Thin Mint/Banana Cream Pie {+caramel}, March 22-April 4, 2019

Computer being a bad boy againnew post April 5

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – pb&j mug cake / spirited chocolate donuts / phooey on freezer burn    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Martha tells all    FEATURED RECIPE – Girl Scout cookie dessert & an oopsie & bonus recipes   TIP – talkin’ cheese    THE WEEK – fresh pb / toast 2.0 / good read, no recipes?

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  So, in our Feb 15, 2019 Salon we shared a link for mug cake recipes on google, all kinds of flavors. Now I’ve come across a one dear to my palate. Peanut butter and jelly mug cake! And like the others it’s pretty much 5-min or less from taking the empty mug out of the cabinet to taking the filled mug out of the nuker. You have to scroll a bit through the text to reach the directions, and once there note that there’s an alternative for making a fudgier, peanut butterier version.

Could this be the best way ever to start your day? To be honest, the folks at Irish Central actually position these donuts, Chocolate Baked Guinness Donuts with Irish Cream Glaze, in the dessert slot. I say, your choice. Since I already have Guinness for the Irish stew featured in our 03.15.19 Salon, just may give this a try. And if I do, CS friends will be among the very first to know.

What is freezer burn, what does it look like, what does it do to food – and most important, how can we avoid it. Food & Wine has the answers in this super helpful article.


“The Martha Manual”

We first mentioned this new book from Martha Stewart in our 03.08.19 Salon, noting its thorough coverage of cleaning, organizing, repairing, laundry, decorating, crafts, gardening, pet care, entertaining – and cooking which we promised would get a closer look.

Here her comprehensive take guides us on tool repurposing, produce purchases, freezer use, leftovers, ingredient timesavers, basic methods, kitchen troubleshooting, baking skills, and frosting tips. Within each, so much illustrated detail.

There aren’t really recipes, but you will find preps in this section. For example, I found instructions for vegetable broth, nut butters, corncob chowder, baked butternut, pan sauces, parchment cooking, a proper omelet, refrigerator pickles,

Party prone cooks may also be interested in the “Host and Entertain” and “Celebrate” sections. The former is food oriented,  the latter fun oriented.

The 387 pages add up to a blueprint for an easy, organized, enjoyable life with a whole lot of pretty touches along the way. It’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, now $24.50 {vs $35} for hardcover, $14.99 for Kindle.

“The Martha Manual”    Stewart’s other books & more

CS Marketplace Cook-friendly books, videos, tees & sometimes more

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page


Thin Mints rule the crust

The oopsie first. In our 02.08 19 Salon I mentioned that the Girl Scout cookies available on Amazon didn’t indicate any time limits, which was true. But decided I better check a little further and received this reply: “. . . usually just during the first few months of the year – until we run out of this year’s stock.” Right now Thin Mints and others still show as available.

The pie recipe on the site is actually for peppermint chocolate cheesecake on a Thin Mint crust. You can access this by clicking the link below, selecting Thin Mints from the recipe list, and then scrolling down to the pie and, I might mention, passing a whole bunch of other good stuff on the way.

I started with their crust prep, 10 oz bag Thin Mints crushed and mixed with 3T melted butter. But then went a simpler route, filling it with banana cream pudding and after thoroughly chilled, decorating it with some caramel striping.

Note: if you can no longer find these cookies, you can still make a comparable crust for either the cheesecake or the pie {or any other filling} with store-bought chocolate mint cookies. I’ve done this previously the same way, 10 oz bag, 3 T melted butter.

And, a chuckle: This is from one of the Internet cartoon collections: How many boxes of those Thin Mints do I have to eat before I start seeing results???

Girl Scout cookie recipes  ♦  GS cookies on Amazon  

♦  TIP  

Cheese It!

I just came across some tips from the “Hot & Cheesy” cookbook that I had kept note of because they seemed particularly valuable. Here’s some of what author Clifford A Wright has to say . . .

  • Store cheese separately from other foods {like in a compartment}
  • When aged cheese melts, it will be grainy
  • When young cheese melts, it will be creamier
  • It should be cooked briefly and gently, just until is has fully melted
  • It’s easier to grate, crumble or slice when it’s cold
  • 1 cup of shredded or crumbled cheese weighs about 3 ounces
  • {love this one} “Nonfat cheeses never melt, but I don’t use them, as they have no taste”

“Hot & Cheesy” Cookbook


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Thinking next time I make that Thin Mint/banana cream pie I’ll decorate it with peanut butter stripes. Maybe what brought that to mind is the fact that pb has two honorary mentions in this week’s Salon. And that brings me to this question? Do you ever make your own? It really is so easy, just dump a jar of peanuts of your choice in the food processor. I don’t even add oil, but rather just keep processing until the nuts release enough of their own oil until, voila! peanut butter.

