Saucy, spicy, savory Cajun shrimp, June 5-June 11, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

We want to help us all stay safe – and find joy in the kitchen, our own special haven


Fieri finds “real-deal” Cajun in Mooresville, Indiana

It’s called Zydeco’s and that real deal is not just a matter of serving up all the classics, but as well making some of the essential ingredients in-house and flying in some of the rest. Guy says, when you’re inside you really are in New Orleans.

This recipe from his cookbook, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: The Funky Finds in Flavortown,” is an adaptation of the one provided to Fieri by co-owner and New Orleans native Carter Hutchinson. Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp is not for the faint of palate – any hint of red in the buttery/garlicky sauce is not from tomatoes {there are none}, but from hot peppers – ground, flaked and liquid.

That’s indeed Big Easy style, with the requisite crusty bread pressed into service after the shrimp is gone to scoop up every last bit of the sauce. Expect to have butter residue to the elbows immediately afterward, and garlic wafting from your pores possibly for days.

You also could have had pretty much this same dish if you ever happened to have gone years ago to a place called Slicker Sam’s in Melrose Park, a suburb west of Chicago, and probably today at other select places outside New Orleans. Just make sure wherever it is, it’s the “real deal.”

Both cookbook links below take you to Amazon. Fieri’s books generally rate four stars and up.

Next week: Honey roasted carrots

Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp recipe on Food Network    This DDD cookbook    Other Fieri cookbooks


Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

  Quick pickup at Trader Joe’s, back home, minutes later, dinner! And hooray for the number of ingredients too. It’s all promised in their list of “Meals {that} Have Fewer Than Four Ingredients and Take 10 Minutes to Make.” They’ve done a boffo job of packing a lot of flavor and texture into a little bit of stuff. Thanks Cooking Light for posting this. {Just a quick PS, more accurate to say four or fewer ingredients

  How about a nice ice cream dessert with a kick? This sweet treat is the result of Fieri’s visit to a place called Union Woodshop in Clarkston MI, and the recipe in the book {above} for a Maple Bourbon Pecan Sundae is courtesy of that restaurant’s Chef Aaron Cozadd. Thinking despite the title this would be quite good even without the bourbon, and then maybe some vanilla instead.

We should note that Cozadd makes his own vanilla ice cream for this sundae, using the nitrogen freezing method. I’ve had this prep before and the ice cream turns out so smooth, so creamy, it’s almost in a class by itself. A lot of cautions go along with this process, so maybe ice cream from the store would do just fine.

  Joanna Gaines, known to many as a cookbook author and more, is posting cooking demos on her Youtube channel. What’s so nice about this format vs live tv is you can pause the video to make notes or whatever, or run it back to see something again. There is a subscribe button but you can just go ahead and watch any of these Magnolia Table episodes. May want to start with the French Silk Pie. Meanwhile if you’d like you can browse her cookbooks and more on Amazon.

“Make America Decent Again” collection crafted by Zazzle – see it here on CS

NEW – now added, Tote Bags with our “Decent” theme, several styles & colors

CS Marketplace Directory

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

You can still see full-featured Salons in the Archives, 04.10.20 & earlier

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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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Cookbook author’s Chocolate Cobbler, April 3-April 9, 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 – taco shell, the blank slate / best cobbler? / marinara + +  ♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – sheet pan 2.0    FEATURED RECIPE – oh my!!!    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK – save the milk / fun with taters / impromptu dressing 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  A feature in “Parade” last weekend was a fine reminder of just how versatile tacos can be. Once you set up a shell {see our tip in the 02.21.20 Salon for making them stand tall} or lay out a tortilla, the possibilities for fillings/toppings are boundless. Meats, fish, cheeses, veggies, beans, fruits, bacon, eggs, chilies, onions of any color, garlic, citrus, herbs, sour cream, salsa in all its variations, hot sauces and other sauces. What a great way to raid the fridge and use up tasty odds and ends.

  This week’s Salon is a bonanza for cobbler lovers. Not only do we have the blow-everyone-away chocolate version as our Featured Recipe. but also this from MyRecipes: “How to Make Your Best Cobbler Yet.” You’ll find the 1-2-3-4 of assembling your dish, and then how to cook it in the oven, on your stovetop, or even . . . on the grill.

  Truth be told there are some decent spaghetti sauces at the supermarket. But Epicurious via says there are ways to make them even better with its “5 Ways to Amp Up Jarred Pasta Sauce.” Temperature, seasonings, ingredients, cooking and baking techniques are in the details.


Already done!

Two weeks ago we talked about using foil to create separate compartments for different foods. And that’s a good technique with an item you likely have at hand.Chicago Metallic Lasagna Trio Pan, 12-Inch by 15-Inch by 3-Inch (11-1/2-Inch by 2-1/2-Inch Cavities)

But, eureka! A sectioned sheet pan already exists. It’s called a lasagna tri-pan but clearly you could use it anyway you want, and because of the depth it’s actually better than a standard sheet pan..Disposable Aluminum 3 Compartment T.V Dinner Trays with Board Lid #210L (50)

And then there are disposable ones too. These are multipacks. Both images are clickable.

Btw, you’ll also see others designed for brownies, bars, mini loaves and the like that could even work for smaller amounts.

