(At Least) Five Stress-free Vegetarian Meals

 I. Country-Style Sichuan Soft Tofu

You'll find our recipe for Sichuan Country-Style Soft Tofu HERE in the September 2015 Cafe Drake HRV archives.

II. Okra Curry 

Bhindi Masala, or Okra Curry, is a fast solution when you need a quick Indian food fix. Grab the recipe HERE.

III. Pizza Happens, Especially on Busy Weeknights 

We're so fortunate to have a stellar pizza place in town with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options - Slices of Saugerties.

IV.  Beer-Braised Sauerkraut with Apples

How can something this easy taste so good, so rich, so full of contrasting yet harmonious flavors? Find out for yourself by rinsing well 1 lb. of sauerkraut and leaving to drain in a colander. In a large skillet saute 1 sliced onion in 3 T. olive oil until the onions are brown and very soft. Add the drained sauerkraut, 2 peeled and sliced apples, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup Riesling wine, 1 heaping t. caraway seeds and a large pinch or two of marjoram (use more if the herb is fresh and not dried). Simmer gently, covered for 30 minutes, stirring only now and then. Remove cover, raise heat, and stir in 1-2 T. tomato paste and a couple of dashes of brown sugar. Cook for an additional minute or two, check for seasoning and serve hot, as a side dish, or topping for hot dogs or your favorite veggie burger.

V. Roasted Tofu and Burdock Kinpira

Burdock root and carrots are a perfect food couple, their earthy flavors naturally compatible. You'll find a burdock kinpira recipe HERE in our 2007 archives.

Perfectly crisp and chewy tofu is always obtainable via this method: pat dry and cut into 1" cubes 1 block of extra-firm tofu. Place on a baking sheet and toss (gingerly) with around 2-3 T. vegetable oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Flip the tofu pieces and roast an additional 20 minutes. Enjoy them with a dipping sauce or add to any recipe calling for fried tofu.

Gomashio is a traditional and nutritious dry condiment used for centuries in Japan to season rice. Sure you can buy it at Asian markets and natural foods stores but it takes 5 minutes to make at home and is way, way more economical than store-bought. Not to mention fresher tasting. Just roast 1 cup of unhulled, brown sesame seeds in a non-stick skillet for 3 or 4 minutes. Keep the heat medium-low and shake the pan often to prevent the seeds from burning. When the seeds have turned a shade darker and smell toasted, transfer to a plate and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Toss in a blender, with 1/2 t. coarse sea salt and pulverize briefly. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 months.

The gardens at Cafe Drake HRV are barren now except for a few leafy greens, including, as seen above, tender and sweet mache leaves.

David Chang's famous quick daikon pickles are ready to eat in 10 minutes! The recipe can be found here on the Food and Wine website.

The unexpected and creative coupling of disparate foods is yet another joy of Leftover Lunches: Tofu and Burdock Kinpira, Quick Pickled Daikon, Radish Sprouts with Creamy Miso Dressing, Brown Rice, Gomashio, Spicy Pinto Beans and Broiled Poblano Peppers.


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