Pour a cup – Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, May 14-May 20, 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 – Feeling old school? Dip into these 17 Nostalgic Recipes to Bring Back in 2021 from MyRecipes. Casserole it, stuff it, or just “go big with meat and potatoes.” {also see Cocktail Hour Buzz below for vintage appetizers}       Or update a long time classic in a sweet and tasty way. These French Toast Bars from FoodTalkDaily take the flavors of the breakfast treat and transform them into a kind of blondie brownie. Given the cream cheese swirl it’s almost like a stuffed version.        Make it tasty, not waste-y. This can help. Look what you can make with leftover mashed potatoes! from Prepared Pantry, the source of some of the best baking mixes, aka top notch shortcuts. You’ll find biscuits, mashed potato salads, and omelets and when you scroll down on any of the pages there are even more possibilities which is how I cam across these super stuffed spuds.

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Shopping Finds – If you like to bake but time is not on your side, Prepared Pantry mentioned above can be your cavalry. Way too many products to list here, but all the major categories are represented – breads, breakfast goods, desserts, along with such accessories as syrups, jams and sauces. And pretty much every week there are tips, recipes, specials and even sometimes free stuff.        Still working on that get-organized resolution for this year? These counter organizers make it pretty easy, and I really like the wire rack ones especially those that have the little front walls so everything is secure yet visible. The link takes you to just those rated 4 stars and up on Amazon.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Will there ever be a time when we can stop having to send this message to our legislators? In the meantime, we have five items with variations that let you display that message, “Make America Decent Again,” or literally send to your representatives. Find all choices on our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Cherry Cream Cheese Coffeecake, so good

I actually made this once before so already knew it was going to be something wonderful. Even though in that previous incarnation I had substituted apricot filling for cherry.

The thing is this dough is a buttery marvel. So when you add a cream cheese layer and a fruity topping it’s destined to be a winner.

As you can see, I used a rectangular pan instead of the springform, though certainly the prescribed pan should work just fine. I did line it with parchment paper {see more about this in Notes}

One other nice thing, it can slip into dessert mode just as is. Of course a side of ice cream can’t hurt.

And as good as it is, I do have a tweak in mind the reprises the apricot filling. You’ll be among the first to know if it does turn out share-worthy.

Recipe Notes – The recipe has been in my files for quite a while, and with no attribution, so please let me know if any of you folks might know the source    I used vanilla instead of almond extract    In my oven was done in 50 min    You really do want to let it cool completely before removing it from the pan

  Some time back we suggested one way to work with inherently uncooperative parchment paper was to put it in the pan curl up and then start plopping whatever is going in to push it into the corners. We since passed along a tip about crumpling up the paper and then smoothing it into the pan. Cooks Illustrated recently offered their take that involved a few drops of water spread in the pan before adding the parchment. That worked pretty good too but I think the crumpling worked best.

Next week – Mexi Bean Dip, and 4 surprising things about it.

Recipe  ♦  Coffee Cake cookbooks, 4 stars and 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 a Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake? The ingredients for the most part are telegraphed in the title. But then along comes something else to add a blast of sweetness and creaminess. See what it is in this prep from SideChef.

Alexa says request: How do I make ravioli alfredo with artichokes? Food Network’s version starts with store-bought mushroom ravioli and frozen artichoke hearts. The sauce is rich with butter, wine, cream, Parm and shallots, plus nutmeg and tarragon, with the final dish given another vibe with the colorful addition of peas. Go here for the recipe.

Alexa says request: How do I make bacon pork chops? Oh my, oh my, look what came up. Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Chive Stuffed Pork Chops! Once you have all the good stuff in the title not much more is needed except the garlic salt, pepper and parsley. Good ol’ AllRecipes gives us this 4-star prep.

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

   Well this is inviting. 25 Bottles of Wine to Drink to Become a Wine Expert. Now one thing they say is of course you don’t have to buy them all at once. But more to the point of the title, and calling it like a game, “Follow the path in order. Each bottle leads to the next. You accumulate experience. But instead of retiring at the end, you wind up with a bunch of wine smarts and the rest of your days ahead of you. Not bad, right?” The Food & Wine slide show tells all.

