Saturday, February 28, 2009

Egoiste! Just click below.

Winter's Cauliflower Craze

Every time, this time of the year, every vegetable stand and supermarket all around Cafe Drake offers up gorgeous heads of cauliflower for a buck each. Clueless to the origins or explanation of this annual phenomenon, we just take advantage of the cruciferous largess on every corner. Hopefully you're catching a similar deal wherever you dwell, and in the spirit of our troubled financial times, find below two of our most-loved recipes for this (temporarily) cheapest of vegetables.

MUSTARD CAULIFLOWER CASSEROLE

Cook like a 50s housewife with this surprisingly satisfying side dish; that is, whip it together in 10 minutes and spend the rest of your time in the kitchen stirring up the martinis.

1 head cauliflower / 1/2 cup mayonnaise/ 1 teaspoon prepared mustard /1/2 small onion, minced / 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar or Gruyere or Raclette cheese
  1. 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.

  2. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard and minced onion. Spread mixture over cauliflower. Sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.

  3. Bake 3 to 5 minutes uncovered, in a 350 degree preheated oven or until the cheese begins to melt.

  4. Serve hot.


CREOLE CAULIFLOWER

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

  1. Cook cauliflower in boiling salted water until tender; drain. Place in a greased 2-quart casserole. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

  2. In saucepan, melt butter; blend in 1/4 cup flour until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

  3. Add sliced olives and salt and pepper to taste; pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle with paprika.

  4. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Restaurant Review: Black Iris



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.

Bleu Cheese and Onion Bread Pudding




Once you give savory bread puddings the benefit of the doubt, you'll no doubt be as entranced with their creamy goodness and endless adaptability as we are at Cafe Drake. Below we supply a back-to-basics recipe, but consider it a starting point only for your own creative interpretations. Tomato and cheddar also makes a fine pudding, though you'll want to work with either tomato paste or sun-dried tomatoes; the fresh variety release too much water during the cooking process. Also amazing is a combo of grated Gruyere and stir-fried mushrooms, again, just make certain the 'shrooms have been fried in olive oil and garlic till quite dry before adding to the egg and milk mix.

BLEU CHEESE AND ONION BREAD PUDDING

Makes a lovely vegetarian entree, served with a salad or cooked greens (as in photo above), or as a side dish to roasted chicken or even beef or pork stew.

1/2 white flour baguette or loaf of French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes / 1 1/2 cups milk / at least 1 cup crumbled bleu cheese of choice / 1 small red onion, thinly sliced / 3 eggs, beaten / 1 t. Worcestershire / salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 1 quart or larger baking dish.

  2. Heat the milk then remove from heat. Whisk in the cheese then the eggs and finally the onions and Worcestershire sauce.

  3. Season well with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

  4. Pour into a casserole dish.

  5. Top with bread cubes, pushing most of them in to the egg mixture to moisten.

  6. Bake for 40 -50 minutes until firm and browned on top.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

David Loved the Soup!






Armed with a bottle of Martinique rum and a bowl of atypically juicy organic limes, Cafe Drake welcomed old pal David Sellers with a fresh daiquiri upon moments of his arrival. (The first couple of minutes being devoted to greeting and stroking Sailor Page) Soon after we tucked into bowls of steaming Curried Cauliflower Soup, a thick puree of cauliflower, onions and long-fried onions, red chiles and fresh curry leaves. David pronounced the soup a veritable "journey through many flavor profiles", commenting on the earthiness of the veggies tempered with the fire of chile and the grassy sharp notes of the Indian herb. Our entree consisted of simple patties of ground lamb and many spices (garam masala, ground cumin and coriander, black pepper) and green chiles, garlic, onions and eggs. Two to a plate, nestled atop a mound of fluffy basmati rice with caraway and cumin seeds and crowned with chopped cilantro, slivered red onion and dollops of tangy yogurt sauce. If it all sounds too complex and a little fussy, it wasn't. Gluttons for flavor overload, David and Cafe Drake dipped from a saucer of hot mango pickles for extra palette punch. Thick and homemade espresso cordial - dark as treacle - ended the evening on a sweet note.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dinner en homage Ava Gardner



It's been awhile - some would say too long - since Cafe Drake posted another installment in our ever-popular series of "homage" dinners. This month we feature a beloved screen siren and the only woman in cinema to ever rival the beauty of a young Liz Taylor . . . Ms. Ava Gardner.

A South Carolina cotton farmer's daughter, Ava would be delighted we believe with the menu proposed below, an equal mix of downhome Dixie standards tweaked to an urbane and sophisticated level befitting a woman who drew from both influences with flair and grace.


