Jan 5, 2008

January 2008

Hi All you Luna/Tics: Notes and panderings of a loose cannon in the kitchen of life.

Welcome to 2008!

Gawd: Grace Slick is 68 years old.

This year, 69 years old....You know, Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit", "Somebody To Love".....the San Francisco based rocker who named her daughter god (small "g") then got in such hot water, named her China (big "C" this time) instead......(I don't know why I can remember things like this, but can't find my socks in my own house....)The one lady I kept craving as a high-school-er and hippy-dippy college boy waiting for her to realize I was the one she needed to set her straight.....She is 68. She should not be this old.

I remember seeing her in San Francisco performing at a free concert at Golden Gate Park (when they could give free concerts without their agents telling them "no - this wouldn't be good for your image")...I remember my best friend Joan and I wandering around the park making sure that we got the best view of the stage, and talked to and saw our friends during all the "haze" of the day.....And then at the end of the day, not remembering if we even saw the concert.....Oh my days....they did become a blur of smoke and slow speeding lights....

But Grace Slick is 68, soon to be 69 years old.

What does this say about me?

I will be 56 this coming year. Besides my hair line, my waist, my weight, my height, and my skin, I don't feel any different than I did when I was wandering around looking for free concerts in Golden Gate Park......(ask Gary: I am sure he may have some opinions on my little transformations......).

So what do we do as we "mature"? Do we change our attitudes towards life? Yes to a degree I would imagine. But the sensibilities of the eras we grow up in seem to be forever embedded in our minds to maintain that simple logic of what it is/was like to have been in the care-free days of not owning a home, no big bills to pay, and all the money you made was for fun.....(I think that lasted a very short while...).

But it did seem to have been a part of life that was easier....not without its traumas or turmoils, but easier to cope with. And to be able to have an easier time to have simple fun.

We have taken the Christmas decorations down. We started looking at the things in the house we have left. It is time to simplify. (Those who know us: Although we might say this yearly, unlike the other years, we REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME!!!). We have alot of stuff. Things that we know mean a lot to us, but at the same time, would hamper us in the event we decide to make the move to Portugal for our "year" of being European. (It too will come....).

If we were to decide tomorrow that this is the day to decide to move away: could we? Could we just up and go without looking back at all the "things" left behind?

No. We could not.

The ability to gather: friends, things, property, animals, cars, mortgages, STUFF. It does have a tendency to bog that part of me down that says I VONT A SIMPLER LIFE. But in the same sentence: what is a SIMPLER LIFE?

One unencumbered with "things", obligations, debt, etc.? Responsibility is something we will always have even if it might be the responsible part of waking up daily. Brushing our teeth (or taking them out of the soak-water as the case might be...). Checking our e-mails, our bank statements, our phone messages (can you see where I am going with this? These are the things I am endeavoring to do a much better job at...).

All of the things that do bog us down, not because we have to do them, but because (I) let them get behind, and then have to catch up. And the catching up part is what makes me want a simpler life. My obligations.

Oh my gawd. Grace Slick is going to be 69 and I can't remember where I filed the CD copy of all the pictures I have ever taken in my entire life.

What did those late 60's and early 70's do to my brain? (Children younger than me {that would be a lot of you}: take care of yourselves; you might have to find something someday that you really need!)

We just got back from our vacation of the year to Mexico. We went to a new location for us called Punta Mita, about 45 miles from Puerta Vallarta, in the Banderas Bay. Our good friends have this sister-in-law who has this wonderful condo on the beach there, and it was beautiful. A tiny town for now, but with major construction going on (coming: Four Seasons Resorts, Ritz Carlton).

It is odd to see a little hamlet like this on the verge of "BIG THINGS" going on. We went on an excursion to a little town called Sayulita, about another 25 miles away (by taxi or bus, or mule). Now this place was incredible!! A little fishing/surfing/artist/whale-watching colony on the ocean, with its own tiny bay. Lots of old hippies, lots of young surfers, lots of fishermen, incredible art work and studios, great restaurants, bars, and a great beach with lots going on. This is going to be our next destination. The fishermen were bringing in fresh shrimp, lobsters, red fish, and sea bass. Selling them right to the restaurants, and the locals. It was great....

Of course, Gary and Mike got incredible tans, Sheri just looks pretty, I still look like an Anglo with a severe burn on his face. Which will peel and then turn back to ghostly Anglo white....We walked and walked and ate more guacamole than is normal for four human beings. We drank our daily share of Margarita's, and consumed 20 bottles of wine we brought with us. Wonderful and relaxing, but now time to get back to work.....

The Back Yard Project::::

Serrano is a very odd place. Let me just say that. Trying to do a very unique and different yard that we hoped would be met with the enthusiasm we started the project with, well.....it doesn't work that way. We are finding out that Serrano has 40 shades of brown that everything must match. Period.

