Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Elegant And Easy Leek and Swiss Chard Tart~











Photo credit: Jeff Sarpa
In the 1960s, the upscale Swiss resort of Gstaad was referred to as The Place by insiders like La Liz, Grace Kelly, Slim Aarons, David Niven, Roger Moore, and Brigitte Bardot who were often up to mischief. As in The Tomahawk Caper.

Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness were filming The Swan, when he was given a tomahawk and paid a porter to slip it into co-star Grace Kelly’s bed. Years later, it cropped-up beneath his own covers one night in London. Once when Princess Grace was traveling the U.S. on a poetry tour, Guinness had it snuck into her bed. Then while in Hollywood to accept an honorary Oscar, Guinness found the hackett between his own sheets. On Kelly’s following tour of England he had it pop-up in her suitcase. And so it went, with neither of them ever speaking about it, but then, Alec Guinness referred to Grace as Miss Enigma. 

One of Grace's favorite places for outdoor capers was in Gstaad, a 6-hour drive from her Royal Palace in Monaco. With its pine-scented mountain air, soft snowflakes falling, and fires glowing at night...The Place is where the legend of the Tomahawk Caper lives on, 31-years after she's been gone...

Leek and Swiss Chard Tart~
BON APPÉTIT October 1999
Makes 8 servings

This tart received highest ratings on Epicurious, and is what one would find on a chic menu in Gstaad. Perhaps a kitchen caper is in your near future?...

Ingredients~

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
2 tablespoons butter
3 large leeks coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups of Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Prepare~

Roll out pastry on floured work surface to 12-inch square. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold under; crimp edges. Cover; chill.

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard; saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.

Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.

Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.

Henry Mancini's charming Summer in Gstaad: (HERE). Thanks so much for stopping by!  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Quick Healthy And Fit~

The always star-studded Ivy in Beverly Hills~







When my friends and I were at UCLA, The Ivy was a special lunchtime treat  next-door in Beverly Hills. I'd wondered if there was symbolic meaning in the bistro's name and learned that to the Celts--Ivy stands for vibrantly strong growth and renewal.

Back then, we didn’t worry about GMO’s or toxins in our food, and you rarely saw anyone plagued with unhealthy obesity. Today, 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs and an equal number are dangerously overweight in a double-barreled, disease-causing epidemic.

The documentary “Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead”...gets to the heart of a simple cure. One subject lost 202 pounds quickly, under medical supervision, and was able to stop all medications. Juicing remade his life in the full sense of "Ivy" symbolism. He in turn started teaching popular classes.

NutriBullet simplifies the miracle cure. Throw a variety of colorful, fresh, chopped organic fruits and vegetables in the compact container. Whirl it. Drink it. Done. Nothing is wasted. There's a terrific recipe booklet included, too.

The man who lost 202 pounds in the film is a model for pouring energy into a genuine solution with unswerving belief. And by using organics, whether home-grown or purchased, the health of the planet is improved, too. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. The beautiful Se Que Volveras...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Schussing And Sipping In Snazzy Spaces~


Jordane, the French owner of 
 Héritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills. Yes, he is ;) 
Héritage Fine Wines, Beverly Hills sponsors popular 
in-store events and wine tastings...
They fly in the world's best bread from Paris, fresh each AM~






Audrey Hepburn in the opening scenes in "Charade" shot
in Megève...an hour through The Alps from her home in Switzerland...
Tidbits from très belle San Francisco, Beverly Hills, and Megève in the French Alps…

Others may be interested in the online Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) course. Based in my former home town of San Francisco (sister city of Paris)  the San Francisco Wine School prepares you for the Society of Wine Educators’ rigorous Certified Specialist of Wine exam. I'm thrilled to be taking this starting in May...

The course covers: Tasting, Chemistry and Flaws. Viticulture and Viniculture. Northern France. Southern France. Italy. Spain, Portugal and Eastern Mediterranean. Germany and the Rest of Europe. North America. Plus the Southern Hemisphere. 

Until May, I’ll be posting more on wines from the above regions. The San Francisco Wine School is associated with The Wine Institute, The Society of Wine Educators, Napa Valley Vintners, Italian Wine Center, and The French Wine Society. 

In wine news from Beverly Hills...an old stomping ground from my UCLA days where friends and I loved The Ivy for lunch. Other local French eateries include: Bouchon Bistro, Le Mervetty, La Provence, L’Amande French Bakery, Tartine O Chocolat, and the Champs Elysees... 

And now the fabulously elegant Héritage Fine Wines has come to town, drawing raised glasses and applause. 

French owners, Jordane and Simon, also carry top quality chocolates and truffles for pairings. Héritage reflects that passion, romance, elegance and outstanding craftsmanship typical of France. The tastings are very popular, their carefully chosen French wines at terrific prices...

My first peek at the uber-chic ski resort Megève in the Haute-Savoie was undoubtedly like that of many others...at the opening of “Charade” with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant on the deck of the 5-Star Hotel Chalet du Mont d’ArboisNow more stylish than ever, and with the added Michelin star restaurant Le 1920; the property owned by the Rothschilds features wine from their vineyards in the Bordelais. 

