Jul 24, 2007

July 2007

Hello All:

I'm back in full force.... My musing is back in order, and there are some things to relate to all of you.

First, Josh is out of commission for a couple of months due to some surgery he needed. Send good vibes over the air-waves....and especially to his wonderful, patient
(...mayacopa, mayacopa) wife who is taking care of him. (A saint I tell you, a saint!)

Back in action as they say. Had a bad couple of weeks, but necessity has a tendency to get you back on your feet rather quickly. That and the fact that all of the things you need to get done are waiting for you no matter what. (I knew I should have made a lot more money....personal staff could have solved all of this!)

Red Jello. I have come to the conclusion that this might be my miracle food. When I was in the hospital, for the first seven days, I was only allowed to have water and ice. No food. NO FOOD! But it got to the point that Ole' Doc said "YOU MAY HAVE SOME JELLO TODAY". Well, all I could think about was when would I get it. And funny, it is the only single thing I was craving. Ms. Marybeth Fahey at the hospital personally brought me my portion. I have never tasted anything so wonderful, nor filling. It reminded me of when I was a kid possibly.

My mother- bless her - was not the best cook in the world (still doesn't like to), but she did make sure we had Jello available as kids. It was the "treat" we all looked forward to. Oh those wonderful 50's...Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup, Saltine Crackers, and Velveeta Cheese were the other things we loved....I'm sorry.... But it was and is RED JELLO that still makes me realize that I am just a small person in this outrageously well-used body.....still wondering if everything we worry about is really worth it. Ha.

Which makes me think of comfort foods. Have you ever thought as to what food really gives you "comfort". If you don't have any, that is too bad. We relate to smells, foods, tastes, etc. in an instant. They bring back a flash of memory that is so vivid (remember the first time you tasted an ant? Did you ever taste it again? Not me...). But it is like those of us who like or are intrigued by the smell of gasoline, or fresh cow manure, or skunks. Not necessarily proud of it, but again, the flash of some memories come to me when I do smell these things.

It is the same with foods. I have come to the conclusion that my mother made eight different dinners for us. These eight dinners were rotated so that we never had the same thing each Monday, or Tuesday -- you know what I mean. But she would give us this incredible MEAT-LOAF, or an equally incredible POT-ROAST. And then there was the FRIED CHICKEN SUNDAYS at my grandma's house (What a good cook she was!) We would also have TACO'S (ground beef only with Schillings Dry Taco Seasoning), My step-dad being the butch guy he was, would always handle a weekly barbecue of sorts....big steaks, big roasts, grilled fish. Fun!!) And as a kid, I remember that my mother would also make us BREAKFAST AT NIGHT! We loved the fact we could have a pancake breakfast at dinnertime. But all of those things are such memory makers.

I believe that every kid (which includes all of us) have these special foods that we might not eat much anymore, but reserve a special place in our hearts and minds for those flavors and tastes. So think about it: WHAT IS YOUR COMFORT FOOD? I would really love to know this from all of you. If you have the time, drop me a line and let me know: the foods, the emotions that go with the foods, and reasons you remember. I love this kind of interaction from you.

But then again, I am also wondering if - because I was a little kid in the 1950's, did dinner and food have a different significance than it does today? As hectic as all of our lives are now, I know I cannot count on DINNER-AT-6:00-PM-ON-THE-DOT like I did as a kid. We sat around the kitchen table or sometimes the dining room table (special occasions and company only) and talked about our day; at school, at work, at home. My mom would listen so intently and was so interested in what we had happen while away from her. What we experienced, what we did. As an adult, I keep wondering if I did have children, would I be able to sustain this kind of regiment with my kids? Gawd.....I would hope so. These type of daily occurrences that we took for granted as kids were such a huge building block of the person I am today - for better or worse. (Better I think...)

Gary and I have a tendency to "dine" when we can. Whether it be with each other, or the two of us with friends. But "dining" - i.e. sitting around the table talking about our day, our experiences, our work or what we learned - I guess it is still important. We might not make the 6:00-PM-ON-THE-DOT schedule, but we do share a lot each night. Maybe the universe knew what he/she was doing by my not having kids, but maybe my situation in life is just as full-filling with this kind of communion with family and friends. It IS all good.

So now you know why when I got the RED JELLO delivered to me by Mary-Beth, well to say that the room was very bright and I am sure there was a halo of gold around her head and there was music playing.....well some might say it was the constant morphine drip....Me? It was my comfort food talking back at me. Thank you lady.


