When Winter Is Summer

August 18th, 2016

Spanish TortillaThe duplicity of the season for ChezHelvetica inspires dishes made with relative ease and some warmth, a nod to lazier days and the ever-present chilling fog. Crunchy Celery and Chickpea Salad and creamy Corn Chowder (both recipes from The New York Times) fulfilled these needs. With fresh produce from the VA Farmers’ Market and Trader Joe’s, jewel-like Yellow and White Corn Kernels, Red Pearl Tomatoes, Green Celery and Italian Parsley decorated the kitchen like confetti. Yukon Gold Potatoes and Green Onions sautéed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, combined with Organic Eggs, created a delicious, sizzling Spanish Tortilla. Then, Marqués de Cáceres, a velvety smooth Rosé from Spain’s famed Rioja region, delivered that extra excitement! 


Corn chowder   ChickpeaCelerySalad





Nice. And Not Nice.

July 18th, 2016

Bastille16TortelliniChezHelvetica’s vision for a heartwarming celebratory Bastille Day dinner turned somber with the day’s heartbreaking news in Nice, France. Consider this post a condolence card to all those grieving. Still, we had to move forward. Hummus Heaven provided comfort with their Kale and Almond Hummus served with Organic Celery Hearts and Carrots, as did Chicken Soup made with Rotisserie Chicken, Onion, Garlic and Parsley. Bastille16CruditeGiovanni Rana‘s Cheese “Delicato” Tortellini delivered more contentment, topped with a homemade Cherry Tomato Sauce. Florin Gardens’ Blackberry necklace a lá Mode concluded the evening with wishes of Peace for this world.

Bastille16Soup     Bastille16Table     Bastille16Dessert




The Influence of Brexit

July 1st, 2016

LittleGemSaladNo, no, no –  not on financial investments – on dinner! ChezHelvetica’s search for “Little Gems with Nectarine Salad” landed smack in Britain with this recipe from Philadelphia.Co.U.K. Exiting from the prescribed ingredients, grilled wild-caught Copper River Salmon Fillet replaced Chicken and Thai Heritage Seafood Sauce supplanted traditional Chili Sauce. The addition of freshly chopped Italian Parsley and Lemon Juice to the Cream Cheese dressing deviated further from the stated union. NaanTory Farms Nectarines and beautiful Little Gems (a sweet cousin to Romaine Lettuce) from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, spiced with aromatic Coriander, elevated the dish to a new plateau. Sukkis Naan, served warm in a new terra-cotta stone bread basket, accompanied the delicious sweet and savory salad. Ben & Jerry, also known for profound political statements, provided the happy ending to our meal with luscious Cherry Garcia FroYo. Therefore, Our Vote: Remain!




Until ~~~

May 23rd, 2016

FrittataUntil softened, until the tomatoes burst, until the eggs just begin to set, until the guests arrive … Welcome to ChezHelvetica’s Spring Vegetable Frittata dinner. Beautiful pencil-thin Asparagus spears, gloriousFrittataSlice Broccoli florets and jewel-like, multi-colored Cherry Tomatoes (from the VA Farmers Market) starred in this delicious Frittata, seasoned with Kosher Salt and Pepper, followed by a sprinkling of velvety Goat Cheese. Watercress, dressed with Sherry Vinegar (made from Balsamic Vinegar and Sherry) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, freshly baked Trader Joe’s Ciabatta and Kalamata Olives completed the savory course. The sweetest, ruby-red Strawberries á la Mode then crowned this fun evening. Until we meet again ~~~



Slavery, Freedom and Stardom

April 26th, 2016

Seder16CenterSeder at ChezHelvetica followed two journeys this year, one the biblical Exodus of the Jews from slavery to freedom, the other inspired by a recent voyage to Australia and New Zealand. . . all woven into Passover Down Under. To acknowledge Moses’s sister Miriam (and her important role placing him in the basket found by the Egyptian princess), Seder16Irisa Miriam’s Cup now accompanies Elijah’s Cup on the beautiful tablecloth from my great grandparents. Vueve Clicquot Champagne kicked off the Bon Voyage party to Down Under, appropriately placed on a map of the region created by niece Rachel when she was five years old. Delicious Charoset sweetened with Sherry adorned Yehuda Matzos during the ceremony, followed by heavenly Matzo Ball Soup. The incredible first course was served, including Nut Crusted Salmon with Berry Vinaigrette with Creamy Chrain Sauce, Marinated Eggplant Salad and Quinoa Tabouli paired with Curious Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s famed Marlborough wine country. Melt-Away Short Ribs did melt in our mouths with Roasted Zucchini and Asparagus. Australia’s Hunter Valley Shiraz then had us seeing stars, be it the six-pointed Jewish Star, the seven-pointed stars on the Australian flag or the shooting stars on the Hydrangeas. As Chocolate-dipped Macaroons and Frozen Lemon Meringue Pie ended the meal, our hearts were warmed when niece Aliya found the Afikomen in record time!

