Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cafe Drake Gets Scared! No Dinner.

On the 35th anniversary of its critically lambasted release, Cafe Drake enjoyed for the 100th time (at least) our favorite scary movie in history, 1977's The Sentinel. Many twilight evenings we've strolled past the famous exterior at the foot of the Brooklyn Heights' promenade, and countless subsequent viewings of this milestone horror classic have never dulled our consummate thrills. Witness, another screening last night courtesy of Netflix streaming via Roku. 

Yes we're appalled at hack director Michael Winter's use of real-life, deformed humans as denizens of Hell at the film's climatic arc, but the tale of Brooklyn's Gateway to Hell capacity to truly frighten and remain relevant lingers. No doubt in small part to Hollywood's Swan Song Era of employing archaic screen legends such as Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Eli Wallach and Arthur Kennedy, as well as boosting careers of up and comers such as Chris Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Christina Raines.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tapas for Jen and Lucy L.


Pomegranate Negronis
Watercress, Fennel and Parmesan Salad
Roasted Peppers with Dill and Coriander
Chorizo simmered with Garlic, Tomato and Chile

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pakoras for Dinner


Blood Orange Vodka Collins
Roasted Garlic Crispbreads

Dill Chicken
Vegetable Pakora
Basmati Pilao

Coriander Chutney
Bee Mine Chutney

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Snow in our Corner Park

Lloyd Loves Winter Naps

Lovely Lunch With Julianne Zaleta

Who can resist the siren's call of a mid-week, mid-day lunch at the home of a 3 decade-old friend? Certainly not Cafe Drake. So in the midst of neighboring area errands we found ourselves delightfully planted at the table of JZ. A "cocktail" of alcohol-infused organic peach tea was soon followed by a hearty winter's stew of multiple root veggies, kale, white beans and Italian sausage. 

Amidst winter decorations we also scarfed cheeses, cured meats, sourdough baguettes, grapes and so much more, including the Queen of Alchemologie's unique, homespun cordials.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Braised Kale with Miso Butter

This dish was inspired from the lovely blog Snacko Backo. Cafe Drake adapted Tessa's recipe for kale and we're pretty certain it would work with any leafy green although of course the cooking times would need adjusting. 

To start: cream together 1 T. each of softened butter and miso. We used blonde miso, also called shiro miso, because of its own inherent buttery flavor - this was a great match and not so sure about substituting the darker miso pastes. Set that aside and add to a large saucepan: 1 bunch of chopped kale, a tablespoon or so of mirin, a generous pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of water

Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a steady simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding more water if needed. When the kale is just tender and the liquid almost completely absorbed add in the miso butter. Toss well with tongs and serve hot or very warm. You may need to add a bit more salt but it's unlikely given miso's notorious sodium content.

Especially delectable with seafood and vegetarian entrees.

Some Winter Meals at Home or, Foods in the Yellow Color Palette

 A Cafe Drake standby: Cauliflower Curry. Always with brown rice. 

Karhi (Yogurt Curry). Our favorite recipe can be found in the Cafe Drake archives HERE.

Ethiopian Split Yellow Peas, served with basmati rice, fennel-roasted sweet potatoes, mache salad and house-pickled string beans. To make the split peas, also known as Kik Alicha, begin by rinsing 1 cup of dried yellow split peas very well and then placing in a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and skim the foam accumulated from the top before reducing to a low flame. Simmer for about 1 hour or until the peas are soft and disintegrating a bit - see photo above for ideal texture. While the peas are cooking, in a skillet, saute 1 chopped onion in 1 T. each of olive oil and butter. After the onions begin to just brown add: 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 thick slices of peeled ginger, 1/2 t. cayenne pepper and 1/2 t. of turmeric.Cook for 1 minute taking care to not burn the garlic. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time for the peas add the skillet contents to the peas along with 1 t. of salt. Rinse the skillet with a drop of water if needed to get all the spices deglazed from the pan. Serve hot with rice or injera (if you have it).

Seoul Winter Stew of Fried Tofu and Root Vegetables

Scottish Surf and Turf


Scotch and Sodas
Hazelnuts with Black Lava Salt

Frisee and Scottish Smoked Salmon Salad with Radish-Apple Slaw

Highlands Fondue (Cheddar and Scotch Whiskey)
Croutons - Pickles

Dessert Plate: Marzipan, Butter Cookies, Chocolates

A Great Way to Start the Year

If the old saying holds true, that where you find yourself on New Year's Eve/Day holds prophetic keys to the year ahead, then Cafe Drake is surely looking forward to the rest of 2012. After the simplest of New Year's quick bites at our place (Hoppin' John, braised greens, buttermilk cornbread) Jen R and Ben T. paid it forward immediately the following evening with a glorious spread of artisanal cheeses from their Cricket Creek Farm CSA share, arugula and avocado salad, smoked and barbecued salmon, roasted winter veggies and no less than two different homemade pizzas, a tangy marinara and olive slice and a white version with ricotta, leeks and mushrooms. Goes without saying, but worth mentioning, was the steady stream of top-shelf booze (red, white, small batch rum and bourbon) flowing freely from start to finish.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Oven BBQ Chicken: A Tip to Try

There's really only one trick to making perfect BBQ chicken in the oven, and given cold, inclement weather and/or a lack of outdoor space for grilling, this is a really good one to learn and digest. 

Be certain to get a brown and crispy skin on your bird before coating with the sauce. Above, Cafe Drake roasted quartered legs (well salted and peppered) for about 35 minutes in a 400 degree oven to ensure a dark, brittle skin was obtained before basting with a gussied up store-bought sauce (we added more vinegar and cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of hoisin sauce for an added taste dimension ). After coating the chicken with sauce return to the oven or broiler for a minute or two to seal in the flavors and further crisp the outer portions.

Italian with Octavio ( Old School)

80s hotel food? No, dammit! A Cafe Drake starter salad of Warm Goat Cheese and Mesclun. Some things are too delicious to ever slip out of style.

Spicy Sicilian Shrimp Stew

Octavio seems well pleased with his entree of shrimp stew and whole wheat garlic bread.