Make our own German Chocolate Brownies, June 4-June 10, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

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Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

  Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Kudos to restaurants that tell us how to make their signature dishes. In this case it’s  IKEA’s Swedish meatball recipe or, as they call it in this Southern Living piece, an “at home alternative.” And yep, the cream sauce prep is there too.      If you made extra of the Mexican Bean Dip {05.21.21 Salon} and have leftovers, yowza you’re on your way to a super flavorful bean soup. I added beef bouillon and taco sauce, then on with the toppings – sour cream, avocado, bacon, cheddar, then cilantro over all. Yum.      Who doesn’t want to get ahead of the game? Look how we can do just that. 40+ Freezer Recipes To Make Ahead and Reheat Easily. Good stuff too, think Smoked pork stuffed shells, Green chile chicken stew, Tamale pie mix-up, Tex-Mex meatballs in red chile sauce, Buffalo chicken casserole, more.

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Shopping Finds – After coming across that Oreo birthday gift that we had featured {04.23.21 Salon}, wondered if Amazon may have other nice gift packs for birthday celebrations. Yep, at the link.        So, I recently saw a passing reference to the nutritional benefits of dried fruits – in addition to being quite tasty – so googled and found interesting nutritional information. Then thinking, maybe Amazon has dried fruit gifts too. And again, yep.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – With June weddings here, definitely time to think about bride gifts. One with a whimsical touch is our pretty, flowery “Just Married” tee. For the honeymoon trip, to relax into the day after the ceremony, or just to say, “We did it!” On our Eclectic Mall page.

   On the Table  

Feature – German Chocolate Brownies, several ways to get there

So, in last week’s Salon we featured German Chocolate Brownies available from goldbelly. And yikes they look good, but we do have ways to make our own, even if they aren’t quite the same showpieces.

Let’s start with the 5-star recipe from Taste of Home linked below. A classic brownie recipe, though using German sweet chocolate. And the classic pecan and coconut topping that we associate with German Chocolate cake. Likely worth every one of its stars.

But, I had some of the wonderfully dense, chewy brownies left over from our chocolate malt version {04.30.21 Salon}. And as a big fan of time saved if quality’s preserved, I made the ToH frosting and right onto the ready and waiting brownies {shown, right}. This frosting, btw, could easily become your sweet tooth’s bff.

No naked brownies in your freezer? If there’s a mix you like, that can certainly be a worthy shortcut. Or, for an even “shorter cut,” if your market’s bakery has brownies with just powdered sugar, snap ’em up, and lay down the frosting.

The cookbook shown here is just one from the many featured at the link below, but just look at that cover. You almost want to put it on a plate and get a fork. Have to wonder if that brownie on top was meant to be that way or if someone at the photo session lost control.

Recipe Notes – Instead of broiling the topped brownies I nuked the frosting for about 45 seconds. I also made an alternate version of the frosting for folks who need to avoid nuts, substituting chocolate chips instea}, and given the extra sweetness cut the sugar to 1/3 cup. Great with ice cream!

Next week – Bloody Mary Bean Chili

Taste of Home Recipe    Brownie Cookbooks, 4 stars & up

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do I make pineapple vanilla skillet cake? Yay, two great flavors come together here and then they welcome in fresh orange and honey to create a treat that juicy underneath, crackly on top. All in an easy, easy prep. And even better, it’s oven-free. Btw if your market doesn’t carry self rising cake flour, you can find it on Amazon.

Alexa says request: How do I make ham & cheese pull apart garlic bread? Every part of this title says, gimme the recipe! And here it is. From Tasty. Easy start with ready to use pizza dough. Perfect for brunch.

My request: Do you have recipes for cookie pops? I requested this general category in search of cheesecake cookie pops I’d seen somewhere. They didn’t appear but what did could not be more appropriate for the three upcoming national holidays, and with the bonus of one of America’s favorite cookies. Red, White & Blue Oreo Cookie Pops! From Food Network.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talk – whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

   What kind of snack table doesn’t “go nuts”??? Make sure yours isn’t one of them with this amped up version. The Spiced Pecans prep from Tastemade wrangles sweet from sugar, heat from cayenne, and a touch of exotic with cinnamon and ginger. Our own celeb chef Les Kincaid says these contrasting flavors are enhanced by a nice glass of rosé.

