Star caterer’s rich chocolate cake from mix, Oct 11-Oct 17, 2019

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 when you scroll below  

  TIDBITS – put whaaaat in your cola / best rotisserie chicken / keeping ‘shrooms fresh    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – grilled cheese mania    FEATURED RECIPE – so good, so rich, so easy    TIP – that’s a wrap ♦  THE WEEK – jammy eggs / spooky food / savory salteñas 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

♦  Well, here’s a new one on me. But it won’t likely be for anyone from the south, and that’s combining peanuts and cola, Coke as most postings say, Pepsi when I saw it, and one online rebel mentioned Dr. Pepper. I was enlightened by North Carolina chef Vivian Howard in Season 1 of her PBS series “A Chef’s Life,” where the proper technique was on display. Open the {must be} glass bottle, take a few swigs, pour in the peanuts using your hand as a funnel – while the demo ended there, it seems then you either chew and sip or drink up before snacking on the peanuts.

–  Chef Vivian translated this into a dish of brined and cooked pork belly glazed with Pepsi that had been cooked down with brown sugar and lemon juice, all topped with freshly hulled peanuts that had been boiled in a salty county ham stock until they were “kind of tender.”

  The first paragraph in this MyRecipes feature, “How to choose the best grocery store rotisserie chicken,” reminds us there are so many ways to use this cooked and flavorful entree or ingredient, and may even give us a few new ideas. But of course we want to start with the best one possible and there are three ways offered that help us do just that. And not only is it a time saver, but also it says here that vs the cost of a raw chicken and the flavor ingredients, the rotisserie one is a better value. As a bonus there’s a recipe for a fine looking chicken chilaquiles casserole.

  Thanks Extra Crispy for cluing us in on how to Keep Mushrooms Fresh because we all know what can happen to those little guys in a matter of days. In addition to some good tips, and the reasons for them, two other things I found of interest. One kinda funny, as the author refers to the mushrooms having “a temperament.” The second kinda creepy, news that the sneaky fungi can continue to grow even after harvesting  There’s a movie in there somewhere.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Grilled Cheese lovers, rejoice!

Because here’s an entire book of those comfort food wonders in all their golden glory. In the preemptively named “Grilled Cheese,” subtitled 50 recipes to make you melt, in addition to the preps you’ll also find a cheese guide, bread guide, and chat about putting it all together, along with some tips for the Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt

And then there’s a substantial list of add-ins – such fridge finds as pickles, veggies, cured meats, condiments and sauces – to gussy up your classic version. Author Marlena Spieler likens it to accessorizing a little black dress.

In the recipes there are some good basic sandwiches, but you can also go fancy with others that tuck in such upscale groceries as truffle paste, green olive tapenade, radicchio. These leaped onto my do list: rare roast beef, blue cheese and watercress . . . and {what I would regard as 2.0 versions of} chicken club, cuban, and torta . . . individual muffalettas . . . and mozzarella, prosciutto and fig jam.

Btw, that last one is on the cover {couldn’t you almost just take a bite right out of that???}. Whichever one you might choose to make, as Spieler says, “Breakfast, lunch, dinner, after school, or midnight snack . . . all are the perfect time for a grilled cheese sandwich.”

“Grilled Cheese” cookbook

  FEATURED RECIPE  

This full-of-good-stuff chocolate cake couldn’t be easier 

Last week {10.04.19 Salon} our CS Marketplace Spotlight featured a charming book by caterer to the stars Mary Giuliani. While much of the food parts of the book focused on the title dish, “Tiny Hot Dogs,” dessert was by no means overlooked.

In fact in the opinion of some folks {me, maybe you} everything else may well be overshadowed by the chocolate cake in this book. It’s a recipe, Giuliani tells us, that was given to her mother by her good friend Rita in the 1970s. Thus the full name, “My Mom’s Friend Rita’s Chocolate Cake.”

All of the ingredients are the stuff of cravings. And it all just mingles in a bowl pretty much all at once, then into the pan, into the oven, stand on one foot then the other till it’s baked and cool enough to dive in.

As Giulani notes, “It’s a really quick, easy, no-skill required, half box mix, half homemade cake that leaves your crowd happy.” What more could we ask.

Recipe    Giulani’s book, “Tiny Hot Dogs”    Giuliani’s other book, The Cocktail Party “  

  TIP  

Wrap it up cuss-free

Make no mistake, I still use aluminum foil for certain tasks. But when I want a fairly airtight way to store food, now I use sticky wrap. But just among us chickens, the unwrapping can inspire some hearty sailor language.

