Friday, June 13, 2014

Kristin Joins Us for Mezze

According to Wikipedia: Meze or mezze /ˈmɛz/ is a selection of small dishes served to accompany alcoholic drinks in the Middle East and the Balkans.

Cafe Drake HRV cherishes mezze meals with good friends, allowing us to chat and sip and nibble with leisure. With all dishes being served at once, and most cold or at room temperature, the mood is relaxed and perfect for casual summer dining. Kristin and Dolce popped over for our Turkish version, bearing gifts of flowers and a crisp dry Muscadet.



Ezme, a Turkish meze somewhere between a salad and a relish, is named for its "mashed" texture. We like to call it Pressed Gazpacho when writing modernist cuisine menus! It's spicy, savory and a cinch to make: Chop 2 large tomatoes (peeled), 1/2 green bell pepper, 1-2 small hot red or green chilies, 1/2 onion and 1 small seeded and peeled cucumber in a food processor/Magic Bullet. Do not puree, mince finely. Throw in 1 clove of crushed garlic and a small handful of parsley leaves and chop again. Pour the mixture into a colander lined with a paper towel and place over a deep bowl. Allow water to drain off for 1 hour or until the veggies are "firm". Press very gently to extract as much liquid as possible. Mix the drained veggies in another bowl with 1 T. each olive oil and red wine vinegar, a pinch of sugar, 1/2 t. paprika, 1/2 t. salt (or to taste), 1/2 t. each cayenne pepper and black pepper and a few finely chopped mint leaves. Stir to combine and spread thinly across a large serving dish. Let rest at room temperature up to 4 hours before serving to allow flavors to develop and meld.

With a world of delectable hummus brands available to all, it often seems pointless to prepare the dip/spread at home. Until we realize once again how easy it is and superior in flavor. Cafe Drake HRV crowned our homemade hummus with olive oil, smoked paprika, fresh parsley and cayenne pepper.

Sweet Sweet Dolce!

Broiled Kabobs with Onions and Peppers

Labneh is a soft cream cheese made by straining Greek yogurt until thick and mild. Generally the labneh is then seasoned with salt and herbs and finished with a puddle of olive oil. We used mint and dill from the Cafe Drake HRV gardens.

Other small plates included boiled potatoes dressed with olive oil, vinegar and herbs and an assortment of crispbreads.
Dolce and Arabella needed a nap after all those mezze!

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