Friday, April 17, 2015

The First Zillionaires Wine Club~

The house next to Gloria's Fairytale House Come True~
Here on the Monterey Coast~
Northern California Coastal Wines~



Carmel Valley Boutique Wines~


Monterey Coast's Exciting Foodie and Wine Culture: (HERE)
“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life.... if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” 
~Roald Dahl

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams...
~ ~ ~
What we most need in life is a sustaining, empowering belief that allows us to realize who we truly are.  

My best friend in life was Gloria. She was a Harvard MBA, a beautiful pianist, an artist with sparkling brown eyes. She spoke French before she spoke English. We met when we were in the Santa Barbara Symphony League together creating events that raised money for music vans in schools, and provided free tickets to performance at the Holidays for children who would otherwise miss out.

She lived adjacent to the Santa Barbara Mission, and would describe her spiritual need to have a home with French doors onto a Juliet balcony overlooking the sea. It was as if she wanted to store up the sight of as many full moons and starry nights to take with her into eternity. As if it were an answer to an embedded memory connected with a love from another lifetime. This was her constant echo of belief. She had to find it.

Years later, she was up the coast and spied a house with a "For Sale" sign and went in. It was the materialization of what she’d envisioned for years. She did buy the home. It did change her life. She was where she belonged with her days revolved around the sea. She could sit for hours and just stare out. She found harmony and beauty, joy and peace. These overflowed her life and she shared them with others.

People in the small neighborhood called it, The Fairytale House. We’d sit on the front patio with music playing, the seagulls soaring white and graceful against the blue sky, neighbors strolling to the beach would wave cheerily as they passed-by. Our eyes would return again and again to the Sun glittering gold and pink on the blue sea that stretched to infinity...  

We’d sip pre-dinner wine and we laughed all the time. And we decided we must have a secret name for our wine club of two. “The Zillionaires Wine Club.” 

Zillionaires is the TRUTH of who we all truly are...and we must remember that especially with The 1% driven to enslave and monetize everything and everyone, and who have weaponized even the weather. 

Our Universe has an estimated 100-300 billion Galaxies. Our own Milky Way Galaxy exceeds 300 billion stars. In the entire 4.5 billion year history of Earth only 107 billion people have lived--including the 7.2 billion people alive on the planet today. And when the likelihood of any of us being born exceeds all those 300 billions of stars in each of the 300 billion galaxies in our Cosmos.  

Wine arose in the ancient cradle of civilization--a sacred, healthful drink of friendship, celebration, and sacrament...

Empowering belief reminds each of us who we truly are, based on the miraculous chance of our birth in the immensity of eternity and for this brief time on earth...

You factually ARE a Zillionaire. And everyone else is, too. May that awareness seep into your DNA, your heart, your bones, to enrich and empower you. MJ's Earth Song...(HERE). Happy, Happy weekend...

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Birthday To My French Son~










The 1696 Château d'Ussé above in France's beautiful Loire Valley belonged to the great friend of author, Charles Perrault. A deeply caring, charismatic, kind, and productive man, he penned classics like Cinderella, and "La Belle au bois dormant" at his friend's beautiful castle above. A story that Disney would release centuries later as “Sleeping Beauty” in the 1950s...

At 14, I dreamt of my own Once Upon a Time. Like Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella I wished for my own husband, home, and baby. 

Three years later when I was 17, on a dark and rainy early Saint Patrick’s Day morning...my tall, dark, handsome, and kind husband and I sped down a deserted LA freeway to the Emergency Room where I was raced on a gurney rounding corners on two wheels as in a TV medical drama, and into an elevator to the surgery floor where my beautiful son was born via an emergency C-Section operation.

When I gazed at this magical little being--my head was swimming with an immense sense of awe and responsibility and my heart nearly exploded with love and wonder for this miracle. My son. Two magic words to me for most of my life. 

