July 29-Aug 4, 2022, New In “Cocktail Hour Buzz,” CooksSalon

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}

♦♦♦  Oh how welcome are these No-Cook Dip Recipes, so perfect for cooled-off evenings on the porch or patio or, OK, tucked deep inside the a/c. And it looks like many of the ingredients just may already be resident in your pantry or fridge. Here’s the one I chose – and while I generally like avocados pretty much pure, this fabulous creamy avocado dip is velvety, flavorful and a ready companion for so many other goodies. The prep suggests tortilla or pita chips and crudities, but also calls it into service as a topping for tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. Or, hmmmm, how yum as one of the tiers in 7-layer dip?  Southern Living

For the avocado dip, may want to start with a bit less salt.

Creamy Avocado Dip    7-Layer Dip recipes on google

No-Cook Sauces, Dressings, Dips & Spreads recipe book {vegan}

♦♦♦  Missed it again! {and for the Get Smart fans, “by that much”}. No matter, we can opt to make any day we want our own Tequila Day {the national one was July 22}. And the really good news is a whole bunch of Tequila Cocktails for you to consider, each as summery as can be, hitting that refreshment vibe with strawberries, citrus, coconut, cucumber, pineapple, soda, tonic, or sparkling mineral water, and more.  Patron

Tequila-loving snacks on google

♦♦♦  This recipe, first featured in our 04.27.18 Salon, seemed like a perfect follow-up to last week’s No-bake desserts item. Even with just two words, the title may evoke a whaaaaaaat? Yep, it’s Miso Fudge, and it defies all expectations.

In a word, it’s good. In more words, it’s chocolately, creamy, soft, and indulgent. Gluten free too. And you don’t have to stop there.

This recipe is actually for Miso Fudge Brownies, where the fudge is spread atop the baked brownies along with candied miso almonds. If you want to make just the fudge, as I did, you only need to do step 10, and then let it chill out in the fridge.  Tasting Table

Other miso recipes on google

♦♦♦  Cocktail chat. Do your own sips or the drinks you serve perhaps have a star pedigree? Could that wine or spirit have a connection to, say, George Clooney, Bryan Cranston, Kate Hudson, Sammy Hagar, Blake Shelton? The story “24 Alcohol Brands You Didn’t Realize Were Owned by CelebritieS” tells all. And nice, flavor profiles accompany each and every one.  insider.com

And TheRecipe unveils 20 celeb-owned food brands

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Decadent chocolate-peanut butter bars, for Nov 9-Nov 15, 2018


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

  TIDBITS – do you create recipes? / good show! book too! / drink your leftovers    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – tv helps your gift list / for celeb chef fans    FEATURED RECIPE – chocolate, peanut butter and an unexpected ingredient {M – is it tuna ???}    TIP – weather report for your kitchen    THE WEEK – crisp French toast / Top Chef preview / humbug {no bah}

Misty’s History  ♦  Misty’s Gallery


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Are you a creative cook? Do you like designing your own dishes, start to finish. You might then find interesting this shadowing of a chef as he develops a new dish “from vision to revision.” It’s a quite detailed account that in effect takes you inside the chef’s mind.

  “Salt/Fat/Acid/Heat” If those are some of your favorite flavors you’re in luck – twice! Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good CookingIt’s a new Netflix series, featuring Samin Nosrat who, as described in the Tasting Table story, “is a joy to watch on screen as she travels to Italy, Japan, the Yucatán and more in order to share culinary traditions from around the world.”

–   And second, the series is based on Nosrat’s book of the same name, subtitled “Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.” Btw, it was among the top picks for go-to cookbooks  gathered on Tasting Table’s facebook page.

  Well here’s a new use for your leftovers. Instead of in the trash, in your glass. As this tale tells, bartenders are finding creative ways to re-purpose this ready source of foodstuff into what one mixologist calls trash cocktails.


The lost & wanted can be found & acquired

While I’m not addicted to tv offers, there are certain items that I’ve found appealing and have in fact ordered. The problem is, often I see this stuff during “insomnia time” and don’t have quick access to pen, paper, and light.

As Seen on TvMy grocery store, and maybe yours too, has an “As Seen on TV” section and sometimes something I’ve missed is there and sometimes not. So I was quite happy to discover that good ol’ Amazon features these offers – 6,000 of them.

Don’t panic! You can narrow it down from there, e.g., 483 for Kitchen & Dining, and then you can further tame the search with such subcategories as utensils, cookware, storage items, appliances, and spice racks.

