Summer Snapshots, Snacks and Suppers

We're harvesting now, morning and evening, loads of Honey Drop and Yellow Pear tomatoes. The green ones seen above fell off plants with broken branches and are left on the counter to ripen. That's the plan anyway.

We're all trying to survive the dog days of Summer 2015. The heatwave continues.

"Oh Lord it's hot!"
What would a summer be without that Deep South delicacy, Boiled Peanuts? We found it such a relief to learn that perfect results are possible with a slow cooker. Rinse well about 2 lbs. of raw peanuts-in-the shell. Place in a crock pot with 8 cups of water and 1/4 cup coarse sea salt. The Cafe Drake HRV spin is to drop in now 2-3 dried chipotle peppers (please seed first) and 1-2 star anise pods. Cover and cook on High setting for 6 hours. Many online recipes suggest cooking in the crock pot for over 12 hours! Not necessary. Enjoy the traditional way - warm - or serve cold with beer or cocktails.
Any season is the right season for quesadillas. We're partial today to ones filled with Peppadew Pepper Gouda and calabacitas (spicy, stir-fried yellow summer squash with onions and chilies).

Resist the temptation to overload your tortillas when frying quesadillas. They will be difficult to close, messy and heat unevenly.

A fresh salsa verde is the perfect accompaniment.

So good with a salad, tomatoes from the garden, reheated lentils and a dollop of cold sour cream.
Vibrant and fresh salsa verde is always fast and easy to make at home. With so many variations, our easily overwhelmed minds tend to favor the simplest preparation: husk and rinse about 6-8 large tomatillos (or 12 smaller ones) and cut in half. Cut 1/2 of a large onion into big pieces. Slice two serrano or jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise. Place all on a baking sheet, along with two cloves of unpeeled garlic, and toss with 1 T. olive oil. Broil for about 8 minutes or until the tomatillos are soft. Flip the veggies halfway through cooking. Some black spots are fine and indeed, desirable. Let cool a bit then transfer everything to a blender. Add some salt to taste and a handful of chopped cilantro. Process until somewhat smooth, check for salt and store for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Open a bag of chips and this salsa won't last a day. Promise.

Poblano and green bell peppers stuffed with lentils and mushrooms continue the summer theme of Mexican Munchies at Cafe Drake HRV.

The stuffing above that has your mouth watering right about now is so basic but delicious - finely chopped cremini mushrooms were stir-fried in olive oil with some green onions, garlic and chili powder. A cup or so of cooked lentils was mixed in along with cumin powder, salt, black pepper and some fresh oregano. This mixture was stuffed in par-broiled peppers, doused with shredded Cheddar cheese and baked for about 30 minutes.

The stuffed peppers were served with millet, steamed veggies, purple cabbage coleslaw, garden tomatoes and pickled jalapeno peppers.

A summery mini-platter of Broiled Tofu, Summer Squash, Eggplant and Shishito Peppers.

Cherry tomatoes and shiso leaves from the Cafe Drake HRV garden, dressed with olive oil, salt and lime juice. Tomatoes and shiso are an unexpected but winning seasonal combination.


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