Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Side Yard Garden Nachos, Ginger-Coconut Cabbage and A Buddha Bowl That's a Real Jerk!

Organizing the nacho fixings: everything except the pickled jalapeno came from the Cafe Drake HRV side yard - papalo leaves, pea shoots, scallions, cherry tomatoes and Honey Drop tomatoes.

So good we couldn't wait to even plate. We gobbled the nachos right off the baking sheet!

A variety of flavors and textures is the key to elevating nachos to the transcendent level. Our latest lunch batch at Cafe Drake HRV included aged Jack cheese, Gouda cheese with chilies, pickled jalapenos, Honey Drop cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, papalo, pea shoots, scallions and ancho chile powder.

Since cabbage is so plentiful these days at all local farmers' markets and produce stands, you really can't have too many quick-fix recipes for this nutritious green. Bookmark this one for autumn and winter as well, when cabbage is one of the few fresh, local veggies available: in a large, deep skillet heat 2 T. vegetable or coconut oil over a medium-high flame. When the oil is hot add 1 sliced onion, 2 T. minced ginger and 2 carrots, peeled and diced. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Now add 1/2 head of cabbage (coarsely chopped), more salt to taste, 3/4 t. turmeric powder and 1 T. sugar or honey. Stir well, cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow the cabbage to cook until soft and almost dry. (You may need to at some point add a tablespoon or two of water if the cabbage is threatening to stick or burn.) When the cabbage is done, remove from heat and sprinkle with 1/4 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut. Season aggressively with ground black pepper and more salt if desired.

Our Jamaican Jerk Buddha Bowl begins with a bed of red quinoa.


The grain then gets topped with Ginger-Coconut Cabbage and Jerk Tofu and Veggies. We used a summery blend of zucchini, red bell peppers, Vidalia onions and tangy green tomatoes. To make the tofu and vegetable jerk: pat -dry and then cut 1 block extra-firm tofu into 2" squares. Place in a ziplock bag with 1 heaping teaspoon Grace jerk seasoning paste along with 1 T. vegetable or coconut oil. We use the Grace jar labeled "hot" and it's got quite a kick to it. The brand is widely available at many supermarkets and specialty food shops. Carefully, gingerly, with delicate movements, massage the bag so that the marinade coats the tofu. Now add to the bag 1 lb. of any chopped veggies you like. The vegetables should all have fairly compatible cooking times. Add one more teaspoon of the Grace jerk seasoning and again, massage the marinade paste into the contents of the bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 24. When you're ready to eat, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and place the tofu, veggies and any remaining marinade on a large baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, stir the vegetables and flip the tofu cubes and roast for an additional 10-20 minutes. If you prefer, try threading the tofu and veggies on skewers and cooking on a well-oiled grill.


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