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"Zuni Cafe" Cookbook by Judy Rogers


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The bites of the perfectly cooked chicken that was moist and tasty and well seasoned mixed with the spice of the mustard greens and the juice soaked bread with currents and pine nuts.... amazing. I’m glad we went. 

Edited by MetsFan5 (log)
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On 3/16/2019 at 7:12 PM, blue_dolphin said:

Pasta with Preserved Tuna & Pine Nuts from The Zuni Café Cookbook p 211.  Here's a link to the canned tuna version of this recipe. 

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Much earlier in this thread, @trillium called this out as a favorite recipe and "more than the sum of its parts," and I agree.  I've made it before and loved it with oil-packed tuna belly but this was my first time making the tuna confit. I used the same seasonings that Judy calls for but packed the tuna into jars and used an immersion circulator to cook them for 90 min @ 45°C (113°F), following time/temp guidelines from Chef Steps.   Here are my jars, packed and ready to go:

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The tuna itself is decidedly more flavorful this way as it's had plenty of time to absorb all those flavors and I'm looking forward to using it in other ways. Also, you are rewarded for your earlier effort by not having to measure the seasonings out for the pasta as you can just scoop them out with the tuna.  Though I have to say that the canned tuna belly I used previously was absolutely silky in texture and nicer in that regard than the leaner cuts that I used.

Once the tuna is prepped, this pasta dish comes together quickly and for something so easy, the flavors are remarkably complex - I especially love the preserved lemon here! 

 

 

 

This looks like a wonderful thing to do with tuna. I don't have tuna, but I have salmon. How do you think it would work with boneless sockeye?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

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49 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

This looks like a wonderful thing to do with tuna. I don't have tuna, but I have salmon. How do you think it would work with boneless sockeye?

 

I do think salmon would be good this way.  I might consider bumping up the temp a few degrees for salmon, depending on what you'd like to do with it.  The tuna starts out pretty firm but 45°F salmon might be a little soft for some uses.

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Mandarins & Dates Stuffed with Mascarpone, Pomegranates and Pistachios from The Zuni Café Cookbook p 457

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This dessert follows the pattern of the simple Zuni starters or salads that consist of a few perfect ingredients layered together and allow you to experience every combination of them as you choose with your fork - delicious! 
A friend stopped by yesterday with a few Satsuma mandarins from her tree and I had some nice dates from the farmers market AND mascarpone leftover from the Zuni risotto so this was meant to be. I didn't want to waste any of their flesh or juice so instead of cutting off the peel with a knife, I peeled them and carefully scraped off as much of the pith as possible. I often find dates too sweet but they were perfect here. 
I think one could turn this into a starter by adding some salty prosciutto but it's pretty perfect as is.

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@blue_dolphin, that looks very appealing, and my first thought was also that I bet there is a way to make it in to a starter by including something savory...crisped prosciutto bits would be perfect!

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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On 3/20/2019 at 12:49 AM, MetsFan5 said:

The bites of the perfectly cooked chicken that was moist and tasty and well seasoned mixed with the spice of the mustard greens and the juice soaked bread with currents and pine nuts.... amazing. I’m glad we went. 

 

Jack Dorsey, CEO/founder of Twitter, in an interview said he used to go to Zuni everyday for lunch. That would be so cool if you saw him or another famous tech nerd from the money  start-up community there 

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1 hour ago, BeeZee said:

@blue_dolphin, that looks very appealing, and my first thought was also that I bet there is a way to make it in to a starter by including something savory...crisped prosciutto bits would be perfect!

I agree! I've got some crisped prosciutto already made and was tempted to sprinkle it on yesterday but decided to just enjoy it as written but I will try that variation while I've still got everything handy. 

 

13 minutes ago, eugenep said:

@blue_dolphin it definitely looks like something I would see at a nice restaurant. thanks for the photos - really professional. Dinner guests would be really impressed I bet 

Thanks!  The little mandarin slices are prone to falling apart so it's the kind of thing that's worth taking a few minutes to plate individually. 

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I was perusing The Zuni Café Cookbook towards lunch time when the phrase, "An easy, hearty soup that can be ready in half an hour," caught my eye.  It leads off the header notes for the Lentil-Sweet Red Pepper Soup with Cumin & Black Pepper on p 167. Thirty minutes was perhaps a stretch, mostly because I had vegetables that were not long for the crisper drawer and required some attentive butchery but also because even Rancho Gordo's Black Caviar Lentils don't quite cook through in 15 minutes flat.  But the timing was not off by a lot so I was shortly enjoying this bowl

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which is garnished with some of the braised bacon (p 205) that I made earlier for a pasta dish. I wouldn't say this was a revelation but it made for a nice quick lunch and I enjoyed it.  

 

An even quicker dessert from the book is this plate of Oranges with Rosemary Honey p 456.
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This is barely a recipe, just orange slices, drizzled with rosemary-infused honey but like the mandarin/stuffed date recipe I posted about yesterday, it's a simple, fresh fruit dessert that works well in the winter months. Since the orange slices are more sturdy, this one can easily be served on a big platter.
I strained the pounded rosemary leaves out of the honey before serving because they can be unpleasantly pointy and added an easily-removed rosemary sprig to garnish.

 
 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Okanagancook said:

That is one HEARTY soup!  Almost looks like a stew.  All that said it looks good.

