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Zuni Cafe Cookbook: Vegetables, Savoury Fruit Dishes, Pickles/ Sauces and Relishes

redwood2bay Jan 1, 2007 03:16 AM

January 2007 Cookbook of the Month: the Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers and Gerald Asher. Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the sections on vegetables, savory fruit dishes, pickles and preserves and on sauces and relishes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating.

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  1. beetlebug RE: redwood2bay Jan 1, 2007 04:18 PM

    Carol's Pickled Onions (pg. 271)

    I made these for the gougeres


    They were easy and tasty. I only made half the recipe because it would have killed my entire pricey bottle of champagne vinegar. I probably skimped a little on the onions themselves for the gougeres because I wanted to have some leftover.

    3 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug
      aelph RE: beetlebug Jan 24, 2007 07:47 PM

      Why did you use champagne vinegar? The recipe calls for white. This is one of my favorite recipes from the book. It occurs to me that using a specialty vinegar is missing the point of this preparation.

      1. re: aelph
        beetlebug RE: aelph Jan 25, 2007 03:02 AM

        The version in my book stated either champagne vinegar or white vinegar. I had the champagne and used that.

      2. re: beetlebug
        MMRuth RE: beetlebug Jan 26, 2009 03:48 AM

        I made these a couple of weeks ago, and have been enjoying them with grilled cheese sandwiches, roast chicken and more. Wish I could find my copy of the book before January ends!!

      3. danna RE: redwood2bay Jan 3, 2007 12:56 PM

        I made the Savory Roasted Applesauce Charlottes.

        I just plucked it out of the book because I had just bought the last of this year's crop of Arkansas Blacks. It was the first time I had made a roasted applesauce, I usually just cook them down on the stove. I liked the method, and I particulary enjoyed the interesting flavor that the vinegar added at the end produced.

        The Charlotte itself I was suspicious of, and I really shouldn't have made it for the first time when I was having a guest over, but it turned out perfectly. You butter the sides of small ramekins, line with bread, fill with the apple sauce, and bake. The holes between the pieces of bread filled in during cooking and the Charlotte came out of the (well buttered) ramekin beautifully. It's an unusual dish, but I enjoyed it.

        That same evening, I made the lentils braised in red wine. I used Lentils de Puy. While they were nice, they weren't killer. I was cooking for a vegetarian that night, so I used plain water rather than stock. That might have been the culprit.

        1 Reply
        1. re: danna
          Pistou RE: danna Jan 17, 2010 08:56 AM

          I was inspired by this post to delve a little deeper into my Zuni Cookbook. I knew I was making the Chicken with Bread Salad for a dinner party last night, and decided to make the roasted applesauce to go with. Didn't do the charlottes (because of the bread salad--too much bread, and also too much fuss for the event). The applesauce was easy to make and an excellent go-with for the chicken. I used pink lady apples, which are fairly sweet, and added about half the recommended sugar.

          While I was delving I also tried the Hashed Sweet Potatoes (p. 239). She says these fry up into pancakes, but I could tell after doing the first one that trying to get the unbound grated potatoes into cakes was going to be an exercise in frustration. I just fried up the rest of the sweet potatoes in batches, with some butter--let them cook for about 4 minutes after adding them to the pan before flipping and then letting them cook a bit more. Piled them into a bowl and called it good. They were a huge hit. A simple, quick and totally delicious treatment for sweet potatoes.

          Not totally OT for this thread, but I also made the double crusted fruit tart (p. 492) using frozen ollalieberries that I picked last summer. She has a rather fussy technique for making the pastry dough, but holy cow, did it turn out a fabulously flaky, tender, delicious crust! Got lots of oohs and aahs and yums.

        2. j
          JudiAU RE: redwood2bay Jan 3, 2007 10:02 PM

          The pickled prunes are fantastic-- I substitute red wine vinegar for the white wine vinegar called for in the recipe. They are terrific with pate.

          I also like the pickling instructions in general, especially the blanch-three-times method. It seams fussy but is a terrific way to preserve the texture of delicate vegetables. I used the recipe on ramps and they remained crisp for over a year. It also results in a very tasty brine that is good in salads.

          1. JoanN RE: redwood2bay Jan 14, 2007 05:56 PM

            Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

            Made these to accompany the Zuni Standing Rib Roast of Pork and I need HELP!

