SusanV’s Okara Crab Cakes with some sauces

As I promised in the Imperial Deviled Crab post, yesterday I attempted to make a crabby tofu. And I failed miserably. I was left with, however, an Old Bay and seaweed-infused mass of thick okara, so to keep the thing from becoming a total loss, I obviously made SusanV’s Okara Crab Cakes.

I actually had some tartar sauce already prepared, as yesterday I’d made us quick “fish” sandwiches, using some frozen vegan “fish” patties, but reading Susan’s suggestion of a “spicy cocktail sauce”, I decided I wanted some of that too! I looked up cocktail sauce recipes and quickly learned that horseradish is pretty much essential, but I didn’t have any and it didn’t seem worth a trip to Wegmans (despite my undying love for Wegmans). In case you ever find yourself in the same situation, here’s what I did:

Don’t Have Any Horseradish But Need Cocktail Sauce Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp powdered wasabi
2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
juice of 1/2 large lemon
hot sauce to taste

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Since I had made the tartar sauce the day before and wasn’t planning to post it, I don’t have any pictures for you, but in case you are interested, here’s what I probably did (I don’t remember exactly and I just make this stuff up as I go along…)

Tartar Sauce

1 cup Vegenaise
1/4 cup sweet relish, squeezed dry
1/4 onion, minced
1 tsp dry mustard
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Now, I don’t know how many of you are into photography at all. I’m quite an amateur, but I consider it one of my hobbies. I like to think that most of my photography is better than the awful pictures I manage to take of food for this blog (food photography is a skill I’m trying to improve), but I still have a lot to learn. One thing I DO know is that my aperture was set way, way too low when I was taking pictures of my crab cakes tonight. Wow. This actually looks better in the smaller version (usually the reverse is quite true), but it is still an awful picture and I’m sorry. I’d have skipped posting anything tonight, but it’s been several days and I feel as I’ve abandoned you. I wanted to have an awesome tofu crab tutorial for you today but that didn’t work out!

I’ll leave you with a picture of some rolls I baked yesterday (in addition to a hearth loaf and a panned loaf that is currently in the refrigerator for baking tomorrow). The recipe was the Whole Wheat Bread with a Multi-Grain Soaker and Pâte Fermentée from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread.

This book has been on my wish list forever and I was ready for a new bread book, but since I’m a book-buying ban until I go to Sydney in February, I borrowed it from the library. I don’t want to hurt Peter Reinhart’s feelings, but I might have a new boyfriend now! I’m either going to have to keep this book checked out until my birthday in October, or I’m going to have to break the book-buying ban, because I need this book. (Fortunately, I’ve been very careful to say I’m only “cutting back” on my book purchases until Sydney…)

Oh yeah, and I found out that Fortinbras promised his mother that I would do a bagel tutorial, so look for that soon. If it weren’t so late and I weren’t so into reading Little House on the Prairie for some unknown reason, I’d start some bagels tonight, but I’m afraid it’s going to have to wait another week. Bagels are fun though! Get yourselves some high-gluten flour in preparation!

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Thai Sticky Rice and Sauces

Thai sticky rice is a fun food you can eat with your hands and flavor with a variety of different sauces. You want to buy rice labeled “sweet rice” or “glutinous rice”. Shown is a store brand I currently have on hand, but I usually buy a Thai brand from the Thai grocery store. This is a short grain, glutinous rice, but it is not the same as sushi rice, so if you are unsure about what you are buying, you may want to ask a clerk. I have found the clerks in Asian grocery stores to be extremely helpful, despite the fact that I’m ordinarily very shy, so don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, everything I am about to show you about making Thai sticky rice, I learned from the very helpful lady at the Thai grocery store.

I cook most of my rice in an electric rice cooker after moving into a home with an electric stove (from one with a gas stove) and finding myself no longer capable of cooking rice properly, however, this type of rice can not be made in a rice cooker (although sushi rice, which is also sticky, can be). Instead, you will need a special steaming basket, which is available in Thai grocery stores and looks like this:

They are inexpensive and you can order them online, from sites such as this one, although you can probably just use a regular steamer if you don’t want to buy one.

First you need to soak the rice. Most of the instructions I have found online have given soaking times between 4 and 6 hours, however, the very nice lady at the Thai grocery promised me two hours was sufficient, and I’ve never had a problem soaking for as little as two hours. If I think of it earlier, I soak for longer, but two hours is fine. Figure on about 1/2 a cup dry rice per serving.

Here is my soaked rice:

Drain the rice. Get a piece of cheesecloth or muslin about 12″ by 12″ and mound the rice into the center of it. In the photo, I thought I would be clever by lining my sieve with the muslin and pouring the soaked rice into it, thinking the water would drain quickly through the fabric and save me a step, however it didn’t really work: the water didn’t drain quickly enough for me and I ended up pouring it out.

After mounding the rice in the center of the cheesecloth or muslin, fold it up into a neat little package:

Place the rice package into the steaming basket:

Put a few inches of water into the pot and place the basket on the pot (make sure the water doesn’t touch the basket). Place a snugly-fitting lid over the rice package:

Steam over medium heat. How long the rice takes to steam will depend on how long it was soaked and how much you are making. I have found it usually takes about 45 minutes, although I start checking it after half an hour. To check for doneness, remove the rice package from the basket, unfold, and try to grab a bit with chopsticks. If the rice is still hard and not sticking together, you still have a while to go. If it is clumping together, test a small amount in your hand and see if it feels soft and sticky. It’s never done the first time I check, but the bottom of the package is usually stickier than the top, so I’ll usually return the package to the basket upside down so it uniformly steams.

When the rice is done, remove from the basket and use a wooden rice paddle to remove from the cheesecloth or muslin.

Traditionally, the rice would be moved to a lidded serving basket, but I for some reason seem to not yet have acquired one of those. Sounds like a trip to the Thai grocery store is in order…

To eat, take a small amount of rice in your hands and dip it in a sauce. Here are a couple of sauce recipes:

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

I got this recipe off the internet somewhere a long time ago: it is not my recipe. For my husband and I, I usually halve these amounts.

1/2 cup white or rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

Heat the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, crush the garlic with the pepper flakes and salt with a mortar and pestle.

Stir this paste into the vinegar and sugar solution. Bring to room temperature and serve.

Peanut Sauce

This is my very simple and easy peanut sauce recipe that I use for everything from sticky rice to noodles. The bottle on the right in the photo is my homemade chili oil, which looks strange because there is gunk that marinates in it and I actually ran out of the oil and only had some gunk left. Looks like I’ll be making chili oil tomorrow. I managed to get 1 tsp out of it and made up for the remainder of the heat by using sriracha.

1/4 cup peanut butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp of chili oil
1/2 cup water

Process all ingredients in a mini-chopper, blender, food processor, immersion blender…or just whisk them all together.

Here’s everything I made for dinner tonight (peanut sauce not shown):

The spicy tofu + sticky rice meal is popular around here. My best friend considers this his favorite, and it’s one of my favorites too.

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