Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Fastest, Simplest Salsa Verde Yet!

There are so many variations on the classic tomatillo sauce known as salsa verde, but this is a foolproof recipe that comes together in mere minutes and with a minimum of effort and with only one pan! Slice into halves 5-6 rinsed and husked large tomatillos. If the fruits are small, use more and just leave them whole. Now slice 1 small peeled onion in half. In a cast-iron or non-stick skillet heat 1 T. olive oil over a medium-high flame. Add to the skillet the onion, tomatillos, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic and 4-6 dried chiles de arbol. These are moderately hot chili peppers so adjust the amount to your personal preference.

Brown the veggies for a few minutes or until they are nice and charred as in the pic above. It's okay and indeed preferable if there are some blackened bits here and there. You'll need to remove the chilies sooner though as they burn quickly. Once they have darkened and puffed up a bit transfer to a blender. Now add the tomatillos, onion and peeled garlic cloves to the blender along with 2 T. chopped cilantro. Puree until smooth and then season to taste with salt and black pepper. The salsa can now be thinned with water if desired.

Roasted Vegetables in Salsa Verde / Chili and Sour Cream Tostados

Thursday, October 29, 2015

These Plates Are A Mess! Of Absolute Deliciousness.

Plating and presentation are skills important to all home cooks and vital necessities for restaurant chefs but sometimes, at home after a long or trying day, we can let our hair down and relax our standards. 

At Cafe Drake HRV our food is largely unstyled and we always snap pics of what we actually slopped on the plate moments before inhaling it. More of an effort is extended for dinner guests but hopefully the photos below demonstrate that even if plate isn't beautifully composed the food can still be delicious and appear appetizing. 

Just don't get in the habit of dumping dinner on a platter and calling it a night; there's always a place and time for rinsing off the tweezers and artfully arranging the microgreens! 


Broccoli and Chickpea Soup, Bread, Garden Tomatoes and Salad Greens, Roasted Yams and Yellow Peppers and Tomatillo Relish

Japanese Hot Pot

The Japanese Hot Pot plated in a bowl with Heirloom Tomatoes

Brown Rice with Ground Seeds and Nutritional Yeast. Okay we know that sounds as unappealing as the monochromatic beige-on-beige visual above but it's really, really tasty.

At least serving kimchi in a separate small bowl keeps it from getting lost on an otherwise busy plate.
Artfully arranged and presented nachos are the norm at Cafe Drake HRV, as a quick perusal  using the search option at the top left corner of the page will reveal. Tonight's nachos? Not so pretty but bold in flavor and taste courtesy of our Ancho-Pasilla Salsa. The salsa recipe can be found HERE in the 2014 archives.
Here, a Bare Bones plating-style belies the big flavors of Soup, Herbed Garlic Bread and a Well-Dressed Garden Salad.

After staring at this photo for 20 minutes we figured out what it was - a dinner last week at Cafe Drake HRV of Baked Polenta Wdges, Sunflower Sausage, Salad and House Pickled Jalapenos!

Before you judge, the grim banality of this plate of brown food does clean up sorta well. See next photo below.

Whole Wheat Tostados with Lentils, Sunflower Sausage and Caesar-Style Arugula Salad

Poha, Salad, Pappadums and Mint-Green Chili Chutney. Poha is a dried and flaked rice produced in India, generally cooked as a pilaf with vegetables and spices. You'll find our standard recipe HERE in a post from 2009.

Lentil-Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Tomato and Habanero Salsa, Yellow Rice, Yellow Tomatoes, Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds

In the midst of all that mix, a melange of spicy, salty and tangy flavors. Don't judge the complexity of a book by its simple cover.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Out and About in the Autumnal Hudson River Valley

I. Ferncliff Forest, Rhinecliff, NY

The forest is definitely a house of worship for us!

II.  Lighthouse Trail, Saugerties, NY

III. Falling Waters Preserve, Glasco, NY

She may not be able to unearth truffles, but Arabella can sure sniff out a puffball mushroom!

IV. Olana House and Grounds, Hudson, NY

Susan and Cafe Drake HRV combined forces to create a voluptuous picnic feast of arugula and baby mustard greens salad, tomatoes, olive bread, cheeses, tangerines, chickpea salad sandwiches, olives, pickles and Susan's homemade apricot preserves and delectable salad of apples, hazelnuts and dried currants.

The end of the Green Zebra tomatoes. Literally.

With Sloane. On a blustery, downright chilly October afternoon.

With Susan. Trying not to shiver.

