Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole, April 17-April 23, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Dear CS Friends

Starting this week and for as long as neceessary we’re going to share with you just two areas, both of which we hope you’ll find helpful and timely.

First, a comfort style recipe – in fact, most of our recipes fit this category but we’ll be going the extra mile to make sure they are super tasty and satisfying.

Second, whatever guides we can find that relate to the food you bring into the home or that you may already have in your home and how you can make the most of them and more.

We can perhaps take this time to flex our creativity in the kitchen, our own sweet safe haven

  COMFORT FOOD  

Hotsy, Totsy

In our 02.14.20 Salon we featured the first of the casserole-a-month recipes from Southern Living. That was shrimp and grits and I can only hope it is a marker for the other preps because that was one super tasty plateful.

So, the recipe for April is asparagus quiche which looked quite good and also takes advantage of a nice spring veggie. But I actually fast-forwarded to September and it’s ever-so-comfort sounding cheeseburger casserole with a heat secret {hotsy} and a tater tot {totsy} topping.

I did, btw, go generous with the cheese on top as you may see in the ungarnished version, and feel free to boost the bacon. One thing, since you may not be serving a crowd right now, consider cooking the beef and all the add-ins, portioning into the freezer, and then going ahead with the tots and toppings as you serve the portions.

According to Tasting Panel member and Duluth native Layne, this definitely qualifies as a classic Minnesota Hot Dish, and an eminently tummy-yummy one at that. That’s two out of two, Southern Living!

Next week: Famous loaded baked potato soup

SL recipe    All their casseroles    Southern Living

♦  FOOD TIPS FOR THE TIMES 

Shopping, cooking, storing, using up, substituting, enjoying, health & safety

  We ran an item on safe shopping in our 03.27.20 Salon that focused on what to do once the groceries are in your home. Now ABC-TV News has taken us right into the store with “How to safely grocery shop during coronavirus.”

  TV chef and cookbook author Ina Garten shows us how to make good use of existing pantry staples. She calls them her quarantine meals but they sure do equate to comfort food. Thanks to MyRecipes for sending this along.

Eat This, Not That (Revised): The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!  Are you familiar with the Eat This, Not That! books, articles, and website? The whole realm is premised on what to put and not put on your plate in the interest of nutrition, health and wellness. A recent post by msn.com, under the Eat This, Not That! banner, talks about “30 Best Immune-Boosting Foods.” The good news is that pretty much of it is stuff you can easily find at your supermarket. That first link, btw, takes you to the books on Amazon.

  Can’t get out to your favorite coffee emporium? This might be a fix, and since it’s gone viral you may already have seen it. “Quarantine Dalgona coffee” popped up on my Echo Show. Whaaaaat?  And this was unexpected. When I searched online, atop the results was a story by . . .  “Popular Mechanics” ??? They were looking at the science behind this stuff which is basically whipped sweetened coffee, named after a Korean confection and bearing some resemblance to what you would find at Starbucks, et al. This Google page will show you that one and lots more.

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Giada’s fresh & simple salmon dish, Jan 17-Jan 23, 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 – cheesy chicken galore / pudding shots! / cheeseboard upgrade    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – top-rated cheeseboards    FEATURED RECIPE – a touch of spring     TIP – it’s a wrap   THE WEEK – Tejano cooking / donuts from what ??? / a tasty, testy past 

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

I so look forward to receiving the MyRecipes online newsletter because it’s always filled with good stuff that I like to share with you. But sometimes a single newsletter is just a total culinary home run and one I just caught up with from last month is a perfect example. All three tidbits come from that one newsletter

  Here’s another one of those {at least to some of us!} irresistible headlines. 34 Cheesy Chicken Casseroles. So much good stuff here, classics like parmesan and enchiladas to some a bit more out there including a loaded baked potato version and a Tex-Mex squash combo. Btw, if you don’t want to do the slide show, should be able to just scroll down on the page that opens with the link. And . . . “surf” takes a turn next week in our Featured Recipe, baked seafood au gratin.

  Oh yum. Move over jello shots, here comes pudding. After pudding of your choice and alcohol of your choice, the variations are endless, as their story, “How to make pudding shots: the easy, boozy treat you never knew you needed,” shows in living color. It’s sort of like a spirited, drinkable, trifle. Now, it doesn’t specify where the alcohol goes, but guessing jello shot vets know it will be mixed into the pudding. Some other pudding shots I saw online combined everything into one mixture, but this layered approach makes a really nice presentation.

