A Persian Passover

April 25th, 2019

Why is this night different from all other nights? The answers to this age-old question had fresh answers at ChezHelvetica’s saffron-scented Seder. First, in keeping with young female leaders prevailing in today’s world, our leader was my 25-year old niece, Aliya. Second, instead of the traditional Four Sons, we discussed Four Children – an activist child, a skeptical child, an indifferent child and an uninformed child – and how we answer their questions on ways to pursue justice in our time. Then, instead of filling Miriam’s (sister of Moses) glass with water, it was filled with wine just like Elijah’s. Family and friends from near and far sat where indicated by the artful suede placecards handmade by Mom to follow the exotic culinary journey to Persia –  Charoset (Haleg) filled with Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Dates, Raisins, Apple and Banana, Matzo Ball Soup with Cardamom, Tumeric and Lime, Saffron Quinoa with Dried Cherries and Almonds, and Shaved Carrot and Radish Salad with Herbs and Pumpkin Seeds. Organic Rosie Chicken bathed in Stonehouse Blood Orange Oil, Lemon and Tangerines delivered mouth-watering Persian Roast Chicken. At first beautifully veiled bottles, Persian Tradition Isfahan Chardonnay and Shiraz accompanied the sumptuous dinner. Delicious Flourless Almond Cookies with Cardamom, Orange Zest and Pistachios, Organic Strawberries and Mint Tea concluded this heartfelt evening as a Silver Dollar was gifted to Josh for finding the Afikomen! Next year in Jerusalem?!

          

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Turkey Pot π

March 25th, 2019

ChezHelvetica celebrated Pi Day on 3/14 (the first significant numbers of the mathematical constant π) along with others around the world. Some aficionados count digits while some eat Pie to celebrate the occasion. With infinite choices and recently made Lemon-Garlic Turkey this evening’s selection was a Food Network recipe for Turkey Pot Pie.

Executive and Sous Chefs chopped, sautéd, stirred, crowned with pie crust and baked. Voila’ – a delicious dinner took centerstage on this special day!

 

 

Chopping onion, celery, snow peas, parsley

Sautéing all ingredients in butter

Adding chicken stock, flour and wine

Cover with pie crust brushed with egg and bake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Basque-ing

March 12th, 2019

From the awe-inspiring shores of France and Spain, the unique identity of Basque culture enveloped the table at ChezHelvetica on this rainy night. Piping hot Basque Garlic Soup filled the air with its smoky aroma, as we were warmed by broth thickened with Eggs and Pan de Mie (found, surprisingly, at the VA Farmers Market). Sherry Vinegar (made with Balsamic Vinegar and Sherry) heightened the sensation of this Sopa de Ajo. Organic La Tortilla Factory Corn-Wheat Tortillas, spread inside with Trader Joe’s Truffle-Honey Mustard and outside with melted Butter, wrapped Gouda and Cheddar Cheeses. Oven-grilled Onion Rings adorned the Quesadillas. Pomegranate Dressing bursting with seeds, Pomegranate Syrup, Meyer Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil showered the accompanying Arugula Salad. Pepperidge Farm Double Dark Chocolate Butter Cookies finished our conceptual voyage from the majestic Basque Mountains to the hills of Land’s End. Dulce – Sweet Indeed!

Divine 89

February 4th, 2019

Happy Birthday Mom! ChezHelvetica and Family celebrated a woman of unequalled creativity and style with all of the color and vibrancy befitting this remarkable Mother, Grandmother and Aunt. Mimosas of La Marca Prosecco and TJ Orange Juice kicked off the gathering with toasts, hugs and kisses. Fluffy Carrot Pancakes bathing in luscious Cream Cheese Syrup and Candied Pecans starred in this delicious luncheon. Lox from the House of Bagels and Tory Farms Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Medjool Dates, Organic Blueberries and Tangerines, sprinkled with O Organics Shredded Coconut, accompanied the Pancakes. Lively conversation with news of the latest jobs, homes and events brought more smiles to the birthday table. The finale of Chocolate Chip, Blueberry and Bran Muffins – illuminated with one beautiful candle – brought wishes of happiness and good health to all!

          

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A Laissez-Faire Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2018

Thanksgiving at ChezHelvetica let things take their own course, one delicious dish after another. A nod first to the exquisite table setting art directed by Mom using menus from the upscale Red Coach Grill in Cleveland, Ohio as place settings, with each guest name written on hand-cut suede. (These almost-antique menus show The Traditional Pilgrim’s Fare dinner price at $5.45, with $2.50 for children.) This evening’s bill of fare, labeled Three-Hour Menu For 6-8 by Epicurious, more realistically could have been called 23-Hour Menu with everyone’s contributions. However, it was glorious! From the Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad bursting with Sliced Almonds and Pecorino Cheese to savory Roasted Delicata Squash with Sweet Potatoes and piquant Cranberry Agrodolce, traditional Garlic Mashed Potatoes, mouth-watering Turkey with Lemon-Garlic Butter to Sage-accented Skillet Stuffing filled with Wild Mushrooms. Rive Sud Pinot Noir Rosé from France perfectly complemented our feast. Intense Chocolate Fudge Brownies á la mode with Roasted Pecans made giving thanks with dear family and friends the sweetest possible!

