Mystery Writer’s Tasty Supper Dip, Jan 11-17, 2019


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

  TIDBITS – salt baking perks / drink your apple pie / foodfest    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – party easy    FEATURED RECIPE – mysterious supper dip    TIP – garlic easy    THE WEEK – Nasty reading / squash easy / Mex salad lost & found

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Have you tried this technique? The boffo publication Saveur reveals the benefits of salt baking and how to do it. Prepping food this way, they say, allows the food to cook in its own juices, produces a moist result, and enhances flavor, and without making anything too salty. You’ll see how to use this method and also recipes for applying it to fish, Cornish game hens, and shrimp.

  Drink your dessert. What a tasty idea for a morning starter, a midday pick-you-up, a sippable dessert, or with a spirited addition, an after dinner libation. The apple pie smoothie features the flavor profile of the title pie along with banana for added richness and Greek yogurt for a silky texture. Btw, I did not use all the spices, so if you follow the full recipe will likely see more speckles.

  Fort Lauderdale in Feb? Then you could be in for “a weekend of CRAVE-able Bites.” Part of a series in the city, this CRAVE will offer a chance to dine and learn with such notables as Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Valerie Bertinelli and lots of others.


The holidays may be over, but the parties don’t have to be

They can  go right on, year around. Or at least . . . after a suitable recovery period!

What brought that happy thought to mind was an item in a pro culinary newsletter that took note of restaurants across the land catering to an ongoing, and maybe increasing, penchant for ordering an array of appetizers in place of dinner.

Let’s borrow from good! Thinking how appetizers can often be totally prepared in advance, or just given a quick kiss by the oven, and how you may not even need flatwear, and that with variety there’s likely something for everyone – that this adds up to an easy time, a party just waiting to happen.

I’ve included a link for something which you may have seen previously in the salons, the Six Sisters books, treasure troves of party goodies and guides. And you’ll also find fun appetizers in Tiffani Thiessen’s book {see pic}, featured in our Dec 7 salon

Google, appetizer sites    Amazon, appetizer books    Six Sisters cookbooks

Thiessen book    CS Marketplace


As promised, out of the Mystery Writers Cookbook 

So many to choose from, but we finally settled on “Charlaine’s Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip” by Charlaine Harris. Don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients because it goes together in a flash and results in a grand mix of flavors.

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die ForAs for some of the other contributors, Sarah Paretsky pays homage to V.I.’s mom with Chicken Gabriella, Sheila Connolly gives us an Apple Goodie, James Patterson checks in with Grandma’s Killer Chocolate Cake, Rhys Bowen offers up scones and a reminder that there are recipes in all her books, Peter James shares his fave martini, and to wash it all down, Lee Child schools us on the best way to make and serve coffee.

You can find more about the book in our Dec 14 salon. So much good stuff, purloined from the books or just authors’ favorites, and each starts with the dish’s backstory, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

 “The Mystery Writers Cookbook”    Recipe Page  


Garlic the way you need it, easily

Prepping garlic can be so easy thanks to the late Mr. Food. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half, cut sides down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

No sticking to everything, and so easy to go coarse, medium, fine – or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss. You can use this method for the butternut squash sauce in the next section.


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Reading and very much enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s 2006 book, The Nasty Bits. If you can get past the first two page, where you may think this really is all about what the title indicates {it isn’t}, you’ll be treated to Bourdain thumbsing up and down on such topics as fast food, celebrity chefs, Las Vegas restaurants, crime, regional cooking, New York, New Orleans, tv cooking shows, Christmas, and on and on.

  The item on butternut squash in our Dec 14 salon got me thinking of one of my favorite childhood dishes, squash stuffed with seasoned ground beef pattie, usually served with baked apples. Mom would usually make this with halved acorn squash, and how she managed to factor the size of the squash, the amount of meat, the baking temp and time so that it all came out of the oven perfectly remains a mystery {maybe the above writers could help!}.

  So instead I bake the squash separately and fill it with ground beef crumbled and browned with onions, garlic and a bit of taco sauce. Comfort food, especially with a nice ladle of cheese sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro.

  Bummer and recovery. So a nearby restaurant served a salad I absolutely loved, almost outshining the neighborhood-sized enchilada next to it. And now – poof! – off the menu. OK, let’s try this at home. Lettuce, tomato, avocado, green onion, pickled jalapeno, a dressing of mayo, ranch, sriracha, chili powder, garlic salt, all topped with a crumble of corn chips. Ha! Preeeety darn close. Next time, Doritos!

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week: Tasty toasts, another Mex salad, sheet pans strike again, ham bonanza, food for dogs

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



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

  In the Salon this week  

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


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

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

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

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

CS Marketplace Spotlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Recipe  

Start the day right with decadence on a plate

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

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

Breakfast Biscuit Sammies

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

3 c all-purpose baking mix

1 lb ground spicy pork sausage

4 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese {about 16 oz}

1 T pure maple syrup, plus more for serving

1 T hot sauce, plus more for serving

2 t olive oil

8 large eggs

1/2 t kosher salt

1/2 t black pepper

8 pepper jack cheese slices

8 bacon slices, cooked

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

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

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

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

“Valerie’s Home Cooking”

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

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


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

A Peek at My Week

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

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

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

  Posted  Mystic River  on Nice Life Books – Thursdays

  Posted  ThunderShirt & Thunder Ease on DoggieShirtz – Thursdays

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