            I can’t make mashed potatoes to save myself. I’ve never in all my years served mashed potatoes that didn’t embarrass me. These were done using Russets and following her directions to the tee. I put them through a ricer, but they lumped up the minute I added the hot half-and-half, room-temp buttermilk, and melted butter. They just weren’t the smooth consistency that I’d hoped for. To make matters worse, I had to hold them in a bain marie longer than I’d anticipated because my guests were late. So before serving I added more of everything hoping to get a better consistency. I tried whisking (too thick to be whisked), beating with a wooden spoon (didn’t achieve much), going at it with a potato masher (better, but still lumpy). I thought the flavor was just okay. Nothing special.

            The recipe calls for 2 to 3 tablespoons of heated half-and-half, 2 to 3 tablespoons of buttermilk, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Is that enough for 1-1/4 pounds of potatoes? Didn’t seem so to me. But doubling those amounts didn’t seem to help much either. And even at double, I thought the flavor was just okay, nothing special.

            Please, please help me. I can make a cassoulet, including making my own confit and sausages from scratch, but I can’t make mashed potatoes for the life of me.

            8 Replies
            1. re: JoanN
              pitu RE: JoanN Jan 15, 2007 05:37 PM

              Joan, you held the potatoes in a hot water bath?
              That could be your problem. I learned to "dry" the potatoes (after boiling) in the hot pan (after you dump the water) from an Irish friend. Then the mashing and the adding of buttermilk or whatever. Good to get rid of excess water -- which is also why new potatoes don't make for good mash.
              Mash is not supposed to be smooth - the potatoes get too gluey if you overwork them, like with an electric mixer. I imagine you'd get the same problem if you went back to them to add more stuff.
              I've made the Zuni buttermilk mash, but it's been awhile and now I'm curious to go back and read the instructions. Mashed potatoes are one of those things that I *don't* think about!
              (I think working on them too hard might be the problem. The other potential problem is the potatoes themselves. I like the kind that taste good even if you're not adding all the dairy.)

              1. re: JoanN
                beetlebug RE: JoanN Jan 15, 2007 07:00 PM

                Made these to go with the short ribs.

                These were pretty good. It was hard to tell what the flavor was, because frankly, I made these as a vehicle for the short rib braising liquid. I liked the texture of them, probably because there was minimal liquids. Prior to adding the liquids, I did dry out the potatoes in the pan. I think this made a difference in the final texture of the potatoes. I added a shade more butter to it and added the max for cream and buttermilk (3T a piece). I also put the potatoes through the ricer and minimally stirred it around. I think I used a fork to stir it around, but it didn't need much stirring to incorporate everything.

                Pic of white potatoes (kind of boring looking):


                1. re: beetlebug
                  JoanN RE: beetlebug Jan 15, 2007 08:10 PM

                  Yeah, pitu, I did hold them in a hot water bath. But I wasn't crazy about the texture even before I held them and then tried to doctor them up. I suspect you're bang on in saying I overworked them. I'll have to try beetlebug's method of just using a fork to stir the liquids into the riced potatoes. Those two suggestions, and using the right potatoes, of course, ought to get me closer to the dish I have in mind. Thanks.

                  1. re: JoanN
                    pitu RE: JoanN Jan 15, 2007 10:58 PM

                    I take back the bain marie comment -- I see you'd already mixed up the mash. That shouldn't have been a big deal.
                    I wouldn't constrain yourself to a fork (that sounds like punishment) -- a hand masher is fine to mix in the buttermilk et al, at the same time as you mash the potatoes. Which tells you, I never use a ricer.
                    I would if I were making gnocchi, but not for mashed potatoes.

                    you added salt, right?
                    anyway good luck! I'll trade you mashed for cassoulet . . .

                    1. re: pitu
                      beetlebug RE: pitu Jan 16, 2007 01:32 AM

                      After ricing the potatoes, it's really easy to stir the potatoes with a fork. It's really only a minimal stir because of the minimal liquids. I really liked the idea of melting the butter first. That made a lot of sense to me.

                      BTW, I also used yukon gold potatoes. Those are my favorites. Next time, I am going to cut the way the author suggested, but I am not going to peel them. Generally, when I make mashed potatoes, I let the ricer take the skin off for me.

                      1. re: beetlebug
                        redwood2bay RE: beetlebug Jan 27, 2007 09:46 PM

                        I second beetlebug's recommendation for yukon golds. They are essential for mashed potatoes at our house-- in fact, if we don't have them, we don't mash. We don't use a ricer but rather a hand masher, and the only accompaniments are a generous amount of butter (room temp if possible), salt, and a minimal amount of milk if the mash is too thick.

