Friday, January 29, 2016

Dinner in a Flash: More Mid-Week Meals Maximized with Leftovers

Some nights the only rule at Cafe Drake HRV is . . . Get It On the Plate! Leftover yellow rice can be reheated quickly, along with slow-cooked pinto beans. When preparing dried beans from scratch, always make a large pot and plan on sneaking the legumes into soups, stews, burritos, chili and more through the week. Stored in the fridge, cooked beans keep well for 4-5 days. Above. we also enjoyed guacamole, a green salad, tomato soup and leftover roasted cabbage, another dish that should be made in large amounts. One large head of cabbage, roasted in the oven, should supply enough for: 1) a substantial side dish for 2 hungry diners  2) a big pot of cabbage soup (cut the cabbage in bite-sized chunks and simmer with canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, an onion and some fresh or dried dill 3) an entree of vegetable wontons (shred the remaining cooked cabbage very finely, mix with minced water chestnuts, slivered scallions, garlic, ginger, a little mashed tofu, tamari or soy sauce and finely chopped cilantro and stuff inside wonton wrappers. Bake or boil. Here's our recipe for baked wontons. 

Roasted vegetables of all sorts are kitchen constants at Cafe Drake HRV and a variety of seasonings and flavor profiles keeps boredom at bay. An old favorite that always feels fresh and welcome is Roasted Eggplant with Middle Eastern Spices. Simply cut eggplants in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet, cut side facing up. If you wish you can make diagonal cuts across the surface to create a diamond effect (see above). Brush the tops of the eggplants with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, dried or fresh thyme leaves, cumin powder, smoked paprika and sesame seeds. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven or until the eggplant is browned and very soft.

Why not roast alongside the eggplant a few long hot peppers as well, the kind often served with Mixed Grill entrees at Middle Eastern restaurants? Make a large batch and add the spicy peppers to soups, sandwiches and pasta dinners through out the week.

It's the time of year when cardoon begins to show up regularly in the markets. A close cousin of the artichoke and with a similar taste, cardoon is, while delicious, a high maintenance veggie.

If you're going to the trouble to wash, peel and blanch cardoon, be sure to do two bunches at once. Use half for a gratin and toss the remaining cooked stalks in a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and salt. Check out our November 2014 post for the Cardoon Gratin recipe and complete instructions on preparing this novel veggie.

Cassoulet may be the ultimate in winter comfort food but the traditional preparation of this French farm house classic involves several hours of slow cooking in the oven and an arsenal of sausage, duck confit and organ meats. Based upon several cookbook and internet recipes, our version cooks in a fraction of the original's time, is just as rich and flavorful and completely vegan. Plus it's an ideal way of using up random bits in your produce drawer! Begin adding to a large baking sheet 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1 cup peeled and diced carrots, 2 cups peeled and diced celery root, 1 cup peeled and diced turnips and 1 large red new potato (also, you guessed it, peeled and diced). Drizzle with 2 T. olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste and a large pinch or two of ground nutmeg. Bake the veggies at 400 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and immediately pour on the vegetables 1/4 cup dry white wine and 2 T. brandy. The alcohol should sizzle and be mostly absorbed by the veggies. Stir to mix and transfer to a medium-sized casserole dish. Add to the casserole 1 can rinsed and drained small white Navy beans, 1 cup vegetable stock, 1 t. dried sage, 1 t. dried thyme leaves and 2 t. tomato paste. Mix well, being careful not to allow the contents to spill over the sides of your dish. Now, sprinkle the entire surface with whole wheat dry bread crumbs and then drizzle generously with more olive oil. Return to the oven and bake for around 10 minutes at the same temperature - 400 degrees F. When ready, the cassoulet should be moist but not too liquidy and the bread crumbs deeply toasted but not burned.

If you have good bread, a jar of roasted red peppers, a red onion and an avocado in the house then you have the fixings for a superb sandwich!

At Cafe Drake HRV sandwiches are sided with whatever salads may be found lurking in the fridge. Above, sandwich with mesclun salad, guacamole and creamy coleslaw with carrots and pumpkin seeds.

We made A LOT more Hoppin' John Stew for New Year' Eve 2015/16 than we could finish in a couple of days; the leftovers that didn't get reheated or spread inside quesadillas were frozen in individual portions, perfect for reheating a moment's notice.

Doubling a recipe for any sort of veggie burger leaves you with at least two options, either fry or bake them all and then freeze between squares of wax paper in a freezer bag OR keep the uncooked mixture tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days, ready to go when you're ready to fry! Grab our recipe RIGHT HERE for the delectable Beet and Bulgar Burgers pictured above.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Building Better (Veggie) Burgers + Blackened Broccoli

Maybe its' all those burgers in 70's fern bars/restaurants but we're a sucker for a bun crafted from a toasted English muffin. Whole grain even better. Cafe Drake HRV is also partial to the classic combo of mayo and mustard spread over opposite halves.

