Chocolate/Peanut Butter No-Bake, a two-fer, June 14-20, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – kitchen beauty / artsy dumpling demo / chef-ing    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – spectacular book for any foodster    FEATURED RECIPE – neener neener to the oven . . . twice    TIP – love your beef tender    THE WEEK – turkey tale {M – beef, turkey, any of this coming my way?} / seeking corn pudding / recipe notes

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I’m not personally familiar with, but I can tell you they are most generous with design tips for the whole house, including of course the kitchen. In “How to Decorate a Kitchen, for example, you’ll find creative, budget-friendly, time-sparing ways to take the room “from utilitarian to dazzling” with both decorative and practical additions. Once you’re on the site, you can tap into the full spectrum by clicking Tips and then browsing through both of the selections in the drop-down menu.

  If you are on LinkedIn, look up Antony Mzee and I’m hoping you can tap into his video on dumplings – which he deftly turns into any number of delicate sculptures. Though Mzee has a global resume, thinking at some point he was either in the U.S. or became a long distance fan because the musical accompaniment is distinctly country & western.

  Three ways to see how the top chefs do it. Go to their restaurants, especially the newest ones where likely their most current thinking is at work – as two examples, Bobby Flay has opened Shark featuring Latin seafood at the Palms in Las Vegas. And looking ahead, Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will debut summer 2020 on Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras ship with a Creole menu. Or you can crib right from their cookbooks. Flay, Emeril, and lots of others are a click away from Amazon right here on CS, Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop.


Awesome – American food writing from the 1600s to present day

What we have here is a phenomenal labor of love and we are the beneficiaries. Author Mollie O’Neill has deftly mined nuggets from, as she notes in her intro, “every phase of American history: journals, letters, novels, poems, travel accounts, autobiographies, histories, ethnographic studies.”

It all adds up to 727 pages of ultra rich content. You might want to read it cover to cover, or alternatively American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes: A Library of America Special Publicationpick it up at random as an ongoing treat.

Open it up to any page and you may find yourself face to virtual face with, e.g., Jefferson, Brillat-Savarin, Claiborne, Thoreau, Dickinson, MFK Fisher, Bracken, Beard, Child, Trillin, Waters, Bourdain, or Reichl, over 150 in all.

Also in the intro, O’Neill is quite philosophical about the subject which has some interesting points, but most of the writings are not, at least to that extent. You’ll discover humor, you-are-there tales, ingredient tributes, reviews, opinions, anecdotes, techniques, recipes, the full spectrum.

This spectacular compilation would be dear to the heart of cooks, bakers, food-o-philes, food bloggers, food critics, and on. It’s 4 stars on Amazon, discounted, Prime eligible – click and/or scroll down for other buying choices, formats, and other anthologies.

“American Food Writing”


Not sorry 

That was sort of a natural, given how closely related this stuff is to a Reese’s peanut butter cup. And like Reese’s, no apologies for bringing you this indulgence.

We have the “Sweet Tooth VP” at Kraft to thank for the first delight, “Chocolate Peanut Butter Eclair.” Yikes, layers of graham crackers and a peanut butter pudding topped off with a buttery chocolate frosting.

Then I started to play. Made the chocolate/butter combo and poured that into a graham cracker crust . . . made the pb layer with banana pudding and without the Cool Whip, and doubled the peanut butter {to stand up to the banana flavor}, and spooned that atop the chocolate . . . and then smoothed the Cool Whip over that.

Pretty darn good. Btw, I did keep this pie refrigerated, but set it out a little while before serving. This also helps in cutting through the chocolate which is quite sturdy – next time {and if you make it} would add some cream, or skip the butter and make an actual ganache. See other notes in “Week” below.

If you make either, only one question remains – could this be too good for guests??? {not sorry}

Eclair recipe

♦  TIP  

You 1, Beef 0

Some cuts of beef just are not team players. You want it tender, and it in effect says, uh, no.

Well now those days can be over, thanks to our ol’ friend MyRecipes and the secrets they share for tenderizing any cut of beef. You’ll find five steps that can take you from raw and challenging to melt in your mouth goodness.

Rest assured none of this will require pro skills or equipment, though good steak knives are part of the plan. Marinating is also in the mix, with suggestions and actual recipes. Among the recommendations is yogurt and you  may recall one of the Tidbits in our 04.26.19 Salon linked to a story that went into nice detail on this technique.

“How to Tenderize Any Cut of Beef”


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  In the thoroughly enjoyable Brillat-Savarin entry in our Spotlight book above, philosophy indeed takes a back seat to culinary passion. After a day of wild turkey hunting, capped by his host’s long dissertation on life in America, the Brit native left “plunged in profound thought.” About his host’s deep parting speech? Nope. “I was considering how best I should cook my turkey . . . I feared that in Hartford I might not find all the ingredients I would need.” Love his priorities!

