Archive for the ‘Blog Post’ Category

Sweeter Than (Local) Honey

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Rosh Hashanah, the New Year! ChezHelvetica celebrated 5783 (commemorating the creation of the world) with traditions symbolic to this occasion and new recipe adventures. For a sweet new year we first dipped Fuji Apple slices into luscious Honey from the Bay Area Bee Co., sweetening further with large “fancy” Medjool Dates and wonderful Poppy Seed Challah from the Noe Valley Bakery. Our main course featured Chicken Matzo Ball Stew (thanks to inspiration from The New York Times) and Roasted Broccoli & Hummus. The outstanding stew took three step-by-step days to create with my talented Sous Chef — cutting Onion, Celery, Turnip, simmering Rosie Organic Chicken and making matzo balls. Streit’s Matzo Meal combined with Eggs, Ginger (freshly harvested from our garden), Nutmeg, Parsley and Schmaltz skimmed from the Chicken soup. Carrots and Peas then brightened the stew, with fresh Dill and Parsley adding the final aromatic touches. Charred Broccoli florets drizzled with Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Paprika and a mix of spices (to replicate Za’atar seasoning) crowned Sabra Hummus delivering simply sensational taste. Willamette Valley Argyle Pinot Noir and Reed’s Ginger Beer paired well with this holiday meal. And what a delight to be surrounded by Wedgwood “Patrician” China from my Grandmother, Georg Jensen “Cactus” Sterling Silver flatware, and tassel placemats from my Mother, and beautiful Israeli linen napkins from my Sister Abby. Besides the Challah, my dear friend Joan also brought delicious Honey Cake, Rugelach, and Macaroons with Straus Organic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream for the crescendo of our heart-touching gathering. A Happy, Healthy, Sweet New Year to All!



The Progeny

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

Like beautiful new blooms on a Rose bush, ChezHelvetica welcomed the daughter and three grandchildren of a dear friend (now smiling down from heaven). After researching kid-friendly dishes, a Frittata seemed like a good choice for our meal, made even more fun by using a paella pan in the preparation. With Shallot, Garlic, Cremini Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Eggs, Half & Half and Baby Spring Mix Lettuce (instead of Spinach), it indeed starred as a savory sensation!  Sweet Potato Fries (roasted in Sesame Oil, Smoked Paprika and Garlic) created a wonderful side dish, especially accompanied by Stonewall Kitchen‘s Lemon Herb Aioli and Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup. Homemade Lemonade was the perfect summer beverage to serve at the gathering. Our sweet finish: Mixed Berry Crumble Bars (using Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries from Medina Berry Farms at the VA Farmer’s Market and juicy Blackberries from Tony’s farm). A choice of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge and (non-diary) Phish Food Ice Cream toppings brought smiles all around! Meet Nissa Schumacher’s children: Will, Drew (twins) and sister Laney!!!


Savoring the Mediterranean 👄

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Greek inspiration|Israeli ingenuity|Italian saporoso ChezHelvetica delighted this weekend in serving Baked Feta With Tomatoes and Roasted Asparagus. The Israeli Feta in brine (discovered at Trader Joe‘s) is an outstanding, luxuriant rendition of sheep’s milk cheese. Freshly cut Oregano from the garden and rich Olive Oil doused the Feta, Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives. Safeway‘s Multigrain Harvest Bread soaked up the delicious flavors. Asparagus from the VA Farmers’ Market, tossed with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Parmesan Reggiano Cheese and Lemon Juice accompanied, along with vibrant Edna Valley Chardonnay. Then the next day O Organics Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Snow Peas from the VA Farmer’s Market bathed in roasted Shallots, Tomatoes and Tarragon, finished with Basil Chiffonade and Parmesan Cheese. Our Dolce ending ~ Really?Good homemade Mixed Berry Pie á la Mode!