So, here’s the way I do it now. Lay the sheet sticky side down on a work surface. Place the food in the center, then fold the far side toward you over the food.

Next fold over the the edge closest to you about an inch to create a narrow flap {which will then have a sticky surface facing you}. Then then fold this side forward over the food, making sure to completely enclose the contents, and press to stick down.

Last, wrap both the ends underneath onto the sticky bottom side, and press to seal. Now you have a nice tight and neat package.

I store these in a freezer bag, marked with date and item. Then when I’m ready to use one of the servings, it’s ever so easy to unwrap by just bringing the ends back up and pulling up the flap you created. No cussing!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Have you joined the jammy egg craze? It’s basically an egg cooked kind of midway between hard boiled and soft boiled, and thus the “jammy” yolk. This MyRecipes story acknowledges all the factors involved in getting it just right, but then offers a technique that neutralizes a lot of the variables. I did it as described, but because I have {at least as far as boiling water is concerned} a “bad altitude,” increased the time to 7 minutes. Almost right. Then 7.5 and perfect. It appears this is the only aspect that may require adjustment.

  Oh, these are just great. All kinds of Halloween-decorated food, some adorable, some quite creepy, all so very clever. I couldn’t actually find a prep for the featured one, the eyeballs, but it looked like it was based on donuts, so I used powdered sugar donut holes. Then with this “canvas” before me, put on my beret, and got to work with food color gels, finishing with chocolate chip centers. Woooooohooooo MyRecipes.

  I’m guessing a number of CS-ers might share my impulse to hit Search any time they come across an unfamiliar food. That was the case recently when I saw a reference to Bolivian savory pastries called salteñas. I hope the Bolivians will forgive me but I was mainly interested in how the filling ingredients came together, so just made it as a kind of stew – eliminating the gelatin, dough & annatto butter. And what I discovered was a big flavor interplay of spicy and mild, acidic and sweet, soft and firm, salty and not. I liked it! You can check recipes and more at salteñas, I used the 5-star MyRecipes one as a guide.

So far next week: cinnamon apple pie bread, good show, storing bread, Friendship Bread, a.k.a all-in. nachos into burritos, José Andrés’ decadent spinach, good dinner meter

Last week, scroll down:  ice cream for breakfast, the oddball flying jacob, a beer backstory, tiny hot dogs the book, tiny hot dogs the demo, corn on the cob takes 1, 2, 3, Choctaw stew, burger cooking tip, the sweet potato sundae repurposed

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

Looking for something in CS? – scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR email me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for details, also for my partnerships and more

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Chocolate/Peanut Butter No-Bake, a two-fer, June 14-20, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – kitchen beauty / artsy dumpling demo / chef-ing    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – spectacular book for any foodster    FEATURED RECIPE – neener neener to the oven . . . twice    TIP – love your beef tender    THE WEEK – turkey tale {M – beef, turkey, any of this coming my way?} / seeking corn pudding / recipe notes

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I’m not personally familiar with Furniture.com, but I can tell you they are most generous with design tips for the whole house, including of course the kitchen. In “How to Decorate a Kitchen, for example, you’ll find creative, budget-friendly, time-sparing ways to take the room “from utilitarian to dazzling” with both decorative and practical additions. Once you’re on the site, you can tap into the full spectrum by clicking Tips and then browsing through both of the selections in the drop-down menu.

  If you are on LinkedIn, look up Antony Mzee and I’m hoping you can tap into his video on dumplings – which he deftly turns into any number of delicate sculptures. Though Mzee has a global resume, thinking at some point he was either in the U.S. or became a long distance fan because the musical accompaniment is distinctly country & western.

  Three ways to see how the top chefs do it. Go to their restaurants, especially the newest ones where likely their most current thinking is at work – as two examples, Bobby Flay has opened Shark featuring Latin seafood at the Palms in Las Vegas. And looking ahead, Emeril’s Bistro 1396 will debut summer 2020 on Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras ship with a Creole menu. Or you can crib right from their cookbooks. Flay, Emeril, and lots of others are a click away from Amazon right here on CS, Fine Chefs Book & Gift Shop.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Awesome – American food writing from the 1600s to present day

What we have here is a phenomenal labor of love and we are the beneficiaries. Author Mollie O’Neill has deftly mined nuggets from, as she notes in her intro, “every phase of American history: journals, letters, novels, poems, travel accounts, autobiographies, histories, ethnographic studies.”

