11th hour/59th min gifts for cooks, etc., Holidays, 2018

Relax in comfy clothes and a cushy chair . . .

Here you go with some instant and same day deliveries

{for non-email gifts, check if same day is still available on your chosen day}

Kindle books

Kindle cookbooks

Best Selling Kindle books

Best Rated Kindle books

🎁  🎄  🎅

Audio books for your friends that have Audible

🎁  🎄  🎅

Flowers from Teleflora

Flowers from 1-800-Flowers

Others listed on Google

🎁  🎄  🎅

Bouquets, chocolate, fruit from Harry & David

Edible Arrangements

🎁  🎄  🎅

Foodie magazine subscriptions on Amazon

Best Sellers    Top rated

Some selections on our CS page

All magazine subs on Amazon

🎁  🎄  🎅

Amazon restaurant gift cards

All Amazon gift cards

🎁  🎄  🎅

Barnes & Noble gift cards

Barnes & Noble Nook books

🎁  🎄  🎅

Wayfair gift cards

Grubhub gift cards

Visit our Fine Chefs page for their gift cards

🎁  🎄  🎅

Have a little more time? – Amazon Gift Guide – many two day shipping for Prime

WISHING YOU EVERYTHING GOOD THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAY SEASON FROM

          AND          

LET’S MEET RIGHT BACK HERE ON JANUARY 4, 2019

WHEN WE’LL BRING YOU THE TOP  IO RECIPES OF 2018

DOORS OPEN TO OUR REGULAR SALONS STARTING ON JAN 11

Please note, in the above list only Amazon is a partner

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Martha’s Slow Cooker Sicilian Style Beef Stew, for Dec 14-20, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – Bacon pairing for cocktail hour {M – I’ll take mine with a fine bowl of water} / kitchen cheat sheet / a mega cheat sheet from the CIA    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – book for the reader/cook / ’tis the season    FEATURED RECIPE – so tender, so tasty    TIP – meatloaf???  ♦  THE WEEK – squash sauce / accidental cake / fare facts to share, coming soon

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  This is a cocktail party idea you can definitely try at home. AP reported on a StillwaterBrown Sugar Bacon Jerky Candied Bacon MN restaurant, Brick & Bourbon, that offers a “bacon flight.” Whaaaaaat? Even though a fairly thorough search turned up no detail, quite certain we can figure this out for ourselves. Especially with help from this page on google, offering a bunch of ways to flavor this fave.

Want a head start? Take a look at this Brown Sugar Bacon Jerky Candied Bacon ready to go on Amazon {shown}, and other options on the site.

  Well this is handy. The MyRecipes site has listed out 13 ratios that cover a whole spectrum of cooking activities. Like – vinaigrette 3:1, pasta 3:2, muffins 2:2:1:1 – and then of course spells out what those numbers stand for. They suggest memorizing them, but may I suggest highlight/print or copy/paste/print.

  Have a spare $7.97 a month to polish your culinary talents? That amount would buy you membership in a brand new program from the Culinary Institute of America, DISH, and in turn access to technique videos, top chef demos, the recipe collection, lots more. Click the link here to see the full spectrum

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Mystery writers + recipes = one perfect book for the reader/cook

“The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook” offers, as the cover says, “wickedly good recipes” from a star studded lineup of writers – Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die ForCoben, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, Scott Turow and a host of, again quoting the cover, “other acclaimed plot stirrers.” Including Richard Castle {!}

In the intro, author Kate White makes the point that mystery coming to the table is a bit of a natural given the genre’s “countless scenes that mix murder and food,” adding that “it would be a crime not to celebrate this idea.”

As for the recipes, some are purloined from the books, others are authors’ favorites, and each one starts with the dish’s backstory. There are so many good preps here, and you can expect to see several in the 2019 salons, starting right away on Jan 11.

“The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook” 

Best selling mysteries on Amazon    Top rated mysteries on Amazon

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

Extra for all – as you enjoy the feasts and gifts and good cheer of the holiday season, perhaps you can also share some of that bounty. And if you do choose to do so, an easy way is available with the links at the bottom of the page. You may want to check further but I’ve done my best to see that these are all highly rated and regarded charities.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A Party hearty dish with an Italian accent 

Some really interesting flavors set this tasty dish apart from classic stew. In addition to the requisite beef chuck, this pot also welcomes the likes of fennel, rosemary, orange zest and olives.

There’s also an interesting tip to enhance the beef flavor. Though it cooks for hours, according to Stewart the prep time is just 35 minutes. And it serves, she say, 4-6

She recommends serving with mashed potatoes and that is indeed a good combo. But take a look back at the Nov 30 salon for the item about turning leftover mashed potatoes into gnocchi – and that’s what I used for this tasty stew.

Recipe    Martha Stewart’s cookbooks  ♦  Her magazine

{btw, the Martha Manual would be a welcome book for any beginning cook}

  TIP  

Maybe meatloaf

I know this makes little sense, but as much as I adore hamburgers have never been a fan of meatloaf and for that matter meatballs either. Always seemed too dense and often lacking in flavor perhaps because of the breadcrumbs taking over. But watching Ina Garten make her mini meatloaves on Food Network, thinking she just may have solved both. First, she cooks the onions along with other good stuff {see recipe}, and second she blends it with a fork and as she says you can actually see that the mixture is “fluffy.”

