NEW! Google Custom Search


Marie Louise: A Twist of the Wrist

Marie Louise's picture

The entire title is A Twist of the Wrist: Quick Flavorful Meals with Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes. It's by Nancy Silverton & was just released this week.

It is the perfect book for the way I cook today: "This is a book...for when you're hungry and even a trip to the grocery store is more than you can bear, and for dinner parties when you want to have friends over but you don't have the half day it takes to go all out in preparing the food." That is a perfect description of our life right now. I've got a job I love w/ a commute I hate. Every year, DH works longer and longer days. We love to entertain but hate giving up sleeping in and/ or taking a long hike so we can.

This isn't a "Sandra Lee cookbook." The concept is the same, but these recipes use ingredients found at the typical Bay Area upscale grocery store. She says she felt like it was a "fall from grace" for her to do this, because she comes from a school of cooking in which anything that is prepared, frozen, packaged, or preserved, rather than made from scratch is "considered if not downright evil, a total cop-out."

I'll be cooking from this book once my new kitchen is completed in early May. No way am I cooking every recipe in the book, so if anyone else wants to cook from this book, please feel free to do so.

Here's the Amazon link:

soupereasy's picture

(post #67200, reply #1 of 50)

Going to have to check that book out. Sounds like just the ticket for some evenings after work. Those evenings when, truth be know, I would prefer to hit a local diner than to attempt anything at home.LOL

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #2 of 50)

Since I'm going to be getting a late start due my kitchen remodel, I thought I could still participate by telling you a little more about the cookbook. Hope this won't offend anyone; it is the best I can do right now. (I cannot imagine what someone might have said they came back to delete it in Message 3!)

Let's start w/ three desserts using ice cream.

PEPPERED BALSAMIC ICE CREAM W/ FRESH STRAWBERRIES In the recipe notes, she mentions how much she likes fresh strawberries served w/ balsamic. Here, she mixes 1/2 teaspoon black pepper & 2 tablespoons Balsamic into 1 quart softened vanilla ice cream, beating in w/ a mixer for 10 minutes. You then refreeze it & serve it w/ sugared strawberries.

STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM PIE W/ CINNAMON-BLACK PEPPER STRAWBERRY SAUCE & STRAWBERRY SHERBET The graham cracker crust is from scratch, and includes cinnamon & nutmeg. The ice cream is whipped without additional ingredients, The sauce is a caramel sauce w/ cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. A cup and a half of red wine is added to the sauce, then it is reduced, strained, and heated w/ sliced strawberries. The pie is served w/ strawberry sherbet, and the sauce is served over both, making this a triple strawberry feast.

DULCE DE LECHE ICE CREAM PIE W/ HOT FUDGE SAUCE, CAJETA, AND SALTY SPANISH PEANUTS In this recipe, the softened ice cream is whipped for long enough that it turns into a uniform light tan color, then poured into a cinnamon and nutmeg spiced graham cracker crust. You toast the peanuts w/ oil, then sprinkle w/ sea salt. It is served w/ both warmed [jarred] hot fudge sauce & cajeta. The picture looks unbelievable!

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #3 of 50)

POLENTA W/ QUATTRO FORMAGGI & CHEESE CONDIMENTI Instant polenta is made w/ whole milk in the typical manner, except that she infuses the milk w/ garlic & thyme sprigs as it cooks. What she does next is what makes this recipe a cut above. You pour each serving into a wide, flat shallow bowl. Each quarter gets a different cheese & condiment on top: Gorgonzola drizzled w/ walnut oil; Taleggio sprinkled w/ honey & red pepper flakes; Italian truffled cheese sprinkled w/ chives, and shaved Parmesan drizzled w/ olive oil. There is an appealing picture on the facing page.

Now, this cookbook is not for everyone. The review on Amazon mentions that even those of us in big cities may have trouble finding some of the ingredients. I shop several times a week at a collection of shops called The Market Hall. It includes a fabulous cheese counter where I can buy all of these cheeses. I grow chives in my herb garden and I keep instant polenta in the house. So for me, assuming I've planned ahead & bought the cheeses in advance, this recipe is a dinner DH & I could prepare very quickly on a cold, foggy night. It sounds perfect after a hard day of work w/ a salad & a glass of red wine!

SallyBR1's picture

(post #67200, reply #4 of 50)

Clarify something for me

she makes the polenta and allows it so set? then bakes the different cheeses on top? Or are we talking smooth polenta with some toppings, served right after making?



"You don't scare me. I've got a Jack Russell and he is the Chief"

SallyBR1's picture

(post #67200, reply #5 of 50)

Me again....

