Chocolate filled crescents, so easy, July 3-July 9, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Ah darn, but then all better 

So I saw what appeared to be a crescent roll filled with chocolate and maybe something else in an ad. The bummer about this kind of thing is when the tempting item is merely a prop, no recipe will be forthcoming.

Ha! Pillsbury to the rescue.

Their basic recipe couldn’t be easier, just the rolls, mini chocolate chips and optional powdered sugar. I had a few raisins to use up so after softening them in some hot water {then drained and blotted} added those in too. I chose not to top with powdered sugar because I didn’t want to cover up that beautiful golden exterior.

Breakfast, midday, dessert, all good. And of course you can stroll all through the site’s recipe pages for countless sweet and savory ways to fill crescent rolls.

Recipe notes: I found two things help keep the chips in place while you’re “rolling in the dough.” One is to use the palm of your hand to press them down into the crescent. And second, what worked best for me was to fold the point up to the wide edge and then roll from the fold to the wide edge, turning them seam down in the baking pan – if you look at the cheesecake crescent shown beneath the recipe on the Pillsbury page, it looks like that’s how those rolled.

Next week: gooey, gussied grilled cheese sandwiches

Pillsbury recipe    Their other crescent roll recipes    Pillsbury cookbooks on Amazon  

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  Be the smartest person in the grocery store, or picking up groceries, or having groceries delivered. The NBC news site gives a shout-out to canned goods which, as the story says, because of their longevity cut back on waste and also mean “your pantry holds a treasure of quick meal solutions.” Here’s where it turns to gold. The report includes pointers for selecting the most nutritious canned goods, and maybe even better a roundup of the nation’s top food pros and nutritionists citing their favorite canned goods and why. Here are all the secrets.

♦  Meanwhile, here’s another take on wash produce the right way. This one from Yahoo, in turn citing the CDC.

  Well I never thought I’d be saying, I love the idea of a “garbage jar.” Let’s just say this is not only yet another way to avoid waste but as well to make maybe some of your best baked goods ever. Find the sweet scoop from MyRecipes here.

  Wait, don’t throw that out! EatingWell magazine tell us, “Instead of tossing the stems, ends and seeds of your produce, learn how to give them new life. It’s easy.” Details and a demo are here at Grow Scraps {never quite sure what threat this might pose, but please note the EW site shows “not secure” – rest assured CooksSalon is!}. This is actually quite fascinating. Will let you know if I give it a try.  

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo, June 26-July 2, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Shrimp gets frisky 

A decent hit of red pepper flakes, a touch of another pepper, and go-for-it garlic all conspire to put a tingle on your tongue. Though truth be told, I did drizzle a bit of sriracha over it too.

There are of course other fine flavors too, seasonings, wine {though I actually used clam juice instead}, tomatoes, herbs. Thinking a green salad with some cooling avocado and a dollop of sour cream could be a tasty counterpoint.

The prep is from one of my favorite sites, AllRecipes, and in turn is credited to Chef John. Thanks Chef John!

The good news roster: prep time 15 min, cook time 20 min, 5 star rating, delicious!

Well, woohoo, turns out the good chef has all kinds of great looking dishes on the AllRecipes site. The ones most likely to bring me back first – his breakfast & brunch dishes, lemon bars and potato roses, and the latter includes a demo. Even if you never make this dish, pretty sure you will enjoy watching even if only for his droll sense of humor.

Next week: chocolate filled crescent rolls

Recipe    Chef John’s dishes on AllRecipes  

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  In last week’s salon we linked imdb’s favorite foodie movies. Leave it to google to tap into a full roster of sources for top rated movies with a culinary theme. Water for Chocolate and Chocolat are two of my list toppers and truly for reasons well beyond the title subject.

  A little indulgence now and then can’t hurt right? Good for the spirits. So, high on that list for lots of us is a hot fudge sundae. No hot fudge? If you have karo syrup and any kind of chocolate – boxed, bars, chips – you in effect have hot fudge in the wings. And easy, no measuring, even though I do use a measuring cup for the easy pouring. Put in the chips or chopped chocolate, cover fully with the syrup, nuke and whisk till smooth with a pinch of salt.

And remember it will thicken considerably when it hits the ice cream. After you make it once, you’ll know if next time you want to add more of one or the other to suit your taste. You can enrich it with butter, cream, vanilla, e.g., too but it will also be a perfectly good sauce with just those main ingredients. I did discover one thing – a hot fudge banana split is a heck of a breakfast.

  Campbell’s cream of chicken soup is the foundation of my own personal mother sauce. May share some of that here but as well going into a cookbook. Meanwhile, wow, so many tasty ways to use this culinary workhorse. See for yourself with a stroll through Campbell’s cream of chicken soup recipes on their site. You know what looks so good – the creamy chicken pot pie, easy chicken & cheese enchiladas, shortcut chicken cordon bleu, chicken and stuffing pie – better stop.