                2. re: JoanN
                  pikawicca RE: JoanN Nov 18, 2007 01:22 PM

                  For 1 1/4 lbs potatoes, you're going to need roughly 2/3 cup liquid (melted butter, buttermilk, regular milk or whatever, combined). Drain and dry potatoes in hot pan. Rice. Add most of the hot liquid, along with salt and pepper. Lightly whisk. If too thick, add a little more liquid. I tend to go heavy on the butter, since I think that milk of any kind tends to "cloud" the potato flavor. If I'm pressed for time, I boil some little red-skins, drain and dry. Break up and mash with the back of a wooden fork, adding butter, salt and pepper, a little sour cream. They come out pleasantly lumpy and delicious. Mashing potatoes is a skill that you pick up by doing it. After a few times, you'll get the knack. My mother taught the 3 of us kids by having us take turns mashing the spuds. When they weren't up to par, the loud complaints all around were inspiration to do better the next time!

                  1. re: JoanN
                    lilgi RE: JoanN May 12, 2012 11:58 PM

                    Joan, old post and hoping you finally found some success with your mashed potatoes. Her Buttermilk mashed potatoes were a revelation for me, I haven't come close with anything else, either through muscle memory of my own or through endless variations including those with condiments. I will never look at another method again.

                    Yukon golds, cooked till tender in generously salted water, passed through a RICER (no other utensil will do) - butter first, heated cream, and buttermilk to taste - the most important thing is that she wasn't drowning the potatoes in any one ingredient mentioned. Simply the best way I've tried them.

                  2. Rubee RE: redwood2bay Jan 24, 2007 07:27 PM

                    Salsa Verde with Parsley (p. 294).

                    I served this tonight with the simple skirt steak (p. 368). I made the salsa with chopped parsley and cilantro, capers, and a shallot. Instead of the zest from two lemons, I used one and a splash of Boyajian lemon oil. I also added a finely chopped scallion. Mixed this with salt and pepper and extra-virgin olive oil. Tasty, bright and fresh. Abbylovi had mentioned she keeps a jar of this condiment in her fridge, and I can see why. I refrigerated half of it, and tossed the rest with cubed avocado. It was a great accompaniment to the juicy skirt steak. With all its variations and uses, definite Keeper.

                    Click for pic:

                    1. Rubee RE: redwood2bay Feb 1, 2007 10:25 AM

                      Toasted Bread Crumb Salsa (p. 297).

                      Basically, toast some fine home-made soft bread crumbs with a bit of EVOO in the oven until hard and crunchy, let cool. 10 minutes before serving, mix with more olive oil, chopped anchovies, fresh thyme, capers, shallot (I used red onion), and champagne vinegar. This was really good on the baked scrod (brushed with olive oil, baked with a little vermouth) for dinner last night. I served it with corn tossed with some of the salsa verde above. Easy do-ahead prep also as I toasted the crumbs and set them aside, and mixed the other ingredients a couple of hours before. When I put the fish in the oven, I mixed the two together. As I remarked to my husband, who agreed, "there's a whole lotta flavor going on". I really liked it on the fish as it was similar to a baked bread crumb topping (the classic prep for New England scrod), but much, much tastier. Nice texture with a slight crunch, and lots of bright, tangy notes from the other ingredients. Next time I'd cut down on the olive oil about 1/4 cup. So many things I can use the leftovers for - as a topping for baked leeks or another seafood dish, with green beans as she suggests, hmmm, maybe tossed with some pasta?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Rubee
                        Rubee RE: Rubee Feb 1, 2007 10:27 AM

                        Forgot the pic! Not the most colorful dish, but we really liked it, I would make it again:

                        1. re: Rubee
                          pitu RE: Rubee Feb 1, 2007 10:53 AM

                          Rubee THX!
                          That's another recipe that I had totally skipped, and it sounds *excellent*.
                          It sounds like the next step up from the Italian version of poorman's parmasean (a much plainer toasted bread crumb)

                          1. re: Rubee
                            JoanN RE: Rubee Feb 1, 2007 11:20 AM

                            That sounds as though it could be a real staple, Rubee. And one that completely escaped my radar as well. Thanks for the heads up--and the, as always, great report.