Sectioned sheet pans, 4 stars & up

CS Marketplace Directory


Looks aren’t everything 

OK, here’s the thing. When cookbook author Elizabeth Heiskell was putting this dish in the oven on the Food Network show, The Kitchen, the hosts in effect compared it to sludge.

Truth be told, when it came back out the cosmetic improvement was slight at best. The ice cream makes a tasty coverup – she used cherry, a sort of Black Forest thing going on, and I used butter pecan. Whipped cream or sour cream I think could also be nice.

BUT, how it looks will fade into the ionosphere once you taste it. Yikes it’s good!. In fact I believe it was Sunny that said it was the best dessert she’d ever had on the show.

What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves UpThe frosting on the cobbler so to speak {hey maybe another solution}, is that it is quite easy to make. One melt, two mixes, and voop into the oven.

Some notes. I took it out 33 minutes. There’s no guideline on whether to use 3/4 or 1 cup of hot water – I used 3/4 and think next time a full cup for even more gooey goodness, and maybe take a minute or two off the baking time. To serve it I flipped it over to have the melty chocolate on top..

Heiskell is the author of a book we’ve previously featured in the Salon, a gift guide of sorts titled “What Can I Bring,” and subtitled southern food for any occasion life serves up –  hardcover and Kindle, both discounted on Amazon. We’ve also linked her other cookbooks, similarly with a southern accent.

Recipe    “What Can I Bring”    Heiskell’s other books


Don’t have self-rising flour? Easy fix

AllRecipes to the rescue again. Turns out that site is not only boffo for recipes but also for techniques.

Our Featured Recipe for this week calls for self-rising flour, but not everyone keeps this on hand. No worries, as long as you have regular flour, salt and baking powder you’re good to go.

There’s even a demo. And bonus, while I was on the site found a way to turn salsa into 11 dinners. Next week Tidbits!

To make self-rising flour


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Please, please, don’t hoard milk {or really anything else}. But most guidelines say it’s OK to take one extra of most things. With milk the problem is using it up before it spoils. So, asked Alexa on my Echo Show about freezing it and this is what she said – remove about a cup from the carton to allow for expansion. Write the date it’s going into the freezer and the expiration date on the carton, which will tell you when you eventually use it about how long it should stay fresh. Thaw in the fridge or in cold water, shake before use in case the fat has separated.

  And then, good Alexa offered a transfer to WikiHow for more information. So, I poured about a half gallon from a gallon into a large container, left about 2″ clearance, sealed up, into the freezer. And we shall see.

{At some point we’ll be bringing you regular food news, tips, recipes, even jokes from Alexa on its own CS page}

  What a fun and festive idea for when we can once again party on. See the pic? – that’s “potato snow,” found in “The Secret Garden Cookbook” featured in our 03.06.20 Salon. Oh so easy too! Per the recipe, simply push boiled, towel-dried potatoes through a coarse sieve with a wooden spoon letting them “pile high into a snowy mountain slope.”

  I actually peeled the potatoes, wrapped in foil and baked, so no drying time needed and then held with a multi-folded large napkin to sieve while still hot. Even so, there will be some cooling so it’s a good idea to serve with some hot melted butter. Just be careful not to shake the plate or you could end up with something more like a “drift.”

  Steak, baked potatoes, and salad were on the dinner menu. When baked is on the plate, sour cream is sure to follow. So a creamy dressing on the salad would be sort of redundant, but I wanted more flavor than just a vinaigrette. Hmmmm, started with some soy sauce, then in quick succession sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce, and grated dried garlic. Nice. Now a new fave.

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – sheet pans, book-Amazon, others-mine
  •  Link sources – sheet pans, books-Amazon, recipe-Food Network
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: 16 meals from salsa, catch corona through food?, brownie mix upgrade, clam chowder with a secret, more on safe shopping, made the potato soup, Alexa cake, play with your food, fun foodie mugs

Last week, just below: baking crafts, safer shopping for the times, boffo cake, recipe clone source, leftover pizza breakfast casserole 2.0, Wilbur’s chicken trick, grits hits, safe& easy pretty Easter eggs, Japanese home cooking cookbook

Looking for something in CS?

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


All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2020


Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Sauce with Cocoa, Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, any of my partnership connections in the current week’s Salon

will be listed in the information box below, along with the photo credits & link sources

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  ♦

  TIDBITS – chocolate frosting with a secret / chocolate Yule log recipes / pumpkin-y pancakes    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Merry Kitchen!  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – cocoa loco   TIP – easy garlic  ♦  THE WEEK – the next all-in / merry mallows / a hot trend 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It looks so innocent, a luscious layer of chocolate frosting. But this icing might need some ice to counteract it. The current Food & Wine online newsletter offers up a prep for Chile Chocolate Buttercream, with the hidden heat of ancho powder and cayenne. Having some time back enjoyed pie with a chocolate-ancho filling I can tell you this sweet-hot interplay can be quite addictive. Btw, there’s also a recipe for the cinnamon cake underneath.

  Was so happy to see IrishCentral feature a Bailey’s Chocolate Yule Log, only to discover it was not a recipe but rather a retail item, and adding insult to injury seemingly only to be available in Ireland and the UK. Not to be deterred, tried Amazon for us. Not even on Amazon! So, back to one of my most reliable sources for great preps, AllRecipes. And there found some good looking Chocolate Yule Logs, which if one were so inclined could certainly not be harmed by the addition of a little spirit.

