More Zen Vegetarian Dinners at Cafe Drake HRV

Putting together and arranging the variety of Japanese "small bites" is half the fun of our traditional Sunday night meat-free, Zen Buddhist-inspired dinners. Clockwise from top left: tofu with shitake mushrooms and roasted walnuts; daikon and red pepper kinpira; umeboshi pickled plum; rice; braised eggplant with dill, red chile and miso condiment.

Extra-firm tofu pan fried and then braised in veggie broth with onions, dried shitake mushrooms and roasted walnuts. Warmer temps and sunnier days mean this cold weather favorite won't appear again on the Cafe Drake HRV table until Autumn 2013!

Easy Side Dish of Kinpira: saute shredded or finely sliced daikon radish with a bit of sliced red bell pepper (try a 4-1 ration favoring daikon) for a few minutes then add just enough dashi (or other type of broth) to barely cover the veggies. Stir in soy sauce to taste and enough mirin to create a slightly sweet sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. For a spicier kick season with shredded ginger and/or a dusting of cayenne pepper just before serving.

Eggplant simmered slowly with red miso paste and sake. A garnish of dill fronds bucks Japanese food expectations and adds a bright, fresh note to an otherwise heavy dish.


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