Habanero Bacon Cream Cheese Corn Muffins

A lot of my posts recently have involved bacon. This one does too. With a nod to Harley Morenstein, bacon has been an omnipresent food trend for the last few years and I don’t see any end to the savory pork strip onslaught in the near future. While baconphilia has produced an incredible spectrum of twists on classic dishes – donuts, brussel sprouts, even sushi – with mostly positive reception, there is another seasonal trend this fall that is extremely polarizing. I am, of course, talking about pumpkin spice. Beginning with the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks in 2003, the obsession with this delicious flavor that evokes visions of multicolored trees and scarves has taken off astronomically. Even Harry Potter’s first drink at Hogwarts was pumpkin juice. While you will never catch me in public with a pumpkin flavored drink, Starbucks did introduce me to one of my favorite treats I often make starting around October: the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin. This gem and/or calorie bomb combines the wonderful flavors of allspice to the richness of cream cheese. I’ve seen my friends eat five of these muffins at a time. But what if you’re like me and lack a major … Read More! Read More!

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Muffin Loaf

Yeah, I don’t even know. This started as a brainstorming session due to my inability to sleep, in turn, due to my inability to apply sunscreen to my back, which is now very, very red. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’d know I have an unhealthy obsession with pie. So, at approximately 2:45 am, I came up with the gem of an idea to take muffin mix, put it in a pie tin, and let it rise like some huge muffin. In the middle I could put blueberries or something. As I said, I don’t even know. After going to my local Central Market to pick up ingredients for my lofty endeavor, I decided to tell my mother about my genius idea. About a minute into the conversation, I realized how idiotic I sounded, and that making a giant muffin pie was a moronic idea. The baking time it would take to get the muffin batter dry on the inside would render the top and bottom of the pie completely burnt. I already had the ingredients though, so what to do? I’d be lying if I said I had a plan. I basically just whipped up some … Read More! Read More!

Sea Salt Chocolate Pretzel Pie

I love pie like Brick Tamland loves lamp. The love affair began when I crossed the threshold of Emporium Pies, a little slice of heaven nestled in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas. With items like Red Velvet Cream Cheese Chess Pie and Sweet Potato Crust Pumpkin Pie, it’s hard to not instantly fall in love with the Emporium. The great coffee and almost overwhelmingly friendly service are just bonuses that go along with these creatively contrived confections. The only negative thing I can say about the Emporium is that the pies are a tad pricey to be buying on the regular. $30 for a normal pie and $40 for their deep dish apple “Lord of the Pies” does not a full wallet make. Therefore, there comes a time in every man’s life where he must buckle down and take the pie making process into his own hands. And so that is what I did. Since I respect and value all pies equally, regardless of gender, race, creed, or flavor, I found myself at a loss for direction when I made the (highly impulsive) decision to bake my own pie. I decided to crowd source ideas, and from my girlfriend I got toffee … Read More! Read More!

Watermelon Jalepeño Mint Lemonade

One of my favorite things about summer produce is the watermelon salad my mother always makes as the weather gets hotter. Taking cubed watermelon, she adds basil, jalepeños and black sesame seeds for a perfect side salad in the sweltering Texas sun. Going on common sense, it’s a little hard to add tequila to a salad; thus, I give you: Watermelon Jalepeño Mint Lemonade. This is the kind of drink that is a perfect poolside accompaniment to light appetizers and snacks like taquitos, chips, guacamole, and salsa. I just created a jalepeño mint syrup and then added watermelon puree to lemon juice and water. It was really that simple and took practically no time. Enjoy. You’ll Need 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (6-10 lemons depending on size) 4 cups water 1 cup sugar 2.5 cups liquified watermelon pieces, in blender. 1 jalepeño sliced (seeds or not, depending on heat preference) 6 chopped leaves of mint + 6 for garnish. Tequila (optional) Method Add one cup of water to a sauce pan. Add sliced jalepeno and chopped mint. Bring to a boil. After boiling for about 2 minutes, add one cup of sugar until entirely dissolved. Let simmer for 5 more … Read More! Read More!

Sandwich Pie

The reason I categorized this post under ‘sides’ comes from my reluctance to imply that a pie, one which also happens to be a huge sandwich, should be eaten by one person as a meal. Sandwich Pie, a recipe I’ve been making on occasion for the past few years, is meant to be shared. Pies are nothing new. Neither are sandwiches. A Sandwich Pie is just a simple twist of two great things into the perfect hors d’oeuvre. I don’t like eating the same thing twice in a row so for this post I created a trio of pies: Reuben, Turkey and Pepperjack, and Kobe Beef and Cheddar. This first time I ever made sandwich pie, I actually combined all three varieties into one large pie; it was ambitious and quite frankly a little overwhelming. The first thing I did with the pie crusts was to spread a thin layer of cream cheese at the bottom. I wish I could articulate a clear reason for why I did this, but in all honesty I just did it because it seemed right. For the turkey, I used a herb & chives cream cheese, and for the other two I used plain. This … Read More! Read More!