  So the holidays are over, but the reasons/excuses for a party large or small are fortunately never ending. A star of the show can often be a selection of cheeses. But have to say I never realized that “This ingredient is a crucial addition to your cheese board.” Not trying to be mysterious here, but before you click the link, see if you can guess what ingredient is not usually on the board but in fact makes great sense to join the array. I like it!

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

And continuing  the subject . . .

It’s like a cheeseboard superstore at Amazon. Yikes is this some good looking stuff.

Choose your material, choose your size, choose your shape, choose your amenities, choose your price – it’s all there. To give you a bit of a head start on filtering your options, our link below takes you to only boards that are 4 stars & up.

Did someone say amenities? Yep, some of these items come with slots or niches for serving utensils or even better a slide-out drawer {shown}, or slide out trays for extra surface, or cracker trenches to keep them nice and neat, or with their own little bowls or cheese markers, and at least one that stores as a compact wedge and then swivels open to an 18″ tiered circle {shown}.

Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any OccasionAnd even if you’re not in the market right now? Might want to take a look anyway since most of the boards on the Amazon pages are “dressed,” and as such offer a wealth of ideas on how you could assemble your own goodie mix. Or you can find all kinds of help with our link to colorful books on cheeseboards for all occasions.

Note that you can click on the illustrations to go directly to that item on Amazon. This book, btw, is an Amazon Best Seller.

Cheeseboards 4 stars & up    Cheeseboard books 4 stars & up

  FEATURED RECIPE  

Just simply good 

Even though spring is not yet even close to visible on the horizon, a touch of it can come to your plate with this fish dish from Giada. And because the salad accompaniment is so “springly,” the goodness of the salmon remains the star of the show.

The filet is treated gently in both the prep and the cooking process. A quick broil and done.

As for that light, bright salad, it actually serves double duty, as a bed under the fish and then as a garnish. That would be a lightly dressed mix of fennel, radish, and basil, a great counterpoint to the richness of the salmon. Btw, I also used some of the pretty and flavorful fennel fronds as garnish.

Giada continues her focus on tasty, healthful dining. You can keep up with offerings by signing up for her newsletter, link in the upper corner of her page.

Giadzy’s Broiled Salmon with Fennel Salad   Giada’s cookbooks    Giada’s DVDs

  TIP  

But wait . . . there’s more

Encore! This is indeed a re-run but it fits in well with our other sections this week.

There are suggestions galore online on the best way to store packaged store-bought cheese. This is what has always worked well for me . . .

Cut off the end of the package wrapper. Then cut along both top edges all the way to the back, but leaving the back intact so that you end up with a kind of hinged flap.

After slicing off the cheese you need, fold the two loose ends of the wrapper over the cheese, and place it in a food storage bag, pressing the opened end tightly against the inside of the bag so the wrapper ends stay in place as you press out the air, seal the bag, and fold the rest of it around the block of cheese.

If you’re rather use devices designed for that purpose, we have a link below to that page on Amazon.

Cheese keepers, 4 stars & up

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  The cookbook, “AMA – A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” served up a nice discovery. Though I’d heard of it before, had never really delved into Tejano cooking, the south Texas home vs nationwide commercial version of Tex-Mex. It’s marked by lots of beef, chili plain and simple, lots of chiles fresh and dried, cumin, and two surprises – considerable German influence and more bacon than I expected. The title refers to the chef/author Josef Centeno’s LA restaurant, Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Mexican Food Cookbooks, Tex-Mex Cooking, Mexican and Spanish Recipes)whose name in turn honors Centeno’s great grandmother’s cooking, and the cuisine is the product of four generations of food-oriented Tejanos {Texans of Mexican heritage} on both sides of his family. Haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but surely will.

  I just love the Mad Genius tips. This time it’s donuts, which he calls the easiest ever and they just may be. The magic is in puff pastry, and the rest of the story is in his donut demo. Btw, since I don’t do a lot of deep frying, I made some by dipping both sides of puff pastry shells in peanut oil and then baking them per instructions. {Hold off for Part II in two weeks.}

