Baked Rigatoni with Sausage, Fennel & Peperonata, Nov 6-Nov 12, 2020

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Quick Bites – Did you buy canned pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving? Wait! Indeed the pie is traditional, but just maybe you might like to take a look at these “21 Delicious Desserts That Start with a Can of Pumpkin” from MyRecipes. Cake, squares, bread, cookies, cupcakes, coffee cakes, pie variations including pumpkin mousse, and then a giant step sideways into fudge and candied nuts.    Well this tale from My Recipes starts out with dealing with lime-less guac and goes on to an interesting take on getting creative with citrus and other acidic components..     I wasn’t familiar with, but it does show the lock icon and really has some pretty interesting stuff on the site. Among the recipes is an apple bread with no flour, butter or oil.

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Shopping Finds – In case you thought singing, dancing, acting, winning top awards and being an all-around nice person defined the limits of Dolly Parton’s talents – Nope! Williams-Sonoma adds “all-star baker” to her resume on their Dolly Parton Baking Collection page. You’ll find both baking accessories and pre-made items, all very pretty    Wear your passion. Visit my page right here on CS for t-shirts featuring coffee, chocolate, and ice cream – and the one that declares, “In this house I’M the celebrity chef.”

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Kitchen Talk – So, after featuring the chocolate ice cream bread last week, discovered I still had some slices of the previous incarnation, the chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream bread {08.07.20 Salon} in the freezer that I wanted to use up. Remembering the friend who “French toasted” a waffle, yep, did the same with this bread. And what was so nice even before the butter and syrup, it had all the good flavors of the ice cream bread.    So I know I’m late to the “quinoa party,” but have been thinking about joining in ever since I saw the Mexican version {mine shown} in the Breakfast Bowls feature in our 07.31.20 Salon. Then found tri-color quinoa and that sealed the deal. Note that though the recipe site shows slices of tomato and avocado and hard cooked egg as toppers, and the directions call for dicing and mixing in, I opted for chopping & topping and a swirl of hot sauce.    Bacon jam! Order it from Amazon or make your own, and then spoon it onto a burger, baked potato, grilled cheese, or a cheese plate. I especially liked it on eggs. Some of the commenters said they gave jars of it as gifts. I actually combined a few different bacon jam recipes from those I found on google.

   On the Table  

Feature – Baked rigatoni with sausage, fennel, and peperonata – cheesy too! 

Isn’t it great when you find a tempting recipe not only on the way to something else but also in a rather unexpected place. In this case the source is Williams-Sonoma, whose site I was visiting to find more information on the Dolly Parton baking collection mentioned above in our Shopping Finds.

Of course they do sell food, it’s just that I usually think of them more in terms of cooking and serving rather than prepping. But lo and behold the emporium’s site has a whole lot of recipes.

This one is definitely going on my do list. Hard to resist a winning combo of Italian sausage, three kinds of peppers, two kinds of cheese, and a new fave, fennel.  CS friends, even if like me you really, really, don’t like its siblings licorice and anise, give fennel a try – when cooked, it takes on the most wonderful flavor and texture.

Now one thing to note – the recipe calls for “prepared tomato sauce” which my best guess is just simply canned sauce. Amidst top ratings in the comments there’s a lesser one that refers to the sauce as bland, and I think I would probably have the same reaction. So, along with so much else good going on here, surely if we want we can add some seasonings, or use flavored tomato sauce or pasta sauce.

{Photo from Williams-Sonoma recipe page}

Next week – Apple Crumb Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Recipe    Williams-Sonoma recipe page    Williams-Sonoma cookbooks on Amazon

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 do you make almond butter cups? Oh my, could this rival peanut butter cups? The actual recipe is titled Giant Homemade Almond Butter Cups, and AllRecipes says its prep is the “perfect combination of bitter, sweet and healthy.” And pretty darn easy too, just pouring melted chocolate into lined muffin cups, then balls of almond butter mixed with confectioners sugar, more chocolate, let sit on the counter, done!

