Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Cakes are a Lie

Oh, a metaphor is a device
That is used to divert and entice
So it won't come to light
That this poem that you write
Has to do with, well, nothing but rice.

It's the fib that you tell for your guests' sake
So they never experience the heartbreak
Of discovering hors d'oeuvre
They've declared "so superb"
To be nothing but leftover rice cakes.
I'm posting this one from 35,000 feet in the air!  Finals are over, I'm alive and well, and I'm headed to New York to see old friends and remind myself what being cold feels like.

I've missed New York so much in the past few months -- more than I ever thought I would.  There's something unparalleled about the city that's, for me, much more specific and personal than heavenly pizza or efficient public transportation.  (Although I've missed those, too.)  Maybe it's these vagabond shoes talking, but I will always associate New York with the spirit of striking out and finding a dirty old overpopulated maze to be absolutely breathtaking.  It's a defiance that allows a broke college student to declare a posh metropolitan jungle her home and wonderland.  It's a series of exhausting problem sets, terrible colds, and exigent personal dramas that have somehow turned into what will widely be regarded as "the best four years of [my] life."  It's magic.

And in the spirit of New York, here are some straight-up swanky holiday hors d'oeuvre that I literally threw together with what was left in my kitchen post-finals.  I had some leftover rice, a single egg, and a smattering of flavor experiments waiting to happen.  But don't let my wide-eyed, nostalgia-induced, probably-romanticized love of New York fool you -- these rice cakes are really, really good.

Crispy Holiday Rice Cakes

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp organic peanut butter (optional*)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sriracha, to taste


Mix everything but the olive oil and sriracha in a small bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  When hot, drop 2- to 3-inch clumps of the mixture onto the pan.

Press down on each clump with a heat-resistant spatula.  Cook flattened cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side, until brown and crispy.

Serve with sriracha.  Serves 1-2 as a snack, 4-5 as an hors d'oeuvre.

*These also taste great without the peanut butter -- I tried them both ways, and can't conclusively say which version I like better.

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