Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jonathan Waxman at Chino Farm

Chino Farm held its signing for Chef Jonathan Waxman’s book Italian, My Way on Sunday.  Hearing the title, I thought of my Southern-born Nana raving about the new “I-talian” food craze and Gallo jug wine in the ‘70’s.  Years later, I went with large groups of friends to the Little Italy “red sauce and meatball joints,” as Jonathan calls them, until a few friends from Rome and Bologna showed me their own family recipes and the pleasure of real food.  But nothing opened my eyes to true Italian food like traveling and eating my way across Italy, where it’s easy to be struck by the simplicity and beauty of the culinary delights on offer~


The event at Chino Farm was originally scheduled for last November, but was rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy.  If you are a regular at the Stand, you would have seen the book signing notice.  There was no press coverage and no food and drink on offer, and so it was a wonderfully casual event.


The books were signed in Jonathan’s generous and beautiful script~


…while the shoppers browsed~


and should I mention, the offerings at Chino Farm will inspire you as they do the country’s best chefs…their baby artichokes are as fresh and tender as in Rome~


Or even small onions…all is perfection~


You’ll find varieties at Chino Farm that you’ll see in France and Italy and few places in-between.  This same Radicchio in one of my photos above, Here it is in Rome~

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One of Jonathan’s signature dishes is his JW Chicken al forno with salsa verde.  I’ll be buying herbs here next weekend for my salsa~


But in the meantime, I decided to try his famous JW Chicken.  I learned something with Jonathan’s instruction on how to butterfly a chicken, and then started two DaLe Ranch birds on the charcoal barbeque.  I finished them in the oven, and served them in a vintage French copper oval on a bed of flowering rosemary from the garden~ 


I cook a whole chicken each Sunday, but WOW, this was the best chicken I think I have ever had….moist and tasty and…indescribable….A Must-Try recipe~


And moving on dessert, I tried Jonathan’s Torta al Limone as that caught my eye. It’s a butter cake, not too sweet, just the way I like it; it makes a nice, slightly crunchy crust.  I love that the ingredients for his recipes are generally limited, and seem to be things I have on hand, or might find in my garden.  And like this cake, I can whip it up last minute if needed.  Here is the cake, topped with the sliced berries I already had sitting in the fridge~


Oh wait, I forgot the topper, Jonathan’s lemon syrup.  Chill it so it’s onctueuse~


Tonight my parents and I ate the whole cake and licked the plate.  I can see this cake in summer with lavender whipped cream, Chino doughnut peaches or French Strawberries.  I hope Jonathan likes the idea of inspiring us to improvise and adapt his recipes….because that’s exactly what he’s done for me…I LOVE this cookbook for its many recipes which can be adapted for what is local and fresh~


I’m a tough sell for cookbooks, but I can’t say enough about this one. The recipes let the goodness of the ingredients shine.  You’ll see many of these recipes in my summer farm to tables and probably at my big family dinner next weekend; this is how I love to cook, and how I love to eat.  I did not address his pasta recipes, which I can’t wait to try and you will also see soon. 

Thank you to Chino Farm for hosting Jonathan….adore this book and Jonathan’s commentary & recipes~


  1. Une publication aux saveurs printanières qui sont loin de me déplaire...
    Gros bisous

  2. That cake with fruit on it looks wonderful, wow I would love to have that right now...

  3. My mouth is watering with these images and your description. Nothing beats fresh. Bisous

  4. New Italian food craze? Hardly. We have been inundated with how great pasta is for years now; at least up here in northern California. Every newspaper and food magazine drones on and on about bruschetta, at least.

    While a lot of Italian food is good, it is not the only cuisine in the world that is any good. I would like to see something new on the food scene. A little more French, perhaps?

    1. Coming from Kentucky and eating a lifetime of German foods, Italian food was very new to my Grandmother, Hopflower....yes, we see it all over now, but I was referring to the 70's when people here in SoCal "discovered" Italian foods, Chianti wine in the straw-covered bottle and Gallo wine..."new" to our family at least! I can still hear her saying how much she loves that "Eye-Talian food"...

    2. Yes, you have a point there. I guess because where I live there are so many Italian families, it is not foreign to me. Every other restaurant is Italian. Even though I am not at all Italian, I do enjoy a good dish; but again in some cases pasta is overrated. As to German food: I love it. Meat and potatoes is just my style! And of course, one must have a good beer on hand. But do you see any celebrations of German food? Not very often.

  5. Everything looks so much better on your blog! I just love it.

  6. When I try to buy am artichoke it's leaves have as many wrinkles as my face. The supermarkets in Maine must buy month old produce to sell to us. We have no where to go and have to buy what is offered. They carry only products they make the most money on. Lemons are soft.So thats how Ridicchio is suppose to look. Wish I could shop with you. That spread you cooked is delish looking.

  7. That cake looks so good.. member of the clean plate club!