Hello! Welcome to August. We sure are grateful for the rain that cooled everything down last week, and we are so excited that Colorado produce is in full swing. My thanks and admiration to new Sous Chef David Meraz, many of these menu items are his. If you haven't met David, he is a great chef and a very nice person too. I think you will like him.
The Soup this week is Tomato Gazpacho. This chilled tomato soup is Andalusian in origin, but has seen such an evolution from the original that it may bear some explanation. Ours includes diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and avocado, seasoned with fresh basil, cilantro, and lime juice. We really like making this when everything is at it's peak ripeness as it is right now. As an added bonus, if you eat a bowl of this you have fulfilled your veggie-eating responsibilities for the day and can have dessert for dinner if you wish.
The appetizer this week is Chilled Octopus with a White Bean and Herb Ragout drizzled with fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Octopus is an absolutely delicious treat, mild in flavor, firm texture, and against the background of garden basil, creamy white beans, the bright lemon and sultry oil, this one is going to be fabulous. I highly recommend a glass of the Alsatian Riesling that we tasted last week for this one, the interplay of acid and herbs will complement this beautifully. Ok, I know what you're thinking... "But Chef Greg, The UK just recognized Octopus as sentient beings. How can you serve such a delectable dish if it has feelings and thoughts?". Well, I pondered this for quite a while myself, and decided that if I used Frozen Octopus for this one then I am not actually killing the creature but utilizing that which has already been harvested rather than see it go to waste. If I follow down the path of only serving dishes that are not cute or clever, we will all end up as vegans. One can only hope that if a Planet of the Apes scenario comes to fruition (but with Octopus), they will be beneficent and forgiving as inheritors of the earth.
The cheese is Asiago. This Italian-named cheese is made from cows' milk all over the world. Our Asiago will be a very young version, which has a supple texture and mild flavor similar to Parmesan. We are serving this with.....drumroll....Colorado Peaches. Yes. We are getting Colorado peaches in-- finally. They are still coming in a bit under-ripe but we are hoping that after a few days they will be perfect.
At Dinner we have Pan Seared Trout served over Cannellini Beans, Orzo Pasta and Topped with a Dill Beurre Blanc . Beurre Blanc simply means "white butter sauce", but sometimes your food tastes better if you use French words when ordering.
Chef David will be doing a very classic Beef Wellington this week. Now tradition holds that the dish was created in celebration of the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, and his victory at the Battle of Waterloo on June 18 1815. The Duke was given his title after defeating Napoleon Bonaparte the year before and not long after he became Prime Minister. While this is generally true, there was already a very famous French Dish simply known as Filets de Boeuff en Croute and it is likely that this dish was given a more patriotic name by the British during their wars with France. News of this dish infuriated Napoleon and spurred him to create Neapolitan ice cream which we still enjoy today. No it didn't. I just made that up to see if you were paying attention, it would be pretty cool if it were true though. Anyway, ours is seared beef tenderloin topped with finely chopped mushrooms, brandy paté and wrapped in pastry. We are serving this with red wine reduction, steamed asparagus and Chateau potatoes which are skin-on mashed potatoes with herbs, butter and cheese.
We have Chicken and Broccoli Risotto this week. Risotto is a creamy rice dish, very delicious and satisfying. Ours is finished with garden herbs and Regiano cheese.
We're also offering a vegetarian special: Moroccan Chickpea and Eggplant Stew. This is a hearty dish with tomatoes, peppers, lots of garlic. It is seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, fenugreek, lemon and lots of fresh herbs from our garden. Much like the gazpacho, this is basically a big bowl of vegetables and your doctor will be so proud of you if you have them both.
The Pasta this week is Campanelle with Pork and Garlic Ragout. Campanelle pasta looks like a long and twisted shell. The ragout is ground pork stewed slowly with wine and garlic, seasoned well with garden oregano and the whole dish is topped with basil and cheese.
At Lunch, look for Grilled Turkey Burger with Cranberry Bacon Jam, Corned Beef Reuben, Braised Short Ribs, Eggplant Parmesan and Lasagna.
For daily specials this week look for Pork chops with Palisade Peach Salsa, Pine Nut- Crusted Chicken Salad, Basil-Seared Lamb Loin, House-Smoked Ribs and Prime Rib. Look for lots and lots of Palisade Peaches and Olathe Corn. I'm still on the lookout for Rocky Ford Melons but I am told they will arrive this week and, if so, I will find ways to add them to the menus.
Keep your schedule open for the Farmer's Market on August 12, Colorado-Proud Buffet on August 20 and Sip and Savor on August 23. I think we will pair Colorado Beer with foods and you all know how much I like beer.