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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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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