Alexa says request: How do you make chicken parmesan roll ups? Now here’s something interesting that can happen with an Alexa request. If you follow a recipe to its source on your computer, maybe even just to print it, you could well come upon an alternative that you like even better. And I did! Now to be fair the original options were just fine, and I have absolutely nothing against the vegetables they included, but I wanted a dish truer to the classic and I sure found it in Chicken Parmesan Rollatini at Food Network Kitchen.

My request: Alexa, give me a cooking tip. She replies with “How to Cook for Just Yourself,”, something that may be exactly what’s going on right now. Among other points, it lists as a perk that you can always make meals that you, you, enjoy. It goes on to cover shopping, prepping, and storing.

And an unexpected thing we found that Alexa can do – tell you what well known people have birthdays today – say Alexa, what’s the birthday roundup?

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 styles here on this Amazon page

   Cocktail Hour Buzz   

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

   Found this on the way to something else too – Chocolate Party Pie. Cook and stir 3 3/4 oz chocolate fudge pudding mix, 2 c milk, 2 T packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa & a slightly beaten egg in a saucepan on med heat until it comes to a full boil. Remove from heat & blend in 2 T butter. Cool 5 min stirring twice. Pour into 8″ baked & cooled pie shell. Chill. Top with whipped cream. Easy pie-sy.

   I’ve previously mentioned how much I love Tajin, salty and spicy and citrusy, so good sprinkled on steak, eggs, raw veggies, corn on the cob, tacos, etc, etc, etc. Now I’ve discovered how perfect it is as the rimmer for a bloody mary. Doesn’t hurt to stir some in too! My market carries Tajin but if yours doesn’t and you want to try it Amazon does have it. {So, in the process of finding the link for you also discovered they have Tajin-flavored snacks}.

   Ha, found it! And not surprisingly, it was YouTube that served up this demo for making ginger syrup. What was a surprise is the connection to cocktails. I did gasp a bit when he threw out the strained ginger. Yikes, it probably wouldn’t have the strength of the original, but surely could be used in any recipe calling for ginger, just use more and that would be no problem as the recipe yielded at least a 1 1/2 cups of the stuff. As noted in a previous Salon, if you prefer pre-made you can find it at Amazon.

   “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Julia Child

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Saucy, spicy, savory Cajun shrimp, June 5-June 11, 2020

Hosted by Barbara J Nosek

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Fieri finds “real-deal” Cajun in Mooresville, Indiana

It’s called Zydeco’s and that real deal is not just a matter of serving up all the classics, but as well making some of the essential ingredients in-house and flying in some of the rest. Guy says, when you’re inside you really are in New Orleans.

This recipe from his cookbook, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: The Funky Finds in Flavortown,” is an adaptation of the one provided to Fieri by co-owner and New Orleans native Carter Hutchinson. Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp is not for the faint of palate – any hint of red in the buttery/garlicky sauce is not from tomatoes {there are none}, but from hot peppers – ground, flaked and liquid.

That’s indeed Big Easy style, with the requisite crusty bread pressed into service after the shrimp is gone to scoop up every last bit of the sauce. Expect to have butter residue to the elbows immediately afterward, and garlic wafting from your pores possibly for days.

You also could have had pretty much this same dish if you ever happened to have gone years ago to a place called Slicker Sam’s in Melrose Park, a suburb west of Chicago, and probably today at other select places outside New Orleans. Just make sure wherever it is, it’s the “real deal.”

Both cookbook links below take you to Amazon. Fieri’s books generally rate four stars and up.

