Heatwave Survival

Just because the worst of the scorching heat has passed doesn't mean we'll be making any less of Cafe Drake HRV's version of sun tea - Tamarind and Mint. We'll be sharing the process and recipe at our upcoming class at Brooklyn Brainery, Iced Indian Libations. It's tart, sweet, salty and sour. All in one sip!

Ah, a refreshing cold lunch of leftovers. Our favorite type of July meal. Tabbouleh, steamed chayote squash with yogurt dressing, baba ganouj, salad and toasted whole wheat rolls.

Home-made tabbouleh keeps for a week in the fridge, improves in flavor after a couple of days and efficiently combines whole grains and fresh greens and veggies in one No-Cook Dish. If using tomatoes it's best to add them chopped with individual servings; stored over time they release too much water, rendering the entire salad into a mushy mess. Ditto diced cucumbers. Cafe Drake HRV keeps it simple and straightforward when making this most versatile side dish: Place 1 cup of fine or medium grain bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover bowl for 45 minutes then drain off any excess water remaining. Toss softened bulgur with just under 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice, some sliced scallions, 3-4 cups finely chopped parsley and at least 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves. Stir and let stand for 30 minutes so they bulgur can soften further and flavors meld. Now whisk together another 1/4 cup lemon juice with 6 T. olive oil and at 1/2 t. or more salt. Pour over the bulgur and vegetables and stir well. Before serving add diced tomatoes or cucumbers if desired.

Salad, Bengali Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, Black Beans, Roti bread and raita with boondi. Confused but complimentary dinner of leftover refrigerator refugees.

Boondi are tiny crispy puffs of seasoned chickpea flour and available at every Indian market. They add a surprising texture and heft to an everyday version of raita: Begin by soaking 1 cup of boondi in a bit of cold water for 10 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze remaining water from the boondi. Stir gently into a medium size bowl of 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. paprika and pinch each of cayenne pepper and garam masala. Chill for at least an hour before serving cold.

Similar lunch with addition of cheese and home-made hummus subbing for the scarfed baba ganouj. Those yellow slivers at 9'oclock on photo above are an unusual - and unusually uncomplicated - Bengali potato curry known as Aloo Chokka. Start by peeling 1 1/2 lbs. of potatoes and slicing them into matchsticks (thin slivers). As you chop the potatoes place them in a large bowl of cold water. When you're finished drain the potatoes well in a colander while heating 6 T. mustard oil in a large non-stick skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat. If you don't have mustard oil, please go buy it at the closest Indian market. If that's not an option, use canola oil. When the oil is hot toss in 3/4 -1 t. nigella/kalonji seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds. Add potatoes and fry for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 t. ground turmeric, 1 t. salt and 3-4 sliced small green chilies. Mix well well, cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes usually. Stir now and then and add drops of water if needed to prevent burning.


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