Inscribed & Inspired

Enthralled by stories of Sephardic Jeweled Rice from Syria and Lebanon and Russian Apple Cake (first prepared to honor the wife of Tsar Alexander I), ChezHelvetica traveled the virtual globe for unparalleled sweetness and fragrance for the High Holidays. These days of introspection cascaded into Harvest Moonlight and the Equinox, with glorious Fall bounty and colors now embracing us. Apples and Honey with Challah always open Rosh Hashanah with wishes for a sweet New Year. On this occasion, the Apples were from the Rheingold Garden in Tam Valley, used also for the Apple Cake. The House of Bagels served as my house of worship, on Rosh Hashanah for the Round Challah and then a second time on Yom Kippur for Lox and Bagels. Standing in line for half an hour on the Day of Atonement seemed like the perfect place to be, surrounded by some wearing yarmulkes clipped to their hair. Homemade Chicken Soup and Sweet Pickles with Onions accompanied the intoxicating Jeweled Rice – spiced with Paprika, Tumeric, Cumin and Lemon Zest and studded with dried Apricots, Figs, Cherries and Pistachios. Pomegranate seeds crowned the delicious dish. A wonderful Apricot and Raspberry Macaroon Tart delivered the inscription for another year in the Book of Life!


A Beacon of Light!

Never before has The Festival of Lights seemed more important or necessary. ChezHelvetica celebrated Chanukah amidst some of the worst crises of health and democracy in our history with humor and a tight grip on the beauty and tradition of this holiday. Note the Toilet Paper Menorah, a nod to Covid, towering over a childhood brass menorah holding the first night’s candle. Lox from The House of Bagels and Chives topped crispy Latkes, an excellent recipe found on the CUESA website from Evan Bloom. Delicious Applesauce made with a Cinnamon Stick, Meyer Lemon and Gala Apples, and luscious Sour Cream accompanied the savory Latkes. With thoughts of the Maccabees and their victory over oppression and a Signature Reserve Russian River Chardonnay, happiness embraced our dinner. Jewish Stars decorated the table – on a candle from dear neighbors, a blue and white ceramic box from sister Abby and a delicious blue and white frosted cookie. This Butter Cookie from the HOB Bakery and Loacker Hazelnut Quadratini bestowed the concluding sweetness on our celebration. As we commemorate the rededication (of the second temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE) and miracle of the oil that lasted eight days, may miracles abound for us all! A shot in the arm?!


Divine 89

Happy Birthday Mom! ChezHelvetica and Family celebrated a woman of unequalled creativity and style with all of the color and vibrancy befitting this remarkable Mother, Grandmother and Aunt. Mimosas of La Marca Prosecco and TJ Orange Juice kicked off the gathering with toasts, hugs and kisses. Fluffy Carrot Pancakes bathing in luscious Cream Cheese Syrup and Candied Pecans starred in this delicious luncheon. Lox from the House of Bagels and Tory Farms Oro Blanco Grapefruit, Medjool Dates, Organic Blueberries and Tangerines, sprinkled with O Organics Shredded Coconut, accompanied the Pancakes. Lively conversation with news of the latest jobs, homes and events brought more smiles to the birthday table. The finale of Chocolate Chip, Blueberry and Bran Muffins – illuminated with one beautiful candle – brought wishes of happiness and good health to all!



ChezHelvetica celebrated Rosh Hashanah with joy and excitement for the New Year, surrounded by treasured gifts and love from family and friends. Hand-painted Jewish Star candlesticks from sister Abby and Rosenthal China with Georg Jensen Cactus Sterling Silver from my parents adorned the table. With a nod to traditional holiday foods, this evening’s menu circled the globe presenting delicious gourmet dishes. Our first course included Noe Valley Bakery Challah and Fuji and Honeycrisp Apples with O Organics Honey along House of Bagels Lox nested in Basil leaves with Campari Tomatoes and Trader Joe’s Greek Medley Olives, served with luscious HOB Cream Cheese. Incredible Matzo Ball Soup made by my dear friend Joan was a kaleidoscope of orange, yellow and purple Carrots, Rutabaga and Ginger. Our main course featured a triptych of Middle Eastern entrées: Cinnamon-scented TJ’s Israeli Couscous (made with Pine Nuts, Shallots and Raisins), Honey Dijon Garlic Chicken Breasts and Eggplant with Tomatoes, topped by Pomegranate Seeds. Jewish legend professes Pomegranates are symbols of righteousness with the seeds holding luck and wisdom. Viñas Chilenas Rosario Estate Reserva Merlot added even more happiness to the occasion. The wonderful desserts for this sweet holiday were Rugelach and Fruit Tarts. L’Shanah Tova! A good year to all!


A Berry Good Breakfast

“A Mixed-Berry Dutch Baby” recipe, presented in the July issue of Food & Wine’s dinner-party fruit desserts, intrigued me since mentioning it would also be great for breakfast. This “German pancake” was exactly what I was seeking for my Sunday breakfast with visiting family! With blackberries picked the day before by my husband from the Florins beautiful garden in Mill Valley and organic Driscoll rasberries purchased at Cal-Mart, this delicious “Baby” was just the right dish to accompany lox (garnished with Early Girl tomatoes, red onion and fresh dill) and Everything bagels from The House of Bagels. (NB: The wonderful lox was purchased from Bryan’s Meats now in a new location within the general market at Laurel Center, a testament to these economic times.) A note of nostalgia – the linens on the table traveled with me from the Reid’s Palace gift shop in Funchal, Madeira to San Francisco in the last century!