10 last minute gifts for cooks & their kitchens, Dec 20, 2019 – Jan 2, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!




Link for tasty leftover turkey recipes on google

  Here are some of this year’s top featured items that might rescue procrastinators 

Click the item link to go to the Amazon page, and Salon link for that week’s recipes & resources

Check delivery times in item listings

The Diner's Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink

Marketplace, 02.15.19  I just love Diner’s Dictionary. Open to just about any page and expect to find something fascinating.

Of course it’s also a fast resource for an individual ingredient, a single food item, or an entire dish. Alphabetical, too. What fun!

And happily, you may find in some cases not only the definition, but as well characteristics, uses, and origins, plus related geography, history, literature, law, commerce, and notable people. Hardcover, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. Diner’s Dictionary 

Featured Recipe, 02.22.19  Our recipe that week, Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, is hands-down one of the best desserts I’ve ever made.

It comes from David Venable, of the QVC show “In the Kitchen with David, in his “Comfort Food Shortcuts,” specializing in satisfying dishes that marry your cooking talents to grocery store convenience.

Lots of dips, soups, saucy preps, casseroles, rich desserts. E.g., bananas foster pancakes, pepperoni/cheesy breadsticks, chocolate stuffed {store-bought!} bread, peach enchiladas. “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook

wall26 Canvas Prints Wall Art - Still Life Various of Spices on Rustic Wooden Table Food/Kitchen Concept | Modern Wall Decor/Home Decoration Stretched Gallery Canvas Wrap Giclee Print - 12" x 18"

Marketplace, 03.08.19  A kicky food poster can add a fun, whimsical touch to any kitchen or dining area. And so many choices, framed and unframed.

There are designs dedicated to herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables, casseroles & ethnic foods, coffee & tea, beer & wine, dishes & utensils, chefs & kitchenware, collages & sayings. There’s a link for that week to the top rated selections. Spice poster

Marketplace, 03.22.19  Martha’s total take on cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry, decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining . . .

And cooking too! Tool repurposing, produce purchases, freezer use, leftovers, timesavers, basic methods, troubleshooting, baking skills. No actual recipes, but guides for veggie broth, nut butters, pan sauces, parchment cooking, a proper omelet, and more.

All beautifully illustrated, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.  “The Martha Manual”

American Masters: James Beard DVDMarketplace, 05.31.19  This precious DVD takes you right inside the mind of a culinary legend, an iconic chef, the “First Foodie” – James Beard. We hear from him and from those who knew him best in this fascinating tale.

And it is indeed the whole story, from childhood travails, to mom’s influence, early challenges, founding role in The Four Seasons and its pioneering devotion to seasonal cuisine,  personal & professional relationships, cookbooks, ascent to legendary status, post-mortem inspiration for the James Beard Foundation and Awards.  “James Beard” DVD

Nostalgia SCM525BL Vintage Countertop Snow Cone Maker Makes 20 Icy Treats, Includes 2 Reusable Plastic Cups & Ice Scoop – BlueMarketplace, 06.21.19  Oh, how fun is this??? Some lucky person’s very own Sno Cone Machine!

In addition to the adorable little cart shown here, there are others that look more like kitchen appliances, at least one based on a Disney character, a Jelly Belly version, some retro designs and more.

There’s also a link in that week’s Salon to the full range of designs, styles, and prices. Cart-style sno cone machine

The Great Book of ChocolateMy Week, 06.21.19  In April we had featured David Lebovitz’ recipe for chocolate salted caramel tartlets from his book, “My Paris Kitchen.” In the intro he had noted his passion for chocolate.

This Lebovitz  tome, “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide” sure proves that to be true. He gives us chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – back story, tasting hints, health benefits, buying tips, resources and – yes, indeedy! – recipes.

Choco-philes just may want to read this one cover to cover like a pleasurable fine novel.  “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide

The Official Downton Abbey CookbookTidbits, 09.20.19  In her magazine earlier this year, Rachael Ray told us that “to dine like the Crawleys,” just simply serve oysters, soup, fish, fowl, main dish with sauces & veggies, dessert, fruit & cheese, and a final savory. But what would that be specifically?

To the rescue, a Downton Abbey cookbook. And not just recipes, but also their backstories and context. Plus, a guide to throwing a Downton-themed party complete with etiquette tips and customs of the times.

