zabaglione (zah-bahl-YOH-nay) – In Italian it means “egg punch.” It is a light, fluffy Italian dessert made from whisked egg yolks, sugar, a touch of salt, and wine (traditionally Marsala). The mixture is beaten over simmering water so that the egg yolks cook as they thicken. Traditional zabaglione must be made just before serving. There is also a frozen version. In France it is called sabayon.
zest – Grated zest is simply the grated rind (outer colored portion) from citrus fruits. It is used in cooking because the rind holds the precious oils where the entire flavor resides. To grate zest or rind, take a box grater and rub the fruit against the grater. Do not rub the fruit down to the white inner skin, known as the pith, because the pith is bitter. When removing the skin from oranges or other citrus fruit, be sure to take only the thin outer zest or colored portion. The white pith will give your dish a bitter under-taste.
Zinfandel wine (ZIHN-fuhn-dehl) – A red wine grape that seemed to be indigenous to California for many years. It is now thought to have originated in Italy. The best Zinfandels are from Northern California and were grown for decades by Italian immigrants.
zwieback (ZWI-bak) – The word is German for “twice baked.” They are dry toasted bread slices, long popular for their digestibility and often served to young children.