After Burn

From Black Rock City, Nevada to ChezHelvetica at Land’s End, a Burner returned to Welcome Back feasts and Tide. (Lots of Tide/three loads). The day’s first repast, a collaboration, featured an Organic Arugula Salad with homemade Apricot Salad Dressing, Marin Gourmet‘s delicious Aubergine Dip with Lemon Crackers and Black Bean-Vidalia Onion-Cheddar Cheese Wraps punctuated with stories of incredible art, desert challenges and dust. Dinner included Oven-Roasted BBQ Chicken Breasts smothered with Cremini Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic and TJ’s Organic Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, accompanied by Veggie Sauté. Farmers Market Zucchini, Early Girl Tomatoes, Garlic and Onion sizzled in Stonehouse Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then accented with fresh Basil. Husked Sweet Corn wrapped in damp paper towels, microwaved for just five minutes, then dipped in butter and salt. Mouthwatering delight! This year on Saturday the Burning Man, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colorful mutant vehicles and fireworks, incinerated in a huge flash and fell over almost as quickly as the corn cooked – about seven minutes. Yet there are more beautiful Temples to burn, with Sorrow and with Joy! 🧨🔥


The Influence of Brexit

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!



Fare Trade

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

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

Columbus Day

ColumbusDayTableFrom Christopher Columbus in 1492 to ChezHelvetica in the New World –  The Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria were now replaced by the Dips, the Baguette and the Salmon Salad. Hummus and Egg Salad served with Celery Hearts and Organic Carrots kicked off the voyage, soon discovering the treasure of fresh Walnut Baguette. Little Gems and Italian Parsley harbored Wild Salmon (roasted with Truffle Oil, Honey, Meyer Lemon Juice and Wine), Whole Wheat Couscous, Cauliflower (spiced with Cumin Seed and Curry), savory Kalamata Olives and sweet Cherry Tomatoes. A global voyage of flavors indeed with ports at the Ferry Plaza, VA, and Clement Street Farmers Markets, greeted by the hardworking farmers from Latin America, Greece and California coast. In recognition of the guests who enjoyed this lunch, once students at OSU in Columbus, Ohio who journeyed to San Francisco, here’s to the Bucks and to the Giants, conquerors of the 21st century!ColumbusDaySalad

Cavolo Nero

With the usual Italian sex appeal, this name for Tuscan Kale enticed ChezHelvetica to finally succumb to temptation. This leafy cabbage doesn’t form heads, but rather resembles palm fronds with deep greenish black leaves that can be up to a yard long with pronounced ribs. Its surfaces have a distinctive bubbly appearance. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, the earthy taste transforms when roasted or sautéed. The primo pasto paired roasted Kale, Garbanzo Beans, Spices (Coriander, just because) and Garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with delicious Rana Mushroom Ravioli. The secondo featured Kale sautéed in Garlic Oil and Balsamic Vinegar with Vicolo’s legendary Cornmeal Crust Pepperoni Pizza –  the perfect complement. Grazie mille to Trader Joe’s, Costco and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for these adventures to Italia!

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want …

But If You Try Sometime You Just Might Find You Get What You Need.” These Rolling Stones lyrics precisely capture the scene at ChezHelvetica. Early in the day, discoveries abounded with Butter Lettuce, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Acme Bread from the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. Although seeking Tuna for a Tuna Nicoise Salad, beautiful Wild Salmon ended up being exactly what was needed. With Hard-Boiled Eggs, Capers, Red Onion, Olives and a Vinaigrette using my newly planted herbs: voila, the iconic summer salad appeared. Paired with a Coppola Chardonnay, this reception was indeed the hot ticket. The final embellishment, Michael Recchuiti‘s luscious Malted Chocolate Sauce over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon.“In Her Glass Was A Bleeding Man.”

Amaranthaceae – with Warm Bacon Dressing

From the edible flowering plant family Amaranthaceae (first grown in 14th century Persia), behold Spinach! Catherine de’ Medici, Queen of France, so loved Spinach, she insisted it be served at every meal. The name “Florentine” evolved for dishes using this leafy green in reference to Florence, her place of birth. From Catherine’s table in 1533 to ChezHelvetica’s in 2013, we dined on Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing. Sweet Red Onion and White Mushrooms from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Baby Spinach from Trader Joe’s received their savory crown of thick sliced Bacon, Balsamic Vinegar and Dijon Mustard dressing. Homemade Chicken Soup and Acme Bread’s wonderful Pan de Mie completed this course of the feast, paired with lush Geyser Peak Sonoma County Chardonnay. Tory Farm’s first of the season Peaches, sauteed in butter and served a la Mode with roasted Walnuts, royally concluded this Saturday soiree!

The Magic of ABCs

As Tony Mendez transformed U.S. diplomats into a Canadian film crew, ChezHelvetica elevated the ABCs to a new plateau with untried recipes for Acorn Squash, Asparagus, Beans and Cauliflower. Winter met spring as the cold weather outside saw the first of the season’s asparagus, and warmth replaced chill with soothing soup and the fragrance of coriander. For a dinner to be ready after “Argo“, Cauliflower Soup with Garbanzo Beans and Acorn Squash Rings with Asparagus filled our bill. The Farmers’ Markets at the VAMC and Ferry Plaza, along with Trader Joe’s, yielded the beautiful bounty for this dinner. A luscious walnut sauce dressed the squash and asparagus as Alma Chardonnay from Chile enlivened us. TJs Pecan Pie Ice Cream was the final credit of the evening. Applause!

Syber Saturday & Sunday

This magical weekend started at Fisherman’s Wharf with the much anticipated opening of crab season. The fishmonger cracked and cleaned our crab as the luscious fried shrimp on display also called out to our empty stomachs. With the addition of succulent barbecued short ribs, the Surf and Turf feast at ChezHelvetica began! Baked russet potatoes with horseradish and slow roasted green beans with scallions, garlic and herbs were the perfect sides along with whole wheat bread baked by our friend Mamie. Naked Wines Da Da Da chardonnay from Lodi provided the ha ha ha’s for the evening. Sweet red raspberries (just purchased at the Ferry Plaza Farmers market that morning), delicious apricot rugelach from the House of Bagels, crowned with vanilla Haagen Dazs a la mode, concluded this segment of our sojourn. In the morning over breakfast in the dining room, we watched the delightful dance of the ravens and hawk in the trees of East Fort Miley. A lunch of leftovers followed later in the day including mashed potatoes made from the aforementioned russet potatoes and earlier barbecued sweet potatoes. Surf and Turf, Savory and Sweet, Old and New, Yin and Yang – Thanks Giving.