A Downton cocktail book too.  “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook”

Marketplace, 10.25.19  In our original Salon we featured “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro’s cake kits for humans, including the mix, the filling, the icing, even the pan. But those may not be available in time. {The links are still available on the original Salon page if you’d like to check}.

Originally we showed here a complete Valastro gift kit for dogs, but when I just now checked the link – nada. There are however individual Valastro baking kits for dog goodies, such as the chicken parm bites shown here.

Other flavors, plus biscuits. Valastro dog treat baking kits

Marketplace, 11.08.19  Kitchen timers these days range from the classic tick-tick-tickers to some with advanced functions. And so many designs, some fun, some stylish, some ready to stick to the fridge, some multi-packs so inexpensive they could be party favors or stocking stuffers.

Equal time for kitty-lovers. And could this one be any cuter??? There are also companion kitchen items on the Amazon page. And you can also find a link to the full array on the Salon page. Cat-and-Mouse Design Timer


You might also like to browse in our CooksSalon

Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop

Gift Shop link is right within CooksSalon. All others on this page go to Amazon. Please see original Salons for available photo credits & partnerships or contact me for information regarding Salons that predated these listings

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

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

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All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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


Stars Wars Bacon {& other out of this world dishes}, June 21-27, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – desserts & more for doggies / outside dining guide / spirited ice cream    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – sno cones at home!    FEATURED RECIPE – Chewie’s Bacon from Star Wars Cookbook BB-Ate {M – I’ll take mine straight, please  TIP – neener, neener, chocolate    THE WEEK – mug cakes have cousins / too much basil? / chocolate, chocolate, chocolate book

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  On your culinary journey, how about taking the dog{s} along? We already noted doggie beer in our 05.31.19 Salon. But did you know there’s actually cake mix and frosting for dogs, also ice cream, jello mix, peanut butter, cookies including creme filled, “mallows,” pie, cupcakes {called pupcups}, and some of them even come in gift boxes. As we noted in the Dog Beer item, you might want to check with your vet. Pretty much all of these can be found on Amazon.

  Starts tomorrow, and so timely. The Create channel from PBS is staging a marathon that can help us take the party onto the patio. Or into the yard. Or on a picnic. In the information for my area, “Dining Al Fresco” runs from 6a-noon on June 22, repeats at 6p same day and on June 23 at noon. Great for July 4, Labor Day, any beautiful summer day or evening.

  A special nod to summer cocktail hour from . . . Häagen-Dazs??? Yes! Their new “Spirits Collection” says cheers with Amaretto Black Cherry Almond, Bourbon Praline Pecan, Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle, Rum Tres Leche, Stout Chocolate Pretzel Crunch, Irish Cream Brownie, and the one I’ll be snatching out of the freezer – which takes a different form – Irish Cream Cookie Squares. Another round of ice cream for everyone!


Cool summer-long treat for just under $25

OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, there will be some extra expenses, but oh what fun to choose thoseNostalgia SCM502 Vintage Snow Cone Maker DASH DSIM100GBPK02 Shaved Ice Maker + Slushie Machine with with Stainless Steel Blades for Snow Cone, Margarita + Frozen Cocktails, Organic, Sugar Free, Flavored Healthy Snacks for Kids & Adults, Pinktasty add-ons. Yes indeed you have your very own Sno Cone Machine.

I wasn’t surprised to find them on Amazon, but didn’t expect to see so many choices. I particularly liked the one on a little cart shown here, but there are others that look more like kitchen appliances, at least one based on a Disney character, a Jelly Belly version, some retro designs and more.

While some can be a bit pricey, there are also well rated selections in the $20s and $30s. And many of them are Prime eligible.

Sno-cone machines on Amazon    Sno Cone Syrups

CS Marketplace – Cook-friendly books, videos, tees & sometimes more

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageNew – a CS EXTRA, just for Sherlock Holmes fans


Even the smallest Star Wars fans will “get” the subhead for this cookbook 

And that is – “BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch.” Such references resonate The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunchthroughout “The Star Wars Cookbook,” quite compact because it’s actually directed to kids with requisite alerts for adult supervision.

But even “big kids” can appreciate these flavorful creations “brimming with intergalactic goodness.” And so “Adventure and tastiness will be yours” takes shape as such early day goodies as peanut buttery BB-8 Energy Balls, cheesy Maz Kanata Frittata, cocoa-y Starkiller Pancakes

. . . and our Featured Recipe “Chewie’s Bacon,” one of those preps where a simple technique yields a high flavor combo – sweet and salty {and if you want, peppery}.

