Ultimate Coconut Cake, “the coconut-tiest,” May 17-23, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – F&W IDs best stews / new roles for bacon {M – OK, let’s get started!} / shopping secret    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – steak guru    FEATURED RECIPE – coconut to the nth degree    TIP – coconut perks  ♦  THE WEEK – sammy fun / super side dish found  ♦  PLUS – new Amazon direct link

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


News, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

There just may be enough cool evenings left to enjoy a good stew. Especially when we can find ones that somewhat transition into spring with say a bounty of seafood in a light broth, or freshening with lemon and dill, or the addition of spring greens into the mix. Depth of flavor brings all the dishes in Food & Wines best ever one- pot dishes into one big tasty family.

♦  Any quarrels aside with the headline {I have faith CS friends certainly may have already thought of some of these}, any “meat candy” fan may want to take a look at “10 Ways You’ve Never Thought to Use Bacon” also courtesy of F&W. Here you’ll find not just breakfast ideas but as well snacks and seasoning, sandwiches and entrees, even a meetup with Almond Joy. Demo for one of them too.

Who would like to go shopping at one of the bulk stores? Who can’t because they don’t have a membership?? Who can now say, gonna shop there anyway??? Folks who read “The Simple Little Hack That Lets You Shop Costco and Other Wholesale Clubs Without a Membership”  from Real Simple – that’s who. Note I have not tried this, but think it certainly may be worth a look.


Like a PhD in Steak

In the “Franklin Barbecue” book, featured in our 03.16.18 Salon, Aaron Franklin schooled us on Q from A to Z. Now the iconic pitmaster, known and revered for his eponymous Austin TX restaurant and PBS show, is taking us by the hand through what may be America’s favorite entree in “Franklin Steak.”

The very moment you open the book you’ll know you’re in for a treasure trove of steakery. On the inside cover and facing page is a flow chart of all the steaks, guiding you through bone v boneless, cooking indoors or out, thickness, aging, on down the chart to exactly how to cook the particular cut.Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef.

And that’s just the beginning. He goes on to in effect walk with you during the buying process, covering grading, marbling, sources, and designations. While that purchase could occur at a farm or ranch or even online, the book recognizes that for most of us that’s going to be at the grocery store or butcher shop and here Franklin goes into good detail on what to look for.

There’s so much more, the jargon, aging, storage, testing for doneness, and of course the actual cuts and, elaborating on that opening chart for the “best way to cook”each. While the chart and other chat focuses on grill-cooking, chapter three gives us a cheat sheet for pan cooking, with even more on this subject in chapter five.

And then as well, recipes for side dishes and sauces plus beverage recommendations, The book is four stars on Amazon, hardcover {pretty good discount} and Kindle, Prime eligible.

Details on –  “Franklin Steak”    “Franklin Barbecue” {5 stars} 


A cake for all seasons 

Coconut cake is one of those dessert delights that is just sweet and substantial enough to be satisfying in cool and cold weather, tropical enough to be welcome in warm and hot seasons. But think we all know this confection can fall anywhere on a spectrum from dry and chew-challenging to moist and flavorful.

Leave it to MyRecipes, one of my favorite sites, to deliver the epitome of the latter to us. The claim is in the name – “Ultimate Coconut Cake,” calling it the “coconut-tiest cake you can make.”

And the recipe makes good on that promise, big time my friends, with coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut extract, coconut flour, coconut milk, coconut cream, and flaked coconut.

As they say here, “For when you’re really, really serious about coconut.” By way, if you have trouble finding some of the less familiar items in your market, it’s good ol’ Amazon to the rescue, links below.

Recipe    coconut sugar    coconut flour    coconut cream


Super food?

With a little stretch, turns out the cake in our Featured Recipe could actually be good for you {!} It seems more and more we’re finding out how coconut in its many forms has any number of health benefits.

Fortunately this is a “health food” that tastes good. And so versatile besides. Tap into this link for more about the nutritional aspects of coconut and ways to incorporate it into your own cuisine.

Coconut Board


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of the Tidbits in our 03.22.19 Salon revealed odd eating choices among various food editors. And that prompted one of my own. Theirs often dated back to childhood, while this one is actually a recent discovery.

Two experiences collided to create a sweet and savory take on a classic sammie. And you know what, it is sooooooooo good.

Some years ago I read in an MFK Fisher book that one should never eat chocolate without bread. Coincidentally enough at a media event shortly thereafter one of the food rooms solely featured platters of large cubes of crusty bread and good chunk chocolate.

Even longer ago I was on a road trip in the Midwest with friend Peggy that included a stop at Stuckey’s. Back in the car first I was already munching on chocolate fudge blended with cheddar cheese. When Peggy got back to the car she asked what it was and when I told her, her face went all eww-y.

Just try one I said. Next I know the car door opened and slammed, followed in short order by friend returning with two boxes of her own, face now all smiley.

Guessing most CS friends can see what’s coming. Yep. Toasted cheese and chocolate, sauteed in a bit of butter till both are all melty. Oh my.