After his father died tragically, our son traveled with his school on a summer trip to Europe and then returned the following year to study French in Aix-en-Provence. Before I knew it he was off to college...where following his graduation ceremony he gave me a painting he made of a Provence hillside with a mother and child--my most prized possession.

Rob left the day after graduation for summer in Italy where he made a beeline for Assisi...to visit the Cathedral of the namesake of his boy’s college prep. Then he was off to graduate school in Paris. 

He became a French citizen and remained living in Europe while I live in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. He’s traveled all over the US, Europe, to Saint Petersburg Russia, Japan, South America and Greece. He’s skied in California, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium, at least. He’s biked in Brittany, has been a rock climber, and lives by faith, responsibility, and love of life. He's competent and knowledgeable about so much. 

Each of our individual births as the person we are is a probability greater than all of the stars in the Universe. It is an incredibly rare gift that you are here as you. Vastly rarer that all the money on earth; rarer than jewels. 

Only my son knows what will fulfill his life on earth. He made mind just by being him. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day Birthday, Rob. May all your dreams come true: (HERE).

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Eternal Sunshine of Pristine Cuisine~









Andreas Caminada is the #1 chef in Switzerland. His Michelin 3-star, Gault et Millau 19-point restaurant ranks #42 amongst the World’s 50 Best! Methinks that "Stick it way out in the remote Swiss countryside and they will come" is a marketing concept you won't find in Harvard Business School. Yet, that's why it's called, The Go To strategy ;)

Raised in a small Swiss mountain village--and inspired by his mother’s cooking he later apprenticed alongside the world’s top chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants. Gault et Millau named him Chef of the Year in 2008.

Andreas Caminada's home, restaurant and boutique hotel (above) are housed in his century-old fairytale castle--Schloss Schauenstein--set in the tiny Swiss Alps village of Fürstenau, population 9, an hour from the jet-set ski resort of Klosters. He speaks on his philosophy: (HERE). 

Simply put, he creates cuisine based on what is simple, fresh and light, and starts with the best quality, purest, local and seasonal ingredients. Then serves his creations with excellent Swiss wines.

Take the train through Alpine forests and enchanting towns to Fürstenau where the old castle stands against a fresh mountain backdrop awaiting your arrival: (HERE). Tour of the Swiss Alps: (HERE). Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Theme: (HERE). Thanks so much for stopping by. To your Successful Week!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Meyer Lemon Custard Cakes Recipe~










It's incredibly impressive that a tiny nation like Switzerland--with a population equal to NYC, is so uber-scientifically advanced that it's now smashing protons at twice the speed of its earlier Large Hadron Collider experiments. Who else on the planet does that? No one. And like I always say, if you're smashing protons, experience should allow you to do it twice as fast as your previous efforts. ;) 

My science projects tend to things like making Meyer Lemon Custard Cakes and determining the shortest distance from where I am to a luxury chalet stay in Verbier, Switzerland: (HERE). 

Meyer Lemon Custard Cakes

By Josie Le Balch  

Ingredients~

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups whole milk
2 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel
1 8-ounce container chilled crème fraîche*

Preparation~

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, and pinch of salt in medium bowl to blend. Combine milk, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl; whisk until blended. Add flour mixture to yolk mixture and whisk custard until blended. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar to whites and beat until stiff but not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into custard. Fold remaining whites into custard in 2 additions (custard will be slightly runny).

Divide custard equally among prepared ramekins. Place ramekins in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake custard cakes until golden brown and set on top (custard cakes will be slightly soft in center), about 27 minutes. Chill custard cakes uncovered until cold, at least 4 hours, then cover and keep refrigerated. DO AHEAD: Custard cakes can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Using electric mixer, beat crème fraîche in medium bowl until softly whipped. Run a small knife around each custard cake to loosen. Invert them onto separate plates, adding a dollop of crème fraîche before serving.

Very Happy Weekend...thanks so much for stopping by. Uptown Girl: (HERE).

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...