Make our own German Chocolate Brownies, June 4-June 10, 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 – Kudos to restaurants that tell us how to make their signature dishes. In this case it’s  IKEA’s Swedish meatball recipe or, as they call it in this Southern Living piece, an “at home alternative.” And yep, the cream sauce prep is there too.      If you made extra of the Mexican Bean Dip {05.21.21 Salon} and have leftovers, yowza you’re on your way to a super flavorful bean soup. I added beef bouillon and taco sauce, then on with the toppings – sour cream, avocado, bacon, cheddar, then cilantro over all. Yum.      Who doesn’t want to get ahead of the game? Look how we can do just that. 40+ Freezer Recipes To Make Ahead and Reheat Easily. Good stuff too, think Smoked pork stuffed shells, Green chile chicken stew, Tamale pie mix-up, Tex-Mex meatballs in red chile sauce, Buffalo chicken casserole, more.

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Shopping Finds – After coming across that Oreo birthday gift that we had featured {04.23.21 Salon}, wondered if Amazon may have other nice gift packs for birthday celebrations. Yep, at the link.        So, I recently saw a passing reference to the nutritional benefits of dried fruits – in addition to being quite tasty – so googled and found interesting nutritional information. Then thinking, maybe Amazon has dried fruit gifts too. And again, yep.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – With June weddings here, definitely time to think about bride gifts. One with a whimsical touch is our pretty, flowery “Just Married” tee. For the honeymoon trip, to relax into the day after the ceremony, or just to say, “We did it!” On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – German Chocolate Brownies, several ways to get there

So, in last week’s Salon we featured German Chocolate Brownies available from goldbelly. And yikes they look good, but we do have ways to make our own, even if they aren’t quite the same showpieces.

Let’s start with the 5-star recipe from Taste of Home linked below. A classic brownie recipe, though using German sweet chocolate. And the classic pecan and coconut topping that we associate with German Chocolate cake. Likely worth every one of its stars.

But, I had some of the wonderfully dense, chewy brownies left over from our chocolate malt version {04.30.21 Salon}. And as a big fan of time saved if quality’s preserved, I made the ToH frosting and right onto the ready and waiting brownies {shown, right}. This frosting, btw, could easily become your sweet tooth’s bff.

No naked brownies in your freezer? If there’s a mix you like, that can certainly be a worthy shortcut. Or, for an even “shorter cut,” if your market’s bakery has brownies with just powdered sugar, snap ’em up, and lay down the frosting.

The cookbook shown here is just one from the many featured at the link below, but just look at that cover. You almost want to put it on a plate and get a fork. Have to wonder if that brownie on top was meant to be that way or if someone at the photo session lost control.

Recipe Notes – Instead of broiling the topped brownies I nuked the frosting for about 45 seconds. I also made an alternate version of the frosting for folks who need to avoid nuts, substituting chocolate chips instea}, and given the extra sweetness cut the sugar to 1/3 cup. Great with ice cream!

Next week – Bloody Mary Bean Chili

Taste of Home Recipe    Brownie Cookbooks, 4 stars & up

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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 pineapple vanilla skillet cake? Yay, two great flavors come together here and then they welcome in fresh orange and honey to create a treat that juicy underneath, crackly on top. All in an easy, easy prep. And even better, it’s oven-free. Btw if your market doesn’t carry self rising cake flour, you can find it on Amazon.

Alexa says request: How do I make ham & cheese pull apart garlic bread? Every part of this title says, gimme the recipe! And here it is. From Tasty. Easy start with ready to use pizza dough. Perfect for brunch.

My request: Do you have recipes for cookie pops? I requested this general category in search of cheesecake cookie pops I’d seen somewhere. They didn’t appear but what did could not be more appropriate for the three upcoming national holidays, and with the bonus of one of America’s favorite cookies. Red, White & Blue Oreo Cookie Pops! From Food Network.

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

   What kind of snack table doesn’t “go nuts”??? Make sure yours isn’t one of them with this amped up version. The Spiced Pecans prep from Tastemade wrangles sweet from sugar, heat from cayenne, and a touch of exotic with cinnamon and ginger. Our own celeb chef Les Kincaid says these contrasting flavors are enhanced by a nice glass of rosé.

  Tastemade strikes again with a classic combo that in this incarnation can be breakfast, brunch, or . . . awesome addition to the snack table. Chicken & Waffle Bites! Prep some waffle mix, skewer the chicken, fire up the oil and before you know it you’re sprinkling powdered sugar and dunking in maple syrup.