DINNER EN HOMAGE AVA GARDNER

Mint Juleps
Cheese Straws
Pimento Cheese Crostini


Shrimp and Grits
Endive and Bacon Salad


Red Velvet Cake
Brandy Alexanders (do use a jigger/bar measuring cup here)

1 1/2 oz brandy / 1 oz dark creme de cacao / 1 oz half-and-half /1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the brandy, creme de cacao, and half-and-half. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the nutmeg.

Two Veggie Sides You'll Make Over & Over




SHEBU BHAJI (Potatoes with Dill)

As we've mentioned here before, dill is an unexpected but frequently used ingredient in southern regional Indian cuisine. An influence from Portuguese settlers, dill is flavorful here without being overpowering despite the substantial amount used.

about 1 pound of WHITE WAXY potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes / 1 large bunch of dill, chopped / 4 T. oil / 4 garlic cloves, chopped / 1/2 t. or so turmeric / 2 T. black mustard seeds / large dash of asafoetida (if you can't locate - no worries - leave out) / 3 dried red chiles or chili flakes

  1. Boil potatoes in salted water until tender - no more than 15 minutes. Drain well.

  2. 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.

  3. Stir in the potatoes, add dill and cover and cook on very low for 5 minutes or slightly less.

  4. 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


  1. Boil whole beets until tender in salted water. Warning: this will take AT LEAST one hour.

  2. Drain and peel under cold running water. Chop into small pieces.

  3. Mix beets with remaining ingredients and salt to taste.

  4. Allow an hour or so to allow flavors to develop.

  5. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Words of Wisdom from The Kaiser

"I used to be obsessed with food. When I began to diet severely, I realized all that really mattered was with whom I was dining."

Chinese (Homemade) Chicken Soup for Your Soul

Cafe Drake crafted the version below of the ultimate comfort food while stocking a culinary schwag bag for a friend recovering from recent surgery. We imagine we'll be stirring a pot throughout the wintery days remaining to us . . . or anytime our souls need a little tender care. Now if we could just create a dish to cleanse them!

Here's how:

Simmer 1 large chicken breast (skin removed) in a large pot of salted water. Once chicken is cooked (about 20 minutes on a slow simmer), remove from pot and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile skim any surface debris that has risen to the top of the pot.

Quickly - over high heat - stir-fry some shredded cabbage, onions, carrots, snowpeas, mushrooms, whatever you like really, and then add to your pot of water. Season with salt and soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil (toasted).

Shred meat from chicken breast and return to pot. Bring back to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes to meld the flavors together. If you have any cooked rice or noodles, add now.

Remove from heat and stir in some chopped scallions and cilantro leaves. You will probably need to readjust the salt and pepper levels. Serve very hot.

That Facebook Thing . . .


Unlike the chain letters of yesteryear, no money changes hands and no one is threatened with apocalyptic bad luck for refusing to comply. Yet the practice has spread so far and so fast that a Google search for “25 Random Things About Me” yields 35,700 pages of results, almost all of which seem to have been created in the last two weeks.

"It’s really interesting to sit there and try to think of 25 things that you’re willing to tell other people but that they don’t already know about you,” said Ms. Morgan, a health care industry publicist who has kissed 6 1/2 boys (No. 16), is legally blind (No. 19) and didn’t go to school until the fourth grade (No. 7).

On Facebook, the apparent epicenter of the craze, nearly five million notes on people’s profiles have been created in the last week, and many of them are lists of “25 Random Things.” The note-creation figure is double the previous week and larger than any other single week in Facebook history, and Facebook executives say that the “Random Things” craze is driving it.


For all of those who tagged us, here is the Cafe Drake version. And for what it's worth, we did learn a few interesting facts about friends made even more endearing now by their (former) reticence.
  1. We always try to take a long bubble bath before dinner guests arrive.


  2. Dishes we're not sure how to pronounce often appear on Cafe Drake menus.


  3. Sailor Page always intuits the arrival of guests and adopts his ultra-friendly, meet-and-greet persona.


  4. Cafe Drake cooked our first meal ever at 18 years old.


  5. Never - ever - has chicken stock been fed to vegetarian diners.


  6. We always wish we had more time with guests and less time in the kitchen.


  7. Those with open minds and palates always earn our best meals.


  8. Bright lighting is incompatible with good digestion and pleasant conversation.


  9. We've never followed a recipe 100%.


  10. Several of our friends are far better cooks.


  11. The table is set the night before (almost always).


  12. The best part of any dinner is spending time with our guests.


  13. We know if someone is doing drugs in the bathroom. But don't mind terribly as long as it's after the main course.


  14. Every dinner party is a memory stored away for old-age nostalgic comfort.


  15. We offer the best liquor we can afford.


  16. Cafe Drake wishes we were more child-friendly. And strive to be.


  17. 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.


