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Brined, Roast Pork

I’m often asked what my favorite cookbooks are and invariably I pull out a copy of The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. It’s one of those rare books where you learn something from every sentence on every page, and in every recipe that you make from it. Judy was an amazing cook and whatever she made was unusually good, in spite of its (seemingly)…

I’m often asked what my favorite cookbooks are and invariably I pull out a copy of The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers. It’s one of those rare books where you learn something from every sentence on every page, and in every recipe that you make from it. Judy was an amazing cook and whatever she made was unusually good, in spite of its (seemingly) relative simplicity, ranging from the lightest ricotta gnocchi you’ll ever have to the legendary Zuni roast chicken, which was worth the one-hour wait after you ordered it at the restaurant. It gave you plenty of time to have a margarita, a pile of shoestring fries, and a classic Caesar Salad. (Fun fact: I worked at Zuni Cafe when I first moved to San Francisco and made a lot of Caesar Salads, which, if I may be so bold, were excellent and the recipe is in the book.)

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Citrus Risotto

I was joking with someone the other day, who was making Judy Rodgers’ Pickled Red Onions. Judy was the chef and owner of Zuni Café in San Francisco and published one of the best books on cooking that has ever been written: The Zuni Café Cookbook. Like a number of her recipes, the method for pickling her famous red onions they serve on the Zuni…

I was joking with someone the other day, who was making Judy Rodgers’ Pickled Red Onions. Judy was the chef and owner of Zuni Café in San Francisco and published one of the best books on cooking that has ever been written: The Zuni Café Cookbook. Like a number of her recipes, the method for pickling her famous red onions they serve on the Zuni burgers, seems convoluted and requires what seems like a bunch of unnecessary steps. But like most of Judy’s recipes, the joke is on anyone who doubts her recipes, whose results are always spot-on. (I posted an easier pickled red onion recipe a while afterward, for those that don’t have the stamina to make hers.) One of her famous quotes about her cooking was, “Stop, think, there must be a harder way.”

This unusual combination of citrus and cooked rice prompted the cooks at her restaurant to question her sanity when she put it on the menu, but it’s really wonderful and a breeze to make. It requires just a short list of ingredients and pairs perfectly, with everything from grilled fish and shrimp, to seasonal vegetables like asparagus, peas or fava beans. But it shines just as brightly on its own, too.

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