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+
Tag: Ben & Jerry’s
An Unprecedented Fourth
Red, white and blue or rainbow colors, black and sparkles? With mixed emotions at this troubling time in our history, ChezHelvetica presented the most uplifting table possible with William Tabar‘s Exotic Sand Sculpture shimmering when rotated, Sunshine Kesey‘s colorful art glass and gold foil (from a Philanthropy By Design event) along with beautiful Hydrangeas. A day for grilling – Cheese Burgers (made with ground sirloin from Antonelli’s and Primo Taglio Cheddar), Onions and Mushrooms on OroWheat Buns, and Sweet Corn. Thank you to Rachel Ray for the simple instruction to brush the cobs with oil and season with salt. A tangy Marinated Vegetable Salad with fresh Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots (from the VA Farmers Market), Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes (from Safeway) added the confetti touch. Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin from Lodi brought happiness to the occasion. Finally, a nod to the flag with mini-cupcakes surrounded by Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. Inalienable rights and good health to all!
Hunter’s Moon and Gatherers México
“¡Bienvenidos Familia!” Glistening raindrops and autumn moonlight illuminated ChezHelvetica’s Mexican-inspired feast, opening with Anthony Bourdain’s heartwarming recipe for Button Mushroom Soup fragrant with the aroma of Sherry. The centerpiece Mexican Chopped Salad with smokey Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette overflowed with Red and Yellow Tomatoes, Green Apple, Purple Tortilla Chips, White Corn, Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) and Avocado, on a bed of Romaine Lettuce and Arugula. (Recently, I learned you can regrow Romaine by placing the root in water – now miracles on the windowsill.) Quesadillas made with Organic Whole Wheat Tortillas, filled with Cheddar Cheese, and Tudal Winery‘s Chardonnay delivered even more comfort to our meal. Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie FroYo was the perfect sweet conclusion to our family gathering!
The Influence of Brexit
No, 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. Tory 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!
Mardi Gras Memories
The ChezHelvetica Krewe celebrated “Fat Tuesday” in Carnaval style – beads, masks, Cajun Stew and all! The aroma of bayou bliss had the table jumping with Red Beans, Rice, Busseto Herbes de Provence Salami (instead of sausage), Prawns, Red Onion, Garlic, Celery and a dash of Worschester Sauce. Memories of a visit to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World in New Orleans recalled the magical site where floats for the parade have been constructed for decades. Rancho Zabaco (reminded me of Zydeko) Zinfandel kept this parade moving to a fitting dessert, Imagine Chocolate Truffles (replete with liner notes) and Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice cream. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler – Let the good times roll, as they say in the French Quarter!
June 5 – A Day of Love, Beauty & Elections
With the celestial power of Venus transiting our orbit, rays of beauty and love from the Goddess herself engulfed this 31st Wedding Anniversary celebration. In the reborn Really Room? at ChezHelvetica, we feasted on an array of grilled dishes from Sirloin Steak to Spring Squash to Baguette to White Corn. Piquant spices seasoned both the Squash from the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market (tarragon) and Corn from Trader Joe’s (chile salt), while garlic was rubbed on the La Brea Baguette. The mouth-watering Steaks from Costco needed only a little salt and pepper with a butter rub. A delicious Limerick Lane Zinfandel (Block 1970) accompanied our meal. After a dessert of Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream and TJ’s Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, we toasted to June 5 and the incredible day it was. All the Lords and Ladies were smiling aboard the Royal Viking Sea.
It’s Summer Solstice! As apropos, this evening’s entree featured something grilled – Grilled Oregano Prawns, an inspiration from Epicurious. With fresh oregano from our garden, sweet red onion and succulent prawns (from local market, AK Meats), this first of the season venture was off to a great start. A French Fingerling Potato Salad was the perfect complement with its buttery potatoes from Zuckerman Farms (purchased at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market) and a piquant sherry, shallot vinaigrette. Warm multi-grain bread from Grace Baking sopped up the dressing as we enjoyed a golden Chardonnay from BR Cohen. Ya gotta have ice cream as your dessert on an occasion like this and Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream was the ultimate choice!
All American with an Italian Accent
Benjamin Franklin must have originally written “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness through Grilling” in the Constitution and later changed it, the way he had replaced “subjects” with “citizens”. This dinner featured grilled salmon (beautiful wild salmon fillets from Costco), basted with Mostarda Di Anguria Bianca or White Watermelon Mostarda from Le Tamerici, a delicacy I had found at the Fancy Food Show. The salty-sweet-acid dynamics of plums and pesto, conjured by Ubuntu Chef Jeremy Fox, materialized in our Green Bean and Plum Salad. Delicate Italian green beans and sweet Tory Farms pluots from the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market – and a parsley, almond pesto – indeed created a dynamic dish. The conclusion to our meal, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, pays tribute to a new American hero. A salute to Stephen Colbert and his AmeriCone Dream!