special occasions, special people

special occasions, special people

Meet Katie and Dylan. I first met them shortly after ZZest opened. Katie is the daughter of a high school classmate of mine. It was fun seeing Sally again to to learn about her daughter Katie, who at the time, just got married. When Katie and Dylan come in they always lavish us with compiments, and thumbs up on facebook. And, even though they were newlweds they would come in fairly frequently. It turns out Katie and Dylan came in frequently because, they had things to celebrate. Dylan was all set to join the marines feeling like this was his best choice for the future. But Sally and Katie surprised him with tearing up his papers and offering to pay for college. #1 celebration! College graduation was another and soon their first baby girl in 2014. It was particularily fun to listen to Sally gush about the wonders of holding a grandchild for the first time (something I can’t wait for!!). Baby David was born last Nov. and that gave Katie and Dylan one more reason to celebrate and come to ZZest. Tonight when I caught them for the photo its was yet another occasion. Their 7 year anniversary, dinner at ZZest and on to Las Vegas! Such a special couple and thank you for sharing your special occasions with...
meet the parkers

meet the parkers

Here’s an awesome family! They may have slipped my radar the first few years. I’m pretty good at faces, sadly names elude me, but, I’m really good at remembering what cheese you like! Thank goodness after awhile I started to realize, something was up with these folks and New Years Eve. It turns out the Parkers have not missed our New Year’s Eve Chef Tastings, since we began them! That’s at least 7 of them! And… if it couldn’t get any sweeter than that, New Years Eve is their anniversary. A couple years ago they brought the whole crew in to celebrate their anniversary and of course New Years Eve. All the kids were decked out and every one of them had the chefs dinner, that’s 6 courses and not one course is a burger. That makes my heart sing! I’m glad I connected the dots a few years in, is was fun to look forward to them coming each year. The Parkers live in Winona and do pop in now and again beyond NYE. When they learned we were closing, Chris called and made a reservation for the whole group again. Here are their smiling faces! Thanks for sharing life’s celebrations with...
our first customer, julie

our first customer, julie

As we begin our final days at ZZest the very best part is seeing old friends again. Julie promises this is not her last evening in (whew! I’m not ready for tears quite yet). But, as I was chatting with her it occurred to me there are so many ZZest stories. Now, I want to catch as many as possible and post them! Julie has been a great customer, literally going back to the very beginning which would make her actually our very first customer! The very beginning, was my short stint in a little kiosk space in Rochester Produce, 10 years ago. She enthusiastically looked over all the jars and cheeses and proclaimed this to be her favorite “shop” ever! Ha! literally 3 shelves and about 12 specialty cheeses. But that’s Julie 🙂 Later when I moved to my “little shop” Culinary Market, Julie was one of the first customers in the door. Now there were a couple more shelves and about double the cheese for her to explore. When we changed and moved to ZZest Market and Cafe, Julie made the trek south. I used to laugh at her because she couldn’t get past the $15 lb Hooks cheddar from Wi. She put in on her sandwiches for lunch every day! I told her it was one hell of an expensive sandwich to pack daily! She moved on to other cheeses. For awhile her fave was Delice de Bougogne especially with Robert Lambert raspberry champagne jam. Julie also made coming to the cafe a priority. We all enjoyed chatting with her at the counter where she lavished...
hello, robiola

hello, robiola

This extraordinary cheese is part of the family of Robiola’s from the Piedmont region of Italy. I think I had a past life there as I am so drawn to the food and wine elements. White truffles, Barolo and red peppers. Yeah… you were there too, right? These cheeses are produced in dairies in the Langhe area and aged for a short period developing a thin, white, bloomy rind. The Guffanti family are master cheese makers, and honestly this is a cheese for any palate. In ZZest Market’s cheese case is Robiola due Latte, meaning made with two milks (not a Starbucks drink). The milks are both cow and sheep’s milk. This Robiola has a smooth creamy texture and an lovely sweet flavor with slight mushroomy notes and a buttery, milky finish. Of course Robiola is a perfect cheese board, cheese. I love it with cherries, fig jam or orange marmalade. Roasted red peppers and olives are also quite nice. Baguette slices are always perfect but a rustic walnut bread is very lovely. There’s a good one at Costco! I will “cook” with Robiola too. What grows together goes together and think truffle. On my list for dinner this week is, naan bread (yep, Costco again) warmed and slightly crisped in the oven. Spread a luxurious slather of robiola, slivers of prosciutto and topped with wild arugula, a drizzle of white truffle oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Warm Robiola in the oven for a heavenly gooey, cheesy spread. I love it topped with roasted mushrooms and asparagus, here’s a quick recipe and any leftovers can be tossed...
Giada’s Amaretti Cake

Giada’s Amaretti Cake

I have been thinking about this cake lately. It’s been awhile since I’ve made it but, like most of Giada De Laurentis’ recipes it is fool proof. I stocked up on amaretti cookies at the market. We carry Lazzaroni Amaretti for $12.95 a box. You won’t need the whole box so be sure to enjoy the cookies on their own, especially after dinner with a little espresso. Chocolate Amaretti Cake I follow the recipe exactly as written, except, I don’t generally have buttered flavored non stick spray. I usually just use butter. Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup slivered almonds 1 cup baby amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces) 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature 2/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons grated orange peel 4 large eggs Unsweetened cocoa powder, for sifting Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan the nonstick spray. Refrigerate. Microwave the chocolate until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds, for about 1 minute. Combine the almonds and cookies in processor. Pulse until the almonds and cookies are finely ground. Transfer the nut mixture to a medium bowl. Add the butter and sugar to the processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Add the grated orange peel and pulse briefly, until incorporated. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Blend until the eggs are incorporated. Clean the sides of the mixing bowl and blend again. Add the nut mixture and melted chocolate. Pulse until blended. Clean the sides of the bowl. Blend again. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until...