  Also, Campbell’s has published cookbooks based on their wide range of products, and there is at least one dedicated to recipes that start with their soups. You can find these cookbooks on this page on Amazon.

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Bacon Peanut Butter Corn Muffins, June 19-June 25, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Award winner 

This week’s featured recipe took third place in a recent Taste of Home contest. We can only imagine how many dishes this one had to beat out for that honor. And yowza are they good.

Let us count the ways to love these Bacon-Peanut Butter Corn Muffins. The first one is right in the title!

But here’s what’s more. It comes together with ingredients likely already in residence in your pantry and fridge.

It’s great as is for breakfast. But if you go ahead with the optional caramel ice cream topping, Poof! Dessert! Likewise with the suggested alternate of chocolate chips and chocolate syrup.

I’d also add kudos for something we’ve talked about before in our Salons. By putting peanuts in the topping there’s not only some nice added crunch, but also a bright red flag for folks who are allergic and may not know there’s peanut butter in the mix.

Btw, if you’re a fan of flavor overload, while you’re on their site take a look at the Savory Cracker Snack Mix, using the search window on their menu bar.

Recipe notes – thinking this topping would be just as happy on a regular pan of cornbread or even pancakes, French toast, regular toast. Then ‘fessing up, I actually drizzled with maple syrup – good!

Next week: Shrimp turns pasta “Fra Diavolo

ToH recipe    Taste of Home cookbooks on Amazon    Taste of Home magazine

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

♦  Craving a Big Mac®? Don’t want to go get it? A clone to the rescue yet again. And also, once again, it’s Eat This Not That that’s sending it in. In fact, they claim this is “The Best Copycat Big Mac Recipe'” {sic, which is to say, no ® i their headline}. Fries with that?

♦  Any reason why party-style dishes can’t find a home on the family table? Nope. And this one is so, so easy, and  proportions just fine no matter how few or how many places are set at that table. Start with these little phyllo shells {available from Amazon if you can’t get to, or get them from, your grocery store]. And then fill away because they arrive ready to use.

Mine shown at the right starts with some soft cream cheese that’s been further softened with a bit of sour cream, pushed down a bit in the center to create a well for cocktail sauce, and then turned into a mini cocktail with a cooked shrimp, quartered and dusted with dillweed, garnished with a celery sprig.

You could also use canned tiny shrimp, as shown at the left. For either – snack, appetizer, entree add-on, all good.

♦  Well, who knew. Turns out your produce sort of needs to practice social distancing too. A site called wellandgood tells us that certain fruits and veggies produce a gas that helps them ripen but can cause adjacent produce to ripen too fast and spoil. Tap into “The biggest mistake you’re making with your produce that causes it to go bad faster” for all the details of what to keep away from what. Especially helpful when replacements right now are not necessarily a sure thing.

♦  Need some foodie-style amusement? International Movie Data Base, a boffo information source for not just movies, but tv series, casts, stars, production folks, and other assorted celebrities, rates these selections as “The Best Food Themed Movies and Series” – popcorn slightly extra.

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Honey Roasted Carrots, June 12-June 18, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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This pretty much turns carrots into candy 

Let’s first talk about the proverbial elephant in the room. If you follow the link below you’ll see that this recipe rates 2.8 out of 5 stars. Now I’m not the most cyber-savvy one in the room but I could not see a way to look at any comments to discover what might have led to this rather mediocre evaluation If you go to click on the stars it would appear you’re actually registering a rating, and maybe that’s how the rating ended being what it is.

Or, one other thing that occurred to me is that thyme can be acquired taste. And note that actually the thyme leaves are optional. I routinely decrease the amount specified in any recipe. Or I will substitute a compatible herb and in fact in this case I used cilantro, though think parsley would be nice too.

All that said here’s the thing, in three words. They’re quite delicious!

Using the timing given, they are tender but still have texture. And that touch of honey makes them beautiful caramelize as they roast. This recipe is from the Eat This Not That list of comfort foods linked in our 05.29.20 Salon.

If you try them and don’t like them let us know why, in effect creating our own CS commentary.

Recipe    “Eat This Not That” cookbooks

Next week Bacon Peanut Butter Corn Muffins

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

♦  Who knew when MyRecipes posted this last fall it would be so very welcome now. Do you have refrigerated dough on hand? Then you might want to take a look at their “20+ Recipes That Start With Canned Dough.” Among the offerings is one that’s new to me but sounds like it may have some history – called Reunion Pea Casserole, its title way understates a mix of Italian sausage, eggs, and then several veggies, cheeses, and seasonings. Many are considerably simpler, the pizza rolls, chicken & dumplin soup, chocolate crescents with hazelnut spread, toffee bits and pecans.  Btw, this is a case where you can view the dishes in a slide show or scroll down and see the full list.