New this menu:

The Four Cheese Tortellini - if you have not tasted the Peppedew peppers (they sell them in bulk at Safeway's deli islands), these are intriguing. They are sweet with just the tiniest bit of heat, but with such good flavor....so why not make a marinara out of these? Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh organic tomatoes (Yes - we got them back!!)...I just hope you like this dish as much as I do.

The Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast - again: Comfort food at its best. Simple, elegant and something that for some reason we go out to dinner to have.....The Fingerling potatoes and the little gnocchi come from my step-mother Gloria's Northern Italian heritage: she loved mixing her starches and simmering them in stocks or pan-reduced sauces. So that is what I am doing. Love it.

Wasabi Crusted Salmon: Lulu and Carmen and Lourdes who are the back-bone of Cafe Luna, love to watch us Gringo's eat hot food. I can tackle any of them with my heat levels, and usually surpass theirs. But Wasabi (as with Horseradish) is something I can eat, but they do not like at all. I guess it is because the heat is a "sinus" heat, rather than a "tongue" heat (I triumphed!) I mixed the Wasabi with Panko break crumbs and the lime zest and it makes this dish zippy with out being HOT! If you like the flavor of Wasabi, you will be happy. The orange and lime salsa is a great accompaniment to this.

Sea-Bass: let's get this straight: I love this fish. It is firm, yet flaky. Flavorful and sweet tasting. And it is a great fish to poach, broil, steam, or pan saute. So I am going to just pan-saute it until just getting golden, and then finish it in a red curry and coconut broth. You will like this too.

Lamb Shanks: one of our most requested dishes to include in any menu. These meaty lamb shanks are another "comfort" type food - falling off the bone, served on a bed of mashed potatoes....

We have several new desserts cooking up this month also....berry season, peach season, apricots, cherries....my mind is swirling with ideas and recipes to try.....if only this lasted all year.....the ripe fruit I mean....


Since the last e-mail letter, I must have included about 20 new wines on the list. Am so pleased to tell you about "T-Vine" Cellars wines. (http://www.tvinecellars.com/) We are carrying three of there incredible wines: their Zinfandel, their Petite Sirah (personal favorite) and their "Psychedelic Rooster" Rose. This man, Greg Brown, must be in my age bracket: we think a lot the same way although he is much more elegant in his writings. Here is a quote from his monthly newsletter:

"I woke this morning, lit a candle on the hearth, put on some music of gratitude and sat to meditate and be enveloped in the richness, the ether of spirit of my life. What always seems to seep out of me at times such as these is gratitude. It is an overwhelming wave that I cannot put into words. What comes to mind is that life is much like an ecstatic dance in a room filled with people fully engaged in the moment, in the rhythm of life. People not looking in a linear way, rather swirling and flowing with a sense of peaceful detachment, not trying to hold a space, but looking to move through open space, knowing that God will provide us what we most desire… Life is a dance of faith, letting go of control yet setting a personal intention. One of my mantras is "if not me, then who?" Let us be the ones to inspire. To be the example to be the type of person we wish existed in our world.

May we manifest our dreams, enjoy the moment before us, and be kinder to those around us. Here’s to a magical 2007 filled with health, gratitude and love."
Greg Brown - T-Vine Cellars

I do think that this is such a great paragraph....brings out all of my old hippy-dippy feelings and wonderment....we are just children again....

David Girard Wines in the Coloma area: What a rush to have some of this man's wines. The "Rive d'Or" blend is incredible, well priced and a great food wine. Knowing that I personally like "stain your teeth reds" this one is a great addition.

I am done for now with all of this yammering, and hope to see you soon. Gary is happy to be in his shorts and Tommy Bahama shirts, and he gets to hang out in the dining room comfortable once again... Life is good.

I have included the July Menu, along with two recipes: one for the Cheese Fort, as promised and another surprise ....something that is a great summer idea. Enjoy. And let me know about those favorite memory evoking foods...

As always, the three files I have attached are in the PDF format. Let me know if this does not work for you, or if you would like to be removed from this list.

Peace and good comfort,
David at Cafe Luna/tic.

Just a note: here at Creekside Place (where we are located) we have a brand new art gallery that is just incredible. It is called "Gallery 4" and it houses El Dorado County artists with oils, water-colors, sketches, photographs, sculptures, and Ron's beautiful jewelry on display. The neat thing is they are all so excited to be here, and to have created their wonderfully diverse shop. A fantastic addition to our fair city.