Saturday, October 29, 2016

Postcards From Our Meat-Free Kitchen

Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Vegan Mozzarella is one of the quickest suppers to assemble, ideal for weeknights or any night you get a late start on dinner. Boil packaged gnocchi for a few minutes, just until they bubble to the surface. Place the gnocchi in a single layer and sprinkle with grated cheese and a pinch or two of nutmeg. Bake briefly at 375 degrees F., uncovered, to allow the cheese to melt and become bubbly. Serve hot ot warm drizzled with olive oil and crushed red chilies.

Reheated pizza for lunch is never a bad idea.

Whole Wheat Pizza with Pesto, Garden Tomatoes and Sliced Red Chilies

Homemade Pizza in 20 Minutes! First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. and place inside a large baking sheet, turned upside down. Over a medium flame, add 2 T. olive oil to a skillet. Add 2 cups thinly sliced Cremini mushrooms and a healthy pinch of salt. Stir-fry until the mushrooms are soft and most of the released liquid has been absorbed. Season with thyme leaves and oregano. Remove from heat and stir in 1 large garlic clove (finely minced or pressed). Remove the baking sheet from the oven - be careful as it will be scalding hot - and still keeping the baking sheet overturned, place atop 1-2 whole wheat flat breads or wraps. We generally use whole wheat lavash bread at Cafe Drake HRV but even a large whole grain tortilla will suffice. Lightly cover the pizza crust of your choice with shredded mozzarella (dairy or vegan). Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the cheese and return to the oven for 6-12 minutes, depending on the type of pizza base used. Transfer the pizzas underneath a hot broiler and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Serve the pizza piping hot and festooned with crushed red chilies and minced chives. Finish with a swirl of your best olive oil.

Mushroom Flat Bread Pizza with Heirloom Tomato Salad and Steamed Veggies

Will we ever stop making tostados you might ask? Unlikely. The three pictured above are packed with serious heft and a boatload of protein from refried beans and tofu salad. Looks like we got our greens in for the day as well with a tomatillo salsa, cilantro sprigs and roasted broccoli. If you're curious, even a tad dubious, about our Tofu Salad, don't be; just try it. The recipe is HERE in the Cafe Drake HRV archives and has become a favorite of many visitors, including those with a previous tofu aversion.

Sometimes lunch is just a big old delicious mess! Leftover Rotini with Lentil Bolognese and Tomato and Romaine Salad with Homemade Vegan Ranch Dressing and Chia Seeds

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, we're always in the mood for roasted cabbage at Cafe Drake HRV. You'll find our basic recipe and instructions HERE in the archives, but don't stop there. Try topping the blackened, smokey cabbage with diced tomatoes, red onions, croutons and your favorite creamy dressing for a nifty, nutritious take on the classic Iceberg Wedge Salad.

A verdant summer meal of Whole Wheat Linguine with Pumpkin Seed and Parsley Pesto, Roasted Broccoli, Romaine Salad and Guacamole.

Arabella isn't fooling anyone at Cafe Drake HRV with that seemingly nonchalant expression. This pit bull is a veggie lover!!

This summer stir-fry is a staple at Cafe Drake HRV. Onions, thin slices of seitan, fresh corn and slivered green chilies are pan-fried briefly over a high flame, then finished with a squeeze of lime juice and a handful of mint leaves.

Light, bright flavors and nutritious combinations characterize our Japanese "small bites" dinners. Above, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli with Carrot Dressing, Broiled Peppers with Miso, Tofu En Brodo, Sake-Braised Green Beans and Hot Mustard

Tofu En Brodo, as we call this mash-up of Italian cooking technique and Asian ingredients, is made by very gently simmering extra-firm silken tofu in a rich broth of dried mushrooms and soy sauce.