  This same post, again almost prophetic when some stuff now can be so hard to find, offers up a demo on “How to Make Rich, Flavorful Gravy Using Bouillon Cubes.” The prep calls for a “knob of butter” which appears to be about a couple of tablespoons. If I might add my two cents, a bit of onion powder, garlic powder, parsley flakes, and/or pepper can’t hurt. I did try this and it came out quite well, with the seasonings.

  Is stress making it hard for you to sleep? Wouldn’t it be nice if ice cream could solve that problem? Ummmm, maybe it can. A brand called Nightfood says its ice cream features a “sleep-friendly nutritional profile.” If you can’t find it in stores, the link in the previous sentence takes you to the cart page and shows their 8 flavors, including After Dinner Mint Chip, Cookies & Dreams, and Midnight Chocolate.

  So, in last week’s Salon we talked about Joanna Gaines cooking videos on her YouTube channel. Now I came across a Business Insider article listing “The 7 Best YouTube Channels for Learning How to Cook.” Bon Appetit leads the way followed by Food 52, both familiar to CS readers, with the other five perhaps lesser well known but ready and waiting for tasty discovery.

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Saucy, spicy, savory Cajun shrimp, June 5-June 11, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Fieri finds “real-deal” Cajun in Mooresville, Indiana

It’s called Zydeco’s and that real deal is not just a matter of serving up all the classics, but as well making some of the essential ingredients in-house and flying in some of the rest. Guy says, when you’re inside you really are in New Orleans.

This recipe from his cookbook, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: The Funky Finds in Flavortown,” is an adaptation of the one provided to Fieri by co-owner and New Orleans native Carter Hutchinson. Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp is not for the faint of palate – any hint of red in the buttery/garlicky sauce is not from tomatoes {there are none}, but from hot peppers – ground, flaked and liquid.

That’s indeed Big Easy style, with the requisite crusty bread pressed into service after the shrimp is gone to scoop up every last bit of the sauce. Expect to have butter residue to the elbows immediately afterward, and garlic wafting from your pores possibly for days.

You also could have had pretty much this same dish if you ever happened to have gone years ago to a place called Slicker Sam’s in Melrose Park, a suburb west of Chicago, and probably today at other select places outside New Orleans. Just make sure wherever it is, it’s the “real deal.”

Both cookbook links below take you to Amazon. Fieri’s books generally rate four stars and up.

Next week: Honey roasted carrots

Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp recipe on Food Network    This DDD cookbook    Other Fieri cookbooks

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  Quick pickup at Trader Joe’s, back home, minutes later, dinner! And hooray for the number of ingredients too. It’s all promised in their list of “Meals {that} Have Fewer Than Four Ingredients and Take 10 Minutes to Make.” They’ve done a boffo job of packing a lot of flavor and texture into a little bit of stuff. Thanks Cooking Light for posting this. {Just a quick PS, more accurate to say four or fewer ingredients

  How about a nice ice cream dessert with a kick? This sweet treat is the result of Fieri’s visit to a place called Union Woodshop in Clarkston MI, and the recipe in the book {above} for a Maple Bourbon Pecan Sundae is courtesy of that restaurant’s Chef Aaron Cozadd. Thinking despite the title this would be quite good even without the bourbon, and then maybe some vanilla instead.

We should note that Cozadd makes his own vanilla ice cream for this sundae, using the nitrogen freezing method. I’ve had this prep before and the ice cream turns out so smooth, so creamy, it’s almost in a class by itself. A lot of cautions go along with this process, so maybe ice cream from the store would do just fine.

  Joanna Gaines, known to many as a cookbook author and more, is posting cooking demos on her Youtube channel. What’s so nice about this format vs live tv is you can pause the video to make notes or whatever, or run it back to see something again. There is a subscribe button but you can just go ahead and watch any of these Magnolia Table episodes. May want to start with the French Silk Pie. Meanwhile if you’d like you can browse her cookbooks and more on Amazon.

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Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan, May 15-May 21, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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  COMFORT FOOD  

It’s like they had a crystal ball

Magazine articles are prepped many months in advance of publication. So check this out from Food & Wine for March: “The comfort of working from home is your one saving grace. Not only can you stay in pajamas all day and watch movies while sending emails, but you can also cook some seriously comforting food. Here, the 25 things you’ll definitely want to eat.

But here’s the thing. The first sentence actually was, “When it’s March and it’s blizzarding, times are truly bleak.  And the full final sentence was, Here, the 25 things you’ll definitely want to eat while snowed in.” While much of the country is likely not snowed in, some of the country is in, and comfort food is ever so welcome.

Our Featured Recipe comes from that list, which also has such tempters as bacon fried rice with avocado and fried eggs, cheesey nachos with fried eggs and giardiniera, meatloaf with red wine glaze, individual chicken pot pies, and pralinc brownies, 25 in all. View as a slide show or scroll down for the full list.

