Star caterer’s rich chocolate cake from mix, Oct 11-Oct 17, 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 – put whaaaat in your cola / best rotisserie chicken / keeping ‘shrooms fresh    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – grilled cheese mania    FEATURED RECIPE – so good, so rich, so easy    TIP – that’s a wrap ♦  THE WEEK – jammy eggs / spooky food / savory salteñas 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Well, here’s a new one on me. But it won’t likely be for anyone from the south, and that’s combining peanuts and cola, Coke as most postings say, Pepsi when I saw it, and one online rebel mentioned Dr. Pepper. I was enlightened by North Carolina chef Vivian Howard in Season 1 of her PBS series “A Chef’s Life,” where the proper technique was on display. Open the {must be} glass bottle, take a few swigs, pour in the peanuts using your hand as a funnel – while the demo ended there, it seems then you either chew and sip or drink up before snacking on the peanuts.

–  Chef Vivian translated this into a dish of brined and cooked pork belly glazed with Pepsi that had been cooked down with brown sugar and lemon juice, all topped with freshly hulled peanuts that had been boiled in a salty county ham stock until they were “kind of tender.”

  The first paragraph in this MyRecipes feature, “How to choose the best grocery store rotisserie chicken,” reminds us there are so many ways to use this cooked and flavorful entree or ingredient, and may even give us a few new ideas. But of course we want to start with the best one possible and there are three ways offered that help us do just that. And not only is it a time saver, but also it says here that vs the cost of a raw chicken and the flavor ingredients, the rotisserie one is a better value. As a bonus there’s a recipe for a fine looking chicken chilaquiles casserole.

  Thanks Extra Crispy for cluing us in on how to Keep Mushrooms Fresh because we all know what can happen to those little guys in a matter of days. In addition to some good tips, and the reasons for them, two other things I found of interest. One kinda funny, as the author refers to the mushrooms having “a temperament.” The second kinda creepy, news that the sneaky fungi can continue to grow even after harvesting  There’s a movie in there somewhere.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Grilled Cheese lovers, rejoice!

Because here’s an entire book of those comfort food wonders in all their golden glory. In the preemptively named “Grilled Cheese,” subtitled 50 recipes to make you melt, in addition to the preps you’ll also find a cheese guide, bread guide, and chat about putting it all together, along with some tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt

And then there’s a substantial list of add-ins – such fridge finds as pickles, veggies, cured meats, condiments and sauces – to gussy up your classic version. Author Marlena Spieler likens it to accessorizing a little black dress.

In the recipes there are some good basic sandwiches, but you can also go fancy with others that tuck in such upscale groceries as truffle paste, green olive tapenade, radicchio. These leaped onto my do list: rare roast beef, blue cheese and watercress . . . and {what I would regard as 2.0 versions of} chicken club, cuban, and torta . . . individual muffalettas . . . and mozzarella, prosciutto and fig jam.

Btw, that last one is on the cover {couldn’t you almost just take a bite right out of that???}. Whichever one you might choose to make, as Spieler says, “Breakfast, lunch, dinner, after school, or midnight snack . . . all are the perfect time for a grilled cheese sandwich.”

“Grilled Cheese” cookbook

  FEATURED RECIPE  

This full-of-good-stuff chocolate cake couldn’t be easier 

Last week {10.04.19 Salon} our CS Marketplace Spotlight featured a charming book by caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani. While much of the food parts of the book focused on the title dish, “Tiny Hot Dogs,” dessert was by no means overlooked.

In fact in the opinion of some folks {me, maybe you} everything else may well be overshadowed by the chocolate cake in this book. It’s a recipe, Giuliani tells us, that was given to her mother by her good friend Rita in the 1970s. Thus the full name, “My Mom’s Friend Rita’s Chocolate Cake.”

All of the ingredients are the stuff of cravings. And it all just mingles in a bowl pretty much all at once, then into the pan, into the oven, stand on one foot then the other till it’s baked and cool enough to dive in.

