Borlotti

October 30th, 2019

ChezHelvetica’s first experience with Cranberry Beans, also known as Borlotti, opened a new world in dining. Sensuous in their curved shells, these beautifully pink-speckled oval beans added creamy, delicious flavor to a Tri Color Barilla Pasta dish, nestling on Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Spinach. An Epicurious recipe for the fresh beans (purchased at the VA Farmers Market ) heightened the taste of the Penne, already bathing in homemade Almond Pesto. Grated Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese showered the Pasta Salad, studded with Baked Apricot Chicken. Empire Kosher Chicken Breasts roasted in my sister’s delicious Apricot Glaze, Lemon Juice, Garlic and Dijon Mustard, then topped with Dried Apricots. An elegant dinner for a Wednesday night!

 

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Last Saturday 5779

September 29th, 2019

ChezHelvetica ushered out 5779 with a New Year’s Eve dinner for visiting family. Turkey Soup made with Empire Kosher Turkey Breast, Italian Fusili, Vidalia Onions, Garlic and Organic Carrots (spiced with Bay Leaf and Fresh Dill) took center stage for this gathering. The heartwarming soup was accompanied by Whole Divinia Greek Olives, Del Monte Tiny Dill Pickles, Zucchini/ Parsley Salad with Apricot Dressing and Acme Sourdough Bread. Edna Valley Chardonnay from the backyard of my relatives in San Luis Obispo made the lively discussion about future plans and trips that much livelier. Delicious Chocolate Babka (a pastry with Eastern European Jewish heritage) sweetened our meal and heralded a Sweet New Year. L’Shanah Tova 5780!

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After Burn

September 4th, 2019

From Black Rock City, Nevada to ChezHelvetica at Land’s End, a Burner returned to Welcome Back feasts and Tide. (Lots of Tide/three loads). The day’s first repast, a collaboration, featured an Organic Arugula Salad with homemade Apricot Salad Dressing, Marin Gourmet‘s delicious Aubergine Dip with Lemon Crackers and Black Bean-Vidalia Onion-Cheddar Cheese Wraps punctuated with stories of incredible art, desert challenges and dust. Dinner included Oven-Roasted BBQ Chicken Breasts smothered with Cremini Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic and TJ’s Organic Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, accompanied by Veggie Sauté. Farmers Market Zucchini, Early Girl Tomatoes, Garlic and Onion sizzled in Stonehouse Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then accented with fresh Basil. Husked Sweet Corn wrapped in damp paper towels, microwaved for just five minutes, then dipped in butter and salt. Mouthwatering delight! This year on Saturday the Burning Man, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colorful mutant vehicles and fireworks, incinerated in a huge flash and fell over almost as quickly as the corn cooked – about seven minutes. Yet there are more beautiful Temples to burn, with Sorrow and with Joy! 🧨🔥

 

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Grand Slam

July 10th, 2019

Pride, Independence and Victory describe ChezHelvetica on this auspicious occasion. Jubilant Pride Parades and the 4th of July inspired the table setting and menu for this family welcome, with Food & Wine Magazine providing the recipe for a delicious Grilled Squash and Corn Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette. Using home-grown greens already on hand instead of Kale, and removing Corn Kernels by inserting the cob into a Bundt pan (so that the kernels fall into the pan and not all over the floor) facilitated the creation. Trader Joe’s Moroccan Harissa spiced the piquant dressing. Turkey Soup made from an Empire Turkey Breast, Onion, Garlic, Celery and Carrots accompanied the salad, along with Bakers of Paris Pain Rustique topped by Primo Taglio Soft Goat’s Cheese. Sweet TJ’s Medjool Dates concluded this meal but attending the Oakland A’s/Minnesota Twins baseball game and witnessing Marcus Semien’s Grand Slam homer crowned the day!

          

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Game 6

June 14th, 2019

Blue and Yellow > In the spirit of the Golden State Warriors, also the ChezHelvetica table setting! The players: Whole Wheat Rotini Frittata and Roasted Asparagus with Capers and Lemon. Three pointers here on the delectable mixture of Eggs, Ricotta and Parmesan Cheeses, Basil and (leftover) Pasta accompanied by Asparagus Spears enlivened by Red Pepper Flakes –
thanks to inspiration from long-time coach Martha Stewart. As the game played out, attention darted back and forth between incredible plays to injuries and fouls, to the delicious food in front of us. When the final game of the NBA concluded, the Toronto Raptors (dressed in red uniforms) were the champions. Coincidentally, sweet red Strawberries were the winners in the end here too. Congratulations to all! 🏆

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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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