Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chickpea Croquettes

Croquetas de Garbanzo!

At Cafe Drake HRV we were craving one night that sweetheart duo of Fish Cakes and Spaghetti. Chickpea Croquettes and Bowtie Marinara happened instead.

Croquettes beg to sit on your plate beside a garden salad or green peas. Green olives and crushed chili flakes are the best condiments. If serving the croquettes as a tapa, a garlicky mayonnaise for dipping is traditional.

Who doesn't love Croquetos de Pollo, the Spanish fried croquettes filled with tender strands of chicken in a velvet cream sauce? Probably no one. Except vegans. Now however we present this Catalan comfort food in a pure plant-protein version that everyone, herbivores AND carnivores, can savor. 

Begin by melting 4 T. vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a medium-size skillet over low heat. While the butter is melting, also add 1 T. olive oil to the skillet. Sprinkle 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the skillet and stir until you have a thick paste. Turn off the heat and whisk in to the roux 1 cup +  1 T. plain soy, almond or any other non-dairy milk

Add to the skillet 2 cloves grated or pressed garlic, 1/2 a 15-oz. can of chickpeas (rinsed, drained and lightly mashed), 3/4 cup mashed potato, 1/2 t. salt and 1 t. smoked paprika. Mix well. You should end up with a very thick consistency, that of a soft dough. If the mixture is too soft sprinkle in a bit more flour to thicken. Allow to cool to room temperature, or if you prefer, refrigerate covered for up to 8 hours.

Shape the dough into small patties or a more traditional croquette form (like a short fat sausage) and roll lightly in dried bread crumbs. Pour 3 T. olive oil into a non-stick skillet and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the croquettes and fry for a couple of minutes per side or until golden-brown. Drain any excess oil on a paper or kitchen towel. 

Serve with a green salad and rice or pasta.

(No) Carne Asada Flautas + Chayote Salad

Instead of roasted pork or beef, finely chopped and spiced seitan is used as the filling for our mouthwatering flautas.

Seasoned and sauteed seitan is cooked with onions and a dab of tomato paste before being encased in 6" whole wheat tortillas. Feel free substitute corn tortillas but just don't forget to call them taquitos instead!

Flautas at Cafe Drake HRV are baked so we can avoid the hassle of deep-frying and also hereby declare these treats guilt-free. Don't laugh at the prickly little roll-ups seen above; multiple toothpicks ensure the tortillas stay closed while baking.

Seitan asada flautas, for dinner, with black rice and a green salad.

Leftovers for lunch the following afternoon, with Broccoli and Chickpea Soup, Jalapeno Salsa and a Salad of Chayote, Queso Fresco and Olives.

The salad is in a cinch and will stay flavorful in the fridge, tightly covered, for a couple of days. Simply, wash well and cut into 1" chunks 2 chayote squash. Don't bother peeling them but we suggest you remove the pit inside. Place the chopped chayote in a saucepan and and cover with an inch or two of salted water. Boil just until the chayote is tender enough to pierce with a fork. Drain but add to a mixing bowl along with 1/4 cup diced red onion and a handful of small, pitted green olives. Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Toss well and top with some crumbled queso fresco. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.


First we need to make the seitan asada filling. Begin by chopping very finely around 1 lb. (or a little less) seitan, either store-bought or homemade. Set aside while you heat in a non-stick skillet 2 T. olive oil. Start the heat medium-high and adjust lower as needed to avoid burning. When the oil is very hot add 1/2 cup minced onion and 3 cloves minced garlic. Cook just until the onion turns translucent before adding the chopped seitan along with 1 heaping t. ground cumin, 1/2 t. cayenne pepper, 1 t. ground chipotle powder, 2 T. apple cider vinegar and 3 T. tomato paste.  Season with salt; the amount needed will depend upon how the saltiness of your seitan. Stir well and cook until the seitan seems moist and combined with the spices and onions, around 3 minutes. If the skillet becomes too dry, sprinkle in a little more vinegar.

Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to slightly cool while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place around 1/4 cup of the seitan asada along one edge of a whole wheat or corn tortilla. Roll the tortilla closed and secure with at least 3 toothpicks stuck through the middle. Repeat with additional tortillas until you've used up all the filling.

Now transfer the flautas to a large baking sheet and spray both sides of the rolled tortillas with cooking oil. Alternately, you could brush both sides with vegetable or olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, flip the flautas, and bake for 10 more minutes or until the tortillas are golden and crisp.

Serve hot with your favorite salsa and whatever else you'd like.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tempeh Sausage Sliders & Creamy Green Olive Spread For a Week!

First let us say, you should consider making all of the elements of this masterpiece open-faced sandwich. Even if you don't combine them to create a heap of healthy hedonism on bread, the sausages are superb on their own or with pasta and the green olive spread just begs to be included on a crudités platter.

Our recipe for the sausage is only lightly adapted from Adam Sobel in his cookbook ode to elaborate plant-based cuisine Street Vegan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add to a food processor or high-powered blender 1 8-oz. package of tempeh (coarsely crumbled), 3 T. white or chickpea miso, 2 T. toasted sesame oil, 1-2 T. dried sage, 1 T. fennel seeds, 3/4 cup chopped onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 heaping t. crushed red chili flakes, 1 T. agave nectar or 2 T. maple syrup, a large dash of liquid smoke and 1/3 cup oat bran. Process until you have a thick, almost smooth paste.

Lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with a Silpat. With damp hands, take 3 T. of the ground mixture and roll into a small ball. Flatten a bit and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all of the tempeh mixture has been used. Brush the tops of each patty with a bit of olive oil.

Bake for about 18-20 minutes. The sausage sliders should be browned on top, somewhat firm but not too dry.

Serve as sliders or with spaghetti and marinara sauce or for breakfast with scrambled eggs or tofu.

Tempeh Sausage Sliders with Creamy Green Olive Spread, Chicory and Cucumber Salad, Pan-fried Jerusalem Artichokes and Sauteed Broccoli

Green Olive Spread

This recipe is adapted from Vegan Vittles by Joanne Stepaniak. Place in a blender or food processor 1 12-oz. package firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu brand), 10-12 pitted green olives, a handful of chopped parsley, 1 T. nutritional yeast flakes, 1 T. capers along with a bit of brine, a squirt of fresh lemon juice, 1 T. Dijon mustard, 1/2 t. salt, a large dash of crushed red chili flakes and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Puree until smooth. With the appliance still running, drizzle in slowly 3 T. olive oil.

Serve as a sandwich spread or a dip for vegetables or toasted pita chips.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BBQ Portobello Mushrooms

Roasted portobello mushrooms and onions, drizzled with a homemade BBQ sauce, may not look so pretty straight from the oven but as you'll see below, clean up nicely when dressed as a burger.

BBQ Portobello Cheese Burger with roasted onions, romaine lettuce and tomato

A leftover roasted mushroom gets a new identity as a portobello "steak", served with an eggplant and basmati pilaf and smokey chickpeas.

First, preheat your oven to 415 degrees F. while you mix together the homemade BBQ sauce. Those in a rush can always just use a favorite all-natural jarred sauce. To make the Isa Moskowitz- inspired sauce from scratch whisk together in a medium-sized bowl: 1/2 cup water, 2 T. brown sugar, 2 T. molasses, 3 T. tomato paste, 1 T. smooth peanut butter, 1 T. tamari or soy sauce, 2 T. vinegar, 1 T. Dijon mustard and 1/2 t. liquid hickory smoke. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed; you may wish to add salt and/or black pepper. If you prefer a sweeter BBQ sauce, add a tablespoon of maple syrup.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and place on it 1 thickly-sliced large onion. Top the onions with 3 or 4 large portobello mushroom caps. Drizzle some of the BBQ sauce over everything and roast for 10 minutes. Flip the mushrooms and drizzle again with more sauce. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have become soft and chewy. Baste once more with sauce and cook an additional minute or two. 