Seder16Pie   Seder16TableSide     Seder16Abby



Fare Trade

April 6th, 2016

CobbNanci Q. How to thank a dear friend for an exquisite painting? A. work of art for a work of art – fare trade! While ChezHelvetica’s centerpiece Cobb Salad doesn’t match the effort taken to create the beautiful canvas, the overture was heartfelt. Robert Cobb’s classic Brown Derby recipe received a new coat of culinary paint with the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market‘s freshly-picked Romaine Hearts, Curly Endive, Rotisserie Chicken and award-winning Point Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese. Safeway‘s Farmer John thick-sliced Bacon, Open Nature Cage-Free Eggs, Kalamata Olives, and Trader Joe’s Avocado and Pearl Tomatoes completed the platter – all dressed in Stonehouse Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon Mustard and a touch of Organic Cane Sugar. (Sadly, I found the perfect Chives purchased to garnish the Salad untouched in the refrigerator the next day…) Wild Mountain Raw Honey showered Medina Farms Blackberries, Strawberries and Tory Farms Oranges, also sweetening Mighty Leaf Ginger Tea, as confidantes shared exciting secrets in the new chapters of their lives!NanciPainting2


Resurrection & Ascension

March 30th, 2016

CodAsparagusHashChezHelvetica told The Story of Easter by reinterpreting ancient themes into the day’s parade of delicious meals. Breakfast ~ Challah plucked from the freezer, Vanilla Beans scraped from the pod, Cinnamon and Orange slices came to life as Maple-Cinnamon Toast with Citrusdoused with Lemon Yogurt (instead of Créme Fraîche) and Maple Syrup. Lunch ~ Like a breath of fragrant air, Saffron, Tumeric and Coriander-spiced Carrot Soup accompanied luscious Artichoke Dip and zesty Pita Chips for a casual repast. Dinner ~ The Golden EggCod with Asparagus Hash and Horseradish Sauce Sautéed Russet Potato, pencil-thin Asparagus, Onions and Cod Fillets (anointed with Horseradish Sauce, Lemon and fresh Dill) paired with Kendall Jackson’s velvety Vintners’ Reserve Chardonnay in the ultimate celebration of this occasion. Rather than a crown of thorns, delicate Snickerdoodle Cookies embraced us on this very special day of Rebirth!CallaEaster


Monet Meets Cava V

January 26th, 2016

CaveCupcakesChezHelvetica shared stories, pictures and the amazing flavors experienced Down Under with a group of very creative, special friends (the exclusive members of Cava V). With inspiration from meals at Middle Eastern Maha Halloumi SaladRestaurant in Melbourne and the Amora Jamison Hotel in Sydney, a Grilled Halloumi and Eggplant Arugula Salad opened the celebration. Halloumi is a traditional cheese from Cyprus, and when grilled, has a sensational savory taste. Yotam Ottlenghi’s Burnt Eggplant, Wild Rocket Arugula and Pomegranate Lemon Dressing completed the dish, accompanied by Pita, Flatbread and Kalamata Olives. Velvety Marqués de Cáceres Rosé from Rioja accompanied this course, soon followed by delicious Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut to pair with Dungeness Crab Cakes and Sweet Chili Sauce, a recipe learned at The Culinary Arts Center aboard the Noordam. Washington state Crab Meat mixed with Celery, Onion, Chives, Lemon, Egg, Worcestershire and Tobasco Sauces, Garlic, Thyme and Panko Bread CrumbsCavaCrabcakes bathed in a luscious Sauce comprised of Butter, Cream, Sherry (instead of Sake), Lime Juice, Ginger and Sweet Chili Sauce. Then the art project sparked by Mini-Monet Cupcakes seen at The Flats in Sydney . . . ChezHelvetica’s Chocolate Ganache and Vanilla Bean Mini Cupcakes decorated like colorful fireworks by the Cava V with assorted frostings, sprinkles and toppings. Simply Spectacular!



Joy, Sorrow, Champagne and Tea

January 10th, 2016

Champagne TeaBeachwood High School > The Ohio State University > California Bay Area. Longtime friends with intersecting life journeys shared laughter and tears at ChezHelvetica’s Champagne Tea as very private stories were revealed. Scottish Smoked Salmon with Green Onion Cream Cheese on Everything Bagels, drizzled with Honey and Truffle Oil, brought both comfort and delight. The juxtaposing flavors of Deviled Eggs, Blue Stilton, Brie, Blueberries and Tangerines delivered even more happiness, as did those sips of bubbly, golden Champagne and Darjeeling Tea. Special friends reset your compass to New Horizons!CT Flowers



January 2nd, 2016

Lamb CassouletWith great excitement, ChezHelvetica welcomed beloved family to a celebration for the New Year! The centerpiece dish – Mint-Pistachio Pesto Crusted Australian Lamb Chops Over White Bean –TableBefore Wild Mushroom Cassoulet (just learned at the Culinary Arts Center onboard Holland America Line’s Noordam) was a perfect family project. Sous Chef Niece Rachel sautéd Garlic, Onion, Carrots, Celery, Wild (Shiitake, Oyster, Cremini) Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Herbs and Cannelini Beans in one pan and fresh Ciabatta Bread Crumbs and Pecorino Cheese in another. Dark Chicken Meat spiced with Smoked Paprika and Bacon Salt replaced the Pancetta called for in the recipe. Sister Abby artfully plated the Meze dishes including Sabra Pine Nut Hummus and Yotam Ottelenghi’s Burnt Eggplant with Lemon and Garlic. Brother-in-Law Michael helped carve the Lamb Racks and Niece Aliya assisted in dessert-course table setting. A Snickerdoodle Chess Pie announced Sweet ’16 to All!

LambPesto     Meze2     Sweet '16