“Best . . . ever” Irish lamb stew, March 6-March 12, 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 – bakers rejoice / a chewy, chewy, oh chewy / closet nukers    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – “secret” recipes    FEATURED RECIPE – St Pat’s classic    TIP – save the dish    THE WEEK – cheese it! / crochet dinner / and again, cheese it!


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Bonanza for bakers! Taste of Home, another superfavorite recipe source, has introduced Bakeable, a one-stop destination for all things related. There looks like a lot of sweet stuff going on here, most under the banners of Baking Guides, Baking Essentials, Baking Recipes and Bakeable Community. I have not tried this myself, but if you’d like the rest of the story, please click the link.

  Well my CS friends, this sure looks to be worth a spot on the to-make list. Paula Deen actually posted this as a Super Bowl treat, but once you take a look, aiyyyyy, is there any occasion, any time of year, we wouldn’t want this. Her Brown Sugar Chewies are dangerously simple, which is to say too easy to make any time day or night with the stuff that’s likely already in your pantry.

  Ha! busted. Topline chefs may scoff at the very idea of a nuker in the kitchen, but MyRecipes tells all. The curtain is pulled back in their tale of “18 Unexpected Items These Chefs Always Microwave.” Some of this actually might be expected, but most live up to the title. One of the most surprising to me was grilled cheese, especially since the chef identified this as one of his favorite things on earth so I believe we can rest assured he would not use a technique that disrespected this classic sandwich.


Better late than never

When I was just a child {censored} years ago I read, and loved, “The Secret Garden.” For reasons lost in the mists of history I didn’t finish the book with only about 25 pages to go.

In more recent years a friend and I attended a book store opening and there on a kind of easel display stand among other books, was “The Secret Garden.” It was just too tempting – while my friend did her thing, I stood at that stand, believe it or not able to pretty well figure out where I’d left off, and finished the book.The Secret Garden Cookbook, Newly Revised Edition: Inspiring Recipes from the Magical World of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden

To this day the story, the setting, and the characters are still so fresh and dear. So, was absolutely delighted to come upon “The Secret Garden Cookbook.”

The dishes were inspired by the book and adapted by chef and culinary historian Amy Cotler from traditional Victorian recipes, and in fact are often accompanied by tidbits on the era’s food, eating habits, and cooking customs. Among such offerings as cheese muffins, potato snow, tattie soup, and “tiddy oggies,” I particularly found the Snap Baskets intriguing, with “magical” batter that once baked can be molded into, e.g., rolls or baskets and then filled.

The book says for ages 8 and up and “where necessary work with an adult” – but while I think youngsters would enjoy looking through the recipes with their notes and quotes, really all should be supervised. It’s 4+ stars on Amazon, Hardcover in new and used, and Kindle discounted.

“The Secret Garden Cookbook”   “The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett”

The Secret Garden Prime Video & DVD  ♦  Other Cotler books    Other Hodgson books

CS Marketplace Directory


Go really, really, Irish for St. Pat’s Day

What could be a more warm and welcoming taste of Ireland than a rich and hearty Irish stew??? And what a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Let’s be clear here, though. That “best . . . ever” claim comes from the recipe source. But once you look at the ingredients and process, and even before you taste it, you might see the potential of the promise.

And, ahhhh, have to be clear about something else. This is not your typical recipe, in that it’s not a list of ingredients and then the procedure, but rather a running chronology of both of those at once. Second, much like many passed-down grandma preps, why bother with pesky amounts.

And yet, and yet, here’s another of those magnetic headlines, drawing you in and prompting a give-it-a-go, especially with the added creds of coming from mom and appearing on IrishCentral. I have not made this yet, but if I do before next week will post the results.

“The best lamb stew recipe you ever had”  


  To the best of my recollection

And actually I have quite a bit of faith in the details here. It was on Julia Child’s tv show, not a rerun, back when this culinary icon was still among us.

Of course we wholeheartedly appreciated her straight-talking French techniques. But we also know she was subject to the occasional mishap.

In this particular instance, while the dish turned out just fine in terms of taste, something went bad with the surface, the appearance. All these years later I do not recall if it was a sweet and savory dish.

What I do remember quite clearly was her advice in either of those cases. To be ready to cover up a cosmetic oopsie {my word} on something sweet be sure to always have chopped nuts available. For savory, parsley. All better.

