Mock Crab Rangoon

This recipe came about on Sukkot, but I finally made it when I could photograph and write about it.

At least one of our sukkot meals during yom tov tends to be something pretty casual. Sometimes it’s omelettes, sometimes an easy salad. It always includes something warm. It’s usually comfort food that works well for when it’s just us. Except this year, we didn’t have any “just us” meals. We had to play up the casual meal a bit.
J suggested we do a fried bar food fest. It got a bunch of us talking and reminiscing about all that good bad-for-you food that we love, that we don’t eat anymore now that we are kosher. Some of it just is never available as good at kosher restaurants. It’s hard to find the right onions rings, and hot poppers. Don’t tell me that Dougies is a good stand-in. That place stinks. Anyhow, I wanted this meal to be dairy.

The conversation came around to crab rangoon and cream cheese wontons. The wontons are totally a Midwestern thing. I have never seen them on an east coast menu  – treife or otherwise. Whenever we used to eat out at LeeAnn Chinn’s in the Twin Cities, these wontons were always ordered. My yom tov guests also brought up crab rangoon – which I have never had due to the whole crab thing.  We kept kosher in the house growing up, and my mom has a seafood allergy. Crab was verboten. Anyhow, crab rangoon is basically a cream cheese wonton with crab added to it.

I decided to make it. I always have surimi (mock crab) and cream cheese around. I happened to have some wonton wrappers in the freezer. So this worked out. Was easy to make and was a big hit with everyone.
Mock Crab Rangoon

1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese – softened at room temperature
5 sticks of surimi, chopped up (approximately – use more or less depending on how crabby you like it)
2 tsp. lemon pepper grinded
3 scallions, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 package of wonton wrappers

vegetable oil for frying

In a small bowl, mix up the cream cheese, crab, scallions, and spices.
Take a wonton wrapper and plop a teaspoon of the mixture in to the center of the wrapper.
Fold up the wonton. Here are some good wonton folding instructions. You will get the hang of folding after you screw up a few.

Heat up a pan with some vegetable oil. I don’t like to deep fry, but you could if you like. I use about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of oil in the pan.
Once the oil is hot, add the wontons carefully to the pan. Fry until lightly brown on one side and then flip. It’s about 2 minutes a side.
Drain on paper towels. 
Dig in! It’s especially good when dipped into a hot and sweet chili sauce.

California Rolls – Sushi

I have never understood the gefilte – fish that is. It’s a mish mash of all sorts of fish, and then it’s boiled. It’s not that appealing. There isn’t much flavor going for it. Yet it’s so popular. I like serving fish on shabbat – especially when I have company over. I want to serve something that I enjoy eating as well. Salmon is a nice treat, but it’s too much of a main course dish to serve as an appetizer. I recently decided to carry on my dad’s tradition of shabbat sushi.

One weekend last summer, I asked him for some shabbat sushi guidance. He suggested I cook the rice on Friday, right before shabbat, season it, and then keep it covered until you are ready to use it. Keeping it room temperature in the pot, keeps the rice ready to go. It worked out well. Everyone loves sushi and thinks I worked my tushy off to make it. It really is super easy.

To make the rice:
2 cups sushi rice
2 cups water
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. salt

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear. I like to use a strainer to do this.

Put the rice in pot (only wimps use rice cookers). Cover the rice with the water. Turn the heat on high.

When the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Keep the pot covered. No peeking. Let it sit for another 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking and cooling.  Mix up the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat it. Do not let it boil. Stir it up. Let the sugar dissolve.

Mix the vinegar mixture into the rice mixture with rice paddle. Let the rice cool down.  I like to keep my seasoned rice covered.

For the California Rolls
Cooked and seasoned sushi rice
Surimi (fake crab sticks)
Seedless Cucumber – julienned
Avocado – sliced thin, lengthwise (sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning)
sriracha (I like my sushi spicy)
black toasted sesame seeds

Cover your sushi rolling mat with plastic wrap. 

Cut your nori sheets in half.

Lay your sheet of nori on the mat.

Take a handful of rice and spread it out on to the nori. Sprinkle it with the sesame seeds and flip over.

Place a bit of the veggies and surimi in the middle of the sheet. Squirt a bit of sriracha on it if you like it with a little heat.

Hold on to the edge of the sushi mat (the edge near you). Start rolling, keeping the filling in place with your fingers. Roll and Shape with the mat. Set aside that sushi roll and make more rolls.

Slice the rolls up with a very sharp knife.  Enjoy your sushi with wasabi and soy sauce.  Enjoy!

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