  Tastemade strikes again with a classic combo that in this incarnation can be breakfast, brunch, or . . . awesome addition to the snack table. Chicken & Waffle Bites! Prep some waffle mix, skewer the chicken, fire up the oil and before you know it you’re sprinkling powdered sugar and dunking in maple syrup.

   Food & Wine schools us on a whole new gin and its maybe unexpected provenance. The name is Sông Cái and the origin is Vietnam. So much makes it unique starting with the 14 local tribe-sourced botanicals in the mix, but maybe even moreso, the “culinary philosophy, which emphasizes a balance of ingredients deemed to have hot or cold energy.” There’s so much more to this story, including the fact that major cities in the country have become cocktail destinations.

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Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

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And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

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

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Oh my, Chocolate Fudge Party Pie, April 2-April 8, 2021

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Let’s chat   

Kitchen Talk – Remember our fast, easy way to color eggs with food color pens. See our 07.26.19 Salon for tips & details.      They’re not just for people anymore. What? The recipes on MyRecipes. Here are their 13 preps for pets. If you have any concerns about these preps, please check with your vet.      Sometimes the headline just pulls you in and then the opening line seals the deal – like this one, “What if I told you that I could guarantee perfectly cooked, perfectly tender pork chops, every time?” It turns out How to Cook Tender Juicy Pork Chops Every Time from the kitchn is a matter of cut, brine and oven.

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Shopping Finds – You don’t have to be too many pages in to “Open Kitchen” to realize that all of the preps a re just so pretty, so party-ready. And that’s all the more notable because tons of work is definitely not part of the equation here. Both aspects are pretty well covered in the claim that this cookbook is “full of contemporary, stylish, and accessible dishes that will delight and impress with less effort.” By Susan Spungen, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, hardcover and kindle, Prime eligible.       What would we do without whisks??? But does your inventory include this French design? Here’s where it shines – anytime you’re prepping say a sauce right in the pan, this is the one that incorporates those ingredients that try to hide all around the bottom edges, often missed by the pointy guys. Set of two mini French whisks, $5.90 on Amazon, 4 1/2 stars, Prime Eligible.

This week’s featured CS-designed, Zazzle-crafted item – Stake you claim right on your mug. “In This House I’M the Celebrity Chef” On our Food-Themed Mugs page right here on CS. Also says it loud and clear on our Food-Themed T-Shirts page. This same saying is also available on an Apron on our Zazzle page.

 

   On the Table 

Feature – Chocolate Fudge Party Pie, a festive delight in every bite

Party? Well that can be, as our CS watchwords say, for a crew, or for two, or just for you. The festive spirit knows no limitations.

And with that in mind we put the spotlight on a big bunch of decadence. Borrowing a line from Reese’s, not sorry!

The original {shown in CHB, 11.06.20 Salon} on a somewhat ancient newspaper clipping, calls for a cooked filling. This re-do takes a clue from our Bailey’s chocolate pots {03.05.21 Salon} and replaces the egg with cream cheese for no-cook, no-bake {except for the crust} prep that’s still pretty faithful to the original.

Here’s what I used: 8 oz cream cheese, 1 c milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 T softened butter, 3.5 pkg chocolate fudge instant pudding mix, 2 T ea cocoa and brown sugar, all in the food processor. Into the baked crust, covered in the fridge for a few hours or till completely set. Easy!

Serve with whipped topping. Or our new friend, colored sugar. Or both!

Recipe Notes – You probably could use a ready-made graham cracker crust but I really think that could send the sweetness over the edge. Why a party pie? Thinking because with so many rich ingredients would probably be for a special occasion . . . and because it would likely be the star of any get-together.

Next week – Hasselback Pizza Chicken, as tasty as it is fun

Recipe  ♦  Pie cookbooks on Amazon, 4 stars & up

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Have a cuppa in Alexa’s room – recipes & more

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make donut bread pudding? So, what actually comes up is even better, Cider Donut Bread Pudding. And if the picture tells the true tale, it is beyond moist. I’m guessing the large apple and cup and a half of cream help in that regard. This is 5 stars, from AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: How do you make Shepherd’s Pie Potato Bowls? What an interesting dish. And quite rich, with the major culprit being butter – brushed onto the potato skins, mashed into the potatoes, mixed into the shepherd’s pie ingredients, and then crowning the finished “bowl.” The recipe comes from Food Network.

My request: Do you have recipes for leftover ham? And up came preps for soups, salads, sandwiches and casseroles. This one was kind of an unusual application, Ham, Bean and Kale Slaw by Serious Eats. But I was drawn most of all to the Sheet Pan Cubanos by the easy method, and the interesting option of using chicken or turkey instead of pork.

