Saturday, February 28, 2015
Everyone should seriously consider growing pea shoots as an antidote to Winter's heavier foods and gunmetal skies. The tender leafy greens take up very little sunny real estate in the home, needing only a few inches of counter or windowsill space with streaming daylight. Larger,older shoot can be stir-fried for an authentic Chinese treat and the smaller stems and leaves used for salads and garnishes. Many a stodgy meal of sturdy grub at Cafe Drake HRV has been brightened by a few shoots strewn across too beige plates.
Monday, February 23, 2015
|Sweet & Spicy Tempeh with Rice, Salad and Sambal Oelek (a chili paste condiment).|
|Leftover tempeh with stir-fried veggies, sprout salad and white corn tortillas.|
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the tempeh slices on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a single layer. roast for 15 minutes, flip the pieces and roast another 10 minutes. The tempeh should be nicely browned and dry in texture. Set aside.
Heat 3 T. vegetable oil in skillet; non-stick would be best. Over medium heat fry 1 red onion (thinly sliced), 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 small red bell pepper (cut in to very thin slices) and 2-4 hot green or red chilies of choice. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring often, before adding 2 t. grated ginger, 4 kaffir lime leaves (straight from the freezer is fine), 3 T. brown sugar, 2 lemongrass stalks (peeled, bottom 1/3 minced finely) and 1 1/2 T. soy sauce. Stir like crazy to avoid sugar burning and now add 1/3 cup water. Add the reserved, baked tempeh and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for a couple of minutes then cook another 5 minutes, uncovered.
If the pan becomes too dry add small bits of water at a time. Adjust seasoning as desired and serve hot or very warm.
Friday, February 20, 2015
|A bowl of Carolina-style tomato and okra soup may appear banal without a garnish; in fact, the spicy stew didn't require one other than the misshapen (but light and fluffy) biscuits and roasted asparagus and bell peppers.|
|A lot of undecorated goodness on a plate: basmati and black pepper rice, tomato salad, kale and scallion salad, sambar, cinnamon cauliflower and green chutney.|
|The non-photogenic okra and tomato stew again, this time around with toasted whole wheat dinner rolls.|
|Once again, don't judge a plate by its looks. A wintery supper of mashed potatoes, roasted tofu, green salad and baked apples and onions really hit the spot on a cold February evening.|
|When dinner plates seem just too too humble and boring, add a few micro-greens and call it a day. In our case we didn't stop there; the "cherry" on top of our mise en scene is in fact, a gigantic caper berry!|
Thursday, February 19, 2015
|Part III: Eat with your hands, like a slice of pizza, but keep a fork handy to scrape up all the delicious tidbits from the plate. At Cafe Drake HRV we rounded out the tostado meal with roasted veggies tossed with cumin and oregano.|
Cafe Drake HRV was honored by a visit from Sharon Marianetti-Leeper, during another erstwhile snowstorm no less, and further gifted with a few snapshots from her visit. Below, we captured the photographer herself. Thanks for the pics, Sharmar!
|First things first: Arabella thought our former attempt at okonomiyaki more than delicious and couldn't be bothered to observe our second effort. "Why improve on perfection when you can nap instead?" - Arabella Page|
|This time around we used shaved Brussels sprouts, scallions, carrots and red bell peppers for our Cafe Drake HRV okonomiyaki, Part II.|
|Our recipe, linked below, makes two large savory pancakes. Count on one per hungry dinner guest, or 1/2 - 1/3 a pancake if served with side dishes and rice.|
|Cafe Drake HRV boosted the protein of our okonomiyaki dinner with edamame, braised with onions, ginger and tomatoes.|
|The finishing touches make the meal. In the case of okonomiyaki, this means BBQ sauce, mayo and toasted nori seaweed. Not nearly as weird as it sounds, the combo of embellishments makes so much sense on the palette. Grab our recipe for this classic Japanese dish RIGHT HERE.|
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Let's start off making the salsa borracha, a heady sauce of tomatoes, dried chilies and beer that can be enjoyed with tortilla chips or used to blanket enchiladas and other casseroles. Soak 2 dried guajillo chilies (or ancho or pasilla chilies) in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove from water, reserve soaking liquid and remove the seeds. Tear in to small pieces and set aside while you saute 1 chopped onion, in a little vegetable oil, until soft.
Add to the pan or skillet 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 large tomato, diced. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes before adding 1 cup light beer (any sort of pale ale will do) and 1/2 cup of the reserved chile soaking liquid.