It all adds up to 727 pages of ultra rich content. You might want to read it cover to cover, or alternatively American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes: A Library of America Special Publicationpick it up at random as an ongoing treat.

Open it up to any page and you may find yourself face to virtual face with, e.g., Jefferson, Brillat-Savarin, Claiborne, Thoreau, Dickinson, MFK Fisher, Bracken, Beard, Child, Trillin, Waters, Bourdain, or Reichl, over 150 in all.

Also in the intro, O’Neill is quite philosophical about the subject which has some interesting points, but most of the writings are not, at least to that extent. You’ll discover humor, you-are-there tales, ingredient tributes, reviews, opinions, anecdotes, techniques, recipes, the full spectrum.

This spectacular compilation would be dear to the heart of cooks, bakers, food-o-philes, food bloggers, food critics, and on. It’s 4 stars on Amazon, discounted, Prime eligible – click and/or scroll down for other buying choices, formats, and other anthologies.

“American Food Writing”

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Not sorry 

That was sort of a natural, given how closely related this stuff is to a Reese’s peanut butter cup. And like Reese’s, no apologies for bringing you this indulgence.

We have the “Sweet Tooth VP” at Kraft to thank for the first delight, “Chocolate Peanut Butter Eclair.” Yikes, layers of graham crackers and a peanut butter pudding topped off with a buttery chocolate frosting.

Then I started to play. Made the chocolate/butter combo and poured that into a graham cracker crust . . . made the pb layer with banana pudding and without the Cool Whip, and doubled the peanut butter {to stand up to the banana flavor}, and spooned that atop the chocolate . . . and then smoothed the Cool Whip over that.

Pretty darn good. Btw, I did keep this pie refrigerated, but set it out a little while before serving. This also helps in cutting through the chocolate which is quite sturdy – next time {and if you make it} would add some cream, or skip the butter and make an actual ganache. See other notes in “Week” below.

If you make either, only one question remains – could this be too good for guests??? {not sorry}

Eclair recipe

♦  TIP  

You 1, Beef 0

Some cuts of beef just are not team players. You want it tender, and it in effect says, uh, no.

Well now those days can be over, thanks to our ol’ friend MyRecipes and the secrets they share for tenderizing any cut of beef. You’ll find five steps that can take you from raw and challenging to melt in your mouth goodness.

Rest assured none of this will require pro skills or equipment, though good steak knives are part of the plan. Marinating is also in the mix, with suggestions and actual recipes. Among the recommendations is yogurt and you  may recall one of the Tidbits in our 04.26.19 Salon linked to a story that went into nice detail on this technique.

“How to Tenderize Any Cut of Beef”

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  In the thoroughly enjoyable Brillat-Savarin entry in our Spotlight book above, philosophy indeed takes a back seat to culinary passion. After a day of wild turkey hunting, capped by his host’s long dissertation on life in America, the Brit native left “plunged in profound thought.” About his host’s deep parting speech? Nope. “I was considering how best I should cook my turkey . . . I feared that in Hartford I might not find all the ingredients I would need.” Love his priorities!

  One of the early entries in that Spotlight book is Joel Barlow’s 1793 poem “Hasty Pudding,” a tribute to a pioneering version of this corn concoction, which reminded me that I wanted to see if I could track down Cleo Johns’ southern corn pudding, mentioned in “Hotbox” {05.24.19 Salon} where legendary food critic Mimi Sheraton confessed she loved this so much she traded Mrs Johns three cookbooks for her recipe.

  Nuts, no luck, but did find a five star take at AllRecipes, Grandma Swallow’s Corn Pudding. Meanwhile think for now I’ll stick with the prep from my precious stepdaughter Colleen, always a hit: combine 15 oz can kernel corn, 14 oz can creamed corn, 8 oz pkg corn muffin mix, 1 c sour cream, and 1 stick melted butter – pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 45 min or till golden – top with 1 1/2 c cheddar cheese & bake another 5-10 till cheese is melty. Let stand 5 min. Btw, one time a guest said, really don’t even need the cheese – ummm, speak for yourself {!}

  Some notes about our pie recipe above. I did use a store-bought crust. Also, I let the pudding chill in the fridge and the chocolate cool and then go into the fridge for a while before assembling the pie. Also, once the chocolate is pretty much  melted, might want to finish whisking it off the heat to make sure it doesn’t burn. And for whatever reason, better the next day.

