88!!!

February 2nd, 2018

ChezHelvetica hosted an astonishing 88th Birthday Celebration for our incredible Mother (Beverly). Sister Abby, traveling through Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Thailand and Indonesia with family, flew in from Bali to surprise our Mom. Was it a mirage?! She was speechless, overjoyed! Ina Garten‘s luscious recipe for Roasted Vegetable Lasagne layered with Eggplant, Zucchini, four different Cheeses, Rao’s Marinara Sauce, Barilla Lasagna Noodles, Garlic and fresh Oregano simply delighted the party. A delicious Spinach, Avocado, Strawberry, Walnut (with added Pineapple) Salad and Poppy Seed Dressing accompanied, along with Baker’s of Paris Baguette and Olymp Greek Kalamata Olives. Our joy was further elevated by fruity, spicy Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. Dessert plans included Mom’s favorite Hot Fudge Sundae (Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream and Hershey’s Hot Fudge Sauce standing by) and house favorite Neiman Marcus Lemon Squares. So stuffed at that point, only the Lemon Squares made it to the table. Overwhelming happiness filled the room!!!

        

 

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From OSU to SFO

December 2nd, 2017

ChezHelvetica regaled a dear friend from college with a Welcome Dinner amidst hugs, kisses and conversation that picked up where we left off years earlier. Our first course: Heartwarming Broccoli Cauliflower Soup accented with freshly picked Oregano, Thyme, Basil and Sage, plus a kick of Cayenne, accompanied by Delallo Jumbo Kalamata Olives and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Then the fest! Mouthwatering Crab Cakes composed of Dungeness Crab (one from the Seafood Center in San Francisco and another from Bolinas) and delicious Boudin Sourdough Bread, served on inner leaves of Romaine and dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette, along with Sweet Potato Fries. Jordan Russian River Chardonnay was the perfect pairing, both because of its creamy taste and its name, that of Nina’s son. For dessert we delighted in Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream and World’s Finest Chocolate Mint Meltaways while discussing next days plans to see Gustav Klimt at the Legion, Teotihuacan at the deYoung and hear U.K. band Stereophonics at The Fillmore and Seal at Davies Symphony HallExcitement reigned!

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A Mediterranean Medley

October 16th, 2017

With inspiration from Armenia, Lebanon and Israel, ChezHelvetica brought the beautiful culture and tradition of Mezza to the table. To begin we delighted in Sabra Hummus and Marin Gourmet’s fire-roasted Aubergine with Lemon Crackers made of Whole Wheat Pita Bread. Then Lemony Marinated Chicken Skewers fragrant with Cumin, Tumeric, Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes and Fingerling Potatoes braised with Wine, Butter and Fresh Thyme transported us to the spice tables of the Middle East. Velvety Acacia Chardonnay from Carneros paired perfectly with this meal, yet was a heartbreaking reminder of our majestic Wine Country now devastated by wildfires. Finally, a sweet dessert to reaffirm the gift of the moment – World’s Finest Chocolates Mint Meltaways and Caramel Whirls, and house favorite Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie FroYo.

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Gems

July 27th, 2017

While my mother might describe her two daughters as Little Gems, ChezHelvetica’s definition this evening focused on the vibrant green leaves with a sweet, buttery taste known by this name. But first, Rigatoni Pasta Pie in a Mug! Intrigued by this recipe spotted on Facebook several weeks ago (made with Marinara Sauce), the ingredients used in the warm introduction to this dinner were creamy Mushroom Soup, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, Basil and Barilla Rigatoni. Our centerpiece salad combined the delicious sweet and savory tastes of Little Gems, Herb Roasted Turkey Breast (using Rosemary, Sage and Thyme freshly plucked from the gardens and Acacia Chardonnay), Tory Farms Nectarines, Roasted Walnuts, Organic Celery and Italian Parsley. A simple Lemon Vinaigrette dressed the colorful salad, adding the perfect tang. For dessert, the sisters shared family stories while diving into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia FroYo. You just can’t beat that!

 

 

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A Fabulous Fête

June 27th, 2017

A day of Degas, Impressionism, the Paris Millinery Trade and ChezHelvetica! French accents inspired a delightful gathering of very creative, dear friends known as the Cava Five. With namesake sparkling Cava Mimosas (or pure Segura Viudas Brut Cava) in hand, the party of delectable food and wine unfolded. The sweetest of Berries with red Grapefruit and Mint accompanied our entrée of Cinnamon Baked French Toast (made with Sour Bâtard) and savory thick cut Bacon – further elevated by pairing with elegant Henri Bourgeois Les Baronnes Sancerre. An incredible array of French Cheeses (Florette Goat, Belletoire Cow, Oussau Iraty Sheep, Gres Champenois Cow, and Camembert Cow) followed with the finest of French Chocolates and Macarons. Exquisite Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay accompanied this final course. Then, off to the Legion of Honor to see the beautiful art exhibition – a French Kiss indeed!