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, shopping lists, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen. Some connect to Amazon Prime.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

Sundowner snacks, drinks, talkwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Campari fan? You’ll probably want to take a look at these 18 Delicious Campari Cocktails to Make at Home from Food & Wine. If you’re new to this Italian aperitivo note that F&W calls it herby, citrusy and pleasantly bitter. It’s also an essential in the popular drink Negroni, starring in recipes all over google.

   Foodtalkdaily seems to favor the sweet side of the prep spectrum {not that’s there’s anything wrong with that!}, but here it gives us a delectable appetizer, baba ganoush. While you may already be familiar with this smoky eggplant dip, what you may like to know as well is that it satisfies a lot of diets – being keto, gluten-free and vegan. The site suggests serving with pita, crackers or sliced veggies, and the next day I’ve discovered it’s a quite nice spread on morning toast.

  There’ll be no just sitting around a table for these folks. Nope. Sipping meets adventure in these Most Extreme Wine Tastings Around the World. Think undersea to high in the sky to deep in a cave and more.

   “Unquiet meals make ill  digestions” – Shakespeare {pic from Wikimedia}

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

CS Marketplace Directory

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CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

Zazzle food-themed items             Ninja Grill on Amazon             Amazon Echo Show

      ♦  ♦  ♦

And for your consideration

No Kid Hungry – discover, donate    K9s For Warriors – discover, donate

 

Looking for something in CS?

Use Search OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com, subject line -> CooksSalon

Note

All transactions are solely between the buyer and linked supplier

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

All pages ©2021 CooksSalon.com

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Bobby Flay’s Bacon/Tater Quesadillas w/Salsa & Eggs, Oct 23-Oct 29, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

 Let’s chat   

Quick Bites – Squash season! While I like mine with just a bit of butter and brown sugar, I have to say there are some good looking renditions in Food & Wines offering of Our 36 Best Squash Recipes, such as mashed winter squash with Indian spices, baked butternut squash with cheese polenta, winter squash with gruyere gratin, savory ricotta squash tart, acorn squash saltimbocca. {thanks to Jeffery Martin at Wikimedia Commons for the photo}    We like to share stories on avoiding waste whenever we see them so hoping you’ll take a look at this one on storing sweet potatoes from Extra Crispy. Love sweet potatoes!    So, Well Done sent us to MyRecipes sent us to Reddit for this hack on heating two bowls of food at once in the nuker. I have not tried this.

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Shopping Finds – I know flavored syrups have been around for a long time, but was sort of surprised to discover how many infused maple syrups are available, and so many sound so good.  The link takes you to the page I saw on Amazon.    MyRecipes, especially as a protégé of AllRecipes, I think is a pretty trusted source. So I paid attention when they posted their pick for favorite pie filling. The winner: Duncan Hines Simply Pie Fillings & Toppings, available in apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, raspberry & strawberry.    Could help avoid waste? Amazon identifies this Automatic Food Sealer with starter kit as one of its current “Hot Releases.” Four and a half stars, Prime Eligible.

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Kitchen Talk – I’m inspired by the current Better Homes & Gardens to “put down the carving knife” and instead turn the surface of pumpkins, real or craft, into pop art. The cover punkin gets its festive look from tissue paper, Better Homes And Gardens Magazine October 2020while others in the story call upon electrical tape, cording, yarn, and paint – brushed on, splattered on, or a fun trick where you blow bubbles into it {don’t inhale}.    The other pic? Popcorn balls? Nope, but first, in our 09.25.20 Salon we linked a story on foods other than muffins you can make in your muffin tin. I have another way I like to use that pan, and that’s to freeze {covered} individual portions of various items, in the case here cooked macaroni. Also good for rice, cooked shrimp, stuffing, frozen veggies, cooked veggies, e.g. Just be sure to treat the cups with non-stick spray so the food can be popped out and into a freezer bag.    Another good use for the ginger syrup {09.18.20 Salon} – in a spicy stir-fry, a tasty offset to the peppers.

   On the Table 

Feature – Bobby Flay’s Bacon & Hash Brown Quesadillas with Salsa & Eggs

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Flay – briefly – and enjoying dinner at his Mesa Grill – not so brief!. No, you want to linger over this fiesta of flavors, a showcase for his passionate take on southwest cuisine.