♦  Bye bye breakfast blahs. That’s what I thought when I read this Food & Wine article, “12 Healthy Ways to Spice Up Your Morning Toast.” For some folks, Healthy is a caution, for others an invitation. Think both groups will be happy with these flavorful and colorful a.m. upgrades. Actually the dozen is spread over three “bases” – peanut butter, ricotta, and avocado. Here is my pb/carrot strips/chile garlic sauce/lime strips.

  So, now reading Rhys Bowen’s “Heirs & Graces,” her next Spyness book after “The 12 Clues of Christmas,” featured in our 03.08.19 Salon. It’s off to a good start with Mummy smack dab in the spotlight, but not for long as Georgiana could have predicted. One thing I want to note though – I haven’t seen any recipes in this one. So if you’re just looking for a good read from this top selling mystery author, probably any of her books would be fine, but if it’s recipes you crave may want to give it a leaf-through first.

So far next week: tater flake tricks, you eat whaaaat?, best biscuits, braid your eggs, spud art, wowsa pancake, cauliflower upgrades

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: Donuts/Irish Central, Martha book/Amazon, Martha pic/her site, cheesecake/Girl Scouts site, banana cream/mine, cheese dish/Wright’s book, pb/mine

All pages ©2019

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


Martha’s slow cooker carne guisada {that means gravy!}, for Oct 12-18, 2018


Misty shows you what you’ll find in this week’s salon

  TIDBITS – best ever one-pots / eat well & do good / awesomeness for your 9×13’s    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT– best cookers / pet warmers {M – let the dogs have ’em, I never go outside}    FEATURED RECIPE – boffo tacos    TIP – José plays, you drink  ♦  THE WEEK – chop chop / yum to come / “genius” tips

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Stew season! The folks at Food & Wine have culled through decades of recipes from their pages to bring us “Best Recipes Ever: Stews and One-Pot Dishes.” The lineup features downhome favorites, regional preps and ethnic specialties, all rich and hearty.

  Need a break from the kitchen now and then? Or maybe on vacation? If so, and one of José Andrés’ restaurants is in the area, maybe consider making this your destination one night. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this Beard-winning, Michelin-starred chef, notable for his world class tasting menus, and can confirm he has a larger than life personality – but we now know he also has a larger than life heart. Andrés organized kitchens that served 3.6 million meals to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and to date more than 80,000 meals in the Florence-bashed Carolinas.

  Move over sheet pans, and make room for your 9×13 cousins. Taste of Home is showing a dozen preps, and woohoo all are contest winners. One I found interesting is for monkey bread, single layer instead of the usual bundt style {and the grand prize winner}. And one you can bet I’ll be trying, and sharing, is the double layer cheesecake bars.


Stew all day – dinner, not you

One of the things I love about Amazon is that whatever you’re looking for it’s likely you’re going to find lots of choices. What keeps it from becoming confusing is that you can zeroElite Platinum Maxi-Matic Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in on your preferences with the options listed in the left side menu.

While for all of you, my friends, that is of course a personal decision, Cadet Crock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook' N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steelthere’s a particular selection I like to make when featuring something here in CooksSalon. And that is, what are the top offerings. So pretty much any time I’m showing such items, beyond a Electric Rice Cooker Food Steamer - Small 5 Cup (Uncooked) Mini Rice Maker Steamer for Grains and Hot Cereal with One Touch Control and Automatic Keep Warm Functionspecific product you’ll also see a link to best seller, best rated, or both.

Inspired by the stew recipes noted in this week’s Tidbits, thought we could take a look at slow cookers in that regard. Nice, many of them are prime eligible.

Best selling slow cookers    Best rated slow cookers

At CS Marketplace: “Especially for . . .” – “Cooks”  “Readers”  “Dog Lovers”

Extra for Dog Lovers – here comes cold weather, time to get out the warm coats for you and the puppydogs. Don’t have any for the four-pawed ones? Browse right here with these direct links to Amazon or Zazzle.