  Oh, the memories. As a Chicago native and long time Las Vegas resident, the story is of more than passing interest. My first contact with any of the elements was when my husband and I, visitors at the time, dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant near the Las Vegas convention center – called Villa d’Este, it was parlayed from a previous site called Villa Venice, in turn previously Anjoe’s. After a history of a gunshot, a fire, Chicago mob ties, and a touch of Sinatra, it eventually evolved into Piero’s, now an equally famous institution for almost four decades. One of my very favorite chefs, Hubert Keller, will visit this legendary restaurant during his January 25 “Secrets of a Chef” episode on PBS.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – cheeseboards & book/Amazon, all others/mine
  •  Link sources – cheeseboards, books. dvds/Amazon, recipe/Giada’s site, donut demo/Food & Wine site, history of Villa d’Este, now Pierro’s/ imgur.com {shows “lock” icon}
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: more cheesy goodness with a baked seafood au gratin, 40 best-ever recipes from top source, my own pudding shot, chocolate cookies with surprise ingredient, new fave baked beans

Last week, just below: shrimp curry with spinach, 30-min dinners, hot toddy prep {plus bonus tip}, chai-spiced snickerdoodles, bye bye holiday pounds, save the cookware, food resources keep Echo-ing, “venting”

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

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All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Shrimp curry with spinach a la Downton Abbey, Jan 10-Jan 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 – dinner in 30 / toddy & bonus spoon trick / Chai goes “kookie”    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – busy person’s diet guide    FEATURED RECIPE – flavors burst out of history    TIP –your pans will thank you    THE WEEK – the peanut indicator / treasure trove of food resources / steam up, up & away

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  I’m guessing pretty much every one of us could make good use of this. From Food & Wine online, 30-min dinners in an illustrated slide show with links to the recipes. You’ll find steak & chops, fish & seafood, pasta dishes, burger creations, veggie entrees, soup and eggs. I’m thinking of trying one of the chicken recipes, either the spicy Mexican one or the stir fry with Chinese cabbage.

  It’s sure the right time of year for this libation, and we can thank IrishCentral for a fine hot toddy prep. But what I found equally interesting is a tip embedded here. I haven’t had the nerve to try it and certainly not encouraging you to either – but if you do hope you’ll share it with the rest of us. Or maybe this is something lots of folks already know about and use. It involves placing a metal spoon into the glass which it says will keep it from breaking.

We have to guess this refers to when the hot water is added – clearly something is missing in that part of the prep. It would seem to mean some of the hot water is added to the glass in advance to heat it up, then discarded before proceeding with the other ingredients. I looked at some other recipes and most just put in everything at the same time. Cheers!

  And I just bet these would go great with that toddy. Chai-spiced snickerdoodles! Another flavorful winner from MyRecipes.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The “weight” is over! {or it can be}

Is taking off some pounds among your 2020 resolutions?  Either those that have been hanging around for too long now, or maybe a holiday “gift that keeps on giving”? Help is here!

My very own Dieter’s Survival Guide series gives you ways to deal with all those everyday situations that try to add more pounds and inches, or keep you from shedding the ones you want to go onto someone else’s hips. Not a formal program, but rather a common sense roadmap to avoid fat traps without feeling deprived.

There is a full-story version but these days most folks prefer quicker access and that’s right here in “The Busy Person’s Diet Guide,” including all the information of the original but in fast-read form.

You can see the full series, available on Amazon, in our Marketplace, .99-$2.99.

CS Marketplace on this site

  FEATURED RECIPE  

History in every bite 

This just might be high on the list of most fun looking at and for recipes. The Downton Abbey Cookbook serves up delectable back stories for all the preps, plus Downton tidbits, snippets of relevant dialog, and even how to host a Downton-themed party.The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Curries carry their own piece of history. To quote the book, “In season 4 {Rose’s father} is appointed governor of Bombay and moves to India, which at the time was under British rule: in 1877, Queen Victoria was declared empress of India, and in 1887 she had five Indians brought over to act as her personal attendants.” *

They continue, “British fascination with India went back much further, however, and the first curry recipes appeared in English cookery books in the eighteenth century. By the time Downton opens in the Edwardian period, curries were almost as British as fish and chips, and were often seen as a way to use up leftovers.” {kudos!}

What I found so amazing about this curry is that for all its simplicity, it’s loaded with flavor. And would certainly marry every bit as well with chicken or pork – hmmm, wonder how it would be mixed with just rice as a side dish or meatless entree.

*  This was the real-life basis for the movie, “Victoria & Abdul.”

Recipe page on this site    “The Downton Abbey Official Cookbook”  ♦  Other Downton items  

  TIP  

Save the cookware!