So far next week: cheers-ing with ice cream {!}, PBS dining guide for outside, one of the coolest ways to fun-up your picnics and parties, Star Wars bacon {& more}, doggie chic

Direct access to Amazon homepage through my personal link

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – book/Amazon, eclair/KraftHeinz site, steak/Jon Sullivan. others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Mex makes salads exciting, May 31-June 6, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon 

  TIDBITS – cake plate trick / spicin’ / pubtime for pups {M – uh huh, and for kitties???}    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – behind the “Beard”    FEATURED RECIPE – s.o.b salads & free book  ♦  TIP – sammie upgrade    THE WEEK – Beard-ism / saucy discovery / fridge smarts

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Elevate your desserts. Literally. The secret behind “The $0 Trick for Bakery Style Desserts” is . . . bowls. Even before you click through, be aware that we’re talking here about presentation, not recipes. But intriguing nonetheless.

  Want to spice up your life in some new ways? Discard that first thought and have a look at “13 Next Level Spices and Seasonings.” Truth be told, it’s quite likely some of these will be familiar to CS-ers, and probably already in the pantry. But the good news is there are recipes links for each of these flavor boosters – e.g., stuffed roasted pumpkin, blackberry cardamom mulled wine, pecan breaded pork chops with beer sauce, dark chocolate ice cream with Sichuan peanut brittele, lots more.

  When you’re serving ice cold brews on a hot summer day – don’t forget the dog. Yep, Rover can join right in with the quaffing thanks to “Good Boy Dog Beer.” It’s brewed like people beer but not fermented, and thus non-alcoholic. Just to be good parents, may want to get your vet’s take on the beverage before sliding one down the bar to your good boy or good girl.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Inside the mind of a culinary legend

The behind-the-catering-scene book “Hotbox” featured in our 05.24.19 Salon opens with a guest chef dinner at the James Beard Foundation, which made me realize how little I knew about this iconic chef, widely regarded at the First Foodie, though I now know that title may more appropriately belong to his mom. I learned that fact and so many other revelatory details in the PBS film, “James Beard.”American Masters: James Beard DVD

What a fascinating story his life tells, from childhood travails, to mom’s influence, to cooking in exchange for invites, to his founding role in The Four Seasons restaurant and its pioneering devotion to seasonal cuisine, to his personal and professional relationships, to his authorship of about a dozen cookbooks, to his ascent to legendary status, to his post-mortem inspiration for the James Beard Foundation and Awards.

The tale is vastly enriched by lots of perspectives from those who knew him best. The DVD is about an hour long, part of PBS American Master Series, four stars on Amazon, Prime Eligible, just under $10.

“James Beard” DVD    James Beard cookbooks    CS Fine Chefs shop

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Color, texture, flavor, ole! {s.o.b. – south of the border}

In our 07.06.18 Salon, we featured Irish salad with cheese. Although it was a fine dish with its shaved Dubliner, it wasn’t really a match for what I’d thoroughly enjoyed in a totally authentic Irish pub, crisp cool veggies topped with warm melty cheese. Onward. Decided to apply the idea to a Mex mix. The lettuces, green onion, black olives and serrano were cold from the fridge. Tomatoes room temp. And then melted cheddar, sour cream and lime wedges.

And making that one immediately gave me a taste for Mexican Tuna Dip, which I first discovered in Cabo San Lucas, and subsequently found right in one of my fave local restaurants. As the name implies, the lively mix of cilantro, onion, tomato, jalapeno, mayo is intended as a dip but is actually quite a treat on toast or lettuce.

It also occurred to me that the melty salad could be an entree with the addition of a bit of rotisserie chicken, and then avocado making it even more substantial. Btw, with cheese pretty much all over this one, it’s a bit more like that Irish salad that started the ball of fun rolling.

Meanwhile found this Kindle book on Amazon, covering Mexican side dish and main dish salads. It doesn’t have any reviews yet but we may not care – it’s free! Yay!

“Mexican Salads”

♦  TIP  

Sammie glamour

In one of the demos in the Beard DVD there was such an easy way to turn a humble sandwich into a pretty picture. It was his signature combo of onions and homemade mayo on bread that in some versions is cut into rounds, but here it was triangles.

Then the magic. More mayo was spread on the outside and then the sandwich edges were rolled in freshly chopped parsley. Depending on the filling, thinking this could also be dill, basil, oregano, etc.

In my take – pastrami, Swiss, lettuce and tomatoes, with parsley – as you can see I left one side ungarnished to contrast with the layers of filling. For you creative CS-ers, the variations are endless.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I just loved that James Beard DVD, felt like just about anyone interested in food could comfortably have a nice chat with him despite his fame. One of the quotes in the film is especially endearing to us CS-ers who love freshness and flavor and hate wasting food and money: “It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available. Use them carefully and wisely and you will have less waste than if you searched for bargains and end up with a full garbage pail.”

