Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cooking From Books (mostly)

OF COURSE, QUESADILLAS 
(not from a book, OBVS!)

Vegan Cheddar Quesadillas with Guacamole, Tofu Sour Cream, Cocoa-Chipotle Black Beans, Salsa Verde and Radishes



NEPALESE BLACK-EYED PEA AND BAMBOO SHOOT CURRY

Nepalese Black-Eyed Pea and Bamboo Shoot Curry with Bhutanese Red Rice, Raita, Streamed Kale, Lime Wedges and Mango Chutney


For our second meal of this Nepalese curry, we kept the raita and rice and added a garden salad, roasted veggies and a potato achaar.

Although achaar is the term for pickles in Nepal and other Himalayan Rim countries, this Aloo Achaar is really more of a spicy potato salad. The flavor is bold and unexpected and yet this malleable side dish fits in comfortably with Western-style meals. At Cafe Drake HRV we've since served the aloo achaar with both veggie dogs and Boston Baked Beans! The recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's 2015 masterwork Vegetarian India. Begin by boiling 1 lb. (or a little more) waxy potatoes until tender. Drain and allow to cool until you can comfortably peel them. Cut into 1" pieces. Now, add to a mixing bowl 3 T. tahini. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup very hot water, stirring to create a smooth paste. Add 1/4 t. cayenne pepper, a large pinch of turmeric powder, 1-2 minced hot green chilies, 2 T. mustard oil, 2 T. lemon juice, 3 T. minced cilantro and 1 t. salt. Mix to combine and serve cold or at room temperature. Note: if you don't have mustard oil in your pantry, substitute 2 T. olive oil and 1 t. whole grain mustard.

This gentle, creamy stew gets  textural variation from the crunchy bamboo shoots. It's perfect with either rice or flatbreads and makes enough for several meals. Leftovers freeze well but when reheating be sure to adjust the seasoning; most likely you'll need to add more salt. Yet another recipe from Jaffrey's Vegetarian India: First, soak 1 lb. dried black-eyed peas in water overnight. Drain, rinse and drain the beans again. Add to a large saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam and add to the beans 1 8-oz. can thinly sliced bamboo shoots (cut into narrow strips). Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 40 minutes. While the beans are cooking, add 2 T. coconut, vegetable or olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add 1 medium onion (peeled and chopped) and fry until golden brown. Now stir in 2 t. peeled and grated ginger and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir constantly for a minute before adding 1 medium tomato (diced), 1 t. ground cumin, 1/4 t. ground turmeric and 1/2 t. cayenne pepper. Cook over a low flame until the tomatoes break down and begin to create a sauce. Pour the skillet contents into the pan of beans. Add 1 t. salt, stir to combine and simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes. If you'd like a thinner consistency, add more water and adjust seasonings accordingly.




POSOLE WITH ROASTED TOFU


At Cafe Drake HRV we often make a brick-red posole stew, dark and earthy from dried guajillo and pasila chilies. This recipe from Vedge, the cookbook from the chefs of the trailblazing Philadelphia restaurant of the same name, offers a lighter, brothier rendition of posole. It's so perfect on a chilly night, sided with a crusty baguette. Our only adaptation to the original recipe is the inclusion of cubes of oven-roasted tofu, added in the last few minutes of simmering time. Start by heating 2 T. vegetable oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over high heat. Add 2 pitted and diced chayotes (you could substitute zucchini if you like but chayote, a mild-flavored Latin squash, is available at all supermarkets), 2 seeded and finely chopped poblano peppers, 1 small onion (roughly chopped), 3 t. ground cumin, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 T. paprika, 1 t. dried oregano, 1 t. dried thyme, 1 1/2 t. salt and black pepper to taste. Stir often - to prevent burning - for 5 minutes. Add 6 cups vegetable stock, 2 15-oz. cans of hominy/posole (drained and rinsed well), 2 diced plum tomatoes and 2 T. tomato paste. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chayote is fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Serve the posole in wide, shallow soup bowls garnished with cilantro, shredded red cabbage and slivered radishes.





