Red-wine braised red cabbage, Feb 28-March 5, 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 – restaurant dishes you can make / no clinking, etc etc etc / don’t take a fake  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Pat-ifying your kitchen / New MADA shirt on Zazzle    FEATURED RECIPE – a super sweet and tart tasty side    TIP – make a hash of it     THE WEEK – food of the ancients / cookie redux / Temple & trivia


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Last week we featured lava cakes, a restaurant specialty you could make at home with the Ghirardelli recipe we included. Ready? Here are a lot more thanks to Taste of Home serving up “30 Restaurant Copycat Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes {or Less!}.” Now you can make in your very own kitchen such dining out specialties with recipes for, inspired by as they say, Cheddar Bay biscuits, Culver’s butterburger, KFC Crispy, Olive Garden breadsticks, Orange Julius, Cheese Factory Spicy Cashew Chicken, Shamrock Shake, and lots more.

Tut tut {lorgnette to eyes}. My dear, do you not know the “11 Fine-Dining Etiquette Rules You’ve Probably Broken Your Whole Life.” Some are just plain practical, others I think we may regard as optional. About the napkin, e.g. – long ago a tuxedo-ed server showed me the trick of laying it flat in the lap, then folding the far edge back about a third, providing a handy hand-wiping area that also keeps your dress safe. And then the one about always leaving one bite {hahahahaha}.

Btw, did the writer take this all super seriously? There might be a clue in this intro comment about learning the “few rules of formal dining that you can follow even if you’re hosting in your own home, serving delivery that you are trying to pass off as your own cooking.”

  Can you make a fake? Not create a fake food item, but rather know one when you see one. Cooking Light has identified for us seven foods that are on the suspect list for not being what they seem, and then telling us what to look for to distinguish the genuine article from the impostor. It’s all here in “The 7 Most Common Counterfeit Foods and How to Identify Them.”


Begorrah Decorah

Bobee St Patricks Day Decorations Banner, 9 St Pats Decor, Shamrock, Top Hat, Rainbow, Pot of Gold, pre-Strung on 8 Foot White RibbonSo easy to turn your kitchen into Celebration Central for St Pat’s Day. And that’s whether, as we say in our motto at the end of every Salon in a slightly different context, it’s “for a crew, or for two, or just for you.”

Stores are already overrun with festive possibilities,and of course there’s also always good ol’ Amazon. Shown here a few of the possibilities offered by the latter.

That adorable garland is just $6.99, Prime eligible. This sprightly fabric leprechaun is actually a door hanger, but what a great theme setter for the kitchen or dining room, $29.99, Prime free delivery. Or brighten up the whole scene with these battery-operated four-leaf clover indoor/outdoor string lights, $11.99, Prime free one-day. All images here are clickable.

What else can you find there? Tablecloths and runners, hanging garlands, banners balloons, ornaments, stickers, decals {including leprechaun footprints}, window clings, valance decorations, figurines, wall decor and more including combo packs.

Bring it all to lunch or dinner with paper plates and cups, napkins and flatwear. And how about something Irish to put on those plates? Happy St Pat’s!

All St Pat’s decs    Irish cookbooks  ♦  Irish movies

CS Marketplace Directory

Eclectic Mall   NEW  Now shirts on Zazzle with the “Make America Decent Again” message – shirts and mugs still on SunFrog


Red wine braised red cabbage – a Eureka moment in the kitchen 

To give credit due, it was a same-named recipe in “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook,” featured in our 02.14.20 Salon, that started this process. My favorite version was in a cookbook that apparently was swept up in a donation to a culinary instructor.

The one in the Downton book came close to the one I’d had, and inspired a further search. Thank you Taste of Home for providing the simple and similar prep I was looking for.

A ‘fess up though – to bring it even closer to what I recall I tweaked somewhat. Sauteed the onion in a half stick butter. Brown sugar instead of white sugar. Red wine instead of vinegar {thus the title here vs. the name on the recipe}. If it dries out too much while cooking pour in a bit of stock, and if you’d like it a little sweeter increase the sugar or, as I did, add a bit of syrup.

Sooooo happy with this dish. Hope you will be too.



