Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Re-Mixed Leftovers and Extended Mix Side Dishes (All This Scratchin' Is Makin' Me Itch)

Cafe Drake HRV is very partial this summer to the two fresh herbs cradled above - oregano and lovage. We chopped and tossed them in with long-simmering pinto beans below for a surprising depth of flavor. Both should be added when available to any and all dried beans cooked from scratch. Stir into the pot around the last 30-45 minutes of cooking time.

Our favorite bean to cook from scratch is the humble, earthy pinto bean. Leftovers don't last long and even the last spoonful is mixed with rice for a lunch of tortillas, cheese, stir-fried peppers and pickled bean sprouts. Go grab Cafe Drake HRV's recipe for the pickled sprouts right now - here! Perfect cooling mini side dish for summertime.


Cafe Drake HRV will throw anything together for a leftovers lunch. And it always works out somehow, as in the above unlikely pairing of cheese toast, pico de gallo, steamed corn, roasted plum tomatoes and Vietnamese roasted chicken. The latter, as delicious cold as when crispy and hot from the broiler, should be part of your summer picnic repertoire so here's how we make it: take roughly 2 lbs. of chicken thighs (or breasts or drumsticks) with skin-on and bone-in and marinate in your refrigerator for at least a couple of hours with 2 T. brown sugar, 2 T. fish sauce, 1 clove of minced garlic and 2 t. of 5-spice powder. Remove chicken from marinade, sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper and black pepper and roast on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. Place chicken under broiler for 2 minutes to crisp skin if necessary. Good hot or cold. Note: if you decide to use white meat chicken - and really, why would you? - cooking time will lessen by a few minutes.

Baby mizuna greens don't get any fresher than this, plucked from our garden.

Plantains are best peeled with a very sharp paring knife. See where this is all going with recipe below.

Stirring seasoning into a most unusual cold yogurt and plantain curry - a hearty raita of sorts served as a main dish with rice, popular in the sweltering Indian state of Kerala.

Enough Teasing. Here's how we do it, adapted freely from the great Madhur Jaffrey: peel and dice 1/2 of a green plantain and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until quite tender. Drain and set aside. In a mixing bowl beat 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (whole milk is best) until smooth. Slowly add in 1 cup of cold water, whisking well to incorporate. Set aside while you heat 1 T. of vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet. When oil is very hot, put in 1 t. chana dal (or yellow split peas). Stir until the peas turn red/brown and then add to the skillet 1 t. brown mustard seeds. They'll pop in a few seconds - keep a lid handy as needed - and soon after toss in 2 dried red chilies (torn into pieces). Stir once and add 15 curry leaves. Immediately afterwards add 1 T. minced onion and some ginger (to taste, fresh or powdered). Stir for another minute and remove from heat. Add to whisked yogurt and water mixture. Season freely with salt and black pepper and blend in the boiled plantain. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving to blend flavors.

Okra, sliced thinly and pan-fried in sufficient amounts of oil, loses most of its sliminess. For those who mind. We don't.
Sunday Summer Supper June 2013, clockwise from center top: Chilled Yogurt Curry with Plantains; Onion Chutney; Soy Sauce Pickled Daikon Radish; Basmati Rice; Hyderabad Hummus, Okra with Tomatoes


Above two photos prove anything mixes well with everything when it comes to leftovers: stir-fried mixed peppers, rice with shitake mushrooms, fried tofu with burdock and carrots, bok choy with garlic, okra/tomatoes, toasted whole wheat rolls drizzled with our best olive oil and homemade hummus.
Crispy, salty, sour and refreshing. Now are you ready to try pickling mung bean sprouts??

Leftover and reheated Vietnamese roasted chicken thighs with a bunch of other lingering items from the Cafe Drake HRV fridge.

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