Friday, September 30, 2016

Sour Cream Enchiladas (VEGAN)

Enchiladas with all the Trimmings: Yellow Rice and Peas, Charred Broccoli, Sauteed Yellow Summer Squash, Black Olives and Serrano Chilies

The Sour Cream Enchiladas above were made with a red salsa of tomatoes and dried guajillo chilies, but are equally gratifying prepared with a green tomatillo salsa. Mole sauce can also be substituted for the salsa in the recipe below. For potlucks or large buffet meals, why not make one of each? If you're pressed for time use store-bought jarred salsas.

After removing from the oven, we scatter the hot enchiladas with slivered green chilies and chopped cilantro. Thinly shaved red onions and diced radishes also good options

Silky and smooth tofu sour cream, whipped together in less than 5 minutes, lends the enchiladas a luxurious richness in taste and texture. Dairy sour cream of course may be used as well.

Begin the enchiladas by making the tofu sour cream. Store-bought vegan or dairy sour cream are both options but in our opinion less flavorful. Add to a blender and process until smooth as velvet: 3 T. raw cashews (soaked for 6-8 hours), 1 12-oz. package of silken firm tofu ( i.e. the Mori-Nu brand ), 3 T. lemon juice, 2 t. apple cider vinegar, 2 t. white miso and 1 t. agave nectar.

Transfer the sour cream to a mixing bowl and stir in 4 T. chopped chives (or 1/3 cup thinly slivered scallions) and a small handful of finely chopped cilantro. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Often we prefer a tarter taste and add up to another tablespoon of lemon juice.

Now preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a saucepan gently heat - do not allow to boil - 1 cup of your sauce of choice (green, red, mole). One at a time, place 6 corn tortillas on a cutting board and brush both sides of each with a bit of the warm sauce. Put about 3 T. of sour cream in the middle of each tortilla, sprinkle with grated vegan mozzarella or Jack-style cheese and roll up. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and place them all, seam-side down in a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sour cream and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and scatter across the perfectly browned enchiladas any of the following: diced red onions, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, diced radishes or black olives. 

Serve with extra warm sauce on the side or your favorite salsa.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Tunisian Chickpea and Rice Casserole

Our Tunisian Chickpea and Brown Rice Casserole is a spicier riff on the original recipe in Julie Hasson's excellent cookbook Vegan Casseroles

Here's how we do it: preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and spray with oil an 8" square casserole dish or another close in size. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a skillet over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, add 1 cup minced onion and 4-5 cloves minced garlic; saute for 3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Sprinkle in 1 t. ground cumin and 1 t. caraway seeds. Saute for another minute or two and then remove from heat.

Add the onions, garlic and spices to a large bowl along with 1 15-oz. can chickpeas (rinsed well and drained), 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked brown rice (short or long grain, it matters not), 1/2 cup chopped dill, a handful of chopped parsley and 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes.Stir to just combine the ingredients and flavors and set aside while you whisk together in a smaller bowl 1/3 cup tahini, 2/3 cup hot water, the juice of half a lemon, 1/2 t. cayenne pepper and 3/4 t. smoked or regular paprika. Season to taste with salt.

Now, pour the tahini sauce into the other ingredients and stir, this time very well, before adding salt and black pepper to your taste. Transfer everything to the prepared casserole dish and bake, covered with foil or a lid, for 10 minutes. Remove the covering and bake an additional 15 minutes or until very hot throughout.

Allow the casserole to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving. If the casserole appears too runny let it sit for an additional 15 minutes, in which time the rice will absorb any excess liquid.

A very compatible casserole that can be served with just about any non-starchy side you can imagine, at Cafe Drake HRV we like it with a crunchy contrast, usually a parsley and onion salad or marinated cucumbers and olives. Also excellent with pickles or roasted or grilled long hot peppers.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Garden Glimpses

September has arrived, the light is changing, the nights turning cooler and already here in the Hudson River Valley, the growing season is waning. Soon we'll be harvesting the final tomatoes and string beans and chili peppers from the Cafe Drake HRV gardens, while the zinnias, asters, lettuces and other salad greens should thrive for another month or so. We just wanted to share a few pics of Summer 2016's bounty, less abundant than previous years due to persistent heatwaves and scarce rainfall, but satisfying in the way that only comes from nurturing a plant from seed through harvest.

Micro-Harvest #1 - Venetian Purple String Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, Black Raspberries, Tiny Tom Tomatoes and Matchbox Chili Peppers

The zinnias and bachelor buttons are always the first to bloom in the cutting garden.
Lloyd poses with blue flowers of the borage plants, an always reliable perennial.

Although not a favorite at Cafe Drake HRV, Black-eyed Susans are certainly prolific. A few sprawled in a vase makes a colorful and adequate arrangement in late Summer.

A quirky bouquet!

New to the garden this year was the Indigo Rose tomato. All the fruits have the characteristic swath of deep purple but otherwise ripen in a variety of shades along the red color spectrum.

Green suits Arabella, wouldn't you agree?

A booming bed of Russian kale and flourishing herbs (from lower left, counter clockwise: salad burnett, thyme, marjoram, oregano, chives and yellow sage).

Another bed of robust herbs. From lower center, counter-clockwise: pineapple sage, tarragon, lemon balm, anise hyssop and Thai basil.
The garden's security guard, Lloyd Page, stands alert and ready to remove any trespassers.

A veritable field of shiso. Blessed with surplus, we sell bunches of the Japanese herb to a nearby sushi restaurant whose chef strives for local ingredients.

Still on security detail, Lloyd often pulls long shifts.

The coveted and revered Green Zebra tomato was one of our bumper crops this year.

As big as a saucer, Goldie tomatoes, when fully ripe, are more of a deep orange; their creamy flesh is akin in color and texture to a cantaloupe.
Petite arrangements are perfect for bathrooms and bedside tables.

above two photos: In the height of the season, flowers are tucked in open table spaces throughout the house.
Assorted fruits from the Tomato Patch including Green Zebra, Black Krim, Honey Drop and Bumble Bee Cherry.

Lloyd takes a break in the shade of the shiso plants.

above and below: the biggest and the smallest of the tomatoes grown at Cafe Drake HRV.

No shortage of berries this summer.
A few potted plants.

This pink begonia has grown as large as an exercise ball!

Thai basil is an herb that can be both dried and frozen successfully. Lucky for us since we're inundated with it.

These four perennial herbs - marjoram, oregano, tarragon and chives - seem to grow back stronger and larger every Spring.

Gorgeous, deep violet flower petals are an added bonus to our Venetian purple string bean vines.

Prickly, sprawling and tall, cardoon is sort of a garden bully if you ask us.

Raspberries and more raspberries.

So very many raspberries.