Another trick just may seal the deal. A friend ordered meatloaf at a recent lunch get-together, and it was clear that the thick slices had been seared on the flat top creating a nice char. Almost looked like a hamburger! So, just might possibly maybe perhaps give it a try some time. Meanwhile, here’s Ina’s recipe. Demo too.

Mini meatloaf recipe    Food Network    Barefoot Contessa episodes

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Soooo, that alternate idea for a gnocchi sauce is to borrow from a classic ravioli recipe, and that is butternut squash filling, here going over though instead of in. I found this Betty Crocker prep that sounds pretty darn good. I think mine might be an adaptation but meanwhile you might want to give Betty’s version a try.

  A tasty mistake. So another tempting recipe in the “12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters Stuff” was gooey butter cookies. Easy! Cream 8 oz cream cheese with a 1/2 cup butter, beat in 1 egg and 1/4 t vanilla, Then slowly blend in a 16.5 oz box yellow cake mix. Roll in 1″ balls, then in powdered sugar, bake 1″ apart at 350 on an ungreased sheet 10-13 min.

  Yum. Got everything I need . . . oops, except not that cake mix but did have an 18.4 oz milk chocolate brownie mix. Heck, give it a try, I’ll just add a little cream to offset the extra mix. Well, not little enough or because it was brownie mix, didn’t end up like cookie dough. OOOOOK, into a pan and into the oven. Tastes great! Needless to say, very moist!

  Over our holiday break – starting after next week’s salon – I’ll finally get to “The Everyday Gourmet” dvds from Great Courses. And that means on into 2019 I’ll be able to share with you samples of whatever culinary wisdom awaits in this series. The book that accompanies the set promises lessons on ingredients, tools, various cooking methods, herbs & spices, sauces, and seemingly all the food groups including my favorite one – desserts!

Next week: totally devoted to very last minute gifts for cooks and foodies. You’re saved.

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
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Tiffani’s Chicken Tortilla Soup, for Dec 7-13, 2018

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

  TIDBITS – hot topic #1, your oven / trending gen / easy pairing    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – foodie bling / going to the dogs {M – hey !!!}    FEATURED RECIPE – hot topic #2, your soup that’s an entree    TIP – clean up your act    THE WEEK – sweet dilemma / hot topic #3, your salad! / just you, the food, the wine, the dog {M – again !!!} and one more thing

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  The Hometalk newsletter is a crafter’s dream, the work of countless creative contributors. And while food stuff is not often part of the mix, a recent edition had this helpful tip about calibrating your oven. Wait, come back, turns out it’s quite easy whether you have a dial or a control panel. Could mean no more burnt cookies, over-roasted chicken or under-done anything.

  Feeding Millennials? Culling from several reports, here’s what’s on their “list” concerning what goes {or doesn’t go} on their plates: animal treatment and rights, the environment, sustainability, more plant based dishes and less {or no} meat in the mix, as well as an interest in creativity and innovation in both food and drink.

  Need a little help with wine pairing? Food & Wine to the rescue with a 15-point list that covers most of the season’s favorite kinds of dishes. Cheers! {Image by Stephan Krause}

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

What a totally fun gift for cooks or anyone with fave foods 

Stainless Steel Trio Earrings Set D'Lish Donut , Wishes , Apple BlossomJewelry! Oh my gosh, there’s just an incredible “bling pantry” on Amazon. From frivolous to elegant, all unique.Womens Silver Tone Ombre Blue Green Crystal Rhinestone Apple Fruit School Teacher Brooch Pin

Showing just two here, but so many to choose from in terms of both jewelry style and food item. Snag necklaces, charms, pins, beads, earrings, more.

Food? From branded to ingredients to dishes. Like these fun earrings & pretty brooch.

And as always, you can refine your search by price, ratings, brands. Or, put the specific jewelry item and particular food item right in the Amazon search window.

♦  Top rated foodie jewelry    All foodie jewelry    Earrings shown    Brooch shown

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

Extra for Dog Lovers – don’t forget to put something under the tree for your dog{s} or doggie friends. We have easy links for you right on this site. Just click the CS Marketplace link just above, scroll down to the Dog Lovers section, and then browse through accessories for the pups as well as books and shirts for “mom & dad” including some that promote pet adoptions.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A tasty, hearty soup – from Mrs. Suit!  

 Which is to say . . . Tiffani Thiessen, notable in the food realm for her Cooking Channel Show, “Dinner at Tiffani’s,” but as well for her role in the excellent “White Collar” tv series where scene-stealing character Mozzie referred to her tv husband, an FBI agent played by Tim DeKay as “Suit,” consequently then calling her “Mrs. Suit.”

In her Chicken Tortilla Soup, classic chili seasonings – garlic, Pull Up a Chair: Recipes from My Family to Yourscumin, chili powder, lime juice and more – flavor an entree-worthy dish. And the suggested toppings which you can see here make it extra rich, extra hearty.

It’s from her cookbook, “Pull Up a Chair,” referring to their family kitchen that can always welcome one more at the table. But it also reflects the personal tone that seems to have Tiffani inviting you to pull up a chair as she chats about the backstory of these “recipes from my family to yours,” along with shortcuts, presentation ideas, and her tricks for making the merger of store-bought and homemade masquerade as entirely the latter.