   If for any number of reasons you don’t want to set up a table-ful of cocktail snacks how about this – Bento Boxes! While the original hides tasty treasures in little drawers, current commercial versions use compartmented trays. I found these 5-opening disposables with lids at Amazon, which also offers a selection of reusables. May, though, want to part from tradition and replace that rice with more finger food.

   Some time back a CS-er asked if we might know of some “other vintage snacks like the anchovy one you featured {from the Playboy Party Book, 10.30.20 Salon} to serve at a themed cocktail party.” And now what popped up in my mailbox from Southern Living? 35 Vintage Party Appetizers. Hey, maybe a themed Bento Box???

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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And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

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

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Easy Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie, Feb 12-Feb 18, 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 – Hello, bacon lovers! And rejoice as msn/lifestyle brings us these 10 most Creative Bacon Dishes from across the country. And I know all you clever CS-ers can replicate these bacony foods and beverages right in your own kitchens.     As far as we can tell, these foodfests are still scheduled in these locales for this year. South Beach, May 20-23.  Aspen, Sept 10-12. Austin, Nov 5-7.  Food + Funny. On Feb 17 PBS/Create is teaming chef Curtis Stone and chef/comic Alex Thomopoulos for a “Moveable Feast” through Australia.

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Shopping Finds – So, we’ve already seen ice cream for dogs. But here’s what’s new – ice cream for dogs from Ben & Jerry’s    In Amazon’s Hot New Releases, and “hot” applies doubly here – Mott’s Hot Apple Cider Keurig pods.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item  If we thought the new year would see high fives across the aisle and a bipartisan chorus of kumbaya in govs in DC and beyond . . . nope! Let’s flash this message everywhere we can.  See all 5 “Decent” items on our Eclectic Mall page.

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Kitchen Talk – Here’s one of those magnetic headlines I came across from MyRecipes. Why Snack Dinner is the Best Thing You Can Make for Yourself Tonight”  Wow, there are some fine looking assemblies here. But shown is the plate we featured from our cheese board in the 01.22.21 Salon and to the article’s point, it sure did add up to dinner.   So, had a lot of Genoa salami hanging around and decided to put it in the food processor with the other ingredients that would typically go into ham salad {including peanuts, love peanuts in ham salad}. Turned out good. But, duh, now had even more leftovers. Hmmm. After using some for sandwiches, mixed the rest with egg and bread crumbs, browned in a skillet, and then I had something I could freeze. Some has already come back out to join eggs and salad for a boffo brunch.    When you’re making chili, e.g., do you brown the meat trimmings and add veggies to make a stock? Me too. Then usually strained, defatted and made it into gravy. But recently instead added into the chili. Turned out to be a tasty idea.

   On the Table 

Feature – Cheesy Bacon-Tater Tot Pie

For being so simple, this savory treat from Food Network is a supremely satisfying dish. Tater tots, which are already somewhat seasoned, make a tasty base for an easy combo of cheddar and bacon, later joined by sauce and chives.

You know what’s a big bonus? That sauce! And as a double down, you’re likely to have some left over to kick up other preps you creative CS-ers can imagine.

One thing, looking at FN’s rendition {link below} the light color of the sauce makes me think they pulled back on the Sriracha. Depending on your heat tolerance, might want to taste as you mix.

And an egg good is so good on here. But just take a look and you can see how it’s sort of a natural playmate for these particular ingredients.

And with eggs, what a great centerpiece for brunch, especially joined by guac, tomatoes and olives. But you sure don’t have to wait for Sunday.

Recipe Notes – After the tater tots are baked, the assembled dish needs to bake for only about 5 minutes.

Substitutions if needed – Thinly sliced green onion tops can stand in nicely for chives. Also, you could certainly consider other cheeses or a combo.

