Friday, September 11, 2015

Late Summer Dining, Straight from the Garden

I. Vegan Meatloaf with Garden Tomatoes and Broiled Eggplant

Lentil-Mushroom-Nut Loaf gets a nostalgic spin when topped with ketchup prior to baking. At Cafe Drake HRV we update the retro flavor by making a tart and not too sweet glaze from ketchup, apple cider vinegar and a dash of hot sauce.

An old-fashioned "meat"loaf dinner!

Despite their name Japanese Black Trifele tomatoes are Russian in origin. Although somewhat difficult to establish, surviving plants have yielded plenty of dark, juicy fruits.

We've had similar luck, probably due to the heat and strong sun of Summer 2015, with Japanese-style eggplant. The long, slender vegetables cook quickly and possess a velvet texture.

II. And Another Way to Utilize All Those Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplants

Honey Drop Cherry Tomato, Onion and Matchbox Chili Relish

A bulgar pilaf with chickpeas, cilantro and dried cranberries is a light entree perfect for sluggish summer appetites.

We threw it together because we had it: Bulgar Pilaf, Tomato Relish, Rye Toast and Broiled Eggplant with Scallions and Feta

III. Building Meals Around Condiments and Side Dishes

A same day harvest of plenty of Pink Brandywine tomatoes and habanero chilies led to canning jars full of Yucatan-style Salsa. Here's how to quickly cook a small batch that will last for at least a month, covered and refrigerated: Cut into quarters 3 or 4 large (really large) tomatoes and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, flipping once, or until the skins are blistering and darkening. Remove and puree in a blender. Set aside while you saute 1 small onion (chopped finely) in 1-2 T. olive or coconut oil. Cook the onion over a medium-low flame until it's turning brown and very soft. Add the reserved tomatoes and 1-2 habanero chilies, each cut in half. Simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the salsa begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Plan on using at least 1/2 t. salt, keeping in mind this salsa is meant to be consumed in rather small portions, as a condiment or very spicy dip for chips.

Naturally we had to make pinto beans, tortillas and chipotle coleslaw to accompany our accompaniment.

Cool slices of Lemon Cucumbers from our prolific plant add texture to the meal and tame the sting of super-spicy habanero salsa.


IV. Moments We'll Miss in the Winter

Morning harvesting in the Cafe Drake HRV gardens.

Summer meals, brimming with and based round just-picked garden produce, will soon be but a memory. Until Summer 2016!

The extreme heat and dry conditions of this summer prevented the Cutting Garden from thriving through late summer, but we still enjoyed plenty of festive arrangement culled from the zinnias, cosmos, daisies and Bachelor Buttons.

Straight from the side yard vine, Lemon Cucumbers get the Lacto-Ferment Pickle Treatment.

V. There's Nothing You Can't Do With Leafy Greens

Many types of leafy green veggies are grown in the gardens of Cafe Drake HRV, including arugula, mizuna, bok choy, tat soi, komatsuna, broccoli rabe and mustard greens, so we need an arsenal of recipes to keep dinners novel and surprising. Above, mixed greens were steamed and then tossed with a South Indian coconut chutney. An extra helping of chutney on the plate banishes all chances of banality. Our archived recipe for COCONUT CHUTNEY can be found here.

No matter the season, it's always the right time for breaded and fried tofu.

VI. Looks Like We Wanted Gravy for Dinner Again

Long Beans (from the garden) with Feta and Tomatoes, Miso-Lentil Gravy, Glazed Veggie Loaf, Millet and Roasted Summer Squash. You'll find the gravy recipe HERE in our archives.

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