Tuesday, September 30, 2008
- Combine tomatoes, cumin seeds and some salt in a blender and process till smooth.
- In a deep pot add tomatoes and water and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and cook another 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
- While the soup is cooking, heat oil in a skillet and add curry leaves, mustard seeds and chiles. When seeds "pop" remove from heat and add to soup.
- Mix well and serve warm.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
- Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
- Drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.
- Combine the salad ingredients, including wheat, in a medium bowl.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together and stir into the salad mixture.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Good news for all those prone to autumn allergies or overly susceptible during the upcoming cold and flu season: the following soup recipe is choked full of anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral foodstuffs. Carrying a seriously tangy gravitas, this soup is best served in small, delectable portions, elegantly spread over wide and shallow soup bowls as a light starter; or, as above, partnered with an arugula salad, sun-dried tomatoes and whole-wheat nan bread. For the latter, skip the lengthy and tricky bread preparation and opt for store-bought; our current fave brand is from Fabulous Flats, widely available in better supermarkets.
- In a deep pan, heat oil and butter and fry ginger till brown.
- Add cumin and turmeric and fry for 30 seconds, then add the tomato.
- Cook for another 8 minutes or until tomato is very soft.
- Add both kinds of chiles and milk and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and stir in yogurt. NOTE: The yogurt will curdle but do not fret.
- Remove from heat, puree well in a blender and return to warm pot.
- Season liberally with salt and GENTLY GENTLY reheat before serving.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
- Heat oil in a deep skillet and brown chicken on both sides over medium-high heat. Move poultry to the side of pan after 10 minutes or so and add in shallot, garlic and ginger.
- Stir seasonings/veggies for 2 minutes.
- Add fish sauce or anchovies, both kinds of sugar, salt, black pepper and chiles or cayenne.
- Let cook for a minute or so, fiercely boiling, then add water.
- Toss chicken well with all seasoning and sauce, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes.
- When the sauce has become a reddish and brown syrup, add green onions, remove from heat and serve with plenty of plain rice.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- Cover the meat bones with 5-6 cups water, bring to a boil, skim surface of foamy debris and simmer on low for 1-2 hours.
- Add onions and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove bones and flake meat and return to soup pot.
- Add okra, tomatoes and salt and black pepper and simmer - partially covered - an additional 2 hours or so on very low heat.
- Re-adjust seasoning and pour into warmed soup bowls.
- Serve if desired with a scoop of rice in the center of each bowl, or crusty French bread or even garlic toast.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Cafe Drake spent a cozy evening getting to know Lucy Lazzaro a little better - and what a flirty girl she is, showering us with kisses and hugs. Good taste, that one. Besides playing with Jen's new Brussels Griffon puppy, we supped on a lusciously dense and rich beef stew, an earthy early autumnal depth achieved through slow cooking and the unusual mixture of allspice, sage and beer. We're looking forward to seeing Jen again very soon . . . and cuddling with Lucy and grabbing that stew recipe!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Curiously enough we recently found ourselves in Princeton, NJ, accompanying Jen Lazzaro on a puppy recognizance mission (think elusive, bi-polar dog breeder; think eerily empty house save for pups of all varieties; think gloomy skies and constant downpour; think well-intentioned but clueless neighbors). Even odder, Cafe Drake lunched at a Thai buffet in a North Brunswick strip mall - and loved it! The ubiquitous Asian Modern decor misstep aside, The Noodle House serves up a most impressive mid-day congo line of startlingly tasty Thai classic variants: a subtle(!) chicken and coconut soup and another spicy with dried chiles and wild mushrooms; Bangkok-style home fries (!); basil chicken; non-sticky and non-sweet pad thai noodles; roasted corn-studded rice; chive and peanut dumplings; tofu skewers with cilantro sauce; cashew and scallion fritters and a half-dozen puddings and sorbets we were too replete to sample. All for $10!
Cafe Drake and Susan McKeever-Duys found ourselves under the gun, with just shy of an hour, to grab a bite prior to City Center's Fall for Dance 2008 program of international modern and classical troupes. [Especially great was The National Canadian Ballet Company's majestic 16-man performance of Soldiers' Mass.] Half a block away from the venue we tore into crusty bread and good butter, washed down with a half-carafe of house red ($14) at La Bonne Soupe, one of the last of Midtown's family-owned, reasonably priced independent eateries. Warmly decorated in a country French style that is far more rustic farmhouse than the more typical urban bistro variety so overwhelming NYC at the moment, gingham upholstered walls, dark oak and dried flowers make La Bonne Soupe the coziest of destinations. Unfortunately the coziness may be too intense for some, given the terribly cramped seating arrangement - tables so close you'll know if the patron next to you ordered the Garlic Soup as a starter. A complimentary green salad was well dressed and a simple palette cleanser and appetizer. The Hamburgers (all $13.95) arrive in casserole dishes (no buns of familiar trimmings) and are sided with silver pails of perfect fries; the chopped sirloin patties themselves are moist and rich beyond belief, ours especially as we chose the cognac, black pepper and butter sauced version.
Shangri-La (74-15 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, Queens, NY 11372)Still on our vision quest to indulge in every Indian buffet amongst the dozens of Jackson Heights, Queens, Cafe Drake skipped breakfast to plow through unimpeded the substantial steam table at Shangri-La. While mushy eggplant and greasy cabbage were humdrum, SL distinguished itself on an entirely different plain - that of unexpected spice profiles and seasoning intensity. A tossed salad dressed simply with yogurt is littered with scorching green chiles . . . DOZENS of them. Ginger, an important background component of most Indian flavor profiles, rises to the forefront here in a dish of ripe tomatoes and cold green peas. Neglected veggies like the lowly turnip and overlooked winter squash appear in a combination curry. Hard-boiled egg curry - a staple of poor Indian students living abroad in bed-sitters with a hotplate - is a welcome and homespun addition to the buffet. Vegetable dumplings floating in a buttermilk and fenugreek seed gravy were superb. Note to non-carnivores: although Shangri-La advertises itself as 100% vegetarian, Cafe Drake gnawed on several tiny chicken lollipops and a luscious and tender (and hot!) goat vindaloo.