Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Tuscan Idyll: Fattoria Lavacchio has been our vineyard home in Chianti for nearly 20 years.  Our frequent visits there have provided my family, our guests, and Cafe Capriccio  staff with  immeasurable pleasure and inspiration that informs our work in Albany.  The photo below is an idyllic image of a summer day in a corner of the estate that brilliantly illustrates the profound beauty of the Tuscan countryside.  Franco and I will soon be there again with some of our family for a “working holiday.” Look for Cafe Capriccio’s  autumn menu to reflect Tuscan-lessons learned in the year of Our Lord, 2018.  Amen!

 

 

57EF0A0C-0977-4CB7-A5E3-B09D6E763199.JPG

Comment

1 Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal Cook Fearless

Antipasti & Tapas Preserves: Spanish and Italian chefs frequently serve appetizer delicacies from cans and jars.  For example: Pequillo peppers are always preserved,  alici (citris -cured anchovies) are packaged,  delicious artichoke hearts, sometimes with long stems, are now found on supermarket shelves, tuna in olive oil is popular throughout the Mediterranean.  And, there is a wide variety of small fish and shellfish widely available that make wonderful antipasti (tapas) ingredients, or they can stand alone.  Fearless cooks should never be reluctant to serve these splendid preserves to their most discerning guests.  If the King of Spain orders Pequillo peppers with tuna under oil and olives to whet his appetite you can bet everything on his plate comes from a can or a jar. Below is a splendid appetizer I served yesterday for lunch that includes roasted plumb tomatoes together with Spanish sardines, European sprats preserved in jars under olive oil, and olives.   Easy to prepare, delicious, beautiful presentation, combining a little gardening, home cooking, and savvy shopping.  Being a fearless cook allows you to discover and serve some of the world’s great delicacies even though you didn’t prepare every ingredient yourself.  

 

IMAGE.JPG

1 Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal—Cook Fearless

Salt-Roasted Fish: This is a 10 pound salmon encrusted with kosher salt and baked for about 1 hour. The technique was shown to me by a fabulous Spanish chef, in a fabulous Spanish place, Marbella, Andelucia. I prepared this for the first time at a Chef’s Table function not knowing how it would turn out. The result, shown below, was perfect: moist and succulent. The lesson: cook without fear, follow your spirit and more often than not the results will be blissful.  As with all creative endeavors, good cooks are magicians, fearless, limited only by their visions.  You too can do this. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Like Shrimp?  Here is a delicious, beautiful, and simple to prepare shrimp dish, perfect for summer dining.  Gulf shrimp, steamed, tossed with cooked broccoli and sweet roasted peppers.  Dress with your best olive oil and lemon, a little Kosher salt and pepper. Lay it out like this.  Winner!,  Jim

IMAGE.JPG

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Family Appetizers:  Yesterday at the Chef’s Table we hosted a family gathering celebrating the birthday of its beautiful matriarch.  Here pictured, a few of the many appetizers we served on this happy occasion. We love hosting family celebrations on special occasions.  Next special occasion for your family bring them all to the Chef’s Table.  Make a Reservation: cafecap@aol.com.  I’ll do the cooking.  Jim

 

IMAGE.JPG

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Pappardelle Peter Rabbit: (Ragu di Coniglio) For me there is no more savory, interesting, or more  majestic pasta presentation than savory ragu of rabbit served with wide pasta such as pappardelle shown here.  This was our pasta offering last evening at the Chef’s Table. For this I garnished the dish with chopped arugula.  Have you ever thought of chopping arugula as you would parsley to finish savory dishes like this? Arugula’s pepper-pungent taste is just right for complimenting this complex stew.  Add a little Pecorino; mama mia.  Come to the Chef’s Table and I’ll prepare this for you and your guests. Make a Reservation: cafecap@aol.com   Jim

 

IMAGE.JPG

Comment

2 Comments

Jim Rua’s Journal

The Quintessence of Salad: The green leaves are basil with vegetables just picked from our garden:  tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, dressed with homemade wine vinegar and California olive oil.  Served last evening at the Chef’s Table.  Really, you need to let me cook for you sometime in the Chef’s Table.  Reserve for 10 to 15 worthies: cafecap@aol.com  Jim