Items featured here also appear in our weekly Tip Tuesday posts on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  Here’s yet another novel idea from Trisha Yearwood, which I saw on her Food Network show. Most of us could agree that cheddar and apples make a darn good combo. One of my long favorite recipes uses cheddar in the topping for apple crisp, and lots of folks just simply plop a slice of the cheese on a slice of apple pie. So the Yearwood twist – using cheese crackers in the crumble atop apple pie. Take a look at her tasty idea. {Well that was rude, tell you about great recipe in my files and then nothing, so thinking I’ll feature it for the 03.20.20 Salon}

  After I got past my annoyance with the author for not telling the rest of us what the heck amigurumi is, I became AmiguruMe Eats: Make Cute Scented Crochet Foodsquite captivated with this Japanese art of crocheting items made 3-D usually with fiberfill. In this book, titled “AmiguruME Eats,” the items are mostly food but also plates, bowls, glasses, flatware, pots & utensils.

  The cuteness factor notches even higher when there’s a face, and yet another sense is brought into play with the addition of scents. Thinking this could even be great fun as a wall decoration, on a plate or other surface, for your own kitchen or a hostess gift. Btw, the book does include crochet lessons.

  So, guessing we can all agree there’s nothing wrong with french fries just as they are in all their golden glory. {Just ask Betty White!} But, if at some point you’d like to add just a quick hit of kicked up flavor, you might do what I did tonight. After they’re nice and hot, melt on some pepper jack. Oh yeah.

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – books-Amazon / Chewies-Deen site / Irish kitchen-IrishCentral
  •  Link sources – books & DVDs-Amazon / stew recipe-IrishCentral
  • Partnerships – Amazon

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

So far next week: Savory sauce on steak is just the beginning, Irish hangover cures, “Recipe for a Perfect Wife,” omg made the shrimp & grits

Last week, just below: restaurant dishes you can make at home, no clinking & other niceties, don’t take a fake, St Pat-ifying your kitchen, new MADA shirt on Zazzle, red wine braised red cabbage, tater-free hash browns, food of the ancients, cookie redux, Temple {Shirley} & trivia

Looking for something in CS?

Scroll & check previews OR use the search box OR contact me at bjnosek@gmail.com

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Use the same email, enter CooksSalon in the subject line – see the Let’s Chat tab for further details


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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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Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Sauce with Cocoa, Nov 29 – Dec 5, 2019

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

New Salon every Friday – c’mon in

CS friends, and help yourself to tasty resources!

Starting this week, any of my partnership connections in the current week’s Salon

will be listed in the information box below, along with the photo credits & link sources

  Here’s what you’ll find when you scroll below  ♦

  TIDBITS – chocolate frosting with a secret / chocolate Yule log recipes / pumpkin-y pancakes    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – Merry Kitchen!  ♦  FEATURED RECIPE – cocoa loco   TIP – easy garlic  ♦  THE WEEK – the next all-in / merry mallows / a hot trend 


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  It looks so innocent, a luscious layer of chocolate frosting. But this icing might need some ice to counteract it. The current Food & Wine online newsletter offers up a prep for Chile Chocolate Buttercream, with the hidden heat of ancho powder and cayenne. Having some time back enjoyed pie with a chocolate-ancho filling I can tell you this sweet-hot interplay can be quite addictive. Btw, there’s also a recipe for the cinnamon cake underneath.

  Was so happy to see IrishCentral feature a Bailey’s Chocolate Yule Log, only to discover it was not a recipe but rather a retail item, and adding insult to injury seemingly only to be available in Ireland and the UK. Not to be deterred, tried Amazon for us. Not even on Amazon! So, back to one of my most reliable sources for great preps, AllRecipes. And there found some good looking Chocolate Yule Logs, which if one were so inclined could certainly not be harmed by the addition of a little spirit.

  So, then Irish Central redeemed itself with a feature on pie-spiced pumpkin pancakes. And, yep, complete with recipe. Nice treat for a holiday morning breakfast, maybe with a bit of bacon or sausage, some colorful fruit. Btw, I quite like this newsletter, and if you might too, can subscribe in the upper task bar on that page.


Deck your kitchen!

Why should the living room have an exclusive on all the festive decor??? Especially when we have so many ways to bring the seasonal colors and images right into the kitchen.D-FantiX Snowman Refrigerator Magnets Set of 16, Cute Funny Fridge Magnet Refrigerator Stickers Holiday Christmas Decorations for Fridge, Metal Door, Garage, Office Cabinets (Large)

Large stores, even pharmacies, often feature items for this very purpose. The ones we’re showing here are on Amazon.

Some are temporary additions like refrigerator magnets {shown}, appliance handle covers, wall decor {shown}, even chair slipcovers. Some are temporary replacements such as towels, tablecloths, napkins, table runners, and dish drying mats.

And this adorable tie-back set. And more. And all such fun.