“The Perfect 36” Twice

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

OSUs Scarlet & Gray, emblazoned with an “O Stealie”, brought magical vibes to the celebration at ChezHelvetica – from Grateful Dead to Grateful Alive. A luscious Ina Garten Roasted Vegetable Lasagna layered with roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, four different Cheeses, Rao’s Marinara Sauce, O Organics Lasagna Noodles, Garlic, fresh Oregano and Basil absolutely delighted the party. A Spinach and Arugula Salad with Avocado, Red Onion, Walnuts and wonderful Poppyseed Dressing accompanied. Italbrand Parmigiano Reggiano (Thin Torinesi Grissini) Breadsticks from Andronico’s and Trader Joe’s Organic Olives completed this star set. For the finale – sister Barbara brought a wonderfully rich Chocolate Mousse Torte from renowned Schubert’s Bakery. A leftover Chanukah candle ignited, granting heartfelt wishes to the birthday honoree. Happiest of Birthdays Freddy! Really?! 



Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Thankful, Grateful, Artful, Graceful and FULL! Those heartfelt words depict the feelings at ChezHelvetica this Thanksgiving in reconnecting with family, setting the table with treasured heirlooms and preparing traditional dishes with new twists. Our feast began with a small salad of Spinach, Arugula and pureed Pumpkin with a dollop of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing and Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. Mary’s Free Range Organic Turkey Breast dry brined in Kosher Salt, Sugar, Dried Thyme, Garlic Powder and coarse-ground Black Pepper for 28 hours. The mouthwatering Turkey and Bon Appetit‘s Simple is Best Dressing (prepared with Ciabatta, Onion, Celery, Chicken Broth and Herbs) starred, drenched with Andronico’s savory Turkey Gravy. French’s Onion Rings recipe for Green Bean Casserole was transformed with the addition of Sautéed Mushrooms and Garlic. Another metamorphosis – baked Sweet Potatoes split in half and finished under the broiler with Honey, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. An amazing Cranberry Sauce with Dried Cherries and Cloves will forever change using just plain cranberry sauce. And then, a delicious Chocolate Pecan Pie in a homemade Butter and Sour Cream crust. Such Happiness on Thanksgiving! FULFILLMENT!



CAVA 5 ((Coven))

Thursday, November 4th, 2021



A Coven of very special Cava 5 friends (best described on this occasion as WitchCrafty, Spellbinding, Spooktacular & Ghostly) encircled ChezHelvetica’s Halloween lunch Crucible Hell-Vetica. To start, a gripping Cauldron Dip of Edamame, Ricotta, Pesto and spices in an Acorn Squash, served with Crudité and Signature Parmesan Grissini Breadsticks. Sparkling Canals & Nubiolo Brut Cava (our signature drink) accompanied the dip and delectable Pumpkin Deviled Eggs. Now moving closer to the flames, Sugar Pumpkin Soup filled the witches with savory tastes of Shallots and Garlic, and sweet flavors of Coconut Milk and Maple Syrup spiced with fragrant Cinnamon and Nutmeg. On to the delicious main course – Puff Pastry Rotisserie Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie and a Green Salad, paired with the flavors of Plums and Blackberries in Ghost Pines Cabernet. The haunting finish – No Trick All Treat – Halloween Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Thanks to each wonderful Cava 5 friend for your artistic, creative or mouth-watering contribution!!!









