NYE 2016

NYE 2016

The Chefs have been working on the menu under the careful watch of Chef Justin who, as much as he would love to be in the ZZest kitchen that night,has to do a little chicken frying at that other place… Porch. Been there yet? It’s great! Also, in house Somm, Jason, has been working on some gorgeous wine pairings with Tyler Melton from Libation Project. Jason too, will be busy that night at Porch, but Tyler is stepping in to give us a hand. This is going to be fab menu with some (in Tyler’s words) pretty geeky wine. I like geeky, and I like fun, Tyler is fun! Call for reservations 507.424.0080. Two seatings 6pm and 8:30pm ZZest NYE Chef’s Tasting 6 courses $65 wine pairing $25 1- charcuterie and cheese . accoutrements 2- chanterelle mushroom soup . parsnip . chestnut . pickled pear 3- clam . potato . herb gelee . house oyster cracker . intermezzo – thai basil . black pepper . caramelized pineapple 4 -braised lamb . cavatelli pasta . cavolo nero . pomegranate . ramp vinegar . coffee 5- veal leg steak . sunchoke . soybean . pickled cauliflower. dukkah . brown butter 6- black tea cake . creme fraiche . caramelized orange . parmesan and lemon crumble NOTE-Sometimes there’s a last minute substitution needed but so far things are looking...
oh Christmas cheese, oh Christmas cheese, how lovely are your slices

oh Christmas cheese, oh Christmas cheese, how lovely are your slices

I’m not just saying this because I’m a CCP (Certified Cheese Professional), and yes, that’s real, and kind of a big deal. But, cheese really IS perfect for the holidays! #1 Holiday Entertaining. Nothing is easier than cheese. Here’s what you do, click-Cheese Board 101. Your guests will not only think you have slaved over your gorgeous assortment but, they will also think you are very Top Chef-y. Look at you, you with your perfect pairings! Literally, it will take you minutes to assemble. #2 Hostess Gift. Cheese and a box of nutty crackers, for the hostess to enjoy after herparty. Much appreciated. #3 Dinner. With all the hustle and bustle, dinner can be put on the back burner. With cheese in the fridge and an addition of some salami or prosciutto, maybe a few olives, a dab of mustard and jam… Viola! dinner is served! Time to catch up on Walking Dead! After all, tis the season. (Well, for me, that is, gosh that Nigon! he’s despicable). #4 Holiday Happy Hour. Did the neighbors invite you for a little impromptu happy hour? What could you whip together to share? Get your dinner (cheese) left overs out and create one of these! If you think about it, it’s just your cheese board assembled in bites. Be creative, you’re gonna wow them.                 #5 Cheese is the gift for the hard to buy for OR anyone! Select 5 put in a pretty bag, tie a bow. Select 3 add a jam and crackers. Select 1 and a salami. Add some olives, dried fruit...
burrata! baby! it’s what’s for dinner

burrata! baby! it’s what’s for dinner

Tis the time of year when the gardens are glorious. It’s also the time of year I am craving burrata. Burrata is a gorgeous Italian cheese and the ultimate fresh cheese experience. It all starts with a delicate lump of fresh curd. Next, it is stretched to about the size of a coin purse. Then filled with ribbons of fresh curd and sweet cream and tied up from that coin purse to beggars purse with a little twist. This sweet delicate bundle can hold it’s own with just a drizzle of good quality olive oil and salt but when the garden is bursting, why not try these ideas. Always gently scoop the burrata from the brine and let it sit on the sideline on top of a paper towel. And, always, have some great baguette chunks to get every last bite of the milky gloriousness. Slice some watermelon radishes, chop up some fresh herbs toss in a shallow bowl with a drizzle of good peppery olive oil and sea salt. Top with the burrata whole, a bit more oil salt and grinding of pepper. Serve with a spoon. Dig in. Roast or grill some fresh asparagus, cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt. Arrange on a plate. Top with burrata, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Let some thinly sliced fennel hang out in a bowl wIth lemon olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic. In 15 minutes tear up the burrata add some fresh mint. Whip up some pasta cooked perfect al dente, of course. Toss with olive oil, add...
are you crazy? you’re done right? how old are you anyway?

are you crazy? you’re done right? how old are you anyway?

I’m preparing for those questions once again. The first time was about 20 years ago. I had a boy and a girl, ages 9 and 7 and was heading into my 40s. Life was easy, the future bright, a perfect little family. Then I found out I was pregnant and we were starting Zubay Family: Part 2. We were excited though. We happily told friends and family our news. Then came the comments Wow, really? You already have 1 boy and 1 girl… Are you crazy? You’re done after that, right? And (my favorite) How old are you anyway? But here we are again with some joyous news! We are adding to the ZZest family. There’s an awesome, super cool building in downtown Rochester: the historic train depot (formally El Loro) is ours to lease. The bones are solid, and the parking lot is a big plus. We have a fabulous design (and great food) in progress. Are we crazy?! Maybe! Times 2! Because it won’t be just one restaurant it will be TWO! We’re having twins! Due Oct/Nov 2016: PORCH. Urban farm fare. For those of you who know the Twin Cities restaurant scene, think Brasa and Revival sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. For those not familiar, think casual, rustic, come-as-you-are, pull up a chair, and SHARE! The bar will pour pilsners of your favorite everyday beers, like PBR, Mich Golden, maybe even Grainbelt. No worries, beer connoisseurs. Craft beers will play nicely right along side the domestics. The full bar will included the usual, but big sister ZZest will influence some great cocktails and the wine list....
all the world is a stage