The chicken pepperoni parm is already a plate of flavor. But in fact I did add some Italian seasonings to the tomato sauce or you could certainly use a jarred marinara. I also sauteed the chicken in butter/olive oil instead of breading it. More good news – it all bakes on a sheet pan.

Next week: Chilaquilies, layers of flavor

Recipe   Food & Wine magazine F&W comfort food list 

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  Did you want mashed potatoes tonight, but no fresh taters, no flakes, none in the freezer? One other question – did you make the loaded baked potato soup we featured in our 04.24.20 Salon? If that one’s a Yes, do this. Put the frozen soup in a non stick skillet over low heat and when you can begin breaking it up and stirring it around. Keep stirring as it loses liquid and begins to thicken. Continue until it has the consistency you want. It will actually be more like whipped than mashed but will stand up to gravy. And, oh boy, the flavor!

  Take a can of beans. And then – wow – look what you can do. This pantry staple can be transformed into soups, stews, chili variations, salads, casseroles, skillet dinners, dips and ethnic treats. Some nicely spicy stuff too including the honey chipotle steak hot dip. And even goes sweet with bean spice cake, brownie truffle bites and chocolate fudge cookies. These treats on the Bush Beans recipe page can be searched by course, bean variety, recipe type and more. {Photo from Bush site}

  As with people food pantries, in some areas there are also pet food banks. And as with the people ones, tap into it if you need it, donate if you can. I didn’t find a central source for this kind of information, but you should be able to search for any that may be near you.

  “Produce Pool”? A funny photo circulating on the web shows one way to pass quarantine time – a guy is at his billiard sized kitchen table with what might be a cue stick taking aim at a tomato, ready to “break” a formation of limes. Pairs of bananas serve as the targets. Thanks, Peggy.

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Disney’s Cookies & Cream Bread Pudding, May 1-May 7, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Hooray, Disney shares parks’ restaurant favorites

I saw a flash on my Echo Show about Disney’s recipe for cookie fries. Not sure if it implied this or if I just drew the conclusion but I thought the company was taking this step because we can’t go to the parks for their notable dishes.

But after tracking it down, I discovered that the “Disney Parks Blog” has been publishing its recipes for quite some time. You can find the cookie fries there too, which actually are clever cookie “bakes” that look like fries.

But our comfort “foodar” took us at warp speed to the Cookies & Cream Bread Pudding. It leans classic with a loaf of Italian bread among the ingredients which, though, has to share the spotlight with chocolate sandwich cookies along with extra vanilla and {fair warning} a whole lot of half and half. The topping only makes this rich dessert . . . richer.

Btw, you’re likely not serving this to a crowd and consequently will have some of the sweetened condensed milk left after using it as part of the topping. Hit the last link below to see what google has to suggest for the rest of it.

Recipe notes: While their topping looked quite good, I opted for chocolate sauce and sour cream. That other picture? Used some of the mix to make donuts and muffins, and those I dusted with powdered sugar – you’d still actually want to serve these fun shapes warm like regular bread pudding.

Next week: Homemade donuts, glazed, jelly and more

Recipe    Disney Parks Blog recipe pages    leftover scm on google

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, enjoying, health & safety

♦  Truth be told, though box mix brownies can’t really compete with good homemade, most are pretty decent. But if there were a way to “Make Boxed Brownies Taste Homemade” we’d probably take a look, right? Have at it, because there’s not just one but four ways to do this. Hey, why not use even more than one???

  This is a surprise to me but credible sources say even in the age of the coronavirus, the best way of cleaning produce is simply with running water, and maybe a clean brush for items with sturdy exteriors. And they further specifically advise against soap or other household cleaning products. Did not see anything one way or the other about vinegar. Here are two of the articles I found that cite entities we should be able to trust.  Huffpost   USAToday  Photo by Gila Brand at en.wikipedia

  Chances are pretty good a whole lot of us have a can, or two, or more, of tuna in the pantry. It’s a classic star in a salad and casserole. But here comes MyRecipes with “Three Deliciously Creative Ways” that may be new to you. 1} tonnato sauce, typically used on cooked veggies or as a dip for raw ones. 2} rillettes, a creamy meaty spread, and 3} a tuna version of a crispy crab cake. The can opener is calling you.

  With a nod to our stay at home way of life right now, someone in our Nextdoor group said he needed to start practicing social distancing from the refrigerator.

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Rich and creamy {& famous} clam chowder, April 10-April 16, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – “easiest” asparagus / salsa=16 dinners / corona through food?    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – our fun new mugs / adda Mada    FEATURED RECIPE – trick it up    TIP – read & ready    THE WEEK – there’s good and there’s good / possible leftovers resource / play without fear

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What a great time for an asparagus recipe, just when the tender spears are becoming available. Even better, “This might be the easiest way to make asparagus.” It’s in a skillet, few ingredients, says 5 minutes.