Next week – Ooey Gooey Turtle Bars, starting with store-bought cookie dough

Recipe  ♦  Tater Tot cookbooks on Amazon

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 No-churn Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream? Oh my, with a title like that about all we need to do is add this recipe link. Maybe just note that both the peppermint and the chocolate make more than one appearance. From Food Network. Really sounds good.

Alexa says request: How do I make Mexican Cornbread Salad? This is nice, something like a 7-layer salad but as the title suggests with a decided south of the border accent. Colorful too! See it here from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: Play the cookie dough secret video  Well, this couldn’t be easier. Chill the dough – 30 min in the fridge or 15 in the freezer. It says the fat will melt more slowly in the oven and thus help prevent overspreading. As a bonus chilled dough is easier to handle, and sturdier for cut-out cookies. Left it in too long? Just let the bowl sit on the counter until the dough softens a bit.

And this week’s unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – play sleep and meditation sounds

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

  CS Tasting Panel member Debbie Vinson gives five stars to a recipe she passed along for a sambal sauce to be drizzled on cod, but as she and I noted it could be equally good on other fish, maybe even chicken. I’ve since made this sauce, and btw did use it on cod, and my palate and I 100% agree with her rating – sweet and spicy, tangy and tasty. You can see it right here on parade.com.

   How fun would this be for a sweet finish to cocktail hour? A cousin to last week’s tie dye cookies but this time it’s candy all the way as once again Trisha Yearwood shows us how to play with our food. White chocolate meets pastel wafers to create bark that’s an edible work of art. Melt x 5, spread, drizzle, swirl, then chill {both you and the confection}. Done!

   A pop quiz – when are ice cubes not cubes? When they’re spheres or hexagons or sticks. Or opt for classic cube shape but tiny or HUGE. Many trays are made of silicone or other easy release material and some come with lids. All right here on this Amazon page.

   Here’s a whole bunch of stuff we love tucked into one book. It’s Susan Spungen’s new work, “Open Kitchen,” a place, her site says, to “welcome company and enjoy togetherness.” It goes on to describe her entertaining approach as a “‘get-ahead’ cooking philosophy that ensures streamlined, stress-free preparation, so you can spend more time opening your kitchen to new menus, flavors, and guests–effortlessly.” Kindle and hardcover on Amazon.

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 these affiliate partners

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

                       

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews  OR use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject=CooksSalon

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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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Chicken Pepperoni Parmesan, May 15-May 21, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

  COMFORT FOOD  

It’s like they had a crystal ball

Magazine articles are prepped many months in advance of publication. So check this out from Food & Wine for March: “The comfort of working from home is your one saving grace. Not only can you stay in pajamas all day and watch movies while sending emails, but you can also cook some seriously comforting food. Here, the 25 things you’ll definitely want to eat.

But here’s the thing. The first sentence actually was, “When it’s March and it’s blizzarding, times are truly bleak.  And the full final sentence was, Here, the 25 things you’ll definitely want to eat while snowed in.” While much of the country is likely not snowed in, some of the country is in, and comfort food is ever so welcome.

Our Featured Recipe comes from that list, which also has such tempters as bacon fried rice with avocado and fried eggs, cheesey nachos with fried eggs and giardiniera, meatloaf with red wine glaze, individual chicken pot pies, and pralinc brownies, 25 in all. View as a slide show or scroll down for the full list.

The chicken pepperoni parm is already a plate of flavor. But in fact I did add some Italian seasonings to the tomato sauce or you could certainly use a jarred marinara. I also sauteed the chicken in butter/olive oil instead of breading it. More good news – it all bakes on a sheet pan.

Next week: Chilaquilies, layers of flavor

Recipe   Food & Wine magazine F&W comfort food list 

  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES  

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

  Did you want mashed potatoes tonight, but no fresh taters, no flakes, none in the freezer? One other question – did you make the loaded baked potato soup we featured in our 04.24.20 Salon? If that one’s a Yes, do this. Put the frozen soup in a non stick skillet over low heat and when you can begin breaking it up and stirring it around. Keep stirring as it loses liquid and begins to thicken. Continue until it has the consistency you want. It will actually be more like whipped than mashed but will stand up to gravy. And, oh boy, the flavor!