   Food & Wine schools us on a whole new gin and its maybe unexpected provenance. The name is Sông Cái and the origin is Vietnam. So much makes it unique starting with the 14 local tribe-sourced botanicals in the mix, but maybe even moreso, the “culinary philosophy, which emphasizes a balance of ingredients deemed to have hot or cold energy.” There’s so much more to this story, including the fact that major cities in the country have become cocktail destinations.

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Easy, Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, Feb 19-Feb 25, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Carrots gone wild. Tasty and somewhat unexpected ways to use them up. Find salads, soup, smoothie, stir fry, fried rice, and desert bars in this story from Clean Plates. Also see a carrot prep & demo below in Alexa’s Room    Ha! another way to make oatmeal a bit more appealing. Thanks to MyRecipes for Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, further elevated with bananas, peanuts and honey. Btw, that same post also suggests toasting and stirring the oats for a couple of minutes over low heat before adding the liquid.    Bring some south into your kitchen no matter where you live with these 25 Classic Southern Recipes from Southern Living.

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Shopping Finds – Have you seen these? So clever. Designed to look like Mason jars but actually reusable plastic bags that tuck neatly into freezer, fridge or pantry. Four sizes, three packages 30-50, 10.99 -20.29. Prime eligible, 4 1/2 stars, and an Amazon’s Choice. Dimensions are shown on the page.   The reviews for the brownies from Prepared Pantry’s mix glow right off the page. Their most recent newsletter features a recipe for using the Seriously Fudgy mix to make pretty brownie cake pops. You’ll also find other flavors such as thick & chewy, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate chip blondies.

This week’s featured CS Kindle on Amazon – good for students, other writers, too! On Kindle, read it today, use it tomorrow. “Be a Better Business Writer in Nine Easy Steps”. You can also view this book, and others, and other items here on CS in BJN’s Eclectic Mall.

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Kitchen Talk – Finding fun ways to play with the gold and silver decorating sugar I originally bought for the tie dye cookies featured in our 02.05.21 Salon. Striped both on a homemade banana donut, just gold on a chocolate filled pastry, a combo on buttered carrots, and just silver on my fave sundae, chocolate ice cream with marshmallow topping. One thing, how much the sugar sparkles depends on how much light is on it.    More fun. Blood oranges, which I’ve long heard of but just recently had in my kitchen. You slice through the darkish peel to find juicy, crimson fruit waiting inside. Expect a nice balance of sweet and tart {and also red drops on your hands}. Squeeze into water, add ice, and you’ll have an “ade” that looks sort of exotic.    Still playing with making my own marshmallow topping.

   On the Table   

Feature – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars

So, the Pillsbury refrigerated dough I used for the tie dye cookies mentioned above in Kitchen Talk made such good cookies I decided to take another look at their site for other recipes based on this dough. And just look what I found!

After the ready to go dough there are just a half dozen ingredients. And four steps.

Four of those ingredients add up to an elevation. Store-bought caramel sauce is kicked up with more butter and brown sugar and, somewhat unexpectedly, graham cracker crumbs. Interesting!

It rates 4 stars and the comments delivered rave reviews. One tip therein, two of the cooks said they lined the pan with parchment paper.

The top of my to-make list is getting pretty crowded but this has to go there. Will report the results in a future Kitchen Talk.

{Photo from Pillsbury site}

Next week – Aunty Peggy’s Ham & Beef Tavern Chili, a storied dish

Recipe  ♦  Pillsbury recipe pages    Pillsbury cookbooks on Amazon

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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 caramelized banana peanut butter cheesecake? Are those all the right words, or what??? Prep for a large rich cheesecake meets up with a cup of creamy peanut butter, destined for a graham cracker crust. Then . . . it’s topped with sliced bananas that have been glazed with a creamy, buttery caramel sauce. And guess what? No bake! We can say our thanks for this recipe, once again, to Tasty.

Alexa displays: Show me this recipe. This option appears with every recipe that pops up on the screen. You can also just request it by name later – the good news at that point is that other possibilities also come along for the ride. The bad news, however rare, can occur when the request includes a quite unfamiliar name that Alexa may not recognize.

This happened recently with Socca, though as always you can of course look it up on line. The other good news embedded here is the opportunity every now and then to learn about a new food. Btw, Socca?  Born in Genoa, popularized in Nice, it’s like a cross between a pancake and a pizza, topped at will a la the latter. Here’s what I found on google and the first prep shown is the same one that had been shown by Alexa.