  So, then Irish Central redeemed itself with a feature on pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes. And, yep, complete with recipe. Nice treat for a holiday morning breakfast, maybe with a bit of bacon or sausage, some colorful fruit. Btw, I quite like this newsletter, and if you might too, can subscribe in the upper task bar on that page.


Deck your kitchen!

Why should the living room have an exclusive on all the festive decor??? Especially when we have so many ways to bring the seasonal colors and images right into the kitchen.D-FantiX Snowman Refrigerator Magnets Set of 16, Cute Funny Fridge Magnet Refrigerator Stickers Holiday Christmas Decorations for Fridge, Metal Door, Garage, Office Cabinets (Large)

Large stores, even pharmacies, often feature items for this very purpose. The ones we’re showing here are on Amazon.

Some are temporary additions like refrigerator magnets {shown}, appliance handle covers, wall decor {shown}, even chair slipcovers. Some are temporary replacements such as towels, tablecloths, napkins, table runners, and dish drying mats.

And this adorable tie-back set. And more. And all such fun.

So often our family and friends gather in the kitchen anyway, so why not make their surroundings sing Christmas and more. Just as good, why shouldn’t you have a joyful setting as you prepare those holiday goodies.

The full array on Amazon 

 BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageIf you’d like to send a strong message to both sides in D.C., please consider my new items on the Offerings page that say, “Make America Decent Again.”


Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t get any better

I think it has something to do with the cocoa. It just adds such a deep, rich dimension versus other forms of chocolate.

And just like we like it, at least some of the time, the prep has few ingredients, simple technique. As flagged in our notes, though it calls for rum and many folks will find this a welcome addition, I used vanilla and it was still just so good.

The prep also tells us to use it cold, right from the fridge or after a brief stand at room temp. I did use it that way and also tested it heated, both over ice cream {work, work, work!}. As you can see, the ice cream does get melty with the warmed sauce but I actually liked it better that way.

The fact that it’s good however you use it is no surprise. It comes from the sweet genius of the late “Queen of Cake,” Maida Heatter, and appears in her book listed below.

Recipe    Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking”


Easy garlic trick

Thanks to the late and dear Mr. Food for this one. When you need to add garlic to a dish, put the knife or press back in the drawer and take out a fork.

You can start with whole cloves unless they’re extra large, then slice those in half horizontally. Now take your fork start pushing into the edges {not right down over the whole top}, and continue around the perimeter, gradually working your way toward the middle, pressing the tines toward the work surface and pulling them back toward you. If necessary, turn over and repeat on the other side.

The primary beauty of this technique is that in short order you’ll have coarse chopped garlic ready to go. Or you can continue to work the fork for a finely chopped result. Or, if you need the garlic in paste form, add a bit of salt and then mash down and back and forth with the fork. Voila, paste.

The bonuses? No more pieces flying off the work surface, sticking to the knife, and clinging to your fingers.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  My latest all -in. Pie crust! In our 08.23.19 Salon we talked about a pie filling made up of various chocolate items from the pantry and fridge. Now the chocolate vibe has gone into a crust in the form of cookies collected also from the pantry and fridge. There were stripes, stripes with frosting, chocolate coated mint cookies, even a couple of fortune cookies {nice little pockets of crunch}, crushed to crumbs and then mixed with melted butter in the classic graham cracker crust proportion of 1 1/4 cups to 1/3 of a stick. Now in the freezer awaiting filling and pretty sure one of them will host cheesecake. I’m guessing any cookies would do the trick.

  So, I saw such a cute way to serve cocoa on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show. She dipped marshmallows in melted chocolate mixed with a bit of coconut oil and then pressed some into pistachios, others into coconut. Next, for each cup of her white chocolate cardamom cocoa, she speared the two kinds of marshmallows on a wooden skewer and laid it across the rim. Adorable. But, oops, in the next scene when the cups are served, the marshmallows had done a backflip so all the pretty toppings were hiding face-down in the cocoa. Ummm, should we tell her about the two-stick trick from our 08.16.19 Salon???

Wait, wait, wait let me make two things perfectly clear. First, could this have been by design so that the chocolate melted into the white cocoa? Maybe. But even more notable, I love the food she does, and the whimsical touches she often shows us, some of which we’ve featured in previous Salons. So, face-up or face-down, a cool idea. Btw, for mine shown here I crushed spicy peanuts and M&Ms.

  Care to experiment? I plan to do so with whatever baked good I make next. This technique is called hot sugar icing, a matter of topping the unbaked cake or cobbler with sugar and then, uh oh, hot water. But the promise is a crunchy, candy-like sugar crust. The link takes you to the Taste article, and then a link at the bottom to a recipe for pear cherry cobbler, which include the amounts and instructions for the hot sugar upgrade.

So far next week: Hot fudge pudding cake, peeling ginger, flashback dinners, thaw it quick, kitchen organizers, elote add-on, next burrito, apple crisp punch

Last week, just below: pie guide, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from the best, bacon-pimento cheese dip, flour trick, another Parm corn butter app, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – pancakes/IrishCentral, decs/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe/CS Recipe Page Heatter book/Amazon, items on Offerings page/Michigan-based SunFrog
  • Partnerships – Amazon, SunFrog

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

So far next week: hot fudge pudding cake, kitchen organization,  

Last week, just below: bacon-pimento cheese dip, pie guide + recipes, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from a legend, flour help, try this with the Parm corn butter, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

Looking for something in CS?