So often our family and friends gather in the kitchen anyway, so why not make their surroundings sing Christmas and more. Just as good, why shouldn’t you have a joyful setting as you prepare those holiday goodies.

The full array on Amazon 

 BJN’s Eclectic Offerings PageIf you’d like to send a strong message to both sides in D.C., please consider my new items on the Offerings page that say, “Make America Decent Again.”


Just when you thought chocolate couldn’t get any better

I think it has something to do with the cocoa. It just adds such a deep, rich dimension versus other forms of chocolate.

And just like we like it, at least some of the time, the prep has few ingredients, simple technique. As flagged in our notes, though it calls for rum and many folks will find this a welcome addition, I used vanilla and it was still just so good.

The prep also tells us to use it cold, right from the fridge or after a brief stand at room temp. I did use it that way and also tested it heated, both over ice cream {work, work, work!}. As you can see, the ice cream does get melty with the warmed sauce but I actually liked it better that way.

The fact that it’s good however you use it is no surprise. It comes from the sweet genius of the late “Queen of Cake,” Maida Heatter, and appears in her book listed below.

Recipe    Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking”


Easy garlic trick

Thanks to the late and dear Mr. Food for this one. When you need to add garlic to a dish, put the knife or press back in the drawer and take out a fork.

You can start with whole cloves unless they’re extra large, then slice those in half horizontally. Now take your fork start pushing into the edges {not right down over the whole top}, and continue around the perimeter, gradually working your way toward the middle, pressing the tines toward the work surface and pulling them back toward you. If necessary, turn over and repeat on the other side.

The primary beauty of this technique is that in short order you’ll have coarse chopped garlic ready to go. Or you can continue to work the fork for a finely chopped result. Or, if you need the garlic in paste form, add a bit of salt and then mash down and back and forth with the fork. Voila, paste.

The bonuses? No more pieces flying off the work surface, sticking to the knife, and clinging to your fingers.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  My latest all -in. Pie crust! In our 08.23.19 Salon we talked about a pie filling made up of various chocolate items from the pantry and fridge. Now the chocolate vibe has gone into a crust in the form of cookies collected also from the pantry and fridge. There were stripes, stripes with frosting, chocolate coated mint cookies, even a couple of fortune cookies {nice little pockets of crunch}, crushed to crumbs and then mixed with melted butter in the classic graham cracker crust proportion of 1 1/4 cups to 1/3 of a stick. Now in the freezer awaiting filling and pretty sure one of them will host cheesecake. I’m guessing any cookies would do the trick.

  So, I saw such a cute way to serve cocoa on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show. She dipped marshmallows in melted chocolate mixed with a bit of coconut oil and then pressed some into pistachios, others into coconut. Next, for each cup of her white chocolate cardamom cocoa, she speared the two kinds of marshmallows on a wooden skewer and laid it across the rim. Adorable. But, oops, in the next scene when the cups are served, the marshmallows had done a backflip so all the pretty toppings were hiding face-down in the cocoa. Ummm, should we tell her about the two-stick trick from our 08.16.19 Salon???

Wait, wait, wait let me make two things perfectly clear. First, could this have been by design so that the chocolate melted into the white cocoa? Maybe. But even more notable, I love the food she does, and the whimsical touches she often shows us, some of which we’ve featured in previous Salons. So, face-up or face-down, a cool idea. Btw, for mine shown here I crushed spicy peanuts and M&Ms.

  Care to experiment? I plan to do so with whatever baked good I make next. This technique is called hot sugar icing, a matter of topping the unbaked cake or cobbler with sugar and then, uh oh, hot water. But the promise is a crunchy, candy-like sugar crust. The link takes you to the Taste article, and then a link at the bottom to a recipe for pear cherry cobbler, which include the amounts and instructions for the hot sugar upgrade.

So far next week: Hot fudge pudding cake, peeling ginger, flashback dinners, thaw it quick, kitchen organizers, elote add-on, next burrito, apple crisp punch

Last week, just below: pie guide, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from the best, bacon-pimento cheese dip, flour trick, another Parm corn butter app, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

This week’s

  •  Photo credits – pancakes/IrishCentral, decs/Amazon, others/mine
  •  Link sources –  recipe/CS Recipe Page Heatter book/Amazon, items on Offerings page/Michigan-based SunFrog
  • Partnerships – Amazon, SunFrog

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

So far next week: hot fudge pudding cake, kitchen organization,  

Last week, just below: bacon-pimento cheese dip, pie guide + recipes, gravy trick, food vs sleep, baking book from a legend, flour help, try this with the Parm corn butter, jar salads & other easy lunches, a quote to love

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 ©2019 CooksSalon.com

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