Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

February 27, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Winter Greens and Potatoes

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

It is a fact that I love greens. I love spinach and kale and collard greens and mustard greens and…well, most things that are leafy and green.

It is also a fact that I don’t eat as many as I would like. Why? Because Mr. Twistie isn’t wild about them, and most of the time I’m feeding him as well as me. He often finds them bitter and unpleasant. Sigh.

Because of these two facts, I went looking for a recipe that would let me have my green and leafies while pleasing Mr. Twistie’s palate. I found just the thing in my copy of The Savory Way by Deborah Madison. It’s a fantastic vegetarian cookbook that I pull out both when I’m feeding someone who doesn’t eat meat, when I feel like having a good meal sans meat, or when I’m looking for the perfect side dish to go with a great piece of meat. I was going to link to the book on Amazon, but at present it would appear to be more or less a collector’s item over there. The cheapest copy I found was something like seventy-eight bucks for the hardcover. The paperback started well over two hundred smackers. I suggest going to your local second-hand bookstore and seeing if you can find a previously loved copy.

Anyway. The dish is pretty easy (and easier if – unlike me – you get your chopping and dicing out of the way before you start cooking rather than after), requires no specialized equipment, cooks pretty rapidly, and is surprisingly fabulous. It’s also flexible. If you go to the store or your farmer’s market and there are no collard greens or the broccoli rabe is looking limp, just pick up some mustard greens or Swiss chard and have at it. Follow the cut for the recipe.


February 21, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Quick and Easy Snacks

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve spent a lot of my time this week staring at a screen at what’s going on in Vancouver (a lovely city where, incidentally, Mr. Twistie and I honeymooned). That’s meant less time than usual for cooking and more need than usual for the kind of fun, easy to eat snacks that one doesn’t feel so horrible about accidentally strewing about the room on seeing someone do something incredible or seeing one’s personal favorite athlete make the podium (Go Evan Lysacek!).

In addition to that, this happens to coincide with a request from reader JB who apparently read my mind and requested a couple recipes that don’t require an oven, since she is currently without.

I also decided that it was time to take a look at some of the great recipes available for free on the web instead of cookbooks that might or might not fit into the current available budget of some of our readers. There are some fabulous sites out there brimful of great recipes that are fun to make and utterly delicious. Besides, my personal challenge was to use written recipes I’ve never used before, but I never said they had to come out of books!

So it was that I perused the quick and easy snack recipes over at epicurious and found a couple goodies that looked tasty and wouldn’t dislodge me from the hypnotic joys of curling or the drama of short track speed skating (You couldn’t pay me to watch roller derby, but put it on ice skates instead of wheels, and I can’t look away. Go figure.) for too long.

Since the recipes are both available online, I’m just posting links to them and notes about how they worked for me.

First up, Pecan Praline Popcorn Treats. This is what Cracker Jack wants to be when it grows up. Ridiculously simple, quick, and a fabulous combination of crunch, goo, salty and sweet. In short, this is the almost perfect TV watching junk food. The almost? Well, that gooey, sticky factor does eventually make you either go wash your hands or get caramel all over the remote. Keep a couple wipes at hand, so you don’t wind up with a remote that sticks to both the couch and the cat. Enjoy the heck out of this one!

Next, Cheddar Chutney Tea Sandwiches. After all, you’ll need some savory treats as well as sweet. These lovely little bite-and-a-half sized sandwiches are a breeze to make (all you’ll need is a knife, a grater, a spoon, and a bowl, really), delicious, zesty, and satisfying. Watch for drips if you don’t just pop the whole (tiny) sandwich in your mouth. I recommend extra-sharp cheddar for the bite, but it would still be good with a milder cheese. I also substituted a different chutney than Major Grey’s. MG’s is more than fine, but I get an incredible tamarind-based chutney from my local farmer’s market. Play with cheeses and chutneys until you find the combo that makes you smile.

Maybe I’ll have some of both while I watch tonight’s broadcast.

February 14, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Double Potato and Halloumi Bake

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

When I started the new recipe every week for a year project, I had a goal in mind. I wanted to try out new techniques and new ingredients as I went along. Well, this week I didn’t learn a new technique. I was under the weather a bit, and just wanted something a little soothing and easy. Hence basically a roasted veggie dish. I roast vegetables all the time. I love how they taste, and roasting is something I’m quite good at.

I did, however, try out a new ingredient. Halloumi cheese. One thing to keep in mind when trying out this recipe, take it seriously when it says not to salt the veggies. Halloumi, like the Feta offered as an alternative, is very salty. I honestly didn’t want any more salt than was already in the cheese.