  Take a can of beans. And then – wow – look what you can do. This pantry staple can be transformed into soups, stews, chili variations, salads, casseroles, skillet dinners, dips and ethnic treats. Some nicely spicy stuff too including the honey chipotle steak hot dip. And even goes sweet with bean spice cake, brownie truffle bites and chocolate fudge cookies. These treats on the Bush Beans recipe page can be searched by course, bean variety, recipe type and more. {Photo from Bush site}

  As with people food pantries, in some areas there are also pet food banks. And as with the people ones, tap into it if you need it, donate if you can. I didn’t find a central source for this kind of information, but you should be able to search for any that may be near you.

  “Produce Pool”? A funny photo circulating on the web shows one way to pass quarantine time – a guy is at his billiard sized kitchen table with what might be a cue stick taking aim at a tomato, ready to “break” a formation of limes. Pairs of bananas serve as the targets. Thanks, Peggy.

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

Tees, Sweats, Hoodies, Mugs, Hats, Buttons – nice 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 below starting at 04.10.20

 

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

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I’m associated with Amazon, Zazzle, and SunFrog, only

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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Rich and creamy {& famous} clam chowder, April 10-April 16, 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 – “easiest” asparagus / salsa=16 dinners / corona through food?    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – our fun new mugs / adda Mada    FEATURED RECIPE – trick it up    TIP – read & ready    THE WEEK – there’s good and there’s good / possible leftovers resource / play without fear

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What a great time for an asparagus recipe, just when the tender spears are becoming available. Even better, “This might be the easiest way to make asparagus.” It’s in a skillet, few ingredients, says 5 minutes.

  As promised in last week’s Salon, here is AllRecipe’s offer of “16 Easy Dinners to Make with a Jar of Salsa.” Note as with many of these slide shows you can also opt to just scroll down and see the full list. I think my list-topper is likely to be the Black Bean Breakfast Bowl, or wait, maybe the Cilantro Lime Garlic Sauteed Shrimp {D’s Taco Pizza?}.

Thinking we’d all like to know the answer to this. “Can You Contract Coronavirus Through Food?” MyRecipes takes our previous posts a step further with “Why you need to pay attention before, during, and after your supermarket visits {and home deliveries}.” Their information is sourced from the CDC and FDA.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Cheer up your morning {or any time} with a fun CS mug

Our own CS mug collection {five is a collection, right?} is now on its own page right here on the Salon site. More will come in the days ahead.The Mug With A Hoop

For now, you can raise a toast to chocolate, coffee, ice cream, and parties. And rounding out the lineup, one I just love . . . “In this house I’M the celebrity chef” – you too?

All of them are our own designs. But credit for the craftwork goes to CA-based Zazzle, home of many fine crafts.

The page also gives you links to other food-themed mugs on Zazzle plus on Amazon and SunFrog. Some are more cups than mugs, like the clever one shown here from Amazon. Images are clickable.

CS Fun Mug page    CS Marketplace Directory

NEW, our “Make America Decent Again” collection on Zazzle now includes a tee, hoodie. button, sweatshirt and mug – all right now on BJN’s Eclectic Mall page

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Make as is or use their own trick

In our 03.27.20 Salon we featured Todd Wilbur’s book, “Top Secret Recipes/Step by Step.” I had mentioned that among the preps landing on my to-make list was this very one from the famous Boston {etc} restaurant group, Legal Sea Food.

The amped up flavor is thanks to such ingredients as bacon, onions, garlic, and spices. I actually used bottled clam juice for the stock, and here’s one of two ‘fess-ups – canned clams, added at the end and gently heated so they stayed tender.

The second ‘fess up requires a detour, in fact to Boston. I’m long familiar with Legal Sea Foods given that it was a mandatory stop any time my husband and I were in town.