  18. 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).


  19. We worked as a lunch chef at Parker's restaurant in London for 5 months before realizing professional cooking wasn't for us.


  20. A detailed synopsis of last night's dream is the single most boring thing one can talk about at the table.


  21. Cafe Drake adores all card-carrying members of the Clean Plate Club.


  22. Sometimes we feel slightly pretentious using the "royal" WE and calling ourselves Cafe Drake.

  23. We believe serving others is the highest honor.

  24. The thought of celery induces instant nausea.

  25. Cafe Drake has never posted a photo to our website we felt was truly unflattering of any guest.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

5-Minute Mini Restaurant Reviews


First impressions. Unedited perceptions. Meals considered briefly without further reflection. Sometimes the deepest truths appear from cursory glances and fleeting moments.

Brick Lane Curry House (306 East Sixth St, NYC 10003): East 6th Street's transformation from affordable Indian feast to post-Giuliani NYC wallet defamation has yielded at least three higher-end Punjabi eateries, tailor-made for the neighborhood's Yuppie deep pockets. Two are worth the extra coinage; Brick Lane is a nominal third. Anglo-Indian ex-pats display nerve with a $13 lunch buffet, and despite the sticker shock Cafe Drake took mid-December refuge from a snowstorm here, only to discover: Lipitor-required mushroom soup dense with heavy cream; an astonishing fresh salad bar replete with yogurt dressing and multiple chutneys; braised turnips nestled among their root-bearing greens; dry tandoori chicken; butter-soaked naan bread and the unusual offering of vegetable Jalfreezi. Spicier than most, pseudo-posh in decor and attitudinal in service, skip Brick Lane, distinguished only by a sumptuous yellow dhal and pretty fellow diners.


Papacitos (999 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222): In the latest stretch of genuinely good Mexican restaurants on Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint's Papacitos is a stand-out for their weekday lunch specials and spicy embrace of vegetarian options too quirky for mainstream taco joints. For $7 Cafe Drake wolfed down three tacos (yes, real, with two corn tortillas and legitimate green hot sauce): a chile verde pork (tender and tart); chorizo (suitably fatty and oozing requisite orange grease) and a seitan asada riff on roasted pork. All were toothsome and drizzled with spiced crema and chopped cabbage and radishes. An Ancho chile-frosted chocolate brownie will set you back another 4 bucks and worth it - one wedge can serve two happily considering its richer than belief density.


Mei Wen Kitchen (82-53 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373) is the sort of Chinese home cooking establishment you always hope to stumble across in Manhattan's Chinatown but remains forever elusive. Across the street from Queens' best Asian supermarket, this modest take-out allows you four choices from its massive steam table and a bucket of soup for only $4.25. Skip the soup as both the Egg Drop and Hot & Sour are poor representations of the classics, but avail yourself of the esoterica on display, ready for the plucking. Cafe Drake finds our inner courage here and is rewarded with subtly seasoned offal and fresh veggies, happily free of the typical over-sauced and greasy standards of your local Chinese takeout slop kitchen. Recommended: cold Pig Ear in Hot Sauce (really!), Country Style Beef Tendon (braised to rich melting perfection), Chicken with Bitter Melon (a veggie akin to zucchini but sharper in taste) and Dry Bean Curd with Leeks.


La Superior (295 Berry Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211) - No one is claiming La Superior hasn't cornered the disposable income market synonymous with the New Williamsburg, but their foodie-obsessive spin on Mexico City street food is dispensed in portions foreign to the actual city and priced to kill. Yes, tacos are $2.50, but the reality is a half-dollar disc of tortilla (made in house - where else would they find such diminutive examples??) slathered with a tablespoon of your choice - the rajas (sauteed poblano peppers with heavy cream) are pleasant and the pig's feet surprisingly tender and rich. Still, it would take many pesos and mucho patience to put a real meal together here. Cafe Drake liked beef tips covered with salsa and cheese ($10) but struggled to convince ourselves we were full from the sparsely adorned salad plate-sized entree. Another nice choice is a mini/half carne asada sandwich doused with dried chile sauce ($9). A BYOB policy (for now) and a cute and friendly wait staff are the major selling points for now. Skip it and walk two more blocks to Bonita.

