Award-winning chef Nancy Silverton has conquered the gourmet world as the original dessert chef at Spago and founder of the celebrated La Brea Bakery. Her recipes are legendary, innovative, and delicious. However, in the last few years, there has been a great shift in cooking toward the Home Meal Replacement (HMR), better known as “takeout.” It’s impossible to spend hours in the kitchen after a hard day’s work, so more people are buying prepared foods and frozen meals, compromising taste for convenience. Realizing that people’s hectic workdays don’t afford everyone the time to re-create her epicurean triumphs, Nancy has come up with the perfect solution . . .
Enter, the jar!
Compiling a list of her favorite products that come in jars—and cans, bags, and boxes—Nancy has created easy-to-follow recipes that require less than thirty minutes to prepare. With this book there’s no need to sacrifice flavor, sophistication, and taste just because you’re spending less time chopping, cleaning, cooking, or baking. Nancy’s shortcuts not only allow us to produce quick and easy meals at home, they let us bring back the pride and the joy of creating gourmet meals for our family and friends.
A Twist of the Wrist contains 137 quick and delicious gourmet recipes from salads to pasta to meats and desserts, such as:
Cumin Shrimp and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Carrots
Creamy Corn Soup with Bacon and Cheddar Crostini
Orzo with Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Radicchio, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Boneless Pork Chops, with Creamy Polenta and Fennel Pollen
Seared Rare Tuna with Tomato-Olive Salsa
Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Pie with Hot Fudge Sauce, Cajeta, and Salty Spanish Peanuts
In addition to Nancy’s own creations, she includes recipes concocted with prepared ingredients from some of her chef friends, including Sara Foster, Tom Colicchio, Charlie Trotter, Mario Batali, Suzanne Goin, Ruth Reichl, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
There is also a pantry section, telling us where to get—by the Internet and mail order—the best of all things canned, jarred, and bottled.
This charming and utterly indispensable cookbook is suited for any type of cook, whether you’re an on-the-go gourmand or you just love flavorful, accessible meals at home. A Twist of the Wrist fits perfectly into today’s modern lifestyle and is a must-have for the contemporary kitchen.
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Nancy Silverton is the author of Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery (recipient of Food & Wine Best Cookbook award in 2000), Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery (nominated for Julia Child and James Beard cookbook awards), Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book, and Desserts. She will soon be opening a new restaurant in Los Angeles, Mozza, with Mario Batali. She lives in Los Angeles.
Carolynn Carreño is a James Beard Award-winning journalist and the coauthor of 100 Ways to Be Pasta (with Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene), Fresh Every Day (with Sara Foster), and Once Upon a Tart (with Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau). She lives in Los Angeles and New York.
Tarragon Chicken Salad with Avocado and Bacon over Arugula
I always keep a roasted chicken in the refrigerator at home. It's so handy to have around to make quick, last-minute meals. I'm lucky to live near a place in Los Angeles, Pollo alla Brasa, that roasts chicken over a wood fire. If you have such a place where you live, it's worth a special trip to go there for your chicken. You can really taste the wood and the fire flavors in the meat, and chicken cooked this way has a nice, firm texture. Because the amount of chicken you get from a whole chicken varies, I suggest you add the mayonnaise to the chicken gradually, using only as much as you think necessary.
8 strips thick-cut applewoodsmoked bacon
1 1 1/2-pound roasted chicken, meat shredded and skin and bones discarded (3-4 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus 1/4 cup whole leaves (about 40)
1 cup Garlic Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
1 ripe Hass avocado
8 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the bacon on a baking sheet and cook it in the oven for 17 to 22 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices, until it's done but stilly chewy, not crisp. Remove the bacon from the oven, transfer it to paper towels to drain, and allow it to cool slightly before tearing it into irregular pieces.
Combine the shredded chicken, chopped tarragon, and 3/4 cup of the Garlic Mayonnaise in a large bowl and toss to coat the chicken with the mayonnaise. (Add more if necessary to coat the chicken thoroughly.)
Halve the avocado, remove and discard the pit, and peel off and discard the skin. Cut the avocado into uneven chunks about the same size as the bacon and season them with sea salt. Put the arugula, avocado, and bacon in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss gently.
Mound the arugula salad onto four plates, dividing it evenly. Mound the chicken salad on top of the arugula and sprinkle with the whole tarragon leaves.
In life, I believe everyone, especially those of us who are serious about food, is entitled to one food vice—something they love even though they have a hard time admitting it, whether it's Oreo cookies, Fritos corn chips, or Lipton onion dip made with onion soup mix. Mine, if I had to choose just one, is Best Foods mayonnaise (called Hellmann's on the East Coast). As many others as I tried and as much as I wanted to choose an organic brand for this book, I kept returning to my old favorite. The other mayos just didn't have that familiar, well-balanced flavor that says "mayonnaise" to me. This recipe uses Best Foods mayonnaise as a base to make a quick aoli (garlic mayonnaise). It takes minutes to make and is a delicious way to finish so many dishes.
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
4 large garlic cloves, grated or minced (about 1 tablespoon), or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Stir the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and kosher salt together in a small bowl and season with more lemon juice, garlic, or salt to taste.
Strawberries and Ladyfingers with Sour Cream, Muscovado Sugar, and Saba
This dessert was invented one night at a dinner party at my house. One of the guests brought strawberries from the farmers' market that looked so good, Carolynn and I decided on the spur of the moment to turn them into a dessert using whatever I had in the house. This is what we came up with, and it was a big hit. Muscovado sugar is an unrefined brown variety from Africa, made from cane grown in volcanic ash. It has larger crystals than conventional brown sugar and a very strong molasses flavor. It adds another dimension of flavor to a simple dessert like this one that plain sugar wouldn't. You can find it at specialty food stores, but if you don't have any, substitute dark brown sugar. Ladyfingers are small finger-shaped sponge cakes that are most commonly used in tiramisù. I like their light, delicate texture with this simple fruit dessert. They're made of a very plain batter of eggs, flour, and sugar, and are one of the few items where I honestly can't tell the difference between fresh and packaged. Fresh ladyfingers might be slightly softer than packaged, but the flavor doesn't suffer in the packaged version. Just make sure the packaged ladyfingers you buy don't contain any weird ingredients.
1 pint ripe strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 1/2 tablespoons saba, plus extra for drizzling and for serving on the table
1 cup sour cream (or crème fraîche)
3 tablespoons light brown muscovado sugar
Place the strawberries in a medium bowl. Drizzle them with the saba and stir to combine.
Mix the sour cream and sugar together in a small bowl to combine.
Spoon the sour cream onto four plates and place two ladyfingers side by side on top. Spoon the strawberries over the ladyfingers and drizzle saba over each serving. Serve with the bottle of saba on the table for extra drizzling.
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