Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Japanese Meal From the Garden (with Kristin Ploucquet)


What better way to start an evening than with flowers from Kristin, another gorgeous Ploucquet Bouquet.

We're plucking the last of our kohlrabi plants from the vegetable garden this week. The bulb was peeled and sliced and the greens cooked along with their raised bed neighbor, kale.

Sliced kohlrabi lightly dressed with dried shiso leaves and fleur de sel as an appe-teaser.

All varieties of kale grown in the Cafe Drake HRV gardens continue to flourish. Hot weather and scalding sun tends to toughen the leaves however, so these days we're nixing kale salads in favor of stewed or braised preparations.

Mixing chopped lovage leaves into creamy coleslaw only improves this ubiquitous summer side dish. We used the slaw as a base for massive portobello mushroom caps, broiled and basted with miso and rice wine.

Dried tofu "skins" are paper-thin and crisp when removed from their packaging but soften into chewy meatiness when slow-simmered, as above. After cooking the tofu in a sweet broth of tamari and mirin, along with slivered peppers and carrots, we chilled it all and served as a cold salad.
Bowls of shiso rice are a constant throughout a multi-course meal of small plates. Shiso adds a bright, herbaceous flavor to rice complimentary to virtually all vegetable dishes. Lucky for us we have a garden full of the stuff!

Chilled kale and kohlrabi greens in a sesame dressing, served with a grape tomato, mint and basil salad.

Another course of cold salads: chilled tofu skins with assorted vegetables and an onion and parsley slaw dressed with tahini and mustard.

And a few of the leftovers, the following afternoon, made lunch extra-special at Cafe Drake HRV.

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