The beer will foam violently but continue to cook at a steady simmer until the tomatoes have broken up. Remove from heat and when slightly cooled, pour in to a blender along with a handful of chopped cilantro, 1 T. sugar, two large pinches dried oregano and salt and black pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and other seasonings as desired.
A lighter beer is best for the salsa. We used a Pale Ale from Saranac.
On to the Stuffed Poblano Peppers! Rub 3 or 4 large poblano peppers (or 5-6 small ones) with just a bit of vegetable oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil for around 10 minutes, flipping the peppers, once, after 5 minutes. As soon as they're cool enough to handle, peel them. The tough, papery skins should slip off fairly easily and this step is essential. To seed or not to seed? At Cafe Drake HRV we leave them in; the seeds are quite tender, have no unpleasant "mouth feel" but do increase the heat level of the poblanos. Your choice. Either way, make a long slit in each of the peppers and stuff them with 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese (cut into cubes) and 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese (grated).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom of a small casserole dish with the salsa borracha. Carefully place the poblano peppers on top. If any cheese is falling or peeking out, stuff it back in to the peppers. Drizzle more of the salsa over the top of the peppers and cover with foil or a lid. Bake for 15 minutes and then uncover the dish. Bake an additional 20 minutes uncovered. Remove peppers from the oven and allow to cool 5 full minutes before serving. It may be easiest to remove the peppers with a spatula as they will be very soft and floppy. Serve topped with a little more salsa and, optionally, sour cream. The stuffed peppers are greatly enhanced with a pinch of finishing salt but this too is strictly option.
The Finished Product is a substantial platter of, still, lighter-than-usual Mexican fare: toasted whole wheat tortillas, black beans stewed with chipotle peppers and cocoa powder, stuffed poblano peppers with salsa borracha, a green salad and guacamole.
Monday, February 16, 2015
|Add 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper. The peppers may be diced, rough cut or sliced into thin slivers. Cook for a few minutes to extract flavor.|
|Now stir in 1-2 large tomatoes, diced. Also add 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, stems and leaves both. Many toss in a handful of parsley here as well but in our opinion it's unnecessary. Do as you wish. Stir well.|
|Just before enjoying, add a few dollops of plain Greek-style yogurt to the shakshuka. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and finish with a dusting of coarse salt.|
|What a feast! At Cafe Drake HRV we savored our shakshuka with toasted pita wedges for soaking up the soft eggs and spicy sauce, Mediterranean olives, raw almonds and Manchego cheese.|
|Despite its breakfast connotations, shakshuka seems most popular as a lunch or brunch item in the Mid-East and Africa. When served with bread, olive oil and a salad, shakshuka makes an extraordinary Sunday night supper. Or so say we.|
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
|Commonplace but hardly unassuming, the trio of scallions, cilantro and green chili peppers add unusual depth of flavor to these crepes.|
|Spelt is a nutritional powerhouse, an ancient grain new to most home kitchens. If you don't care to use it, substitute a mixture in equal parts of all-purpose and whole wheat flours.|
|The elusive, fleeting tang of the crepes derives from a dollop of yogurt in the batter.|
|A well-seasoned iron skillet is the best Western cooking tool for making Indian crepes outside the East. Failing that, at least a non-stick skillet must be used.|
|Spelt crepes with sambar, basmati rice and cilantro and mint chutney.|
|Delightfully crispy on the outside, smooth and soft inside, the crepes surprise with the unexpected burst of freshness from the green chilies and scallions.|
SPELT INDIAN CREPES
In a mixing bowl combine well: 1/2 cup spelt flour, 3 very thinly sliced scallions, 1 T. finely minced hot green chilies, 1-2 T. minced cilantro leaves and stems, a large pinch of turmeric powder and salt and black pepper to taste.
Now stir in 1 T. plain yogurt (whole milk preferred) and 7 T. water. Yes, just count them out. If the mixture is too thick, which is unlikely, add another tablespoon or so of water.
Set aside while you heat just a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil in a small iron or non-stick skillet. Heat the pan slowly over moderate heat. When the oil is heated, add 2-3 T. of the batter to the pan, spreading out as thinly as possible in a circular motion. Cook until browned on one side, carefully flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
A few things that can happen:
1) The crepes are browning/burning before cooking through? Reduce the heat.
2) The crepes are sticking to the skillet and can't be flipped? It's possible you're turning them too soon. It may also help to drizzle in a bit more oil.
3) The crepes are remaining too wet and raw on top? You haven't spread the batter thinly enough. Try again; with these, the second time's the charm.
Serve hot or warm with chutney as a snack or as part of a more complete Indian meal with sambar or any sort of dal or bean dish. A raita, or even plain yogurt, is a perfect condiment as well.