New in “Cocktail Hour Buzz,” July 15-July 21, 2022

New Salon every Friday – and you’re invited

C’mon in and help yourself to tasty resources

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

 Cocktail Hour Buzz 

sundowner snacks, drinks, chat, and . . .

whenever I can, related resources & goodies on Amazon

whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you

{links within my items go to the sources shown in red – any links underneath items take you to Amazon unless otherwise indicated, and then only ones with the lock icon}

♦♦♦  This is like nachos and poutine meet up and party on a sheet pan. The basis is Disco Fries which first emerged along with the dance craze, reportedly in NJ as a fortifying dish that became popular in late night diners serving folks who got up and boogied into the wee hours. This version starts with the classic trio of fries, cheese and gravy but then adds toppings. It’s called Breakfast Disco Fries because those toppings are bacon and fried eggs. Mine shown here has a somewhat simpler gravy, but still bacony and creamy and yum. For this prep, a shoo-in for our end of the year fave list, and 20 others, thanks to . . .  MyRecipes

I usually use a lot more gravy but wanted you to be able to see all the ingredients. Btw, I love poutine, making my version with tots or fries or diced baked potatoes, sharp cheddar, and beef gravy. And leftovers are almost always joined by fried or poached eggs. 

21 Sheet Pan Brunch Dishes

Other Disco Fries recipes on Google    Sheet pans in many styles

♦♦♦  Chilled wine + hot day + patio = warm wine. Noooooo. Here’s a  clever fix, though in some households it may elicit a chuckle and, Can’t work for us. The Secret to Chilling Wine Fast on Hot Days, According to a Winery Chef.   Food and Wine

♦♦♦  What I really like about these Best Easy Chicken Croquettes is that the celery, onion, and poultry seasoning give the patties a flavorful stuffing vibe that’s a natural with the chicken. Part of the “easy” is that instead of having to cook up a roux as a thickener, you simply use some cream of chicken soup. Even better the rest of it forms the basis for the sauce. All very tasty. I made them them smaller than the prep specified so they would be a good fit for the snack table.  AllRecipes

Chicken appetizer cookbooks, 4 stars & up

♦♦♦   Well how fun is this, a conversation piece taking up residence right in your cocktail. Round ice cubes! How do they do it??? Well, one way is this clever machine that pops out two large “cubes” {speaking categorically} that the maker says “keep drinks colder, longer, and with less dilution.” As a bonus it also makes air bubbles disappear like magic to create crystal clear spheres. There are other choices too, going roundy by different means, but will just note that the featured one is Amazon’s Choice.  Amazon

All round ice cube options

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Pizza fondue in the slow cooker, for Aug 3-9, 2018

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

Tidbits – kitchen savings, sheet pan brunches {M > “one has baaaacon”}, perfect & easy corn on the cob    CS Marketplace Spotlight – pinch bowls {M >  “really, not punch”}    Featured Recipe – easy pizza fondue & dippers {M > “wonder if my paw qualifies as a dipper”}    Tip – slow cooker hints    Barbara’s Week – recipe trove, kicking up bean soup, using up pasta sauce

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery 

♦  Tidbits  ♦ 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks

  The latest issue of the always content-rich AARP Bulletin, borrowed it from a friend {uh huh}, featured 99 Great Ways to Save. Here are the ones that find a place in the kitchen: SnipSnap {not checked out} for coupon storage, 1/4 t baking soda in 1/4 c water for indigestion, if you’re in this silver category get restaurant discounts at and for everyone, compare unit pricing on grocery items, host brunches instead of dinners, buy wine by the case.  AARP Bulletin

  Ready for a sheet pan brunch? In a story credited to both Food & Wine and Real Simple, Grace Elkus treats us to the toss-together prep for a garlicky potato and veggie hash topped with fried eggs. Bonus 1: her suggestions for some variations. Bonus 2: a link to her sheet pan pancakes. Bonus 3: a link to her sheet pan egg sandwiches.  Brunch is ready

  Woohoo, corn season is upon us. Here are five ways the “Today” show says you can “cook corn on the cob perfectly – the easy way.” Recipes too, including one of my favorites, Mexican Street Corn.  Corn-ucopia

That beautiful corn image {and judging by the bright green relish, sport peppers, and NO ketchup, what sure looks like Chicago dogs} is by jeffreyw

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦ 

Pinch bowls – a typo? Nope!

That’s what I thought when I first came across the term, having no clue what adorable dishes I was about to discover. Pinch bowls! also called portion cups and the more familiar Now Designs Pinch Bowls (Set of 6), Modern Colorsramekins, even just small or little bowls.

They’re diminutive vessels for the kind of stuff where you’ll want just a “pinch” salt, pepper, herbs, spices. But of course the uses go well beyond that.