  As promised in last week’s Salon, here is AllRecipe’s offer of “16 Easy Dinners to Make with a Jar of Salsa.” Note as with many of these slide shows you can also opt to just scroll down and see the full list. I think my list-topper is likely to be the Black Bean Breakfast Bowl, or wait, maybe the Cilantro Lime Garlic Sauteed Shrimp {D’s Taco Pizza?}.

Thinking we’d all like to know the answer to this. “Can You Contract Coronavirus Through Food?” MyRecipes takes our previous posts a step further with “Why you need to pay attention before, during, and after your supermarket visits {and home deliveries}.” Their information is sourced from the CDC and FDA.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Cheer up your morning {or any time} with a fun CS mug

Our own CS mug collection {five is a collection, right?} is now on its own page right here on the Salon site. More will come in the days ahead.The Mug With A Hoop

For now, you can raise a toast to chocolate, coffee, ice cream, and parties. And rounding out the lineup, one I just love . . . “In this house I’M the celebrity chef” – you too?

All of them are our own designs. But credit for the craftwork goes to CA-based Zazzle, home of many fine crafts.

The page also gives you links to other food-themed mugs on Zazzle plus on Amazon and SunFrog. Some are more cups than mugs, like the clever one shown here from Amazon. Images are clickable.

CS Fun Mug page    CS Marketplace Directory

NEW, our “Make America Decent Again” collection on Zazzle now includes a tee, hoodie. button, sweatshirt and mug – all right now on BJN’s Eclectic Mall page

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Make as is or use their own trick

In our 03.27.20 Salon we featured Todd Wilbur’s book, “Top Secret Recipes/Step by Step.” I had mentioned that among the preps landing on my to-make list was this very one from the famous Boston {etc} restaurant group, Legal Sea Food.

The amped up flavor is thanks to such ingredients as bacon, onions, garlic, and spices. I actually used bottled clam juice for the stock, and here’s one of two ‘fess-ups – canned clams, added at the end and gently heated so they stayed tender.

The second ‘fess up requires a detour, in fact to Boston. I’m long familiar with Legal Sea Foods given that it was a mandatory stop any time my husband and I were in town.

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at HomeOne time while we were at the bar awaiting our table we had a pleasant conversation with the bartender. In the course of the chat we mentioned how we were all but addicted to their fish chowder.

Whether he should have told us or not, he did – the secret he said is a lot of Monterey jack cheese. The question was, is that true or not, but our fairly experienced taste buds thought it probably was and that’s what I’ve borrowed for the clam chowder in place of the flour and cornstarch, melting in till it was as thick as I wanted, and then the clams.

Btw, I learned something that’s reflected in the recipe link. Don’t know how many are in its “library,” but apparently Google posts entire books and that’s where the link will take you. If you’d rather have a real book in your hands, there’s also the Amazon link where you’ll see Wilbur’s work merits 4 1/2 stars, available at good discounts for both Kindle and paperback.

Recipe     “Top Secret Recipes Step by Step”    Wilbur’s other Top Secret Recipes cookbooks  

  TIP  

For some CS-ers, this is going to be a great big Duh!

Which is to say, you might take a look at the subject and say, well of course I do that. But not all of us do, all the time, and I’m as guilty as anyone else in this regard.

The subject is, reading the recipe. And not just right before you make it, but a day or two before you make it.

Do you have all the ingredients. And just as important, do you have enough of each ingredient. Are the necessary appliances in working order. Does anything have to be done in advance – marinating, baking, chilling, freezing. Or, can some of the steps be completed in advance.

Party time makes this pre-look even more critical, and now we’re likely talking more than one recipe. Are the necessary big bowls and pans going to be available or in use for something else. Is there room in the oven or on the stove for all the planned preps. Is there time to get it all ready.

So grab a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice, sit back and relax. And have a nice little read.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I was drawn to a headline regarding Quarantine Cakes on my Echo Show. Turns out they’re from a bakery in CA, designed for 1 or 2 people, frosted with coronavirus messages {“Stay 6 ft apart,” e.g.}. Not sure what I was expecting, but not exactly this, and not something available only locally. But maybe, intentionally or otherwise, there’s a message here anyway – don’t have to totally abandon good eating habits, but maybe this is a time to indulge in a few more treats than usual. We’ll do our best to help.

  In case you have an Echo Show, one of the features that’s quite handy is asking Alexa how to use up leftovers, as a general question or regarding a specific ingredient. I asked her about some leftover cooked shrimp and she came back with shrimp quesadillas and lemon garlic shrimp. You can then of course ask her for the recipe.

  Are you among those spending a little more time at home than usual these days. One possibility to pass the time is to . . . play with your food. And do it without fear because, cooks being among the most creative folks on earth, we can almost always find ways to turn the bad to good. E.g., I recently made a layer cake instead in a sheet pan, and after a guessed-at baking time the poked-in wooden skewer came out clean and the edges had started to pull away.

