Melinda’s Tropical Shrimp Cocktail, April 23-29, 2021

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Kitchen Talk – Leftover ham? Thankfully there are lots of ways to re-purpose it. But here’s another option, at least for some meals. Leave the ham as is in beautiful slices and let variation check in as tasty platemates. You can go big in your side dish choices with 101 from Epicurious or tame it down with 19 from AllRecipes, all ham-friendly.      We’ve talked before about, what to me anyway is a relatively new term, Pantry Meals. To avoid a trip to the store or maybe even to avoid waste, dip into the goodies already on hand. Here’s yet another take, “14 Recipes You Can Make Using Pantry Staples,” from Food & Wine.     So, Ree Drummond’s “perfect” spinach salad {04.09.21 Salon} sure looks like it can live up to its billing. But decided to make it and see for myself. Gotta say, pretty darn close. I did add a few halved cherry tomatoes for color.

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Shopping Finds – We hardly ever see butter knives on the dining table anymore, but a newer version just may become a staple in the kitchen drawer because it can rescue us from a culinary problem – hard butter. As you run it over the top of an uncooperative stick, a lineup of small holes in the blade pick up curls that can quickly soften to usability. For bread. For pancakes. For baking. And? They’re called butter spreaders, but you have to be a wee careful because some just regular butter knives on the Amazon page also use this description.     No, we don’t have an affiliation with Oreos even though this is the second mention in a couple of weeks. But came across these Birthday Oreos on Amazon and they are just so festive, so cheery, so-gift-ready.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – With June weddings just around the corner, 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, “Yep, did it!” On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – Shrimp cocktail goes Caribbean, in a fresh & spicy way

It’s first important to note that this recipe comes from Melinda, known for decades as a major force in the hot sauce realm. In fact, I blame, uhhh credit, them with my own introduction long ago to the wonders of habanero peppers.

Melinda doubles down in this prep with the distinct potential to move the cocktail into incendiary territory. But what makes it all quite manageable is that the pepper’s legendary heat comes up against a counterbalance of cucumber, tomato, pineapple, orange, avocado, and more.

A really nice mix. Small servings would make a good first course or addition to the buffet table. But it’s also substantial enough for more generous scoops atop lettuce, spinach, or other greens to serve as a satisfying lunch or dinner.

Btw, still not hot enough for you? Do as we did and drizzle on a bit more Melinda.

Recipe Notes – The recipe actually specifies grapefruit and suggests orange as a sub, which what I did choose.

Next week – Chocolate malt brownies with malt marshmallow frosting

Recipe    Hot sauce 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 you make a croque madame casserole? It’s probably not too far fetched to call a croque monsieur the national sandwich of France. Simple as it is, the secret is in the top notch ingredients – crusty bread lightly grilled, lean ham, good Gruyere, homemade béchamel. Add a fried egg and it becomes a madam. While most I’ve seen were open face, I’ve also come across ones that were regular sandwich style with double bread, enclosed like a croissant, or even stacked up. But until Alexa put this on the screen, I’d never encountered the croque madame casserole – and glad I did. From Epicurious.

Alexa says request: How do you make chocolate covered pretzel toffee? So, chocolate covered pretzels have been been satisfying our sugar cravings for quite some time. Serious Eats sweetens the deal with the addition of rich toffee. Here’s the recipe, credited to Lucy Baker. Thanks, Lucy!

My request: Do you have a recipe for baked hot dogs? The actual reason for this request was a guess that if such existed it would deliver an easy way to prepare several franks at once in the oven. Not only did a prep like that come up from AllRecipes, but even better for Baked Chili Hot Dogs. You can probably predict the ingredients. But what’s helpful here is quantities, pan size, time, and temp.

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

   Wait, what, they’re keeping stuff from us??? Food & Wine tells all in 12 Wines That Serious Collectors Don’t Want You to Know About. There’s also a link in the story for best Prosecco rosés to buy now.

  The inspiration goes back to a coffee shop in suburban Chicago where our group convinced the owners to combine the olive burger and cheeseburger and make us olive cheeseburgers. Now, here it is in crispy snack form – brown 1/3 lb ground beef {fine crumble] with 2T minced onion and s&p, then add 2T minced pimento olives, 1T mayo and 1 t ea mustard & buffalo ranch. To assemble: Lay six 6″ eggroll wrappers on a work surface with the points toward you. Place a slice of American cheese on each, about a 1/2″ in from the point closest to you. Divide the meat mixture evenly, covering the cheese slices. Fold up the corner closest to you then roll it up, tucking in the sides as you go. Moisten and press to seal any open edges. Place seam side down in a baking pan treated with non-stick spray. Brush very lightly with peanut oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake at 400 for 10 min or until golden. Note that you can certainly substitute equal amounts of condiments of your choice. And then of course it’s easy enough to make multiples of this recipe. And called? Mini Olive Cheeseburger Eggrolls!

   Have you noticed – dips are almost always hits on the snack table. MyRecipes shows us how to mix it up with 18 Things to Stir into Mayo for Instant Sauces & Dips. The good news is that most of these tasty add-ins are likely ready and waiting in your kitchen.

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