                            1. re: JoanN
                              Rubee RE: JoanN Feb 1, 2007 12:53 PM

                              Thanks! Ever since we did Marcella's book, I've learned to keep Ziploc bags of bread crumbs in the freezer (fresh and dried). Simple enough, esp. with a food processor, but I had never done it before. Makes all these subsequent recipes using bread crumbs so easy and quick!

                              1. re: Rubee
                                beetlebug RE: Rubee Feb 1, 2007 01:39 PM

                                When you put the bread through the food processor, do you use the blade or one of the discs? I've been using the blade but the crumbs remain fairly large, so I end up shredding them with my fingers.

                                1. re: beetlebug
                                  Rubee RE: beetlebug Feb 1, 2007 01:55 PM

                                  I use the blade too. For fresh crumbs, I process, and then pour the crumbs out in a bag and try to give it a shake so the fine ones sink to the bottom and the larger pieces are on top, and them throw them back in. Otherwise, I do what you do.

                          2. Rubee RE: redwood2bay Nov 18, 2007 12:55 PM

                            Drunken Raisins, p, 282.

                            I forgot about this Zuni recipe, and was reminded when I served it last night. I always have a jar in the refrigerator as it keeps for a long time, is so easy to make, and is an excellent accompaniment to a cheese platter. Simply put raisins in a glass jar, cover with brandy, grappa, or port, and a bit of water. Cover, shake, let marinate an hour at room temperature, and then add sugar or honey to taste. As she mentions in the book, "once refrigerated, they keep for ages". For the batch I served with a wedge of Camembert last night, I had used golden raisins and a mix of both brandy and port.

                            1. beetlebug RE: redwood2bay Jul 6, 2008 05:37 AM

                              Marinated Roast Beets (pg. 240)

                              I had roasted beets a la Lucques earlier in the day. I hadn't yet decided how to eat them. Taking a quick look at Zuni, I decided to try it the Rodger's way. BTW, her roasting method is very similar to Lucques although it's shorter cooking time and a slightly lower temp. She does use smaller beets though.

                              Anyway, I loved this. But, it's not a fair assessment because I love roasted beets pretty much in any form. These beets are tossed with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Simple and refreshing. I also had some lovely goat cheese so added that as well.

                              It was pretty much a no lose situation.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: beetlebug
                                beetlebug RE: beetlebug Jul 6, 2008 05:38 AM


                              2. beetlebug RE: redwood2bay Aug 8, 2008 06:26 AM

                                Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (pg. 235)

                                I love this recipe. It’s very versatile in ingredients and the technique just brings out the best in potatoes. I’ve made this recipe twice in the last week in order to use up endless CSA potatoes (I know I can store them).

                                Cut up potatoes in a 1 inch dice (doesn’t have to be exact). Bring the potato pieces to a simmer in salted water for about 6-12 minutes. Drain and put in a roasting pan, close to a single layer. Add rosemary and olive oil to coat and roast for about 25 minutes.

                                The smell of the potatoes pre-roasting is fabulous. I’ve been playing with the herbs. Last night, I made these with sliced garlic cloves and oregano. So tasty and crunchy and an easy side dish. I’ve been lucky that it’s cooled down here so I’ve been able to use the oven. This is also a great winter dish.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: beetlebug
                                  LulusMom RE: beetlebug Jan 19, 2009 05:19 AM

                                  Made the Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (p. 235) on Friday night. Loved them, although at first I was disappointed. She says they sit well ... in fact I think you really *need* to let them sit a few minutes in order to firm up the outside crunch. So my first few bites I didn't really love, but then holy cow, I couldnt' get enough. Mine took a bit longer than 25 minutes (my oven's fault, I'm sure), and I would use more rosemary than my sprig gave me, but overall yet another huge hit.

                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                    beetlebug RE: LulusMom Jan 19, 2009 06:27 AM

                                    So glad you liked them. I roasted mine in a cast iron skillet. That's probably why I needed less sitting time.

                                    I also use this method when I make a full breakfast. I just love how the potatoes are always perfectly seasoned straight out of the oven.

                                2. k
                                  Karen_Schaffer RE: redwood2bay Dec 3, 2008 09:07 PM

                                  Sage Pesto, p. 307

                                  Pretty tasty. I mixed it with some cooked beans (Hidatsa Shield Figure, to be specific) for a room temp bean salad, which was quite well received.

                                  Changes and comments: I left out the parmesan because I got in the habit of doing so several years ago and found we liked pestos better without it. The cheese tends to mellow (or dull, some might say) the flavor a bit. I also forgot the pepper, but really, between the sage and the garlic, it didn't matter. I used walnuts.