Tacos from the slow cooker – yep!

So, thanks to a bunch of Yelp-ers, I learned the difference between carne asada and carne guisada. The former grills the meat and the latter simmers it in a savory gravy.

Onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, broth and seasonings are all in the mix. And then the slow cookers infuses all those flavors into browned cubes of beef chuck or bottom round.

Even better, the prep comes from the kitchen guru Martha Stewart. See more of her slow cooker recipes in the link below, and a lot more in her dedicated cookbook.

Recipe    39 more slow cooker recipes from Martha

Her slow cooker cookbook    Her other cookbooks


Sipping the Andrés way

José Andrés plays with his food. His website has a page of videos showing exactly that and while all are quite fascinating and fun to watch, most are not really for the home cook, calling into service, e.g., sous vide, sheets of ice, flamethrowers, exotic ingredients, or complex steps.

But at least one of them does fall reasonably within the home kitchen realm. It’s a drink for two and quite appealing both in appearance and probable taste. How about though if both of the people at those straws pledge no driving afterward.

Just for your amusement, may want to check out some of his other videos.

Señor y Señora Sandí-Tiki Cocktail demo    Andres’ page of videos


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Do you have one of those small choppers, either hand crank or electric? Why did I have to see someone else do this to realize how perfect it is for mincing garlic and ginger, both otherwise a bit of a pain in the patootie. Works great!

  In the process of browsing Jose Andrés’ site, found so many recipes I’d like to  try. I think the first one is going to be something he says is inspired by a kimchi bowl he serves at his Beefsteak restaurant – but actually the kimchi is a topping and as such I’d call optional {a good thing, not a fan} – everything else comes together so flavorfully, may well be an upcoming Featured Recipe.

  And the beat goes on. Here, BuzzFeed shares some “genius” slow cooker tips, for meats, chili, dumplings, bread pudding, mac & cheese and more. All from notable chefs, each has a brief explanation and then a link for more information.

So far next week: ice cream for breakfast, potato chips for breakfast, sweet potatoes for a crowd, smokin’ bagels {literally!}

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


Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies {well named!}, for Aug 10-16, 2018

  CatChat – Misty previews what you’ll find in each section this week  

Tidbits – what is matriarchal cooking? / bacon mayo, whose idea?? {M – hold the mayo} /  Seattle food fest    CS Marketplace Spotlight – good novel, “State of the Onion” w/recipes / signed inmate-to-chef bio on ebay    Featured Recipe – Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies {M – didn’t get any}    Tip –  great lobster, twice  ♦  Barbara’s Week – tasty salad add-on {M – didn’t want any} / watermelon, party cut/ hope springs eternal

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery 

♦  Tidbits  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Oh I like this. Something I already do and you likely do too – has a name. Or at least it does for Chef Claudette who defines her new El Jardin in San Diego as a Matriarchal Restaurant – meaning it shows respect for the recipes, preps, and traditions of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and other “matriarchs” in the family tree. Nice.

  OK, brace yourself. This tasty tip comes from the unlikely duo of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, with Jennifer Garner in a supporting role, and Food & Wine magazine as the producer. So, here’s how its comes together: at Snoop’s urging Stewart now crumbles bacon into mayo instead of fitting the slices onto a sandwich with the mayo separate, which was a component in the bacon-ed up lobster BLTs crafted by Stewart and Garner featured in  the magazine’s newsletter .

  If you have plans to be in Seattle in Nov, or would like to make them, you can tap into all the palate-pleasing bounty of the “Seattle EATS Cooking, Food & Wine Festival.” A production of America’s Test Kitchen, it promises to bring “dozens of the area’s best chefs and restaurants together so you can sample unlimited food, see cooking demos, meet the cast of our TV shows, and much more.” Nov 2 & 3, but tix are on sale now.

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦ 

Who do you know that loves food and fiction?

This is sort of like a culinary version of Perils of Pauline. White House assistant chef Olivia seems to have perfected the art of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, much to the dismay of her secret service boyfriend.State of the Onion (A White House Chef Mystery Book 1)

Her more preferable art, boffo cooking, merits equal time in this tale that is both entertaining and enlightening thanks to author Julie Hyzy’s meticulous research about the kitchens and protocols at both the White House and Camp David.

And hallelujah, after tempting our palates with dish descriptions throughout the book, she treats us to recipes for at least some of them after the story concludes with a scene that might leave you out of breath.