Alexa says request: How do I make roasted carrots with pistachio pesto? We previously posted a darn good recipe for roasted carrots in our 06.12.20 Salon. No harm though in taking a look at how it’s done in this demo. But what was really intriguing in this offering from Epicurious was the pistachio pesto, which interestingly takes a “nose to tail” approach to the carrots. Also wondering how it might work to just sub pistachios for whatever nuts you now use in a classic pesto prep.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play the song quiz

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, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

♦  Molly Yeh of “Girl Meets Farm” on Food Network brings us a substantial happy hour treat. It starts with a multi-flavored Bloody Mary and ends with a multi snack. Anchoring the latter is a mini reuben sandwich on a stick that also holds a cornichon, the whole shebang then cozying up to the required celery stalk. Btw, one of the ingredients in the cocktail is caraway which bridges nicely to the rye bread in the reuben. And, it seems Yeh has a broad definition of happy hour, telling us, “Bloody Marys wake you up in a way coffee wishes it could.”   

  This taste-intensive Tex-Mex dip for the cocktail hour from Las Vegas celeb chef Les Kincaid – “Combine over lo-med heat until cheese melts, 1 lb Velveeta cubed, 8 oz jar cheese spread, 1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, 1 bunch green onions sliced and 4 oz chopped green chiles – serve with chips and an assortment of veggies.” It’s quite amazing how so few ingredients, simply stirred together, can create such big flavor.

   We previously talked about martini variations – not the kind of drinks that bear no resemblance to the classic cocktail but adopt that name because they are served in a martini glass. But rather the requisite gin or vodka and vermouth, with the variations being usually just a single add-in, as in our previous references to the “dirty” one with olive juice or my fave with jalapeno or other hot pepper juice. Meanwhile there’s been a low level trend of a few years now of adding pickle juice to adult beverages. Tried it in a tini. Nope.

   While advice may not always be appreciated, this example might be welcome. “7 Best Cocktails to Drink While Cooking Weeknight Dinners.” Now if you’re wondering what makes these  sips different from others, here’s what the folks at Food & Wine say: “There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day. There’s something even more therapeutic about cooking dinner after a long day with a drink in your hand. Skip the martini— what you need is something quick, refreshing and relatively low proof so you’ll still be coherent by the time supper is ready.” {btw, the martini link takes you to F&W’s prep}

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

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

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

                       

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Celebrate Prime Rib Day . . . with Prime Rib, for April 13-19, 2018

  In the Salon this week  

Cooking questions, cooking answers, cooking tips    Faking the pastry    Meet Lidia Bastianich in person    “Tee Party”    Perfect prime rib    Smashing garlic    Re-purposing fudge frosting, fudge sauce, cherry tomatoes {no, not in the same dish!}

  Tidbits 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Cooking questions? Cook’s Illustrated may well have the answers in their book published a fewKitchen Smarts: Questions and Answers to Boost Your Cooking IQ months ago, “Kitchen Smarts”: “packs together hundreds of definitive, researched, kitchen-tested answers to questions large and small, common and bizarre.” It follows their “Kitchen Hacks”50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks of a few years earlier, also on the same Amazon page. Then there’s also my “50 Fun & Unexpected Food Prep, Presentation & Storage Tricks.”

Theirs has a lot more than mine but also costs more than mine, though offering some nice discounts. Both of theirs on Kindle and paperback, mine on Kindle at 99 cents. We all earn 4 1/2 stars. Btw, you can also email me Qs at any time and I will do my best to bring you answers.    Smarts   My “50,” 99 cents

  Well when you see a subject line that says, “How to Trick Anyone Into Thinking You’re a Pastry Pro,” you sort of have to go to the site and read the story. I did. You can too. Right here

  Want  to meet Lidia Bastianich? The restaurateur, cookbook author and tv star is currently hitting cities from coast to coast to introduce her new book, “My American Dream,” a “heartwarming, emotional and revelatory memoir.”  You can connect with her in the selected venues now through May 11.  Lidia’s Tour Schedule   “My American Dream” on Amazon

  CS Marketplace Spotlight

Party like a kitchen star

This fun t-shirt embodies favorite party elements, balloons, streamers, confetti, and spirited beverages. Colorful too!

Other colors available, men’s & women’s, many sizes.

Tees, sweats, hoodies – hats too.

