Summer Interludes at Cafe Drake HRV

A light Indian-influenced supper of dal with chaat chopped salad, onion relish, banana raita, mango chutney and pappadums.

And another veggie-based dinner - Roasted Eggplant Puree, Tomato and Shallot Salad and Red Cabbage with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. The latter is particularly useful to accompany almost any entree with the added bonus of a long refrigerator life: Shred 1/2 head of purple/red cabbage and toss in a large mixing bowl with 1-2 t. salt. Rub the salt into the leaves with your fingers and set aside for an hour or so. Drain any accumulated liquid from the cabbage and drizzle with up to 2 T. olive oil. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and stir to coat well before seasoning with additional salt as needed, freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley and thyme leaves, as much or as little as you prefer. Sprinkle all with toasted sesame seeds if you have them.

Tender, sweet Tuscan kale is thriving in the vegetable garden these days. The Red Russian variety, a very slow grower, is finally taking a clue as well.

Any relatively sunny spot in the yard can be used as a Micro Lettuce Patch. Lucky for us both Lloyd and Arabella keep the grounds cleared of rabbits.

Leftovers for Lunch: Yogurt Curry, Brown Basmati Rice, Roast Veggies, Purple Cabbage Salad and Mint Chutney.

Ah, the peonies are shedding. We enjoy our brief time with them so much!

We can't remember the last time we bought lettuce here at Cafe Drake HRV; the garden provides us with daily salads, for lunch and dinner.

Even a plate of leftover Chinese takeout becomes exciting with fresh greens and herbs from the garden.
Millet Croquettes

Raz-el-Hanout Roast Cauliflower will become a favorite side dish in your kitchen as well if you just try it: preheat oven to 425 degrees F. while cutting 1 small head of cauliflower into small florets. Don't wash the cauliflower before cutting. Toss florets with 2 cloves of whole, peeled garlic and about 2-3 T. olive oil and 3/4 t. salt. Sprinkle with 1 -2 t. raz-el-hanout (a North African spice blend heavy on cinnamon and cloves, found in most supermarkets) and cayenne pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes or until the florets are gently caramelized but not burnt. Shake the pan once during the cooking process. Carrots may also be added but should be cut into small pieces as they take longer to cook than the cauliflower. Lemon zest and minced parsley or cilantro are exquisite garnishes and we often toss the roasted cauliflower with a handful of pitted oil-cured olives just before serving. Adjust salt accordingly.

We've posted here before a recipe for these Millet Croquettes but this is our easiest variation yet, perfect for the summer months. With the croquettes' brief prep time you'll be out of the hot kitchen in no time. Begin with 1 cup of millet ( a whole grain found in all natural food stores and most supermarkets) and toast it in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Stir frequently. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover pan and let simmer until all liquid has been absorbed, about 25-35 minutes. Once the millet is cooked - some grains will still be crunchy, a nice textural perk of millet - allow to cool for 30 minutes before stirring in 3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy. If the mixture doesn't thicken enough to handle easily add a bit more peanut butter. Season with a few pinches of salt and 1 T. tamari or soy sauce. Stir in 2 minced scallions and herbs of choice, fresh or dried . . . sage, thyme, oregano, savory all add an earthy charm. If you have time, refrigerate the mixture as this helps firm things up. When ready, heat 2 T. olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Shape millet mixture into small patties and fry until browned and crisp, flipping once during cooking. Add a few drops more oil as needed. The croquettes are less likely to fall apart if you allow them to cook for 4 minutes before turning.


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