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step: Secret Formulas with Photos for Duplicating Your Favorite Famous Foods at HomeOne time while we were at the bar awaiting our table we had a pleasant conversation with the bartender. In the course of the chat we mentioned how we were all but addicted to their fish chowder.

Whether he should have told us or not, he did – the secret he said is a lot of Monterey jack cheese. The question was, is that true or not, but our fairly experienced taste buds thought it probably was and that’s what I’ve borrowed for the clam chowder in place of the flour and cornstarch, melting in till it was as thick as I wanted, and then the clams.

Btw, I learned something that’s reflected in the recipe link. Don’t know how many are in its “library,” but apparently Google posts entire books and that’s where the link will take you. If you’d rather have a real book in your hands, there’s also the Amazon link where you’ll see Wilbur’s work merits 4 1/2 stars, available at good discounts for both Kindle and paperback.

Recipe     “Top Secret Recipes Step by Step”    Wilbur’s other Top Secret Recipes cookbooks  

  TIP  

For some CS-ers, this is going to be a great big Duh!

Which is to say, you might take a look at the subject and say, well of course I do that. But not all of us do, all the time, and I’m as guilty as anyone else in this regard.

The subject is, reading the recipe. And not just right before you make it, but a day or two before you make it.

Do you have all the ingredients. And just as important, do you have enough of each ingredient. Are the necessary appliances in working order. Does anything have to be done in advance – marinating, baking, chilling, freezing. Or, can some of the steps be completed in advance.

Party time makes this pre-look even more critical, and now we’re likely talking more than one recipe. Are the necessary big bowls and pans going to be available or in use for something else. Is there room in the oven or on the stove for all the planned preps. Is there time to get it all ready.

So grab a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice, sit back and relax. And have a nice little read.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I was drawn to a headline regarding Quarantine Cakes on my Echo Show. Turns out they’re from a bakery in CA, designed for 1 or 2 people, frosted with coronavirus messages {“Stay 6 ft apart,” e.g.}. Not sure what I was expecting, but not exactly this, and not something available only locally. But maybe, intentionally or otherwise, there’s a message here anyway – don’t have to totally abandon good eating habits, but maybe this is a time to indulge in a few more treats than usual. We’ll do our best to help.

  In case you have an Echo Show, one of the features that’s quite handy is asking Alexa how to use up leftovers, as a general question or regarding a specific ingredient. I asked her about some leftover cooked shrimp and she came back with shrimp quesadillas and lemon garlic shrimp. You can then of course ask her for the recipe.

  Are you among those spending a little more time at home than usual these days. One possibility to pass the time is to . . . play with your food. And do it without fear because, cooks being among the most creative folks on earth, we can almost always find ways to turn the bad to good. E.g., I recently made a layer cake instead in a sheet pan, and after a guessed-at baking time the poked-in wooden skewer came out clean and the edges had started to pull away.

  But after it cooled somewhat discovered that actually the bottom was decidedly not cooked. Hmmmm. Hauled out a large skillet, in with a little oil, and then dropped in squares of the cake undercooked side down, until done and a little crisp. Over briefly for some crispness on the done side. Then cooled, wrapped portions in foil, and into the freezer to emerge on demand as tasty pancakes.

This week’s:

  •  Photo credits – cup, mug, book-Amazon / recipe-my photo of Wilbur’s page / others-mine
  •  Link sources – cooking asparagus-MyRecipes / brownies-msn.com / photo links for cup & mug, books-Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon {ongoing – Amazon, Zazzle, SunFrog}

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

So far next week: Starting next week our Salon will convert for now to a more simple format, just two elements – a comfort food recipe and whatever food safety measures we can find

Last week, just below: taco shell the blank slate, best cobbler?, marinara + + , sheet pan 2.0, warm chocolate cobbler, flour trick, save the milk, fun with taters, impromptu dressing

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

Questions, comments?

Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details

Note

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 CooksSalon.com

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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 

  TIDBITS 

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.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

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.”

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

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”

  TIP 

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.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

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

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