Saturday, February 28, 2009
- In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Wash, trim and core the cauliflower; break up. Cook in simmering water 12 to 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain well.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard and minced onion. Spread mixture over cauliflower. Sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.
- Bake 3 to 5 minutes uncovered, in a 350 degree preheated oven or until the cheese begins to melt.
- Serve hot.
Another vintage-era recipe. We think the "creole" in the dish's title is, like, a misnomer?
1 large head cauliflower, separated into florets / 1/4 teaspoon salt / 1/4 cup butter / 1/4 cup flour / 2 cups milk / 1/3 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives / salt and pepper to taste / 1 teaspoon paprika
- Cook cauliflower in boiling salted water until tender; drain. Place in a greased 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- In saucepan, melt butter; blend in 1/4 cup flour until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
- Add sliced olives and salt and pepper to taste; pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Black Iris (228 DeKalb Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY 11205)
On yet another trip to Brooklyn's vast bastion of botched bureaucracy - the Atlantic Avenue DMV - we were temporarily derailed by the frivolous lunch break of a judge attending to our traffic violation ticket. So we hiked the nearby Fort Greene/Clinton Hill geography, ably guided via our personal GPS (local 'hood rat Ruske on our cellie), in search of our noon repast. Along the way we turned down the intriguing South African restaurant Madiba, passed on the food blogger's darling of the moment, The General Greene, and ended up at the highly recommended (kudos again to Jen Ruske) Middle Eastern oasis of Black Iris.
Offering North African fare as well, and shabbily decorated as a louche opium den suggesting the long tradition of moral dissipation in Marrakesh, the Black Iris soothed us with its relative quiet and dusty darkness (this, despite two full picture windows and rare winter sunshine).
A Merguez Sausage Platter ($10) arrived alongside a Frisbee-sized hot and puffy whole pita bread, nicely browned and warmed from the grill. The huge "cutlet" of Moroccan lamb sausage was quite tasty and sided with rich tahini dressing, but the stars of the plate were velvet-smooth hummus and piquant baba ghanoush. Everything is dusted with dried sumac and also impressive was a fresh green salad stacked with ripe tomatoes, sliced onions, a plethora of olives and sweet and sour pickles. Improbable, percussive strains of Mexican hip hop drifted to the dining room from the kitchen, once again reminding us all of Brooklyn's true status as a melting pot bubbling with endless variety.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 1 quart or larger baking dish.
- Heat the milk then remove from heat. Whisk in the cheese then the eggs and finally the onions and Worcestershire sauce.
- Season well with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Pour into a casserole dish.
- Top with bread cubes, pushing most of them in to the egg mixture to moisten.
- Bake for 40 -50 minutes until firm and browned on top.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
- Boil potatoes in salted water until tender - no more than 15 minutes. Drain well.
- In a large skillet, heat oil and cook garlic for 30 seconds. Add turmeric, mustard seeds, asafoetida (if using) and red chiles. Cover and allow seeds to pop.
- Stir in the potatoes, add dill and cover and cook on very low for 5 minutes or slightly less.
- Season generously with salt.
SHLADA DEL BARBA BIL KAMOOM ( Beet and Cumin Salad)
Confession: Cafe Drake likes - but does not LOVE - beets. This Moroccan preparation of the earthiest of root veggies is one of the best we've tasted thus far. Beet lovers will make it again and again. Promise!
6 large beets / 1/3 cup olive oil / 1 T. wine vinegar / 1 T. ground cumin / 1 red onion, sliced / about 2 T. chopped parsley
- Boil whole beets until tender in salted water. Warning: this will take AT LEAST one hour.
- Drain and peel under cold running water. Chop into small pieces.
- Mix beets with remaining ingredients and salt to taste.
- Allow an hour or so to allow flavors to develop.
- Serve at room temperature.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
- We always try to take a long bubble bath before dinner guests arrive.
- Dishes we're not sure how to pronounce often appear on Cafe Drake menus.
- Sailor Page always intuits the arrival of guests and adopts his ultra-friendly, meet-and-greet persona.
- Cafe Drake cooked our first meal ever at 18 years old.
- Never - ever - has chicken stock been fed to vegetarian diners.
- We always wish we had more time with guests and less time in the kitchen.
- Those with open minds and palates always earn our best meals.
- Bright lighting is incompatible with good digestion and pleasant conversation.
- We've never followed a recipe 100%.
- Several of our friends are far better cooks.
- The table is set the night before (almost always).
- The best part of any dinner is spending time with our guests.
- We know if someone is doing drugs in the bathroom. But don't mind terribly as long as it's after the main course.
- Every dinner party is a memory stored away for old-age nostalgic comfort.
- We offer the best liquor we can afford.
- Cafe Drake wishes we were more child-friendly. And strive to be.
- We don't go to sleep thinking of food. Actually reading and writing and movies and music and art and design are amongst interests slightly greater than culinaria.
- If it wasn't for TiVo, we wouldn't ever have dinners on Monday (Gossip Girl) or Tuesday night (Last Restaurant Standing and nip/tuck).
- We worked as a lunch chef at Parker's restaurant in London for 5 months before realizing professional cooking wasn't for us.
- A detailed synopsis of last night's dream is the single most boring thing one can talk about at the table.
- Cafe Drake adores all card-carrying members of the Clean Plate Club.
- Sometimes we feel slightly pretentious using the "royal" WE and calling ourselves Cafe Drake.
- We believe serving others is the highest honor.
- The thought of celery induces instant nausea.
- Cafe Drake has never posted a photo to our website we felt was truly unflattering of any guest.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
- Cook the onion in oil for five minutes over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for only one minute longer.
- Add the okra and cook for 5 minutes, stirring only as needed to prevent burning.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice and simmer - covered -for 5 more minutes.
- Stir in the coriander and cook covered on very low heat for 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot and seasoned with salt.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the long beans and red pepper and stir-fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
- Add the sugar and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook over moderately low heat until the water has evaporated and the beans are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce and cracked pepper and cook for 1 minute.
- Transfer to a platter and serve.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
- Cook 1/3 of the onions for 10 minutes in about 2 T. oil and 1 T. butter.
- Add the ginger, black pepper and red chiles and chicken and lightly brown meat for 3 minutes.
- Now add about 1 cup of water, 1 t. of salt and cinnamon stick and cover and simmer very gently for 40 minutes.
- Drain chickpeas and add to pan. Continue to cook on very low for 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken and brown in a skillet in 1 T. of oil until skin crisps and browns a bit.
- While doing this, you may reduce any liquid in pan by roughly 1/3.
- Return chicken to pan with onions and spices, heat through well and sprinkle profusely with parsley.
- Serve with lemon and bread.
KHIZOU HARRA (SPICED CARROTS)
about 1 lb. of carrots, peeled and cut into large-ish sticks / 1 t. paprika / 1 t. ground cumin / chopped parsley / 1 T. lemon juice / 2 T. olive oil / salt to taste
- Boil carrots in salted water for 5-8 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.
- Toss carrots with remaining ingredients and let sit for 2 hours to develop flavors. Adjust seasoning with salt as needed.
- Serve at room temperature.