Next week: Honey roasted carrots

Zydeco’s BBQ Shrimp recipe on Food Network    This DDD cookbook    Other Fieri cookbooks


Shopping, cooking, storing, substituting, using up, helping, amusement, health & safety

  Quick pickup at Trader Joe’s, back home, minutes later, dinner! And hooray for the number of ingredients too. It’s all promised in their list of “Meals {that} Have Fewer Than Four Ingredients and Take 10 Minutes to Make.” They’ve done a boffo job of packing a lot of flavor and texture into a little bit of stuff. Thanks Cooking Light for posting this. {Just a quick PS, more accurate to say four or fewer ingredients

  How about a nice ice cream dessert with a kick? This sweet treat is the result of Fieri’s visit to a place called Union Woodshop in Clarkston MI, and the recipe in the book {above} for a Maple Bourbon Pecan Sundae is courtesy of that restaurant’s Chef Aaron Cozadd. Thinking despite the title this would be quite good even without the bourbon, and then maybe some vanilla instead.

We should note that Cozadd makes his own vanilla ice cream for this sundae, using the nitrogen freezing method. I’ve had this prep before and the ice cream turns out so smooth, so creamy, it’s almost in a class by itself. A lot of cautions go along with this process, so maybe ice cream from the store would do just fine.

  Joanna Gaines, known to many as a cookbook author and more, is posting cooking demos on her Youtube channel. What’s so nice about this format vs live tv is you can pause the video to make notes or whatever, or run it back to see something again. There is a subscribe button but you can just go ahead and watch any of these Magnolia Table episodes. May want to start with the French Silk Pie. Meanwhile if you’d like you can browse her cookbooks and more on Amazon.

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Tiny Hot Dogs x 2, Oct 4-Oct 10, 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 – {encore!} ice cream for breakfast / go take a flying jacob / beer backstory    CS MARKETPLACE SPOTLIGHT – tiny hot dogs, read    FEATURED RECIPE – tiny hot dogs, watch  ♦  TIP – corn on the cob, takes 1, 2, 3    THE WEEK – Choctaw stew / burger tip / tater redux


Newsy, schmoozy stuff for cooks 

  Yes, indeedy, we ran this before {as did Food & Wine} and just as they regarded it as worthy of an encore, so do we! And in fact it was way up there as a favorite Tidbit among CS-ers. What? “19 Ways to Enjoy Ice Cream for Breakfast.” Ignore where the sun is, hit the freezer, etc, and enjoy!

  Have you ever heard of this? When Guy Fieri took his Diners, Drive-ins & Dives to Krokstrom in Kansas City, we were introduced to a dish called Flying Jacob, an unlikely combo of chicken, bacon, bananas, cream, spicy ketchup and peanuts that became a sensation when the recipe was submitted by a man named Jacobsson and printed in the Swedish mag “Allt Om Mat” {All About Food} in the 70s, and has unpredictably maintained shelf life to the present day. Here is the reprint AOP published after crowd pressure and it includes a link to the original recipe. You can google many variations including casserole versions.

  And so it was born. The stronger, hoppy brew many folks now enjoy at happy hour was the result of transport issues rather than flavor r&r. Beer sent by Britain on a long, hot journey to its soldiers in India would often arrive flat and sour. They found though that if they raised the alcohol content and added fresh hops to the barrels, the beer not only survived the trip but “tasted pretty good.” You might agree because today we know this quaff as India Pale Ale. Another tidbut from Moveable Feasts, the book that lifts the veil on how foods travel from a whole lot of “theres” to your plate, first mentioned in our 09.27.19 Salon..


Tiny Hot Dogs, the book . . . with recipes 

Mary Giuliani {no, not a relative, as she is constantly asked} is a caterer to the stars and sometimes we know who the Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bitesmarquee folks are and sometimes not. What we discover more often is what she serves them.

And that brings us to the “tiny” reference. Giuliani shuns the usual gussy celeb fare for what might be characterized as upscale snack food, served in bite size pieces as telegraphed in the book’s title, “Tiny Hot Dogs.” That means her party tables will be laden with, e.g., mini versions of lobster rolls, corn dogs, spring rolls, turkey clubs, and variations on grilled cheese.

And recipes for all of those items mentioned above, as well as others, are included in the book. Along the way you’ll also come upon some catering tales, her foodie bio, some straight-talk revelations, and a bit of droll humor. All in all, quite enjoyable.

