Aug 1, 2006


Hi All:

This months menu and other notes.

Yes, we are glad the heat has subsided. Because no matter how much air conditioning we have available, my tiny kitchen is still over 110 degrees!

The Tomato Gods are smiling upon us: this months menu will feature several dishes highlighting the wonderful organic tomatoes grown for us by Z & B Ranch here is Placerville. (They are at the Farmers Market on Main Street in Placerville each Saturday morning). The cherry tomatoes are as sweet as sugar literally. We are adding a plate of the larger heirlooms sliced and served with fresh mozzarella cheese, simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Great!

One of the other new items for me that is, is our Sea Bass Au Pistou. Josh found out about this condiment and adapted it for the menu. Fresh basil and fresh garlic. The secret of good life in the kitchen. This popular white fish is simply lightly seasoned, pan sauteed and topped with the Pistou. Pistou is one of those essentials that can be added spoonfuls at a time to completed soups when serving, dolloped on hot grilled breads, mixed in cooked rice or pasta, or just as a topping for tomatoes or even baked squash. Make some of this up and leave it for that occasion when you need something green and perky for your foods. (Have I told you about the Back-of-the-House tomato sandwiches on grilled Ciabatta bread that we make for all the staff? try the pistou on this.

A recipe for you to try:
Pistou is Provencal dialect for 'pounded' but is understood to mean basil paste. Provencal cooking is unthinkable without pistou and is similar to pesto, however more garlic is used, and there are no pine nuts nor cheese in the original recipes. How much garlic is used varies from family to family and can be from 3 to 6 cloves for the recipe below! Today modern versions using sun-dried tomatoes, or fresh or other ingredients are added by adventurous cooks and are also tasty. In that case, then it is not pistou, but pistou with sun-dried tomatoes etc.

Makes a little less than a cup.

2 lg. bunches fresh basil (+ - 1 cup slightly packed leaves only)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 t. salt
olive oil (enough to make a thick paste + - 4 T.)

Crush or mince the garlic and place in a mortar with the salt. Work with the pestle to create a paste. Add the torn basil leaves and continue to pound and crush to acquire a rough paste. Slowly add a little olive oil at a time, continuing to mash the leaves and garlic into a smooth, thick paste.

If using a blender, you should still mash the crushed or minced garlic with the salt first. Add the torn leaves and while the motor is running, drizzle in a little olive oil. Stop now and again to free the blades and bottom of the blender before continuing. Be careful not to over blend. It must not liquidize, but still be a smooth paste. If you are going to store this for a bit in the refrigerator, pour a bit of olive oil over the top and then cover with plastic wrap.

New Wine Menu News :
New wines added to the menu.

We are proud to be serving Mt. Aukum wine. We are carrying their Viognier (perfect summer wine), their Petite Sirah (one of my very favorite varietals) and their Cabernet. If you have not visited this winery, it has one of the most spectacular views in all of El Dorado County.

Rosenblum Cellars. My little Cafe Luna is the restaurant with the distinct honor of being the largest seller of this wine in California. We have been carrying their wines for over 10 years now, and I must say they do get better and better. Wine Spectator Magazine has come out with their TOP 100 WINES of the year.

Their Rockpile Road Zinfandel is #3 on the list with a score of 94. Their Richard Sauret Zinfandel received a 92 and is #30 on the list.. Both are allocated and we have them both year round! Congratulations! If you have not tried this vintner, I really recommend it.

And then the Simi......Simi Landslide Cabernet also received a 92 rating and is #62 on the list. Highly allocated to the public, but we got it!!

Madrona's Enye Syrah
That Paul at Madrona: I asked him for a great description, and the man never fails me! Here goes:
The 2003 Vintage
"Our first-ever vineyard-designate wine had to be something special, and the 2003 Enyé Syrah is just that. Having chosen a unique clone of Syrah with very small berries, a slight south-facing slope, and area that traps the cool air, we knew we wouldn't’t be making the hugely ripe-style of California Syrah. Instead, we’ve produced exactly what we look for in the variety—balance, intensity, depth and that classic Northern Rhône smoky spiciness.

The aromas are rich, bright and enveloping with the fruit characters marrying the complexity of cool-climate Syrah. Ripe pie cherry and tart cranberry/plum intertwine seamlessly, but it’s the spice that steals the show. Imagine the smell of fresh lamb with all of its smoky gaminess, brushed with a light molasses/oregano sauce grilled over oak with a couple of vanilla beans tossed in for kicks. And you’re getting close.

The palate is even more enticing. Full-bodied yet wonderfully balanced, the texture of this densely colored Syrah is everything we would expect. Rich with a luscious fore-palate of dark cherry fruit and hints of wild huckleberry, the roasted meat characters slowly weave their way into the experience, carrying the senses to the incredible lingering finish of white pepper and plum.

The youthful tannins and the quality of this wine deserve only the best of grilled meats and/or incredible cellaring for five or more years.

Only 158 cases produced!"

And we got it!

Wine makes us so happy. Lots of wine makes us ecstatic.

We hope to see you all soon.
As always, comments or e-mail removals can be e-mailed to me. I have attached this menu in Word format.

Thank you for your patronage.

David at Cafe Luna

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