Recipe    “Pull Up A Chair” cookbook    “Dinner at Tiffani’s” dvd    “White Collar” dvds

  TIP  

Timely rerun

As you bake, bake, bake goodies galore for the holidays, remember to take one little step beforehand that will make cleanup a breeze. Line your work surface with sticky wrap – Press n Seal or store brand – and do all your measuring and mixing right on it. A shower of flour, a drip of vanilla, a plop of honey, an upside down butter wrapper, who cares. Can also rest your utensils on there between uses.

When you’re all done wrap it up securely making use of the sticky, face the trash, and try for a three-pointer. And the crowd goes wild!!! {No, haven’t gotten into the egg nog . . . yet}

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Wow and yum. So was again making my sweet potato casserole {now it seems a reader fave too}, our Featured Recipe in the 10.19.18 salon, and bummer not enough honey {for the way I make it}, so filled in with maple syrup {OK, OK, Log Cabin}. A whole different taste! Now have to decide what I’m going to use from now on.

  Another substitute. So, on the dinner menu: crispy chicken tenders, cheddar cheese potatoes and lettuce & avocado salad. Hmmm, what dressing for the latter. Not ranch or bleu cheese with the creamy potatoes. Don’t think I’d like Italian or French on avocado. Aha! How about not salad dressing but . . . taco sauce! Dotted on the lettuce and then on the avocado. This would also be boffo with a Mexican meal.

  When you dine alone, whether a rarity or routine, think about this quote I just came across, thanks to Food 52, from one of my very favorite food authors, MFK Fisher: “There’s nothing more devastating to me than a bad dinner date. Which is why I often find myself alone after work, sitting at my kitchen island with a plate of food and a glass of wine, my dog at my feet. At the end of a long day, this table for one is more than just a place for me to have my dinner—it’s a place, as well, for me to have my thoughts.” You can see some of her books on this Amazon page.

So far next week: nummy gnocci, Martha goes Sicilian, the unintended cookie cake, an almost unlimited bonanza of cooking expertise with a CIA membership costing less than you might think

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
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Ree’s Easy Rich Caramel Brownies, for Nov 30-Dec 6, 2018

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

  TIDBITS – mashies go Italian / it’s OK, no yolk / ham it up {M – ham !!!   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – party time cookbooks / for celeb chef fans    FEATURED RECIPE –  oh these are goooooood    TIP – gravy rules    THE WEEK – no recipe required / skewer it / best dressed salads

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks

  Here’s a tasty way to transform leftover mashed potatoes into a whole new dish with an Italian accent. Gnocchi! And really, couldn’t be easier. I’m going to give this prep a try and if it turns out as good as it sounds, I’ll share as an item in a future My Week section of the Salon. Need to play with a sauce too, and actually have a somewhat unusual idea in mind.

  Never saw one, but in case you have . . . Well Done newsletter brings us assurances from MyRecipes that if you find a white egg yolk, no problem. No need to chuck it out. Just a matter of what the chicken ate, e.g., a bunch of white corn. Good news that we wouldn’t have to waste it.

  That same dual source also offers to school us on doing a boffo job on one of the season’s favorite entrees. Their list of “The 11 Most Common Mistakes People Make Cooking Ham – And How to Prevent Them”  is chock full of valuable information. Also includes a video on the best way to carve a spiral ham. And if you hang in there, other helpful demos follow.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Oh these cookbooks are such fun

If their cookbooks are any indication, for these six sisters life is an ongoing party. This is food that is fun, festive, a riot of colors and flavors.

Depending on the book, you also may well find cooking hacks, pantry help, storage tricks, menus, serving suggestions, decorating ideas, artistic flourishes, party activities, organization tips, instructions for homemade gifts, craft projects, even family traditions. One of the latter included in “A Year with Six Sisters Stuff,” communal and clever, is the “D-I-Y At-Home Family Restaurant.”

Here are some recipes on my do-list from a sampling of their books . . .

“Dinner Made Easy” – taco braid {shown}, crispy coconut chicken strips with pina colada dipping sauce, skillet pizza {actually a turbo charged mac}

“A Year with Six Sisters Stuff” – chicken cordon bleu bites, nutty caramel bars {shown}, mini garlic monkey bread

“12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters Stuff” – peppermint crunch ice cream pie, bacon & egg breakfast casserole {shown}, slow cooker chicken fajita soup

“Celebrate Every Season with Six Sisters Stuff” {my personal fave} – baked cheeseburger sliders, slow cooker chili cheese dip, St Patrick’s Day cupcakes {shown}

One that I don’t have at hand but that sounds equally interesting is their “Copycat Cooking with Six Sisters Stuff: 100+ Restaurant Meals You Can Make at Home.” It’s 5 stars on Amazon, and it seems their books are generally at least 4 1/2 stars. Good stuff!

All Six Sisters cookbooks

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

Extra for the cooks on your list – especially those who love celeb chef shows. Our special page right on this site lists easy links to the cookbooks, videos, items and giftcards of over 100 of the chefs you know from their tv shows, best sellers, and award winning restaurants. Within this treasure trove you’ll also find some books by these folks that go beyond cookbooks, including fiction and memoirs.  Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Chef-crafted rich brownies with caramel – easy caramel!

It’s the holidays, go for it! Which is to say, bake a batch of Ree Drummond’s Caramel Brownies, featured on a recent show. Maybe the best brownie I’ve ever had.

What makes the caramel so easy? It’s actually rich dulce de leche . . . out of a jar. And the brownie itself checks in with its own decadence thanks to butter, chocolate and cocoa, and extra vanilla. So good as is, could even skip the caramel and just use the powdered sugar.