“Tiny Hot Dogs,” 4 1/2 stars    Her previous book, “The Cocktail Party,” 4 stars   


Tiny Hot Dogs, the video . . . three ways

Giuliani brought her book title to life when she appeared on a charming show called Home & Family, on the Hallmark Channel. Her tiny hot dogs demo from that time is now on YouTube and is linked below.

You’ll see three ways to kick up the flavor on what are alternatively called pigs in a blanket, but bite-size, maybe two-bite. She also shows a compatible sauce for each.

You will also discover something you might find surprising. The only reason it wasn’t a revelation to me is that I had just finished reading a book on catering and learned how common this time-saving practice is in the industry. Turns out with the right sourcing, no quality is lost with this shortcut.

Tiny Hot Dogs video    Home & Family show


Corn x 3

What is it about corn that is just so satisfying. On the cob, off the cob, plain, flavored, cooked, raw, all so good. Here’s some buzz I hope you’ll find helpful . . .

So, in view of the fact that corn off the cob does quite well in the freezer, wondered why I couldn’t just freeze the whole cob. Never know until you try. Just tightly wrapped it, uncooked, in a paper towel and then in foil, and in it went.  The picture here shows it thawed, looking not bad, though for whatever reason it seems to survive the freezer better, in terms of both taste and texture, when it’s off the cob. I can probably say that with more conviction after trying one of these methods I belatedly found.

Street corn {elote} in a dish! So, had some kernels that I’d taken off the cob and frozen, no cooking, and thought it might be interesting to hit it with elote flavors. Found this recipe for a casserole which I used as a guide for ingredients but since I wasn’t using the prep’s 10 oz of corn, actually just did a toss into the skillet. Sauteed salted garlic in butter, then in with the corn, lime juice, a bit of hot sauce & some monterey jack, and when nice and hot into the dish with a bit more cheese to melt on top plus a sprinkling of fresh basil {in place of cilantro}. Excellent.

OK, again not remembering the source but best guess is Rachael Ray’s magazine that I saw a tip for removing corn silk. My previous go-to method? A paper towel. After Rach? A dedicated toothbrush! Now – even more recently, in an episode from Season 1 of “A Chef’s Life,” the silk remover was a regular household scrub  brush, ahhhh, that we’d like to think also solely dedicated to the task – sure covers a lot more ground {cob}.


Welcome to my kitchen and living room

  This time the all-in is stew, though not really a stretch I’ll admit. But what happened was, something in a book reminded me of a story I read when I was just a mini-foodie about three kids stranded on a floating island. Other than that main premise all I recall is that they made something called Indian stew. Googled and found Choctaw Stew –  close enough though the one in my memory also had tomatoes so added those along with celery & kosher salt though none of the three in this recipe – said no to green beans & squash but yes to garlic & hot peppers, and large-diced the potatoes – my broth of choice was a mix of chicken & beef, all in the slowcooker on low for 8 hours. Quite tasty.

  Is this something a whole bunch of you are already doing? I like to cook hamburgers in a really hot pan to produce a nice char but, aiyyyyy, not so fond of the fat splat onto the stovetop. Ha! Now I use a deep pan and at least most of the spray stays inside.

♦  The Featured Recipe in our 09.20.19 Salon was the tasty treat by José Andrés, Sweet Potato Sundae. I meant to mention that afterward I mashed the leftovers till quite smooth, served some the next day, froze the rest. All good! Recall though that I had used cream cheese not ice cream, so a prep with the latter is untested.

So far next week: Pro chocolate cake from a mix, sticky wrap without cussing, satenas, jammy eggs, making mushrooms last

Last week, just below:  Delivery for Fido have to sign for it, foodfests galore, good veggie veggie fruit fruit news, kitchen pockets, pumpkin caramel dip, poaching eggs to perfection, Legal Sea Food, love this peanut sauce, peanut butter Chex mix 

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