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2019

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


Kids’ bacon cheddar dip, Aug 23-29, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

R.I.P. Beloved Misty {note on her History page}

♦  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll down  

  TIDBITS – no-bake key lime / showfinder / pop goes the Taco Bell    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – outdoor grilling, phooey    FEATURED RECIPE – it’s bacony, tasty, and a multi-tasker    TIP – chalk up one of the fun-est cookie tricks ever    THE WEEK – Venetian/English breakfast / this time it’s pie / gluttony good???


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Room for one more no-bake dessert? It’s creamy key lime pie and wow is it easy. Just 8 ingredients, 3 steps. BUT, choose instead a store-bought graham cracker crust and it’s 5 ingredients, 2 steps. WAIT, not done. Choose plain over pretty and it’s 4 ingredients, 1 step! And, from MyRecipes, a darn reliable source of good stuff.

  Got Netflix? Did you know about the secret code that lets you instantly find all their food shows? Food & Wine tells all, how to access it, how to use it.

  Taco Bell fans, pack your bags for Palm Springs. That where the Mex chain is opening a pop-up hotel this month, with a menu of TB favorites gussied up a bit. Or, put your suitcase back on the shelf and just serve some of their Fire Chip Chilaquiles, recipe included in the story. And if you want to dress or accessorize for the occasion, there’s also an online TB store.


Love grilling – but the ” great outdoors”, not so much?

Solution – indoor grills. Yikes, who knew there are so many possibilities, both electric and stove top. Some good Amazon prices too, don’t know if always or special for end of the season.

They range from the quite gussy, like the plug-in Hamilton Beach shown, complete with view Hamilton Beach 25361 Electric Indoor Searing Grill with Removable Easy-to-Clean Nonstick Plate, Viewing Window, Stainless Steelwindow, adjustable heat, non stick surface, plus the hood, plate, drip tray all dish washer safe, $69.99 at Amazon {list $89.99}, 4 1/2 stars.

At the other end of the spectrum, stove top grill pans. Here, the Lodge 10.5 square inch cast iron griller, pre-seasoned, $18.90 at Amazon {list $44.30}, 4 stars.

But, as they say, wait, there’s more. Indoor griddles that sit atop your stove also are available with grill grooves. And, you can even find indoor smokers. Neener neener bees, mosquitos, wind, rain, etc.

Elec grill shown    Stove-top pan shown  ♦  4 star & up electric grills

4 star & up grill pans   4 star & up griddles    4 star and up stove-top smokers


Bacon rules a cheesy dip that lives on in other tasty ways

In our 08.02.19 Salon we featured cookbooks for kids. Because of “my kid” Misty I had chosen to focus on ‘Bacon Artist.” Nice recipes for soup, salad, sandwiches and snacks, plus cooking methods and safety tips. Bacon Artist: Savory Bacon Recipes (Kids Can Cook!)

I mentioned that the first recipe I would likely try was the bacon cheddar dip, and now I’ve done exactly that, and hooray! As the title indicates, its first incarnation was as a dip, which the book suggests serving with crackers, chips, and such veggies as carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.

But oh, can it go way beyond that. Since the recipe makes quite a bit there were lots of leftovers after taking s star turn during cocktail hour with friends. It’s next use was a sauce for pasta, thinned a bit with bouillon, sprinkled with parsley and parm. Future uses: over sauteed chicken or shrimp, napped on scrambled eggs {such a natural with the bacon and cheese}, or maybe the book’s suggestion to roll it up in tortillas, chill, cut into pinwheels.

Amazon has the subject of kid cookbooks thoroughly covered. The link below filters the selections by best rating but you can further customize by age group, format, condition, Prime and more.

Bacon Cheddar Dip recipe  “Bacon Artist”    Cookbooks for kids, 4 stars and up


Another whimsical way to decorate food – thanks Trisha!

In our 07.26.19 Salon we drew designs on holiday food with food pens and food gels. Now during a recent episode of Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” she displayed another way to play.

But she went one better. Wait till you see how.

It started with butter cookie dough, cut into rectangles and then baked and cooled. Each was covered almost to the edge with store-bought royal icing that had been blended with black food coloring to create what looked much like a child’s small chalkboard.

So then we need . . . chalk. Oh what fun, Trisha nuked bright white candy melts until the mixture could be piped into silicone tube molds and refrigerated until firm. And then voila! Not only can you eat the decorated “chalkboard – you can also eat the “chalk.”

Trisha’s prep    Trisha’s cookbooks    tube molds at Amazon    Food Network


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So, came across a reference to “Venetian Breakfast,” and a google check outed it as a double contradiction. First, it’s a London phenomenon, more specifically for the stylish set in the early 1800s. Second, it was generally served in the early afternoon {!}  But what we CS-ers care more about – what was served? All my usual sources were frustratingly mum on the subject. But what I did find would seem to indicate the term refers to the time of the party rather than its dishes.

  So as to not go away totally foodless, I took a look at what’s known as a full English breakfast on the premise there could be some similarities. Here it is at its “fullest” – back bacon {much like ham}, fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or fried or grilled oatcakes or buttered toast, sausages {bangers}, white or black pudding {or both}, baked beans, sometimes even bubble & squeak, along with HP sauce, ketchup and marmite plus coffee, tea and fruit juices. The accounts of actual 1800s breakfasts also included beer, wine & ale.