The pool is in, but not completed, waiting on the tile colors to be okayed....We have submitted our plans no less than five times, each time coming back with new demands/changes. It is to say the least frustrating....but we are hoping the end result will be the reward: kind of like women forgetting the birthing part and just focusing on the baby.We will see......

Anyone who knows us knows our dog Jitterbug. He is very, very sick. And my heart is sad thinking about how sick this little guy really is. We have to go to UC Davis vet clinic on Wednesday, for an appointment made over two months ago. Wish us luck......

The New Menu: Consider this a greatest hits menu. Josh and I decided to make some of our favorites and make the whole menu customer favorites and our favorites.

Short Ribs of Beef are back on the menu, along with Michael's favorite: Little Ears Pasta (Orecchiette). Me being the curry lover, brought in the Red Coconut Chicken Curry dish, and Josh opted for the Duck with Orange Glaze. This is a very homey, comfort food menu, and I only hope you can come in and try these favorites out and make some of the choices some of your new favorites.

The New Wines: We have several new wines on the list, looking at Australia, New Zealand, and California.
Wishing Tree Unoaked Chardonnay from Australia. A great non-oaked Chardonnay, big in flavor, crisp and a very good food wine.Australia and New Zealand are amazingly priced wines with incredible values.

I have found that Sauvignon Blancs are a great food pairing wine, not competing so much with different flavors that the food gets lost. I have found that I have beefed up the menu with some new and exciting Sauvignon Blancs that I hope you will enjoy as much as we did tasting them all....

Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles, California. Another big food wine from this region producing some outstanding wines with true varietal tastes.
Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. This region of New Zealand is one of the stalwarts of Sauvignon Blanc making, setting new standards of simple, complex and drinkable whites. (Simple/Complex: an oxymoron if I've ever heard one...). I love the flinty, clean and dry textures this wine leaves in your mouth.
Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc from Marlbourough, New Zealand. See the above, but with a bit more herbaceous characteristics.
Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles.Nice big, luscious and a great bouquet. 13.5% alcohol content making this a very enjoyable wine. We have this paired with our Hanger Steak Entree.All of the above wines are under $28. on the menu. So you can see why I like seeking out great values like these....
Yalumba HP Barossa from Australia.
Hess Collection Mountain Cuvee from Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley.
Finca Antiqua Reserva from La Mancha, Spain.
Allan Scott Pinot Noir from Marlbourough, New Zealand.
Yaluma Barossa Shiraz from Australia
Iverson Barbara , Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot all from El Dorado County.

There are new vintages arriving weekly on our regular local wines, and we have more new wines I did not mention that you can explore in the book along with a newly extended "Wine Words" listings. {example: Angel's Share: The portion of a wine in an aging barrel that is lost to evaporation.} ( Isn't that great? )

I just want you to get an idea of how much fun it is to taste wines....and to love the wines you get to taste.

I love my job....... And do not forget: WINO WEDNESDAYS. (It just sounds like a party doesn't it? Or a meeting at a rehab center....on Wednesdays I would suppose...) For those of you who do not know about this, it is all wines on the menu under $35 are 30% off. This is a great opportunity to try some wines or maybe several.

Recipes Attached: I am a sucker for soups. I used to work for Fresh Choice in the early 90's, and one of my jobs was developing recipes for the company. I started developing recipes that I really found easy and fast to make at home when you were craving good hearty home-made soups. I am attaching two of my very favorites: Tomato-Dill and Southwestern Corn Chowder. All you need is a good glass of wine, and a hunk of good bread, a simply dressed salad and you have a great meal!!!

And finally: remember, the recipes and menu's are in PDF format. If you have any trouble with them, let me know. I hope to get back to you soon. Take care all of you and hope to see you soon.

David at Cafe Luna

Jan 1, 2008

South Western Corn Chowder January 2008

4 cups chicken stock
1 chopped carrot
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
8 cups frozen corn--or 2# frozen bag
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped yellow onion--about 1 medium sized
3/4 tsp.cumin (more if preferred)
3 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. tobasco sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley if you don't like cilantro)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups half and half or heavy cream

1. In a medium sized soup pot, combine all ingredients except cream and chopped cilantro.

2. Bring to a slow boil, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In a blender, puree soup in batches till smooth; return to soup pot.

4. Add heavy cream and cilantro. Bring back to low simmer,cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

5. Sprinkle with more chopped cilantro (or parsley) and serve.

David Van Buskirk

Tomato Dill Soup January 2008

3 lbs. fresh tomatoes, diced or
2-28 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes, or “ready cut”
1 carrot, med., peeled and grated
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 cups rich chicken or vegetable stock
1 TB. Chopped fresh garlic and
2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
pinch of sugar
1-2 TB. dry dill weed
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 TB. fresh grated orange zest
OPTIONAL- 2 cups half and half cream

1. In a large soup pot, add all ingredients except cream and orange zest.

2. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.

3. In batches, ladle hot soup into blender, and puree until smooth.

4. Return back to soup pot, add the half and half, (if used) and orange zest. Bring back to simmer, and serve.

David Van-Buskirk