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.
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
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.