We can thank Cooking Light for this revelation about a possible mistake we’re making with our pots and pans and bakeware. One simple and effective way, they say, to prolong their life, and especially the finish, is to allow some cooling time before hitting them with water. See the full story here.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  So I made cookies for some of my favorite people over the holidays and one of my favorite cookies is chocolate chip stuffed with a peanut butter cup. But what about possible peanut allergies for folks beyond the friends who may indulge without realizing there’s pb inside. So, instead used a caramel filled chocolate kiss. But afterward remembered something I’d read long ago which is – whenever this might be a concern, put an actual peanut, whole or chopped, atop the goodie. What a great idea. Next time.

  Do you have an Echo Show? I do now, the “8,” and among all the other features, what a bonanza for cooks. The rotation on the screen regularly features recipes and if you opt for one of them, a demo pops up followed by the actual prep in text form. And if you miss clicking it, you can just ask for it and sweet Alexa brings it right back. Or you can request a recipe and chances are several will appear as in the photo showing roast chicken options. Food podcasts too! What a fun and cook-friendly toy! {And no, not a freebie from Amazon}

  Could be my imagination. Often when I’m making stock, I’ll use a lot of water to be sure all the ingredients are totally immersed with plenty of room to frolic around as they cook. But then after they’ve done their best and are strained out, I let the stock continue to cook and evaporate somewhat to concentrate the flavors. When I was doing that recently I wanted to hurry the process but without boiling steam into the stock. Did this work? –  I turned on the vent fan and it sure seemed like those vapors stepped up their ascent into the ionosphere.

This week’s: 

  •  Photo credits – book/Amazon, all others mine
  •  Link sources –  books, movie, Echo/Amazon
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Tex Mex cookbook, seafood au gratin, cheesy chicken casseroles, pudding shots, cheese board upgrade, puff pastry donuts

Last week, just below: top tasty recipes from 2019 on CS

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, also valid for questions & comments – see the Let’s Chat tab for email details

Note, transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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

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Bacon-Pimiento Cheese Dip, Nov 22-Nov 28, 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 – say Hi to pie / gravy trick / food vs sleep     CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – baking book from the best    FEATURED RECIPE – all the right stuff    TIP – flour trick    THE WEEK –  another Parm corn butter app / jar salads & other easy lunches / a quote to love

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Here comes pie season! America’s Test Kitchen helps us kick it off with its article, “A Slice of Pie.” You’ll find some tips on pie baking, a link to their pie book, an offer for their pie book, and their recipes for Perfect Pecan Pie, Apple Slab Pie, and The Best Pumpkin Pie.

  Afraid the leftover gravy might run out before the leftover turkey and stuffing do? No worries, because MyRecipes is here to tell you “How to make a rich, flavorful gravy using bouillon cubes.” And in fact you could use this prep anytime a gravy craving hits and the freezer isn’t cooperating.

  Insomnia? Don’t make it worse by indulging in “7 Bedtime Snack Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Sleep.” Even better, this Cooking Light article tells you why each of the items is a zzz-killer and, even better yet, what to have instead. It’s not about deprivation but rather, smart choices.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

“Classic, can’t-fail recipes for a lifetime of happy baking”

How’s that for a cookbook promise??? And do you know why we can fully believe that – because the source of these recipes is Maida Heatter, “Queen of Cake,” three-time Beard winner, Beard Hall of Fame inductee, contributor to the New York Times, and creator of numerous baking books.

Happiness Is Baking: Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Muffins, Brownies, Cookies: Favorite Desserts from the Queen of CakeShe left us just this year, at age 102. At age 100 she took the stage to receive one of those awards and then starting chucking wrapped brownies into the crowd. Thinking she probably didn’t slow down after that either.

So here’s a collection of her favorites – cakes, pies tarts, muffins, brownies, cookies – complete with tips and techniques for the entire process. Two things quickly become obvious. One, Heatter really favors chocolate And second, the recipes often seem long, but that’s good news because she pretty much talks you through all the steps.

Here are just a few of her famous confections I’d like to make:  Budapest Coffee Cake, Bull’s Eye Cheesecake {this one is like a magic trick}, and Peanut Butter Puffs. But first of all her Chocolate Intrigue, “a moist cake with a fine texture and an extremely generous amount of chocolate. It keeps well, slices beautifully, and is quick and easy to make” – wow, are those ever all the right words {and btw, has a secret ingredient}.

Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking” – 4 1/2 stars on Amazon    Other Heatter books

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

A natural for the party table 

Yikes does this bacon-pimiento cheese dip look good. Flavorful, versatile and easy, just like we like it, right savvy CS friends?

