Today I'm coming out of the food pantry and admitting that I've never had a Twinkie or even wanted one until they disappeared. Why is it humans don't fully appreciate something until it's gone?
So, like thousands of dedicated Twinkie fans, which I now admit I have become, I rushed to the store last month when they made their return. They looked the same as they did before. I could tell by the pictures. But they last nearly three weeks longer. That's some kind of staying power. It sounds a little scary to me. I mean, what kind of preservatives did they put in the little golden cakes to increase their shelf life?
No matter. I was determined to try them this go-round. They weren't brought back to life because no one loved them. Apparently a lot of people did. The uproar of their potential demise could be heard throughout the nation.
So I went out and bought a box. I tried one solo and have to say it was good, but I still couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. So I Googled "recipes that use Twinkies" and was amazed at all the choices that appeared. There were ones for Twinkie Tiramisu, Twinkie Pie, Twinkie Surprise, Twinkie Bread Pudding ... even Twinkie Sushi. There was Twinkie Cake, and Paula Deen had a post with one of her fattening creations using Twinkies, crushed pineapple, bananas, cherries, pecans and Cool Whip. No surprise.
But my favorite was this dessert from Taste of Home's online community forum. Talk about perfect for the summer's heat. Try making it as I did with nonfat half-and-half, light whipped topping and light cherry pie filling. Too bad they don't make light Twinkies.
And there's no baking in this recipe. Just throw it all together, refrigerate and serve. Perfect for a midweek family dessert. It'll make your Twinkies sparkle.
1 box Twinkies
1 box instant vanilla pudding
Milk or half-and-half
1 can cherry pie filling
1 large container whipped topping
Slice Twinkies in half, layer in bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan. Mix pudding with milk or half-and-half according to directions on box. Pour over Twinkies. Spread cherry pie filling over pudding. Cover with whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Wine Spectator magazine has just released its annual Restaurant Wine List Awards, and several in our area made the cut. They are:
• Bald Headed Bistro, 201 Keith St., Cleveland.
• Broad Street Grille, 1201 Broad St.
• St. John's Restaurant, 1278 Market St.,
• 212 Market, 212 Market St.
Rick Shell, director of food and beverage at The Chattanoogan, home to Broad Street Grille, calls the inclusion -- the second time the Grille has made it -- "an honor and privilege."
"We are thrilled to win this respected award and have our commitment to the high standards in our food and beverage program recognized," he says. "At the Broad Street Grille, we have a great team of chefs, servers and restaurant professionals who take their work very seriously.
"Being on this respected list for two years tells us that we are exceeding wine industry standards and offering our guests a wide range of wines at a variety of prices from around the world. Our guests expect us to wow them with our food and wine offerings, and this designation shows our current customers as well as our future customers that we have the full dining experience."
Congratulations to them all.
Finally, if you've not yet tried Zaxby's new Cobb Zalad, you're in for a treat. It's quite refreshing, loaded with tender grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, bacon, hard-boiled eggs and cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. It's light, but very filling. And to make it a true Cobb salad, when I brought it home, I added some chunks of avocado and a sprinkling of blue cheese crumbles that I happened to have handy. You can order whatever salad dressing you want, but the standard is the light ranch. The Cobb Zalad is $6.79 and will be on the menu through September, according to the folks at the Soddy-Daisy Zaxby's.
Contact Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.