Saturday, March 19, 2011

What You Can Expect from The Zzyzx Road Kitchen Chronicles

Well, my name is Zanne, and I cook. A lot. Really, a lot.
For the most part, I create my own recipes, using prior cooking skills or just winging it with a bowl and whisk. Sometimes, it's a disaster (we don't talk about the Carrot Cake Wreck of 2010), or the smoke alarms go off. It's all about experiments with interesting, unusual, and tasty fresh ingredients. I'm Quebecois (French-Canadian), Shoshone, British, and Cherokee, so I use a number of traditional family recipes, as well (usually with updates), but I also get inspiration from middle eastern, eastern European, Latin, Caribbean, and northern African cuisines.  I am at that point in my life where I will try anything that I'm not allergic to.  Okay, maybe I'll draw the line at deep-fried tarantulas. 
I'm a spice nut. Goddess. Expert. Spice Whisperer, whatever. I just "know" how to blend, my husband says. He calls my cooking style "jazz," picking a vegetable or ingredient I've never tried, some exotic grain, or spice, and just go with it, like pickup jazz. He's a music professor, in case you were wondering.   Technically, he's an ethnomusicologist, but he's also an archaeologist, which totally fulfills my childhood Indiana Jones fantasies.  We also have a daughter, 11-year-old Bev, who is taller than me and is the most adventurous eater that I have ever seen.  She's funny, slightly dorky, beautiful, and
So, expect a lot of unpretentious, easy to understand recipes, with lots of tips on "in case you don't have this" or "you can totally substitute this," and maybe some techniques explained, where/how the meal came to be, and shortcuts, if you're a working gal or guy, like using canned instead of dry beans.  Not my preference, but not everyone works in front of their cable box, able to whip, mix, stir, or mash at a moment's notice.
I try not to use canned or prepackaged food very often, and my kitchen and recipes are chock full of dried beans, chickpeas, gorgeous grains, and fresh vegetables and fruit.
I don't really focus on low-fat, but most of my dishes are healthy. Most of what I cook IS low in fat (and sodium), just because of my tastes, but I can fry chicken, make a kick-ass pot roast, and love a great cheeseburger just as much as the next girl (or frat boy).

I guess it just boils down to me loving the entire process of cooking, from planning to shopping at farmers' markets and other shops to whisking to seeing my husband grin when he takes the first bite. I'm rarely happier in any other place.  I'm not sure that I can explain it any other way.


  1. Cool blog! Looking forward to the Middle Eastern dishes...especially the hummus....I have a craving for some of that, right now :-)

  2. I am loving your blog, as well. It's such an exciting and brave place that you're in right now.

  3. Woohooo! I can't wait to see what's next!

  4. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vitoli. How can I be of assistance?

    OK, if you don't know "Smokin' Aces," here's the script:'-Aces.html

    I am both the slave and the beneficiary of Zzyzx Road Kitchen. I chop, I clean, I grill, I make sure the cocktail glasses stay full. I also get to reap the rewards of Zanne's efforts--the smile when a pot lid is lifted after a slow simmer and the smell of the seasonings fill the room, the contentment of a good meal, the fabulous leftovers to take to work the next day. And the secondary buzz of seeing Zanne doing what she loves.

    Her cooking IS jazz: inspiration + experience + improvisation. Imagine walking into Birdland as Dizzy rips through the changes of "Groovin' High." That's what it's like when I come home to find Zanne cooking. It's awesome.

    So take it from me: If you like culinary adventure, you've come to the right place. And I'm here of assistance.

  5. Blue Lou Logan is my husband, in case you didn't get that. His comment was just about the most wonderful thing anyone has ever said to me. Usually, it's "bitch" or The C Word.

    He is no slacker in the kitchen himself. He still hasn't made me mac n' cheese from scratch yet, but the way he works that grill...

    I'm still calling you Kitchen Bitch.


Scram, bitch, I'm on a break.

Recent Meals

  • Grilled (in the rain) marinated top sirloin w/my Steak Frite and London Pub Sauce
  • Fried chayote
  • Roasted aubergine, zucchini, and yellow squash
  • Soft garlic sandwich rolls, and we made meatball sandwiches
  • Sirloin rubbed with cardamom-laced Turkish coffee
  • Chocolate truffles w/rum and bourbon
  • Petit fours
  • Florentine cookies drizzled with chocolate
  • 13-Bean soup w/parmesan rind and leftover ham
  • Apple spice cardamom muffins
  • Guinnes-injected pot roast
  • Cran-blueberry corn muffins
  • Spaghetti and meatballs - basic, but always a hit in this house
  • Hummus w/roasted garlic, olive, red pepper, and smoked paprika
  • Veggie stirfry w/julienned baby carrots, green peppers, garlic, chickpeas, and balsamic, served over Chinese Black Forbidden Rice
  • Ginger-carrot cake
  • Ginger cranberry mojito
  • Lime-cranberry-mint-strawberry seltzer
  • Lavender-mint iced tea
  • Trip to Beirut: Shish taouk, shish kebab, halvah, garlic naan, rice pilaf w/figs, raisins, and pecans, w/my famous lemon-mint-garlic Lebanese potatoes
  • London Broil w/a wilted spinach and mustard green salad with a bacon, balsamic, and mustard dressing
  • Sweet and red potato pancakes w/zucchini and peppers w/chicken apple sausage
  • Italian wedding soup w/homemade croutons and meatballs
  • "Rock the Casbah" Cardamom, Ginger, Apple Pork Roast w/Armadillo Rice (for you fans of The Clash who remember the cover of Combat Rock)
  • Individual Quiche Lorraine
  • Prosciutto-wrapped beef cubes w/mustard pan sauce
  • Chicken Sausage w/garlic naan and dijon mustard - Lou and I were really drunk.
  • Salt potatoes, mixed fingerlings, lightly mashed, with lot of butter
  • Focaccia w/garlic, onions, mozarella and cherry tomatoes
  • Rosemary and lavender bread
  • Spicy greens and spinach salad w/fresh mozzarella pearls, strawberries, and a strawberry vinegarette
  • Polenta casserole w/cheese and squash baked IN acorn squash halves