Veggie Burger on Whole Wheat English Muffin, Mesclun Salad with Creamy Pumpkin Seed Dressing, Crisp Pan-Fried Jerusalem Artichokes (a wittier and tastier alternative to potato chips) and Blackened Broccoli. Blackening veggies requires not a lot but some precision and attention to detail. Any effort extended is immediately justified upon biting into a chewy, smokey bit of charred goodness. Our method for blackened broccoli begins with slicing 1 large head of broccoli into long spears. As much as possible, keep florets attached to stalks and make sure the pieces are only about 1/2" thick. (See photo above, upper left of plate.) Place an iron skillet - or another heavy-bottomed skillet - over high heat. Once the pan is very hot drizzle in about 3 T. vegetable, peanut or grapeseed oil. Swirl to coat the pan. Be sure to first grab a pot holder if you're using an iron skillet! Place the broccoli on the skillet, ideally in one single layer. Sprinkle with salt to taste and sear for one minute on high heat. Flip the broccoli spears and cook for another 30-45 seconds on the other side. You may want to press the spears with a spatula to blacken further. Remove from heat and sprinkle lightly with lemon juice and black pepper.

For a change of pace we tried the recipe found here on the No Meat Athlete blog. One of the best veggie burgers EVER, in large part thanks to a dense and chewy texture more akin than most to its beefy counterparts.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What's Cooking in the New Year: Snippets from Our 2016 Kitchen

1. Greek-Style Green Beans

For this delectable, soft and slow-cooked green beans, Cafe Drake HRV likes this recipe from the blog My Greek Dish. We also add dill and finish the beans with a spritz of lemon juice just before serving.

2. Chickpea Flour "Frittata", Salad, Black Beans, Mashed Tofu Salad and Oven-Roasted Tostones 

Oven-baked tostones are almost as good as the deep-fried kind and a lot less trouble to make and clean up after. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Peel 1-2 green, unripe plantains and slice into rounds about 1/4  - 1/2 inch thick. Place on a large, foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake an additional 5 minutes, or until the tostones are golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder and cayenne pepper and serve hot. The tostones DO NOT reheat well so make only as many as you'll need for one meal.

3. Ethiopian-Style Seitan and Peppers, Kale with Mustard Sauce and Steamed Millet

The recipe for the Ethiopian-style seitan and peppers can be found in Isa Moskowitz's essential cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance

4. Pasta with Broccoli, Tempeh and Roasted Peanuts, Romaine Salad, Steamed Kale, Roasted Tomatoes and Chili and Lime Cucumbers

This very hardy and nutritious pasta recipe is from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. It's a complete meal unto itself but we enjoyed leftovers with assorted sides and salads. For a quick Korean-style salad, simply peel and slice thinly some Kirby cucumbers and toss with a few drops of sesame oil, a splash of rice vinegar or lime juice, minced garlic and salt to taste. Sprinkle generously with red chili flakes just before serving.

5. Tunisian Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas, Kamut, Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Avocado Salad

Cafe Drake HRV adapted a recipe from a recent issue of Vegetarian Times to craft our Tunisian Roasted Veggies and Chickpeas. Here's how we did it: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. while you add to a large mixing bowl 1 T. ground cumin, 1 T. smoked paprika, 1 t. turmeric powder, 1/2 t. ground cardamom and 1 t. raz el hanout. Add 3-4 T. olive oil and stir to combine. Now tip in 1 15-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed and drained), 1 large red bell pepper (cut into squares) and 2-3 large-ish Yukon Gold potatoes (cut into wedges, or steak fry shapes). Toss everything well and transfer to a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and lots of black pepper and roast for 20 minutes. When the veggies are soft and browned on the edges, remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice. Serve as an entree with a grain or pita bread.

6. Homemade Crisp Breads, Turmeric Rice, Roasted Cabbage Wedges, Tofu Salad and Tahini Dressing

7. Chickpea Flour Crepes, Spicy Potatoes with Mustard Seeds and Red Chilies, Basmati Rice, Raita and Clover Sprouts

8. Vegetarian Apple and Stout Sausages, Roasted Veggies, Simmered Sauerkraut and Spinach Salad

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Visit in the New Year From the Ruske-Terziani Crew

Susan Mckeever-Duys drove up from Brewster to spend some time with J&B and meet The Twinz. Above, Henry and Susan contemplate the lunch menu at Hoffman House in Kingston.

Peter, Ben and Jen

Peter is happy just playing with a spoon!

Babies on board and ready to take a stroll through Uptown Kingston's historic Stockade District.

At the Senate House Museum.

An impromptu Meet-n-Greet with Arabella.

Henry gets a bottle. Arabella gets a much-needed nap.

Walking the Runway. Or, for now, the Counter.

Setting the table for a long overdue dinner with dear friends.

Dinner is served!

Arabella awakes from a snooze just in time to join us in the dining room.

Ben and Peter at brunch.

Jen and Henry at Murray's in Tivoli.

Henry lets Mama know he would like the rest of that bottle. Now.

Ben stirs the pot.


Arabella Page

YES! We finally learned to bake homemade baguettes with a no-knead technique and 24-hour proofing period.

With sweet Peter.

Oaxacan "Yellow" Mole with grilled fennel, cabbage, boiled potatoes, mushrooms and string beans was our entree Saturday night. Sides included homemade bread (for soaking up the soupy mole sauce), simmered pinto beans, pickled green tomatoes and two salsas - Chile de Arbol and Tomato Salsa and an Avocado and Peanut Salsa.

Ruske and Arabella wait patiently for dinner to begin.

While his sister stalks the dinner guests for handouts, Lloyd Page relaxes in the "dog" bed.

Lloyd loves babies! Who knew?