Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Just Day to Day at Cafe Drake HRV

Shipped by our Mother, from Atlanta to Cafe Drake HRV, these juicy, homegrown Meyer lemons are savored in cocktails, salad dressings and more. Any surplus citrus, sure to spoil before we can enjoy, is juiced and then frozen in ice cube trays for long-term storage.

Salmon Baked with Tomatillo-Jalapeno Sauce, Yellow Rice, Garden Salad and Pickled Serrano Chilies

Now here's an easy, speedy entree for you: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. while you assemble 1 skinless, boneless salmon fillet each in 4 shallow baking dishes, such as the one seen above. Or, simply place them all in one larger casserole. Lightly salt and pepper the salmon and then cover with tomatillo sauce and either dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil. Tilt around the baking vessel(s) so that the sauce is evenly distributed. Bake for 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the fillets, 10 minutes per 1" thickness. Things will go faster if you have a tangy tomatillo sauce assembled or already bought. Need a quick salsa verde in a hurry? Browse a few recipes from the Cafe Drake HRV archives right here. Any of these will compliment salmon or another full-flavored fish.

Another lunch of toasted peasant bread, melted fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, parsley and pickled chili peppers.

A light supper is best if eating late or close to bedtime: Masoor Dal with Vegetables and Tamarind, Basmati Rice, Bengali Eggplant Curry and Mango Chutney.

Leftovers for lunch are given extra "bite" via pickled chilies and chopped red onions. Raw almonds turbo-boost the protein content.


Don't be fooled by the austerity of a good toasted cheese sandwich. Ours was a symphony of deep flavors thanks to fresh mozzarella, good quality roasted red peppers from a jar and a drizzle of chili oil. Always keep the latter on hand for last-minute seasoning - our recipe for Roasted Chili Oil can be found here in the Cafe Drake HRV archives.

Because cheese sandwiches need a partner - Tomato and Orzo Soup.

Spiced Pear Cake BEFORE the oven.

And after! This dense, moist cake only needs a dollop of unsweetened cream to create a world class dessert. A unique spin is to serve a thin wedge alongside a crumbly bleu or aged Cheddar cheese.

When we make soup at Cafe Drake HRV we cook up a BIG pot, sufficient for at least three or four lunches with cheese and pear open face sandwiches and almonds mixed with dried cranberries.

Slicing pears or apples thinly helps remove their raw taste and develop a deeper sweetness when toasting on sandwiches. Sliced too thick, the fruit will not cook at all before the cheese and bread begin to burn.


Above two photos: The Flatbread Pizza du Jour these days at Cafe Drake HRV is  Beemster cheese with mustard seeds, roasted red bell peppers, pickled Serrano chilies and parsley leaves.

Everyone's looking for that quick fix when you're craving homemade Indian food but it's tough to find a recipe that doesn't require several steps and a wide assortment of spices. Here you go! Our authentic, yet simplified, String Bean and Potato Curry: Heat 2 T. of vegetable oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, toss in 1/2 t. black mustard seeds and cover with a lid. The seeds will begin popping and once they've almost stopped, add 1/2 t. cumin seeds. Stir for a few seconds then add all at once 3 cups string beans (trimmed and cut into smaller pieces), 1 peeled and chopped potato (1" pieces), 1 diced onion, about 3/4 t. salt, some black pepper, 1/2 t. turmeric powder, 1 t. coriander powder, 1/2 t. cumin powder and a large pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir very well, cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir now and then to prevent veggies from sticking. If absolutely necessary add up to 2 T. water. Cook until the potatoes are quite tender. Remove from heat and sprinkle the dish with garam masala powder. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over all. Mix very well, taste for salt and serve hot or warm, with rice or bread.


Oh how we love Mashed Chickpea Salad here at Cafe Drake HRV, with toasted bread, crackers or tortilla chips. Here's the recipe, copied from our original April 16, 2014 post:
This Chickpea Mash tastes radically different than hummus but is just as addictive! Rinse and drain 1 14-15 oz. can of chickpeas and place in a mixing bowl. Mash well with a fork, you'll want a texture thicker, chunkier than hummus. Add 2-3 T. mayonnaise (regular or vegan), 3 T. minced red onions or scallions, a pinch of celery seeds (or 1 T. chopped lovage if available), 3 T. nutritional yeast (found at all natural foods stores), a splash of lemon juice, about 1 t. grainy mustard, 1 t. honey or agave syrup and black pepper to taste. You probably won't need salt but now's the time to add it if so. Mix well and savor.



Fast, vegetarian entrees rule the weekdays here. Try our Go-To Veggie Couscous! Roast 2 cups of any chosen veggie combination, on a baking sheet in a 425 degree F. oven until done. Be sure to season the veggies well before roasting, being generous with salt and olive oil. When the veggies are done remove from oven and set aside while you bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Immediately add 1 t. cumin powder, a pinch or two of salt and 1 T. olive oil. Remove from heat when boiling and stir in 2 cups couscous. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes then fluff couscous with a fork. Carefully fold in the roasted vegetables along with 1/4 cup minced cilantro or parsley. If the couscous feels a bit dry, serve with a sauce. Above, we paired the couscous with a current obsession - a tangy garlic and buttermilk dressing. Grab the recipe for the dressing here.


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