all the world is a stage

And a “stage” is a big part of ZZest Cafe. The chefs are on stage in our open kitchen. Seated from the counter you can experience the flames, the shouts for “hands”, the clang of the pot meaning there is a round of beer purchased for the kitchen from another satisfied customer. The other “stage” is across the room at the bar. Mixologist and soon to be sommelier Jason has crafted an impressive summer cocktail list. Rather than flames on this stage, it’s flying ice. And the clang here is the always in motion shakers, finishing out the last shake and pouring the colorful mixtures into appropriate glasses. The cocktails colors are bursting of summer. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m green” is a green chartreuse, Hulk inspired color, garnished with a big basil leaf. The “mai tai” is golden hues of two rums and house *orgeat syrup. “Now you see me…” is a blue stunner, featuring plymouth gin, pineapple juice, almond milk and blue curacao. Rounding out the summer stars is ” a mint summer’s night dream”. Playfully pink as a queen fairy’s flush accentuated by a love elixir. So, ZZest has set the stage. We know you have been thinking about cocktails and a great dinner on our patio! Act now, before summer slips away. “Be great in act, as you have been in thought” William Shakespeare...
memorable asparagus

memorable asparagus

Last Spring I took the time to discover, again… Asparagus. Yes, I have been eating asparagus for years. Loving it. The first few times were probably smothered in cheese sauce but as time went on I moved on to steamed, roasted and grilled. It’s a great quick cooking vegetable and can take on just about any cuisine. Just threw some in fried rice the other day… But last spring, I had an epiphany about asparagus. Things have not been the same. We were heading up north to check on our property. When there, I cook. Before the trip I stopped by the Co-op and grabbed a few things. The local asparagus seemed appropriate and I was roasting a chicken so… hey, perfect. I was also bringing a couple bottles of wine. One being my first bottle of summer Rose. Exciting! So, for brunch the next day as I pondered over what to make, the asparagus tempted me so eggs won out over the chicken. I decided to make an asparagus, gruyere and spring onion omelet. It seemed only appropriate to open the Rose, why not? let the relaxing begin. The sun was warm and we dined on the deck, sipping Rose and and enjoying the omelet, much more than usual. So much so, I had to stop and analyze it. This requires picking apart the food to taste each ingredient, separately. Yes, the cheese, Gruyere Cru Surchoix was amazing. (BTW this cheese just won 2016 World Championship blue ribbon, and is hard to get right now!). But, it was actually the asparagus that caught my attention. It tasted different....
french onion soup time

french onion soup time

Time to dig up the old faves… And French Onion Soup is definitely one of those! Warm, cheesy goodness for a cold winter night. Or perfect for Friday’s during Lent. So I thought I remembered my favorite recipe being here. Too Busy to Cook, Circa 1980. But after looking at it I realized it was too “time-saving”. It called for frozen diced onions and I would not have used that, then nor now! But, the recipe served as a reminder and a base for a soup that turned out pretty dang good. So here’s the recipe. RECIPE STARTS HERE! Soup Part- 3 lbs sweet vidalia onions, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 5 cups) 1/4 pound unsalted butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 bay leaf 3-4 springs of fresh thyme sprinkle of sugar 1/4 cup cognac, or I often use Calvados but this day I was out of both, so I used a medium-dry sherry, doesn’t give it a super richness but was very nice. 4 cups beef stock 4 cups chicken stock (I use the boxed stuff Kitchen Basics, yellow packaging) 1 tablespoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2-4 cups of shredded cheeses (see cheese part) In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, saute the onions with the butter, olive oil, bay leaf and thyme. I do this all at once because there’s no way I’m doing batches. So I sprinkle with a bit of sugar to get the caramelization started, keep the heat low and stir often until the onions are nice and a rich golden brown. Takes about 30-45 minutes. Deglaze the pan with...
meet team fifa

meet team fifa

 Josue and Andre What a team these two make! Growing up in two different parts of the world Josue, in Veracruz Mexico and Andre, in South Dakota (with a few years of Brazil in there),  both were doing similar things! Check out their chosen team name, Fifa. Andre and Josue both grew up playing soccer. Josue was defense and I’m pretty sure he still plays and plays well, and when he’s not on the field you might find him salsa dancing. I’ve seen his he’s fantastic! Andre was a striker on the Varsity team, although he admitted to never scoring a goal. Awwww, that makes us love him more! He also played basketball and track. When they were not playing soccer they both grew up farming. Josue’s family had a huge farm with lots of vegetables (yes! potatoes!) along with chickens, pigs and lamb. Meanwhile in SD Andre worked on a beef and dairy farm raising and selling organic grass fed beef. Ok, what’s in the refrigerator and what can you make. Josue was up for the challenge getting Andre’s list of, kombucha, left over beans and rice and pomegranates! Without missing a beat Josue said, add salt, pepper and garlic to it all that’s all you have to do! In Josue’s fridge he listed beer, milk and orange juice and Andre quickly created an orange julius with a beer chaser. Team Fifa loves fingerling potatoes, roasted or fried so it’s no wonder that’s the potato they chose for their warzz. #theheatison #potatowarzz #zzest ZZest warrz schedule spoiler alert here’s what they are making: fingerling potato soup . nduja creme ....