“Zuni Pan Chicken” from “It’s All Easy”

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Back in the summer, I made this recipe for the first time, having made the original many times for many years! But I didn’t make it again until a few weeks ago and since then I’ve been making it every week. It’s one of those recipes that I want to make my own, to adapt it for family’s tastes and continue to cook for years to come. It’s one of THOSE recipes.

I’ve already changed some bits of the recipe, and I think they are for the better. I use ciabatta instead of baguette. It mops up the juices much more satisfyingly. I use one of those part baked loaves and cook it beforehand. I also sometimes use spinach instead of rocket/arugula as the salad part. And I just use chicken breasts with the skin on for the meat part. Overall, this is a fabulous recipe that deserves more than just a second try.

Here’s what my family had to say about it this time around. ūüėČ

Ella: We’re just chicken out this recipe!

Tom: This recipe is so good, that Zuni-eed to have it again. It’s so good, Zuni-eed to have it every week! There are never any leftovers with this recipe. Ever.

Ella: It’spinach-es since you cooked it last!

Tom: You ciabatta stop making jokes like that.

Kirstin: Every meal, people. EVERY SINGLE MEAL!

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“Zuni Pan Chicken” from “It’s All Easy”

Our Verdict: It’s All Easy

Kirstin: I loved this book.

Maureen: We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one, I think.

Kirstin: Exactly.

Maureen: What did you like about it?

Kirstin: I liked everything I made from this book. There was not a single bad recipe.

Maureen: I didn’t like anything about this book. There was not a single recipe in there that inspired me. It took me three times to go through the book to find something I even wanted to try, and even then it was just macaroni and cheese, stir fry and tomato soup. The thing that frustrates me is that Gwenyth clearly is trying to peddle her¬†lifestyle, and I just feel like that shouldn’t be in a cookbook.

Kirstin; Sure. I get that.

Maureen: You like it so much more than I do. Why is that?

Kirstin: It’s all the food I like. It’s Asian stuff. It’s Italian stuff. It ticks all my boxes. You know, I was looking through it and I don’t think there’s as many pictures of Gwyneth in there that you think there is. It’s about as many as there was in the previous book, which we did like.¬†It’s still not as good as her previous book, but nothing will be as good as her previous book.

Maureen: Maybe. But I don’t need to see pictures of the author in a cookbook. I just want to see the food.

Kirstin: But they do it for Nigella and Jamie, and it doesn’t bother you.¬†You’re¬†having different standards for different people.

Maureen: No. It bothers me there too. It just doesn’t seem as obvious.

Kirstin: I like that she’s eating carbs now.

Maureen: Is she though? I sort of doubt it. I’ll bet her co-author wrote and ate that recipe. When I made the macaroni and cheese, it used a pound and a half of cheese, I think. There’s no way that Gwyneth is going to eat anything with that much cheese in it. Not to mention the pasta. I guess the whole point of this blog is given the hundreds of cookbooks that are out there, can you really recommend this one? Is there anything really special about it?

Kirstin: I can recommend it. I would buy this just for the Zuni chicken recipe alone. And I made Tom a Vietnamese salad last week and he’s already asked me when I’ll make it again. I¬†enjoyed it. This is the kind of book you can take on holiday. It wasn’t fancy. It was easy. Would I recommend this? I would. To the right person. Not to you, obviously. But it’s not as good as the previous book, which was a masterpiece.

Maureen: Like I said, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Kirstin: I think it’s good that we’re disagreeing. We can’t always agree on everything.

Maureen: And we can’t like every book that we do, but I’m glad at least one of us liked this one.

‚ÄúIt’s All Easy‚ÄĚ
Overall Grade (A- F): A (Kirstin) F (Maureen)
Best recipes:¬†Kirstin: Zuni Chicken and the Bo Bun Salad.¬†Maureen: None. I did make the macaroni cheese, the stir fry and the tomato soup, but none of them¬†reinvented the wheel so I didn’t post them.
Grade for Photography (A-F): ¬†A (Ditte Isager, Kirstin’s favourite photographer.)
Any disasters?  Kirstin: No. Maureen: No disasters, but nothing that inspired either.
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Kirstin: Bookshelf ¬†Maureen:¬†It’s already flown the coop to the charity shop. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Would you give this to a friend? Kirstin: It would have to be the right friend. Maureen: Absolutely not.

