The Tasting Panel has spoken, May 3-16, 2019

Next Salon, May 17, 2019 – see you then!

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – chicken insurance / leftover makeover / do this first    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – beautiful Mom’s Day gifts ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – makin’ Zuni Cafe’s iconic chicken    TIP – avocado love    THE WEEK – the SuperTasters have approved these dishes / the powder caper

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

It’s not likely you’re ever going to hear anyone order chicken “rare.” And we sure as heck don’t want to serve it that way. So “How Long to Cook Every Cut of Chicken” from MyRecipes can provide some very welcome “chicken insurance.” Get the scoop on roasting, grilling, pan frying and deep frying, so that as the subhead says, “you never botch your bird again.” As a bonus there’s a demo on breaking down a whole chicken, which can be a real money-saver.

♦  More from MyRecipes. In the 04.19.19 Salon we spotlighted 30 dishes that are even better as leftovers. So how cool is this for a follow-up, “25 recipes to use up your leftovers.” And this is nice, for some of the items you may also find a recipe for the star that started the show, and then more than one use as leftovers. If as planned I make the chicken parmesan dip you’ll sure see it in a future My Week. Oooh maybe the burger bun donuts too!

And more. You may already do “The First Thing Great Chefs Do Before They Start Cooking” {we’d like to think “wash their hands” but we’ll take that as a given}. I already do this “thing” and was familiar with the French term for it, but sure did learn some extra tricks here. And not only for cooking.


Beautiful food gifts for mom

So much good stuff here. Whether she has a sweet tooth or a “savory” tooth,  chances are excellent you’llShimmering Delights Gourmet Gift Basket find a gift she’ll love.

There are varying arrays of tea, coffee, snacks, cookies, candy, cheese, chips & Tranquil Delights Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket Set with Tea and Cookies (Peony)salsa, plus a breakfast collection, Bloody Mary kit that includes a cutting board, and a “shimmering” gourmet collection. Some also tuck in a nice selection of pampering beauty products.

The latter is shown here along with the Tranquil Delights Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket Set with Tea and Cookies. If you’d like to see a wider array of Mother’s Day gifts, click the second link – and though there’s a huge number of possibilities, fear not, you can narrow your search by type of product, rating, brand and more, and after selecting your initial category, more factors including price and Prime eligible.

Food gifts on Amazon  ♦  Other Mother’s Day gifts

Shimmering collection shown    Spa & tea set shown


A San Francisco classic 

Those of us who’ve had the memorable pleasure of dining at Zuni Cafe know it’s an experience to be treasured ever after. New York Times recently featured the iconic Market Street restaurant on the 40th anniversary of its founding by Billy West, who was joined in 1987 by the revered chef Judy Rodgers, sadly no longer among us – but it goes well beyond the cliche to say her legacy lives on with every meal still served there.

The story spotlights such specialties as Caesar salad, ricotta gnocchi, espresso granita, chocolate Gâteau Victoire, even the hamburger. But it was the hauntingly good wood-roasted chicken for two on warm aromatic bread salad that most stays with me from our visit.The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Resturant

I subsequently made this dish {shown} from my Zuni Cafe cookbook, which also btw includes the salad, gnocchi, hamburger, and granita. The chicken was spectacular, which prompted a do-list of such other items in the book as prosciutto with chestnuts in olive oil, artichoke caponata, corn-shrimp bisque, and mock {which is to say easier – she calls the original “formidable”} porchetta.

This cookbook, by Judy Rodgers, is a very unselfish offering. All her tip, tricks. and techniques are right there – in fact “cooking lessons”  is part of the subtitle. It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, Kindle & Hardcover, Prime eligible.

Recipes on google    NY Times article    Zuni cookbook    Zuni Cafe 


Be gentle now

A helpful hint from Ree Drummond. When you’re adding diced avocado to a salad, wait until you’ve tossed all the other ingredients.

Then gently fold the cubes into the mix. Your avocado will thank you.

Btw, did you know that in the correction pronunciation, Haas rhymes with glass. Click the link for lots more about this versatile star of the produce world.

California Avocado


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Oh what a beautiful week at CooksSalon. A buffet of dishes, candidates for future appearances in CooksSalon, took center stage. Then a quartet of SuperTasters gave the whole array, appetizers to desserts, a thorough vetting, sometimes needing second and third “tests” to be absolutely certain their evaluations would be accurate.

>  Yay, eight thumbs up for chicken parmesan dip, buffalo cauliflower, French endive “hand” salads, shrimp Louie, queso eggs in phyllo cups, ham club sandwich rollups, lemon cheesecake tarts, date/nut scones, and salted chocolate caramel tartlets. Mega thanks and a tip of the toque to Christine McKellar, Debbie Vinson, and Layne Whiteman for helping make sure CS brings you just the best-est recipes.

> So then, all those dishes will be coming your way in the near future. Meanwhile, for a weekly serving of the top happenings in Las Vegas, be sure to tune in to Christine’s site, Vegas Only Entertainment.

♦  In our 02.01.19 Salon we talked about discovering malted milk powder and putting it to use in muffins, oatmeal . . . and coffee. Now the Caribou Coffee chain has added menu items that incorporate malted milk powder into both hot and cold coffee beverages. Do you think they read it first in CooksSalon? 😉😁🤣

So far in the next Salon: best stews, bulk shopping trick, 10 new ways with bacon, that sandwich is what now???