 

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Graduation Eve

May 16th, 2017

Congratulations Parents of the Grad! ChezHelvetica welcomed Sister and Brother-In-Law with a celebratory dinner before the weekend ceremonies at UC Berkeley. Martha Stewart Living’s Everyday Food pullout (stained with olive oil after four years of continuous use) delivered the commencement meal of Pasta, Tuna, Capers and Tomatoes. It was like confetti in a bowl! Onions and sweet Cherry Tomatoes, sautéed in Olive Oil, and a creamy Parmesan Cheese Sauce created a fragrant bath for the Penne, Capers and oil-packed Tuna while Lemon zest and juice heightened the flavors of this mouth-watering dish. Avocado Dip with Sweet Potato Multi-Grain Chips and Kalamata Olives accompanied our entrée.  The bouquet of ripe tropical and citrus fruits in Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s famed Marlborough region paired perfectly, offering a hint of the international travel on the horizon for our Grad. Finally, a towering, multi-layer Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry Cream-frosted Cake crowned this Cal celebration!

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Palm Sunday Passover Brunch

April 11th, 2017

Biblical tales converged at ChezHelvetica this Sunday as palm fronds cradled the Seder Plate (holding its symbols of Passover) and gilded envelope of Matzot. The incredible story of Exodus unfolded, yet this gathering broke with tradition as it was a day early and the menu featured brunch rather than dinner. Lemons with glitter glue initials showed guests (with Cava-sparkling Mimosas in hand) where to sit. Paula Shoyer’s The New Passover Menu provided delicious, innovative lunchtime recipes – from Fruit and Nut Granola (which replaced the usual Charoset), Frittata with Broccoli and Leeks, to Crumb Cake Muffins. The luscious Granola contained roasted Pecans, Almonds, Cashews, Walnuts and Coconut Flakes mixed with Raisins, Cranberries and Dates – all crowned with Fage Greek Yogurt and farmers-market Berries. Smoked Salmon (from Bryan’s Market) with Tomatoes, Red Onion and Dill accompanied the savory Frittata. The Muffins had a scrumptious Streusel topping with a soft cakey interior containing potato starch, making them Kosher for Passover. Velvety Rancho Sisquoc Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County filled our cups, as well as Elijah’s. While my niece searched for the Afikomen, we devoured heavenly Noe Valley Bakery Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Meringue Cookies along with San Francisco Bay French Roast Coffee. May this commemoration of the release of our ancestors from bondage be heard throughout the world today!

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Fancy Food For A Fancy Mom

February 16th, 2017

Behold ChezHelvetica’s sweet and savory Valentine’s Day celebration! Delicious finds from the Fancy Food Show, overflowing in bowls like Halloween treats, starred at this “Welcome Mom” gathering. Warm Naan frosted with Goat Cheese and Jammit Jam Cherry Clove Cabernet Jam, Dried Apricots and Almonds, and Garbanzo Beans roasted with Rosemary and minced Garlic kicked off the party. Then, mouthwatering grilled Scampi basted with Bronco Bob’s seductively smokey Roasted Mango Chipotle Sauce, Zucchini, and Sweet Potato wedges followed. (N.B. Both Jam and Sauce labels presented helpful menu suggestions by course.) Bubbly LaMarca Prosecco was the perfect pairing throughout the soirée. Fresh Raspberries and Chocolates à la Mode – including Blue Planet Super Food Squares developed by a doctor at the world-famous Cleveland Clinic – and Elaine’s Toffee Company scrumptious Milk-Chocolate covered Butter Crunch brought even more love to our hearts on this joyous occasion!

 

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Almost Nothing Matches, And We’re So Thankful!

November 27th, 2016

thanksgiving16Different plates, different napkins, a 25th birthday on the 24th; some with soul mates, appetizers16some soul searching – ChezHelvetica’s Thanksgiving was a joyous gathering of family (three generations!) and old and new friends. Caraccioli Brut Cuvée and Rosé, Spinach and Artichoke Dips, Crudités nested in Romaine and Baked Brie with Lemon Pita Chips started the sunset celebration followed by fragrant, heartwarming Acorn Squash Soup served in their shells. Delicious Whole Foods Diestel Turkey, brined in Butter and Herbs (roasted in my convection oven according to Purcell-Murray’s instructions) took its rightful place center stage. Savory “Simple is Best” Dressingacornsquashsoup16 (made with Ciabatta, Cornbread, fresh Sage, Rosemary and Thyme) and mouthwatering Mashed and Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans and two different kinds of luscious Cranberry Sauces accompanied our bird. Nacina Reisling and The Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel kept the conversation flowing between the Nasty Women and Men around the table all night. And then, the incredible homemade pies – Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin Pie and a Chocolate Pecan Pie made by the Birthday Girl herself. Thankful, Grateful, Stuffed!

 

turkey16       centerpiece16       pies16

 

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Hunter’s Moon and Gatherers México

October 19th, 2016

mexicantable“¡Bienvenidos Familia!” Glistening raindrops and autumn moonlight illuminated ChezHelvetica’s Mexican-inspired feast, opening with Anthony Bourdain’s heartwarming recipe for Button Mushroom Soup fragrant with the aroma of Sherry. The centerpiece Mexican Chopped Salad with smokey Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette overflowed with Red andmexchsal Yellow Tomatoes, Green Apple, Purple Tortilla Chips, White Corn, Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) and Avocado, on a bed of Romaine Lettuce and Arugula. (Recently, I learned you can regrow Romaine by placing the root in water – now miracles on the windowsill.) Quesadillas made with Organic Whole Wheat Tortillas, filled with Cheddar Cheese, and Tudal Winery‘s Chardonnay delivered even more comfort to our meal. Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie FroYo was the perfect sweet conclusion to our family gathering!

 

romaineregrowth    tudalwine   peruvanlillies

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