♦  Just like some headlines can draw in the food-inclined, so for sure can some recipe names. Would you agree that “Comeback Sauce” might fall smack into that category? I first came across this reference in Food & Wine where it was served with grilled shrimp, and then in short order in the “Comfort Food Shortcuts” cookbook {02.22.19 Salon} where it teamed up with mashed potato crusted flounder. Not too surprisingly, google is all over it. Since as I’ve learned it’s a southern tradition, I made the really good one from “Southern Living.” Great on wings!

  So this is a good idea. In a recent episode, Ree Drummond not only cleaned out her refrigerator, but then, aha, moved the items with the closest expiration dates to the front of the shelves. I had recently washed my fridge from stem to stern and now, thanks Ree, added step two. Another way to help minimize waste!

So far next week: brunch bounty, chocolate peanut butter mousse, chocolate cookbook, make a sandwich cake, chocolate tip {sensing a theme here}, anti-anxiety foods, hello Mezcal, the ol’ pub in the yard trick

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – dvd/Amazon, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Chicken Parmesan Dip {soooo goood!}, May 24-30, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – do-ahead snacks {M – let’s do the bacon and cheese one right now} / sweet peels / foodie idea?    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – going backstage with caterers   FEATURED RECIPE – party perfect dip    TIP – Martha’s got you covered    THE WEEK – on a roll / beets all / eat to heal

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, backyard bbqs, summer picnics, oh yeah party time is upon us. When you’re the one hosting it’s always nice to have some appetizers to set out while you put the finishing touches on the rest of the repast. Even nicer when you can tap into some tasty and interesting “Make-Ahead Hors d’Oeuvres” from Food & Wine.

  So, I saw a chef on Food Network cook up some stuffed sweet potatoes, and then bite right through the half, skin and all. Hmmm, I have to say it never occurred to me that the skin was edible or palatable. So, hello google, only to discover all kinds of entries saying not only can you indeed consume them, but also touting their nutritional value.

  In the process I discovered a site called “Lunch Scraps,” which sounded like maybe it addressed going “nose to tail” with veggies as in a book we’ll be featuring later on. It wasn’t but is so filled with how-tos in its Cooking Tips section that it certainly does seem like it could lead a lot less waste.

  Do you have a food idea that you think could become a business? If so, might want to look into WeWork Food Labs. The company hosts other kinds of labs too, but the link takes you to the one for blossoming food entrepreneurs. They list out some nice on-site amenities and resources, but of course you’d want to do a bit more research on them before making any commitments – I have no connection to them or knowledge of them beyond what’s on their page.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

This is a revelation, a thoroughly fascinating book

Titled “Hotbox” by author brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee, it totally tears down the black curtain that normally conceals all the food prep happenings at virtually any catered event. It’s not really written for caterers though indeed they would likely be head-nodding at the all too familiar triumphs and catastrophes that are revealed here.Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World's Riskiest Business

But primarily this insider book is written for us, folks with a lively curiosity about all things food, especially stuff that’s typically hidden from our view. Page after page takes us right into the prep & event kitchens to witness all those wows and oops, plop us right at the work stations as the dishes take shape, and send us along with the waitstaff where more challenges may await.

We also learn how this became a $$$$$ industry, how to work with a caterer, some practical tips we can apply in our own kitchens, and as a bonus a whole new vocabulary.

One thing I can pretty much guarantee. Unlike the attendees who have not read this book, you will never again view a catered event in quite the same way.

Browse “Hotbox” on Amazon

  FEATURED RECIPE  

It’s a hit! Chicken Parmesan Dip

*  A Tasting Panel Selection  *

Oh, super tasty. A real crowd pleaser that’s doubly good as a party dish because it makes quite a bit.

And what gives it an easy head start is that you use rotisserie chicken right from the grocery store {and then can make stock from the bones for future use}. I have to give credit to MyRecipes for the original prep, which actually survives to a great extent in my version where I add in Italian seasonings and some extra cheese.

It was served piping hot from the oven with crostini as dippers. And afterward it lived on as a sandwich on a bun, and also as a pasta sauce after being thinned with a bit of V-8 though you could also use more marinara, or tomato sauce, or broth, or wine, or a combo.

