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 šŸ™‚ 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...
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...
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....
loving calabro ricotta right now

loving calabro ricotta right now

Spring is in the air! So why not put it on your plate! ZZest Market just got in fresh ricotta, which of course is fabulous on toast with jam… wait there’s more! Here’s one of our favorite recipes. Pasta with Calabro Ricotta , Lemon and Fresh Peas 10 ounces of pasta (we love Rustichella brand, and we also love fun shapes like farfalle, croxetti, orecchiette, caprice. All available at ZZest Market come check them out!!) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 garlic clove, minced 2 cups fresh peas (Trader Joe’s always has them!) 1 cup Calabro ricotta 1/3 cup fresh grated pecorino cheese 2 teaspoons preserved lemon minced (here ONLY Robert Lambert will work!) 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint or basil sea salt and fresh ground pepper directions: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. In a medium pan, saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the peas along with a pinch of salt and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. When the pasta is cooked, set aside 1/4 cup of pasta water, then drain the pasta. In a large bowl, toss the hot pasta with the peas, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and preserved lemon. Add the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the ricotta cheese coats all of the pasta. Season to taste and serve hot. Additions: Stir in a little N’duja sausage spicy and delicious. Add fresh chopped cherry tomatoes or pomodoraccio tomatoes, more veggies like asparagus, spring...
meet team fifa

meet team fifa

Ā JosueĀ andĀ 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), Ā 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 ....