Roasting any vegetable with a miso dressing adds tons of complex umami flavors but bell peppers respond especially well. Try it yourself by mixing 1 T. miso paste to 3 T. olive oil and tossing with 1 lb. of seeded and halved green, red, yellow or orange bell peppers. Roast at 400 degrees F.  for 15 minutes or so until the peppers are soft and beginning to blacken at the edges

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tomato Bulgur Pilaf with Eggplant Salad and Carrots Casablanca


Either as a side or main dish, this moist, tangy pilaf steals the show. For an entree, stir in 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or black-eyed peas before serving.

To begin: heat 1 T. olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-low heat. Add one small onion (diced), 2 cloves of garlic (minced) and 1 large cinnamon stick (broken in at least three pieces). Stir fry until the onion darkens a shade or two. Add a little more oil if the onions or garlic begin to burn.

Stir in 1 t. smoked paprika, 1/4 - 1/2 t. cayenne pepper and 2 heaping T. tomato paste. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, before adding 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup chopped tomatoes and 1 cup coarse-ground bulgur. (Wherever you purchase your bulgur it will be designated as coarse, medium or fine.)

Bring everything to a boil and sprinkle in 1/2 t. salt and plenty of black pepper to taste. 1/2 t. turmeric added to the pot is entirely optional but lends the pilaf a lovely orange tint and add increased nutritional value. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for around 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let rest, still covered, for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the pilaf with a fork and then stir in a handful each of roughly chopped mint and parsley leaves. The bulgur should be soft but still retain a bit of chewiness. Season with more salt and pepper as desired before serving warm. When this pilaf is the focal part of a meal at Cafe Drake HRV, such as a light luncheon, we present the pilaf heaped on plates and surrounded with condiments - lemon wedges, slivered onions and a variety of pickles.


Peel and cut into 2" pieces 1 lb. of carrots. If the carrots are thick, slice horizontally as well to create batons. Place the carrots in a skillet along with 1 T. olive oil, 1 t. agave nectar or maple syrup or honey, 1/4 t. salt and 2/3 cup water. Cover the skillet and cook the carrots over high heat until the water is mostly absorbed and the carrots have a glossy, glazed look. This should take about 10 minutes or just less.

Stir in 1/3 - 1/2 cup pitted and torn oil-cured black olives. Cook for one more minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped chives. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

At Cafe Drake HRV we sometimes follow the same recipe but swap out the carrots for beets. If making this version, the peeled beets should be cut into julienne slices, very thin. Increase the water to 1 cup and adjust salt and sugar according to personal tastes. Beets Casablanca truly sing when garnished with minced tarragon leaves.


In a large mixing bowl combine well 1 small preserved lemon (sold in brine, jarred), 1 T. lemon juice, 1 clove of garlic (very finely minced or pressed), red chili flakes to taste and 2 T. sultanas or dried currants. Set aside while you slice 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lbs.) into rounds, no thicker than 1/2".

Transfer the eggplant slices to a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones if needed) and toss lightly with olive oil. Roast in a single layer in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for about 15 minutes. Flip the slices after about 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. The eggplant is done when very soft in the middle.

Add roasted eggplant to the mixing bowl and stir gently to combine with other ingredients. This is best done with your clean hands to avoid breaking up the eggplant too much. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve either at room temperature or slightly chilled, on its own or atop lettuce leaves.

A hardy, vegetable-based dinner at Cafe Drake HRV - Tomato Bulgur Pilaf, Chickpea Flatbreads, Stewed Fava Beans, Eggplant Salad and Carrots Casablanca.

Monday, October 03, 2016

We Get By With Little Visits From Our Friends!

above two photos: Susan and Sloane spend some Quality Sofa Time with Arabella Page

above four photos: Sharon and Pete stopped by Saugerties this summer and we got the thrill of meeting young Gabriel!

On a visit to the Hudson Valley, all the way from Ann Arbor, Mae Skidmore finally got to meet Arabella in person. A long-distance admirer of our daughter, Mae found the fondness equally returned by Arabella.

above two photos: Arabella always enjoys a weekend with Reiner Lang, Esther Lok and Lola. This time Lola brought her a new friend named Pablo!

(above photos) It was a packed house at our 4th of July Vegan BBQ 2016!