I just thought that polenta made in those creme brulle dishes - wide and short - could be a pretty cool way to present individual dishes

plus, they can go under the broiler for some last minute browning



"You don't scare me. I've got a Jack Russell and he is the Chief"

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #7 of 50)

You can either serve it in shallow ovenproof bowls, or serve it family-style. Creme brulee ramekins would work. They'd be a little small for a main course, but wow-this would make an impressive first on a cold night.

Using all of the cheeses except for the Parmesan, you arrange each over 1/4 the thin polenta immediately after cooking it. (It looks soup-like in the picture.) You broil it for a minute until the cheeses melt, then take it out, add the Parmesan, add the toppings, and serve.

It's not quick in the same way that opening up the bucket-o-chicken would be, but it is quick in the sense that two people who arrive home from work at 6:30, tired and hungry, can make it fast enough to eat before bedtime!

I'm guessing that I will probably try this w/ all four cheeses once, then make it w/ one or two favorites after that.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #6 of 50)

A couple of quick soups to give you an example of how she enhances canned ingredients in a very UN-Sandra Lee manner:

ROASTED TOMATO & RED PEPPER SOUP W/ PESTO CROUTONS This recipe starts w/ boxed soup-something I've never tried, but will for this project. An entire section of the book is devoted to stocking your pantry; she likes Trader Joe's and Imagine brand soups. She makes her croutons from scratch, using sourdough bread (something that I've always got leftovers of in the freezer.) After baking, the croutons are tossed w/ pesto that's been thinned w/ olive oil. she says she had a hard time finding a jarred pesto she liked. I often freeze enough in the summer to last me all winter, but one of the brands she recommends-Rustichella d'Abruzzo-is widely available in the stores around here. To completely gild the lily for a quick dinner, she broils halved or quartered cherry tomatoes w/ olive oil, salt, and sugar; the soup is poured over the croutons & tomatoes.

TUSCAN BEAN SOUP W/ PROSCIUTTO & GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO This soup is one I love to make from scratch w/ fresh cranberry beans. In her recipe notes, she discusses how she remade the dish, which is helpful information for future improvisation. She purees some of the canned beans to recreate the natural thickening of slowly simmered beans. She chooses Napa cabbage as the vegetable because it cooks in five minutes. Most but not all of the beans are pureed first, then heated w/ water, cabbage, garlic, fresh basil, and fresh thyme. The soup is plated, drizzled w/ olive oil, sprinkled w/ Parmesan, and then topped w/ small pieces of prosciutto that have been formed into a little rosette in the middle of the bowl.

TracyK's picture

(post #67200, reply #8 of 50)

I wouldn't have any problem finding any of those cheeses. Thanks for posting!

CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #48 of 50)

I'm trying a few last recipes out of this book before it gets donated before the end of the year. Tonight we made the Polenta that I described in post #5. She describes it as polenta w/ a cheese course on top.

OMG, this was good!!! We were able to get all of the cheeses, including some cheese w/ truffles, and the chestnut honey that she specified. I really, really loved it. My favorite was the Taleggio w/ chestnut honey and red pepper flakes-but it was nice to have the balance/ counterpoint of the four different cheeses. We served it w/ sauteed broccoli rabe & some light red wine.

Highly recommended.

shoechick's picture

(post #67200, reply #49 of 50)

We're really starting to love chestnut honey.  We bought a honey sample pack in Chianti and have been serving them with different cheeses and pears and just love the Chestnut!!  Recipe sounds great.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #50 of 50)

It didn't taste good straight, but it really enhanced the cheese.

FitnessNut's picture

(post #67200, reply #9 of 50)

This sounds like the perfect, elusive, after-work cookbook. I'm interested in your review. I figure that if Silverton wrote it, there must be some merit to it.

Follow your bliss ~~ Joseph Campbell

Follow your bliss ~~ Joseph Campbell
soupereasy's picture

(post #67200, reply #10 of 50)

Sounds pretty good so far. I hope that when she actually cooks from it we are not all disappointed.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #11 of 50)

I'm so excited, I made my first recipe the other night: "Tri-Colore Salad." It wasn't much of a "recipe," but considering that we have no kitchen at the moment, even making something this simple was truly memorable. I couldn't quite reach my wooden salad bowl (even though I could see them far in the corner) so I served it in a metal bowl. It's good, but for me, it was one of the best salads I've ever had in my life just because I made an actual salad and had something fresh & green I made myself.