Destroying the Tuscan Kale Salad

The Tuscan kale salad has served me well over the years, be it in side dish or main course form. Ever since I discovered this simple and traditional Tuscan salad at Tavern Nashville, I’ve fervently attempted countless imitations of the recipe. Traditionally, the Tuscan Kale salad is made with finely chopped kale (shocking, I know), an olive oil lemon dressing, toasted bread crumbs, pecorino, parmesan or asiago, and, on occasion, dried cranberries. What a boring salad that is though. Let’s make it crazy. In my version, I replace the classic Italian hard cheese with gjetost. If you’ve had a salad with gjetost cheese in it before, you’re a liar. It’s not a thing. The creamy, carmel flavor of this cheese completely changes the flavor profile of the traditional dish. But why stop there? I replaced the lemon in the dressing with blood orange, changing up the citrus. Instead of the traditional Italian bread crumbs, I opted for crushed up blue corn chips, a nod to my Southwestern roots. At this point I realized this was getting a bit out of hand, so to make it completely out of hand, I added grated golden beets. Why not? The combination of the … Read More! Read More!

Mac and Cheese Sliders

Memorial Day has absolutely nothing to do with food. Anyone claiming otherwise is sadly misinformed. The last Monday in May has everything to do with honoring the heroic men and women that have valiantly served and defended our country. That being said, a man’s got to eat. So on this day of giving thanks for our servicemen and servicewomen made the most American thing possible – burgers – and then shoved a healthy dose of more America inside – Macaroni and Cheese. Yes, I know Mac and Cheese is technically British but a. America does it better and b. if you disagree, feel free to email me your location and we can set up a physical altercation. Keeping in step with the American theme, I decided to make my sauce pan a “Great Melting Pot”. Cheese from Ireland, England, and Norway all graced my pasta sauce. Yes, I realize this would only count as cultural diversity if we lived in the 18th century and I promise next time to add cotija, shanklish, and paneer for the more socially progressive palate. As for the burgers themselves I committed a cardinal sin. While fattier sausage increases the taste of beef patty burgers, adding it to bison … Read More! Read More!

Spoiling the Dog

My dog has no idea how good she has it. Registered to the AKC as My Fair Lady of Glengowen, she’s basically a princess. So today, in lieu of people food, I give you dog biscuits. This recipe is basically an experiment in how ridiculously spoiled I can make my dog. I will admit, it seems (and is) a little stupid to spend any time cooking for a creature that will literally eat anything except for chili peppers. Nonetheless, I love cooking for others, and that is not limited to just humans. My dog’s absolute favorite thing to eat is cheese. Furthermore, as a carnivore, Bremee will eat any type of meat, regardless of the animal of origin. Just ask the family of rabbits that decided to make a home in my front yard if you don’t believe me. It makes sense, therefore, that any treat going to my dog should contain meat and cheese. While a cheeseburger or a taco would suffice for Bremee’s palate, here at What A Twist we’re on that next level and must cook accordingly. So how can I make the most ridiculous dog treat possible? Well let’s start with the meat. I first considered beef, lamb, … Read More! Read More!

Gjetost: March is Underdog Month

As the month of March slowly winds down, I find myself in the same downtrodden position that 99% of the country currently sits in. No, I’m not referring to a wealth gap; rather, I feel camaraderie in the fact that, just like everyone else, I have a very, very busted bracket. Duke losing to Mercer, Stephen F. Austin over VCU, Dayton defeating Ohio State. I’ve given up. Which is totally fine because now I can focus on food again. But with the victory cry of the underdog still ringing in my head, I started thinking about underrated foods that sneak up on you out of nowhere and take you completely by surprise. And that brings me to Gjetost . (Give me a break, it’s hard to transition from American basketball to anything Norwegian) I first tried Gjetost (YEH-toast) at Abacus in Dallas. Abacus has long been my favorite restaurant in North Texas and recently was named a semifinalist for a Beard Award in Outstanding Service. This is a little ironic to me, because the first time I tried Gjetost at Abacus it was given to me as part of a complimentary sampler due to horrible service. The waiter told me it was … Read More! Read More!

Welcome to What A Twist

This post is simply my toe in the water that is the ocean of blogging. Merely an attempt to add content to what I hope to be a one-day moderately perused site, I will be updating the information on this blog on a regular basis. The content will span a wide array of topics and styles including the run-of-the-mill recipe post, to restaurant reviews around the country, to even essays and editorials on food, food policy, and all things culinary. Visit my Vision page to find out more about what I am trying to do with What A Twist. About two years ago, and many more years before of scouring myriad blogs, I decided to pursue my pipe dream of writing, designing, and cooking up my own food blog. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, but I find that to be part of the fun of the whole endeavor: learn as I go. Please enjoy my offerings and accept my gratitude for allowing me to share my passion with you. Read More! Read More!