A’ll crafted at Michigan company SunFrog.

Party Party Party shirts    Hats    CS Marketplace

  Featured Recipe  

Friday, April 27 is Prime Rib Day!

Celebrate in your own kitchen or out at a great steakhouse. If you happen to be in Las Vegas . . . may we suggest Oscar’s inside the iconic glass dome of the Plaza Hotel downtown. It’s bone-in right from the carving station and will sit alongside the steakhouse classics, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and Yorkshire pudding. $40 p/p

What, you’d rather do it yourself? Are you in luck because we have right here a boffo prep from Las Vegas’ own celebrity chef, also cookbook author and cooking instructor, Les Kincaid. And, here ’tis . . .

Perfect Prime Rib from Les Kincaid

Serves 6-8

 1 (4-pound) bone-in standing rib roast

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
For jus

2 cups beef broth

1 small fresh rosemary sprig

1 small fresh thyme sprig

1 garlic clove, smashed

 Preheat oven 360 degrees F.

One hour before you plan to cook, take the roast out of the refrigerator. Season the roast on all sides liberally with salt and pepper. Don’t add water to the pan, and don’t cover it!

In a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, tarragon and rosemary and mix well. Spread the herb butter all over the roast, applying the heaviest layer to the fat cap.

Place the roast, fat side up, in a roasting pan and cook for about 2 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature deep in the center of 125 degrees F for medium-rare.

Transfer the roast to a platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes. Cut the meat away from the bones and slice the roast thickly or thinly against the grain as desired. Separate the leftover beef rib bones and serve them along with the meat.
Make jus:

Skim fat from pan juices. Add broth, rosemary, thyme, and garlic and deglaze pan by simmering on top of stove over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Transfer to a small saucepan and add any juices that have collected on platter. Gently simmer 10 minutes. Skim fat and season jus with salt and pepper.

NOTES {from Les}: To make the best prime rib:

A thermometer is the absolute best way to guarantee the roast turns out exactly the way you want it. For an accurate reading, push the thermometer into the middle of the roast, making sure the tip is not touching fat or bone (or the pan).

Medium Rare = 130-140 degrees F
Medium = 145-155 dfegrees F

Remember that the roast’s temperature will rise at least 5 degrees after you remove it from the oven.

Allow the roast stand for 15 or 20 minutes before carving to let the juices return to the center.
Also, allow at least 6 ounces of cooked, trimmed meat per adult. A boneless roast will give you about two servings per pound, and a bone-in roast will give you one to one-and-a-half servings.

Les Kincaid’s website

  Tip  

Truth be told, prepping garlic can be a pain in assorted parts of the anatomy. Thanks to the late, funny, and much missed Mr. Food, the process actually can be painless. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half and place cut side down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

In addition to not having the pieces stick to everything in sight, there’s the added bonus that you can so easily create whatever result you want. Stop when the pieces are coarse, or continue to make them finer, or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss.

A Peek at My Week

  As I’m sure you all know, leftovers tease our creativity . So true in a recent pancake venture, said ‘cakes coming out of the freezer because I’m about to experiment with a new recipe {if good, you’ll “hear” it here}. Hmmm, some pears that need to be used up could be good toppers. What else. Hey {however rare} leftover fudge frosting. It went like this, melt a chunk of butter, pour in some maple syrup, stir in a good dollop of frosting till blended and hot, add the diced pears and cook till heated through, plop on. Mmm mmm.

  Leftover leftovers? Well as it turned out, didn’t need all the syrup for the pears so stirred in some hot sauce, peanut butter, and a bit of dissolved beef bouillon. Voila! Impromptu {OK,  totally non-authentic, but really good nonetheless} mole! And that will go on tonight’s bean and cheese burritos.

  Those who regularly check in here know we HATE to waste food. So when I recently spied some cherry tomatoes going crepe-y, grabbed a small skillet and the olive oil. Heated that up and tossed smashed garlic, salted a bit, till fragrant, oh just a minute or two, then in with the ‘mators and a good glug of hot sauce. Cooked until a lot of the juice evaporated, then piled atop quartered avocado. Yeah it was good! Proportions to your taste of course, but I used five smallish garlic cloves for 8 tomato-ettes.

  Posted Oprah’s Book Club pick on my Nice Life Books site– Thursdays

♦  Posted  The Daily’s “Countdown of 10 Cutest Puppies – on YouTube”  link on my DoggieShirtz site – Thursdays

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

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