Want the best dulce de leche for this recipe or another recipe or atop ice cream or just on a spoon??? Click below to see the ones with top ratings on Amazon.

Recipe    Ree’s cookbooks    Ree’s show videos    Best Dulce de Leche 

  TIP  

Well this makes it a Well Done/My Recipes trifecta

One more from the same twin sources cited in two Tidbits above, elevated to Tip section status. Why? You may or may not be making hard cooked eggs and ham this holiday season, but chances are pretty good you will be making gravy.

Gravy! Pour it on and so many already good dishes get booted into the culinary ionosphere. To make it extra good, follow these guidelines on when and how to use cornstarch or flour, and really for whenever you want to thicken a sauce.

Good gravy

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Well this is nice. A dish I actually made from a recipe can in fact just be put together according to your favorite version – which is to say, really, no recipe needed. What is it? Nachos in a sheet pan, corn corn chips topped with all the usual suspects – maybe some chorizo, tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, cilantro and of course cheese{s} – and then, fried eggs. Awesome breakfast or brunch. Pretty too. And here’s another breakfast idea {not the salad shown}.

  Another episode of “Pioneer Woman” had a dish that resonated with me because it offers a variation on a presentation trick I already use, and that’s serving an entire course on a skewer. In my “50 … Tricks” Kindle book it applies to appetizer, salad {shown, carrots and Brussels sprouts blanched}, and dessert. Drummond’s is a clever breakfast version, a lineup of sauteed sausage links, onion wedges, red bell peppers, and green bell peppers, plus cheese stuffed omelets, rolled and sliced. Gonna try this too.

  Lookout, here come some bragging rights and a secret. All inspired by a Basically newsletter from Bon Appetit that says we should dress our salads twice, first acidic and then creamy. Here’s how they do it. I’ve been doing this for years but in an easier {OK, and less pro} way. The secret: I mix equal parts of Wishbone Italian and a good Ranch. Truth be told, it’s a crowd pleaser.

So far next week: sassy soup, foodie jewelry, wine pairing, fave foodie writer on dining alone, millennials want whaaaaat???

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me 
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Ladies of the Night Pasta, for Nov 23-29, 2018

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

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

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Leftovers mean easy meals ahead

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

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

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

Holiday Leftovers cookbook    Turkey Leftovers cookbook    Other leftovers cookbooks

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

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

  FEATURED RECIPE  

 A pasta dish . . . “as we like it”

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

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

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

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

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

  Guthrie Theater

  TIP  

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

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

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

Crushing the squash

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

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

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

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

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

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

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Emeril’s Italian sausage stuffed turkey breast, for Nov 16-22, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – Save your food / overcook your broccoli / wash your cocktails     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – hello, egg lovers / reader-wear   FEATURED RECIPE – Emeril’s easy, showy turkey {M – gimme, gimme gimme!}    TIP – pide party    THE WEEK – then watch out for vampires / upsized nachos / food show trove

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Save it for another day. Your food that is.  And it will all last longer if we follow these tips to avoid the “12 Storage Mistakes That are Spoiling Your Leftovers” And even better it adds “How to Fix Them.”

  Kudos to writers who craft headlines that all but grab you by the hand and tug you into the story. Like: “Go ahead, please cook the daylights out of your broccoli.” While that may go against all your instincts, it fact this is a recipe for soup {with cheese too, may have used more 😉, and nothing wrong with also “on”} and says the prolonged cooking is the key to its “sweet, nutty, vegetable flavor.”

  Washed any cocktails lately. Appears this is a new thing but quickly finding its way across the country. The reality doesn’t quite match the term, but this basically involves adding a savory element mainly via fat. Forbes gives a number of examples and if you scroll down to the one called Pork Chops and Applesauce you’ll get some idea of the technique. Sounds rather intriguing, and the adventurous just may want to try this at home {or not}.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

OK, who wants eggs?

A chorus of I do I do I do, etc? No problem with this “Rapid Egg Cooker,” No 2 best seller in Kitchen and Dining on Amazon. Looks good too!

I’m going to order one of these for myself just to see how the heck it does scrambled and omelets. That middle picture might offer a clue. It also of course makes hard cooked, soft cooked and poached.

It certainly would be a nice gift for any egg lover. But how handy would this guy be for any morning, but especially Sundays and holidays. And if you’re like this too, eggs aren’t just for breakfast any more.

Also in white and yellow. It’s rated 4 1/2 stars with hundreds of reviews. Starts at $14.99.

  Rapid Egg Cooker    Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers in Kitchen & Dining

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

 Extra for Book Lovers . . . who have book lovers on their gift list. This t-shirt sort of says it all.“Reading Reading Reading / everything else” This one is my design, but if you click the Marketplace link just above and scroll down to the Book Lovers section, you can also connect to other shirts for readers/writers, and other nice items for readers including gift cards.

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Emeril’s turkey breast with savory sausage stuffing

This is so perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to prep a whole turkey – easier to carve too! Plus, it’s quite a showy dish, a great centerpiece for whatever else completes the table.

Best of all, you know it’s going to be a mouthful of flavor thanks to Emeril’s lively take on ingredients. That comes into play in the stuffing, a delectable mix of Italian sausage, sourdough bread, aromatics, apple, chestnuts, goat cheese and seasonings galore.

