Eastside Road, December 11, 2013—OUR OLD FRIEND Judy Rodgers died last week, too young, after a hard year, leaving a husband, two stepdaughters, a number of friends, and a community of colleagues who respected her as uniquely gifted and devoted to her profession, which was cooking. I wrote about her on The Eastside View, and will say nothing more here.
Her monuments, apart from all the memories this community will always cherish, are her marvelous book The Zuni Café Cookbook and the restaurant whose kitchen she headed from 1987 for twenty-five years, Zuni Café.
I've written about her book here before. Judy's writing is clear, enthusiastic, and engaging; re-reading the early pages, in which she presents a bit of her own history, brings her into the room with a poignant immediacy. And we never find its recipes disappointing.
"Farrotto" is her own word, an apt one, to describe this pilaf made of the ancient grain farro, prepared like a risotto. Lindsey made it with turkey stock — some of you may have seen that coming! — and followed the recipe closely, flavoring the dish with onion, garlic, and sage as well as the dried porcini Judy specifies.
(Those porcini were a gift some long while ago — they keep for ages — from Bill Fujimoto, and reminded us of the many times we'd run into Judy at the old Monterey Market, when Lindsey was there buying fruit for Chez Panisse, and Judy was looking at produce for Zuni.)
We had a green salad with avocado afterward, and pears, and memories.
Cheap red blend, Spiral (California), 2012