As Giulani notes, “It’s a really quick, easy, no-skill required, half box mix, half homemade cake that leaves your crowd happy.” What more could we ask.

Recipe    Giulani’s book, “Tiny Hot Dogs”    Giuliani’s other book, The Cocktail Party “  

  TIP  

Wrap it up cuss-free

Make no mistake, I still use aluminum foil for certain tasks. But when I want a fairly airtight way to store food, now I use sticky wrap. But just among us chickens, the unwrapping can inspire some hearty sailor language.

So, here’s the way I do it now. Lay the sheet sticky side down on a work surface. Place the food in the center, then fold the far side toward you over the food.

Next fold over the the edge closest to you about an inch to create a narrow flap {which will then have a sticky surface facing you}. Then then fold this side forward over the food, making sure to completely enclose the contents, and press to stick down.

Last, wrap both the ends underneath onto the sticky bottom side, and press to seal. Now you have a nice tight and neat package.

I store these in a freezer bag, marked with date and item. Then when I’m ready to use one of the servings, it’s ever so easy to unwrap by just bringing the ends back up and pulling up the flap you created. No cussing!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Have you joined the jammy egg craze? It’s basically an egg cooked kind of midway between hard boiled and soft boiled, and thus the “jammy” yolk. This MyRecipes story acknowledges all the factors involved in getting it just right, but then offers a technique that neutralizes a lot of the variables. I did it as described, but because I have {at least as far as boiling water is concerned} a “bad altitude,” increased the time to 7 minutes. Almost right. Then 7.5 and perfect. It appears this is the only aspect that may require adjustment.

  Oh, these are just great. All kinds of Halloween-decorated food, some adorable, some quite creepy, all so very clever. I couldn’t actually find a prep for the featured one, the eyeballs, but it looked like it was based on donuts, so I used powdered sugar donut holes. Then with this “canvas” before me, put on my beret, and got to work with food color gels, finishing with chocolate chip centers. Woooooohooooo MyRecipes.

  I’m guessing a number of CS-ers might share my impulse to hit Search any time they come across an unfamiliar food. That was the case recently when I saw a reference to Bolivian savory pastries called salteñas. I hope the Bolivians will forgive me but I was mainly interested in how the filling ingredients came together, so just made it as a kind of stew – eliminating the gelatin, dough & annatto butter. And what I discovered was a big flavor interplay of spicy and mild, acidic and sweet, soft and firm, salty and not. I liked it! You can check recipes and more at salteñas, I used the 5-star MyRecipes one as a guide.

So far next week: cinnamon apple pie bread, good show, storing bread, Friendship Bread, a.k.a all-in. nachos into burritos, José Andrés’ decadent spinach, good dinner meter

Last week, scroll down:  ice cream for breakfast, the oddball flying jacob, a beer backstory, tiny hot dogs the book, tiny hot dogs the demo, corn on the cob takes 1, 2, 3, Choctaw stew, burger cooking tip, the sweet potato sundae repurposed

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

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Savory Sweet Potato Bake, for Oct 19 – Oct 25, 2018

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – ice cream for breakfast? how many ways? {M – make mine vanilla} / potato chips too? / bagels aflame    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – decking the halls / holiday perusing    FEATURED RECIPE – sweet potato casserole, two ways    TIP – do a Sprat, but save the fat    THE WEEK – sweet potato casserole, 3.0 / decadence tc / a celeb chef and I invite you to have some “debris”

{Mdear feline friends, please check out the two new photos mom put in my Gallery}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Well Food & Wine has done it again, dangled a headline before us that just hoovers us into the story. It was in their online newsletter that they offered “19 Ways to Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast,” where you’ll find morning versions of sundaes & splits, cookies & cakes, tacos, and melted ice cream hot chocolate.

  And how about this for breakfast . . . potato chips??? I just loved the sassy tone in this Extra Crispy story that steamrollers over guilt and drags the bag out of the pantry, and its contents into eggs, one way or another.