                                  She says not to make it in a food processor because the sage leaves really need to be mashed, not chopped, and I believe her. (I know, all pestos should be made in a mortar, but I'm satisfied enough with my food processor basil one.) It wasn't that much work except that the mortar I started with was too small.

                                  1. Gio RE: redwood2bay Dec 29, 2008 06:05 AM

                                    Boiled Kale Four Ways, Pg. 162, Recipe #1.

                                    This was tasty but weird.. After rinsing in many waters, the kale leaves are sliced about 1/2 " thick then diced yellow onions are cooked in EVOO for about 3 min. Red pepper flakes and chopped garlic are added along with the sliced kale. All this is cooked for about 5 minutes...until the kale wilts.

                                    Now, up to this point this the way this is the way I always cook kale or any green leafy vegetable, but Ms Rodgers has you add water up to 1/2" above the kale. and simmer it, covered, it for 30 minutes. I just hated to do that but I bowed to the COTM directions.
                                    When DH served it he used a slotted ladle to keep the water behind. As I say, it was tasty but I really didn't like all that water... it went well with the Mock Porchetta which report is in the meats thread.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Gio
                                      beetlebug RE: Gio Dec 29, 2008 06:14 AM

                                      I really like the boiled Kale. Although, I usually use whatever greens I have - chard, collards, etc.

                                      But, I don't think of it quite as a veggie dish. To me, it's more of a soupy dish. I love the way the broth tastes.

                                      I haven't tried the other variations yet.

                                      1. re: beetlebug
                                        beetlebug RE: beetlebug Dec 29, 2008 06:16 AM

                                        Also, this recipe comes in handy when I'm behind in my prep. That 30 minute simmering period gives me a chance to play catch up.

                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                          Gio RE: beetlebug Dec 29, 2008 06:21 AM

                                          Perhaps my problem was that I wanted it to be a side dish, and as you say it was soupy. But tomorrow is Soup Tuesday at casa G & G so now I have a soup base complete with roasted vegetables from the Porchetta.

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            pitu RE: Gio Jan 19, 2010 02:10 PM

                                            I love this kale - but as a soup.
                                            : )

                                      2. SarahRifka RE: redwood2bay Jan 25, 2009 09:32 PM

                                        Red Onion Pickles (pg. 270)
                                        I love all things pickled and these beautiful bright pink onions might quickly become a new favorite. The recipe is a little time consuming (with three repetitions of a simmering and cooling process), but it ended up being easier than I expected...and very delicious! I just made them today, so I have only sampled them on their own. I can only imagine, however, all of the fabulous uses for these gorgeous little rings - sandwhiches, salads, burgers...

                                        1. greedygirl RE: redwood2bay Jan 26, 2009 01:36 AM

                                          Dried figs in red wine

                                          I made these about a week ago but have yet to taste them. She says they go well with cheese.

                                          Very easy recipe - basically you reduce red wine with bay leaves and add a piece of orange peel to the jar with the figs. There's not much liquid and the figs seem to have pretty much absorbed it all now - will let you know what they're like next time I have a dinner party!

                                          1. Tom P RE: redwood2bay Jan 14, 2010 12:40 PM

                                            I tried two of her sides this past week, both excellent:

                                            CHARD AND ONION PANADE p. 227
                                            BAKED ARTICHOKES w/ONION, LEMONS, OLIVES AND MINT p. 256

                                            The Panade is a savory bread pudding. Fairly easy to assemble and very tasty. If you like a savory bread pudding, you will enjoy it a lot. I served it with Roast Chicken and it was a hit.

                                            I loved the artichokes. I did not trip the thorns, which reduced the prep time significantly. These were incredibly tasty, as was the confit of onions and lemons that develops below. I served them with some aioli for dipping but they did not really need it. And they were even better at room temp the next day.

                                            Two winners.

                                            1. lilgi RE: redwood2bay May 13, 2012 12:05 AM

                                              Toasted Bread Crumb Salsa

                                              One of the best condiments I've ever had - the flavor is bold, the breadcrumbs must be toasted dark, as she mentions - moisture must be completely removed from the breadcrumbs and toasted to the color of DARK tea or you will have a mushy, bread soaked dressing instead of a salsa.

                                              Versatile, had it several times over fish, even with grated carrots - fantastic with steak. I look for excuses to use this one :)

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