  One of the early entries in that Spotlight book is Joel Barlow’s 1793 poem “Hasty Pudding,” a tribute to a pioneering version of this corn concoction, which reminded me that I wanted to see if I could track down Cleo Johns’ southern corn pudding, mentioned in “Hotbox” {05.24.19 Salon} where legendary food critic Mimi Sheraton confessed she loved this so much she traded Mrs Johns three cookbooks for her recipe.

  Nuts, no luck, but did find a five star take at AllRecipes, Grandma Swallow’s Corn Pudding. Meanwhile think for now I’ll stick with the prep from my precious stepdaughter Colleen, always a hit: combine 15 oz can kernel corn, 14 oz can creamed corn, 8 oz pkg corn muffin mix, 1 c sour cream, and 1 stick melted butter – pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 45 min or till golden – top with 1 1/2 c cheddar cheese & bake another 5-10 till cheese is melty. Let stand 5 min. Btw, one time a guest said, really don’t even need the cheese – ummm, speak for yourself {!}

  Some notes about our pie recipe above. I did use a store-bought crust. Also, I let the pudding chill in the fridge and the chocolate cool and then go into the fridge for a while before assembling the pie. Also, once the chocolate is pretty much  melted, might want to finish whisking it off the heat to make sure it doesn’t burn. And for whatever reason, better the next day.

So far next week: cheers-ing with ice cream {!}, PBS dining guide for outside, one of the coolest ways to fun-up your picnics and parties, Star Wars bacon {& more}, doggie chic

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, eclair/KraftHeinz site, steak/Jon Sullivan. others/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Ree’s Easy Rich Caramel Brownies, for Nov 30-Dec 6, 2018


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


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.


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


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 


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


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 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons

Jose Andres’ Scallops with savory roasted sauce, for March 30-April 5, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

    Giada on parm v parm    Easy nut milk    Who needs a recipe?    Do-it-all container set    Title recipe   Yet another excuse for chocolate   My week in food & more  


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Giada explains the difference between parmesan {grated, shredded, block} and parmigiano, plus how to use and when to use. Very informative.  Video

  Nut Butter -> Nut Milk. Yum! Thanks “Bon Appetit”  Here’s how!

  “Look Ma, No Recipe” titles an article from the cook-friendly Food 52,  happily describing content that delivers on that promise. The page opens with a freestyle lasagna, but then you can also scroll down for a number of others, spaghetti bolognese, “World Championship Pesto” and more.  Page

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Boffo Containers

Guess we all might have a pantry-ful  of recycled plastic containers, and reusing is good for sure. But for some jobs we just need glass, and Amazon calls the material in this set the “strongest glass available.”[5-Pack] Glass Meal Prep Containers - Food Prep Containers with Lids Meal Prep - Food Storage Containers Airtight - Lunch Containers Portion Control Containers - BPA Free Container [29 ounce] The beauty of it is, each 6.5” x 4.75” x 2” compartment can serve as a mixing bowl, then go in the oven/microwave/freezer, store leftovers, take goodies to work or play with no leaking, no spilling en route.

The five pack rates 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, features airtight locking lids {separate usage instructions}, and sells for $25.99 with free shipping for Prime members.

Popular enough to appear on Page One of best selling kitchen items on Amazon, nice enough to be a thoughtful gift.

Set of 5 glass containers with locking lids    CS Marketplace

Featured Recipe

The chef famous for gold standard cuisine . . . and a heart of gold

You may know chéf Jose Andrés from his cookbooks, cooking shows, travelogs, and restaurants. What you may or may not know about him is his untiring work through his World Central Kitchen providing meals and training and equipment all over the planet. Read more about it at his website.

Andrés is considered a pioneer in bringing small plates to the U.S., bearing his personal signature of high flavor, deep color – that sure comes to a crescendo in the dish, lobster with clementines and grapefruit in saffron oil, shown at the right, and from his cookbook, “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” and talk about making it authentic, his recipe on page 30 tucks a copper penny into the equation to get the traditional effect.

His scallop recipe, our feature this week {right}, is one of so many generously shared on his site. As a bonus, you’ll learn how to make the classic Spanish sauce Romesco {do you know the essential “secret” ingredient?}

Andres’ Scallops recipe  ♦  His “Tapas” cookbook

{cookbook – 4 stars, good discount, Prime Eligible, now at Amazon}

Andrés website  ♦  His other cookbooks  ♦  Videos of his “Made in Spain” show


I discovered – and fortunately it was years ago, from one of the fine books by M.F.K. Fisher {find her books in our list} – that, however unexpectedly, chunk chocolate and good bread add up to a match made in culinary heaven. Now along comes José Andrés with an enhancement, also from his tapas cookbook. He starts with rustic bread, toasted, and dark chocolate, melty on the bread, and then sprinkles with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Whether you go with just room temp bread and chocolate or this upgraded version, it’s one of the easiest, most welcome, desserts you can serve.

