Three Equally Scrumptious (Recent) Meals

Roasted Yellow Squash, Bell Pepper and Chickpea Flour Curry, Chopped Salad with Tahini Dressing, Saffron Rice, Onion Relish and Cafe Drake's Quick-Fix Tamarind Chutney. Wanna easy and fast condiment that can hang out in your fridge for up to a month? Here's how: in a small saucepan over medium heat add: 1 1/2 cups water, 1 1/2 T. tamarind concentrate, 1 1/2 t. ground ginger (powdered), 1 t. ground cumin, a pinch or two of salt and cayenne pepper to your taste. Add brown sugar, a spoonful at a time, until desired sweetness is reached. Stir until all dissolves, cool and enjoy. As easily called a sauce as a chutney, use it to enhance both Eastern and Western meals. You may never go back to ketchup again.

Doggy-bagged Pumpkin, Speck (smoked brisket) and Fresh Mozzarella pizza from Brooklyn's Forcella. (reheated beautifully in cast iron skillet)

Brown rice, shitake mushroom salad, house-made oshinko (Japanese-style fermented pickles), Marinated jicama, and tsukune (chicken meatballs). Tsukune are favorite bar snacks throughout Japan, generally served on skewers along with chinks of marinated, grilled chicken. Cafe Drake's version is the easiest yet and tweaked with the subtle, sweet flavor of miso. Brown or red miso is best here white (shiro) may be substituted. If you're in a real hurry to chow, skip making the glaze/sauce; use a high quality bottled teriyaki sauce. Our way of making tsukune begins with 1 lb. of ground chicken. In a mixing bowl add to the chicken 3 minced scallions (or an equal amount of Chinese chives, about 1/2 cup), 2 T. red miso paste, about a T. of cornstarch (in a pinch, sub 2 T. white flour), 1 T. sesame oil and a T. or two of sesame seeds. Mix very well with your hands and refrigerate for 45 minutes if possible. Now take the chilled chicken mixture and form into small-ish meatballs. Wet your hands to do this easily - ground chicken is super sticky. Fry the meatballs in a single layer in a large skillet over medium heat until just browned. We use grape seed oil - about 2 T. - but any vegetable oil will do. While the meatballs are gently browning, make the glaze by mixing together in a bowl: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup mirin, 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth, 1 t. brown sugar, 1 T. minced ginger, 3 cloves chopped garlic and 2 T. sake (or dry sherry). When meatballs are browned, add the glaze to the skillet, reduce heat to low flame and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Turn the meatballs from time to time and make certain they don't burn or stick to pan. Serve hot or warm or good even cold!


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