Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zest and Zuppa Inglese

Well, I’m sad. This has been a very fun month for me with interesting posts to write and all sorts of swell folks dropping in to comment. Thank you for that! I do hope that you are intrigued enough to read my culinary mystery, Mission Impastable (and the sequels), as well. If so, I would love hearing from you about your reading experience. And if you’re in a book club that reads mysteries, and you choose Mission Impastable, I am available to Skype with your group. Check out the book club kit I put together for MI, too! Free for the taking!

Now let’s get to it!

Z is for Zest
Zest is both a noun and a verb. Cool, huh.

The noun definition for zest is the colored part of the skin of citrus. (Not the bitter white underneath layer). Zest is filled with oil and is an intense version of the fruit. When it is removed and added to dishes, as an ingredient or as a decorative element, zest elevates the dish beyond using juice alone.

My salmon marinade includes fresh orange juice and the zest of that orange. The bright notes of the citrus really give a pop to the dish.

The fun comes when zest is a verb. To zest (the verb) citrus means to use a special grater that creates these light and fluffly little shreds of zest (the noun) so you can use it in recipes. You run the sharp blades of the zester across the skin and collect as much zest as needed for recipes.

Yes, there is a special kitchen gadget called a zester. Here’s a link to buy your own zester if you don’t have one. Okay, true, you can do zesting the old-fashion way with a paring knife or veggie peeler, but why would you? Truly, this zester is a tool I use at least once a week, so I keep it handy!
I zest lemons, grapefruits, and oranges from our own trees and freeze the zest to use in recipes later. Not quite as good as the fresh, but dang close!

Z is for Zuppa Inglese (ZOO-puh   een-GLAY-zeh)
Zuppa Inglese is a soup--a dessert soup. In Italian, it means “English soup” and is very like a British trifle.

I’ve never made zuppa inglese, but I have made trifle. The pictures on the Web do not look like soup at all. They all look very like trifles. The origin of zuppa inglese is unknown, though there are many colorful tales about its creation. We do know that it goes back at least to the 1500’s.

Traditionally, zuppa inglese is sponge cake (flavored with the zest of lemons or oranges! and an Italian herb liqueur or rum). The cake is layered with custard. Sometimes candied fruit and/or toasted almonds are added. Meringue might be on top.

But why zuppa inglese is called soup is lost in history, cause this ain’t soup!

We’ve come to the end of our month together, but I hope you looked around “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” to see the range of offerings and that you are enticed to return. Every February, my readers choose a category, and I post at least one recipe a day in that category. In 2012 I posted soups. In 2013, I posted chicken recipes, and this year was appetizers. Come back next February, if not before, and see what I am cooking up. 


  1. wow, well done on getting to the end of the challenge, I'll be ordering your mission impastable book when I get some more moula on me card lol. Again, well done.

    1. Thanks so much for your regular visits and comments! I appreciate that kind of support. Please come back. Oh, and be sure to let me know what you think of Mission Impastable.