And so I was drawn magnet-style to this quesadilla {OK, the bacon helped}. That bacon plus homemade hash browns join onion and peppers and cheese in a tasty tortilla stack, topped with a nice fried egg, fresh tomato salsa, and chopped chives.

A perfect way to start the day. Especially a day with a late and lazy start. Bloody marys anyone?

The recipe is on the Food Network site. If the same page comes up that I saw, you should be able to also scroll down for a demo showing pumpkin gooey butter cake.

Recipe   Flay’s cookbooks, Amazon     Flay items & other celeb chef items on our CS page

Recipe Notes – The recipe makes four very generous servings, and if there will likely be leftovers, just leave the eggs and salsa off the extra stacks and and freeze them. I diced the potatoes instead of grating and cooked them together with the onions, par-fried bacon, pepper and chile powder in the oil. The salsa has the unusual addition of honey and truth be told I was kind of skeptical about it, but in fact it brings a nice touch of richness to the party. Possibilities in advance: make salsa, cook potatoes, lightly fry bacon, chop onions & chives.

Substitutions if needed – while it won’t be the same intense flavor you could probably use chile powder in place of ancho powder.

Next week – Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Bread – sooooooo easy

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

Just pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: How to make French style beef? Oh my, a winner emerged in short order, a slow cooker treatment of a beef chuck roast, rich with broth, veggies, herbs, and a sun dried tomato tapenade. It’s Beef Provençale, from Food Network Kitchen.

Alexa says request: How to make cheese waffles? Among the results was an interesting take that went one better. Ham & Cheese Waffles, with those two guest ingredients going right into the batter. Served warm with butter and maple syrup. From Epicurious.

My request: Do you have a good Bolognese sauce recipe? I’m guessing a good many of you have had this experience too. You throw together an impromptu version of a known dish and it turns out great. But then somehow you just can’t re-create it and nor do any of the recipes you find. For me, that’s a Bolognese sauce. and under the banner of hope springs eternal going to try a 5-star one Alexa found from Side Chef, a site we just recently discovered. If it’s what I’m looking for, you’ll be the first to know.

And this unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – flip a coin {make your choice before you ask}

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen {some connect to Prime}.

You can browse all the Echo styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz  

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Big kids tap into their inner little kids with, say, jelly glasses of . . . peanut butter whiskey. Called, and with good reason, Skrewball, it’s just as it sounds, whiskey and peanut butter which, as the maker says, “go together so well the make pb&j jealous.”  Those folks, the husband and wife creators and their team, have lots of fun on their website with the name and while there you’ll also see their hashtag, and meanwhile will leave it to your imagination.

  Good thought, broaden your sipping horizons even further! One thing may be of interest regarding cocktails — cocktails from around the world.  Sure, most everyone knows about margaritas and mojitos, but how about the lesser known cocktails like Pimm’s Cup (UK), Aperol Spritz (Italy),  Caipirinha (Brazil), Kir Royale (France)” – Linda K-P, Orlando

  Guessing there are some folks that can defy this promise, but for the most part this is a very welcome prospect – “spill-proof wine glasses!” They’re 12 oz and “naturally aerating.” Four and a half stars and an “Amazon’s Choice.”

   Btw, just as with the rye croutons, the bacon croutons in Kitchen Talk in last week’s Salon also make a mighty fine cocktail snack. Hot, warm, or cold.

Want to join the Buzz? Enter CooksSalon in the subject line – sign the way you want to be identified

Click here to email your comments, questions, links to fave recipes, or?

Find t-shirts, mugs, dvds, gift collections, plus top chef items including cookbooks

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CooksSalon is free to everybody – appreciate anytime you click through to these affiliate partners

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Looking for something in CS?

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Note

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

All pages ©2020 CooksSalon.com

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A Classic Canadian Sweet Treat, no-bake, Oct 9-Oct 15, 2020

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

Help end the animosity – “Make America Decent Again”

See my 7 items crafted by CA-based Zazzle, on our page Or Zazzle page

Let’s Chat

Quick Bites – Salad greens, so crisp and fresh . . . until they aren’t. Why do they insist on racing ahead of other produce to go bad? Well, MyRecipes has some insights in that regard, and not only the “why” but also Exactly How to Store Salad Greens Until You Need Them. Salad saved.    That same post has an instructive article on when to use a food processor, when to use a blender, and when to just work by hand. See it here   CleanPlates is offering a free 10 day Wellness Tune-up, based on the belief that “most of the time, a few small tweaks to your routine, diet, or self-care is enough to make a difference in how you feel every day.” The link takes you to their site rather than the offer so you can check out the context.