The first in a series, it’s 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, available in multiple formats. Also thought it might be interesting to look at some books penned by or about actual White House chefs. Both links are below.

“State of the Onion”    White House chef books    CS Marketplace

Also at CS Marketplace “Especially For Readers” & “Especially for Dog Lovers”

Especially for book lovers – who also love chef stories/inspiration/autographed items. And this chef has quite an inspiring story, moving from drug dealer on the streets of L.A. to imprisoned felon to upscale exec chef to Food Network host – and that upward boost was propelled by a most ironic twist of fate. His 1st-year book is signed to me and after a decade+ I’ve put it {and some celeb signed items, see below} on ebay. You can also find unsigned versions on Amazon, 4 1/2 stars.

♦  Featured Recipe  

Paid off already!

So in last week’s chat I mentioned being re-inspired to check package recipes and the very next day did just that with the oatmeal, where I saw a reference to a recipe on the underside of the cover. Disappearing oatmeal cookies!

Well that title is sort of irresistible. Turns out so are the cookies, and that name tells you they aren’t going to stick around very long once the word is out.

Notes – never one to pass up a suggestion to add chocolate chips, I split them with the raisins, using 3/4 cup each. Also, made some the tablespoon size and some larger, which you see here.

 Oatmeal cookie recipe    Cookie cookbooks on Amazon, 4 stars & up

♦  Tip  

Lobster fans, enjoy and then maybe again

Oh happy day. After getting disgruntled with my source for lobster tails, I googled the best rated lobster suppliers online and the results came back with a resounding vote for Cousins Maine Lobster. Had really just not gotten around to ordering from them when, woohoo, the company opened outlets in two local Smith’s stores. This first foray resulted in hot buttered lobster rolls served with their potato tots and bisque, all excellent.

And here’s the tip: if you have leftover bisque {I know, for some of you, hahaha} it makes a quite good pasta sauce, to which you can add any leftover lobster {ditto}. I added some shrimp and thinly sliced roasted red peppers, along with a little Hawaiian salt.

And here’s a second tip, good news for all you lobster lovers – Cousins has truck and restaurant locations in a whole number of places. Find them here.

♦  A Peek at My Week  

Join me in my kitchen & parlor

♦  OK, it took seeing “onion” in that book title above to remind me to use some of the pickled pearl onions in salad. I used it in egg salad, but would be equally good in others – green, tossed, tuna, kidney bean, potato, mac. A really tasty addition! {if you remember to do it, that is}

  Saw this trick for watermelon halves some time ago but this was the first time I tried it. Just great for a party. Easy to eat, guests’ choice of big piece or small piece. Works best with the smaller round ones.

  Have all the ingredients to try bolognese again. Hope to be able to share a boffo recipe with you soon.

Collectorsif you are interested in autographed items I also have books, letters, pix from Nicholas Pileggi, Sidney Sheldon, Stephen J Cannell, Janet Leigh, Phyllis Diller, and Bobby Hatfield on ebay – to see them all, click here {this is a one-time thing, not an ongoing CooksSalon feature}

Next week, so far – Watermelon tips, all about chiles, kitchen fails, celeb chef style stew, addendum to fast fries, salt & pepper for your dessert???

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


Martha Stewart’s Chocolate-Crusted Cheesecake with Raspberries, for June 8-14, 3018

  CatChat – Misty’s preview  

Martha Stewart’s cheesecake  {M – did you save me any cream cheese?  Fish tricks    No bad food for you {M – none for me either!  The Guinness secret    For your wine, and maybe more    Something new from Martha    shaping up flour tortillas {M – I could do that but she may not like my way Barbara’s week: saucing a Benedict, mayo-ing a steak, Dorito-ing shrimp    The Spotlights

{M – If you want to take a look,  my mom has added two new pictures to my Gallery}

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery



Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Eating fish is usually good for us, but maybe not always so much for the health and well being of the balance within our waterways. In a story in the beautiful “Saveur” magazine, celeb chef Eric Ripert has some ideas about how to fully enjoy the bounty of the seas in a responsible way.

