Until softened, until the tomatoes burst, until the eggs just begin to set, until the guests arrive … Welcome to ChezHelvetica’s Spring Vegetable Frittata dinner. Beautiful pencil-thin Asparagus spears, glorious Broccoli florets and jewel-like, multi-colored Cherry Tomatoes (from the VA Farmers Market) starred in this delicious Frittata, seasoned with Kosher Salt and Pepper, followed by a sprinkling of velvety Goat Cheese. Watercress, dressed with Sherry Vinegar (made from Balsamic Vinegar and Sherry) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, freshly baked Trader Joe’s Ciabatta and Kalamata Olives completed the savory course. The sweetest, ruby-red Strawberries á la Mode then crowned this fun evening. Until we meet again ~~~
Tag: Real Simple
Resurrection & Ascension
ChezHelvetica told The Story of Easter by reinterpreting ancient themes into the day’s parade of delicious meals. Breakfast ~ Challah plucked from the freezer, Vanilla Beans scraped from the pod, Cinnamon and Orange slices came to life as Maple-Cinnamon Toast with Citrus, doused with Lemon Yogurt (instead of Créme Fraîche) and Maple Syrup. Lunch ~ Like a breath of fragrant air, Saffron, Tumeric and Coriander-spiced Carrot Soup accompanied luscious Artichoke Dip and zesty Pita Chips for a casual repast. Dinner ~ The Golden Egg! Cod with Asparagus Hash and Horseradish Sauce Sautéed Russet Potato, pencil-thin Asparagus, Onions and Cod Fillets (anointed with Horseradish Sauce, Lemon and fresh Dill) paired with Kendall Jackson’s velvety Vintners’ Reserve Chardonnay in the ultimate celebration of this occasion. Rather than a crown of thorns, delicate Snickerdoodle Cookies embraced us on this very special day of Rebirth!
Back to Back : Heart to Heart
As excitement mounts for Thanksgiving, ChezHelvetica welcomed amazing Mother, followed by incredible Sister. A pre-holiday feast included traditional favorites – Roasted Turkey Breast, Yams and Dry-Fried Green Beans, with the vibrant addition of Kale with Pomegranate Dressing. Curly, purple Kale from Nuñez Farms met Pomegranate from Tory Farms, adorned with Champagne Vinegar, Shallot, Feta Cheese and beautiful deep purple Pomegranate seeds. Acacia Chardonnay from Carneros kicked off the meal; velvety Bogle Old-Vine Zinfandel paired with the decadent Caramel Mixed Nut Pie dessert. Luscious French Vanilla Ice Cream topped the Inzana Ranch Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds and Hazelnuts and rich Caramel Sauce. Then something new for guest #2: a Cornmeal Crust quiche (rather than bars) with savory Arugula, Onion, Garlic, sweet Flame Raisins and Pine Nuts mixed with Parmesan, Ricotta and Feta. The alluring fragrance of Cinnamon and Nutmeg instantly transported the Sisters to the Mediterranean. An aura of love and gratitude embraced both tables as we toasted our thanks to each other and to all that IS right in the world …
Comfort Food+Comfort Company
“Healthful, but just-as-divine” piqued the interest of ChezHelvetica with Real Simple‘s Comfort-Food Makeover featuring Roasted Broccoli and Tomato Mac-and-Cheese. This creamy KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) recipe turned into a French kiss with the addition of Muscat de Provence, a rare sweet squash from the south of France. Roasted organic Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cherry Tomatoes – plus the Squash and some Red Onion – joined Barilla Pasta Shells in a rich Cheddar Cheese bath. Topped with Pepper Jack Cheese, the sparks really flew! Aidell’s Chicken-Apple Sausage and Saveur‘s Celery Salad (with additional Baby Spinach) accompanied the featured dish with savory and fresh accents. Easing us into further comfort: Brazin’s velvety Dry Creek Valley Old Vine Zinfandel. The final hug – Food & Wine’s Blackberry and Apple Crisp with Nut Topping à la mode. The right food with the right person – indeed, the definition of Heartwarming!
From the Land of Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes beloved literary tale “Man from La Mancha” revealed new significance, and romance, on this summer evening at ChezHelvetica. With Spain as the exciting accent of this anniversary celebration, we toasted with Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs along with Green and Manzanillo Olives, Almonds and Salmon Ahumado con Queso Fresco Montaditos (Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese) and Honey Truffle bites. Tyler Florence’s warm Roasted Tomato Soup opened the meal with rich, savory flavors – Early Girl and Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Onion and Basil. The soup was accompanied by delicious Manchego, so named for Spain’s famed cheese made from the milk of sheep grazing the country’s La Mancha region. Pearl white corn kernels had fallen weightlessly into a bundt pan when making the featured entrée, a Salad of Grilled Chicken and Corn, Avocado and Baby Spinach, dressed with a Garlic and Rosemary-infused Vinaigrette (from Real Simple), paired with velvety Etude Pinot Noir. Like windmills spinning bliss, Neiman Marcus Delicate Lemon Squares, made with Meyer Lemons and crowned with Yellow Raspberries, created the perfect conclusion for “Life Happily Ever After, not an Impossible Dream!” (Muchas Gracias to the Fillmore and VA Farmers Markets, Trader Joe’s and Safeway as the food and beverage sources for this meal.)
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!
Grilling for Burners
It’s time once again for a Bon Voyage meal for those headed to the Black Rock Desert, embarking this year on their “Rite of Passage”. The meal highlight for My Burner was a Grilled Chicken and Corn Salad with Avocado and Parmesan, a recipe from Real Simple magazine. Kosher chicken from Trader Joe’s and organic white corn from the Fillmore Farmers Market were grilled stovetop, along with a baguette brushed with oil infused with basil. This dish was delightfully simple to make, thanks in part to some knowledge just learned from Food & Wine magazine about removing corn kernels from the cob. Using a bundt pan, you place the ear in the center hole and then slice off the kernels; they fall weightlessly right into the pan. Luscious red strawberries from Medina Berry Farms (also found at the Fillmore Farmers Market) were the Sweet Send Off.
A Salute to Memorial Day
Our Memorial Day celebration embraced both the traditional significance of the day in acknowledging war veterans (in this case, the folded flag holding bullets fired at my father’s funeral) and the always fun summer barbecue with friends. Real Simple Magazine’s June feature on finger-licking fare inspired me to head to Marin Sun Farms at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market where I purchased baby back ribs. Using the classic barbecue sauce recipe in this issue, it was my first foray into making barbecue sauce. I tweaked it by adding some Worcestershire sauce.
A Caesar Salad recipe from Epicurious provided the perfect combination of delicate hearts of romaine (from Star Route Farms) and savory garlic croutons, a wonderful accompaniment to sweet corn. Vanilla ice cream with honey-poached nectarines and toasted coconut, crowned by a strawberry, was the dessert of choice, also adapted from Real Simple. Then there was the wine brought by our friends from their well-stocked cellar …. all I can remember now is that it was wonderful. And there was a lot!