Christmas and New Years provided an excuse to try many new (wonderful) recipes from the Zuni Cafe cookbook.
For Christmas dinner (4 people) we made the Crown Roast of Pork with the suggested spice rub of coriander, fennel, and garlic. Salted three days in advance. Amazing flavor -- I loved the coriander and fennel! I accidentally left it in the oven a tad longer than I would have liked. Even so it was juicy and flavorful. Our guests (our moms) liked it - they probably like their meat a little more done anyway. As she says, don't forget to gnaw on the bones. We served this with Zuni polenta (sage and onion variation). Her recipe is a five to one ratio of water to polenta, and you don't need to do too much stirring. It cooks low and slow, and then has a resting time in a double boiler (which we manufactured from a pot, a bowl, and a ramekin). I used Bob's Red Mill organic polenta. It was the best polenta I ever made. We also tried the salad of pear, fennel, walnuts, and parmigiano reggiano. Good combination. But I think I would have liked the fennel "dressed" a little more. Also, we don't have a mandolin, so the fennel slices didn't get as thin as they should have. Paper thin slices would be better.
For New Years Eve we made (what else!) New Years Eve Gougeres -- the full recipe complete with pickled onions. I've made the gougeres before, and they always turn out wonderful. the bacon sandwiches are great with champagne, and the pickled onions were fun. We also had boneless Roast Leg of Lamb (garlic and rosemary version). Only had a chance to salt for one day but it still turned out great! Temperature and timing targets were right on. Served with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Braised Fennel. The fennel recipe was excellent with the splash of pernod at the end to round out the flavors. It was a big hit with our guests and they all wanted the recipe.
This is my desert island book for sure. Thanks, Zuni!