Fresh Mahi Mahi

The inspiration for this evening’s ChezHelvetica dinner was the wild fresh fish available at Safeway which was Mahi Mahi. I grilled the Mahi Mahi in a grill pan indoors and placed it on a bed of fresh greens with sliced mangoes. It was topped with a salsa verde (using mint from our garden as well as parsley, garlic, capers, lemon, oil and vinegar), a recipe from the current issue of Martha Stewart Living. The side dish was whole wheat couscous.

A journey through the wine section revealed the best deal on the shelf (of the wines we would consider), a bottle of 2005 DeLoach Chardonnay from Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. The wine had that double malolactic taste that was smooth, buttery and slightly oakey.

The dinner turned out to be excellent and was easy to prepare and not cost prohibitive.


First Fresh Corn of 2007

The First Fresh Corn of the year appeared today. The corn was from Mexico and was indeed fresh, but I have to say that it was nowhere near the quality of sweet corn from my native northeastern Ohio (where the Szalay family grows some of the finest hybrid sweet corn in the world)!

The menu tonight was inspired by Memorial Day and wanting to barbecue. I grilled asparagus and an avocado and dressed it with some balsamic vinegar. The vegetables were accompanied by what we affectionately refer to as an Aidell Dog. Bruce Aidell manufactures a wonderful variety of sausages from artichoke & garlic which was cooked for tonight’s ChezHelvetica, to Chicken & Apple and Mushroom & Garlic and a Cajun.

Wild cherries completed the meal!


After Movie Dinner

Inspiration: I needed a dish that required only reheating at 9:30pm after seeing the movie “Waitress”. I had some ricotta in the refrigerator that was about to expire and some ground beef in the freezer from a prior dinner that I wanted to use up. I also had some multi-grain penne — so what recipe would work for these ingredients?

I first looked at and considered a recipe by Giada de Laurentis but didn’t want to fry a bunch of meatballs. So I then went to Epicurious but found no inspiration. I opened Dashboard on my Mac and typed “Pasta Ricotta Beef” into Google since those were the ingredients I had to work with. The Google search revealed this recipe at which I adapted.

Shopping: Ingredients came from Trader Joe’s, Safeway and a little market next to where I had my nails done earlier in the afternoon which had some really good mozzarella.

Amendments: The recipe called for canned tomatoes and I substituted fresh hot house tomatoes. The salad recipe I used was in Food and Wine. It called for spinach, plums, basil with a dressing of orange and lemon zests, juices, etc. I made the dressing exactly but had spring greens and apricots so used those instead of spinach and plums. It was great!

Ambiance: We listened to Tangents Radio. Host Dore Stein played sensual acoustic Mediterranean music.

Prep Time: 1+ hours
Cooking Time: 13 minutes
Cost: about $20
Wine: Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi 2004 $9.99 (coincidentally, this wine is featured in the June issue of Gourmet as a recommended wine)