        

 

 

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The Good Witches Fly

October 31st, 2018

Halloween at ChezHelvetica transformed Tricks and Treats with the Cava 5 (group of amazing friends) as the Good Witches. Magic filled the rooms with delicious food, wines, potions and creative ideas. Our spooky start – a special brew of Pomegranate (with seeds), Apple Cider, Ginger Beer and Prosecco along with Witch Rules (#3 If the pointy shoes fit get the matching hat and broom). Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Raisins and Bewitching Sand-Witches with Celery Broomsticks deepened the spell with witch hats adorning the Pumperknickel, Maille Dijon Mustard and Cheddar Cheese sandwiches. Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Parmesan Sauce then swooped in with Bewitched Chardonnay from Russian River Valley. A bubbly caldron of oil crackled with Sirloin Steak and Organic Chicken Breast cubes, with choice of Peanut Satay Sauce from Indonesia and BBQ Sauce dips. A Witches Hairball Salad of Carrots, Alfalfa Sprouts and Avocado sided the fondue as luscious Bewitched Pinot Noir and Wilson Tori Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley sent our brooms ever higher into the sky. Black Devil Woopie Pies (made with German Chocolate Cake and black food color with an orange-colored Marshmallow filling) miraculously placed the Good Witches on Cloud #9! Happy Halloween Indeed!

            

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5779!

September 11th, 2018

ChezHelvetica celebrated Rosh Hashanah with joy and excitement for the New Year, surrounded by treasured gifts and love from family and friends. Hand-painted Jewish Star candlesticks from sister Abby and Rosenthal China with Georg Jensen Cactus Sterling Silver from my parents adorned the table. With a nod to traditional holiday foods, this evening’s menu circled the globe presenting delicious gourmet dishes. Our first course included Noe Valley Bakery Challah and Fuji and Honeycrisp Apples with O Organics Honey along House of Bagels Lox nested in Basil leaves with Campari Tomatoes and Trader Joe’s Greek Medley Olives, served with luscious HOB Cream Cheese. Incredible Matzo Ball Soup made by my dear friend Joan was a kaleidoscope of orange, yellow and purple Carrots, Rutabaga and Ginger. Our main course featured a triptych of Middle Eastern entrées: Cinnamon-scented TJ’s Israeli Couscous (made with Pine Nuts, Shallots and Raisins), Honey Dijon Garlic Chicken Breasts and Eggplant with Tomatoes, topped by Pomegranate Seeds. Jewish legend professes Pomegranates are symbols of righteousness with the seeds holding luck and wisdom. Viñas Chilenas Rosario Estate Reserva Merlot added even more happiness to the occasion. The wonderful desserts for this sweet holiday were Rugelach and Fruit Tarts. L’Shanah Tova! A good year to all!

            

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A Family Tapestry

August 14th, 2018

ChezHelvetica wove interlacing culinary patterns into a warm hug for visiting family. Grilled White Peaches from the VA Farmers Market with choice of (Brown Sugar & Cinnamon, Maple Syrup or Haagen Dazs Carmel Cone Ice Cream) toppings was Friday night’s arrival dessert. Saturday’s dinner Soiree’ delighted guests as fresh Pine Nut Pesto doused frilly ‘Gigli’ Pasta, accompanied by grilled Zucchini and Aidell’s Italian Style Chicken Sausage, warm Baguette and Greek Olive Medley. La Crema Chardonnay from Sonoma’s North Coast added bright Citrus, Apricot and Honeydew scents. Finally, Trader Joe’s Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies completed the heartwarming meal. A classic Sunday Brunch featuring Lox and ‘Everything’ Bagels from the House of Bagels, Deviled Eggs, Early Girl Tomatoes and Red Onion ended this reunion with Big Dreams for the next!

          

 

 

 

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The Meyer Lemon Curd Solution

July 20th, 2018

ChezHelvetica’s birthday tribute to a Father who loved Lemon Meringue Pie turned out to be homemade Lemon Curd, thanks to a gift of beautiful, fragrant Meyer Lemons picked in Tamalpais Valley and the perfect easy recipe (with video!) from Ina Garten. Dollops of the curd frosted Trader Joe’s Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert on The Day. Then the sweet, tangy Meyer Lemon curd transformed a breakfast of Open Nature Maple Pecan Granola, Fage Yogurt and Organic Blueberries the next morning. It’s all about zest, be it the deep love for a wonderful Dad or a meal with delicious Lemon Curd!

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Pane/ Zanella Portmanteau

June 22nd, 2018

A portmanteau is a linguistic blend of words in which parts are combined to form a new word, like panzanella – the Italian words for pane (bread) and zanella (deep plate). This fine evening, ChezHelvetica served a Peach Panzanella Salad, blending words and the freshest of this season’s bounty. From the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Tory Farms Peaches, Acme Bread New York Rye, Zucchini and Celery macerated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Champagne Vinegar, then accented with Basil Chiffonade. Our first course was a creamy Asparagus-Broccolini Soup, followed by the Panzanella Salad and Roasted Chicken Breasts seasoned with Parsley and Lemon. Smooth, chilled Acacia Chardonnay from Carneros paired perfectly with our meal. Delicious “Grandma Harvey’s Cherry Cobbler”, a recipe from Gotelli & Sons Farm at the VA Farmers Market, burst with the sweetest Bing and Ranier Cherries served warm a lá Mode. A truly wonderful celebration for visiting family! 

 

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