And this is nice. Because it’s so flavorful you could if you wanted actually leave out the chicken to have a vegetarian dish, and it would still work just as well for all the above applications. This is a keeper.

Recipe page   Original at MyRecipes 

  TIP  

Foolproof recipes, foolproof techniques?

Here’s a tip. If you want to invest time and money in preps with these claims, make sure they come from an impeccable source.

Got one! Thanks to Food 52 you can tap into “9 Martha Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead (Food52 Works)Stewart Recipes for When You Need a Sure Fire Winner” {ummmm, think we’d like to have that pretty much all the time}.

Here you’ll find mac & cheese, stews, ethnic specialties, a one-pan pasta {shown}, and a dish that tucks right into a recent theme in our visits – sheet pans! – in this case for a crowd-feeding slab pie with just about any fruit your palate desires.

Btw, Food 52 has its own gussy offering for “stress-free meal planning.” It’s a cookbook called “A New Way to Dinner,” 4 stars on Amazon, Kindle and Hardcover.

Martha’s sure fires    “A New Way to Dinner”    Stewart’s books

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

♦  Sometime back I noted that I like to avoid doing biscuits with a biscuit cutter because of all the redoing which means handling the dough too much and almost inevitably ending up with waste. I had suggested creating a square which was then cut into squares. Now here’s a recipe from Trisha Yearwood that drops the dough by spoonfuls into muffin tins. Btw, I think she may also have been the one that in another method patted the dough into a circle, cutting that into wedges and then rolling each triangle into a ball. For all of those, no waste.

{Norene, move along to the 3rd item, nothing for you to see here in the 2nd one . . .}

♦  All I knew about beets in my childhood was that they showed up on a plate cooked to death in a treacly sauce {did Harvard really lend its name to this willingly?}. Then I discovered pickled beets and a whole different and wonderful world of flavor and texture. More recently, thanks to the top chefs in our town, I’ve come to actually crave roasted beets.

Now thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow I have a permanent addition to my recipe file. Place 6 beets, scrubbed and rubbed with 2 T olive oil {total} on parchment paper, add 3 T water, and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Wrap tightly in the parchment, making sure the beets are completely sealed inside so no liquid can escape, place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 90 minutes at 400. Do be careful of the hot steam when you open the package.

♦  The recipe above is from Paltrow’s book,  “The Clean Plate,” and the preceding link will take you to the Amazon page. It is quite interesting and more diverse than I expected, with preps pulling in veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, herbs, aromatics, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, spices, bottled and homemade sauces, lots of lemons and limes. Even sheet pan preps! Also specific healing cleanses, pantry & cooking tips.

So far next week: Mex salads, impromptu cake stands, kicky spices, not-so-secret sauce, sammie trick, all about Beard

SECURE ACCESS THROUGH MY LINK TO AMAZON HOME PAGE

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – books/Amazon, Martha’s pasta/Food 52 site, others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Ultimate Coconut Cake, “the coconut-tiest,” May 17-23, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon  

  TIDBITS – F&W IDs best stews / new roles for bacon {M – OK, let’s get started!} / shopping secret    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – steak guru    FEATURED RECIPE – coconut to the nth degree    TIP – coconut perks  ♦  THE WEEK – sammy fun / super side dish found  ♦  PLUS – new Amazon direct link

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

News, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

There just may be enough cool evenings left to enjoy a good stew. Especially when we can find ones that somewhat transition into spring with say a bounty of seafood in a light broth, or freshening with lemon and dill, or the addition of spring greens into the mix. Depth of flavor brings all the dishes in Food & Wines best ever one- pot dishes into one big tasty family.

♦  Any quarrels aside with the headline {I have faith CS friends certainly may have already thought of some of these}, any “meat candy” fan may want to take a look at “10 Ways You’ve Never Thought to Use Bacon” also courtesy of F&W. Here you’ll find not just breakfast ideas but as well snacks and seasoning, sandwiches and entrees, even a meetup with Almond Joy. Demo for one of them too.

Who would like to go shopping at one of the bulk stores? Who can’t because they don’t have a membership?? Who can now say, gonna shop there anyway??? Folks who read “The Simple Little Hack That Lets You Shop Costco and Other Wholesale Clubs Without a Membership”  from Real Simple – that’s who. Note I have not tried this, but think it certainly may be worth a look.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Like a PhD in Steak

In the “Franklin Barbecue” book, featured in our 03.16.18 Salon, Aaron Franklin schooled us on Q from A to Z. Now the iconic pitmaster, known and revered for his eponymous Austin TX restaurant and PBS show, is taking us by the hand through what may be America’s favorite entree in “Franklin Steak.”