If you click the second link below you’ll arrive on a page with the chef’s other Thanksgiving entrees. As well there’s a box of links there for his other course dishes. Bon appetit!

Recipe    Other Emeril dishes    Emeril’s cookbooks    Emeril’s merchandise

  TIP  

How about for your next pizza party . . . you don’t make pizza???

And instead, make pide. Or to fold in the pronunciation, instead of pea-zuh, pea-duh. One distinct difference is that it’s brushed with butter instead of tomato sauce, but otherwise many similarities.

So, this interesting dish with Turkish origins starts with a nice dough that gets patted into a long oval, and then topped with – whatever you like – but often meat, cheese, veggies, and sometime an egg too. The edges are then folded in to create a kind of edible canoe.

Can’t quite picture the process? No problem, we’ve got the demo by an Australian chef. And as well, a yahoo page of other tasty information and recipes.

Pide demo    All about pide

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

♦  Well you just never know where you’re going to encounter a food tip. In the current issue of “Smithsonian,” a reader asks how garlic can manage to, let  me say, “perfume” not only your breath but as well your skin and perspiration. The answer has to do with a chemical that isn’t digested and thus passes into the bloodstream. But here’s where the tip comes in – you can neutralize garlic breath with apples. lemons, parsley, spinach or mint. For the skin – “wash with salt and lemon or a dab of toothpaste, or rub your hands across a stainless steel utensil under running water.”

  How do you like your tacos? I favor the soft, rolled kind, usually flour tortillas for beef or shrimp, corn for pork or chicken. But some folks like the crunchy kind so I have those available for get-togethers. Then, though, what about the leftovers? They can certainly be used for an occasional crunchy taco, or crumbled for regular nachos.

  Or . . . as I recently did, split in half for nice big individual nachos. These are topped with cheese {twice}, tomatoes, black olives, and serranos. By the way, those center pieces that you want to remove so they are mostly flat – those are for while-you’re-cooking snacks.

  If you haven’t already discovered this treasure trove, don’t let it take you as long as it’s taken me. Talking about the secondary PBS channel “Create,” PBSCR in the tv listings. I actually have seen a program or two on this network but just this week delved into the schedule and oh my goodness, shows on regional cuisine, ethnic preps, cooking techniques, celeb features, and more. True to its name other creative arts are represented as well. Time slots for your area might be different, but if you want to click on the link here at least you can see if there’s something you want to track down.

So far next week: Ladies of the Night pasta, skewer-mania, your patriotic bar, Sanchez on the soapbox, BJN on the soapbox

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

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Decadent chocolate-peanut butter bars, for Nov 9-Nov 15, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – do you create recipes? / good show! book too! / drink your leftovers    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – tv helps your gift list / for celeb chef fans    FEATURED RECIPE – chocolate, peanut butter and an unexpected ingredient {M – is it tuna ???}    TIP – weather report for your kitchen    THE WEEK – crisp French toast / Top Chef preview / humbug {no bah}

Misty’s History  ♦  Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Are you a creative cook? Do you like designing your own dishes, start to finish. You might then find interesting this shadowing of a chef as he develops a new dish “from vision to revision.” It’s a quite detailed account that in effect takes you inside the chef’s mind.

  “Salt/Fat/Acid/Heat” If those are some of your favorite flavors you’re in luck – twice! Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good CookingIt’s a new Netflix series, featuring Samin Nosrat who, as described in the Tasting Table story, “is a joy to watch on screen as she travels to Italy, Japan, the Yucatán and more in order to share culinary traditions from around the world.”

–   And second, the series is based on Nosrat’s book of the same name, subtitled “Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.” Btw, it was among the top picks for go-to cookbooks  gathered on Tasting Table’s facebook page.

  Well here’s a new use for your leftovers. Instead of in the trash, in your glass. As this tale tells, bartenders are finding creative ways to re-purpose this ready source of foodstuff into what one mixologist calls trash cocktails.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The lost & wanted can be found & acquired

While I’m not addicted to tv offers, there are certain items that I’ve found appealing and have in fact ordered. The problem is, often I see this stuff during “insomnia time” and don’t have quick access to pen, paper, and light.

As Seen on TvMy grocery store, and maybe yours too, has an “As Seen on TV” section and sometimes something I’ve missed is there and sometimes not. So I was quite happy to discover that good ol’ Amazon features these offers – 6,000 of them.

Don’t panic! You can narrow it down from there, e.g., 483 for Kitchen & Dining, and then you can further tame the search with such subcategories as utensils, cookware, storage items, appliances, and spice racks.

All “As Seen on TV” on Amazon    Kitchen & Dining section

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

Extra for cooks – who do you know that’s a fan of celeb chefs? Or maybe that’s you. My Kindle, “Celebrity Chef Book of Links” puts you just a click away from discovering the fascinating histories, restaurant locations, contact information, and access to blogs, newsletters and classes of the chefs we know from their tv shows, top rated eateries and best selling cookbooks, over 100 in all.  Celeb Chef Book

  FEATURED RECIPE  

You, your family, your guests just might swoon 

Remember this book from our 09.21.18 salon? The one that gives you tasty answers to the title question, “What Can I Bring?” What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Upwhatever the occasion or destination. The satisfying dishes here for the most part are make-ahead, multiple-serving, and fairly easy to transport.