Ayurveda Cafe (706 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC 10025): You may recall a review here from late 2007 of this vegetarian health food outpost on a forlorn block of the scarily Upper West Side. But guess what? The $10 lunch is far better than the $13 dinner we sampled before. Same portions but with less pretense and more flavor. Again, you don't order here, but rather sit down and immediately have a thali (silver tray with many compartments bearing various sweet and savoury components) brought to your table. The selection changes daily so we can hardly honestly even review this weirdest of restaurants, but on a cold Wednesday Cafe Drake loved creamy urad dhal (mung beans), spicy okra fried with ginger and a thick and salty yogurt and grated cucumber salad.


Delhi Heights (3766 74th Street, Jackson Heights, Queens 11372): Sometimes you just don't want to brave the crowds of Jackson Heights' justifiably revered Jackson Diner. Or plow through the never-changing selection at Delhi Palace (though quite tasty). DH shuns the hyper-decor of most Indian restaurants for a more space age/techno vibe. Thai slop house anyone? While sharing the Thai predilection for tacky spaceship ambiance, Delhi Heights serves a mean weekend buffet ($10) of subcontinent standards (dhal, chicken biryani, pakora curry, saag panner) tweaked with Manchurian offerings (mung bean sprout curry, fried rice and chile-laced veggies in garlic sauce). We adored the baskets of buttery naan and proficient service.


Sripraphai (64-13 39th Avenue, Woodside, Queens 11377): Yet another of those snowy NYC nights, all gunmetal skies and swirling flakes of white. Cafe Drake and Jen Ruske heated ourselves up from the cold outdoors rather quickly with spicy Deep-Fried Watercress Salad (less weird than it sounds and entree sized at only $9) and a Cold Duck Salad spiked with dried and fresh chiles ($10). A homestyle pork stew ($12) was comforting and enhanced by a side of pickled mustard greens. We also loved pork stir-fried with long beans and doused in a peppery gravy ($12). The wine list is sparse but who can argue with a drinkable $18 bottle of Columbia County Riesling? No bonus points for the bargain basement dining room, decorated in early-period Filene's Basement.
Maharaja (133 East 45th Street, NYC 10021): A very decent foray into the growing Midtown trend of Indian fast food eateries offering Combo Lunches. Cafe Drake always chooses the Vegetarian option ($7), tempted by a variety of veggies well beyond the usual mundane suspects. The shoebox size and bouncing acoustics (you can hear the paratha tearing three tables away) are a problem here, but not so much to dissuade the adventurous diner away from tart and salty pakora curry, melting and oil-slicked eggplant with green peas and a stunning curry of fresh pumpkin chunks set blazing with dried red chiles.

Gujurati Cocktail Snacks+ Goan Fish Curry=Dinner with Octavio








Imagine a slightly lurid school-night dinner with a friend as old as the Upanishads. Imagine a menu drawing from North and South India and kissed by a Gibraltar breeze carrying Moroccan beets. Now take a white pill like Alice and envision the entire festive meal overseen by an alley cat of 13 years consigned to the grave by misguided vets three months ago. Finish the hallucination with digestifs and cigarettes enjoyed to the nostalgic videos of Nina Hagen, Throbbing Gristle, Gang of Four and film clips from Billy Elliot. Ah, Thursday dinner at Cafe Drake.
MULTI-CULTI DINNER WITH OCTAVIO FENECH

Khakhra with Masala Powder
Vodka Cocktails with Orange, Tangerine, Lemon & Lime Juices


Goan Coconut Milk Salmon Curry with Mustard Seeds & Curry Leaves
Cumin Seed Basmati Rice Pilaf
Beet & Red Onion Salad
Mango Chutney
Punjabi Pickles


Armagnac

Monday, February 16, 2009

Moroccan Okra with Tomatoes


Okra. Hell to some; Heaven to others. Cafe Drake is firmly in the latter category, but for those of you squeamish to okra's slimy consistency, cook the pods whole and trim only the very very tip of the vegetable. This preparation will keep most of the viscous solution inside and result in a much "drier" finished product. And oh yeah, of course it's Moroccan - our food crush of the month.

MARQA BEL 'L'MLOUKHIYA (OKRA WITH TOMATO SAUCE)

3 T. olive oil / 1 chopped onion / 2 crushed cloves of garlic / about 1 lb fresh okra (trimmed as above) / 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes / 2 t. sugar / about 3 T. or so lemon juice / 3 large handfuls of chopped cilantro

  1. Cook the onion in oil for five minutes over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for only one minute longer.