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Shopping Finds – Have you discovered the Prepared Pantry? It sells all kinds of stuff to make your baking life easier but also routinely posts recipes and great tips.    So, I saw a reference on F&W’s Today’s Fresh Finds post about Amazon delivering fresh plants, and with the Chicago CS-er’s tip about rosemary in our 09.25.20 Salon still fresh in mind, started wondering if Amazon offers herb plants. They do, but the reviews were pretty dismal. The good news is there are bunches of herb starter kits that come with just about everything but a gardener.

{shown, the “paint & plant” pizza herb growing kit, clickable}

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Kitchen Talk – Did have some leftover cheese/condiment sauce from last week’s featured burgers, and the first re-purposing found it in a skillet with mac, a bit of cream, cooked shrimp, chopped almonds and parsley {shown}. For the rest I reached back through the decades for a impromptu version of a dish called Welsh rarebit, melty on toast with a sprinkling of crisp bacon. Sliced tomatoes good with this.    And that piqued my curiosity about the rarebit, so right to one of the favorite books in my library, Diner’s Dictionary, and it did not disappoint. Turns out it was originally called Welsh rabbit though it it did not originate in Wales and the latter was never in the dish. While it always starts with toast and melted cheese, ethnic variations may see other ingredients mixed with the cheese and various topping. Our version here with bacon and green onion would be a kind of Irish/Yorkshire mashup.    Have you looked at your rice cooker manual lately? No? So I came across mine in the process of looking for a different manual, and paging through it reminded me of the other uses it has, reheating rice, steaming veggies, et al.

 On the Table

From the title did you know what they are? – Nanaimo Bars!

These rich bars {according to google, say nuh NYE mo} are sure to be on the table at pretty much any holiday celebration or other traditional get-togethers in Canada. And it’s been ever thus for over seven decades. It has a rather colorful history on Wikipedia which is linked below.

And rich, oh yeah. {As shown, right} a chocolately, nutty, graham cracker crust, topped with amped up butter cream frosting, topped with a kind of ganache where the cream is replaced by butter. Indulgent!

Even so, I started thinking I would like those same flavors in a bar that was a bit less complicated, a bit less crumbly, and a bit less sweet, maybe more creamy. By the time I got through tweaking, ahhhh, we were looking at somewhat more than six degrees of separation from the original.

Say hello to – “NaNaNo” bars. Here’s {left} my version . . .

Bottom layer – 1 1/4 c graham cracker crumbs, 5 T unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 c chopped almonds, 1 stick melted butter, combined and pressed into an 8×11 pan lined with parchment paper {see Notes}.

Middle layer – 1/2 stick room temp butter, 2 T coconut milk {or half & half}, 2 T coconut pudding powder, 1 c confectioners sugar, blended smooth in a food processor, spread over crust {see Notes}.

Top layer – 2 T butter and 2/3 c bittersweet chocolate, chips or chunks, nuked, whisked, and cooled for 2 min, poured over, smoothed out. Cover and refrigerate.

Meanwhile the original recipe I used, from Food Network, is linked below.

Original recipe    Other recipes on Google    Nanaimo Bars on Wikipedia

Recipe Notes – in the linked recipe: custard powder = pudding mix, and icing sugar = confectioners sugar. If you chill the crust it will be a little easier to spread the creamed layer, but if you don’t and a few crumbs pop through, no biggie, just creates a bit of a marble effect. While these are good right out of the fridge, let them sit out a while and they are transformed.

And a hint – while parchment paper is our friend when removing goodies from the pan, not so much when we’re first putting stuff in, instead sitting up high as if trying to survey the kitchen. So, just leave it in the that position, curved side up, and start piling the mixture into the middle and gradually flattening it out. Then hold the paper tight to the side of the pan closest to you and push the mixture into the far side and corners, then reverse and, hooray, all done.

Next week – Steak pizzaiola, where tender beef goes Italian in a big, robust way

A Cuppa with Alexa – Recipes, Tips, News & More

You don’t have to have an Amazon Echo Show to tap into the particular tidbits we’ve linked below, drawn from its vast culinary bounty.

So, pour a cup and let’s talk food with Alexa. We also show the actual requests for those who are Echo owners, who should also note that in many cases she guides you step by step through the recipes.