In addition to author, Elizabeth Heiskell’s resume includes caterer, instructor, and TODAY show contributor. Which is to say, she sure knows her stuff, and 179 reviewers agree, giving this book 4 1/2 stars.

This recipe from the book 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.

Even better it’s no-bake, and if you use my other tweak, no cook either! All so good and easy.

Recipe Page    “What Can I Bring” cookbook   Other Heiskell books 

  TIP  

No storms in the kitchen

You may well be doing this already. Talking about when you’re using a hand mixer to blend something like flour or powdered sugar into a batter, and the danger looms of sending a snowstorm over your counter and everything thereon.

What I like to do is gently fold in the “snow” with a spatula. It doesn’t have to be totally mixed in – that’s what the appliance is for – but rather just sort of buried in the lower depths of the bowl.

Usually this would not be necessary with a stand mixer. But if the bowl is really full, might be a worthy precaution.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  How do you like your French toast? Personally I don’t care for what’s actually the classic prep, which calls for drowning the bread before cooking. This recipe for a crisp version from America’s Test Kitchen via AP calls for a much shorter soaking time but for me still too much. However, along with my usual dip-turn-out method, it’s the pre-step and the liquid ingredients that I found make one delish dish. See what you think.

  Thanks to Food & Wine’s online newsletter I recently saw the trailer for season 16 of “Top Chef” which debuts Dec 6, 9p ET on Bravo in Louisville KY. I like these kinds of shows where they compete and you both learn and enjoy. You can watch it too, right here, and the page also shows the 15 contestants so you can see if any are from your town.

  Browsing through the Diner’s Dictionary again and came upon this gem. “Humbug” {no bah}, referring to a taffy-like boiled sweet flavored with peppermint. It says that its eventual evolution from dessert to Scrooge’s rant “may be of similar inspiration to trifle.” There’s even more backstory covering time, place and literary reference. These kinds of finds pop up among more common entries in this chock-full compilation of “Word origins of food & drink.” I love this book.

So far next week: save the food, wash the cocktails, Emeril’s turkey take, garlic mouth fixes, pea-zuh or pea-duh??? 

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

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Andres’ Great Big Bowl of Goodness, for Nov 2-Nov 8, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – tv show stars leftovers {M – told her before I’d be happy to take care of that stuff} / rim like a pro / don’t throw those water balloons, freeze ’em    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – give yourself celeb status / easy gifting of top cookbooks  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – a “strike” with this kind of bowl-ing  ♦  TIP –  . . . and some “spares” ♦  THE WEEK – make-do is a woohoo / keep on truckin’ / dip for your face 

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Have you watched ”Scraps”? Just as the name would imply, this Katie Couric-produced tv show addresses makeovers for leftovers. This season, its second, just debuted on 10.11, and on the page, with a couple of steps, you can watch episodes, or just go directly to recipes. Other food shows on this FYI network too.

  Holiday get-togethers are just around the corner, and festive beverages can be part of the fun. A site called VinePair offers a schooling on rimming the glasses with a number of good things beyond salt, and tips on how to do it. Though this is cocktail-based, why not get creative with soft drinks too.

  And I just love this party idea for chilling your beverages from Hometalk {once there, scroll to the right}. Regular ice in the bucket is replaced by ice filled balloons – so festive and no melting all over the place making everything drippy.

  One thing though, I’m wondering if once you take a bottle out if it’s hard to replace among the balloons. Maybe a second container inside? Btw, if you’re a crafty sort, this site can keep you busy every day with projects from their super-creative contributors.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“In this house I’M the celebrity chef”

Proclaim it with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, and evening cocoa, and what the "In this house I'M the celebrity chef" Long Apronheck pour in your beverage of choice at cocktail hour.

Or say it with a tee, sweat, hoodie or apron. Wear your proud statement.

Any will make clear to one and all just who rules this kitchen.

For you, or your cook-tastic spouse, friend or family member.

Just FYI, this is my own design. Mugs & shirts at Michigan company SunFrog. Apron at Zazzle.

Mugs    Shirts    Apron

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

Extra for Cooks – or more specifically, those who have folks on their gift list who are cooks. For most, cookbooks are always welcome. But how to choose from the zillion available? This can help if you want to shop on Amazon. Best selling cookbooks   Best rated cookbooks

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Wait till you see how much good stuff goes into one boffo bowl 

Leave it to José Andrés to take a humble bowl from the cabinet and fill it meatlessly to 5-star perfection. The picture tells most of the story.

You can see the flavor, texture, and color contrasts of carrots, scallions, corn, edamame, and bok choy, among other main ingredients. What you don’t see is the dimension altering garlic yogurt sauce and soy ginger dressing.

Btw, that beautiful egg is in neither the ingredients list nor directions. But heck what doesn’t get even better with an eggie crown???

And the recipe title is the mouthful, “Inspired by Beefsteak’s Kimchi-Wa Bowl.” If, like me you’re not a big fan of kimchi, fear not, it’s really just a garnish and as such you can – oops, forgot to add it.

Recipe    Jose Andre cookbooks  

♦  TIP  

Bowl over your family, your guests, even yourself

Because it’s not just Andrés. Bowl cuisine is an emerging trend in restaurants at all levels. And this is one we can so easily bring into our own kitchens.Clean Eating Bowls: 50 Superfood Paleo Bowl Recipes for Clean Eating, Increased Energy, and Vibrant Health

As this story picked up by ProChef SmartBrief notes, these dishes are easy to eat, encourage adventurousness, and can look quite pretty. Easy to build too, because there are no rules.