The greens are a mixture of 1 head radicchio, 1 head Belgian endive, and 4 cups arugula-that's what gave this salad "a twist." I've had all three seperately, and probably all three mixed w/ other greens, but these three together were a perfect balance of bitter and peppery. It's meant to be served as a side dish for many of the other recipes in her book. We served it w/ a grilled Garden Burger, but she recommends it for soups, pastas, frittatas, or crostini. The dressing is a simple lemon & oil vinaigrette, which of course I had to eyeball since my measuring tools are packed. The whole thing is tossed w/ grated Parmesan, which I had to shave off in pieces w/ a knife, since I packed all my graters. (I've since bought a new Microplane, since Glenys says they get dull over time.)

I would definitely make this again. Especially for busy weeknights, a salad served along a main dish is a good thing. This one's sturdy enough to stand up to the rest of the plate-like coleslaw except it's not cabbage.

SallyBR1's picture

(post #67200, reply #12 of 50)

I am impressed....

I kind of forgot you are kitchen-less at the moment - to go along with the project in this situation is amazing!

Love the idea of this salad - since making better salads is my personal goal for this Spring/Summer, you can bet I'll be making this soon



"You don't scare me. I've got a Jack Russell and he is the Chief"

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #13 of 50)

HEY!!! Lookie here-"my" cookbook is the NYTimes Magazine story this Sunday:

sbreckenridge's picture

(post #67200, reply #14 of 50)

wow, you've definitely piqued my interest in this cookbook.

The first ice cream reminds me of a coupe they serve at Batali's restaurant Otto in NYC--olive oil gelato, balsamic drizzle, and sugared strawberries. (I think there may be a grind of black pepper in there too). So good.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #15 of 50)

Many of the recipes are from her "chef friends," as the front flap calls them. She credits the Balsamic Ice Cream recipe to Jody Adams of Rialto in Cambridge, MA-but she does have some Batali recipes in here as well.

Risottogirl's picture

(post #67200, reply #16 of 50)

That balsamic ice cream is regularly on the Rialto menu in various seasonal desserts. Rialto is a favorite place and Jody's book is among my favorites.

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor

Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

pamilyn's picture

(post #67200, reply #17 of 50)

I just ordered this. Sounds interesting.

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #18 of 50)

Feel free to post your comments about recipes tried on this thread. I won't be the least bit offended, and I think it will be helpful for others (who I'm sure will be buying it soon) if all the comments about the book are in one place.

pamilyn's picture

(post #67200, reply #19 of 50)

Will do. I don't have a "project", but will post here if I do some recipes from the book.

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

SallyBR1's picture

(post #67200, reply #20 of 50)

I am resisting.

Felling a little weak, but resisting well so far.

YOu do make it hard, you know?



"I marinate my kitchen on a regular basis"

(pamilyn, April 2007)

Gretchen's picture

(post #67200, reply #21 of 50)

I am also "resisting" but it's in my cart--as is Sundays with whoever!!  Resistance really is futile!!  Trekkies unite!!


soupereasy's picture

(post #67200, reply #22 of 50)

I just got Girls who Dish this week and this book is on my wish list. This project looks like it could make me gain weight and drain the bank balance! ;)

MadMom's picture

(post #67200, reply #23 of 50)

Wouldn't it be nice to find a project which slims the weight and fattens the bank balance?  Of course, it wouldn't be nearly so much fun.

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

dorcast's picture

(post #67200, reply #24 of 50)

Yes, this is an expensive project, and I'm just observing....

Girls Who Dish is on the way to me, this book is next, yours is calling my name too.

My own version of the project has been to have to make at least one thing from each of my
cookbooks this year, so I feel less guilt about owning so many.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #25 of 50)

Hmmmm... Today I'm not so sure about this book. I'm going to try another recipe or two, but I'm skeptical.

A few weeks ago I spotted one of the boxed soups she raves about-Imagine brand Corn Soup. It's been sitting in my "kitchen" waiting for the right moment to heat & doctor it up. Well, I opened it up last night, and it tasted vile. First of all, it had an odd tint to it-grayish, like the husks. Not too appetizing!

I don't think of myself as a corn snob. I live in a big city, so the "fresh-picked" corn we get is at least a day old. I think frozen bagged corn is passable for the occasional winter craving. But this just tasted off. DH tasted it & didn't want it either. So, we threw it out.

FYI, her recipe for using this corn soup called for adding sourdough croutons w/ cheese & sauteed applewood bacon on top. That sounds great, but I'll use my own corn soup as a base.

wonka's picture

(post #67200, reply #26 of 50)

I had bought that soup for my daughter, who has just recently gotten braces, and she hated it (this is the one who likes most everything).

Marie Louise's picture

(post #67200, reply #27 of 50)

Now that I've got my kitchen back...I want to make my old favorites for a while. There are so many things I've missed that I don't have any interest in working through a book right now. If I change my mind, I'll post again.