An Unprecedented Fourth

July 6th, 2020

Red, white and blue or rainbow colors, black and sparkles? With mixed emotions at this troubling time in our history, ChezHelvetica presented the most uplifting table possible with William Tabar‘s Exotic Sand Sculpture shimmering when rotated, Sunshine Kesey‘s colorful art glass and gold foil (from a Philanthropy By Design event) along with beautiful Hydrangeas. A day for grilling – Cheese Burgers (made with ground sirloin from Antonelli’s and Primo Taglio Cheddar), Onions and Mushrooms on OroWheat Buns, and Sweet Corn. Thank you to Rachel Ray for the simple instruction to brush the cobs with oil and season with salt. A tangy Marinated Vegetable Salad with fresh Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots (from the VA Farmers Market), Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes (from Safeway) added the confetti touch. Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin from Lodi brought happiness to the occasion. Finally, a nod to the flag with mini-cupcakes surrounded by Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. Inalienable rights and good health to all!

      

 

[https://youtu.be/fFvzc_MVz6s]

 

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From Virtual to Actual. Passover 5780

April 12th, 2020

The Question Now: Why is this seder different from all other seders? In this surreal time, commemorating our ancestors release from bondage has been supplanted by family and friends ordered to stay in place – in self-isolation. ChezHelvetica honored both by first conversing with nuclear relatives and old friends virtually, then launching into a very authentic, traditional dinner atop beautiful new white, blue and silver Lamé linen placemats from Jerusalem (gifts from sister Abby).
Charoset with Apples, Dates, and Walnuts (plus Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin) with a touch of Horseradish on Yehuda Matzos started our meal, followed by bowls of steaming home-made Matzo Ball Soup. Delicious Roasted Chicken infused with Lemons, Tangerines and Saffron echoed the exotic tastes of Persia, Potato Kugel and amazing Roasted Artichokes filled with fresh Oregano, Thyme and Garlic sent us on a global journey from biblical times to the present. Coconut Macaroons dipped in Chocolate concluded our heartfelt dinner.

Next year In Person with All of our Loved Ones!

    

     

 

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Cor’onion’a Soup

March 25th, 2020

Surreal times call for inspiration and imagination. At ChezHelvetica, this meant diving deep into cupboards and sacks of produce and staples to create a heartwarming dinner. Behold mouthwatering French Onion Soup accompanied by Brown Rice/ Romaine Salad. Three remaining cubes of Maggi Bouillon de Pot-Au-Feu (best used dates long since gone) became the Beef Broth in which Onions sautéed in Butter and California Olive Ranch Olive Oil simmered with Holland Cooking Sherry, Dried Thyme, Salt and Pepper. Grated Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese, broiled atop pieces of Safeway‘s Signature Oat Nut Bread, crowned the soup. A piquant Caper Vinaigrette dressed the fresh Romaine, a socially-distanced gift from the garden of friend ‘Pataphysician Dr. Jardin. Likewise, the array of Citrus on the table from the Florin Gardens. Bowls of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream concluded the meal; fun fact – it is even more delicious in self-isolation!

 

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Happy Birthday Mermaid!

February 5th, 2020

Shimmering place cards adorned with sea shells and trinkets (created by sister Abby) welcomed family and friends to ChezHelvetica’s milestone birthday celebration. Mom’s 90th! Our kaleidoscope of sea world fantasy began with delicious Jumbo Shrimp Cocktails – the Shrimp from Antonelli’s, the pungent Cocktail Sauce home made with Ketchup, Horseradish, Worcestershire Sauce and Lemon Juice. Two savory Quiches followed – one in a Diamond of California Walnut Pie Shell filled with T.J.s Shredded Swiss/Gruyere Cheese, Onion and Organic Baby Spinach, and another in an Organic Wholly Wholesome shell with Sautéed White Mushrooms. A wonderful Field Greens Salad with Apricot Dressing, made by friend Joan, accompanied. Then, a legendary aquatic creature appeared! An image of our incredible Mother (Beverly Lassen) from the Carmel Valley Athletic Club pool transformed into a Mermaid by the “Black Magic” of Sweet Things Bakery. With Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay in hand, we toasted this inspirational woman and sang Happy Birthday!!!🎶🎶

 

 

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New Year | New Decade

January 2nd, 2020

New beginnings at ChezHelvetica! This day started with delicious deli at Toy Boats on Clement Street, fueling our search for the perfect locally sourced fresh fish to star in a “Sheet-Pan Harissa, Fish with Potatoes and Citrus” recipe, adapted from the New York Times. Our discovery at last – Monkfish from the Seafood Center. The fish roasted in Stonehouse Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Pepper, Ginger, Garlic, Moroccan Harissa Spice and juicy Tangerines and Oranges from Tory Farms and Meyer Lemons from my sister’s tree. Organic Green Beans, Tomatoes and Red Onion from Trader Joe’s with Brussel Sprouts and Red Potatoes accompanied. Delectable! We toasted the special night with Zonin Prosecco and Reed’s Ginger Beer. A gift of Gudrun Fine Belgian Chocolates concluded this wonderful New Year’s Eve, the last night of 2019. The first chapter of the Roaring 20’s, a Holy Roller on Ocean Beach – a huge cylinder stamped with symbols of many religions leaving marks in the sand, ushering in spirituality, creativity and peace for the new decade! Click to view short iMovie HolyRoller!

 

    

 

 

 

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The Miracles!

December 26th, 2019

“The first candle glows with a wish for the best things in life.” ChezHelvetica celebrated the first night of Chanukah filled with optimism. Miracles were imminent! The stunners this evening began with Chicken Soup made from Rotisserie Chicken with Onion, Garlic, Celery, Carrots and Dill. Next, delicious Potato Latkes (made by dear friend Joan) served with Sour Cream and homemade Applesauce. Arugula Salad filled with Smoked Salmon, Cherry Tomatoes and Red Onion, covered with Apricot Salad Dressing (made with Apricots from my sister’s tree) accompanied the Latkes. Another marvel this evening – Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet cookies concluded this gathering, for which the Maccabees would certainly declare another victory. Happy Holidays to All!

              

 

 

 

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Celestial High Tea!

December 17th, 2019

TEA TIME Tradition, Presentation and Recipes” This Miniature Edition, acquired while working at Gump’s, overflowed with fascinating content that guided ChezHelvetica in the creation of a High Tea for the Cava 5 – a group of highly intelligent, creative dear friends. Each one made a wonderful contribution to our gathering!

First Course: Delicious Tea Sandwiches – Egg Salad with Chives, Honey Smoked Salmon, and Pear Pecan Blue Cheese, paired with an assortment of Celestial Seasonings Herbal Teas and J Sparkling Wine. Second Course: Incredible Blueberry and Currant Scones, served with Somerdale Double Devon Cream, English Clotted Cream, Ollalaberry/ Blackberry Jam (made by my friend Priscilla) and Lemon Curd. Third Course: Desserts! Chocolate Crinkles, Orange Cookies, Ginger/TCHO Cocoa Powder Cookies (made by my niece Rachel) and Iced Pound Cake. Now wine, a luscious Twomey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, donated by The Duncan Family. And then a Fourth Course: Besparkling Angels. Each Cava decorated a wooden angel with Glitter Glue for the perfect ornament to decorate their Chanukah Bush or Christmas Tree.

A lovely, angelic celebration of friendship!

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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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