Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Early September Suppers & Useful Tips. xoxo Yours Truly, Cafe Drake HRV

Basically, we can't stop making pizzas. Above, Crispy Crust Pizza with Heirloom Tomatoes, Gorgonzola, Vidalia Onions and Fresh Herbs.

Accolades to our dear pal Ruth Kopelman for introducing us to the idea of "salad nachos." Cafe Drake HRV is paying the favor forward with the "salad pizza" adaptation. Make your cheesey, gooey, fatty favorite foods like nachos or pizza and enjoy guilt-free by covering with a green salad!
Who knew Radish Kimchi could be so so SO easy to make? And ours is VEGAN too!

This kimchi rivals the best we've ever savored at some extraordinary Korean restaurants. Here's how you're going to do it:start with 2 cups of sliced red radishes. We won't use the more typical daikon radish for this kimchi but if you wanna try it out, we're pretty sure it would be delicious. Slice the radishes to a thickness of 1/4" to 1/2". Place in a bowl with 3/4 t. salt, 1/2 T. each of cayenne pepper and paprika, 1/2 t. sugar, 1 t. soy sauce, 1 minced clove of garlic and 1 t. minced ginger. Mix with your hands, rubbing the spices and seasoning in to the radishes thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave sitting at room temperature for 12-24 hours. A 24-hour rest time will yield a more pungent and sour kimchi. When cured to your taste, refrigerate radish kimchee, tightly covered in a jar. The kimchi will keep refrigerated for at least a month.

Useful Tip: When preparing creamy pasta sauces - vodka sauce, for example - ditch the carton of heavy cream and use sour cream instead. The extra saltiness and slight tang enhance the flavor and thick sour cream melts in seconds in to luscious, full-bodied cream. Stir 1/2 cup sour cream into a quart of marinara and simmer together for 1 minute. That's it.

Got Shiso? Then make Shiso Rice to elevate the ordinary to new heights. Shiso's enigmatic flavor and scent, one minute cinnamon and the next woodsy citrus, is a classic, age-old addition to rice in Japanese cuisine and we're all the better for it. After cooking rice and allowing to rest covered for a few minutes, add minced shiso leaves to rice and fluff together. Chopping the herb finely enhances its flavor. You'll need about 12 minced large shiso leaves per 4 cups of cooked rice. A pinch or two of sea salt also brings shiso rice to glorious life.

You've noticed by now that Cafe Drake HRV is kind of obsessed with basic recipes that allow a cook to incorporate ingredients of choice. In other words, another recipe serving as a framework for whatever you have on hand. This is our attempt at recreating the erstwhile vegetable side dish served at Indonesian restaurants everywhere, usually prepared with tender, green jackfruit, sometimes with kale. We've used zucchini, butternut squash, onions, turnips, rutabagas, kale, collard greens, string beans, you name it. To prepare Indonesian Vegetables with Coconut Milk: heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until quite hot. Toss in the pan 1-2 sliced hot green or red chilies, 2 T. minced lemongrass and 1 T. grated ginger; stir-fry for 1 minute and then add 1 lb. of assorted, chopped vegetables. To ensure proper cooking, cut longer cooking veggies in to smaller pieces or simply use a combination of produce that cooks at equal times. Fry the vegetables for a couple of minutes and then add 1 can of coconut milk. Add 1/2 t. turmeric and a generous amount of black pepper and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer steadily, uncovered, until all veggies are cooked to your liking. Remove from heat and stir in a handful of chopped cilantro or, as seen above, rau ram leaves.
The Indonesian vegetables in coconut milk reheat well and will keep, refrigerated, for three or four days.

Putting it all together in a Pan-Asian meal: Indonesian Vegetables in Coconut Milk, Radish Kimchi, Roasted Tofu, Sliced Grape and Yellow Pear Tomatoes and Shiso Rice.

One looks forward to lunch with leftovers like these.

Here too briefly,assorted tomatoes from the gardens of Cafe Drake HRV.

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