Alexa says request: how to make sandwich skewers:  We chose to link the chicken and bacon shish kabobs, where the title ingredients share the perch with mushrooms and pineapple, and a sweet and sour green onion marinade is promoted to basting sauce. Yummers. From AllRecipes.

Alexa says request: how to make taco meatballs: They had us at cheese-stuffed. The Tasty site pulls all the right tastes into these cheese-stuffed taco meatballs, with taco chips for a corn vibe and taco-compatible jack cheese for the melty center. Salsa, sour cream, and cilantro top it all off.

My request, Alexa do you have recipes for vegetarian lasagna? Yikes, 25 come to the screen. But one of the 5-stars comes from a site new to me, SideChef. New to you or not? Proprietarily called, Vegetarian Lasagna, it uses tofu and cottage cheeses instead of ricotta but after that goes on quite the flavor spree and certainly doesn’t stint on the cheese working in three more kinds.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – ask you entertainment trivia

Would you like your own Echo Show?

Boundless information, music, movies, tv shows, videos, health tips & news, entertainment news, national news, local news, sports news & recaps, weather, timer, alarm, reminders, Amazon delivery notifications, alerts, security camera connection . . .  and food, food, food, all on an interactive screen.

You can browse all the styles here on this Amazon page

Cocktail Hour Buzz

And as we say belowwhether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

  Friend Norene from the Midwest calls our attention to the growing trend of ghost kitchens, facilities professionally decked out like those in full service restaurants but offering delivery only. And now even national chains are dipping into this concept, including a couple in her area – and maybe in yours.

 In our 02.18.19 Salon, we talked about making garlic croutons to use up rye bread. Subsequently in our 03.15.19 Salon, we mentioned a few more uses for these tidbits including as a “cocktail companion,” and a new batch I just made served this very purpose . . . and very well!

  Letters, we get . . . uh, emails} “Years ago at a party I had a wonderfully light cocktail called a Butterfly. The only thing I recall is that it had two kinds of vermouth and was kind of fruity. But when I try t find it online, all the options that come up call for grapes and I know there were no grapes. I’m wondering if it could be in the Playboy book {09.04.20} you mentioned a couple of weeks back.” – Joanna T, Seattle

  You’re in luck  or at least I think you are. The book shows a recipe for a Butterfly cocktail made from 1 1/2 oz dry vermouth, 3/4 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz Red Dubonnet and 1/2 oz orange juice. “Shake everything well with ice. These Halloween traditions all have Irish originsStrain over rocks in prechilled old-fashioned glass.” And it does call this drink “extremely light.” Cheers!

  Planning a family night on Halloween? Turn off the lights, turn on a single flashlight, and creep each other out with these Irish tales about Oct 31 which the Celts called Samhain and believed it was when the veil is thinnest between this world and the otherworld. IrishCentral {source of the photo} tells all in Ancient Irish Myths That Invoke the Spirit of Samhain. Beverage of choice – maybe Bloody Marys?

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Cookies your dentist would hate, Sept 13-Sept 19, 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 – Emeril & Julia & recipes / lunch to go, high or low / may not be expecting this pairing    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – celeb’s love affair with veggies – yours too?    FEATURED RECIPE – recipe redo out-does original     TIP – more veggie love    THE WEEK – good tv series / calling all pb lovers / laundry tip {whaaaaat}

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Emeril posts an annual tribute to Julia Child in her birth month {actually Aug}, and in the recent one noted his appreciation for the years she mentored him, adding that “she taught so many people including me that cooking should be approachable and fun,” a legacy he honors to this day. Or as the beloved chef herself put it, he quotes, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” The full story includes recipes.

  MyRecipes sure has the waterfront covered, or more specifically, the lunch front. In adjacent stories you can learn “6 Money-Saving Tips for Packing Your Own Lunches” and “3 Back-to-School Lunches for Fancy Eaters.” Guessing any, all, of the above would be acceptable to both big and small kids.

  Well it seems my cheddar and chocolate {and subsequently cayenne} sandwich is becoming less odd by the moment. Take a look at this story on cheese and chocolate pairings from no less a source than Food & Wine {scroll through}. And more on this sandwich aspect in My Week below.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

Fall in love with veggies – celeb Andrés shows you how

The name José Andrés may well be familiar to you from tv, his restaurants and cookbooks, and most admirably the thousands of meals he’s provided to victims of natural disasters {right now in the Bahamas}. His new cookbook, “Vegetables Unleashed,” features a cover that pretty well tells the tale of its tone and content.Vegetables Unleashed: A Cookbook

While Andrés is not a vegetarian, he sure knows how to find, as his co-author Matt Goulding notes, “pin-up worthy” fruits and vegetables. And then adds, “If you don’t believe in the sensuousness of produce, José has done his best to change that in these pages.”