Since I was making bacon anyway for another dish {German potato salad!}, I tested the recipe on a few slices. It turns out with a nice rich color, as you  can see here – the two middle slices are Chewie-d, the others destined for the potato salad. Though after tasting the recipe ones, realized what a great addition they would be and – into the salad they went.

It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover and Kindle {both discounted}, Prime Eligible. Turns out there are other Star Wars cookbooks too.

Recipe page    “Star Wars Cookbook/BB-Ate”    Other Star Wars cookbooks  


Chocolate mystery – solved / chocolate problem – solved

Aha! In our 06.07.19 Salon I wondered about an instruction in the chocolate peanut butter mousse prep that called for mixing the chocolate with water, because I thought that would make the chocolate seize up.

Now in the David Leibovitz book on chocolate {see “Week” below}, he says that indeed while a drop or so of water will cause melted chocolate to seize, a lot of water won’t. The rule of thumb he states is that “if you need to melt chocolate with a liquid, there should be at least 25% of the liquid to the chocolate.”

Nestled in here is a great tip for when a bit liquid, water or otherwise, does accidentally hit a pan of just chocolate. Though it may seize and seen ruined, now we know that whisking in more of that liquid can make it smooth again.

I’m pretty sure none of us would want to sabotage some chocolate just to see if this works. But should that unhappy thing occur, this is at least something we can try.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Mug treats gone wild! Look what I found in the grocery store that takes mug-for-one well beyond cake: Ghiradelli brownies, Betty Crocker brownies including a Hot Fudge version plus muffins, Udi gluten-free brownies, and Duncan Hines brownies, muffins, pancakes and coffee cakes.  If you can’t find them in your store, or prefer online shopping, most of these are available on this Amazon page – for some brands, scroll down for variations and of course you can always use the search window.

  Well here’s a problem I’m hoping to have, though maybe should be careful what I wish for. In case you already need to know What to do With Too Much Basil, MyRecipes has some answers. Meanwhile my little garden is showing some promise, actually seems to be doing better since I brought it inside.

  The Featured Recipe in our 04.12.19 Salon was Chocolate Salted Caramel Tartlets from David Lebovitz book, “My Paris Kitchen.” In his intro he noted his passion for chocolate and now I’ve discovered that comes fully to life in another of his books, “The Great Book of Chocolate/The Chocolate Lover’s Guide.” Wow, back story, tasting hints, health benefits, buying tips, resources and – yes! – recipes. Reading this one cover to cover.

So far next week: Yogi and Booboo would love this page, chuck the fork and enjoy the salad x 3, this dragon breathes refreshment rather than fire, food & murder, new food color fun

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 bjnosek@gmail.com

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – sno cone machines & book/Amazon, bacon & basil/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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


Chocolate Salted Caramel Tartlets {from a Paris kitchen}, April 12-18, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

♦  TIDBITS – food time travel / buttermilk tricks / give cabbage a chance     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – the intriguing dukkah    FEATURED RECIPE – bites of delight    TIP – tater flakes in chocolate cake???    THE WEEK – tartlet hint / pork perfection / Resurrection rolls

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  This could be fun to work with. A recent article in the Washington Post, arriving in my mailbox via ProChef SmartBrief, points a virtual long lens scope at some ancient foods. Since they seem to be evolving into the present day spotlight you just might see them at your market. If you do, and want to play, you can read here how to do that.

  Came across this post from The Kitchn when I was looking for ways to use up my buttermilk. I didn’t actually use any, but maybe some Salon Friends out there might want to tap into some of these recipes. In fairness, it was their pancake suggestions that inspired the one I made with buttermilk mix, a My Week item in the 04.05.19 Salon.

  When you see a headline that starts “Don’t Love Cabbage?” you can guess some solutions will follow. It adds “You’re Probably Cooking it Wrong” – they do regard boiling as “bad,” but if you cook it with corned beef or smoked ham or Polish sausage, or a combo thereof along with some onions, carrots and potatoes, that’s pretty darn good. But here are definitely interesting variations of grilling, roasting, steaming and sauteing along with hints on embellishing the results.


One spice, three ways to get it, countless ways to use it

As if I weren’t already sufficiently intrigued by the dukkah {doo-ka} seasoning mix mentioned in the ancient foods item above in Tidbits, interest notched even higher when it almost immediately turned up in two other places. First was a recipe on the CIA site for American Lamb chops with pecan dukkah and salsa verde {shown}.

