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Zuni Cafe Cookbook [Hardcover]

Judy Rodgers
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 46.00
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Book Description

Sept. 24 2002
For twenty-four years, in an odd and intimate warren of rooms, San Franciscans of every variety have come to the Zuni Café with high expectations and have rarely left disappointed. In The Zuni Café Cookbook, a book customers have been anticipating for years, chef and owner Judy Rodgers provides recipes for Zuni's most well-known dishes, ranging from the Zuni Roast Chicken to the Espresso Granita. But Zuni's appeal goes beyond recipes. Harold McGee concludes, "What makes The Zuni Café Cookbook a real treasure is the voice of Zuni's Judy Rodgers," whose book "repeatedly sheds a fresh and revealing light on ingredients and dishes, and even on the nature of cooking itself." Deborah Madison (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) says the introduction alone "should be required reading for every person who might cook something someday." 24 pages of color, 50 black-and-white photographs.

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Zuni Cafe Cookbook + My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories
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From Amazon

Judy Rodgers, chef-owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe, has produced a true classic with The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. This book gives the cook and the reader two accessible temptations: to read from cover to cover, and to cook from cover to cover. One of the great voices in food writing today, Judy Rodgers truly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the master food writers who have preceded and influenced her. Her writing is as delicious as the famous Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad, as simple and elegant as the Zuni Cafe Caesar Salad.

While firmly anchored in the food sentiments of California, Rodgers explores the honest cuisine généreuse of France, Tuscany, Umbria, Sicily, Catalonia, and Greece. Her chapter "Small Dishes to Start a Meal" runs to 65 pages! Look for her Lentil-Sweet Red Pepper Soup with Cumin and Black Pepper, her Citrus Risotto, and her Tomato Summer Pudding. Be sure to try Short Ribs Braised in Chimay Ale, and Rabbit with Marsala and Prune-Plums. Chapters are devoted to eggs, starchy dishes, sausage and charcuterie, and the cheese course; you'll also find all the basic chapters one might expect. Throughout, Gerald Asher provides insight into matching wines with foods.