The only cooking step could be the bacon. Or, as the prep suggests, use fully cooked bacon. After that, it’s just mix it all up, pour into a baking dish, into the oven, and then say c’mon, c’mon, c’mon until it’s done.

Serve with crackers and veggies as shown. Or other veggies, or crisped pita or tortillas, or sausage sticks. Or? And maybe a toast topper the next morning.

This tasty dip is on the Kraft/Food & Family site. Be careful, there are other tempting recipes on that page that beg to be added to your collection, like the chicken enchilada stew.

Kraft recipe  

♦  TIP  

Timely

In the process of looking for something else, I came upon my gram’s bread recipe. Oh my the memories of those heavenly loaves.

That immediately went on the do list for fall baking. And in a case of happy coincidence, Ina Garten had a bread baker on a recent show and he did one of those things that when you see it you say, well duh, of course.

When he put the dough in the bowl to rise, he sprinkled some flour on the inside of the bowl just above the loaf-to-be. So when it does rise, it won’t stick to bowl. Great idea.

It was timely for me and hopefully for you too. To paraphrase our featured author, Happy Baking!

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  I’m really liking the pureed version of the Parm corn butter {11.01.19}. And I may have discovered my favorite way yet of using it – to cook scrambled eggs. Just melt it in the pan, stir around the eggs till everything is incorporated, and enjoy. Because of the Parmesan already in there I didn’t add any salt but did hit it with a good shower of cracked pepper.

♦  Oh yeah, this is an idea for us. It’s not totally new, but it seems most often the jar trick has to do with ingredients for something to bake, and of course nothing wrong with that at all. But here, the jar holds ingredients for {usually} a salad, one of the “5 Quick and Clean Lunch Recipes That You Don’t Have to Reheat.” from Clean Plates. For mine, I went south of the border with avocado, red onion, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, cheddar cubes, black beans, lettuce and then ranch dressing, Btw, this 6″ jar yielded an Elaine-worthy “big salad.”

♦  Even though baking guru Maida Heatter is no longer among us, her 102-yr-old self was sure here long enough to pen the intro to the latest collection of her recipes, featured above. In that preamble, after recounting an incident where she was watching a tv doc talk about ways to reduce stress, and she yelled at the screen, “Bake cookies!,” she added these lines that I love: “Baking is a great escape. It’s happiness. It’s creative. It’s good for your health. It reduces stress.” Amen to that dear one.

So far next week: cinnamon cake with chocolate chile frosting, chocolate Yule logs, pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes, holiday decor for the kitchen, Maida Heatter’s bittersweet chocolate sauce with cocoa, Andres’ veggie upgrade, taming the marshmallows, a new way to glaze, all-in pie crust

Last week, just below: Thanksgiving help, cheese help, Cookbook Club help, join Bobby Flay in the kitchen, tunnel of fudge cake, tv “guide,” frozen cauliflower goes good, Parm butter 2.0, Twain quote

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, cheese dip/Kraft, others/mine

Link sources – Heatter books/Amazon 

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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Bacon & Egg Breakfast Enchiladas, Oct 25-Oct 31, 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 – easy upgrade / pomey punch / whose salad???    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Buddy-bakin’    FEATURED RECIPE – just add a b-mary    TIP – veggies go scary   THE WEEK – cookbooks! / pizza rescue / spinach so rich 

♦  TIDBITS  ♦

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  What a clever tip, actually a multi-tip, but all having to do with salad dressings. Bottled salad dressings. And how to upgrade the flavor with some simple tricks. The MyRecipes story, ‘How to Make Salad Dressings Taste Homemade,” starts from a broader perspective, including this line that will likely resonate with our Salon folks, “. . . often store-bought items reveal to you upon first taste exactly what they need to be a better version of themselves.” The detail then covers vinaigrettes plus dressings that are creamy, sweet or cheese-based. Good ideas!

  Could this be the star of your cocktail party? First of all it’s based on the great taste of pomegranate without those pesky seeds {or, it doesn’t have to – feel free to leave out those interlopers}. Second, it has the sweet touch of one kind of wine and the refreshing sparkle of another. Third, it brings to the party that symbol of hospitality, pineapple, and one of the holidays’ fave fruits, orange. And fourth, it serves a crowd. Sip on. Thanks Food & Wine for this Sparkling Pomegranate Punch.