And second was in the “My Paris Kitchen” cookbook featured in the 03.22.19 Salon, a prep that started with sliced cauliflower florets, tossed with olive oil and s&p, baked in a single layer for 25 min at 425, stirred once in that time, then mixed with dukkah and roasted for an additional 15-20 min, or until seared and browned.

Dukkah, 1.6 Oz Glass JarBut as that article noted, this nut/seed/spice blend can “be used to season fish, poultry, meat, grains and vegetables. It also happens to be deliciously appealing on Instagram-famous dishes such as avocado toast, grain bowls and hummus.”

So how to put it in your pantry? You could make your own from the choices shown at the link below. You should be able to find it at Trader Joe’s and might be able to find it at a local grocery store or specialty store. Or you can order from a wide array of offerings on Amazon.

CIA recipe    Dukkah recipes on google    Dukkah on Amazon

CS Marketplace – Cook-friendly books, videos, tees & sometimes more

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page


An American in Paris – with recipes!

This is an interesting cookbook. Author David Lebovitz spent 13 years at the  reveredMy Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories Chez Panisse in San Francisco, left to write food books, a memoir and blog, and then subsequently for reasons even he can’t quite explain moved to Paris.

His cooking is influenced, he says, by “where I’ve lived and where I am now . . . replete with aromatic flavors that rely on garlic, fresh herbs, juicy stone fruits, and earthy root vegetables, as well as lots of olive oil.” And chocolate! He says . . . “you’ll notice that I use in a lot of my desserts {Without apologies}” None needed!

In this book, “My Paris Kitchen,” you can certainly learn some tips and techniques from a French/ American perspective. Though not overly complicated, it may not be particularly suitable for a beginner.

May I suggest you read the more detailed description and reviews on Amazon. There you will also see that it’s rated 4 1/2 stars. Meanwhile our Featured Recipe, Chocolate Salted Caramel Tartlets from Lebovitz’ site, is actually fairly easy.

Recipe    “My Paris Kitchen”    Other Lebowitz food books 


Let’s be flaky!

Funny how you’ll see some food find, and then in short order come upon related items {just like the dukkah}. In this case the original reference was to the multiple uses for potato flakes discussed in a MyRecipes story we linked in the 03.29.19 Tidbits section.

The first find was in a back issue of Food & Wine, a recipe for Potato-Crusted Pork Schnitzel with Hot Pepper Mayonnaise. Next was a prep using the flakes in potato pancakes that I came across while on the AllRecipes site.

To take this a step further, tapped into the Idaho Potato site, entered “Potato flakes” recipes in the search box and 117 results popped up. If you want to take a look, be sure to use the quote marks as shown.

And in that listing, found the dish pictured here. It’s wow, yes, made with potato flakes! – Fudge Mocha Idaho Potato Cake, and you can find that recipe directly in the search.

F&W Schnitzel recipe  A/R Potato Pancakes recipe   Idaho Potato site


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

 Hmmmm. While I’m sure the dough in our Featured Recipe is quite delectable, maybe you don’t want to take the time or get the ingredients. One of my fast, favorite, crowd-pleasing recipes calls for baking the squares of refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough as is {no schmooshing} in mini muffin tins and then as soon as they come out sinking a Reese’s peanut butter cup into each {the ones you unwrap, not the smaller ones that come unwrapped}. Could this work here?

  After playing with a number of different methods for cooking a pork roast I’ve found what I like best is in fact a very simple prep. For about a 5 lb roast, rinse and pat dry, sprinkle generously with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. Onto a rack, into a roaster pan, leave uncovered, 450 for 3o min, 375 for 2 hours or until it registers 170 {check before the 2 hr point}. Let stand at least 10 min.

 I recently came across a reference to Resurrection Rolls. Had you heard of them? I hadn’t so turned to google to see just what they are. AllRecipes gives us both a recipe and this back story: the sugar/cinnamon dusted marshmallows inside refrigerated crescent rolls disappear as the rolls bake, leaving a hollow shell, representing “the tomb of Jesus on Easter morning.” Their page includes a demo for this cook-rated 4 1/2 stars recipe.

So far next week: Shaking beef, stuff even better the second time around, another toast upgrade, sweet tv, Guinness donuts – made them !, there goes waste & here comes the gravy

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: lamb chops/CIA & American Lamb, dukkah & book/Amazon, tartlets/ Lebovitz’ site, fudge cake/{photo contest winner !}Suzanne Lumsford on Idaho Potato site, pancake & pork roast/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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