Where did I find this one? From the ever fabulous Nigella Lawson in her book Nigella Bites. It’s a lovely veggie dish that’s absolutely vegetarian-friendly. I intend to make it again and try some different veggies, because while I adore this combination, I could see a lot of other delicious things working in the dish. The cheese obviously makes it not very vegan, but if you left off the cheese (which is only added at the end) and threw a dash of salt on it, you’d have a fabulously delicious and hearty vegan dish, too. Those of us who eat meat can rely on this as a satisfying side to steaks or chops. Seriously, anyone who can chop up veggies and roast them should give this one a go, because it’s so much more than the sum of its parts.

So let’s get to the heart of the matter: the recipe.


February 6, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Onion Soubise

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

Okay, I have a confession. Until I tried this recipe, ‘soubise’ was a term I had heard a few times on Top Chef, but couldn’t actually define and had never eaten. Friends, I am now a huuuuugge fan! This was tremendously yummy and surprisingly simple to make. It takes time, but very little effort for the result. Oh, and this one is vegetarian, and could be made vegan with the substitution of a little olive oil for the butter in the recipe. While I adored the buttery taste of the soubise as written, I’ll probably try it with olive oil myself soon, so Mr. Twistie can join in the fun despite his high cholesterol and lactose intolerance. But in that case, I might also fiddle with the seasonings to add a little extra oomph.

I got the recipe from a friend, and I have no idea where she got it. All I can say is thank you to my buddy for offering up such a great recipe. Join me after the cut for the details.


January 30, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Casserole Roast Chicken with Garlic Cream

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

You may not know this, but garlic is a food group at Casa Twistie. Very few things get made in my kitchen sans garlic. One of the things that told me Mr. Twistie was The One was the fact that he was willing to share garlic fondue on our first date (that and the fact that he then took me back to his place to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, making his move for our first kiss at that romantic juncture when the knight slashes the throat of the Famous Historian which made my heart go pitter-pat). Onions and members of the onion family also feature largely in my cuisine.

So a recipe that features garlic and that oft-overlooked cousin of the onion, the shallot, is always going to get my attention. One that further allows me to make use of that massive chicken I found on sale at Safeway for half price is also a good use of my time and energy. One that also allows me to use up the heavy cream and white wine I had sitting around from previous recipes is yet another great idea. This one did it all and had Mr. Twistie threatening to lick his plate clean. I was about ready to join him, too!

It comes from the Food & Wine Annual for 1997, and I’ll be making it again.


January 23, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Whipped Cream Cake

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

Those who know me well are aware of my lifelong love affair with whipped cream. I adore the stuff. And so it was that when I opened up my Christmas gift from Mr. Twistie (well, the one that was a cookbook) and found a recipe for Whipped Cream Cake, I knew it would be the first thing I made in said book. What book is that? Why, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

And since this has been a dismally rainy week (rainy to the point where my phone and internet were both out of service for more than a day, leaving me with little to do but mistreat my poor Simmies), I decided that Whipped Cream Cake would be good both as a way of fulfilling my new recipe of the week goal and raising my poor waterlogged spirits.

As it turns out, this is a very easy recipe that goes pretty quickly.

Want to know more? Follow the cut and see how it’s done!


January 17, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Orecchiette With Rabbit Ragu

Filed under: Food,Recipe of the Week,Recipes — Twistie @ 8:30 am

Yes, you read that correctly. I ate Flopsy. Or possibly Mopsy. Or maybe it was Cottontail. I wasn’t acquainted with the rabbit before it arrived in my freezer. If the thought of eating rabbit disturbs you, then now would be a good time to move on. Or you could read the recipe and substitute a small chicken. It would definitely work. If you’re vegetarian, you might even be able to work out a version based on a really meaty kind of mushroom, such as Portobello.

Me? I’m sticking with the original and thanking my lucky stars that Mr. Twistie was out of town this week so I could have my rabbit in peace. Mr. Twistie is not down with Cottontail consumption. That meant all the more for me, and can I just say YUM!  Really, even if you don’t do rabbit, do consider adapting it for something you do eat, because this recipe is Heaven on a plate in a big way.

Where did I find this marvel? In Gourmet Today, edited by Ruth Reichl of the late, lamented Gourmet magazine. This is a brilliant combination cook book and  home hernia kit. The weight is put to good use, too. Not only are there literally hundreds of great recipes, but dozens and dozens of useful kitchen tips as well. Trust me, this one is well worth the price of admission.

And now, without further ado, on to the recipe.


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