Watermelon/Chocolate Dessert Board, June 18 – June 24, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – How about dessert and an after dinner drink {sort of} all in one. Food Network Magazine recently featured three cupcakes that mimic the flavor of, respectively, a Negroni, Old Fashioned, and Moscow Mule. The cupcakes themselves don’t actually have any alcohol, but two of the frostings sneak in a bit of spirit, though alternatives are provided. Scroll down to the dessert section on their May 2021 Recipe Index page for the scoop.        Sheet pan preps likely aren’t going away any time soon and that’s a good thing, easy cooking, easy clean-up. Ree Drummond has given us a real bonanza with 50 sheet pan dinners, offering up such goodies as Spicy peanut chicken & broccoli, Quesadillas, Crispy cheddar pork chops, Fish & chips, Shrimp Boil, Chicken & dressing, plus fajitas, sandwiches, ethnic specialties . . .  and the harissa chicken shown {sweets instead of eggplant}.

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Shopping Finds – A gift of bread brought back a memory of an utterly charming novel I read some time ago. Set in small town Midwest, it tells the tale of three strangers that become bonded over each one’s special circumstances, along with a cast of supporting neighbors that bring the ups and downs into full colorful context. In Friendship Bread that baked good plays many roles – consoling gift, conversation piece, source of discontent, metaphor and so much more that in total make it the star of the show. Secondary billing goes to the tea salon that serves as story central.       If you likey spicy, may I suggest Mrs Refro’s salsas that you should be able to find in your market. One caveat – did not particularly care for her queso, but everything else is boffo.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – And it’s brand NEW. It’s our take on a popular saying that we’ve re-worded especially for all of us wine lovers. “Yay!!! It’s Wine o’clock” No matter what that other clock says. Have it on a tee or a mug, choice of styles and colors. Find both linked on our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

📢  NEWS  📢

CS-ers, what’s better, one recipe or up to a half dozen recipes??? If you chose the latter, hooray!!!

Starting next week the Featured Recipe will become Featured Recipes. We’ll select some of the easiest and tastiest preps from tv, magazines, and the ‘net and link them right here with quick descriptions. 

And whenever I make one of the dishes I’ll add a personal note for you about the results. Happy cooking!

Meanwhile here’s this week’s Featured Recipe
Water Melon and Chocolate Dessert Tray – two faves, and more
 Thank you Watermelon Board for this beautiful medley. where refreshing melon, three ways, cozies up to dark chocolate, plus berries & cherries, nuts and coconut. The absolute perfect finish to a lovely summer evening. The prep for this dish is pretty much self-explanatory, but for the full roster of the Board’s other colorful and refreshing recipes, you can click the link below.

Watermelon and Chocolate Dessert Board

Watermelon Board Recipe Page

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make cheesy baked tortellini? Here she sends up a 4 1/2 star prep from famed Italian chef Giada. Yay, the prep starts with store-bought cheese tortellini, then ups the cheese ante with marscapone, parm, and smoked mozzarella. On the Food Network site.

Alexa says request: How do I make brown sugar cheesecake? So, among the options is one that’s actually a step up from the inquiry, showing us Peach Brown Sugar Cheesecake. It’s for the slow cooker, but wondered if this fabo flavor combo could emerge as an oven baked version. We just might be trying that. Also from Food Network.

My request: How do I make a Sleeping rice bear egg blanket? Well this certainly piqued my curiosity. If I may be permitted an edit, more accurately I would call it A Sleeping Brown Bear Cub Made of Rice with a Blanket Made of Eggs. It’s from Tasty and there is a demo. Even if you never plan to make it, please, please, take a look. It is so creative and beyond adorable.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   Irish Central suggests these dishes to accompany, what else, Guinness! And it takes just a wee look into the recipes to see that the beer merrily joins in with the ingredients too. I’m thinking their burger, zingy with Tabasco and wooster, could be quartered into some mighty fine snacks.

   Do these wines have more flight miles than you do? Truth be told, we don’t know if they’re from onboard or cupboard, but what we do know is that the new At-Home Wine Experience from American Airlines lets you have bottles that “represent unique regions and flavors from prestigious vineyards around the world” show up right on your doorstep. The page shows many price reductions.

   I saw this fun idea in Food Network magazine, where a variety of snacks are tucked into small jars to make individual servings. They called it “Jarcuterie,” and when I went onto google to see if I could find a link to the article to post here for you {didn’t} I discovered all kinds of folks are into this, and you can see lots of variations at the google link. It’s another way to have personal servings rather than communal dishes on a snack table, as are the Bento Boxes we featured in our 05.14.21 Salon.

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

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CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to my only affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

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Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread, Oct 18-Oct 24, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, the information panel below will show any link destinations not identified in the text

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

  TIDBITS – bread-keeping / quark unmasked / food show returns   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – lovely book    FEATURED RECIPE – perfect for fall    TIP – look out ‘fridge   THE WEEK – nachos > burritos / Catalan-style spinach / dinner metric 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Bread lovers, rejoice. So sad when we open the package in the pantry or fridge and find hockey pucks, a touch of green {or white}, or a soggy mess. Leave it to Food & Wine to clue us on how to avoid all that with “5 Secrets to Storing Bread {and making it last longer.” Thanks!

  Quark? Hmmm?? Isn’t that something out of particle physics??? Not for folks who love trying new things in the kitchen. Turns out in our realm it’s a dairy product, sort of a hybrid between cheese and yogurt, that you can make yourself. The surprising thing, given the prep procedure, is how the taste is described. See that and uses too in this article about Quark by MyRecipes.