Our Verdict: It’s All Easy

“Carbonara” from “It’s All Easy”

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Kirstin: Of course, for the ultimate carbonara recipe, you have to use the one from the Zuni cookbook, which has two kinds of cheese.

Tom: And broad beans.

Kirstin: We used to have it in San Francisco when it was broad bean season and we could buy them from Preston!

Tom: Yum!

Kirstin: Indeed. I’ve never had a bad carbonara. Have you?

Tom: Oh yes you can. It can be swimming in watery cheesey goo. This is a proper sauce. You would stick it to the wall if you threw it.

Ella: Anything you threw at a wall would stick if you threw it hard enough.

Kirstin: And what do you think of this Ella?

Ella: Edible. Kind of nice actually. You know when you eat food and it makes you feel like wow, I ate food and it made me feel full.

Tom: It is quite substantial. And probably very good food for you in the middle of the exams, no?

Ella: Also it’s CARB-onara.

Kirstin: Niiiiiice!

Tom: I like that you add the pasta water a little bit at a time.

Kirstin: Yes, I’ve had thirds. I should make this again. But not too often…

“Carbonara” from “It’s All Easy”

“Bo Bun Salad” from “It’s All Easy”

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Tom: This is yum! This is like being at Slanted Door.

Kirstin: Ah. So we had Zuni and now Slanted Door.

Tom: All my favourite restaurants in San Francisco.

Kirstin: You know I’ve never been to Slanted Door, but you always tell me about it. One day!

Tom: Well I like going there on a Thursday lunch time and having a cheeky lunch.

Kirstin: But without me!

Tom: Well I wish you were there! And this is yum!

Kirstin: It has all the Vietnamese feels, doesn’t it?

Tom: It’s the fried shallots…

Kirstin: Yes, I’m going to smell of fried shallots all day now. Oooops. Also I couldn’t find palm sugar, sorry Gwyneth. And I still don’t have a spiralizer, so I bought the courgette ready spiralized. And the Armenian cucumber. I have no idea what that was all about. So a bit of a faff, but worth every second.

Tom: This is epic! My favourite lunch for a very long time.

Kirstin: I think we need to go to Vietnam some time. It’s so delicious! Right, let’s going back to listening to The Police.

“Bo Bun Salad” from “It’s All Easy”

“Spicy Shrimp Ramen” from “It’s All Easy”

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Ella: This needs to be spicier!

Kirstin: It has a jalepeno in it!

Ella: MORE!

Tom: The broth itself is quite thin.

Kirstin: I imagine the miso broth might be thicker, but these are never going to be as thick and tasty as those at Bone Daddy’s, or any of our other favourite ramen places in town. This broth is made of mushrooms.

Ella: It isn’t spicy enough!

Kirstin: How could I have made these spicier for you?

Ella: Basically, you could have made the prawns spicier…

Kirstin: Perfect hangover food. And it was the usual faff going to the local Asian supermarket where I didn’t recognise anything and it takes me ages to find what I’m looking for.

Ella: I like this because it doesn’t feel like it requires any effort to eat, but it also makes you feel full.

Kirstin: Shall I make it again?

Ella: With chillies!

Kirstin: Soup-er!

“Spicy Shrimp Ramen” from “It’s All Easy”

“Miso Clams” from “It’s All Easy”

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Kirstin: This really was super easy. Once I had found all the ingredients, that is!

Tom: Yum! What’s in the sauce?

Kirstin: Miso. And some melted butter.

Tom: Well it’s fabulous!

Kirstin: I am soooooo going to make this one again. Total winner! The miso and clams are a perfect combination. Definitely recommended.

“Miso Clams” from “It’s All Easy”

Chicken Piccata” from “It’s All Easy”

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Tom: Oh this very yum!

Ella: Ooooooo.

Miles: Yummmm.

Tom: I like this!

Miles: Is this Pepper Pots again?

Kirstin: That’s right. Pepper Pots and her latest cookbook.

Tom: So did you put a lot of pepper in this?

Kirstin: Actually, I taught Miles how to season things today, so there is some pepper!

Tom: What’s in the sauce.

Kirstin: Lemon juice, capers, butter. I think that’s it. And the flour thickens things.

Tom: Whatever it is, it’s lovely!

Kirstin: I’m DEFINITELY making this again!

Chicken Piccata” from “It’s All Easy”