  But after it cooled somewhat discovered that actually the bottom was decidedly not cooked. Hmmmm. Hauled out a large skillet, in with a little oil, and then dropped in squares of the cake undercooked side down, until done and a little crisp. Over briefly for some crispness on the done side. Then cooled, wrapped portions in foil, and into the freezer to emerge on demand as tasty pancakes.

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – cup, mug, book-Amazon / recipe-my photo of Wilbur’s page / others-mine
  •  Link sources – cooking asparagus-MyRecipes / brownies-msn.com / photo links for cup & mug, books-Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon {ongoing – Amazon, Zazzle, SunFrog}

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

So far next week: Starting next week our Salon will convert for now to a more simple format, just two elements – a comfort food recipe and whatever food safety measures we can find

Last week, just below: taco shell the blank slate, best cobbler?, marinara + + , sheet pan 2.0, warm chocolate cobbler, flour trick, save the milk, fun with taters, impromptu dressing

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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Cookbook author’s Chocolate Cobbler, April 3-April 9, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

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

  TIDBITS – taco shell, the blank slate / best cobbler? / marinara + +  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – sheet pan 2.0    FEATURED RECIPE – oh my!!!    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK – save the milk / fun with taters / impromptu dressing 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  A feature in “Parade” last weekend was a fine reminder of just how versatile tacos can be. Once you set up a shell {see our tip in the 02.21.20 Salon for making them stand tall} or lay out a tortilla, the possibilities for fillings/toppings are boundless. Meats, fish, cheeses, veggies, beans, fruits, bacon, eggs, chilies, onions of any color, garlic, citrus, herbs, sour cream, salsa in all its variations, hot sauces and other sauces. What a great way to raid the fridge and use up tasty odds and ends.

  This week’s Salon is a bonanza for cobbler lovers. Not only do we have the blow-everyone-away chocolate version as our Featured Recipe. but also this from MyRecipes: “How to Make Your Best Cobbler Yet.” You’ll find the 1-2-3-4 of assembling your dish, and then how to cook it in the oven, on your stovetop, or even . . . on the grill.

  Truth be told there are some decent spaghetti sauces at the supermarket. But Epicurious via msn.com says there are ways to make them even better with its “5 Ways to Amp Up Jarred Pasta Sauce.” Temperature, seasonings, ingredients, cooking and baking techniques are in the details.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Already done!

Two weeks ago we talked about using foil to create separate compartments for different foods. And that’s a good technique with an item you likely have at hand.Chicago Metallic Lasagna Trio Pan, 12-Inch by 15-Inch by 3-Inch (11-1/2-Inch by 2-1/2-Inch Cavities)

But, eureka! A sectioned sheet pan already exists. It’s called a lasagna tri-pan but clearly you could use it anyway you want, and because of the depth it’s actually better than a standard sheet pan..Disposable Aluminum 3 Compartment T.V Dinner Trays with Board Lid #210L (50)

And then there are disposable ones too. These are multipacks. Both images are clickable.

Btw, you’ll also see others designed for brownies, bars, mini loaves and the like that could even work for smaller amounts.

Sectioned sheet pans, 4 stars & up

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Looks aren’t everything 

OK, here’s the thing. When cookbook author Elizabeth Heiskell was putting this dish in the oven on the Food Network show, The Kitchen, the hosts in effect compared it to sludge.

Truth be told, when it came back out the cosmetic improvement was slight at best. The ice cream makes a tasty coverup – she used cherry, a sort of Black Forest thing going on, and I used butter pecan. Whipped cream or sour cream I think could also be nice.

BUT, how it looks will fade into the ionosphere once you taste it. Yikes it’s good!. In fact I believe it was Sunny that said it was the best dessert she’d ever had on the show.

What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves UpThe frosting on the cobbler so to speak {hey maybe another solution}, is that it is quite easy to make. One melt, two mixes, and voop into the oven.

Some notes. I took it out 33 minutes. There’s no guideline on whether to use 3/4 or 1 cup of hot water – I used 3/4 and think next time a full cup for even more gooey goodness, and maybe take a minute or two off the baking time. To serve it I flipped it over to have the melty chocolate on top..

Heiskell is the author of a book we’ve previously featured in the Salon, a gift guide of sorts titled “What Can I Bring,” and subtitled southern food for any occasion life serves up –  hardcover and Kindle, both discounted on Amazon. We’ve also linked her other cookbooks, similarly with a southern accent.

Recipe    “What Can I Bring”    Heiskell’s other books

  TIP 

Don’t have self-rising flour? Easy fix

AllRecipes to the rescue again. Turns out that site is not only boffo for recipes but also for techniques.

Our Featured Recipe for this week calls for self-rising flour, but not everyone keeps this on hand. No worries, as long as you have regular flour, salt and baking powder you’re good to go.

There’s even a demo. And bonus, while I was on the site found a way to turn salsa into 11 dinners. Next week Tidbits!