A tasty way to switch out carbs

Thanks to AllRecipes, I found a great remake for hash browns. Now, if I promise there will also be a rich potato version, can you please promise you’ll give this a chance after you read . . . cauliflower.

Their Dec/Jan issue had side by side preps for Keto Cauliflower Hash Browns and Loaded Breakfast Potatoes that were made with regular hash browns. I liked the cauliflower idea but wanted it a little richer like the potato one.

Wait, how about plugging the cauliflower into the potato prep???

Below you’ll find both original recipes. I made the potato one with 2 16 oz bags frozen florets, thawed and blotted, just cutting down the largest ones. I used a cup of cheese in the mix and then another cup for the topping, and also 2 T chopped chives “borrowed” from the cauliflower prep. Pretty good, maybe just a tweak or two needed.

Loaded Breakfast Potatoes {comes up as crack potatoes}     Keto Cauliflower Hash Browns


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Thanks to a friend’s recent excursion followed coincidentally by a Smithsonian article I’ve become familiar with the archaeological/architectural wonder in Jordan known as Petra, site of an ancient and remarkably advanced culture, where up to 30,000 people dwelt among temples, theaters, gardens, tombs, villas, Roman baths, trade routes and marketplaces. The link leads to much more detail.

  Bringing it into CS land, what was on those tables over 2000 year ago? Oxen, sheep, chickens, wheat, grapes, olives, pomegranates, sesame, often starring in great feasts and banquets. And . . . “the king holds many drinking bouts in magnificent style – but no one drinks more than 11 cupfuls.” {!}

Whenever I see a way to salvage otherwise trash-bound food, like to share it with you. What happened is that I was making my butter cookie recipe with the addition of lemon curd, but that changed the timing and so the first batch was underbaked. So, beat them smooth with an egg, a bit of flour, baking soda and peanut oil, dolloped into a skillet and, voila, not bad pancakes.

  Let’s play trivia. On a recent episode of The Kitchen, I saw Geoffrey Zakarian made two take-offs on the non-alcoholic beverage known as a Shirley Temple. One was a Dirty Shirley, a cherry flavored gin drink. The other, with a similar flavor profile but no alcohol, he named Don’t Call It Shirley. Here’s the trivia – what movie does this latter one refer to and what is the exact line?

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – St Pat’s decs-Amazon / all others-mine
  •  Link sources – etiquette-Food & Wine / all St Pat’s items-Amazon / Petra-google
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: hearty Irish stews, book found/cookbook found, crochet dinner, Yearwood tops it, bakers bonanza, chewy goodness, chefs’ secret is out, Julia Child’s secret is out, fries with that

Last week, just below: coffee cake a la you, bacon ways, cooks’ source, longevity somewhat unmasked, Ghirardelli chocolate lava cake, interpretive lasagna, biggie foodfest tix, taco tamer, word of the day

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Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at

Questions, comments?

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


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

All pages ©2020



Bacon & Egg Breakfast Enchiladas, Oct 25-Oct 31, 2019

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 when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – easy upgrade / pomey punch / whose salad???    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Buddy-bakin’    FEATURED RECIPE – just add a b-mary    TIP – veggies go scary   THE WEEK – cookbooks! / pizza rescue / spinach so rich 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What a clever tip, actually a multi-tip, but all having to do with salad dressings. Bottled salad dressings. And how to upgrade the flavor with some simple tricks. The MyRecipes story, ‘How to Make Salad Dressings Taste Homemade,” starts from a broader perspective, including this line that will likely resonate with our Salon folks, “. . . often store-bought items reveal to you upon first taste exactly what they need to be a better version of themselves.” The detail then covers vinaigrettes plus dressings that are creamy, sweet or cheese-based. Good ideas!

  Could this be the star of your cocktail party? First of all it’s based on the great taste of pomegranate without those pesky seeds {or, it doesn’t have to – feel free to leave out those interlopers}. Second, it has the sweet touch of one kind of wine and the refreshing sparkle of another. Third, it brings to the party that symbol of hospitality, pineapple, and one of the holidays’ fave fruits, orange. And fourth, it serves a crowd. Sip on. Thanks Food & Wine for this Sparkling Pomegranate Punch.

