Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chesapeake Tempeh "Crab" Cakes

Weeeellllll, it's official. Apparently these Chesapeake Tempeh "Crab" cakes are the greatest aphrodisiac on earth. No really. Not that I'm speaking from direct experience - that would be over sharing just a tad! But from the folks who have tried these have confirmed it: anyone who eats them will be begging for more and will do anything (short of murder, let's hope!) to get them.

So how would you handle such adoration?

1. Turn on your sassy heel, tossing your apron corners at such sniveling submissiveness and watch as their saliva-dripping mouths make puddles; or

2.  Charge an arm and a leg (or bank a few hours of help around the house time) to make another batch; or

3. Take pity on the poor souls and show them how easy it is to make it themselves.

Luckily, I am the generous type of Leo!

These tasty morsels are from Post Punk Kitchen - was there ever a doubt? I have made them twice in one week, and even with the second batch when I distractedly added 3 (!!!) tablespoons of hot sauce instead of one, they were still unbelievable-ness in my mouth.

This is the kind of recipe that will turn non-vegan believers into at least eager tasters, if not outright converts. I do not, however, recommend trumpeting that these are "vegan crab cakes" because while the flavor has the same spices as those used in actual crab cakes, there is very little "fishy" flavor in these delicious bites. And I hate it when omnivores mock me for the lack of "meat" taste in veggie/vegan foods that mimic traditional meat dishes.

I will trumpet that when you do not add too much hot sauce these cakes are an amazing blend of flavors which come together very quickly. Isa Chandra really is a vegan goddess! The picture above was my first attempt, when I left off the panko (added them the second time, fun like confetti!) and left off the red peppers both time because I didn't have them. No biggie!

Do not freak out by the list of ingredients or what looks like lots of instructions. These are easy to make, there are just important things to tell you as you go since these are not your average food prep. So take a deep breath and prepare to make awesomeness!

Chesapeak Tempeh Cakes (from Post Punk Kitchen)
(make 10 small cakes)

8 oz tempeh - plain or seaweed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf

4 tablespoons Veganaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-2 tablespoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging
Optional: 1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (if you like a little fishiness)
Oil for frying

2 tablespoons veganaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)
Lemon wedges for serving

Cut tempeh into 4-6 pieces and place in sauce pan with water, soy sauce and bay leaf; bring to boil, cover and turn down heat and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is almost gone. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf; mash with a fork and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. When tempeh is barely warm, add veganaise, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and the crumbled nori if using and mix thoroughly. It will be slightly moist and a mixture.

Pour about 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbsin a saucer or small bowl. Form cakes into balls slightly larger than golf balls and flatten between your palms and slightly press into panko to give the cakes some texture. Repeat with all of the mixture and prepare for frying. Heat heavy bottom skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat and when you can feel the heat with your palm over the top of the pan, pour in thin layer of oil - about 2 tablespoons and fry cakes 5-6 at a time, turning once they begin to brown, about 6-8 minutes per side. Keep them warm in a toaster oven set at 300 degrees (or your large oven).

While your second batch is cooking you can mix up the remoulade - combine all ingredients and blend well. Serve with fried cakes. Sliced cucumbers are a nice compliment!


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Italian Picnic Pasta Salad at Thyme for Cooking
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives at Simply Recipes
Asparagus with Almonds and Yogurt Dressing at Smitten Kitchen

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