  The newest “all-in” is a chocolate pie. The filling: the leftover cheesecake from the lemon tarts in the 08.02.19 Salon thawed from freezer and blended with a chocolate medley that had been melted into a can of sweetened condensed milk – a mixed bag of milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate chips, some of a Lindt blueberry/acai chocolate bar, a Hershey’s bar with Reese’s Pieces, and the Hershey’s Gold bar with peanuts and pretzels that was decorated for Dad’s Day in our play-with-your-food Salon 07.26.19, probably about 2 cups in all – into a store-bought crust, then chilled till firm. And yes, luck struck again, because it turned out exceedingly good, dense like a thick mousse.

  Well here’s a different take on one of the Seven Deadlies – found in my notes from “American Food Writing,” quoting turn of the century columnist Elizabeth Robbins Pennell on gluttony which she says – “deserves  nothing but praise and encouragement . . .  it is the result and proof of the digestive organs being perfect . . .{m}orally it shows implicit resignation to the commands of nature . . . {and} love of good eating is an incentive to thought, a stimulus to the imagination.” Ohhhhhhhkay.

So far next week: peanut butter chocolate cookies, easy mole, creamsicle cheesecake™, what cleans your coffeemaker???, poachin, taking lunch, notes to go, verified – pizza reheat

Last week, just below: no-cook dinners, impromptu grilling basket, reincarnating spices, Calvin Trillin’s funny food book, cilantro peanut dip, cilantro recipes, two stick trick, farmers market tips, dinner on a stick, Trillin vignette

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 – grills & book/Amazon, cookies/Trisha Yearwood on Food Network, all others/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Chicken Parmesan Dip {soooo goood!}, May 24-30, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – do-ahead snacks {M – let’s do the bacon and cheese one right now} / sweet peels / foodie idea?    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – going backstage with caterers   FEATURED RECIPE – party perfect dip    TIP – Martha’s got you covered    THE WEEK – on a roll / beets all / eat to heal

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, backyard bbqs, summer picnics, oh yeah party time is upon us. When you’re the one hosting it’s always nice to have some appetizers to set out while you put the finishing touches on the rest of the repast. Even nicer when you can tap into some tasty and interesting “Make-Ahead Hors d’Oeuvres” from Food & Wine.

  So, I saw a chef on Food Network cook up some stuffed sweet potatoes, and then bite right through the half, skin and all. Hmmm, I have to say it never occurred to me that the skin was edible or palatable. So, hello google, only to discover all kinds of entries saying not only can you indeed consume them, but also touting their nutritional value.

  In the process I discovered a site called “Lunch Scraps,” which sounded like maybe it addressed going “nose to tail” with veggies as in a book we’ll be featuring later on. It wasn’t but is so filled with how-tos in its Cooking Tips section that it certainly does seem like it could lead a lot less waste.

  Do you have a food idea that you think could become a business? If so, might want to look into WeWork Food Labs. The company hosts other kinds of labs too, but the link takes you to the one for blossoming food entrepreneurs. They list out some nice on-site amenities and resources, but of course you’d want to do a bit more research on them before making any commitments – I have no connection to them or knowledge of them beyond what’s on their page.


This is a revelation, a thoroughly fascinating book

Titled “Hotbox” by author brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee, it totally tears down the black curtain that normally conceals all the food prep happenings at virtually any catered event. It’s not really written for caterers though indeed they would likely be head-nodding at the all too familiar triumphs and catastrophes that are revealed here.Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business

But primarily this insider book is written for us, folks with a lively curiosity about all things food, especially stuff that’s typically hidden from our view. Page after page takes us right into the prep & event kitchens to witness all those wows and oops, plop us right at the work stations as the dishes take shape, and send us along with the waitstaff where more challenges may await.

We also learn how this became a $$$$$ industry, how to work with a caterer, some practical tips we can apply in our own kitchens, and as a bonus a whole new vocabulary.

One thing I can pretty much guarantee. Unlike the attendees who have not read this book, you will never again view a catered event in quite the same way.

Browse “Hotbox” on Amazon


It’s a hit! Chicken Parmesan Dip

*  A Tasting Panel Selection  *

Oh, super tasty. A real crowd pleaser that’s doubly good as a party dish because it makes quite a bit.

And what gives it an easy head start is that you use rotisserie chicken right from the grocery store {and then can make stock from the bones for future use}. I have to give credit to MyRecipes for the original prep, which actually survives to a great extent in my version where I add in Italian seasonings and some extra cheese.

It was served piping hot from the oven with crostini as dippers. And afterward it lived on as a sandwich on a bun, and also as a pasta sauce after being thinned with a bit of V-8 though you could also use more marinara, or tomato sauce, or broth, or wine, or a combo.

And this is nice. Because it’s so flavorful you could if you wanted actually leave out the chicken to have a vegetarian dish, and it would still work just as well for all the above applications. This is a keeper.

Recipe page   Original at MyRecipes 


Foolproof recipes, foolproof techniques?

Here’s a tip. If you want to invest time and money in preps with these claims, make sure they come from an impeccable source.