Lots of tips and tricks too, along with a mini bio, anecdotes, food-centric tours of areas of Spain, and buying notes, plus pantry, tool, and gardening guides. Also some uniquely Jose-style “rules.”

So many interesting recipes, but a few were just absolutely intriguing. The roasted kabocha squash that became an edible “crust” for a cheesy quiche with sauteed veggies. The Catalan-style spinach with apple, dried fruits, mixed nuts, almond butter and wine. And the sweet potato sundaes which I just promoted to next week’s Featured Recipe.

“Vegetables Unleashed” by José Andrés

  FEATURED RECIPE  

These cookies – oh yeah 

In the 04.26.19 Salon our Featured Recipe was chocolate filled chocolate chip cookie bars. And oh they were good.

So, hmmmm, could they be just as good with peanut butter cookies instead of chocolate chip? Tried it. Answer – yep!

I additionally changed the recipe a bit from the one mentioned above because I wanted the peanut butter version to be more peanut butter-y. The overall prep is the same and still ever so easy.

What I did different was use one package of pb cookie mix blended with 2 T smooth peanut butter for each layer, top and bottom. The chocolate layer stayed the same as the original.

If possible, even richer. Get the big glass of cold milk ready.

Recipe in our April 26 Salon

  TIP  

Maybe not for everyone

Our featured book in the Spotlight above put me in mind of a long ago incident. My boss and I were invited to the home of a supplier for dinner. Among the many dishes on the tables were several that were just plain veggies, no sauces or extraneous ingredients.

“How,” my boss asked the supplier’s wife {an excellent cook I might add}, “are you making me like vegetables?” “Oh,” she said, “I just add a little sugar to the cooking water.”

Could be something to think about when the vegetables seem to be a little short on fresh flavor, or to make them more palatable to young palates. I particularly like this idea when corn is out of season and I’m using canned.

♦  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Have you seen this fascinating series on the History channel, called “The Food that Built America”? Wow is it good. The one I saw recently covered the origins, growth, advances & setbacks and, most interesting, the personalities {and their passions} that led to today’s Kellogg’s, Post, Hersheys, Mars, KFC, and McDonald’s.

  Hello, pb fans. So, I thought my grilled cheese/chocolate/cayenne sandwich would probably be considered odd, but these peanut butter combos in the latest Taste of Home issue take the category to a whole new level. The familiar “Elvis” is probably the tamest of the bunch. I am a huge pb fan, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to venture in until I saw the spicy pork version – turned out quite good, like a sate sandwich.

  Stepping out of the kitchen {but staying in the house} – to share a laundry tip, and once again wondering if pretty much everyone already thought of this. So I have some new bright burgundy sheets. Was wondering if they were colorfast, so threw in a clean white towel from the rag stack with them, and that told the tale. Yay no “donations”! But if they had turned the towel pink, no big loss.

So far next week: Impossible Whopper unmasked, sweet potato sundae, tasty add-ins, those nuker eggs – tested, greens shortcut

Last time, just below: nukin’ the eggs trick, bubbles in a can, odd coffeemaker cleaner, gussy & helpful lunch totes, creamsicle dessert, notes in a tote, pizza reheat verified, EZay mole, see you on the Bridge beloved Misty

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Mystery Writer’s Tasty Supper Dip, Jan 11-17, 2019

  CatChat  

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

  TIDBITS – salt baking perks / drink your apple pie / foodfest    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – party easy    FEATURED RECIPE – mysterious supper dip    TIP – garlic easy    THE WEEK – Nasty reading / squash easy / Mex salad lost & found

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery

  TIDBITS 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Have you tried this technique? The boffo publication Saveur reveals the benefits of salt baking and how to do it. Prepping food this way, they say, allows the food to cook in its own juices, produces a moist result, and enhances flavor, and without making anything too salty. You’ll see how to use this method and also recipes for applying it to fish, Cornish game hens, and shrimp.