But there are suggestions to get you started. Just check out this google page.

And of course, trust Amazon to bring you books all about it, including the one shown. And many others

Food bowl cookbooks

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  So when I went to make some shredded beef for a Mexican buffet I found I didn’t have the taco seasoning that I wanted to use in the cooking water. So I substituted what I did have – a steak marinade mix. And what a pleasant surprise. Had never used this for anything before but will likely apply it in other ways too – maybe sometime even on steak {!}

  I just caught up with what’s turned out to be one of my favorite new shows on Food Network – Andrew Zimmern’s “Big Food Truck Tip,” where for six episodes he visited these mobile eateries across the country. The name derives from the fact that in each city the best of the three trucks he checks out will receive a $10,000 “tip.”

Though the truck trend is not new, it’s also not going way, but rather increasing as time goes by. Surely contributing to the popularity is that so many of them serve just such great food, usually fast, and with a come-as-you-are vibe. Episodes so far ran in Sept & Oct, and you can catch up with all of them on the Food Network site.

  Since I always make sure to have a good supply of avocados, some can get iffy. So was happy to see these 5 ways to use them up. They’re all quite interesting but the one I tried wasn’t food {or wasn’t supposed to be} – sort of a guacamole facial. It’s nice, skin feels refreshed when it goes on, soft when it comes off, and with a bit of a glow {or was that the turmeric???}. Btw, though you can store leftovers, I just spooned out what I needed and put some crackers to the rest.

So far next week: chocolate covered peanut butter bars, top-pop cookbook, baking tip, drink your leftovers

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

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Double Layer Cheesecake Bars, for Oct 26-Nov 1, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – new nutrition site / best chicken preps {MI’ll take one of each  please/ storage tips for leftovers    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – chocolate on your shirt / funny doggies on your shirt    FEATURED RECIPE – delectable layers of vanilla & chocolate cheesecake on yellow cake    TIP – besta pasta    THE WEEK – a totally soup-ed up week including an oh-oh video {Mthe words are no worse than I say with my eyes}

Misty’s History  ♦  Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Healthy help. The Center for Nutrition Studies has a new website with new features and recipes too. It focuses on a plant-based life but looks to me like it could be equally  helpful for anyone who just wants some perspective for the veggie side of their palate.

  Chicken! Such a tasty blank canvas, so many ways to prep. How to choose? This might help. Food 52 tops its current newsletter with their “10 Most Popular Chicken Recipes Of All Time.”

  Meanwhile, “Well Done”  helps us minimize waste with some smart tips on avoiding mistakes when storing leftovers.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Chocolate on your shirt . . . in a good way

I sort of love the new commercials for Reese’s peanut butter cups with the tag line “Not sorry.” It captures the pleasure/guilt dichotomy of chocolate – and then in just two words blasts away the latter.

So if you’re a chocoholic, don’t hide it. Shout it.

Or let my shirt do it for you, with not only the bold words, but also chocolates right inside the letters. Other colors, many sizes.

“CHOCOLATE/CHOCOLATE/CHOCOLATE – everything else” Priorities, my friends.

Crafted by Michigan company SunFrog

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

Extra for Dog Lovers – if that’s you, you might want to add another kind of shirt too. This roundup features dog centric tees with funny sayings. Funny dog shirts for humans

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Cheesecake AND chocolate – BOTH!

OK, you’ve been warned: “Taste of Home” can make you buy more notebooks, cabinets or bytes . It’s one of the few sources, whether the hard copy mag or the online newsletter, where I want to make just about everything they show and tell, and accordingly my recipe files runneth over.

And this look-out-teeth dessert is no exception – Double Layer Cheesecake Bars. As the descrip says, “Can’t choose between chocolate or vanilla cheesecake? Have both when you make this bar recipe with two distinct layers.”

Something interesting in this recipe is the addition of a dry ingredient to a creamy layer. I had not see anything like this until recently and now twice – here and also the chocolate peanut butter bars mentioned in last week’s salon and coming Nov 9 as our Featured Recipe. One note – I used Butter Cake for the base.

Recipe    Taste of Home    Taste of Home cookbooks  

  TIP  

Pasta, we gotcha

So an old yellowed clipping – maybe from the Tribune in my Chicago days? – excavated from my food file, yields some quite helpful tips about the noodle.

How much to cook? So for 4 oz: for small pasta, about 1 c uncooked, 2 1/2 c cooked, 2-3 servings . . . for med size pasta, 3 c uncooked, 3 c cooked, 3 servings {this seems odd, but so it says} . . . for long pasta, 1″ in diameter, 2 c cooked, 2 servings {may want to re-calculate servings to personal appetite}.

Cooking: for 4-8 oz pasta, 3 quarts water, 1 t oil, 1/4 t salt, bring water to full rolling boil before adding noodles, add a little at a time so the water keeps boiling, simmer uncovered until done.

Done? Bite into it – the outside should be tender with a little firmness on the inside, in other words, al dente. Drain, rinsing only if destined for a cold dish. If you need to keep it hot, place the strainer of drained pasta over a pan of boiling water.

We don’t-waste-food-ers like this: Any leftover noodles can be frozen. Reheat for 1 min in boiling water. {Pasta image by Stilfehler}

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Oh-Oh! There’s a video in the article cited below that I actually watched after reading the story. But I’m mentioning it first because it could be offensive to some folks. It’s a compilation of food videos that ranked on social media, and with one exception they’re pretty good. The oh-oh comes in with the narrator who uses, ummm, quite colorful language, but on the plus side he’s also rather funny.