Got one! Thanks to Food 52 you can tap into “9 Martha Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead (Food52 Works)Stewart Recipes for When You Need a Sure Fire Winner” {ummmm, think we’d like to have that pretty much all the time}.

Here you’ll find mac & cheese, stews, ethnic specialties, a one-pan pasta {shown}, and a dish that tucks right into a recent theme in our visits – sheet pans! – in this case for a crowd-feeding slab pie with just about any fruit your palate desires.

Btw, Food 52 has its own gussy offering for “stress-free meal planning.” It’s a cookbook called “A New Way to Dinner,” 4 stars on Amazon, Kindle and Hardcover.

Martha’s sure fires    “A New Way to Dinner”    Stewart’s books


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Sometime back I noted that I like to avoid doing biscuits with a biscuit cutter because of all the redoing which means handling the dough too much and almost inevitably ending up with waste. I had suggested creating a square which was then cut into squares. Now here’s a recipe from Trisha Yearwood that drops the dough by spoonfuls into muffin tins. Btw, I think she may also have been the one that in another method patted the dough into a circle, cutting that into wedges and then rolling each triangle into a ball. For all of those, no waste.

{Norene, move along to the 3rd item, nothing for you to see here in the 2nd one . . .}

♦  All I knew about beets in my childhood was that they showed up on a plate cooked to death in a treacly sauce {did Harvard really lend its name to this willingly?}. Then I discovered pickled beets and a whole different and wonderful world of flavor and texture. More recently, thanks to the top chefs in our town, I’ve come to actually crave roasted beets.

Now thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow I have a permanent addition to my recipe file. Place 6 beets, scrubbed and rubbed with 2 T olive oil {total} on parchment paper, add 3 T water, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Wrap tightly in the parchment, making sure the beets are completely sealed inside so no liquid can escape, place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 90 minutes at 400. Do be careful of the hot steam when you open the package.

♦  The recipe above is from Paltrow’s book,  “The Clean Plate,” and the preceding link will take you to the Amazon page. It is quite interesting and more diverse than I expected, with preps pulling in veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, herbs, aromatics, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, spices, bottled and homemade sauces, lots of lemons and limes. Even sheet pan preps! Also specific healing cleanses, pantry & cooking tips.

So far next week: Mex salads, impromptu cake stands, kicky spices, not-so-secret sauce, sammie trick, all about Beard


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 – books/Amazon, Martha’s pasta/Food 52 site, others/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Andres’ Great Big Bowl of Goodness, for Nov 2-Nov 8, 2018


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

  TIDBITS – tv show stars leftovers {M – told her before I’d be happy to take care of that stuff} / rim like a pro / don’t throw those water balloons, freeze ’em    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – give yourself celeb status / easy gifting of top cookbooks  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – a “strike” with this kind of bowl-ing  ♦  TIP –  . . . and some “spares” ♦  THE WEEK – make-do is a woohoo / keep on truckin’ / dip for your face 

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Have you watched ”Scraps”? Just as the name would imply, this Katie Couric-produced tv show addresses makeovers for leftovers. This season, its second, just debuted on 10.11, and on the page, with a couple of steps, you can watch episodes, or just go directly to recipes. Other food shows on this FYI network too.

  Holiday get-togethers are just around the corner, and festive beverages can be part of the fun. A site called VinePair offers a schooling on rimming the glasses with a number of good things beyond salt, and tips on how to do it. Though this is cocktail-based, why not get creative with soft drinks too.

  And I just love this party idea for chilling your beverages from Hometalk {once there, scroll to the right}. Regular ice in the bucket is replaced by ice filled balloons – so festive and no melting all over the place making everything drippy.

  One thing though, I’m wondering if once you take a bottle out if it’s hard to replace among the balloons. Maybe a second container inside? Btw, if you’re a crafty sort, this site can keep you busy every day with projects from their super-creative contributors.


“In this house I’M the celebrity chef”

Proclaim it with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, and evening cocoa, and what the "In this house I'M the celebrity chef" Long Apronheck pour in your beverage of choice at cocktail hour.

Or say it with a tee, sweat, hoodie or apron. Wear your proud statement.

Any will make clear to one and all just who rules this kitchen.

For you, or your cook-tastic spouse, friend or family member.

Just FYI, this is my own design. Mugs & shirts at Michigan company SunFrog. Apron at Zazzle.

Mugs    Shirts    Apron

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

Extra for Cooks – or more specifically, those who have folks on their gift list who are cooks. For most, cookbooks are always welcome. But how to choose from the zillion available? This can help if you want to shop on Amazon. Best selling cookbooks   Best rated cookbooks


Wait till you see how much good stuff goes into one boffo bowl 

Leave it to José Andrés to take a humble bowl from the cabinet and fill it meatlessly to 5-star perfection. The picture tells most of the story.

You can see the flavor, texture, and color contrasts of carrots, scallions, corn, edamame, and bok choy, among other main ingredients. What you don’t see is the dimension altering garlic yogurt sauce and soy ginger dressing.

Btw, that beautiful egg is in neither the ingredients list nor directions. But heck what doesn’t get even better with an eggie crown???

And the recipe title is the mouthful, “Inspired by Beefsteak’s Kimchi-Wa Bowl.” If, like me you’re not a big fan of kimchi, fear not, it’s really just a garnish and as such you can – oops, forgot to add it.