Serve your guests individual dishes of nuts, sauces, dressings, dips, mousse, or use for pre-measured recipe ingredients, a mise en place.

Btw, the Amazon pages shows somewhat larger bowls as well, but the genuine article is typically about 1.5-4 ounces. They can be stoneware, porcelain, glass, stainless steel, silicone. All quite pretty.

Just a Pinch {shown}    Pinch bowls on Amazon    CS Marketplace

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

Dog {& Cat!} Lovers Extra Oh these are so cute, so grin-inducing, and thanks once more to Reader’s Digest for bringing us a lovely highlight of our day. At least one of these pix had to have been taken just before some holiday havoc and another calls to mind a classic episode of “King of Queens.”  Fun & funny cat & dog photos

♦  Featured Recipe  

Party on the weekend or perk up a weeknight

. . . with this fun dish. After finding that slow cooker recipe for the July 20 taco chili recipe, kept the book out to seeBiggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes (Better Homes & Gardens) what other goodies it might offer. And here’s one I think we all can like.

It’s not 5-ingredient like that previous one, but just about as easy. And so full of flavor! Thinking leftovers – if any! – could be poured right over cooked pasta, either leftovers if you used some as dippers or a fresh batch.

You might remember from before this book is available in paperback and spiral bound. Rates 4 stars on Amazon.

Supreme Pizza Fondue

10 servings

4 oz Italian sausage

Small onion, finely chopped

Garlic clove, minced

28-oz jar meatless spaghetti sauce

1 c slice mushrooms

2/3 c chopped pepperoni or Canadian style bacon

1 t dried basil or oregano, crushed

1/2 c sliced pitted ripe olives {optional}

1/4 c chopped sweet green pepper {optional}

Remove casings from sausage, if present. In a large skillet cook the sausage, onion and garlic {see Notes} until meat is brown. Drain off fat

In a 3 1/2-4 qt slow cooker combine spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, pepperoni or Canadian bacon, and basil or oregano. Stir in the sausage mixture.

Cover and cook on low heat setting for 3 hours. If desired stir in the olives and/or green pepper. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 15 minutes more.

Notes: For my personal taste would probably use a bit more garlic, and also I generally don’t add this ingredient until the other ingredients  – in this case sausage and onions – are pretty well cooked and then just for about a minute . . . I see no reason if you’re so inclined you couldn’t add both basil and oregano . . . suggested dippers shown in the recipe: focaccia or Italian bread cubes, mozzarella or provolone cubes, cooked tortellini or ravioli – could be interesting to dip in a small cube each of the bread and cheese on the same fondue fork. 

“Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes”

Other top rated slow cooker cookbooks

♦  Tip  

Here are some more slow cooker hints from the cookbook

“During the holidays {or any time you’re hosting a party – bjn}, oven and cooktop space fills up quickly. Use your slow cooker to make the festive desserts in this book. Slow cookers provide a handy way to bake breads and cook vegetable side dishes. Also use slow cookers for potlucks, Carry side dishes and desserts in a cooker to the party; then plug it into keep food warm.”

♦  A Peek at My Week  

  Needed a chocolate fix and lo and behold, a part bag of chocolate chips in the fridge. Hellooooo. But this also served as a reminder to me that I thought I’d pass along to you. It was inspired by seeing the recipe for cc cookies on the package, which is the one I always use. The reminder was that a lot of food packaging has recipes that we might be overlooking instead of looking over – because who knows better how to get the most out of an ingredient than the folks who made it. I’ll sure be paying closer attention.

  Two unplanned ingredients ended up kicking up some leftover bean soup. I needed a little more liquid but because there was also ham in the soup it was already salty enough, so that put broth or bouillon out of the running. Instead added a bit of cream. Enough liquid then, but had slightly diluted the flavor. Whether it was the common color or what, grabbed some cocoa powder {not mix}, stirred it in and had some mighty fine bean soup, could be in the new recipe now.

  Am I the only one that makes too much food resulting in an ongoing inventory of leftovers??? So in this case that was pasta sauce. No problem, picked up an eggplant to make some parm. Btw I never bread and fry the eggplant slices but rather brush them with olive oil and bake them. Oops, seeing them on the cookie sheet made clear it wasn’t enough for the sauce.

So . . .  sliced an onion and sprinkled that among the eggplant, along with however many garlic-stuffed olives were left in the jar and into the oven {afterward, sliced the olives}. Then layered that with the sauce and Italian mixed cheese – and what the heck, already upset the usual traditions, so included a layer of feta too – topped it off with some dried basil, olive oil, parmesan. Baked as usual and, well OK then, a fine Mediterranean-ized surprise!

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