  Can a salad be scandalous? Well maybe not even if its name touches a 70s nerve. So the subject here is Watergate Salad, an unusual combo that tastes better than you might think. My mom was an early adopter of this prep and it was always a hit with dinner guests. As the MyRecipes story noted, while the the Deep Throat source was eventually revealed, the salad’s remains somewhat controversial. Who cares! Enjoy – and party! – whichever party you prefer.

♦  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT  ♦ 

Bake it like Buddy

This may be the very closest we can come to making a cake just like the tasty creations of “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro. Even better than having a recipe.

Buddy Valastro Foods Perfect Cake Kits - Cake Mix, Cake Pans, Icing, and Filling (Banana Cream Cake)This is like having him right in your kitchen. In the form, that is, of one on his cake kits, available as either white cake or banana cream, and including the mix, the filling, the icing . . . even the pan.

The only thing that would be more authentic would be to have one of his cakes made for you. Oops, that’s also a possibility, with ordering instructions on his Carlo’s Bakery site, which we’ve linked below.

But wait there’s more. He also offers his own ready-to-use fondant in white and purple, plus gourmet crumb cake and peanut butter/carob treats for – wait for it – your dog!

Valastro cake kits    Carlo’s Bakery site    Valastro’s cookbooks    “Cake Boss” DVDs

♦  FEATURED RECIPE  

Good Morning! 

And it surely will be if these bacon and egg breakfast enchiladas are on the table. And, yes, breakfast would be good but these flavorful bundles have brunch written all over them, as actually the Food & Wine page mentions.

Don’t be scared by the ingredient list. It’s long but really just the result of a palate-tingling array of seasonings and spices, most of which are tossed into a quick sauce.

And pretty smooth sailing too, just the way we busy CS-ers like it. Most of us have cooked bacon and scrambled eggs before, and that’s about as difficult as this prep gets.

The green onion garnish and side scoop of sour cream add nice color and texture. But you know what, a ladle of refried beans and some ripe sliced avocado wouldn’t hurt either!

Can this be right. The Amazon link just below for the magazine shows $5 for a 1-year subscription {vs $71.88}. Does say limited time offer.

Food & Wine recipe    Food & Wine magazine {might be 2nd one down on page}

♦  TIP  

Vegetables have never been so scary

Cooking Light did the most clever thing with a vegetable platter. With deft arrangement it all comes together as a skeleton! Also on the page some pumpkin-faced cookies and other characters, “devil” eggs, vampire dip and oven-baked sweet potato tots with jalapeno garlic ranch – the latter two to keep Dracula away.

Here’s the link

Meanwhile the marshmallow chart originally scheduled for this week will appear in the 11.08.19 Salon. There’s a decorated mallow too.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room 

♦  So, went to a very dangerous place this week. Called Amber Unicorn, it’s a used book store with a truly eclectic offering, but here’s the thing – the cookbook collection rules. For folks like us, the debit card all but jumps out as you pass the register, waiting patiently there as you begin a long leisurely browse. If you’re in Las Vegas, or will be, it’s a list-topping stop. Now, the center is no longer a bustling place but no worries, still in a busy part of town.

♦  I was dismayed when I took leftover pizza slices out of the freezer and saw how skimpy they were. Solution: pile on! Olive oil in the bottom of a baking dish, pizza in, tomato slices on top. When baked enough to be fairly warm added fresh spinach, shredded mozzarella, pepper and marjoram, a drizzle of olive oil, then back in the oven. Topped each serving with a fried egg. Yeah, that was satisfying.

♦  In this My Week section last week {10.18.19 Salon} we posted a rich spinach recipes from Jose Andres’ cookbook, “Vegetables Unleashed.” There was something the chef said in his intro in the book that I quite liked and wanted to share. “. . . drive the extra mile, pay the extra dollar . . . Find the people and places that can give you a little taste of perfection.”

So far next week: Doritos Chicken Casserole, Take out containers do what???, Parmesan corn butter, favorite kitchen storage, star turn for carrots, cheesy addiction, donairs

Last week, just below: bread-keeping tricks, edible quarks?, food show returns, lovely novel, cinnamon apple pie bread recipe, taste instead of waster, nachos > burritos, rich Catalan-style spinach, dinner metric 

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 – Baking kit/Amazon, others/mine

Link sources – Valastro cake kits/Carlos Bakery, Valastro cookbooks & dvds & F&W mag/Amazon, others/self-ID 

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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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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