  It’s one of the most popular cooking shows on PBS and it returns to our living rooms Oct 19. It’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals,” a treasure trove of home cooking, with quick preps for busy families. Watch for actual home cooks showing us regional fare from Mississippi, Miami and Key West. As they say, check your local listings – mine say 12:30 pm.


What a sweetheart of a novel

Welcome to the town of Avalon where it doesn’t take long for the reader to feel like a visitor or maybe even a resident. That’s in great part thanks to author Darien Gee’s talents at establishing a sense of place, and even more theFriendship Bread: A Novel deft introduction of main characters and secondary players in such a way that they retain clear identities rather than dissolving into a blur.

But the book’s title, “Friendship Bread” telegraphs the real star of the show. Throughout, the starter and loaves work their way into these lives variously taking on the roles of nourishment for the body, an elementary school hit, a conversation opener, coin of the realm, a source of humor, a community organizer, the inspiration for both “thank yous” and “Oh nos!” – even the cause of panic in the streets and the underpinning for a mission of mercy.

We follow the bread all the way to the story’s satisfying conclusion. And then there’s . . .  recipes!

The bread, the people, the situations both social and serious often center around the town’s tea shoppe. Feel free to pull up a chair.

“Friendship Bread”    Gee’s other books in Avalon


Just, yum 

I’ve come upon this site before and always found it so interesting. Called Wishes & Dishes, it’s chock full of great looking recipes, starting right with the homepage. In fact, not sure I’ll be able to resist the banana bread brownies with chocolate peanut butter ganache. Also party tips, holiday specialties, and the eclectic Wishes section.

And here, they bring us Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread, so moist and flavorful, a sweet treat for breakfast, snack or dessert. As it says in the intro: “Forget the pie crust and get all the flavors of fall . . .”

Quite easy too. After chopping the apple it’s pretty much just measure, mix, and wait while it bakes. Maybe a quirk of my oven or altitude, after max baking time the center still wasn’t totally set though the edges were. So, I just shut off the oven, left the bread in there for another 25 minutes, and then all good . . . really good.

Btw, there’s a demo on the page which can be helpful but doesn’t include any amounts. When you scroll down you’ll come across a button to Get Recipe – maybe it’s just my unfortunate relationship with electronics but this took me somewhere into the cyber hinterlands.

But . . . if you just keep scrolling on the original page – eureka! – there’s the recipe. After the ingredients you’ll see an arrow. Just scroll right past that into the directions. Then the fun begins! Thanks W&D!

Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread recipe    Wishes & Dishes  


I say All-in, you say . . .

So, we’ve seen a few all-in dishes in past Salons, bread pudding, chocolate pie, stew. And there are very likely more to come because this kind of thing is a great way to use up odd and ends rather than waste them.

It was interesting then to discover a similar phenom in an older version of Better Homes & Gardens. It was part of various strategies for “a better dinner tonight.”

They called one of the suggestions “Clean out the fridge,” and in this particular case the destination was a curry. Into coconut milk base went chicken, veggies, Thai green curry paste and lemons.

But, heck, you could start out with fridge cleaning and end up with soup, salad, burritos, pasta, quiche, “Dagwood” sandwiches, gumbo, paella . . . and whatever else could emerge from the lively imagination of all you creative CS-ers.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  As a follow-up to our Tip above, some weeks back I made burritos with a cousin of this technique. A place nearby makes these fabulous nachos with shredded beef, cheese, black olives, onions, peppers, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on, oh yeah, french fries. After rescuing the fries, I wrapped all the leftover toppings in tortillas and froze the burritos for future enjoyment.

  I have a side dish to share with you, and the fact it is so good is far from a surprise since it’s the creation of flavor master JoséAndrés. It’s his Catalan-Style Spinach and while I’m as big a fan as anyone of the pure taste of lightlyVegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook cooked fresh spinach, this one takes the veggie into a whole new incredibly rich dimension. I first came across the prep in the chef’s “Vegetables Unleashed” cookbook, and it differs just a bit from the one linked here. If you want the best of both recipes, add a chopped shallot or comparable amount of onion, and mixed nuts instead of just pine nuts {I used slivered almonds and halved pecans}, and mixed dried fruits instead of just raisins {I used raisins and chopped dates}. Wondering with a bit of chicken if it couldn’t transform into an entree.

  Here’s one way you know you’re in the presence of a really, really, good dinner, whether at your home table, a host’s table, or a restaurant table. You realize you’re reaching capacity, and you’re just going to have to forego something on that beautiful plate. But what??? There are just no viable candidates. Do I have a solution? Nope. My job here was just verifying that you have had the good fortune to be face to plate with this kind of memorable dinner. Yes, thank you, I did have one such experience this very week.

So far next week: bacon and egg breakfast enchiladas, marshmallow equivalents, bake a cake like Buddy, Jose Andres quote, Watergate Salad, pizza plus

Last week, just below:  cola & peanuts meet in the bottle {yep}, best rotisserie chicken, keeping ‘shrooms fresh, whole book of grilled cheese mania, caterer to the star’s chocolate cake from mix – good/ rich/ easy, cuss-free wrapping, jammy eggs, fun & spooky food, savory salteñas 

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

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Photo credits – books/Amazon, food array/Acabashi on Wikimedia Commons, bread/mine

Link sources – Sara’s Weeknight Dinner/Sara Moulton, Catalan-style spinach/Jose Andres, all books/Amazon

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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