A Peek at My Week

  Once again tossed leftovers into broth to make a tasty soup, in this case rice with vegetables, steamed dumplings, and shrimp that had been cooked in garlic oil, lemon, soy sauce, and a touch of sriracha all in chicken bouillon.

  Just thrilled to discover that my Albertson’s is now carrying Chicago’s iconic Vienna hot dogs.

♦  Made Nobu’s Matsuhisa Salsa again this week and realized all over how really good this is, originally posted here on Feb 9 as our featured recipe.

  How did I miss this before? – the boffo steak feature for next week comes from Morton’s Steak Bible and while going through the book found a recipe for black bean soup that just might be a clone of one I had decades ago in a restaurant in Ybor City, a Florida town known at least then for its Cuban culture – if it’s as good as it sounds, you’ll see it here is a future chat.

  Posted “Remains of the Day” by Kazao Ishiguro on my Nice Life Books – Tuesdays

  Posted “21 Dog Friendly Vacations” link on my DoggieShirtz – Wednesdays

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


Coleslaw, bbq primer, from a top pitmaster, for March 16-22, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Banana jam    Make your own cookbook with tested recipes    Roast Chicken in 30 min    Celeb chef cookbooks    Title recipe   How long should you marinate    Resource links


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Just how many times can we make banana bread when those nannos start getting really ripe. How about this instead? Banana Jam! The creator on Food 52 says you can treat it like canning, but she just stores it in a jar in the fridge. Recipe

  Well this could be fun. America’s Test Kitchen is offering the chance to create a customized cookbook of their editors’ all-time favorite recipes. Take your choice from, e.g., Party Appetizers, More Cheese Please, and The Cookie Jar. If you want to make it as a gift, you can add a personal note on the dedication page. Details

  Roast Chicken in 30 minutes??? You can do it. “Real Simple” shows you how. Method

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Do you have a favorite celebrity chef?

We are familiar with a good number of these high profile kitchen masters from tv, cookbooks, and food festivals. Want to see how they make some of those signature recipes?

It’s nice for us home cooks that so many of these folks share recipes in these various venues. And especially in the cookbooks, where you may well find in addition to recipes valuable tips, techniques, recommendations for utensils and appliances, glossary, sources, pix of final dishes and more.

Chances are quite good that you’ll find cookbooks for most of these notable chefs in our listing. Who’s your fave – Giada, Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Anne Burrell, Rick Bayless, Buddy Valastro, Alice Waters, Guy Fieri, Gordon Ramsay? They’re all there along with 50+ others.

Celeb chef cookbooks   CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe

The tome entitled “Franklin Barbecue” though it does include a few recipes, is not really in the classic sense a cookbook. What it is, rather, is like a master course in q – with chapters on the smoker, wood, fire, smoke, and most of all the meat – from one of the very top pitmasters in the U.S, Aaron Franklin.

Folks may know him from his Austin restaurant of the same name, his PBS show “BBQ with Franklin,” or from his appearances at various food fests. While meat is the star here, he also does address sauces and sides, and that’s where we’ll find recipes in his book . . . like this one, a classic bbq side that gets an extra kick from two vinegars and dry mustard.


Makes about 2 cups

From “Franklin BBQ” cookbook

About 2 cups shredded cabbage mix

1 T kosher salt

1/4 c sour cream

2 T mayo

2 T cider vinegar

2 T rice vinegar

2 1/4 t coarse black pepper

1 1/2 t dry mustard powder

Place the cabbage in a colander or strainer and sprinkle with salt. Let sit and exude some of the juice while you prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, stir together remaining ingredients.

Blot away any excess moisture from the cabbage with a towel, then transfer to the bowl containing the dressing and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve cold.

Notes  The cabbage mix can really be your choice, any combo of green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, onion, even radishes. Texas slaw typically does not include sweetener – if that’s a bit too tart for you, feel free to skip the authenticity and add a little sugar or honey.

“Franklin Barbecue” the book 

4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover $18.99 {list $29.99}, Kindle $14.99, Prime Eligible

BBQ with Franklin the videos  Franklin Barbecue the restaurant


Did you know this? Most meats really don’t need to be marinated for a long time. The newsletter Basically, hosted by “Bon Appetit,” tells the tale. You might also be surprised by what they describe as the purpose of a marinade. And while you’re on that page it’s likely a window will pop up offering to deliver these kinds of tips right to your email box. Learn

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