All “As Seen on TV” on Amazon    Kitchen & Dining section

At CS Marketplace: “Especially for . . .” – “Cooks”  “Readers”  “Dog Lovers”

Extra for cooks – who do you know that’s a fan of celeb chefs? Or maybe that’s you. My Kindle, “Celebrity Chef Book of Links” puts you just a click away from discovering the fascinating histories, restaurant locations, contact information, and access to blogs, newsletters and classes of the chefs we know from their tv shows, top rated eateries and best selling cookbooks, over 100 in all.  Celeb Chef Book


You, your family, your guests just might swoon 

Remember this book from our 09.21.18 salon? The one that gives you tasty answers to the title question, “What Can I Bring?” What Can I Bring?: Southern Food for Any Occasion Life Serves Upwhatever the occasion or destination. The satisfying dishes here for the most part are make-ahead, multiple-serving, and fairly easy to transport.

In addition to author, Elizabeth Heiskell’s resume includes caterer, instructor, and TODAY show contributor. Which is to say, she sure knows her stuff, and 179 reviewers agree, giving this book 4 1/2 stars.

This recipe from the book features the made-in-heaven pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, and wait till you see an additional flavorful ingredient – two choices actually, theirs and mine. Either would be good, mine was a matter of what was handy.

Even better it’s no-bake, and if you use my other tweak, no cook either! All so good and easy.

Recipe Page    “What Can I Bring” cookbook   Other Heiskell books 


No storms in the kitchen

You may well be doing this already. Talking about when you’re using a hand mixer to blend something like flour or powdered sugar into a batter, and the danger looms of sending a snowstorm over your counter and everything thereon.

What I like to do is gently fold in the “snow” with a spatula. It doesn’t have to be totally mixed in – that’s what the appliance is for – but rather just sort of buried in the lower depths of the bowl.

Usually this would not be necessary with a stand mixer. But if the bowl is really full, might be a worthy precaution.


Please join  me in my kitchen &  parlor

  How do you like your French toast? Personally I don’t care for what’s actually the classic prep, which calls for drowning the bread before cooking. This recipe for a crisp version from America’s Test Kitchen via AP calls for a much shorter soaking time but for me still too much. However, along with my usual dip-turn-out method, it’s the pre-step and the liquid ingredients that I found make one delish dish. See what you think.

  Thanks to Food & Wine’s online newsletter I recently saw the trailer for season 16 of “Top Chef” which debuts Dec 6, 9p ET on Bravo in Louisville KY. I like these kinds of shows where they compete and you both learn and enjoy. You can watch it too, right here, and the page also shows the 15 contestants so you can see if any are from your town.

  Browsing through the Diner’s Dictionary again and came upon this gem. “Humbug” {no bah}, referring to a taffy-like boiled sweet flavored with peppermint. It says that its eventual evolution from dessert to Scrooge’s rant “may be of similar inspiration to trifle.” There’s even more backstory covering time, place and literary reference. These kinds of finds pop up among more common entries in this chock-full compilation of “Word origins of food & drink.” I love this book.

So far next week: save the food, wash the cocktails, Emeril’s turkey take, garlic mouth fixes, pea-zuh or pea-duh??? 

Cook with passion and a party spirit, whether for a crew, or for two, or just for you
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Italian Farm Country Buttery Pasta with Herbs, for Sept 7-13, 2018

  CatChat – Misty’s purrty sure you’ll like what we have for you this week  

Tidbits – the tortilla that isn’t / oh, oh, pyrex / the brownie saga   CS Marketplace Spotlight – Paris food / duo bookmark   Featured Recipe – downhome {in Italy} pasta   Tip – garlic decision   Barbara’s Week – boffo pancake  / Boston EATS / tasty discovery

Misty’s History    Misty’s Gallery


♦  Tidbits  ♦ 

Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Love Mexican food? Avoiding carbs/gluten? Hooray, look at this traditional, but relatively unknown “tortilla.” Called pacholas, they’re thin, thin, patties of well seasoned meat that is then topped with, e.g., tomatoes, onion, avocado, cilantro, really any of the usual suspects. Thanks for the article, Epicurious.

  Did you know this about your pyrex dishes? According to an msn report, they are no longer reliably safe to go from one temp extreme to another. I actually had a pyrex casserole break and it fits exactly what they’re saying here. This tells you why, what’s still safe, what not to do and something you definitely should do.

  This is a 3-star story from the the Tasting Table newsletter. Star #1 is a recipe for brownies, extra, extra fudgy. Star #2 is Katherine Hepburn who is credited with the recipe. The unexpected Star #3 is a woman who became familiar on the Internet by pretty much blaming these very brownies for losing her husband to another woman – click Commenter in the story for that tale.

