Feb 6, 2009

Hello All You Luna/tics:

Let me say that today, February 2, Groundhog Day, it is beautiful outside (Oh!! remember that song from that Disney movie "Song of the South"called "Zip-pity Doo Dah" ? You know when all the cartoon birds were flying around the old guys head while he was singing? Well it's that kind of day...)

The sun is shining, it is relatively warm, and the fountain Gary and I built is churning out nice bubbly water and we get to watch the hummingbirds drink and bathe.

And then there is that fact that we are so below our water table for the season....on-my-gawd: WATER RATIONING IS ON THE HORIZON!!!
(Now remember that music from "Silence of the Lambs" where Clarice goes into the cellar? Here, listen by hitting this site, and going to song selection #12, Cellar, The: http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1103408/a/Silence+Of+The+Lambs.htm
now you get the kind of ominous state of mind that hits me every so often.....)

(Digress #4:: Why yes, Gary is a saint who is going to heaven due to his extreme patience....)

What is so odd about this newest flash-back to me is when we had such bad water problems before, WE WERE IN A RECESSION!! (is it me or is it a weird Nature vs. Government coincidence???).

I do not know......
oh great:::::now when I see a hummingbird bathing in a fountain, I will always remember dead lawns, "gray" water, and all my plants withering up.....
(I have to get more new meds that work better...)

::Happy thoughts David, close your eyes and envision the sky and look at the deep blue, now see the big white billowing clouds, let yourself relax and think about sleep, sleep, sleep.....you are in that happy place in your mind.....go there....DO NOT THINK ABOUT FROGS FALLING FROM THE HEAVENS!!!!.....happy thoughts, happy thoughts damn-it!!....)

Never-the-less, I seen to digress....(more often than usual the older I get....Gary says he can't wait to see me at 60.....gawd::I can see it all now: me sitting in a chair, needing to be reminded to open my eyes and drink my water......."Pet the puppy, pet the puppy.....Happy thoughts, only happy thoughts...." )

Well, long story short: it is beautiful outside, and we could use more water for the season.


One of the saddest things I can ever tell you:: a good friend and former chef here at Café Luna, Josh Hyde, was killed in an auto accident on January 28 on Highway 50.
If any of you knew Josh, you knew him to be a good talker with a wicked sense of humor, a man who loved to cook, to take care of people, and to gather.

He was a good listener and very talented in the kitchen.

Josh loved his wife. Josh loved his life with his wife Amber.

Josh worked here at Café Luna for over three years, coming to us from San Francisco where he had graduated from Culinary School. He was a Placerville local boy who went out and saw a faster paced part of the world, and decided to come back home to be with his family.

He loved his family. Josh was most centered (in my opinion) when it came to his love for his family. That is a wonderful trait for anyone.

Josh will be missed by all of us here at Café Luna.

It has been very interesting to experience the last week concerning Josh and how he has been associated with Café Luna. He took pride in his work, and pride in his job. At this point in time, Josh's last day at Café Luna was March 15, 2008. I sent out a bit of a memo to several people that knew him well. And as it does in times of bad news, hundreds of people have contacted us here at my e-mail address, wishing me sincerest and heart-felt sympathy for our loss. I guess that is because so much of what the young man did in the last couple of years was as a spokesperson for his job, his association with a PLACE. We are very happy to have worked with him, and want all of you to know that his life revolved around his wife and family and his quest to find even more happiness in his life.
Our hearts are broken.

Here is this man whom I worked next to for three years, heard all about his trials and tribulations, his hardships, his joys, his plans for the future, and his own rants and raves, his musings with food, his thanks for mentoring him through his career in food and in some of his adjustments in life, and just seeing a person daily - these are the things I keep wondering about:::when a person leaves the environment which has thrust people together to be close friends, why does that closeness seem to end when the schematics of the daily ritual changes? We don't get to listen to their everyday dealings, their thoughts, their laughter, their anger and their questions. We don't get to listen to their everyday life. That is a hard thing to understand sometimes, and too often, we don't get to get that kind of daily relationship back once someone "moves on".
To have lost such a good young man who put his personal mark on my heart is heavy.
My sympathies go to his adored wife Amber, his mother Carlotta, his father John, and his brother Spencer.

This months recipe is a keeper: I have now tried it out several ways, and I love it. This is such a good appetizer with wine or sparkling wine or champagne: we were all happy with it, and found it to be a good "quick" dish when those friends come by that need to eat something. Remember though when you are cooking with puff pastry: it is always best to place it in the oven directly from the refrigerator as cold as you can have it. If you can, always chill your completed puff pastry recipe for at least 30-45 minutes prior to baking it. Also, a hot oven is best, as this cold hitting the heat will make your layers get fluffier and lighter. It is magic I tell you: magic!
It is a Ham & Cheese Puff Pastry Appetizer, but remember at the bottom of the recipe is probably my preferred variation: Turkey, Gorgonzola and Fig with Pears.

February 27, Friday night is Placerville's Girls Night Out event.
Happening from 6 PM to 9 PM, this event was an absolute hoot for you ladies! Several of the businesses were offering promotion items available for the evening just to show up. We here at Café Luna are offering a 10% discount on your dinner if you are one of "the girls".
Hey!! Any of you who love food sites and the people who write them check out the following:
I ran upon his site several weeks ago, and have to say he may be a kindred spirit when it comes to what he likes to do and what he does not like....food and taste is so very personal and no matter what, it seems that no one can change our mind when it comes to what we like...I am glad for that.....