  Can a salad be scandalous? Well maybe not even if its name touches a 70s nerve. So the subject here is Watergate Salad, an unusual combo that tastes better than you might think. My mom was an early adopter of this prep and it was always a hit with dinner guests. As the MyRecipes story noted, while the the Deep Throat source was eventually revealed, the salad’s remains somewhat controversial. Who cares! Enjoy – and party! – whichever party you prefer.


Bake it like Buddy

This may be the very closest we can come to making a cake just like the tasty creations of “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro. Even better than having a recipe.

Buddy Valastro Foods Perfect Cake Kits - Cake Mix, Cake Pans, Icing, and Filling (Banana Cream Cake)This is like having him right in your kitchen. In the form, that is, of one on his cake kits, available as either white cake or banana cream, and including the mix, the filling, the icing . . . even the pan.

The only thing that would be more authentic would be to have one of his cakes made for you. Oops, that’s also a possibility, with ordering instructions on his Carlo’s Bakery site, which we’ve linked below.

But wait there’s more. He also offers his own ready-to-use fondant in white and purple, plus gourmet crumb cake and peanut butter/carob treats for – wait for it – your dog!

Valastro cake kits    Carlo’s Bakery site    Valastro’s cookbooks    “Cake Boss” DVDs


Good Morning! 

And it surely will be if these bacon and egg breakfast enchiladas are on the table. And, yes, breakfast would be good but these flavorful bundles have brunch written all over them, as actually the Food & Wine page mentions.

Don’t be scared by the ingredient list. It’s long but really just the result of a palate-tingling array of seasonings and spices, most of which are tossed into a quick sauce.

And pretty smooth sailing too, just the way we busy CS-ers like it. Most of us have cooked bacon and scrambled eggs before, and that’s about as difficult as this prep gets.

The green onion garnish and side scoop of sour cream add nice color and texture. But you know what, a ladle of refried beans and some ripe sliced avocado wouldn’t hurt either!

Can this be right. The Amazon link just below for the magazine shows $5 for a 1-year subscription {vs $71.88}. Does say limited time offer.

Food & Wine recipe    Food & Wine magazine {might be 2nd one down on page}

♦  TIP  

Vegetables have never been so scary

Cooking Light did the most clever thing with a vegetable platter. With deft arrangement it all comes together as a skeleton! Also on the page some pumpkin-faced cookies and other characters, “devil” eggs, vampire dip and oven-baked sweet potato tots with jalapeno garlic ranch – the latter two to keep Dracula away.

Here’s the link

Meanwhile the marshmallow chart originally scheduled for this week will appear in the 11.08.19 Salon. There’s a decorated mallow too.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room 

♦  So, went to a very dangerous place this week. Called Amber Unicorn, it’s a used book store with a truly eclectic offering, but here’s the thing – the cookbook collection rules. For folks like us, the debit card all but jumps out as you pass the register, waiting patiently there as you begin a long leisurely browse. If you’re in Las Vegas, or will be, it’s a list-topping stop. Now, the center is no longer a bustling place but no worries, still in a busy part of town.

♦  I was dismayed when I took leftover pizza slices out of the freezer and saw how skimpy they were. Solution: pile on! Olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish, pizza in, tomato slices on top. When baked enough to be fairly warm added fresh spinach, shredded mozzarella, pepper and marjoram, a drizzle of olive oil, then back in the oven. Topped each serving with a fried egg. Yeah, that was satisfying.

♦  In this My Week section last week {10.18.19 Salon} we posted a rich spinach recipes from Jose Andres’ cookbook, “Vegetables Unleashed.” There was something the chef said in his intro in the book that I quite liked and wanted to share. “. . . drive the extra mile, pay the extra dollar . . . Find the people and places that can give you a little taste of perfection.”

So far next week: Doritos Chicken Casserole, Take out containers do what???, Parmesan corn butter, favorite kitchen storage, star turn for carrots, cheesy addiction, donairs

Last week, just below: bread-keeping tricks, edible quarks?, food show returns, lovely novel, cinnamon apple pie bread recipe, taste instead of waster, nachos > burritos, rich Catalan-style spinach, dinner metric 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – Baking kit/Amazon, others/mine

Link sources – Valastro cake kits/Carlos Bakery, Valastro cookbooks & dvds & F&W mag/Amazon, others/self-ID 

All pages ©2019

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