The very moment you open the book you’ll know you’re in for a treasure trove of steakery. On the inside cover and facing page is a flow chart of all the steaks, guiding you through bone v boneless, cooking indoors or out, thickness, aging, on down the chart to exactly how to cook the particular cut.Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef.

And that’s just the beginning. He goes on to in effect walk with you during the buying process, covering grading, marbling, sources, and designations. While that purchase could occur at a farm or ranch or even online, the book recognizes that for most of us that’s going to be at the grocery store or butcher shop and here Franklin goes into good detail on what to look for.

There’s so much more, the jargon, aging, storage, testing for doneness, and of course the actual cuts and, elaborating on that opening chart for the “best way to cook”each. While the chart and other chat focuses on grill-cooking, chapter three gives us a cheat sheet for pan cooking, with even more on this subject in chapter five.

And then as well, recipes for side dishes and sauces plus beverage recommendations, The book is four stars on Amazon, hardcover {pretty good discount} and Kindle, Prime eligible.

Details on –  “Franklin Steak”    “Franklin Barbecue” {5 stars} 

  FEATURED RECIPE  

A cake for all seasons 

Coconut cake is one of those dessert delights that is just sweet and substantial enough to be satisfying in cool and cold weather, tropical enough to be welcome in warm and hot seasons. But think we all know this confection can fall anywhere on a spectrum from dry and chew-challenging to moist and flavorful.

Leave it to MyRecipes, one of my favorite sites, to deliver the epitome of the latter to us. The claim is in the name – “Ultimate Coconut Cake,” calling it the “coconut-tiest cake you can make.”

And the recipe makes good on that promise, big time my friends, with coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut extract, coconut flour, coconut milk, coconut cream, and flaked coconut.

As they say here, “For when you’re really, really serious about coconut.” By way, if you have trouble finding some of the less familiar items in your market, it’s good ol’ Amazon to the rescue, links below.

Recipe    coconut sugar    coconut flour    coconut cream

  TIP  

Super food?

With a little stretch, turns out the cake in our Featured Recipe could actually be good for you {!} It seems more and more we’re finding out how coconut in its many forms has any number of health benefits.

Fortunately this is a “health food” that tastes good. And so versatile besides. Tap into this link for more about the nutritional aspects of coconut and ways to incorporate it into your own cuisine.

Coconut Board

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  One of the Tidbits in our 03.22.19 Salon revealed odd eating choices among various food editors. And that prompted one of my own. Theirs often dated back to childhood, while this one is actually a recent discovery.

Two experiences collided to create a sweet and savory take on a classic sammie. And you know what, it is sooooooooo good.

Some years ago I read in an MFK Fisher book that one should never eat chocolate without bread. Coincidentally enough at a media event shortly thereafter one of the food rooms solely featured platters of large cubes of crusty bread and good chunk chocolate.

Even longer ago I was on a road trip in the Midwest with friend Peggy that included a stop at Stuckey’s. Back in the car first I was already munching on chocolate fudge blended with cheddar cheese. When Peggy got back to the car she asked what it was and when I told her, her face went all eww-y.

Just try one I said. Next I know the car door opened and slammed, followed in short order by friend returning with two boxes of her own, face now all smiley.

Guessing most CS friends can see what’s coming. Yep. Toasted cheese and chocolate, sauteed in a bit of butter till both are all melty. Oh my.

♦  It was a “crapples” moment when I realized that one of the cookbooks I’d donated to a local cause had my favorite red cabbage recipe. An extensive online search did not produce anything like the prep I remembered. And now, Eureka. Found this one thank you Food & Wine that, while tucking in a different ingredient or two, yields the same hearty flavor profile as the one that went away. Think you might like it too.

So far next week: food lab, new celeb blog, behind the black curtain, chicken parmesan dip, Martha’s wisdom, comeback sauce

YOU CAN CLICK HERE FOR SECURE ACCESS VIA MY LINK TO AMAZON HOME PAGE

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – coconut cake/Greg Dupree on the MyRecipes site, Franklin book/Amazon, sandwich/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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Melty Chocolate Filled, Chocolate Chip Sandwich Bars, April 26-May 2, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

& Misty the FoodieCat

CS friends, help yourself to tasty resources!