  Food 52 is not slouch either when it comes to irresistible headlines. And again, it was well worth it. Enjoy the tale and recipe that follow “I Tried Chrissy Teigen’s Everything Bagel Casserole & Nearly Set My Kitchen on Fire,” the recipe from Teigen’s new “Cravings: Hungry for More” cookbook.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Bring Christmas right to the dining table

So much fun to decorate for the holidays, especially when such pretty stuff can be just a few clicks away in Amazon’s vast array. Santa Claus Hat Christmas Chair Covers, Miniko(TM) Santa Claus Party Gift Dinner Dinning Christmas Table Decorations Tableware Set Pack 4

Our main link below takes you to the page for tablecloths, table runners, place mats, ways to make it all so festive.

ITART 9 Pack Wine Bottle String Lights Cork LED Battery Powered Lights 15 Leds 2.5ft Multicolor Micro Small Silver Wire Shaped Fairy Light Crafts Table Centerpieces Wedding Parties Christmas DecorYou can also search on the page for other Christmassy touches such as Centerpieces, Lighting, and more.

Holiday table decor

At CS Marketplace: “Especially for . . .” – “Cooks”  “Readers”  “Dog Lovers”

Extra for Book Lovers – the “book store” at Amazon offers such a treasury of holiday reading, from coloring books, to novels, to cookbooks, to decorating guides. Browse them all for you, or “who. ”

  FEATURED RECIPE  

For Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or . . . right now!

This sweet potato casserole is one of my most crowd-pleasing recipes. The original is by a favorite chef, Nick Stellino, and the only major difference between my version and that one is that his is a souffle and mine isn’t, and then there are some minor variations in seasoning amounts.

My non-egg version is denser and needs to bake only until heated through. Those who favor a lighter touch will want to stay with the original.

Either way, an unexpected ingredient combo makes this a winning companion for ham, chicken, turkey – I even like it with a nice pork roast or even Mexican food. Here are links for both . . .

My version on our Recipe Page    Nick Stellino’s original    Stellino’s cookbooks

  

  TIP  

If you’re like Jack Sprat . . .

 . . . and can eat no fat, or at least just plain don’t want to, then like me you trim, trim, trim, whether you’re cooking beef {see leftovers tip in My Week below}, chicken, pork, ham, whatever. But since I also don’t like waste, I use what I cut off, whether from the precooked or cooked meat.

And unless you’re a surgeon, the trimmings usually include some lean meat too, so all of that and any bones go into a pot of water along with carrots, onion, celery, garlic and a bit of bouillon powder. I cook till flavorful, letting some of the water cook off if necessary.

Let cool, then chill in the fridge till the fat rises to the top as a solid and can be scraped off and discarded. Then strain and use as is, or make gravy by thickening it with flour or cornstarch, or with the pureed cooking vegetables.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  An addendum to our Featured Recipe this week. I like dried thyme well enough, but for me it doesn’t take much to be too much, so my prep cuts the original measure to just a sort of healthy pinch. In case you don’t like thyme at all, one time I did substitute nutmeg and that worked out quite well. I do have to say though the thyme does add an interesting and not altogether unwelcome earthy dimension.

  So made the chocolate-topped peanut butter bars from the What Can I Bring cookbook featured in our Sept 21 salon. It made a lot and accordingly had a lot of taste testers. Kudos all around for this easy dessert, so right now planning to make it our Featured Recipe for the Nov 9 salon, right in time for the holiday tables. No-bake too!

  Have leftover cooked beef? One of the ways I’ve used it up ever since I had super chef Carlos Guia’s original at Commander’s Palace some time back – is as “debris,” and I swear it tastes way, way better than it sounds. In my version I shred the beef and heat it in beef broth or stock to which I’ve added garlic powder and pepper along with butter-sauteed onions. And then top each serving with a poached egg or two. Did just that this week, and along with some sourdough toast, an mmm-mmm brunch.

So far next week: best chicken recipes, avoiding chicken cooking mistakes, double layer cheesecake bars, pasta tips 

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

 

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