, an attractive stack-up that is so hearty, so satisfying, so full of tasty stuff.

Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

From Valerie Bertinelli’s “Valerie’s Home Cooking”

3 c all-purpose baking mix

1 lb ground spicy pork sausage

4 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese {about 16 oz}

1 T pure maple syrup, plus more for serving

1 T hot sauce, plus more for serving

2 t olive oil

8 large eggs

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t black pepper

8 pepper jack cheese slices

8 bacon slices, cooked

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Combine the baking mix, sausage, cheese, syrup, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Shape into 16 {1 1/4″} balls and, with wet hands, flatten each slightly into a disk. Place the disks about 1″ apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and cooked though, about 15 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-hi. Add the eggs, reduce the heat to med-lo, cover, and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are soft, about 2 min, or to the desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with the 1/4 t each of salt and pepper.

Place one slice of the cheese on the bottom half of each sausage biscuit. Top with the eggs and bacon. Top with the remaining sausage biscuit halves. Serve with more hot sauce or maple syrup, if desired.

Notes: Valerie says you can make these the night before to grab on-the-go in the morning . . . also, that you might try different cheeses, e.g., cheddar or regular jack in place of the pepper jack. Watch for more to come from this book: her Bloody Mary Tea Sandwiches, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Shrimp with Cherry Cola Sauce, Spicy Shrimp Soup.

“Valerie’s Home Cooking”

4 stars on Amazon, Kindle, Hardcover {discounted}, Prime eligible

  Valerie’s other books    Valerie’s movies, TV, workout  DVDs


One of the bonuses of reading Marco Pierre White’s fascinating book is that along the way we pick up a cooking tip here and there from White himself or one of his accomplished peers. Valerie’s recipe reminds me of one that came from right from White: when you’re frying eggs, if you can hear them cooking, you know the heat is too high.

A Peek at My Week

  Gosh, I remember chiffon cakes from when I was kid {censored} years ago, almost always on the table for a special celebration. So it brought back some pretty happy memories when I came across this demo from the pros at CIA. Have a look  {Even if your browser doesnt support the video, you’ll still have access to their recipe}

  One of my fave ways to get that five-a-day is a sandwich filled with a produce stand worth of good stuff. But, and especially if you’re not a vegetarian, it can seem like something’s missing – and there is – meat and cheese! So here’s what I did recently kick it up – whisked together about equal parts of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, added some herbs, freshly ground pepper, finishing salt – and then dipped away. This one happened to be tahini, cucumber, shaved carrots, onion, cilantro and mayo. Napkins at the ready!

  I guess this qualifies because it starts out with a kitchen item, but then colors outside the lines of the salon a bit, because I re-purposed it for the bath. Have a counter-top wine rack you no longer use? Oh, is it great for storing shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, mousse, body wash in all those openings. So neat!

  Posted  Mystic River  on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted  ThunderShirt & Thunder Ease on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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