Summer Solstice Tea Party 🌻

Tilting toward the sun, ChezHelvetica celebrated the Summer Solstice with Scandinavian-inspired revelry and best possible friends – the Cava4 (as #5 was in Scotland)! Our tea party started with Crab Toast, a luxurious combination of French Baguette toast slathered with brown butter mayonnaise and sweet Dungeness Crab. Sparkling Breathless Blanc de Noirs paired perfectly with this course. Glazed Fresh Orange Scones with hints of Vanilla and Cardamom, doused with luscious Lemon Curd, and Pineapple cubes followed.

Chives adorn crab toasts on antique platter
Kalamata olives in dish from Tuscany
Antique linens and Patrician China
Rustic wire and floral tape for crowns                     

A traditional symbol in European celebrations are flower crowns so we played musical chairs, moving to the other end of the table with our overflowing blossoms and greens to create our crowns.  Sweet Lemon Iced Tea  energized this very focused multi-step creation.

The sweet send-off were Strawberry Tartlets. Ground Almonds, Walnuts and Pecans cradled a Strawberry, Lemon Verbena and Honey filling (topped with rich Whipped Cream) for a distinctive new taste. SUMMER HAPPINESS!!!

Savoring the Mediterranean 👄

Greek inspiration|Israeli ingenuity|Italian saporoso ChezHelvetica delighted this weekend in serving Baked Feta With Tomatoes and Roasted Asparagus. The Israeli Feta in brine (discovered at Trader Joe‘s) is an outstanding, luxuriant rendition of sheep’s milk cheese. Freshly cut Oregano from the garden and rich Olive Oil doused the Feta, Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives. Safeway‘s Multigrain Harvest Bread soaked up the delicious flavors. Asparagus from the VA Farmers’ Market, tossed with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Parmesan Reggiano Cheese and Lemon Juice accompanied, along with vibrant Edna Valley Chardonnay. Then the next day O Organics Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Snow Peas from the VA Farmer’s Market bathed in roasted Shallots, Tomatoes and Tarragon, finished with Basil Chiffonade and Parmesan Cheese. Our Dolce ending ~ Really?Good homemade Mixed Berry Pie á la Mode!

    

“The Perfect 36” Twice

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?! 

New Year | New Decade

New beginnings at ChezHelvetica! This day started with delicious deli at Toy Boats on Clement Street, fueling our search for the perfect locally sourced fresh fish to star in a “Sheet-Pan Harissa, Fish with Potatoes and Citrus” recipe, adapted from the New York Times. Our discovery at last – Monkfish from the Seafood Center. The fish roasted in Stonehouse Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Kosher Salt, Pepper, Ginger, Garlic, Moroccan Harissa Spice and juicy Tangerines and Oranges from Tory Farms and Meyer Lemons from my sister’s tree. Organic Green Beans, Tomatoes and Red Onion from Trader Joe’s with Brussel Sprouts and Red Potatoes accompanied. Delectable! We toasted the special night with Zonin Prosecco and Reed’s Ginger Beer. A gift of Gudrun Fine Belgian Chocolates concluded this wonderful New Year’s Eve, the last night of 2019. The first chapter of the Roaring 20’s, a Holy Roller on Ocean Beach – a huge cylinder stamped with symbols of many religions leaving marks in the sand, ushering in spirituality, creativity and peace for the new decade! Click to view short iMovie HolyRoller!

 

    

 

 

 

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! 🧨🔥

 

Grand Slam

Pride, Independence and Victory describe ChezHelvetica on this auspicious occasion. Jubilant Pride Parades and the 4th of July inspired the table setting and menu for this family welcome, with Food & Wine Magazine providing the recipe for a delicious Grilled Squash and Corn Salad with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette. Using home-grown greens already on hand instead of Kale, and removing Corn Kernels by inserting the cob into a Bundt pan (so that the kernels fall into the pan and not all over the floor) facilitated the creation. Trader Joe’s Moroccan Harissa spiced the piquant dressing. Turkey Soup made from an Empire Turkey Breast, Onion, Garlic, Celery and Carrots accompanied the salad, along with Bakers of Paris Pain Rustique topped by Primo Taglio Soft Goat’s Cheese. Sweet TJ’s Medjool Dates concluded this meal but attending the Oakland A’s/Minnesota Twins baseball game and witnessing Marcus Semien’s Grand Slam homer crowned the day!

          

Basque-ing

From the awe-inspiring shores of France and Spain, the unique identity of Basque culture enveloped the table at ChezHelvetica on this rainy night. Piping hot Basque Garlic Soup filled the air with its smoky aroma, as we were warmed by broth thickened with Eggs and Pan de Mie (found, surprisingly, at the VA Farmers Market). Sherry Vinegar (made with Balsamic Vinegar and Sherry) heightened the sensation of this Sopa de Ajo. Organic La Tortilla Factory Corn-Wheat Tortillas, spread inside with Trader Joe’s Truffle-Honey Mustard and outside with melted Butter, wrapped Gouda and Cheddar Cheeses. Oven-grilled Onion Rings adorned the Quesadillas. Pomegranate Dressing bursting with seeds, Pomegranate Syrup, Meyer Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil showered the accompanying Arugula Salad. Pepperidge Farm Double Dark Chocolate Butter Cookies finished our conceptual voyage from the majestic Basque Mountains to the hills of Land’s End. Dulce – Sweet Indeed!

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!

          

5779!

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 Family Tapestry

ChezHelvetica wove interlacing culinary patterns into a warm hug for visiting family. Grilled White Peaches from the VA Farmers Market with choice of (Brown Sugar & Cinnamon, Maple Syrup or Haagen Dazs Carmel Cone Ice Cream) toppings was Friday night’s arrival dessert. Saturday’s dinner Soiree’ delighted guests as fresh Pine Nut Pesto doused frilly ‘Gigli’ Pasta, accompanied by grilled Zucchini and Aidell’s Italian Style Chicken Sausage, warm Baguette and Greek Olive Medley. La Crema Chardonnay from Sonoma’s North Coast added bright Citrus, Apricot and Honeydew scents. Finally, Trader Joe’s Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies completed the heartwarming meal. A classic Sunday Brunch featuring Lox and ‘Everything’ Bagels from the House of Bagels, Deviled Eggs, Early Girl Tomatoes and Red Onion ended this reunion with Big Dreams for the next!