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A Twist of the Wrist: Quick Flavorful Meals with Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes [Hardcover]

Nancy Silverton

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Book Description

March 27 2007
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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (March 27 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400044073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400044078
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 21.9 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #444,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this beautifully illustrated book, renowned Los Angeles baker and chef Silverton (Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book) uses premium prepared ingredients as shortcuts to ease the home cooking time crunch. Most recipes are timed at 30 minutes or less, but the elegance and seeming difficulty of the dishes set them apart from the usual quick-fix crowd pleasers: Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Chops with Stuffed Grape Leaves and Tahini Sauce, or Buttermilk-Fried Oysters with Pickled Vegetables and Chipotle Mayonnaise sound like they should take much longer than half an hour, but with the ready-made ingredients, few cooks will have a problem. They might, however, have trouble actually finding those ingredients; even big-city dwellers may have to turn to the Internet for specialty items like green masala paste or fennel pollen, though a helpful glossary provides insight into locating them and some substitutions. Famous chef friends like Charlie Trotter and Mario Batali provide recipes revealing their own secret shortcuts. Fans of Silverton's last book will love the chapter on crostini with innovative toppings like ventresca, piquillo peppers and caper mayonnaise, using leftovers from jars bought for other recipes. Cooks looking for upscale yet quick meal ideas, and who will pay extra for pricey exotic items, are sure to appreciate this stylish cheat sheet. 38 color photos. 75,000 first printing.(Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

If the idea of using canned food to prepare meals immediately raises visions of cans of condensed cream soups and gloppy tuna-noodle casserole, Silverton and Carreno quickly dispel such uncouth culinary nightmares. They aim to simplify meal preparation through use of canned and boxed ingredients without resorting to the worst of processed foods. A jar of roasted peppers, a couple cans of tuna, a bunch of canned capers, and some fresh parsley compose a hearty cold salad. Canned beans, fresh herbs, and plenty of shredded cabbage make a quick soup in the Tuscan tradition. Sauteed arugula crowns pork chops nestled on a bed of instant polenta and flavored with exotic, expensive fennel pollen. Bottled lime juice and condensed milk make a quick tropical dessert. The authors offer a pantry inventory to ensure that the cook always has the basis for plenty of exciting meals readily at hand. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the work is in the shopping. Cooking? A breeze. April 11 2007
By Jesse Kornbluth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Nancy Silverton is one of the last chefs in the world I would have expected to write a cookbook that urges you to use prepared foods.

Worse, prepared foods in quality meals.

Even more unlikely: meals you can prepare with the fewest possible steps and the least preparation time.

That's because Nancy Silverton is a Serious Chef. Trained at the Cordon Bleu in London. Apprenticed at Michael's in Santa Monica. In 1989, with her husband and a partner, she opened Campanile restaurant and La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles. Turned them into national brands. Sold the restaurant for a Brea Bakery for major money, sold an 80% stake in the bakery for $56 million.

So she definitely has the time and resources to embrace "slow cooking," homemade dinners, 101% natural ingredients.

And, in fact, Nancy Silverton is famed largely for her hand-crafted, artisanal breads. And for her elaborate sandwiches. Like her BLT: smoky bacon, Boston lettuce, and sun-dried tomatoes on toasted sourdough bread with a spoon of pepper mayonnaise. And for views like this: "If someone asked me to fillet a whole fish, I wouldn't have a clue."

Still, it's a stunner --- even she thinks so --- for her to praise pasta sauce in a jar. Frozen pie crust. And, yikes, leftovers.

To come to these conclusions, she remembered how frenzied she was when she was raising three children and running two businesses. So she shopped for a year. And not just in supermarkets. She trolled gourmet stores. She clicked around the web. And she found that prepared foods had greatly improved since she started avoiding them, all those years ago.

Warning: To recreate her collection of cooking supplies, you'll have to exert some effort. You'll need to visit a high-end gourmet store. And you may need to shop on the Web, where sane prices are undermined by ridiculous shipping charges.

Other modest warnings: You won't find a pre-mixed vinaigrette dressing that's worth serving. (At least, she didn't.) In season, if you want pesto, she favors a mortar and pestle. And commercial salt-by-the-pound won't do. Silverton favors sea salt. And kosher salt. Two bowls, always handy.

Good news for vegetarians: Silverton discovered her love for cooking when she became the vegetarian chef for her college dorm. There are pages and pages of salads and soups that are either animal-free or easily could be.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick, easy, & elegant April 7 2007
By D. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately many people's idea of a "twist of the wrist" recipe involves some sort of cream-of-whatever soup over protein, perhaps with some processed cheese thrown in for good measure. Often cookbooks involving prepared foods result in foods that are marginally tasty at best and rarely healthful.

Silverton's book relies on quality ingredients, some of which just happen to be jarred, canned, bagged, or boxed (as indicated in the title of the cookbook). Spice pastes, roasted vegetables, cured meats, and other products prove very helpful in throwing together a meal in a short amount of time.

These kinds of recipes are an excellent alternative to quantity cooking on the weekend or simply eating out. Many of these recipes would even be suitable to serve to company.

The section on Silverton's preferred brands, products, and sources is also very useful.

Overall a good book to have on hand for those days where a frozen meal or take-out is just too tempting.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast food, gourmet style May 3 2007
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you've ever wondered what to do with pomegranate molasses or piquillo peppers, this book is for you.

For busy people who like to eat well, Silverton has scoured the grocery shelves for gourmet convenience items, like roasted red peppers, the new cartoned soups, jarred curry sauce, and tapenade to come up with dishes like Seared Tuna with Tomato-Olive Salsa, Peppered Skirt Steak with Spicy Tomato-Curry Garbanzo Beans and Tangy Greek Yogurt Sauce, and Chilled Corn Soup with Adobo Swirl.

Most of them take 30 minutes or less and all are designed to be one-dish meals.

There are lots of the usual pantry items too, like canned beans, sardines, capers, anchovies, etc., all used with flair and imagination.

The salad and pasta chapters are especially simple and different with dishes like Orecchiette with Peas, Prosciutto and Crème Fraiche, Pot Sticker and Vegetable Stir-Fry, Spinach Salad with Lentils and Crispy Warm Goat Cheese, and Cumin Shrimp and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Roasted Carrots.

Chicken salads are made with rotisserie chicken and tuna comes from a can (unless it's seared), but all the dressings are homemade, as Silverton cannot abide the commercial ones.

Silverton suggests brands for many items and while most are locally available, she also provides a list of mail-order sources. A fine collection, suitable for enlivening the week night or serving to guests.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Life May 5 2007
By Sally H. Calligan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I liked cooking from this book because it was FUN. It is not cheap. But I started cooking around the beginning of Marcella Hazan and Alice Waters. Everything was fresh, fresh, fresh. But all these years I have secretly loved canned peas and baby food apricots. Plus some of her techniques do translate to other menus. Silverton has given me a new life with mayo sauces and little sides. I have to say, I think it is so fun that it is the book that I am using more recipes than any other in the last ten years. and am cooking my way through it.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gourmet meals with easy to obtain products. May 12 2007
By Avid reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Nancy Silverston has put together a great book of recipes that are tasty, attractive, and interesting. Since purchasing the book, I have mail ordered a few ingredients I could not find locally and the rest came from a local grocery store. If you do not like to cook and really are interested in preparations like those of Rachel Ray, this is not a book for you. If you subscribe to Saveur, Gourmet, and similar cooking magazines, you will use this book and made adaptions to what you read. The photographs are a good enhancement for the recipes and the recipes themselves are easy to follow and to use.
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