The way the recipe is written, most of the broth gets absorbed by the lentils, then you add back as much liquid as you want.  I decided to leave it pretty stew-y!

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15 hours ago, eugenep said:

Jack Dorsey, CEO/founder of Twitter, in an interview said he used to go to Zuni everyday for lunch. That would be so cool if you saw him or another famous tech nerd from the money  start-up community there 

 

  I’d never recognize them. My husband would— we were there for him to go to a national CISO meeting. 

   If I had that type of time or money when I worked I’d eat at Zuni daily too! 

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  • 10 months later...
On 3/3/2019 at 1:46 PM, blue_dolphin said:

This is a 2-egg version of the 12-egg  😮 Madeline's Omelette with Mustard Croûtons & Beaufort Cheese from The Zuni Café Cookbook p 174.  

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It's kinda like having your toast INSIDE the omelette instead of on the side! I read all the instructions and they're a bit much with only 2 eggs in a little pan, but it still turned out fine. The recipe doesn't use a lot of cheese - only 1/3 oz for 2 eggs so I chose a tasty one - Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar - since a white Cheddar was one of the options. That amount was just perfect. I love cheese but omelettes that are full of heavy, molten cheese can be awfully stodgy. This made for a nice light meal.  
I had some dressing left over from the salad  that I made the other day so I repeated it here with Cara Caras instead of blood oranges.

 

wow. thanks for the post.  I read the recipe but it was super complicated and without picture in her book, it's like I'm not sure what the author was talking about. I googled images of her Madeline Omelette and your post showed up. That's super cool. 

 

Maybe I'll try it this weekend but a lot of technique involved it seems. 

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  • 1 year later...

Long time, no Zuni!  Yesterday, I made Connie & Maryanna's Chimichurri p 298 and used it to make the Crostini with Bean Purée & Sardines in Chimichurri p 124 

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This chimichurri is different from most I've made.  More oil and less herbs, though still a nice variety - oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley.  I liked that the herbs (aside from parsley) are pounded in a mortar to bruise them but not finely chopped or blitzed in a machine so you still see all the individual leaves.  I've already followed the suggestion to fry eggs in it and am looking forward to trying other ways to use it.
For the crostini, warm white beans are smashed, spread on olive oil brushed toasts then topped with sardines that have been warmed in chimichurri and a bit more of the chimichurri sauce at the end.  These are delicious.  Just the thing to turn a simple salad or soup into a meal.  If you are squeamish about little fishies on your toast, just mash them up into the chimichurri and spoon that over the beans.  And if you're a bean-phobe, just leave them out and go with the sardines and chimichurri. 

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

If you are squeamish about little fishies on your toast, just mash them up into the chimichurri and spoon that over the beans.  And if you're a bean-phobe, just leave them out and go with the sardines and chimichurri. 

That must surely have all of the bases covered! Thanks for sharing. That’s still the best cookbook ever. Her romesco sauce puts you not just in another country but in another universe. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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38 minutes ago, Anna N said:

That must surely have all of the bases covered! Thanks for sharing. That’s still the best cookbook ever. Her romesco sauce puts you not just in another country but in another universe. 

Yes!  I’m hoarding some of that romesco in the freezer and should treat myself to some shrimp soon. 

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Although Zuni, both restaurant and cookbook, is my gold standard, I somehow missed this thread.    I hereby apply to be adopted by @blue-dolphin.    Besides feed me, she can teach me photography.  Thanks for these many stunning plates.  

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23 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Besides feed me, she can teach me photography.

Right???  

 

I have the book -- it's one of the first books I purchased after a long cookbook lock-down from ~1999 to 2005 or so -- but this thread always brings me back to it, with urgency.  

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Awww, thanks @Margaret Pilgrim!  

@Shelby, I hope you like the book.  The recipes may look a bit wordy, but if you read them through carefully before you start cooking, you're pretty much assured of getting a good result.  I think I could open the book at random, pick any recipe to cook and end up learning from it!

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Since it's been a while since I cooked from Zuni, after posting the sardine crostini, I re-read the thread and noted this comment from @ludja, way back near the beginning. 

On 2/1/2004 at 7:42 AM, ludja said:

A wonderful ending I have made are the chocolate pots de creme---especially if you have access to a good chocolate. As she suggests, it's best not to overcook these. I'm not a huge *chocolate-all-the-time* fanatic, but enjoy small desserts with a rich chocolate flavor. These fit the bill! I've had them slightly warm out of the oven and after being chilled, with a thin blanket of heavy cream on top and also with whipped cream...schlag. :smile:

 

So I went ahead and made the chocolate pots de crème.  My ramekins hold about 3 oz, smaller than the specified 4-5 oz so I shortened the cooking time but they still got a little overcooked.  I probably shouldn't have used the CSO as I know it overshoots the temp from time to time.  So the texture isn't quite perfect but the flavor is still very good and I would make them again.  The recipe gives the option of adding "a splash" of Cointreau or Frangelico before baking.  Since I was just playing around, I made one plain and flavored the others with Cointreau, Green Chartreuse or Coffee flavored rum.

Here's the Chartreuse version with a small glass of the same spirit:

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The glass is quite petite and holds just about an ounce.

 

 

 

Edited by blue_dolphin
Forgot to add photo (log)
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