Recipe    Jose Andre cookbooks  

♦  TIP  

Bowl over your family, your guests, even yourself

Because it’s not just Andrés. Bowl cuisine is an emerging trend in restaurants at all levels. And this is one we can so easily bring into our own kitchens.Clean Eating Bowls: 50 Superfood Paleo Bowl Recipes for Clean Eating, Increased Energy, and Vibrant Health

As this story picked up by ProChef SmartBrief notes, these dishes are easy to eat, encourage adventurousness, and can look quite pretty. Easy to build too, because there are no rules.

But there are suggestions to get you started. Just check out this google page.

And of course, trust Amazon to bring you books all about it, including the one shown. And many others

Food bowl cookbooks


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  So when I went to make some shredded beef for a Mexican buffet I found I didn’t have the taco seasoning that I wanted to use in the cooking water. So I substituted what I did have – a steak marinade mix. And what a pleasant surprise. Had never used this for anything before but will likely apply it in other ways too – maybe sometime even on steak {!}

  I just caught up with what’s turned out to be one of my favorite new shows on Food Network – Andrew Zimmern’s “Big Food Truck Tip,” where for six episodes he visited these mobile eateries across the country. The name derives from the fact that in each city the best of the three trucks he checks out will receive a $10,000 “tip.”

Though the truck trend is not new, it’s also not going way, but rather increasing as time goes by. Surely contributing to the popularity is that so many of them serve just such great food, usually fast, and with a come-as-you-are vibe. Episodes so far ran in Sept & Oct, and you can catch up with all of them on the Food Network site.

  Since I always make sure to have a good supply of avocados, some can get iffy. So was happy to see these 5 ways to use them up. They’re all quite interesting but the one I tried wasn’t food {or wasn’t supposed to be} – sort of a guacamole facial. It’s nice, skin feels refreshed when it goes on, soft when it comes off, and with a bit of a glow {or was that the turmeric???}. Btw, though you can store leftovers, I just spooned out what I needed and put some crackers to the rest.

So far next week: chocolate covered peanut butter bars, top-pop cookbook, baking tip, drink your leftovers

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


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with Mint Cream, for July 13-19, 2018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview 

A perfect summer dessert {M – who cares?  Another 14 snacky ways to smack down the hangrys {M – I don’t get mad when my supper is late, but I sure can stage some A-1 lobbying}    Dun dun Dun dun cupcakes {M – ah phooey, not what it looks like}    Top grocery store    Amazon Prime Day – some goodies found for you    save the taters    Barbara’s week: yay for bolognese, yum on the scrambles, yes to the posset

Misty’s History  ♦  Misty’s Gallery 

♦  Tidbits  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  So, a couple sessions back we talked about being hangry {angrywhen you’re hungry}, causes and cures. Here’s I think a better take on the latter, 14 snacks each requiring just three ingredients. Two notes: most can be whipped up spur of the moments but a few require advance prep, and second IMO the one that looks worst probably tastes best. 14 Anti-hangrys

  Well if you’re a Las Vegas resident, or happen to visit during July 22-28, you can tap into yet another innovative sweet from Freed’s bakery, known to many as the star of the Food Network’s hit show “Vegas Cakes.” For those dates though, which coincide with Shark Week, the famed bakery is featuring not cakes but rather some clever cupcakes with a shark theme.

Can’t be there? Make your own? Here’s how they describe them: “signature vanilla cupcakes, filled with strawberry puree, topped with ocean blue cream cheese frosting and garnished with a grey fondant shark fin.”  Freed’s

  Is there one in your town? The 2018 Market Force Information survey found honors for highest customer satisfaction for a grocery store went to Wegman’s. Their 90 stores serve folks in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia.

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦

Woohoo, it’s almost here

July 16 is Prime Day at Amazon and the deals are delicious. Find grills both stand-up and tabletop, blender, coffee grinder, tea, protein bars, glassware, and of course many other categories. Save away!

Home & Kitchen Prime Day Launches  ♦  Grocery & Gourmet Food Prime Day Launches

All Prime Day offers    Not a Prime member? – Get started here

CS Marketplace

Also at CS Marketplace “Especially For Readers” & “Especially for Dog Lovers”

Readers Extra – Prime Day has a special offer for you too – tap into 66% off a 3-month membership in Audible Gold, open up a whole new world of books. Get the scoop here

♦  Featured Recipe  ♦

Can a refreshing dessert still include chocolate?  

Yes!!! And oh, is this one simple. Start with chocolate dipped strawberries – our featured prep calls for melting 4 oz coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate in a saucepan set over hot water, then dipping 16 large strawberries and refrigerating for about 10 min on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

Now as if those summer berries weren’t already refreshing enough, they’re served with mint cream made by whipping 1 cup heavy cream with 1/4 c powdered sugar and 2 T white creme de Mint, Puthina, പുതിന.JPGmenthe or 1/4 t mint extract. It’s then served on a bed of fresh mint leaves. Even on the hottest day, this can bring a cool autumn evening to your mouth.

The recipe comes from a James Beard winning cookbook called “Short & Sweet.” The latter word tells you, yep, it’s is all about desserts. And the former one, well hoorray for author Melanie Barnard, because pretty much all of the confections on these pages call for few ingredients, easy prep.