♦  CS Marketplace Spotlight  ♦ 

The great food of Paris has a fascinating backstory

After delving further into that treasure trove disguised as an ordinary stack of papers, it has become clear that the word “restaurant” referenced below is also from the David Downie book just like the Curnonsky quote last week. Adding that to some other notes hidden in the trove reminded me what a delightful read this was.

Called “A Taste of Paris,” it takes us deep into that city on a culinary tour through the ages A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Foodand across the arrondissements. We peer into history and see what was so good back then and what echoes on the tables at today’s cafes, bistros, and restaurants.

And though Downie’s tome spans centuries of Parisian cuisine, he also peppers the pages with current options, some earning a snarky take, others high praise. In turn his book garners high praise, 4 stars, and also right now at a good discount.

Btw, in case you missed that Curnonsky quote, I’m happy to repeat it. “If the potage had been as hot as the wine, the wine as old as the chicken, the chicken as plump as the mistress of the house, things would’ve been almost all right.”

“A Taste of Paris”  ♦  Other Downie books {Paris, Rome}

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

Extra for Book Lovers – what a boffo idea! A bookmark that’s also a dictionary, different word counts available. Browse here

♦  Featured Recipe  

Who loves Italian cuisine, rustic dishes & simple cooking? {most 5 steps or fewer}

Author Susan Hermann Loomis says the recipes in her “Italian Farmhouse Cookbook” come right from “the Italian farm and farm country, and they represent the sensuous core Italian Farmhouse Cookbookof Italian cuisine.” And “. . . each is marked by the personality of the cook who gave it to me.”

More than a compilation of of recipes, this cookbook also serves up vignettes of local folks, backstories of ingredients, glimpses of farmland traditions and . . . “segreti.”

Among the interesting preps: roasted peppers with tuna, chestnut pasta with wild mushrooms {alternate: artichokes}, crisp Sardinian bread, hazelnut truffles. The one featured here is a simple buttery dish of pasta and two herbs, the creation of a restaurant owner in the small town of Soliera.

Angelo’s Fabulous Pasta with Herbs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 cup fresh oregano or marjoram leaves loosely packed

1 cup chives from one bunch 

1 pound fresh tagliatelle 

fine sea salt

Recipe  ♦  “Italian Farmhouse Cookbook,” paper & hc, 4 stars   

Other Herrmann cookbooks

♦  Tip  

How do you like your garlic? {other than, very much!}

I was paging through another of Loomis’ cookbooks, “The French Grill,” and found a notation about removing the green germ from a garlic clove, as she says “when necessary,” because it can be “tough and bitter.” She’s referring of course to the sprout that can often be found in the center of the clove, and which is in fact easily pried out.

Chefs and cooks have some differences here, though most agree that if the germ is still white {as shown here} it can be left in. Also that if the garlic is going to be cooked into a dish, the germ can stay in no matter what color it is.

The debate comes into play when the garlic is going to be used raw, or lightly cooked as perhaps in a stir fry. One contributor’s comments made the best sense to me: if you like the taste of the green germ leave it in, if you don’t, remove it.

♦  A Peek at My Week  

Join me in my kitchen & parlor

  So, I finally made the sheet pan pancake, the recipe linked in our Aug 3, 2018, chat. Some notes: First, this makes a really good pancake. Second, the directions call for brushing with melted butter and broiling for the last two minutes so it will brown. But guess what – it’s already brown on the bottom so just serve it upside down and then you can skip that last step.

Third, it says makes 12 servings and while pancakes are usually stacked at 2 or 3 or more, these are very generous pieces and likely quite enough per person especially if you’re also accompanying it with bacon or sausage and fruit. Last, I think there’s a way to achieve this more easily, which I will test and of course let you know.

   Going to be in Boston next week? If so, good news, you can enjoy a spectrum of the town’s best cuisine at America’s Test Kitchen Boston EATS festival. Fri, Sept 14, Cook’s Illustrated 25th birthday party, “featuring food cooked by a who’s who of Boston’s best-loved chefs.” Sat, unlimited food and drinks from Boston’s top restaurants plus demos from the TV show cast and test cooks. Sun, a Kids Fest for young foodies.

  I had occasion to finally have lunch at a Puerto Rican restaurant, and after they turned the music down to somewhere below deafening it was an exceptionally pleasant experience. One of the highlights was a classic dish of the culture, mofongo, made of plaintains but tasting like a most flavorful stuffing kicked up with the crunch of crumbled chicharron. Googled plaintains and found this good place to learn more about these banana-looking non-bananas.

So far, next week: cheesy sirnikis, tomatillos how old???, how to cook anything, the mayo trick, curry cookies became what???

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