Here also, and as well as in the definitive book “Fish Without a Doubt” by fishmaster Rick Moonen, are resources for sustainability plus buying and cooking tips. Shown here is salmon tandoori from that book, which actually covers this oven roasting technique in a recipe for tandoori sable   Go, fish  Moonen’s book

  As you may know {or hopefully don’t}, bad food will take revenge upon your body in truly rude ways. You might be able to at least sometimes avoid this situation by following the warnings “Reader’s Digest” offers in its online newsletter.  Eat good

  Whenever folks of a certain age are asked what they think got them to that point, I always wonder if they actually know. But then, sometimes, you just sort of want to believe the stated secret to longevity. As with this 100-yr-old English woman, as “Food & Wine” tells us, who drinks Guinness every day. It’s a cute story that also talks about her Guinness-themed birthday party in the nursing home.  Sláinte! 

CS Marketplace Spotlight

I was just extracting a bit of libation from my wine cooler and it occurred to me that I’ve had this boffo appliance for almost 20 years. Wow. And it’s so nice at keeping the whites at the perfect temp, not chilled to death as they would be in a regular fridge.Koldfront TWR160S 16 Bottle Thermoelectric Freestanding Wine Cooler

Now mine is by Magic Chef, but actually others are just as highly rated on Amazon, so if you happen to favor particular brands you can possibly find those too. They range from 6-bottle to 90+ though at that level they start calling them free standing wine cellars. And many are Prime eligible.

The one shown, though a different brand, is similar to mine which easily sits on a kitchen cart. Note that the page I’ve linked covers just those rated 4 stars and up. Btw, I also store my coffee in it since it’s so close to the brewer.

Browse coolers here  ♦  CS MarketplaceColoring Book for Adults: Amazing Swirls


  Adult Coloring Books on the Nice Life Books page

Just one example shown here

  A heartwarming video on the DoggieShirtz page

From dying to thriving


Featured Recipe  

Cook like Martha

There were already several ways to emulate Martha Stewart’s polished way of cooking. Consider all the recipes, tips, techniques and demos in her cookbooks, blog, magazine, pbs demos, youtube, online newsletter, am I forgetting anything, probably. But now there’s one more.

Thanks to “Food & Wine” magazine for reporting the debut of Martha Stewart Food, her own line of pantry staples – brownie mix, pasta sauce, olive oil and more. And it’s Macy’s that snagged the right to be the showcase.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to cook, or not in this case, a cool no-bake cheesecake with chocolate crust and fresh raspberry garnish like Martha, here you go. And yay, there’s a demo.

Recipe  ♦  Martha’s cookbooks on Amazon

Martha’s videos on Amazon {have to scroll a bit}  ♦  Food & Wine


Saw a cute trick in the Kraft magazine “Food & Family.” To create a taco shape with flour tortillas, brush melted butter on both sides, fold in half and place three each down the long side of an inverted muffin tin, and then two each {on the end cups} on the short sides – 10 total – and then bake at 325 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Btw, this was actually for a dessert so the tortillas were also sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

A Peek at My Week

  Well this was darn good. I was out for breakfast and saw Shrimp Benedict on the menu, and even though I ended up ordering something else, that stayed on my mind. So this week cooked some medium size shrimp in water liberally seasoned with Old Bay, poached some eggs, toasted some English muffins – and then what I think made it really work, mixed {eyeballed measures} mayo, ranch dressing, parsley, fresh lemon juice and hot sauce, lightly heated. Next time will order that at the restaurant and see if I like it as well {!}

  And speaking of mayo, I was sure a skeptic about this one. Was on the Hellman’s site and happened to see their suggestion to use mayo and some other ingredients {recipe} as a steak marinade. Even more surprising, when I googled this technique I found others that also used just mayo, but with maybe just salt and pepper, then left on as the steak goes on the grill or in the pan. Really? Tried it in a HOT pan. Wow good sear, tasty crust, juicy meat.  Btw this was just adding s&p, next time will go full Hellman’s take.

  Finally used up the Doritos, yay! This was actually week before last when the exp date was ringing alarm bells ever louder. So, crushed them up with the remains of a well used bag of potato chips, a little shredded coconut, some seasoning, and voila! a great crispy coating for fried shrimp. Truth be told I don’t fry a lot of stuff, but a quick dip in flour, then beaten egg, then the crumbs, actually in a a shallow pool of oil and butter, made for a darn good main dish and the next day’s sandwich filling.

R.I.P. Ella Brennan, 92, doyenne of Commander’s Palace, which launched the careers of such culinary luminaries as Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme and Carlos Guia

and to

Anthony Bourdain who could bring the world to a common table

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