To make self-rising flour

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Please, please, don’t hoard milk {or really anything else}. But most guidelines say it’s OK to take one extra of most things. With milk the problem is using it up before it spoils. So, asked Alexa on my Echo Show about freezing it and this is what she said – remove about a cup from the carton to allow for expansion. Write the date it’s going into the freezer and the expiration date on the carton, which will tell you when you eventually use it about how long it should stay fresh. Thaw in the fridge or in cold water, shake before use in case the fat has separated.

  And then, good Alexa offered a transfer to WikiHow for more information. So, I poured about a half gallon from a gallon into a large container, left about 2″ clearance, sealed up, into the freezer. And we shall see.

{At some point we’ll be bringing you regular food news, tips, recipes, even jokes from Alexa on its own CS page}

  What a fun and festive idea for when we can once again party on. See the pic? – that’s “potato snow,” found in “The Secret Garden Cookbook” featured in our 03.06.20 Salon. Oh so easy too! Per the recipe, simply push boiled, towel-dried potatoes through a coarse sieve with a wooden spoon letting them “pile high into a snowy mountain slope.”

  I actually peeled the potatoes, wrapped in foil and baked, so no drying time needed and then held with a multi-folded large napkin to sieve while still hot. Even so, there will be some cooling so it’s a good idea to serve with some hot melted butter. Just be careful not to shake the plate or you could end up with something more like a “drift.”

  Steak, baked potatoes, and salad were on the dinner menu. When baked is on the plate, sour cream is sure to follow. So a creamy dressing on the salad would be sort of redundant, but I wanted more flavor than just a vinaigrette. Hmmmm, started with some soy sauce, then in quick succession sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce, and grated dried garlic. Nice. Now a new fave.

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – sheet pans, book-Amazon, others-mine
  •  Link sources – sheet pans, books-Amazon, recipe-Food Network
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: 16 meals from salsa, catch corona through food?, brownie mix upgrade, clam chowder with a secret, more on safe shopping, made the potato soup, Alexa cake, play with your food, fun foodie mugs

Last week, just below: baking crafts, safer shopping for the times, boffo cake, recipe clone source, leftover pizza breakfast casserole 2.0, Wilbur’s chicken trick, grits hits, safe& easy pretty Easter eggs, Japanese home cooking cookbook

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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Leftover Pizza Breakfast Casserole, March 27-April 3, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

CS Friends

I considered suspending CooksSalon during these times when ingredients can be hard to find and we have more on our minds than a new recipe. The other side of that is that perhaps there’s a benefit in staying connected through a shared passion and enjoying a little respite from the cares of the day.

So here’s  what we’re going to do for now

First, keep publishing CooksSalon each Friday for the present.

Second, post anything we can find to provide help in our cooking realm – ways to protect our health, make the best of what we have on hand, substitute for what we don’t – the first example being the shopping guidelines just below.

Third, watch for any signs that we should in fact suspend the Salon for a while.

Stay safe my friends.

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

  TIDBITS – baking crafts / safer shopping for the times / boffo cake     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – recipe clone source    FEATURED RECIPE – really, this time    TIP – Wilbur’s chicken trick   THE WEEK – grits hits / safe, easy, pretty Easter eggs / Japanese Home Cooking cookbook

♦  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  This is sort of an interesting case of kitchen meets craft room. Most of us most days just don’t have time for time-consuming recipes. But every now and then it might be nice, even therapeutic, to just let hands and mind concentrate on something that will reward us with a pretty and tasty end result. Epicurious thinks so, and backs that up with this slide show of “31 Epic Dessert and Baking Recipes for When You Need a Project.” Maybe a giant chocolate candy bar, best morning buns, caramel apple drip cake, or spiced hazelnut-pear cake with chocolate sauce.

  As we all know, right now there are some scary times out there. To help in the food realm, msn.com offers these suggestions on How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus When Grocery Shopping.  You’ll find guidelines for picking up pre-assembled grocery orders, receiving deliveries, and handling the items once they’re in your home.

  Haven’t even made this yet but what an interesting cake. Take a look at the picture of this Sweet and Salty Snack Food Cake AND the ingredients and see if you might not agree. The topping is so different, potato chips, cookies, coconut, raisins, nuts, butter, brown sugar. Think this rich cake might also be good as is or with just a touch of glaze or frosting.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Send in the clones

Oh, this is fun. Think of your favorite restaurant food, or even selected grocery store items, and you just might find a copycat in this cookbook.

Todd Wilbur’s reason for creating “Top Secret Recipes . . . Step by Step/Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home” would warm any cook’s heart. “. . . the enjoyment we experience when everyone is amazed by the successful re-creation of a delicious dish they thought they could only get in a restaurant or in a package sets this type of cooking apart from any other.”Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at Home

Requests from fans turn into quests by Wilbur, a mix of “snooping, exploring, and experimenting,” a process he enjoys it seems every bit as much as creating the end result. And this is nice – little information boxes atop each recipe specify first time or improved hack, active and inactive prep times, level of difficulty, and yield.