♦  It was a “crapples” moment when I realized that one of the cookbooks I’d donated to a local cause had my favorite red cabbage recipe. An extensive online search did not produce anything like the prep I remembered. And now, Eureka. Found this one thank you Food & Wine that, while tucking in a different ingredient or two, yields the same hearty flavor profile as the one that went away. Think you might like it too.

So far next week: food lab, new celeb blog, behind the black curtain, chicken parmesan dip, Martha’s wisdom, comeback sauce


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 – coconut cake/Greg Dupree on the MyRecipes site, Franklin book/Amazon, sandwich/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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


Cheese and more cheese, March 8-14, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat – Misty previews this week’s salon  

♦  TIDBITS – rich rib-eye / best bacon methods {M – mom, may I suggest you try all of them} / honoring Bourdain     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – kitchen art    FEATURED RECIPE – hot & cheesy spaghetti    TIP – cheese storage    THE WEEK – Martha Manual, first look / Irish Guinness Stew / oh-oh

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  If you’re going to indulge, might as well go for it. Food & Wine shows the way down this culinary path with its prep for Butter-Basted Rib Eyes. Ye gods, this is my favorite cut anyway, and seldom say no to butter, so for all of us in this “bunch,” let’s give it a whirl.

  We all pretty much know how to cook bacon. But . . . do we know the best way to cook bacon. Food 52 gives us the benefit of their research {oh, the sacrifice!}, for turning out perfecto strips. But . . . the answer has a bit to do with your preferences. In that regard, still helpful. Tune in here for the results.

  Oh, this is nice. Food & Wine reports that Chef Bourdain’s native New Jersey is creating an Anthony Bourdain Food Trail, linking the state’s 10 restaurants that were featured in the NJ episode in season 5 of “Parts Unknown.” On that itinerary, a roadstand, inn, deli, oyster house, steakhouse, and more.


Sprucing up for Spring? How about some kitchen art

Which is to say, how about some kicky food posters to give your kitchen or dining nook a colorful newHome Comforts Framed Art for Your Wall Kitchen Casserole Tomato Mozzarela Baking Dish 10x13 Frame look? Shown here, just a couple of the many artsy possibilities available.

As you scroll through the various options you’ll see designs dedicated to herbs & spices, fruits & vegetables, casseroles & ethnic foods, coffee & tea, beer & wine, dishes & utensils, chefs 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"& kitchenware, collages & sayings.

For friends who like to cook, or are just food-a-philes, this could be a nice housewarming gift. Or any occasion gift.

Some are already framed. Others await your special touch. Saw several at $9.99.

All on Amazon    Spice poster    Casserole poster    Top rated food posters

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page


If you like melty cheese dishes, this could be the cookbook for you 

Although our featured prep is quite spicy, most of what is delivered to the plate is kind to the palate in the “Hot & Cheesy” cookbook. All in 390 pages by James Beard winning Clifford A Wright.

So what will you find? Meat & vegetable creations, pizza & pasta, sandwiches & crepes, rice & egg preps, sauces & dips, and both sweet & savory pastries.

In addition to such cheesy choices as hot crab dip, bacon-onion rolls, pork chops stuffed with pecans and bleu cheese, chicken grilled with ham & cheese, there are ethnic classics including saganaki, raclette, queso fundido and fondues. Great tips too for selecting, measuring, cooking, serving and storage.

Our Feature, Spaghetti with Fresh Chiles, is not only tasty but pretty as well {but OK, maybe not a cardiologist’s fave}. After a bit of chopping involved, brief cooking, it’s smooth sailing to the table. A nice counterpoint, salad with cucumbers.

Recipe  ♦  “Hot & Cheesy” cookbook    Other Wright cookbooks

♦  TIP  

Keeping the cheese

If your household is like mine, cheese doesn’t stay around very long. But on those occasions when maybe you bought a larger size, or perhaps have a lot of different kinds, you sure don’t want any of it to go bad. After trying different methods, this is what I’ve found works best . . .

Leave it in the store package, which you’ve cut along the top on three sides. After each use tuck the wrapper tightly around on all sides, and then place it in a zip bag, wrapping that tightly around after squeezing out as much air as possible.

Btw, this cheese tip is one of the 50 food and kitchen tricks in my kindle book on Amazon – 99 cents.

“50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks”


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Just started looking through Stewart’s new book, “The Martha Manual.” As the title promises this big tome is chock full of techniques for life’s necessities – cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry – and then some of the more creative aspects – decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining and yep cooking. We’ll look at that latter section soon and share in an upcoming Salon.

  Stew instead? In our Feb 15 Salon we featured Irish potato cakes, on a page that filled in the rest of the meal with roast chicken, sides, brown bread & dessert. But the same source, Irish Central, not surprisingly also offers us a prep for Irish beef stew, enriched with Guinness. Thinking that the brown bread would be a great accompaniment for this hearty dish. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  Took baby steps this week on the way to finally learning to use a mandolin. Pray for my fingers.

So far next week: Guinness stew, “jolly chicken,” fave tequila, foodie fiction, and I’ll rye if I want to 

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

Any transactions are solely between the direct buyer and direct seller

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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



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


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


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.


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. ”


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



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.


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