In Megève take a horse-drawn carriage ride to explore the cobbled streets and truffle shops, a Savoie speciality. A charming tour of the resort known Internationally for competitive snow polo: (HERE). And Charade, free, in it's entirety: (HERE). Thank you so much for stopping by...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hollywood And Vine~

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur~ 
JFK, Jr. stayed here with Carolyn Bessette, prior to their marriage....
The 24-year+ doorman at the Huntington Hotel in San Francisco
told me: "He's the kindest, most polite person I've ever met."




Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton making 'The Sandpiper" in
Big Sur after they wed.. Friends and I saw them in the Noel Coward play
"Private Lives" in LA post their divorce. She was escorted out the stage door by
Larry Hagman...still very beautiful.  
She also filmed "National Velvet" on this coast as a young girl.  
Monterey Movie Tours provides on-scene views of shots 

made at various locations. Doug, the owner,
 is witty and knowledgeable.
Our former Mayor, Clint Eastwood, at the Oscar's with his girlfriend,
Christina, a long-time, popular hostess at his Mission Ranch. They
look very M.F.E.O. together... 
This weekend, I read, “A Fifty-Year Silence”...described as a near poetic transcendence of time, place and memory..."that chronicles an amazing circle of life.” Miranda Mouillot's trajectory as a Harvard-grad was unconventional. She undertook a 10-year journey in at least three countries--to uncover what caused the 50-year bitter break between her grandmother, a physician, and her grandfather, an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials.

Miranda and her mother were only children. After college graduation and seeking answers, Miranda moved into her grandmother's ruin of a stone cottage in the South of France to uncover how her grandparent's abandoned everything to flee on foot over snowy mountains into Switzerland as Nazis swarmed into France. 

In the cottage, Miranda fell in love with a handsome local who’d helped her when she had little money and was freezing in the frigid weather with broken windows, no heat, and a front door that didn't fit properly. They married, added another girl to the family...and are living the life her grandparents once envisioned for themselves. She gave them peace at the end by rescuing their fairy-tale. I imagine that one day this story will be a Indie film...it contains all the elements.

How To Become A Certified Specialist of Wine~

The San Francisco Wine School has created a comprehensive online prep course for the Society of Wine Educators’ challenging Certified Specialist of Wine exam. The current course has started. But if interested, contact the school for the next. Price: $1,095.00. Or, equivalent to one bottle of 1986 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, as I think of it. ;)

The 8th Annual Pebble Beach Food And Wine~

The West Coast’s premier epicurean and wine event returns to Pebble Beach April 9-12, 2015 with 250 famed wineries and 100 celebrity chefs in a four-day event on our picturesque coastline...a stone's throw from where I live. 

In all, there are 24 world-class wine tastings, 16 fine dining experiences, 8 unique cooking demonstrations. Past famed chefs have included: Jacques Pepin, Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Trotter, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, and Wolfgang Puck....to name a few.

Where to stay if you come for single day's events: Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur (photos above) is 30-miles south on the coast. If attending multiple days it’s simpler to stay in or around Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, or Monterey.

Big Sur is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made, “The Sandpiper” shortly after their marriage. One weekday afternoon a few years ago, my late friend, Bruce Surtees, Clint Eastwood’s cinematographer, and I were nosing around the Old Monterey Pier when we went into a restaurant between lunch and dinner service. The waiter said the last time a couple were completely alone in the restaurant was when Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were filming in Big Sur. Back then, the restaurant bolted their doors to assure the then mega- stars their privacy. He said they were gracious, generous, and beyond charming. 

Tony Bennett's "Shadow Of Your Smile"...from The Sandpiper. And from Clint Eastwood's outstanding, "Million Dollar Baby": (HERE). Thanks so much for stopping by...

Friday, February 20, 2015

World Capital Of Chocolate And Peace~




Geneva is in the French part of Switzerland and French speaking...

Luxury Apartment Rentals~  Love the all white...




Geneva, in the western corner of Switzerland on the French border... is flanked by iconic Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva (Lac Leman on the French side). Noted for ritzy ski resorts, the finest in artisanal chocolate, the world’s priciest watches, and the Jet d’Eau that sprays 450-feet high in the air...just because it can; the 6-square miles French-speaking city holds a lovely population of under 200,000 all in love with books, wine, and chocolate: My People! 

Home to the International Red Cross, UNESCO, and UN, Geneva was part of France from 1798 to 1815. A major annual Spring Rite is the Geneva Book Fair that brings 100,000 readers, authors, publishers, bookshops and the media together for five days---this year from April 29 to May 3...gives me the warm and cozy feelings: Let's make jam!

Madam Geneva’s Jam Cocktail
For one cocktail~

OK, so it's not jam. It's a cocktail with jam. Go with it, it's Friday. ;)

2 oz 42 Below Vodka or Beefeater Gin
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
Crushed ice
Spoonful of jam

In a shaker, add jam, vodka or gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and several ice cubes. Shake briskly, and strain into a rocks glass half-filled with crushed ice. Float a teeny taste of quality raspberry jam on top of the ice (this isn't a jelly donut, amigos), and gradually stir it in to taste.  

Audrey Hepburn married in Switzerland where she resided for 30-years: (Here). She spoke French, Dutch, Spanish, English, and Italian. A short interview in the Netherlands: (Here). It's a known fact that you cannot watch her famous 'wedding dress' dance at the end of Funny Face too many times: (Here). 

Thank you so much for stopping by... I feel so happy! Natural beauty, books, wine, cocktails, chocolate. Ah, Switzerland! I have a crush on you...(Here).