Inscribed & Inspired

Friday, October 1st, 2021

Enthralled by stories of Sephardic Jeweled Rice from Syria and Lebanon and Russian Apple Cake (first prepared to honor the wife of Tsar Alexander I), ChezHelvetica traveled the virtual globe for unparalleled sweetness and fragrance for the High Holidays. These days of introspection cascaded into Harvest Moonlight and the Equinox, with glorious Fall bounty and colors now embracing us. Apples and Honey with Challah always open Rosh Hashanah with wishes for a sweet New Year. On this occasion, the Apples were from the Rheingold Garden in Tam Valley, used also for the Apple Cake. The House of Bagels served as my house of worship, on Rosh Hashanah for the Round Challah and then a second time on Yom Kippur for Lox and Bagels. Standing in line for half an hour on the Day of Atonement seemed like the perfect place to be, surrounded by some wearing yarmulkes clipped to their hair. Homemade Chicken Soup and Sweet Pickles with Onions accompanied the intoxicating Jeweled Rice – spiced with Paprika, Tumeric, Cumin and Lemon Zest and studded with dried Apricots, Figs, Cherries and Pistachios. Pomegranate seeds crowned the delicious dish. A wonderful Apricot and Raspberry Macaroon Tart delivered the inscription for another year in the Book of Life!



Saturday Night Live @ Lands End

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

Comedy and Variety enlivened ChezHelvetica this Saturday Night! Visiting Cugino Primo (First Cousin) brought laughs to the table with great stories from San Luis Obispo and Ohio to Puglia, Italy. “Fish and Chips” with giant Zucchini from a friend’s Tam Valley garden seemed the perfect meal for this occasion. The New All-Purpose Vinaigrette, deliciously spiced with Shallot, Dijon Mustard, Agave and seasonings dressed Cod Fillets from Andronico’s and the Tam Valley Zucchini. The dishes then roasted above Yukon Gold Potatoes from the VA Farmers Market, filling the kitchen with tantalizing aromas. Savory Stone Wall Kitchen Truffle Aioli on the Potatoes made them even more mouth-watering. Reed’s Ginger Beer and Armida Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma paired wonderfully with our food. The final credits go to Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s for their carousel of Caramel, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Vanilla and Cherry Garcia Ice Creams and Frozen Yogurt. Entertainment at its best – SNL+

Leftovers with Jasmine Rice!


Bouquets to Art and Farfalle

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

ChezHelvetica celebrated a triptych of special occasions in a re-opening world! Bouquets to Art at the deYoung Museum, Pride Month, and a Milestone Anniversary commemorated by anything Ruby and Nasturtiums. Fortunately, Nasturtiums flourish in my back garden and Ruby candles at Safeway. With the table set in a rainbow of colors, Bowtie Pasta in Spicy Asparagus Cream (a great recipe from CUESA) starred as the evening’s masterwork, accompanied by Boudin’s wonderful Sourdough Baguette and Kalamata Olives. Aidell’s Italian Style Sausage and lots of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese added savory sensations to the meal. A gift from the pre-opening of Bouquets to Art, Sosie Wine (a blend of white wines in the Bordeaux style) paired beautifully with the dinner. Another gift, See’s Candies in a floral tin, sweetened the soirée – one delicious piece after another. Love IS Love and Making Magic IS Still Magical!



The Four (Hundred?) Questions

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

Liberation from slavery, the “passing over” of the forces of destruction, the exodus of forty days and nights. ChezHelvetica commemorated these events from the 13th century BCE with a Passover Seder honoring this historic occasion, as well as its parallels to life now. The Four Questions usually asked at this ceremony have compounded, with questions about virtually everything going on in today’s world. The meal served and heirloom table settings also honored ancient traditions and cultures while adding fresh touches. First served: Delicious homemade Wise Sons Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls and Apple-Walnut Charoset with Matzot. Next course – a Kuku Sabaszi or Baked Persian Omelet filled with a spectacular burst of fresh herbs and spices, accompanied by dollops of Greek Yogurt and a Mediterranean Olive medley. Our main course showcased succulent Rotisserie Chicken with roasted Honey Gold Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts. After this rich feast, the simple dessert consisted of Strawberries dipped into Sour Cream and Brown Sugar. Dayenu? Enough? Not yet! The next day, which was the first day of Passover, we enjoyed more of the Persian Omelet. On the second day, Matzah BreiMay all our Questions be answered, may Everyone be Healthy and Free!