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Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium Of Recipes And Cooking Lessons From San Francisco's Hardcover – Sep 24 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 504 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton (Sept. 24 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393020436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393020434
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 4.6 x 26.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #79,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
San Francisco chef Rodgers teaches as she cooks and her clear, authoritative voice is an inspiration, reinforced by 24 luscious color photographs and 50 black and white photographs illustrating technique. Emphasizing quality ingredients and constant tasting, she painstakingly explains what to look for and how to taste. More than once she cautions that it may take several tries before a dish sounds that note of perfection on the tongue. Rodgers' style of cooking requires some forethought - all her meat and poultry is lightly salted at least a day before cooking - to "open up" the proteins, and some dishes, like Artichoke Caponata, improve when made ahead.
The book is organized by course and the introductions to each recipe offer tips on ingredients or technique, suggestions for leftovers and sometimes the dish's history in her repertoire, which is French and Italian-influenced. Some dishes are simple - her signature Roast Chicken with Bread Salad is a snap as long as you remember to salt the chicken the day before (it does make a difference). Several soups (Asparagus & Rice with Pancetta & Black Pepper) are quick and easy, as long as you've got the stock on hand - canned stock is beneath mention - and several pickles, condiments and sauces (Preserved Lemons, Roasted Pepper Relish, Sage Pesto) are simple enough to keep on hand, but basically, Rodgers is not about quick and easy. The hamburger that the pickles are served with starts with grinding your own chuck - twice. Pasta with Sardines & Tomato Sauce begins with cleaning, broiling, then filleting the sardines, although the roasted tomato sauce is quick, easy and different. Pot Roast begins with reducing a bottle of red wine to a half cup and four cups of beef stock to two.
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