Food and Drink Writing
from Rochester, NY

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Alan Powers
2003 Vintage



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Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Comments Down

The comments server has been down for most of the day today. It looks like they may have had some kind of catastrophic failure and had to restore from tape since they seem to have lost my comments from the past couple days. Oh well, I guess you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003


Year of the Ram2003

We took a short road trip to Toronto over the weekend with our friends Rex and Tam to celebrate Chinese New Year with a feast (what else?).  I don't have much of a travelogue to write.  We basically just went up, met some of Rex's relatives, and had a good time.  We partook of some great Ethiopian food for lunch, and an amazing many course Cantonese meal at a restaurant that seemed to contain absolutely no English for dinner.  I was going to document the whole meal, but it was just too overwhelming of a task.  The food kept coming at a dizzying pace and it was all good.

Ethiopian FoodFish Heads







Toronto's a great city, the closest major metro to Rochester, and I always leave there wondering why I don't live there or at least visit more often.  The entire food scene just completely kicks ass, partly because it's one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.  I may have actually read somewhere that it's the most ethnically diverse.  Anyway, hope you enjoy the pics.  The soup pictured below is lotus root.  I recently saw this Jeremiah Tower article on Canadian Cuisine.

Toronto fishLotus Root SoupToronto Meats


Zuni Cafe's Roast ChickenZuni Roast Chicken

Ever since I bought the The Zuni Cafe Cookbook and those words were crawled by Google I've been getting hits from people searching for Zuni Cafe's Roast Chicken.  To tell the truth (and I'm probably committing some kind of culinary heresy here), the first time I heard of Judy Rodgers and the Zuni Cafe was when I saw it recommended in the New York Times Book Review annual cookbook listing.  Until I saw all the searches, I had no idea the roast chicken was "famous".  Tonight I got the book out to see what all the hubbub was about.

I found the roast chicken to be extremely yummy.  But frankly, how do I say this without sounding smug, every time I make roast chicken it's extremely yummy.  (I guess I can't say it without sounding smug)  This isn't due to any of my astounding cooking prowess, but rather due to the fact that making a great roast chicken is really easy.  (by the way, roast chicken or roasted chicken, which is correct?  Maybe I'll put a biased Fox News style poll up with two selections like "A.  Roast Chicken sounds ok."  "B.  Only a complete Moron would say Roast Chicken"  Sorry, getting way off target here.)  Anyway the basic technique I've always used for roast(ed) chicken, is the same as Zuni.  Small chicken, high heat.  It's really as simple as that.  You can put a lemon, or garlic or both in the cavity.  You can put herbs or butter under the skin.  You always should liberally salt and pepper the whole thing.  You can flip it during cooking, or not.  Any permutations of these variables always seem to turn out a delicious roast chicken with the small bird, high heat method.  The skin will be a crispy delight, the flesh will be juicy and flavorful.  My original recipe came from here.  The Zuni Cafe book has a few more ideas and tricks that I won't give away here, but what they leave out is a thermometer.  Get a digital meat thermometer and take all the bloody guesswork out of the game.  It's essential if you're not cooking roasts and whole birds every single day.  (check out this wonderful article/guide to meat temperatures).

So, Zuni's Famous Chicken was great, but not a revelation to me.  The Stuffing/Bread Salad that Ms. Rodgers lists to be served with the chicken, on the other hand, seems to have been revealed to her by a burning bush somewhere in the desert.  It's enough to even make even a damned atheist sit up and wonder.  Really simple flavors combined creatively, with great textural contrast and variety in every bite.  Currants, garlic, pine nuts.  Yum!  I won't put the recipe here because I think this is probably what most of the "zuni roast chicken" googlers are really looking for, and they should really buy the book.  Sorry.

Favorites In My Kitchen

Global 8-Inch Chef's Knife Global Knife

Sitram  3.3-Quart StainlessSaute Dutch Oven

Le Creuset 5 1/2 Quart Dutch Oven

Measuring BeakerEmsa Perfect Beaker Measuring Beaker


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