ChezHelvetica celebrated Easter (on the fourth day of Passover) with a trinity of family and multi-nationality of dishes. A Zaalook Salad from La Maison Arabe in Marrakech, Morocco (with Eggplant, Tomato, Paprika and Cumin) rested on Arugula and Spinach, framed by Deviled Eggs. (NB: The boiled egg’s origin can be seen in recipes as far back as ancient Rome.) Also of Italian inspiration, Lemon Asparagus Risotto and Garlic-Lemon Scallops. The delicious Arborio Rice Risotto was flavored with Garlic, White Wine, Lemon Zest/ Juice, and Parmesan Reggiano Cheese in a five-step preparation, handled by the very talented Sous Chef. The Chef’s attention next focused on Sea Scallops sautéed in Butter and Garlic, then drenched in a Lemon-Butter sauce which accompanied the Risotto. Tangy Reed’s Ginger Beer, whose Ginger is sourced from the Peruvian Amazon, paired perfectly with this course. Finally to America for a Hot Fudge Sundae made with Häagan-Dazs Ice Cream, Berries from Medina Farms at the VA Farmers Market and Smuckers decadent Hot Fudge. We have Risen and hope You did as well!
As math aficionados ponder the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter or Pi (3.14…), ChezHelvetica chose to concentrate on a fabulous new Pie to devour on 3/14. The winning stroke, a Walnut Pie Crust. Thanks to Winters Fruit Tree at the VA Farmers Market and their wonderful produce (surviving floods), Walnuts toasted then combined with Butter and a bit of Sugar to form a crust pressed into the pie plate. After a quick bake, the crust was filled with Asparagus, Eggs, Half&Half, Seasonings, Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheeses to make a Quiche. A salad of Spinach/Spring Greens, Olives and Celery with a Balsamic Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Agave and Garlic dressing brought it all to life! Gratitude to British mathematician William Jones for devising the mathematics behind the Pi symbol π and to all the Farmers whose hard work bring us the ingredients for our Pies. Happy Spring Everyone!
Like beautiful new blooms on a Rose bush, ChezHelvetica welcomed the daughter and three grandchildren of a dear friend (now smiling down from heaven). After researching kid-friendly dishes, a Frittata seemed like a good choice for our meal, made even more fun by using a paella pan in the preparation. With Shallot, Garlic, Cremini Mushrooms, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Eggs, Half & Half and Baby Spring Mix Lettuce (instead of Spinach), it indeed starred as a savory sensation! Sweet Potato Fries (roasted in Sesame Oil, Smoked Paprika and Garlic) created a wonderful side dish, especially accompanied by Stonewall Kitchen‘s Lemon Herb Aioli and Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup. Homemade Lemonade was the perfect summer beverage to serve at the gathering. Our sweet finish: Mixed Berry Crumble Bars (using Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries from Medina Berry Farms at the VA Farmer’s Market and juicy Blackberries from Tony’s farm). A choice of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Caramel Fudge and (non-diary) Phish Food Ice Cream toppings brought smiles all around! Meet Nissa Schumacher’s children: Will, Drew (twins) and sister Laney!!!
Comedy and Variety enlivened ChezHelvetica this Saturday Night! Visiting Cugino Primo (First Cousin) brought laughs to the table with great stories from San Luis Obispo and Ohio to Puglia, Italy. “Fish and Chips” with giant Zucchini from a friend’s Tam Valley garden seemed the perfect meal for this occasion. The New All-Purpose Vinaigrette, deliciously spiced with Shallot, Dijon Mustard, Agave and seasonings dressed Cod Fillets from Andronico’s and the Tam Valley Zucchini. The dishes then roasted above Yukon Gold Potatoes from the VA FarmersMarket, filling the kitchen with tantalizing aromas. Savory Stone Wall Kitchen Truffle Aioli on the Potatoes made them even more mouth-watering. Reed’s Ginger Beer and Armida Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma paired wonderfully with our food. The final credits go to Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s for their carousel of Caramel, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Vanilla and Cherry Garcia Ice Creams and Frozen Yogurt. Entertainment at its best – SNL+
Red, white and blue or rainbow colors, black and sparkles? With mixed emotions at this troubling time in our history, ChezHelvetica presented the most uplifting table possible with WilliamTabar‘s Exotic Sand Sculpture shimmering when rotated, SunshineKesey‘s colorful art glass and gold foil (from a Philanthropy By Design event) along with beautiful Hydrangeas. A day for grilling – Cheese Burgers (made with ground sirloin from Antonelli’s and Primo Taglio Cheddar), Onions and Mushrooms on OroWheat Buns, and Sweet Corn. Thank you to Rachel Ray for the simple instruction to brush the cobs with oil and season with salt. A tangy Marinated Vegetable Salad with fresh Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots (from the VA Farmers Market), Zucchini and Grape Tomatoes (from Safeway) added the confetti touch. GnarlyHead Old Vine Zin from Lodi brought happiness to the occasion. Finally, a nod to the flag with mini-cupcakes surrounded by Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. Inalienable rights and good health to all!
ChezHelvetica’s first experience with Cranberry Beans, also known as Borlotti, opened a new world in dining. Sensuous in their curved shells, these beautifully pink-speckled oval beans added creamy, delicious flavor to a Tri Color Barilla Pasta dish, nestling on EarthboundFarm Organic Baby Spinach. An Epicurious recipe for the fresh beans (purchased at the VA FarmersMarket ) heightened the taste of the Penne, already bathing in homemade Almond Pesto. Grated Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese showered the Pasta Salad, studded with Baked Apricot Chicken. Empire Kosher Chicken Breasts roasted in my sister’s delicious Apricot Glaze, Lemon Juice, Garlic and Dijon Mustard, then topped with Dried Apricots. An elegant dinner for a Wednesday night!
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 TortillaFactory 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!
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 ofBagels, Deviled Eggs, Early Girl Tomatoes and Red Onion ended this reunion with Big Dreams for the next!
A portmanteau is a linguistic blend of words in which parts are combined to form a new word, like panzanella – the Italian words for pane (bread) and zanella (deep plate). This fine evening, ChezHelvetica served a PeachPanzanella Salad, blending words and the freshest of this season’s bounty. From the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, Tory Farms Peaches, Acme Bread New York Rye, Zucchini and Celery macerated in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Champagne Vinegar, then accented with Basil Chiffonade. Our first course was a creamy Asparagus-Broccolini Soup, followed by the Panzanella Salad and Roasted Chicken Breasts seasoned with Parsley and Lemon. Smooth, chilled AcaciaChardonnay from Carneros paired perfectly with our meal. Delicious “Grandma Harvey’s Cherry Cobbler”, a recipe from Gotelli & Sons Farm at the VA Farmers Market,burst with the sweetest Bing and Ranier Cherries served warm a lá Mode. A truly wonderful celebration for visiting family!
The duplicity of the season for ChezHelvetica inspires dishes made with relative ease and some warmth, a nod to lazier days and the ever-present chilling fog. Crunchy Celery and Chickpea Salad and creamy Corn Chowder (both recipes from The New YorkTimes) fulfilled these needs. With fresh produce from the VA Farmers’ Market and Trader Joe’s, jewel-like Yellow and White Corn Kernels, Red Pearl Tomatoes, Green Celery and Italian Parsley decorated the kitchen like confetti. Yukon Gold Potatoes and Green Onions sautéed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, combined with Organic Eggs, created a delicious, sizzling Spanish Tortilla. Then, Marqués de Cáceres, a velvety smooth Rosé from Spain’s famed Rioja region, delivered that extra excitement!