  Are you like this too? I prefer some foods in fairly pure form – e.g., guacamole, deviled eggs, hummus – while others I think benefit from some added pizzazz. We already talked about this for salads and oatmeal. Now I found this gussy article from “Bon Appett” about soup toppers. Soup toppers! What a good and versatile idea. Here’s my take, starting with pasta in a creamy chicken broth.

  A couple of things I discovered about using soup toppers. First you want either feather light toppings or dense soup so that your pretty display doesn’t sink to the bottom. Also, heat any that you can so as little of the stuff as possible cools off the soup too much – for the one I did that you see here, I heated the shrimp and the olives and the peanuts in a skillet over low heat – I also had let the avocado, green onion, and cilantro sit out for a while at room temp.

So far next week: rim glasses like a pro, festive chill for bottles, scraps on tv, celeb bowl, bowl tips

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

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Savory Sweet Potato Bake, for Oct 19 – Oct 25, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – ice cream for breakfast? how many ways? {M – make mine vanilla} / potato chips too? / bagels aflame    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – decking the halls / holiday perusing    FEATURED RECIPE – sweet potato casserole, two ways    TIP – do a Sprat, but save the fat    THE WEEK – sweet potato casserole, 3.0 / decadence tc / a celeb chef and I invite you to have some “debris”

{Mdear feline friends, please check out the two new photos mom put in my Gallery}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well Food & Wine has done it again, dangled a headline before us that just hoovers us into the story. It was in their online newsletter that they offered “19 Ways to Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast,” where you’ll find morning versions of sundaes & splits, cookies & cakes, tacos, and melted ice cream hot chocolate.

  And how about this for breakfast . . . potato chips??? I just loved the sassy tone in this Extra Crispy story that steamrollers over guilt and drags the bag out of the pantry, and its contents into eggs, one way or another.

  Food 52 is not slouch either when it comes to irresistible headlines. And again, it was well worth it. Enjoy the tale and recipe that follow “I Tried Chrissy Teigen’s Everything Bagel Casserole & Nearly Set My Kitchen on Fire,” the recipe from Teigen’s new “Cravings: Hungry for More” cookbook.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Bring Christmas right to the dining table

So much fun to decorate for the holidays, especially when such pretty stuff can be just a few clicks away in Amazon’s vast array. Santa Claus Hat Christmas Chair Covers, Miniko(TM) Santa Claus Party Gift Dinner Dinning Christmas Table Decorations Tableware Set Pack 4

Our main link below takes you to the page for tablecloths, table runners, place mats, ways to make it all so festive.

ITART 9 Pack Wine Bottle String Lights Cork LED Battery Powered Lights 15 Leds 2.5ft Multicolor Micro Small Silver Wire Shaped Fairy Light Crafts Table Centerpieces Wedding Parties Christmas DecorYou can also search on the page for other Christmassy touches such as Centerpieces, Lighting, and more.

Holiday table decor

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

Extra for Book Lovers – the “book store” at Amazon offers such a treasury of holiday reading, from coloring books, to novels, to cookbooks, to decorating guides. Browse them all for you, or “who. ”

  FEATURED RECIPE  

For Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or . . . right now!

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

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

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

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

  

  TIP  

If you’re like Jack Sprat . . .

 . . . and can eat no fat, or at least just plain don’t want to, then like me you trim, trim, trim, whether you’re cooking beef {see leftovers tip in My Week below}, chicken, pork, ham, whatever. But since I also don’t like waste, I use what I cut off, whether from the precooked or cooked meat.

And unless you’re a surgeon, the trimmings usually include some lean meat too, so all of that and any bones go into a pot of water along with carrots, onion, celery, garlic and a bit of bouillon powder. I cook till flavorful, letting some of the water cook off if necessary.

Let cool, then chill in the fridge till the fat rises to the top as a solid and can be scraped off and discarded. Then strain and use as is, or make gravy by thickening it with flour or cornstarch, or with the pureed cooking vegetables.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  An addendum to our Featured Recipe this week. I like dried thyme well enough, but for me it doesn’t take much to be too much, so my prep cuts the original measure to just a sort of healthy pinch. In case you don’t like thyme at all, one time I did substitute nutmeg and that worked out quite well. I do have to say though the thyme does add an interesting and not altogether unwelcome earthy dimension.

  So made the chocolate-topped peanut butter bars from the What Can I Bring cookbook featured in our Sept 21 salon. It made a lot and accordingly had a lot of taste testers. Kudos all around for this easy dessert, so right now planning to make it our Featured Recipe for the Nov 9 salon, right in time for the holiday tables. No-bake too!

  Have leftover cooked beef? One of the ways I’ve used it up ever since I had super chef Carlos Guia’s original at Commander’s Palace some time back – is as “debris,” and I swear it tastes way, way better than it sounds. In my version I shred the beef and heat it in beef broth or stock to which I’ve added garlic powder and pepper along with butter-sauteed onions. And then top each serving with a poached egg or two. Did just that this week, and along with some sourdough toast, an mmm-mmm brunch.

So far next week: best chicken recipes, avoiding chicken cooking mistakes, double layer cheesecake bars, pasta tips 

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

 

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