 

IMAGE.JPG

2 Comments

2 Comments

Jim Rua’s Journal

Hunting Season Coming

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Grilled Quail, Risotto alla Milanese, Caramalized Onions, Fried Quail Egg: This is one of my favorite and most interesting dishes served at the Chef’s Table.  It came together suddenly, an inspiration, as we stared at the ingredients wondering what to do with them. This is the magic that can result from  being able to cook without restraint. Come to the Chef’s Table for a taste of culinary magic.  Make a reservation for 10-15 people you care about: cafecap@aol.com

2 Comments

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

August Pasta:  Spaghetti with garden tomatoes & basil, garlic scapes, olive tapenade, Pecorino & Sicilian olive oil.  Served last evening at the Chef’s Table.   You really should visit the Chef’s Table so I can cook like this for you.  Contact Colleen: cafecap@aol.com.  Jim

IMAGE.JPG

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Our Favorite Italian Deli

4C575382-D3CE-42EE-8232-AA3D90B6A0D3.JPG
IMG_0117.PNG

Our favorite Italian Deli is Al Antico Vinaio located behind the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  Always busy,  it looks like this and serves fabulous sandwiches like that.  If Franco and I create Capriccio Pizzeria and Deli for lunch and take out, Al Antico Vinaio will be our model—homage to the best fast food stop in Firenze.   We’ll be there again soon for inspiration— and for a porchetta sandwich like this.  I’ll keep you posted. Jim

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Cafe Capriccio Pizzeria and Deli: Here’s a fantasy: We convert our rustic Tuscan Room to a pizzeria and deli serving food like this for lunch, take out, and delivery. Cafe Capriccio remains the same and we add something new to our  repertory.  Let me know what you think.  Jim

IMG_0113.JPG
9019BB87-45D4-42E4-AA3F-FF9D955790FC.JPG

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Steak Roast at the Chef’s Table

 

DB6E2F70-FDDE-4CA7-A620-0EB2493A1BC3.JPG

Local beef from Highland Hollow farm in nearby Schoharie, NY.  Grilled over a wood fire and served to fortunate guests at Cafe Capriccio’s Chef Table last evening. Let me cook like this for you, your family, and friends.  Contact Colleen for a reservation: cafecap@aol.com.  Jim

Comment

Comment

JimRua’s Journal

Family Gatrhering at the Tuscan Vineyard,  Summer, 2018

Franco and I will again visit Fattoria Lavacchio this summer (with family, of course) for a special kind of Italian holiday.  For the past 20 years we have worked and played at Fattoria Lavacchio, one of Tuscany’s most celebrated wine and olive oil producers, organic farm, restaurant, and agriturismo.  Fattoria Lavacchio is in fact the inspiration and model for Cafe Capriccio’s Tuscan culinary vision that is our life’s work.

Here is a recent photo of Franco (who makes all of the fresh pasta at Cafe Capriccio) giving a lesson in ravioli making with Chef Mirko Malevolti at the vineyard.  I am also including a cherished photo of a Rua-family-alfresco-supper at the vineyard last summer. 

This year we will be discussing with the Lottero family who own and operate the Fattoria how we might develop special focus food and wine experiences for our patrons interested specifically in Tuscan food, wine, and olive oil.  For example, is anyone interested in picking olives and participating in the production of Tuscan olive oil. Let me know. And stay tuned. Jim

42C9D317-B794-4307-B5E5-6B92BA3167B3.JPG
B0A36B64-1524-474C-8044-74007996BF5F.JPG

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

Franco Rua is Cafe Capriccio’s Salumist

 

F852DEA0-18CA-4A1F-9332-74FF509643F4.JPG

Did you know that we cure our own salumi at Cafe Capriccio, from locally raised pork?  Where else can you find this?  Stop in for a treat ASAP.  Jim

Comment

Comment

Jim Rua’s Journal

The Gathering of Family and Friends at Cafe Capriccio.  Cafe Capriccio’s warmth and intimacy is especially suitable for families and friends to come together on happy occasions.  Here are some of my family members with a few visiting friends gathered together over the weekend.  Visit Cafe Capriccio with people you love.  We’ll take good care of you. Jim

 

IMG_0110.JPG

Comment