Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dropping Anchor

It has taken me near 35 years to realize the pattern ... I get blue in January.  Perhaps because of a post-holiday letdown or looming birthday - hard to say.  This personal phenom was avoided last year, and I realize now it was due largely to a crazy swim training obsession I was in at the time.  So, for the first two weeks of 2014 I have have been casting about, seeking an anchor; a crazy (or not) obsession to keep me sane until the days lengthen and the weather warms.

My thoughts keep coming back to the recent death of chef and cookbook author Judy Rodgers.  I was given her Zuni Cafe Cookbook as an anniversary present and have enjoyed making a handful of the recipes over the last five years, most notably of course the recipe for roast chicken, which was a repertoire game-changer.  In an attempt to become a better home cook, keep my sanity and immerse myself in a particular style of cooking, I declare 2014 a Zuni Year.  Not sure exactly what this will entail now, but know that I will try to cook as many (all?) of the recipes from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook in 2014.  Why not?

As a kickoff, last night I tested out the Pasta with Spicy Broccoli & Cauliflower (pg 203).  I was looking for a recipe best suited for the variety of vegetables we received in our Friday CSA, which this week included two beautiful heads of broccoli and a fennel bulb.  So, I substituted the fennel for the cauliflower and tapered back on the red pepper flakes, so as not to send the boys into a fiery tizzy.  For next time, I may try roasting the vegetables on a baking tray in a hot oven, as I think they were more crowded then intended in my cast iron skillet.  This was also my first time using anchovies ... a subtle flavor addition.  I will be keeping my eyes out for a good source (or recipe?) for 'salt-packed anchovy fillets'.  Now, for tonight ...

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