Bouquets to Art and Farfalle

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!


From OSU to SFO

ChezHelvetica regaled a dear friend from college with a Welcome Dinner amidst hugs, kisses and conversation that picked up where we left off years earlier. Our first course: Heartwarming Broccoli Cauliflower Soup accented with freshly picked Oregano, Thyme, Basil and Sage, plus a kick of Cayenne, accompanied by Delallo Jumbo Kalamata Olives and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Then the fest! Mouthwatering Crab Cakes composed of Dungeness Crab (one from the Seafood Center in San Francisco and another from Bolinas) and delicious Boudin Sourdough Bread, served on inner leaves of Romaine and dressed with Lemon Vinaigrette, along with Sweet Potato Fries. Jordan Russian River Chardonnay was the perfect pairing, both because of its creamy taste and its name, that of Nina’s son. For dessert we delighted in Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream and World’s Finest Chocolate Mint Meltaways while discussing next days plans to see Gustav Klimt at the Legion, Teotihuacan at the deYoung and hear U.K. band Stereophonics at The Fillmore and Seal at Davies Symphony HallExcitement reigned!

Memorial and Futorial

AandAtable2An occasion to mark the past with sweet memories of all those lost – and a tribute to our soldiers – and also the future with limitless dreams and opportunities. The ChezHelvetica menu followed this same path with one dish from the past, yet reimagined,ChickenCaesar and one vibrantly new. A Tomato Onion Crumble became the topping for a Penne Casserole with Feta and Parmesan Cheeses and thanks to the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, Caesar Salad with Rotisserie Chicken. Fresh Romaine Hearts, freshly-baked Croutons and a piquant lemon-scented dressing composed the salad, a creation attributed to a chef from Tijuana and the recipe used in this signature dish at the Zuni Cafe. A beautiful silk scarf from the deYoung Museum became the perfect tablecloth, with the setting further enhanced by candlelight and Calla Lilies just cut from the garden. Chocolate Brownies, served with French Vanilla Ice Cream, were the ideal conclusion for this inspiring evening!Brownies

Rock & Roll

At ChezHelvetica, that translates into a Rockfish Roll Out. With nearly three pounds of Rockfish from Costco, what does one do with all of this Sebastes (a genus of fish in the family Sebastidae)? The first answer leapt from the pages of BigOven in Grilled Rockfish with Garlic and Basil. The luscious Butter Sauce (spiced with the heat of Cayenne Pepper) transformed this very basic fish into a gourmet dish, further embellished by Roasted Organic Red Potatoes and Broccoli from Nunez Farm of Watsonville in Pajaro Valley. Candlelight, the golden hue from Hess Select’s Chardonnay and new Chilewich place mats from the deYoung Museum further elevated this Saturday night dinner. Following a beautiful day at Stern Grove listening to Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs on Sunday, the next iteration was Fresh Fish Tacos. Whole grain Las Fortunitas Tortillas cradled the Rockfish, Black Beans, Avocado and Cheddar Cheese as Salsa happily dripped on to our fingers. The Rock & Roll weekend ends with the rest of the Rockfish now chilling in the freezer, awaiting the next show to begin!

Mexican Sunday Supper

The perfect conclusion to a day of ice-skating at Zeum, shopping and seeing the spectacular Dale Chihuly exhibit at the deYoung Museum for my visiting family was a casual, colorful Mexican Sunday Supper. Roasted butternut squash with peppers and white cheddar with pumpkin Primavera Tamales were the featured entree. (NB You can buy these at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for $8.00, but at Cal-Mart or Bryan’s they are $9.99, as I sadly found out.) The tamales were accompanied by artichokes purchased from Pezzini’s in Castroville, black beans and a lentil rice pilaf that my sister provided. tortilla chips (the end of a 5lb. bag from Costco so they were more like tortilla crumbs) with salsa completed the main course. Dessert took advantage of this wonderful stone fruit season with a grilled nectarine and ice cream sundae topped with a Pecan-Oatmeal Crumble, served in the crystal goblets shown. The dessert inspiration and crumble recipe came from the new issue of Martha Stewart Living. Ice creams served were Haagen-Daz Dulce de Leche (Yum!) and a non-dairy vanilla bean frozen yogurt for my vegan niece. (I made the crumble using oil instead of butter so that she could eat it.) This was ultimately named the No-Peach Grilled Nectarine Sundae as a result of my husband’s end of a long weekend RAM capacity, filled with way too much fun! You had to be there . . .