Rodgers's natural instinct is to share and to teach, and the instructional material in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook is like a deep-tissue massage, improving any cook's posture and performance. Rodgers's fine book invites both the novice and the experienced cook to delve deep into the heart of real food and real cooking. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Rodgers, chef-owner of the Zuni Cafe, cooks like a dream and writes like one, too. Both an extended tutorial and an autobiography in recipes, the book opens with a fascinating account of her formative experiences as a 16-year-old in Roanne, France, where she spent a year at a three-star restaurant taking reams of notes and occasionally peeling vegetables. The introduction is followed by a series of brief, thoughtful essays on the practice of cooking. While readers in the market for a few quick supper ideas might greet so much preamble with impatience not until the eighth chapter does she get around to some recipes most will appreciate her insistence on principles like "What to Think About Before You Start" and "Finding Flavor and Balance." In stunning detail, she explains how to salt a cod and cure a rabbit and brine a fowl and stuff a sausage. One would not be surprised to turn a page and find a description of how to slaughter a sheep. The book includes the recipes that have made her reputation, such as the Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad, plus other fare from appetizers through dessert like Oxtails Braised in Red Wine and Shrimp Cooked in Romesco with Wilted Spinach. Unlike many chefs who style themselves as creative forces, Rodgers has a deep sense of how, as she puts it, "the simplest dish can recall a community of ideas and people." Rodgers's cookbook embodies that ideal beautifully.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for foodies Feb. 8 2004
This excellent book by Judy Rodgers is an addition to the growing body of works by prominent American chefs who learned their craft in France and whose doctrine on food and cooking has been reinforced by the writings of Richard Olney and transformed by the California doctrine of using fresh local foods. The foremost of these writer chefs are Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, Paul Bertolli, and Judy Rodgers herself. The Italian wing of this group is represented by Tom Colicchio and Mario Batali (In spite of Mario's antagonism to the 'F country', he is a true student of this group, having been a chef at Stars under Jeremiah Tower).
This book won two James Beard awards and Rodgers garnered a third Beard Award for best chef last year, making it a true hat trick for Rodgers and the Zuni Café. From what I have seen in this book, it earned every bit of recognition it has garnered.
The only recent American book I know which is comparable to this book in the quality of its lessons is 'Jeremiah Tower Cooks'. This book succeeds at an even higher level than Tower since the older writer has some strong opinions on some not entirely universally held opinions. Tower redeems himself by making his book just that much more engaging by so energetically endorsing these controversial opinions.
Rodgers engages in no controversy. Her lessons in cooking follow the straight and narrow of French technique mellowed by her beautifully plain doctrines about using simple equipment. Before I get too far, I must warn the reader that what people like Rodgers and Colicchio mean by simple is much different from what the fast cooking maestros such as Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, and Ann Byrn mean.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the chicken recipe alone March 21 2003
This is simply one of the best gourmet cookbooks I have bought in years. It isn't for everyone - if you don't LIKE cooking, if you don't enjoy spending an hour or two in the kitchen and then having guests ooo and ah over what you serve them - then this isn't for you. But I LOVE it. I have cooked the Zuni Chicken with Bread Salad for several audiences and there hasn't been a one that hasn't loved it. The instuctions are complete and chatty, with reasons given for doing things one way or another. One of the best cookbooks around, if you like to cook. Worth buying for the Zuni Chicken recipe alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mmm .... mmm ... mmm June 10 2003
I am not a trained cook. I'm not even a particularly skilled one. I'm a bumbler, a weekend culinary warrior and relatively clueless food-lover who occasionally stumbles across a cookbook that both inspires and challenges me. The Zuni Cafe is full of recipes that take the good part of a Sunday afternoon to fix, which is just fine by me. The results have been unfailingly spectacular--simple, unfussy food that knocks your socks off. (The Mock Porcetta, Roast Chicken Bread Salad and Cod with Potatoes represent 3 of the most delicious meals that have ever come out of my humble kitchen.) Best of all, every time I use this book I feel like I learn something new--about a technique or about an ingredient. It's actually made me a better cook.
That said, I rarely consult this cookbook unless I am planning a special meal and have a fair amount of time on my hands. For everyday feeding the household-type fare, I often turn to a more comprehensive reference like Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
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I will admit that maybe I am not the ordinary cookbook purchaser. My cookbooks are bought for comfort and general knowledge as much a for hands-on recipes; I read them to lull myself to sleep. But this book is not solely for those as obsessed as I. It also provides recipes for the cook who is willing to work moderately hard to produce extraordinately good, hardy, and interesting food.
Page after page is loaded with information, a tip and guideline for everyday cooking on each page. The recipes require little else than a bit of enterprise and a willingness to work for your meal.
And let me tell you, it's worth it. The book is a wealth of imformation. Judy Rodgers holds nothing back. She does not simply give you the way she prepares her oysters, but rather a story on her first oyster, an explanation on how, where, and when to pick them, a thorough run-through of oyster classification, the way to shuck them, and a simple method of serving. Five pages. Seven pages on her theory and stories behind duck confit. Fifty-seven pages on introductory cooking technique and theory.
Judy Rodgers focuses on simple (some may disagree with me about that) French, Italian, and Mediteranean food with a light-handed California touch. "This book gives the cook and the reader two accessible temptations: to read from cover to cover, and to cook from cover to cover." Too true.
The recipes are wonderfully hearty and simple. "Mock Porcetta" (a simple herby pork roast) is great for any small dinner party. "Zuni Salt-Cured Anchovies" are a fun but not extreme break from what most would consider ordinary and a great jump-off point to begin experimentation.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cooked with Judy
I skimmed this book and in it I found the practical kitchen chef of la bonne femme and science. I cooked with Judy in New York and her explanations in the book resonate. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mark Midensky
5.0 out of 5 stars zuni cafe
a must have cookbook, as well as a good source for recipes thee is a wealth of cooking information and tips, in the forefront of my libarary
Published on March 31 2012 by E. lum
5.0 out of 5 stars My Muse
I love this cookbook. It is full of inspirational ideas and delectable recipes. It is not just a cookbook with a number of dishes in it, it has a wealth of information about how to... Read more
Published on March 16 2010 by Nemesis Adrasteia
5.0 out of 5 stars New Classic
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook is a new classic in my kitchen. It includes both recipes and classic cooking principles that can be applied to other cooking adventures. Read more
Published on July 4 2004 by C. Reznicek
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, not Quantity
This has become my favorite cookbook. I enjoy cooking but have a world to learn. However, another book with "300 new recipes" is the last thing I need, I have plenty of... Read more
Published on May 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful array of innovative and refreshing ideas
Recipes from a popular San Francisco institution and culinary tradition are packed in here, with dishes providing a delightful array of innovative and refreshing ideas, from Spicy... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Midwest Book Review
4.0 out of 5 stars Less than 10 photos but very good recipes
There 're lots of very good recipes in this one, and lots of those techniques & explanation. So if you're curious & you wanna learn more about the chemistry of cooking,... Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by "happythehippo"
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best cookbooks I've ever had
I've made several recipes from this cookbook and find it to be one of the consistently best cookbooks I've ever used. Read more
Published on April 2 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful reading and cooking
Zuni is one of the classic California cuisine restaurants in San Francisco, to my mind the main one. This book is a great encapsulation of it. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2003 by D. King
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