OSUs Scarlet & Gray, emblazoned with an “O Stealie”, brought magical vibes to the celebration at ChezHelvetica – from Grateful Dead to Grateful Alive. A luscious Ina Garten Roasted Vegetable Lasagna layered with roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, four different Cheeses, Rao’s Marinara Sauce, O Organics Lasagna Noodles, Garlic, fresh Oregano and Basil absolutely delighted the party. A Spinach and Arugula Salad with Avocado, Red Onion, Walnuts and wonderful Poppyseed Dressing accompanied. Italbrand Parmigiano Reggiano (Thin Torinesi Grissini) Breadsticks from Andronico’s and Trader Joe’s Organic Olives completed this star set. For the finale – sister Barbara brought a wonderfully rich Chocolate Mousse Torte from renowned Schubert’s Bakery. A leftover Chanukah candle ignited, granting heartfelt wishes to the birthday honoree. Happiest of Birthdays Freddy! Really?!
Tag: Ina Garten
Shape things the way you want! While these words of wisdom apply to life in general, ChezHelvetica applies this concept to culinary creations. Fortunately, a co-chef with experience in Kodiak Cake design cooks up the best shape for any occasion. Valentine’s Day showcased beautiful heart shapes fringed with Navel Oranges, Raspberries and Organic Blueberries, then doused with sweet Maple Syrup. More recently, round cakes framed Medina Farms Strawberries and Blueberries, laced with home-made Lemon Curd. Thanks to dear friend Susan who gifted me with Meyer Lemons from her garden and Ina Garten/Food Network for the great recipe, the rich sweet/tart curd dressed our pancakes with enough left over to share with neighbors. My Aunt and Mother surrounded these tables virtually through their beautiful crystal gifts!
The Meyer Lemon Curd Solution
ChezHelvetica’s birthday tribute to a Father who loved Lemon Meringue Pie turned out to be homemade Lemon Curd, thanks to a gift of beautiful, fragrant Meyer Lemons picked in Tamalpais Valley and the perfect easy recipe (with video!) from Ina Garten. Dollops of the curd frosted Trader Joe’s Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert on The Day. Then the sweet, tangy Meyer Lemon curd transformed a breakfast of Open Nature Maple Pecan Granola, Fage Yogurt and Organic Blueberries the next morning. It’s all about zest, be it the deep love for a wonderful Dad or a meal with delicious Lemon Curd!
ChezHelvetica hosted an astonishing 88th Birthday Celebration for our incredible Mother (Beverly). Sister Abby, traveling through Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Thailand and Indonesia with family, flew in from Bali to surprise our Mom. Was it a mirage?! She was speechless, overjoyed! Ina Garten‘s luscious recipe for Roasted Vegetable Lasagne layered with Eggplant, Zucchini, four different Cheeses, Rao’s Marinara Sauce, Barilla Lasagna Noodles, Garlic and fresh Oregano simply delighted the party. A delicious Spinach, Avocado, Strawberry, Walnut (with added Pineapple) Salad and Poppy Seed Dressing accompanied, along with Baker’s of Paris Baguette and Olymp Greek Kalamata Olives. Our joy was further elevated by fruity, spicy Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. Dessert plans included Mom’s favorite Hot Fudge Sundae (Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream and Hershey’s Hot Fudge Sauce standing by) and house favorite Neiman Marcus Lemon Squares. So stuffed at that point, only the Lemon Squares made it to the table. Overwhelming happiness filled the room!!!
While my mother might describe her two daughters as Little Gems, ChezHelvetica’s definition this evening focused on the vibrant green leaves with a sweet, buttery taste known by this name. But first, Rigatoni Pasta Pie in a Mug! Intrigued by this recipe spotted on Facebook several weeks ago (made with Marinara Sauce), the ingredients used in the warm introduction to this dinner were creamy Mushroom Soup, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses, Basil and Barilla Rigatoni. Our centerpiece salad combined the delicious sweet and savory tastes of Little Gems, Herb Roasted Turkey Breast (using Rosemary, Sage and Thyme freshly plucked from the gardens and Acacia Chardonnay), Tory Farms Nectarines, Roasted Walnuts, Organic Celery and Italian Parsley. A simple Lemon Vinaigrette dressed the colorful salad, adding the perfect tang. For dessert, the sisters shared family stories while diving into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia FroYo. You just can’t beat that!
When Thanksgiving is in July . . .
. . . the reasons to be thankful explode like beautiful fireworks *!*!* Behold the ChezHelvetica garden display – new Sage, Rosemary, Mint and French Tarragon juxtapose vibrant Lavender and orange-hued Dahlias, Zinnias and Geraniums. This burst of life, and the bounty of summer produce, inspired the creation of a Thanksgiving-like feast. The perfect recipe – Ina Garten’s delicious Herb Roasted Turkey Breast – was the centerpiece, accompanied by Roasted Sweet Potatoes and a Green Bean Salad from Real Simple. A Balsamic Vinegar, Shallot and Tomato Dressing doused sauteed Organic Green Beans and Garlic for a savory taste that leaves the traditional casserole in the last century. As the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in a town called Plymouth, the bold Renwood Zinfandel enjoyed this evening also came from Plymouth – this in Amador County. And finally – if life gives you Meyer Lemons, make Neiman Marcus Lemon Squares, you will indeed by thankful!
The San Francisco Professional Food Society Book Club embarked on a worldwide voyage of far-reaching destinations, social introspection and amazing tastes, inspired by Marcus Samuelsson’s Memoir “Yes, Chef”. As we traveled from Ethiopia to Sweden to Switzerland to New York in the path of the author, our culinary manifestations included dishes made with berbere spices or lingonberries or gravlax or Swedish sweets. My contribution was the gravlax. I unearthed a recipe from the Norwegian cruise line of my past – Royal Viking Line – calling for sherry, cognac, salt, sugar, dill and peppercorns. After more than three days of turning the salmon over and over: Voila – Gravlax! The gravlax, Ina Garten’s recipe for mustard sauce and pumpernickel bread culminated in these savory appetizers, happily reviewed as The “delicious food talk of the day” by club members. Thank you Marcus Samuelsson for propelling us with your passion, hard work and never-ending search for excellence!