Some people make entertaining look so effortless. The rest of us are a mess.
For example, if you're coming to my house for dinner, it's best to take a nap beforehand. Because by the time we eat ... well, it's likely bedtime.
But you're in good hands at Suzie Twitchell's home on Daniel Island. So says her neighbor, Mary Beth Natarajan, who suggested Suzie as a good home cook to be featured here.
"She is an awesome cook, and always so relaxed about it. We eat over at their house all of the time and I am always amazed at how easy she makes it all look. The meals are delicious, and Suzie is so relaxed and gracious that she makes everyone feel at home. She is now my cooking mentor!"
Read on for Suzie's secret.
Name: Suzie Twitchell
Residence: Daniel Island
Family: Husband Dave of 48 years; daughter Julie and son-in-law Jim; grandchildren Ellie, 6, and Jason, 3.
Q. How would you describe your style of cooking?
Q. Who or what sparked your interest in food and cooking?
A: My mother. She didn't know how to cook when she was married and turned into a great cook and entertainer. From a young age she encouraged me to join her in the kitchen and "help get ready for the party."
Q. You once had a restaurant in the San Francisco area. When was that, where and what kind of restaurant? What was your role?
A: It was a gourmet seafood restaurant in the Bay Area,, Menlo Park. We specialized in fresh fish and weekly we bussed in catfish from my uncle's catfish farm.
Q. Why did you leave the business, and what brought you to South Carolina?
A: When we moved here, our granddaughter, Ellie, was 11/2 years old. No better reason to leave California.
Q. We hear from your neighbor, Mary Beth, that you make meals look so easy. What is your best advice to tasty and comfortable entertaining?
A: Plan ahead. Select dishes you can prepare before guests arrive, only needing to be put in the oven or a quick warm on the stove. If you are prepared and relaxed, your guests will also be relaxed and enjoy the meal.
Q. Describe three dishes that are at the top of your repertoire.
A: Catfish Veronique; fried chicken with artichokes and mushrooms; corned beef hash and poached eggs.
Q. Just for fun, if you were a food, what would you be? Why?
A: Dark Chocolate. Because I love it, love to serve it, and see how much our guests enjoy eating it.
Q. A few of your favorite places to eat in the Charleston area, and why:
A: Red Drum, Mount Pleasant The food is phenomenal, always fresh. You always have the choice of ordering a light supper or a beautiful special occasion dinner. SNOB: ambiance and always showcasing the Lowcountry.
Q. One of my top food indulgences:
A: Dark chocolate.
A few of my best recipes:
Chutney & Bacon Spread
Servings: 10-20 people
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 jar Crosse & Blackwell Major Grey chutney
1/2 pound bacon cooked and coarsely chopped
1 bunch green onions and stems, sliced
Blend cream cheese, cheddar cheese and curry powder in a food processor. Spread mixture onto a platter or plate. Lay chutney, bacon and green onions onto mixture. Chill. Serve with crackers and enjoy.
Cream Cheese Peach Pie
For the crust:
16 graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 stick butter
Crush graham crackers, and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Press into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
For the filling:
3 to 4 fresh peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Slice peaches into pie shell and sprinkle with sugar. Blend together cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour over peaches in graham cracker shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Will come from oven puffy but will settle as it cools. Refrigerate before serving.
Reach Teresa Taylor at 937-4886 or ttaylor@postand courier.com.