Remove the mushrooms from the oven and serve as a burger on a toasted bun or English muffin, or plate as a portobello steak with a baked potato and salad.

Sweet and Sour and Spicy Sesame Tofu

Like so many Chinese-American dishes beloved by home-delivery enthusiasts, this one features a sauce made with ketchup. Trying to find a brand with natural ingredients and no corn syrup is as easy as a trip to your local supermarket; our favorites include Annie's Natural's and Heinz Organic.

Begin by patting dry 1 block of extra-firm tofu and then cutting it into 1" cubes. Gently toss the cubes with 1-2 T. vegetable or peanut oil and a generous dusting of finely ground sea salt. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Flip the cubes and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the tofu is somewhat crispy on both sides and lightly browned. remove from oven and set aside.

Next, in a medium-size bowl, stir together 3/4 cup natural ketchup, 1/4 cup rice or white vinegar, 2 T. tamari or soy sauce, 1 T. sriracha and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Set aside while you heat 2 T. peanut or vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over a medium-high flame. When the oil is very hot but not smoking toss in 6-8 whole dried red chilies. Stir for a moment as the chilies darken. Throw in 1 thinly sliced onion, 2 cloves sliced garlic, 1 T. grated ginger and 1 thinly sliced yellow or red bell pepper. Stir constantly until the peppers begin to soften. Add the roasted tofu and the mixed sauce. Cook for a minute or two ensuring the sauce thickens quickly. Finally, sprinkle in 3 T. sesame seeds

Serve hot with rice and steamed broccoli or another green vegetable.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Cooking From Books (mostly)

(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 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.


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.


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, 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.


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.

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

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Korean Style Spicy Tofu Stew

Dried red chili flakes are quickly fried in oil, lightly seasoned and allowed to cool. The spicy, toasty tasting oil is then served as a condiment alongside the tofu stew.

Shitake mushrooms, onions, carrots and turnips not only provide the bulk of the stew, when simmered together they infuse the broth with deep umami richness.

Spicy Tofu Stew, Chili Sesame Oil, Baby Spinach and Cabbage Salad with Carrot Dressing and Yellow Rice

Our version presented here omits kimchi from the soup. Heresy to many but ours is a rough recreation, vegetarian-ized, of one we used to enjoy at the East Village Korean comfort food mecca Dok Suni. That stew also relied upon dried chilies and chili paste rather than kimchi for its fiery element. 

We'll begin by soaking 1/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms in a bowl of very hot water for 20 minutes. Remove the softened mushrooms and slice into thick strips, reserving the soaking water. Set both aside.

Pour 2 T. coconut or vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 T. dried red chili flakes and cook until they become dark and toasted, less than a minute usually. Remove from heat and add to the pan 1 T. dark sesame oil. Sprinkle with just a dash of salt and allow to cool before transferring to condiment bowl or bowls.

Now heat 2 T. coconut or vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Over a medium flame saute 1 sliced onion, 2 peeled and sliced carrots, 1 peeled and diced turnip and the drained shitake mushrooms. Cook just until the onion has become translucent and then add 3 cups vegetable stock and the reserved mushroom soaking water. Note: the soaking water may have some gritty debris at the bottom so pour carefully to avoid adding to the soup, or pour through a fine mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter.

Bring everything to a boil before adding 2 T. Korean hot pepper paste, 1 heaping t. dried red chili flakes and 1-2 T. tamari or soy sauce. Stir well to dissolve the chili paste. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft but not mushy. Now add 1 box of silken firm or extra-firm tofu (Mori Nu brand), cut into large squares. The tofu will fall apart if even glanced at the wrong way, so just like that one special friend, handle with kid gloves.

Simmer until the tofu is warmed through. Taste for seasoning. Depending on the saltiness of your broth, you may need to add additional tamari or soy sauce. Ladle into wide, shallow soup bowls. Garnish with sliced scallions if desired and serve the hot sesame oil, along with a small bottle of plain rice vinegar, as a table condiment.