Wine Corkage:
The rules of wine corkage: Here is what I am getting inquires on lately. I do believe that people in order to maintain being able to go out to dinner more often during these economically bleak times are making some adjustments to what they spend their money on. We here at Café Luna, have noticed a marked increase of customers bringing in their own wines, and I have been asked via e-mails about the "DO'S AND DON'TS" of wine corkage. So here is a great article from "No Corkage Fees", a site that talks about just that kind of thing.
I check this site out quite a bit about, and here is the link for any of you interested...:
I really think this answers so many questions and explains so much, there is little for me to add. If you have any comments or other questions, you know how to reach me.

All About Wine Corkage & Corkage Fees
The ABC's and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Corkage

What is Corkage?
Corkage is a per bottle fee that a restaurant charges a customer who brings their own wine to be consumed at that restaurant. This isn't allowed in the majority of restaurants in the country, but it's very common/normal in Northern California.
Why do restaurants charge Corkage fees?
The corkage fee covers service (but not tips/service charge), wine glass breakage/rental and some of the lost revenue from not selling a wine off the restaurant's list. Keep in mind that restaurants are in the business to make money and wine is perhaps their biggest profit center; in most circumstances, a $20 corkage fee is not at all unreasonable.

Typical Corkage Fee
Many restaurants charge $10-$20 but the actual range is everywhere from free (sometimes called BYOW restaurants) to $75 (very high end places, like The French Laundry). A high corkage fee is in place to discourage you from bringing wine and/or to make sure the restaurant profits when you do so.

Corkage Fees are Sometimes Waived
Some restaurants have a policy of buy one bottle, get one corkage fee waived. Sometimes there are $0 corkage nights. It is also possible that they're waived completely, often depending on how friendly you are with the owner/wait staff of the restaurant, or if you really brought a special bottle. That 1962 Haut-Brion is less likely to get a corkage fee than a 1997 Silver Oak. Sharing the wine with one or more members of the restaurant may lead to having the fee waived, too.

Bottle Limits
Some restaurants limit you to bringing two bottles.
Three general rules apply!
• Never bring a wine already on the restaurant's wine list. Most won't open a bottle on their list. Many restaurants offer a copy of their wine list on line.
• Don’t bring a cheap/grocery store wine. The idea is to bringing a special wine.
• Tip as if you purchased the wine at the restaurant (so you will have to make your best guess), adjusting for corkage cost.

My own, fourth rule would be:
• Do not bring wine to a restaurant with a very good wine list unless it's a very special wine. It’s important to reward the restaurants that make the effort to have a strong wine list, especially those which price them fairly.
Bringing Wine to a Casual Restaurant (rather than a Fine Dining Restaurant)
Your wine doesn't need to be so special. Many casual restaurants have miserable wine lists (i.e., 100% industrial wine, sometimes with ridiculous markups) and why should you drink overpriced plonk to go with the restaurant's good food? Even in Wine Country, I often bring a non-oaked French or Italian white to go with seafood, as most California whites (which dominate local wine lists) lack sufficient acidity.

Table Etiquette
Although you can wait a bit, I think it's best to place the wine your brought on your table so that the wait-staff can't miss seeing it. You should always ask for the wine list and double-check to make sure the wine(s) you've brought are not on their list.
Otherwise, treat your bottles just as if they came from the restaurant. Ask to have them decanted if you wish. You should receive decent stemware; if not ask for it. Some restaurants maintain two sets of glassware.
If you've brought a special wine, it's considered very nice to share a taste with a person at the restaurant, such as an enthusiastic sommelier, manager or even your waiter. It is not at all required, and certainly you do not have to offer.

What is a "Special Wine"?
While there are no definitive parameters, a special wine should be an older wine not easily available, a bottle purchased under special circumstances or received as a gift, or an unusual wine.
Ask the restaurant. All restaurants should gladly answer such questions over the phone.

Once again, due to the amazing amount of you who used them (thank you!), we want you to know that we are going to continue the STIMULUS PROGRAM for the month of February, 2009, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. Attached in PDF format, are coupons for 50% off a second dinner on these nights.
We are trying in our own way to get you, the customer, to get more out of life with your hard-earned money while dining out at Cafe Luna. All of the staffers were really surprised how many used them, and many of you personally told us it was what brought you out to dine in this less than ideal financial situation the country seems to be in . Bring your coupons in, heck, make copies if you want for your friends, show your server and sit back enjoy eating out maybe a bit more often.

I am attaching this months menu in the PDF format, and again, let me know if you cannot get it.

It has all the older letters, attachments, recipes, etc.
Kind of like a limited history of stuff here at the old Café.

Thank you for your continuing support, your letters and your impute.....I love it!!

Take Care.
David at Cafe Luna

Feb 2, 2009

Cafe Luna's Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry

6 servings

This was excellent with a nice Brut Sparkling wine, or a Sauvignon Blanc, very cold

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted in your refrigerator overnight or at room temp for 20 minutes
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
about 8 slices (1/4 # pound)ham - (I like Black Forest Ham for this dish, but not necessary)
½ pound Swiss cheese or Gruyer, sliced or mixed
1 tbl. Brown sugar
fresh ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

1. Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches.
Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard, and sprinkle with the brown sugar, leaving
a 1-inch border around the edge, and then a light sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper.

2. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border.
Brush the border with the egg wash.

3. Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches.
Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges.
Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly.

4. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape, and then grind
several grinds of fresh black pepper over the top evenly, about 1 tsp. total.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.

6. Allow to cool for a about 10 minutes, cut into squares 3" x 3" or so and serve hot or warm.

A great variation: Turkey, Pear and Fig

1. Replace Dijon Mustard with Fig Jam or Chutney, warmed up to liquify it.

2. Replace ham with thin sliced roasted turkey breast.

3. Replace Swiss cheese with bleu or Gorgonzola cheese

4. Add ultra thin sliced pears: either fresh or poached, cooled and sliced
Proceed as in recipe.