  Drink your dessert. What a tasty idea for a morning starter, a midday pick-you-up, a sippable dessert, or with a spirited addition, an after dinner libation. The apple pie smoothie features the flavor profile of the title pie along with banana for added richness and Greek yogurt for a silky texture. Btw, I did not use all the spices, so if you follow the full recipe will likely see more speckles.

  Fort Lauderdale in Feb? Then you could be in for “a weekend of CRAVE-able Bites.” Part of a series in the city, this CRAVE will offer a chance to dine and learn with such notables as Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Valerie Bertinelli and lots of others.

  CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT   

The holidays may be over, but the parties don’t have to be

They can  go right on, year around. Or at least . . . after a suitable recovery period!

What brought that happy thought to mind was an item in a pro culinary newsletter that took note of restaurants across the land catering to an ongoing, and maybe increasing, penchant for ordering an array of appetizers in place of dinner.

Let’s borrow from good! Thinking how appetizers can often be totally prepared in advance, or just given a quick kiss by the oven, and how you may not even need flatwear, and that with variety there’s likely something for everyone – that this adds up to an easy time, a party just waiting to happen.

I’ve included a link for something which you may have seen previously in the salons, the Six Sisters books, treasure troves of party goodies and guides. And you’ll also find fun appetizers in Tiffani Thiessen’s book {see pic}, featured in our Dec 7 salon

Google, appetizer sites    Amazon, appetizer books    Six Sisters cookbooks

Thiessen book    CS Marketplace

  FEATURED RECIPE  

As promised, out of the Mystery Writers Cookbook 

So many to choose from, but we finally settled on “Charlaine’s Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip” by Charlaine Harris. Don’t be frightened by the long list of ingredients because it goes together in a flash and results in a grand mix of flavors.

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die ForAs for some of the other contributors, Sarah Paretsky pays homage to V.I.’s mom with Chicken Gabriella, Sheila Connolly gives us an Apple Goodie, James Patterson checks in with Grandma’s Killer Chocolate Cake, Rhys Bowen offers up scones and a reminder that there are recipes in all her books, Peter James shares his fave martini, and to wash it all down, Lee Child schools us on the best way to make and serve coffee.

You can find more about the book in our Dec 14 salon. So much good stuff, purloined from the books or just authors’ favorites, and each starts with the dish’s backstory, 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

 “The Mystery Writers Cookbook”    Recipe Page  

  TIP  

Garlic the way you need it, easily

Prepping garlic can be so easy thanks to the late Mr. Food. Here’s what he showed me: put the clove on a work surface {if very large, cut in half, cut sides down}, then take a regular flatware fork and start pressing down all around the edges, gradually making your way to the center.

No sticking to everything, and so easy to go coarse, medium, fine – or add a little salt and turn it into a paste. No muss, no fuss, no cuss. You can use this method for the butternut squash sauce in the next section.

  A PEEK AT MY WEEK  

Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  Reading and very much enjoying Anthony Bourdain’s 2006 book, The Nasty Bits. If you can get past the first two page, where you may think this really is all about what the title indicates {it isn’t}, you’ll be treated to Bourdain thumbsing up and down on such topics as fast food, celebrity chefs, Las Vegas restaurants, crime, regional cooking, New York, New Orleans, tv cooking shows, Christmas, and on and on.

  The item on butternut squash in our Dec 14 salon got me thinking of one of my favorite childhood dishes, squash stuffed with seasoned ground beef pattie, usually served with baked apples. Mom would usually make this with halved acorn squash, and how she managed to factor the size of the squash, the amount of meat, the baking temp and time so that it all came out of the oven perfectly remains a mystery {maybe the above writers could help!}.

  So instead I bake the squash separately and fill it with ground beef crumbled and browned with onions, garlic and a bit of taco sauce. Comfort food, especially with a nice ladle of cheese sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro.

  Bummer and recovery. So a nearby restaurant served a salad I absolutely loved, almost outshining the neighborhood-sized enchilada next to it. And now – poof! – off the menu. OK, let’s try this at home. Lettuce, tomato, avocado, green onion, pickled jalapeno, a dressing of mayo, ranch, sriracha, chili powder, garlic salt, all topped with a crumble of corn chips. Ha! Preeeety darn close. Next time, Doritos!

BJN’s Eclectic Offerings

{new, and still doesn’t quite have all its ingredients}

So far next week: Tasty toasts, another Mex salad, sheet pans strike again, ham bonanza, food for dogs

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
Email me at bjnosek@gmail.com 
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