A Week in the Life of our Vegetarian Kitchen + Lots of Recipe Links

Toasted Onion-Rye Scones, Green Zebra Tomato Salad Russe and a Chickpea Curry. Grab our recipe for the scones from an earlier post HERE.

Millet can be a tricky ingredient to cook with; by itself it tends to be dry and chalky. Our Millet-Sunflower Burgers however make the best use of this nutritional grain's texture and flavor. They're a longtime menu favorite at Cafe Drake HRV and the recipe can be found HERE in the 2011 archives.

Millet-Sunflower Burgers, Roasted Veggies, Early Autumn Veggie Soup, Homemade Habanero Hot Sauce and Green Zebra Tomatoes from the garden. You'll find the recipe for the scrumptious, soothing soup RIGHT HERE.

Vegetarian Bigos, Green Apple, Parsley and Red Pepper Salad and Roasted Yellow Finn potatoes.

After leaving our home of 13 years in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, we sorely missed the Polish food served in countless neighborhood restaurants. Long-simmered and seasoned cabbage and sauerkraut, or Bigos, is often translated as Hunter's Stew; traditionally the dish is studded throughout with smoked kielbasa, smoked ham or both. No reason you can't make it vegan. now we not only don't pine for Greenpoint bigos, we actually prefer our lighter version. Here's how we do it at Cafe Drake HRV:In a large saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 2 T. olive oil. Add 2 very large onions (thinly sliced), 5 or 6 cloves of garlic (chopped) and 2 portobello mushrooms (roughly chopped). Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to turn golden, and then season with 2 heaping t. dried marjoram, 2 t. smoked paprika and 1 t. salt. Stir once or twice and immediately add 1 head of cabbage, thinly sliced. Stir to coat the cabbage with the spices and oil, adding more olive oil if needed. Pour in 4 cups of water or vegetable stock, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Add 10 whole allspice berries and 6-8 whole juniper berries. Cook gently until the cabbage is tender. Stir in about 4 cups of well-drained sauerkraut; any kind will do as long as it's not from a can! Finally, add 4 T. tomato paste, stirring to dissolve, 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke. Partially cover the pot and simmer for at least 1 hour. The liquid should be absorbed almost completely the but the resulting stew moist. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and serve hot or very warm. Leftovers will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for around 3-4 days.

Heirloom Tomato Salad, Braised Tatsoi with Garden Chilies, Chickpea Curry, Creamy Smoked Coleslaw and Basmati Rice

Brunch of leftover Vegetarian Chorizo and Purple Potato Hash, Whole Wheat English Muffins, Farmhouse Cheddar, Fried Eggs with Toasted Red Chili Flakes, Tomatoes and Morello Cherry Preserves. Wanna add Vegetarian Chorizo to your arsenal of meatless recipes? Find it HERE in an earlier October post.

A steamy saute of homemade, sliced seitan, onions and various bell and chili peppers.

After stir-frying the seitan and peppers we seasoned with tamari, mirin and hoisin sauce and plopped atop jasmine rice. Quickly roasted broccoli, carrots and yellow wax beans made for an easy, one-pan only side dish.

Rinsed and drained green jackfruit is an excellent choice for vegetarian pulled pork. When shredded with two forks, or even your nimble fingers, the resulting texture is similar to that of Southern-style bbq. You'll find canned jackfruit at all large Asian markets.

Steamed Kale, Guacamole, Tomatoes from the garden, Carrot & Habanero Hot Sauce, leftover rice, Shredded Jackfruit "Pulled Pork" and Cornbread

Roasted Sweet Potato and Tempeh "Bacon" Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Lime

Easy enough to assemble, pretty self-explanatory really, just swipe the recipe for the tempeh "bacon" lardons in our archives HERE.

A perfectly simple, simply perfect lunch of reheated Chickpea and Mushroom Soup, Olive Bread, leftover Roast Potatoes and our Seed Dip. The latter is assembled weekly and stored in the fridge for sprinkling on salads, plain rice or as a dip for bread with olive oil. Many recipes for dukkah exist but this is our healthiest version. Not that it skimps on flavor! In a mini-processor or spice or coffee grinder combine 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seeds, 2 T. flax seeds, 2 T. chia seeds and 2 T. toasted sesame seeds. Whirl until you get a powdery consistency. try not to overprocess or you may end up with something too much like a paste. Transfer to a jar and add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes. Season lightly with coarse ground sea salt if you like. Shake well to combine and store in the fridge for at least a month or more.