  CatChat –  Misty previews this week’s salon 

  TIDBITS – pan talk / cookies in a jiffy / ghostly marinade    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Mother’s Day food gifts {M – bummer, never had kittens, no gift  FEATURED RECIPE – ohmyohmyohmy    TIP – playing in the whipped cream    THE WEEK – dukkah doings / chocolate Guinness donuts – made ’em / sweet hack for Featured Recipe

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Did you know your baking pans can talk to you. Maybe not in out-loud words, but according to “What the Numbers on the Bottom of Your Casserole Dishes Mean” by MyRecipes, they can tell you dimensions, capacity, even possibly brand if you have one that is incognito. A linked chart helps with conversions.

Do you ever have a “Yikes, the cookies!!!” moment? As in, Yikes, I need cookies for the {bake sale, team treat, classroom party, baby shower, etc} . . . by . . . {this afternoon, this evening, tomorrow morning}! It’s going to be OK, have a cup of tea, or your beverage of choice, and browse these “7 Cookies You Can Make In Under An Hour.” Minimal ingredients, some maybe waiting in your pantry, easy prep, fast baking. Shown, the chocolate drizzled macaroons.

You can bypass the Get Recipes tab, if you want, and just click on the red-underlined item in each description. So, the seven: No-bake peanut butter cookies, raspberry-hazelnut macaroons, vanilla crescents, chocolate almond bars, coconut macaroons, butter cookies, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread.  Thank you Food & Wine.

Marinate meat with yogurt? This story on the Taste site says “It works. It works very well. A better story is: Why does it work, and what’s the best way to go about it?” And then guess what? It answers those two Qs and you can be on your way to a promised world of tenderness.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

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

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

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings Page

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Woohoo for Ooey Gooey

Salon friends, are any of you like this too? Certain headlines just pull me in like a bog on the moors {darn Rhys Bowen books}. This time it was Food & Wine’s “10 Ooey Gooey Desserts You Should Definitely Be Eating.”

Our choice shown here? Gooey Chocolate Chip Sandwich Bars – so gooey rich, so gooey good. One thing, phooey on waiting for the bars to cool completely. They are beyond decadent when still a little warm and soft. Oh my.

Just some of the others: chocolate ganache bread pudding, molten chocolate cake with caramel filling, butterscotch pots de creme with caramel sauce, chocolate peanut butter brownie banana splits. Is anyone else’s waistline in a panic that you might work your way through the entire list.

Recipe    The rest of the ooey gooey recipes

♦  TIP  

Whipped cream as a toy

As kids we were likely told not to play with our food. As adults, heck, we’ll play all we want. Even with – or maybe especially with – whipped cream!

Competitive bakers, Chris Taylor and Paul Arquin, also on the Taste site, found a way to play – sculpt, carve, write upon, etc – with the stuff. And the one step itThe New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert takes for it to become this kind of edible version of modeling clay couldn’t be easier. Since you can write on it, might want to take another look at the food color pens we used on the taters in our 04.05.19 Salon.

And the fun goes on. With ways to trick out whipped cream so it lasts in the fridge. And with recipes including one for chocolate intensive Pie of the Tiger.

You might also want to check out the duo’s book, “The New Pie.” Four and a half stars, No. 1 new release on Amazon, Kindle and hardcover, Prime eligible.

Sculpting – and more – with whipped cream    “The New Pie” cookbook

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Thus far, contributors and I have found these fave ways to enjoy Dukkah seasoning {Tidbits & Marketplace, 04.05.19}: on banana dipped in peanut butter, {a natural} banana dipped in Nutella, celery filled with soft cream cheese, olive oil for dipping bread, and plain hummus, but the best was in butternut squash soup.

The Chocolate Guinness Donuts, first featured as a Tidbit in our 03.22.19 Salon, are currently cooling on my counter, or five of the six are 😊. You don’t really taste the Guinness, rather just an extra touch of richness. In a while I’ll dust them with confectioners sugar as you’ll see in the photo.

  Note that these are quite dense, and while that’s generally my preferred texture, thinking next time I might see what a carton of yogurt might do. Hopefully won’t interfere with the flavor which is excellent.

  Thinking if I ‘fess up way down here, maybe the recipe creators won’t see it. OK, here it is – yes, guilty – for our Featured Recipe I did use Tollhouse refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough.

So far next week: famous roast chicken, chicken “insurance,” Martha’s foolproof recipes, cheesy Mex salad x 2, tricky lemon, malt powder haha, two new places for celeb chef dining

SECURE ACCESS THROUGH MY LINK TO AMAZON HOME PAGE

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

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

Photo credits – MD gifts/Amazon, whipped cream/Taste, all others/mine

All pages ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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

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