Posts Tagged ‘Chef Claudio’

In What Way Do You Find This Night Different?

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The leader of our Passover Seder posed this traditional question to the Chosen Family and Friends present. The Wise Son quickly responded with a non-traditional answer: Matzo! The same could be said for the first Italian Seder at ChezHelvetica, “From San Francisco to Siena”. Drawing from archives of classic Italian Passover recipes, together with suggestions from Chef Claudio, the menu came to life. Our first course featured Laura Chenel chèvre spiked with minced garlic and parsley and wrapped in Breseola with Mission figs. A tantalizing Matzo Ball Soup made with matzo meal and ground chicken followed along with Italian Charoset bursting with fragrant spices, orange, almonds and luscious dried fruits. We reclined, thanks to Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio, Pio Cesare Barolo and Villa Antinori Toscana wines. Ah, the main course — Spigola Arrosta, Red Snapper (delivered to Antonelli’s Market that morning) accented with rosemary and anchovies then slow roasted on a grill, Porcini Matzo Polenta enhanced with basil and oven roasted artichoke hearts with garlic. For dessert, beautiful sweet strawberries from a roadside stand in Rio Vista and French Vanilla yogurt from Trader Joe’s with incredible Ricciarelli di Siena, almond and meringue cookies dusted with confectioners’ sugar. An almost biblical journey to freedom and epicurean delight!


Under the Tuscan Sun (at Land’s End)

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Warm rays of sunshine, interlaced with the warmth of good friends, created the perfect ambience for this Tuscan-inspired luncheon.  We toasted our “salute” and long friendship with Prosecco while devouring our delicious appetizer. Chef Claudio’s recipe for Bresaola (an Italian air-cured beef,) stuffed with goat cheese, garlic and parsley, received a special ChezHelvetica touch with the addition of sweet mission figs. Fresh ciabatta and mixed olives accompanied this course as well as our entree.

Fried asparagus wrapped with prosciutto (then quickly roasted) sided the new house favorite, Nude Gnocchi with a Butter Sage sauce. These pillowy Ricotta and Arugula dumplings melted in our mouths as we moved on to samplings of a Pinot Grigio and two different Italian red wines. Pellegrino helped balance our imbibing!

“Torta della Nona” or Grandmother’s Cake, a luscious custard filled tart with raisins and pine nuts, further sweetened the afternoon. And then there was Limoncello, the grand finale!

NB: The resource for most ingredients used in this menu were from Cal-Mart.


From the Maccabees to Martha, Via Tuscany

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Tonight we celebrate Chanukah and Judah Maccabee’s victory in re-dedicating the Temple. (History lesson: The Maccabees found only a small jug of oil, uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it contained enough oil for only one day, it miraculously lasted eight days). After delighting on latkes the first night of the holiday, this seventh night’s menu included Shiiatake Mushroom Fettucine with intoxicating Truffle Oil, creamy Burrata Cheese and Puréed Rutabaga with shallots. Chef Claudio’s recipes inspired this delicious fettucine while Martha Stewart Living provided a new twist on the root vegetables. The recipe specifies the addition of mascarpone cheese, however, I substituted a combination of cream cheese and sour cream. The fine food and wine for our meal were gathered from the wonderful Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and A.G. Ferrari. Zabaione – named “Chef Claudio’s second breakfast” – sweetened this celebration of victory and miracles!


Nude Gnocchi

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Chef Claudio‘s contagious passion and joy for Italian cuisine traveled from Tuscany to San Francisco, with “G’nudi” as Primi Piatti at ChezHelvetica this evening. Instead of spinach or kale, raw arugula laced the ricotta, egg yolks and flour in this gnocchi. No longer nude, a luscious butter and sage sauce dressed the delicate dumplings. A Gourmet magazine recipe for roasted chicken breasts stuffed with garlic, herbs and extra virgin oil sizzled as Secondi Piatti. Italian bread, olives and a DeLoach Zinfandel completed the main course, fueling the preparation for Dolci. Zabaione, a mixture of sweet marsala, egg yolks and sugar. La Dolce Vita!


Potato Gnocchi

Monday, September 20th, 2010

With molti thanks to the International Kitchen of Chef Claudio in Tuscany, ChezHelvetica proudly presents handmade Gnocchi di Potato. Memories of the exquisite Italian landscape, beautifully dressed people and wonderful cooking lessons fueled the creation of this dinner. After consulting the conversion guide for metric weights and measures, the appropriate amount of mashed yukon gold potatoes, flour, salt and egg yolks were rolled into a rope and then cut into small pieces. The gnocchi are boiled until they float to the top of the pot which seems to happen almost instantaneously.  Heirloom tomatoes (pureed with an immersion blender) basil and salt, sauteed in garlic infused extra virgin oil, created tonight’s delicious sauce. A porcelain dish from Sienna cradled the pit-filled olives – the best tasting according to Chef Claudio. Wine from Villa Antinori, Ciao Bella gelato with Nutella from my hotel in Florence completed this happy occasion!