Oct 21, 2008

October 2008 Rants, Raves and Recipes

Hi All You Luna/tics:

It is October, Apple Hill is getting under way with a full speed ahead, our local wineries are harvesting with a vengeance, and the fruit fly's are everywhere it seems.....

We have some new staffers at Cafe Luna: our new server, Teresa, and our new assistant chef, Ryan. Both have been working at restaurants for a while now, and we welcome them into the madness!

Our friend Julie died.

Julie was one of those ladies who lit up the room with her grace. She was not a loud woman, yet her presence was always felt as soon as you saw her smile and the warmth she always radiated.

Julie was married to Phil. Their marriage is one that - when you saw them, strangers assumed they were newlyweds. The held hands in public. They flirted with each other and they had "dates". We loved seeing them talk and laugh and touch each other across the table when they were dining. We loved seeing them just look in each others eyes...

They loved wine and we shared many, many bottles together. Julie and Phil would go on trips to the wineries here and in Napa, and come back with new finds for me to try. Julie would sip a wine and just lean back a little in her chair and give me the "it's incredible" sigh that we wino's give to each other silently.

Julie hated mushrooms and she hated peas. She loved chicken and she loved meats.

Julie was a prankster. She could keep a straight face while all of us were crazy with laughter. She was one of the first to laugh and laugh loudly. She loved to sing, and a couple of years ago on a cruise we all went on together, she gifted us all with a song. Julie was a singer who surprised us with her tiny speaking voice and her big singing voice.

Julie seemed to always have an aura of peace about her.

Julie was a lady.

Julie was a very graceful lady who we will miss.

Julie was our dear friend who died at the age of 41.

Julie was loved. By her husband, her family and by her friends.

Who will miss her.

Julie was a very good woman and friend.

Gary and I are pretty stoked about our back-yard and its outcome. Yes, I am attaching five pictures for those of you interested. You may be surprised to find out we are pretty avid gardeners, and I love to work out my frustrations on pruning. Gary always knows when I am close to nuts. I can go out in the yard and prune a full grown banana tree over 8 foot tall down to a stump. But damn, I felt better. And the best part, the banana tree is back to 8 foot tall in just a couple of months (welll....I may be exagerating just a tad there...but you get my gist....).

We are in zone 9 there. It is amazing what can grow there that I have had to keep in pots and protected during the winters. Did I tell you about my dwarf Meyer Lemon tree that has been in bud and with fruit for over a year now? Did I tell you (yes, I think I did way too many times....) that my lime tree is alive with flower buds? As a gardener and a plant whore, I can not keep this contained inside....

But of course, The Serrano Gawds have decided what we should not have in the yard. Our Pygmy Date palms that are growing in pots flanking the waterfall/pool are apparently illegal as they stand. We are working on rectifying this problem.

Or not.


'Nuff said.

We are just this-much-closer to the new line of condiments we will be offering very soon. My logo and my labels are done, and the fruits and spices are accumulating to the point of busting out of the shelves. This is a happy time for me, since canning and condiment-making is something I love to do. This also relieves stress you know.

Which brings up our collective state of mind lately.

For those of you interested, The Deed will be done this Monday for Gary and myself. It will be official. We have decided to do something very low key to get under the wire of the election. It is a good thing to do. It is even a better thing that we are able to.

The choices we have made about our lives seem to be an example of what we are. When people who are kind and excited about life and the world around them get thrown together and it works----well, we all deserve to be happy.

Living a good life filled with great examples of joy and happiness and excitement and wonder and befuddlement and craziness and laughter and conversations and work and close friends and what the future holds is what keeps all of us with our heads in the clouds. Thirty-seven glorious years.

Thirty-seven wonderful glorious years, damn it!

Gawd, he is lucky.

Me too.

Vote No on 8.

The Menu:
This month, we are offering a couple of new items on the menu. We are doing a Cajun Prawn dish that has a goodly portion of large prawns pan-sauteed with herbs and spices and Marsala wine. This is a very good dish for our shrimp lovers.

With my continuing love of Eastern Curry dishes, this month we are offering a Yellow Thai Vegetable Curry as our Hot Head selection. A mixture of eggplant, butternut squash, mushrooms, potatoes, squash, carrots and other vegetables, this is a wonderful ginger, coconut milk and chiles mixture and can be very spicy! It can also be prepared with chicken if you are looking for that, but it is wonderful as prepared. Vegetarians unite!

Mr. Tony talked me into writing out my recipe for the Wild Mushroom Soup that I spoke about in our last letter. It became one of the soups I could not make enough of, and that is a good thing. So, here you are, and Tony, here you are.
Thanks for asking. And glad you liked it.

It is approaching winter, which means meats simmering and groups of hungry cold visitors, kids, and friends. So what better than Beef Stroganoff? I am including our recipe for this popular dish, one which we have always used filet mignon for, since it is so very easy to cook with, but also simmers well in stews. This dish is not a long simmering dish, but rather a quick-saute-then-finish-in- sauce dish. You will like it. This recipe is for a large party portion, or if you have more than 4 kids, you are covered.

I am somewhat of a hero to my staffers. Closing Sundays and opening up on Tuesdays have made all of us happier campers. Tuesday nights, as some of you locals know, is somewhat quiet dining wise downtown. Come in and visit and harrass Maria and have her tell you stories about her life in Argentina as a girl many, many years ago.

Don't forget Wino Wednesdays at Cafe Luna: All bottles under $30 and over $50 are 30% off the menu price. Good chance to try some new wines and maybe a second bottle.
As always, all the written attachements are in PDF format.
Drop a line about your lives and your loves and your favorite things. It keeps a closeted kitchen guy hungry for more.

Take Care.
David at Cafe Luna

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