AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: The Last Breath of Summer (Recipe: Tod Mun) DATE: 10/04/2009 01:00:00 PM ----- BODY:
Last week, a friend came over for dinner. Immediately when he walked in, he complained that the house was too cold, and could we please turn on the heat. He was right – the windows were wide open, outside temperatures were hovering in the low 50’s and inside wasn’t much warmer.

Normally, I’m more accommodating of friends’ requests, but on this evening I knew that closing the windows meant summer was over. And I wasn’t ready for that admission.

I acquiesced.

The garden has also succumbed to autumn. The blight finally overcame the tomatoes. And the cucumbers stopped growing just shy of being sweet.

With the last tomato, I indulged in a simple tomato-mayo sandwich.

With the last sweet cucumber, I made a relish to accompany spicy Thai Tod Mun. These fish cakes get their heat from red curry and brightness from kaffir lime leaves. They give warmth to summer’s last breath and welcome in the fall.

Thai Style Fish Cakes
1 lb. 2 oz. white fish filets, minced (use food processor if necessary)
5 tbs. red curry paste (more or less to taste)
4 tbs. fish sauce
1 egg, beaten
8 tbs. tapioca flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbs. palm sugar or brown sugar
10 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced, stems discarded
8 Chinese long beans or string beans, thinly sliced

Oil for frying

Sauce
6 tbs. water
6 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. chilli powder
2 tbs. roasted peanuts – chopped
2 tbs. cucumber, thinly sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro

1. Make dipping sauce: put water, sugar and vinegar into a pan, bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add chilli powder and cucumbers. Garnish with cilantro

2. Mix ingredients for fish cakes together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Form into cakes.

3. Fry fish cakes in medium hot oil until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towel. Serve while still hot with sauce.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous jo DATE:10/04/2009 06:30:00 PM I make those often for a quick dinner. I love them, husband - not so much. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ DATE:10/04/2009 10:20:00 PM I've never had a spicy fish cake like this. They sound really good, loaded with flavor. My entire garden is dried up, and has been since the end of August. I had the worst harvest this year, it was quite sad. But I did get two small pumpkins - the prize of the year! Last year I didn't get any. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:10/05/2009 12:31:00 AM My heater has been on for a week, it's cold!! Spicy fish cake sounds yummy! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:10/05/2009 08:05:00 PM yum! these look lovely - so golden and brown! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:10/05/2009 10:06:00 PM I always order these in Thai restaurants. What kind of fish do you use when you make them at home? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:10/06/2009 08:39:00 AM jo -- is it the spice or does he not like fish?

Reeni -- great on the pumpkins! Sorry to hear about the rest. I think it was a tough summer for all of us.

noble pig -- that's crazy-talk!

heather -- thanks!

Lydia -- I use whitefish -- cod, tilapia, halibut.... whichever is cheapest. With all the spice, it's a shame to use expensive fish. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener DATE:10/06/2009 08:18:00 PM how could I not like this? it features one of my favorite herbs, kaffir lime leaves (aka combava leaves) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karen DATE:10/08/2009 12:17:00 PM We eat a lot of fish and I'm always making fish cakes, but always the same way. I like the red curry in this - think I'll add some to my next batch of fish cakes! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Neen DATE:10/11/2009 07:29:00 PM Oh, fantastic, I'm always looking for a super flavorful-but fast dinner. And the best part of summer being over is that it marks the beginning of stew season. :) ----- --------