Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Sprouts

Actually sprouts are one of the few green veggies you can grow year round. Right in your kitchen. In the middle of January. Above are Japanese radish sprouts, beautifully tinted in shades of green and palest purple and chocked full of phytonutrients and wonderfully spicy. The easiest directions can be found on the nifty blog FarmTina.

Curried Cheese!

Curried Cheese Spread is perfect for warmer days, as above, with bread and salad. When Spring nights turn wet and cold, try it as grilled cheese sandwich filling or tucked into a dinner omelet. Beyond easy to make, let's begin: start with about 2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese and mix in a large bowl with 3 T. mayo, 2 sliced scallions (green and white parts), 2 t. or so of sugar (this is optional), 1 T. good curry powder and salt and black pepper to taste. Stir until all is blended well. The spread will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thordis, Zoe & The Traveling Menagarie Visit Cafe Drake HRV

As above, Thordis and Zoe enjoy the front and side yards, perfect venues for blowing bubbles.

Judging by the look on Zoe's face (staring at TV) seems Nightmare Moon must have showed up on My Little Pony.

Cafe Drake enjoyed so much a leisurely dinner with our dear old friend Thordis Adalsteinsdottir. The simple, slow-paced menu was designed for lots of conversation and catching up: red pepper bisque with shrimp followed by Indian "beaten rice" and veggies, cucumber, ginger and lime salad, pickles, raita and then cheese and chutney for dessert. Can't forget the Riesling and bubbly!

Did we mention there was a kitty in tow as well? Sweet Daphne had to be confined upstairs overnight for her own safety; Lloyd doesn't play well with other felines (sigh).

Still a bit wintery in the woods behind Cafe Drake HRV. Although we didn't capture any pics, the forest ground is actually blooming with tiny white and yellow buds and bluebells. Zoe picked woodland gorgeous bouquets for us.

Above: scenic walk along the Hudson behind Cafe Drake HRV

Friday, April 12, 2013

And Over at The DP Chutney Collective . . .

Spiced and Pickled Oranges from The DP Chutney Collective. Yum!

Dinner with Jen & Ben

Best Pizza in Williamsburg really is the greatest. Recently they delivered to Jen, Ben and Cafe Drake HRV a large pie dotted with fresh mozzarella, basil, caramelized onions and artisanal pepperoni. Garlic knots with house-pickled veggies (this is Brooklyn after all) were a welcome surprise. We washed it all down with plenty of vino and small-batch bourbon.

Lunch with Erica and Aidan

And how cute are these faces?!

Cafe Drake HRV Blooms Into Spring

Sprouting fresh garlic shoots for tasty soup and salad garnishes

Cut branches soaked in water for two weeks in the basement of Cafe Drake HRV in an attempt to "force" them to bloom indoors.

And voila!

A yard chocked with daffodils = plenty for cutting.

Coconut Chutney & Low(er) Fat Corn Chowder

A fairly basic meal of millet, braised greens and potato curry becomes luxurious with freshly made "green" coconut chutney.

Cafe Drake HRV has struggled over the years searching for the perfect balance of flavors and texture when creating classic South Indian coconut chutney. Finally, we got it right. And we're sharing the prize recipe now. Not difficult to make but as it takes a few minutes, best to make a large batch, hence the following measurements. The chutney will keep at least three days in the fridge and freezes like a dream. To begin you'll need 1 1/2 cups grated or flaked unsweetened coconut. Fresh is best but tiresome without specific kitchen tools, so try to use frozen (unsweetened). Another option is to use dried, unsweetened coconut - 1 1/4 cups (pour about 3-4 T. boiling water over dried coconut and leave to soak for 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe). Now, place your coconut in a blender or processor along with: 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 10-12 small hot green chilies, 1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro leaves and stems and roughly 1/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth (or as smooth as you can get). Place into a large bowl and set aside while you heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a small skillet. When the oil is hot add in 3/4 t. black mustard seeds. Keep a lid handy as they will pop! Once mustard seeds are popping add to the skillet 1 T. sesame seeds and 1/4 - 1/2 t. ground asafetida (available at all Indian markets). Remove from heat and pour the skillet contents over the coconut puree. Stir and serve cool or at room temperature.

Quickly become a kitchen standard at Cafe Drake HRV, this corn soup/chowder is of course best made with fresh, local corn but frozen kernels are very acceptable. Start with 6 cups of corn kernels, freshly scraped from the cobs (you'll need 6-8 total) or frozen. Melt 2 T. butter in a saucepan and when just foaming add in 4 chopped scallions, both green and white parts. Season with about 1/2 t. salt and black pepper. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes and then pour in 1 1/2 cups each of water and whole milk. Add more salt - an additional teaspoon or more to taste - and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes. The corn should be tender but not falling apart. Remove from heat, add 1-2 canned chipotle peppers (along with a bit of the accompanying sauce) and puree in a blender until smooth. Now, you're going to have to strain the soup with a fine mesh strainer. Pour through strainer in several batches, pushing down with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Return the strained puree to the pot and reheat gently until hot. Serve warm, garnished with sliced scallions or minced cilantro or parsley.

Join Cafe Drake at Our Upcoming Chutney Class