THAI DRUNKEN NOODLES AND FRIED TEMPEH

Vegetarian noodle dishes are enhanced with protein sides such as roasted tofu or, as above, pan-fried slices of tempeh. To recreate the flavor and texture of the tempeh in Indonesian restaurants, slice 1 8-oz. package of tempeh in half horizontally and then cut into smaller pieces. Soak in a brine made from: 1 1/2 cups hot water, 2 t. salt and 4-5 crushed cloves of garlic. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the marinade and lightly pat dry. Fry the tempeh pieces in a skillet in 1/2" depth of vegetable oil. Make sure the oil is hot when you add the tempeh; 365 degrees F. is an ideal temperature. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping the tempeh as needed to brown evenly on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

This quick and simple recipe for Drunken Noodles (Gueyteow Pad Ki Mow) comes from Thai Vegetarian Cooking by Vatcharin Bhumichitr, surely the only book you'll ever require on meatless Siamese cuisine! Soak 8 oz. brown rice noodles in hot water until just barely soft. Drain and rinse and set aside. If you soak the noodles too long they will become mushy and stick together. In a large non-stick skillet heat 3-4 T. coconut or vegetable oil over a medium-high flame. Add 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) and 4-5 small hot red or green chilies; stir-fry until the garlic is golden but not burned. Add the noodles, stir to coat in the oil, and then add all at once: 1 medium onion (peeled and cut into thin slices), 2 small plum tomatoes (sliced in thin wedges), 8 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves (roughly chopped), a handful of basil leaves, 4 T. tamari or soy sauce, 1 t. sugar and 1 green bell pepper (cut in this slivers). Stir-fry until the onions and the bell peppers begin to wilt. Serve hot.

We loved these noodles so much we made them again two days later. Having run out of rice noodles, we subbed in less satisfying whole wheat thin spaghetti. The wheat noodles are perfectly acceptable in a pinch but not ideal. Above, Drunken Noodles with salad, cilantro and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes.






and back to CAFE DRAKE HRV original recipes . . .
MUSHROOM WONTONS



Mushroom Wontons, Brown Rice, Baby Greens Salad with Edamame and Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. Grab our original recipe for the baked wontons HERE in the Cafe Drake HRV archives.




BAKED FRIED TOFU

Whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal and spices are mixed together for a crispy coating for sliced tofu.


Chewy roasted broccolini cooks in the oven with whole, unpeeled garlic cloves. When the broccolini is cooked to your liking, squeeze the soft garlic from its papery skin and mix with the veggies before serving.

Baked "Fried" Tofu, Romaine and Avocado Salad, Roasted Broccolini with Garlic and Jerusalem Artichokes in Tomato Sauce. You're gonna want to try the latter for a novel and delicious side dish. The recipe is from Darra Goldstein's heartwarming ode to plant-based cuisine during the cold season, The Vegetarian Hearth. Boil 1/2 lb. scrubbed but unpeeled Jerusalem artichokes in salted water until just tender. Be careful to not overcook. Drain and slice the root veggies 1/2" thick. In a saucepan simmer together 1 T. olive oil, 1 T. butter (or vegan substitute such as Earth Balance spread), 1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes (drained), 1/2 t. salt, black pepper to taste and 1/4 t. dried thyme. Add the sliced artichokes to the saucepan and stir gently to combine with the tomatoes. Cook very gently for a couple of minutes and serve hot.

Consider us smitten with this oven-based tofu preparation. Not only does it spare you the hassle of shallow frying, the end result with it savory crust is very low in fat and calories! This recipe is taken from Vegan Vittles by Joanne Stepaniak. For a thin cookbook this one, inspired by the author's work with farm animal sanctuaries, packs a heavy number of recipes you'll actually want to make. Again and again. Like this tofu. Start by patting dry 1 block of extra-firm tofu and then cutting into 1/2" thick slices. Place the tofu in a wide, shallow bowl. Whisk together 3/4 cup water, 3 T. tamari or soy sauce, 3 T. nutritional yeast flakes, 1/2 t. ground coriander, 1/2 t. onion powder, 1/2 t. garlic powder and a pinch or two each of dried oregano and dried thyme. Pour this over the tofu slices, cover and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or up to two days. From time to time flip the slices so that they are evenly coated with the marinade. When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and mix in a shallow bowl 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes, 1/2 t. onion powder, 1/2 t. salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Remove each slice of tofu from the marinade and dredge it, one at a time, in the coating mixture. Be sure to get all sides covered! Transfer the tofu to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tofu slices. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes. Carefully flip the pieces with a spatula and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve hot or warm with rice or mashed potatoes. Leftovers can be enjoyed cold, straight from the fridge, on salads or in sandwiches.



References:
Vegetarian India. Madhur Jaffrey.
Vedge. Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby.
Thai Vegetarian Cooking. Vatcharin Bhumichitr
The Vegetarian Hearth. Darra Goldstein
Vegan Vittles. Joanna Stepaniak

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