All in all you’ll find 125 recipes from over 60 sources – think fast food outlets, family restaurants, ethnic places, breakfast spots, steakhouses, coffee emporiums and dessert bars. The packaged goods clones include Twinkies®, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels®, Fudgsicles®, a couple of Girl Scout cookies, and more.

Yikes, so many temptations here. Think my list-toppers might be the Chili’s® molten chocolate cake {with caramel sauce!}, Legal Sea Foods® clam chowder, Panera Bread® Asian sesame chicken salad, Red Lobster® Cheddar Bay Biscuits®, Ruth’s Chris Steak House® barbecued shrimp, and Taco Bell® Mexican Pizza.

“Top Secret Recipes Step by Step”    Wilbur’s other Top Secret Recipes cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A pizza journey 

AllRecipes magazine in effect is asking us this question about leftover pizza: Why have a cold slice in the morning when you could instead use those leftovers to fill your plate with hot “Pizza Breakfast Casserole.” What a way to start the day.

When I went to their site to get the link to post for you, the dish in the photo with the recipe looked quite different from the one in the magazine. The recipes are identical except in two regards and I think that accounts for the difference in appearance.

First, the mag one bakes the casserole for just 30 min before uncovering, while the one on the site calls for 45 min, and then both continue for another 20 min. Second, at that 30 min point, the mag version tops the dish with pepperoni.

So, onto my prep. One change I made was minor, stirring the red pepper flakes into the egg mix instead of using as a topper. The second was more significant  – had buttermilk to use up and that replaced the milk. It was probably the latter change that led to the dish testing done at the 30 min point. Laid on the pepperoni and back in uncovered for just 3 min.

Next time? Since this is fork food rather than finger food, I would cut the pepperoni into halves or quarters depending on the size of the slices.

I think even with regular milk the 30/20 timing would probably be enough and accordingly I would lightly saute the onion and garlic in the melted butter. And with that just-right baking, it’s likely your pizza casserole will look like the one in the magazine – and like mine {plus parsley}.

Recipe    AllRecipes magazine  

  TIP  

Straight from our Spotlight book

In his cloned recipe for KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken, author Todd Wilbur offers this way to keep the finished chicken warm while the remaining pieces are cooked. Thinking that would also be good if you have to wait for other dishes or late guests.

So, do this, he says. Place the fried pieces on a rack on a baking sheet and then into a 200 degree oven. This should maintain a nice serving temperature without overcooking the chicken.

Now wondering what else this might be applied to. French fries, bacon, toast? Might try it.

Items featured here also appear in our weekly Tip Tuesday posts on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So now that I’m a bit of a grits-o-phile, I’m suddently seeing preps elsewhere. A feature in the current issue of Food Network magazine stirs in shrimp & cheddar, or mushrooms & acorn squash, or coconut & short ribs. The Epicurious site shows a version very similar to the one we featured in our 02.14.20 Salon, but kicked up with jalapeno. Serious Eats crafted a “biography” of grits on its site with some really interesting flavor variations along the way. All those sound good, but for a quick and simple prep I like to cook it now in chicken bouillon with a bit of butter, top with bacon and chives. If I want to go a little gussier, I stir in cheese and add a fried egg on top.

  So, in our 03.13.20 Salon we showed the pretty lavender results of  dipping peeled hard cooked eggs in beet juice. But maybe you’d like a bit more decoration, and also eggs with their shells still on. Well, alrighty then. Let’s take a look at our chat from last July {07.26.19} that showed an easy way to decorate Easter eggs with food color pens. Fast. Safe. Even prettier!

  Recently finished “Japanese Home Cooking” by Sonoko Sakai. Maybe not for everyone, but definitely a good source for the serious student of this cuisine. And student is appropriate because Sakai taught Japanese cooking first in her home, then across the country and eventually around the world, and that comes through in her carefully designed recipe instructions and also the separate sections on principles, equipment, tableware, and ingredients. You’ll find pantry style {everyday} dishes and then some a bit more complex in this book where Sakai offers “the craft and reverence of three generations of women in my family.”

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – book-Amazon / chicken-Wilbur book / others-mine
  •  Link sources – snack cake-Food Network / books-Amazon / recipe-AllRecipes / AllRecipes mag-AllRecipes subscription page
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: sheet pans 2.0, chocolate cobbler, best cobbler, party gift book, potato snow, upgrading jarred marinara, taco fillers, no self-rising flour no problem, freezing milk, impromptu dressing

Last week, just below: brunch watch, sheet pan trick, food spending, a new home for your spices?, cheddary apple crisp, paring knife to go, tiddy whatty?, pizza does breakfast, book for bloggers

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

 

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