♦   ♦   ♦

Hardcover and paperback on Amazon, both discounted, two listings and not sure why the differing ratings. It may be Short and Sweet: Sophisticated Desserts in 30 Minutes or Lessworth noting that one of the complaints in a lower rating was the “significant emphasis on chocolate” {!!!} Another is valid or not depending on your point of view: “most of the recipes include alcohol,” though in fact she typically lists a non-alcoholic alternative, an extract or juice.

In the other listing, 58% of the reviewers gave it 5 stars, with this being representative: “Easy to follow, delicious recipes for family and friends. Recommend it highly to seasoned cooks or beginners.” Guess that’s what makes horse races – and cooking contests. Note, few copies left in both listings.

Short & Sweet 

♦  Tip  ♦  

Tater saver

I think most of us probably hate to waste food. So when I find a way to pull back from the trash anything that might be headed that way, I want to use it and share it. And that brings us to potatoes.

If you have some that are in that situation, cook and mash them however you usually do. Then divide themi into containers and freeze. What??? They’ll go all watery!!!

Yes, they will. Fear not. Thaw the container, use the lid to cover all but a corner and drain off the liquid. Then heat them in a nonstick skillet, pushing them around with a spatula until they’re hot and somewhat dried. They’ll be fine. Find other tater tricks and lots more in my 50 Kitchen Tricks kindle, 99 cents.

♦  A Peek at My Week  ♦

Step into my kitchen, my friends, and see what’s happening now 

  I had mentioned a few weeks ago finally finding a bolognese recipe that could parallel my impromptu one that refused to be duplicated. Well meanwhile {when it rains it pours} I found a couple of similar ones so cherry-picked from each and now will give it a try. If good, will share next week as our Featured Recipe.

  It seems scrambled eggs are showing up in lots of newsletters and magazines currently. Why?  Maybe a fast, easy, nutritious meal for our busy days? What is clear, though, is that there are divergent opinions, some quite robust, about the best way to get them from shell to plate. I picked up a tip or two, and here’s what I do now, though as you see I actually still like my scrambles pretty basic.

For each egg: a little olive oil in a shallow pan over low heat . . .  1/8 t chicken bouillon, lots of fresh ground pepper, whisk together right in the pan till desired doneness, for me, medium . . . whisk in 1 t of butter till incorporated {note that several recipes call for more butter, lots more butter}.

If I’m adding dried herbs they go in right at the start, and fresh I like to sprinkle on the finished eggs. If other goodies, after the initial ingredients are blended, then I switch to a spatula, though the texture will not be the same. Here’s a google round-up

  Well as much as I liked my tangerine posset, really would prefer it a little more tangerine-y. So thought I’d try using frozen tangerine juice concentrate. Good luck with that, can’t find it anywhere. If anyone does, please let me know. Meanwhile I do have another flavor in mind.

So far for next week: food truck tv competition, a top food/wine fest, how much butter & where???, cook’s bookshelf essential, decadent recipe, a kitchen hit, miss & maybe, things you do your dog hates.

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

Strawberry image by Popo le Chien, mint image from Wikimedia Commons


Brownie Pudding/Giant Lava Cake recipe, for March 23-29, 2018

  In the Salon this week  ♦

  “Easier than anything” biscuits    OMG doughnut chips {and dips}    Ina interview on F&W    Ina’s books & videos   Title recipe    Easier biscuits, Part II   Resource links  


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  In “Real Simple” Grace Elkus shares a biscuit recipe that she calls “easier than anything I’ve ever made before,” and as bonus, “the biscuits came out even more buttery and delicious than I anticipated.” Hint: it starts with Bisquick. {also see this week’s Tip}  Recipe

  Watch at your own risk. If you think the “doughnut chips” are indulgent, wait till you read about the dipping sauces. Chips and dips as you’ve never seen them before. Thanks, “Extra Crispy” . . .  I think. Video

  Ina Garten fan? You’ll be happy to know that her show, “Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro” has returned to Food Network, once again bringing us not only demos but also lots of practical kitchen tips. She talked about both and more in this recent chat with “Food & Wine” magazine. Interview

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Speaking of Ina . . .

She has some fine cookbooks on Amazon, and yay at this writing all of the hardcovers are offered at good discounts, all rate 4 1/2 stars, and all are Prime Eligible. Available on Kindle too, also on Flexibound and a couple in paperback form. Pictured are just a few and all can be viewed at the link below. And her shows can be found at the second link, one on DVD, the others on Amazon Video.

Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa CookbookThe Barefoot Contessa CookbookMake It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ina’s cookbooks    Videos of Ina’s TV shows    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe 

All the Valentine’s chocolate gone? 

Forget those stingy little individual chocolate lava cakes. Go big or  . . . no, just go big. And this panful is just the way to do it.

Thanks {again . . . I think} to the Food 52 newsletter for this sweet way to restock the larder in the form of a Brownie Pudding/Giant Lava cake, offering a generous eruption of melty chocolate.

Grab a spoon and tell everyone else to stand clear.

Cake recipe  ♦  Food 52 site


For the biscuit recipe in Tidbits, of course you want round rolls so they fit nicely in the skillet. But for regular rolls baked in a square or rectangular pan, I just roll the dough to fairly even thickness edge to edge and then slice it both ways to create square biscuits. Saves time but even better, no re-rolling and no waste. Do the edges end up a little irregular? Who cares?

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