  2. Add the okra and cook for 5 minutes, stirring only as needed to prevent burning.

  3. Add the tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice and simmer - covered -for 5 more minutes.

  4. Stir in the coriander and cook covered on very low heat for 5 more minutes.

  5. Serve hot and seasoned with salt.

Chinese Long Beans




Such a strange vegetable - improbably long and skinny, wrinkled, deep green/brown in color - long beans are vastly underrated and underused in the humble opinion of Cafe Drake. Although the preparation below is Asian in flavor, we side this recipe with everything from fried chicken and biscuits to tortellini in fresh tomato sauce (see above). Please give it a try next time you stumble upon this quirkiest of veggies.


CHINESE LONG BEANS

Adapted loosely (natch) from a recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Add a few dried red chiles along with the onions in the first step for a spicy bite.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil / 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced / 1 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into 3-inch lengths / 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch dice / 1/2 teaspoon sugar / 1/4 cup water / 2 tablespoons soy sauce / 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

  2. Add the long beans and red pepper and stir-fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

  3. 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.

  4. Add the soy sauce and cracked pepper and cook for 1 minute.

  5. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cafe Drake's Mid-Winter Restorative Mix

The latest playlist from Radio Cafe Drake - FIRZ FM - delivers tunes both quiet and loud, soothing and enervating in equal measure. Brighten up these dreary winter skies and warm these frigid nights with a mix guaranteed to please both yourself and your guests. Click here to enjoy.

Random Refrigerator View No. 8

Jambalaya Night at Cafe Drake





JAMBALAYA DINNER WITH MIKI S AND JEN L
Sangria
Stuffed Grape Leaves


Jambalaya with Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp
Coleslaw


Spice Cookies
Brandy

Saturday, February 14, 2009

K'DRA DJEJ (Chicken with Onions and Chickpeas)




Buttery braised, then browned, chicken, combined with soft chickpeas and sweet onions, is a classic Moroccan stew both satisfying and surprisingly refreshing. The entire dish is considerably lightened with wedges of both fresh and (if you have them) pickled or preserved lemons and a nice coating of chopped parsley. Couscous is unorthodox here; instead, soak up any accumulated juices with crusty French bread. Cafe Drake served the chicken with cabbage salad and marinated, steamed carrots.

K'DRA DJEJ (CHICKEN WITH ONIONS AND CHICKPEAS)

butter / olive oil / 3 onions, thinly sliced / 1 t. ground ginger / 1 t. black pepper / red chiles, dried / about 2 lbs. chicken parts of your choice / 1 cinnamon stick / 1 can of chickpeas / chopped parsley

  1. Cook 1/3 of the onions for 10 minutes in about 2 T. oil and 1 T. butter.
  2. Add the ginger, black pepper and red chiles and chicken and lightly brown meat for 3 minutes.

  3. Now add about 1 cup of water, 1 t. of salt and cinnamon stick and cover and simmer very gently for 40 minutes.

  4. Drain chickpeas and add to pan. Continue to cook on very low for 15 minutes.

  5. Remove chicken and brown in a skillet in 1 T. of oil until skin crisps and browns a bit.

  6. While doing this, you may reduce any liquid in pan by roughly 1/3.

  7. Return chicken to pan with onions and spices, heat through well and sprinkle profusely with parsley.

  8. 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

  1. Boil carrots in salted water for 5-8 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.

  2. Toss carrots with remaining ingredients and let sit for 2 hours to develop flavors. Adjust seasoning with salt as needed.

  3. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lazy Winter Nights at Cafe Drake

Too tired to even THINK of cooking? Toast thick-cut slices of good whole grain bread (we used a boule here) and layer with sliced plum tomatoes, Fontina or Raclette cheese (sliced or grated), paper-thin red onion rings and toast in the oven till bubbling and brown. Drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with thyme leaves and fresh ground black pepper.

Skinny but Strong of Spirit

Looks like Sailor Page may just reach his 13th Birthday. Party plans to follow shortly.

A Trip to the Zoo









Like many of you, Cafe Drake holds ambivalent views regarding zoos and captive animals. Better than most, the Prospect Park Children's Zoo largely provides ample room for most of the creatures housed there, and the eternally hungry farm animals in the Petting Zoo at least seem grateful for their petite visitors, chubby hands doubling as 5-fingered feeding troughs for frisky sheep, goats and others. Lunch was nearby at an erstwhile Colombian lunch counter; located on a seedy stretch of Franklin Street, the very friendly staff dished up hefty portions of beef stew, stewed goat and the ubiquitous yellow rice and soupy beans. Above are a few photos of Cafe Drake's day spent with David and Julian Sellers.