Looking for something in CS? – scroll and check Misty’s previews OR enter the item in the search box OR email me at

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits: Mom’s Day gifts & Zuni book/Amazon, others/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Sooooo easy, sooooo good Nutella Brownie Cookies, Feb 1-7, 2019



Misty previews what you’ll find below in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – guide to wine fridges / pb French toast / best bacon {M – whadizit, whadizit, whadizit???   CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – “cover” stories    FEATURED RECIPE – love these cookies!  ♦  TIP – finger salads    THE WEEK – new fave ingredient / bookin’ / fast mac

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

Yay! Four new pix in my gallery – mom calls it “Misty & bacon, the rest of the story”


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Do you love wine? Then you might very well enjoy connecting with Here’s a recent article posted on the site, guiding you to the best wine coolers, size and style, for your home. I do have a wine cooler and just love it, also keep  my coffee in there. On the site you’ll find all kinds of helpful wine information along with a form to sign up for the newsletter. Worth a look for any wine lover.

  Peanut butter fans, beat a path to this link {fortunately it’s just a few words away}. Hooray Food & Wine for bringing us Peanut Butter French Toast. In addition to giving pb a starring role, it comes together with a rich drenching sauce, crunchy crust, and – my personal fave – a light touch so it isn’t soaked to death before cooking. Be trying this one real soon.

  Well this is cool. Food & Wine completes our breakfast or brunch with – bacon! In this story the premier mag serves up The Best Bacon in America, in different categories, from designer offerings to supermarket brands.


Keep the pot hot

A recent story on the MyRecipes site listed some helpful ways to cover a pan that either doesn’t have a lid or has a lid that has gone into hiding. It also mentions as an alternativeModern Innovations Elegant 18/8 Stainless Steel Universal Lid with Adjustable Steam Vent, Fits All 7" to 12" Pots and Pans, Replacement Frying Pan Cover and Cookware Lids having on hand a universal lid.

I’ve had one of these for years and make very good use of it. While I don’t have any lid-less pots or uncooperative lids, this particular cover is great for all my frying pans and I’ve also used Silicone Lids Extra Large Set of 6 Sturdy Suction Seal Covers. Universal fit for Pots, Fry Pans, Cups and Bowls 5" to 12". Natural grip handles that interlock for easy use and storage. Food to cover big bowls of hot food.

Amazon has lots of these available but I’ve featured one like my own, large at 12 1’2″ and with an adjustable vent, though there’s also a link below where you can browse all of them. Also found a handy set of six with sizes not only for your pots but as well for other dishes and even pitchers, all in silicone. Both featured items are rated 4 1/2 stars.

Selected lid   Silicone 6-lid set   All universal lids    All silicone lids

MyRecipes article    CS Marketplace


Every word in the title is a winner 

Thank you, thank you, thank you Food 52. How often do we encounter a dish – a dessert in this case – that’s easy peasy easy AND totally indulgent.

So, yeah, I wasted no time making these “3-Ingredient Nutella Brownie Cookies.” Yikes there are more words in the title than there are ingredients.

This is actually an amalgam of Nutella cookies and Nutella brownies, and recipes are shown for these individuals too. The final one adds up to four ingredients with the addition of a bit of salt.

Whichever version, could they be any easier? You know what, maybe they could. When I make them again, and you bet there will be an “again,” I’m going to see how it might work in a sheet pan.

Notes: A 13 oz jar is just right. I did use parchment paper, but if you don’t have it at hand then, chances are good baking {not cooking} spray would work OK, or at least it’s never failed me. I did 8 minutes and that was perfect.


♦  TIP  

Salad as finger food???

So at one of my home salons, I was serving sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken wings, pickles & olives. How to include salad without having to drag out forks and bottles of dressing?

Here’s how. I lined up small disposable glasses. Poured in the bottom of each some of my fave/easy salad dressing, equal parts of ranch and Wishbone original Italian.

Then arranged pluckable strips of veggies around the perimeter of each glass. In this version: carrots, celery, cuke, red, green and yellow bell peppers, and then added a two-radish “centerpiece,” all against a frilly lettuce leaf backdrop. Easy for me, easy for guests.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  After all these years I’ve discovered malted milk powder. Of course since childhood I’ve had malteds {and wow are those getting harder to find}, but never before had the powder in my pantry. First use was for a re-do of bran muffins that came out way too dense – broke them up, added egg, milk, vanilla and the powder and baked in a sheet pan, all better.

Second, yay, found it’s another “oatmeal helper.” And then, though I pretty much always take coffee and tea straight black, recently added some of the powder to coffee and that made a nice “snack.” Haven’t tried it in tea yet but could give a whole new meaning to a “cream tea.”

  Maybe this is why that latter idea came to mind. While I do love a good mystery, my knowledge of the top writers in the realm is pretty shallow so it wasn’t until I discovered the Mystery Writers Cookbook {Jan 11 Salon} that I’d heard of Rhys Bowen, and her penchant for including food in her stories. Which leads me to my first foray into her list, “The 12 Clues of Christmas,” where a cream tea [the real kind} plays a supporting role.

  I have a mac & cheese recipe that is quite a crowd pleaser and that’s what I generally make. But recently I had an ingredient that I wanted to use up, and that was an almost full jar of queso dip. Yep, combined it with some cooked mac from the freezer and voila! – instant, decent, and even a bit spicy m&c.

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

So far next week: Girl Scout cookie desserts, cake upgrade, rye bread re-do, butternut squash soup/sauce, choclo {whaaaaat?}

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at 
{subj – CooksSalon} & receive an “invitation” to weekly online salons