I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby!

For R's birthday, we generally have rack of lamb or Dungeness crab, depending on his mood, the crab season start, and the proximity of his birthday to Thanksgiving. This year was a crab year, and that meant all the trimmings, which in our house includes tuna poke. It's not as weird as you might think, cracked crab, sourdough bread and poki, since I used to get my crab at the recently sold Yum Yum fish out in the Sunset. Yum Yum was operated by two ecentrics, one French the other Japanese. They had a lovely fish case and I would often try one of their sushi-grade fish when I stopped by for my crab order.

This is my first year
without Yum Yum. While I miss the quirkiness of my old friends, Swan Oyster Depot has personality to spare, and Nijiya does have a well-stocked sushi-grade case. I picked out lots of tuna, octopus and tobiko for our feast, and MZ loved the deer at Japantown, already in place for the winter holidays.

My poke isn't totally authentic, I've never added ogo or kikui nut, due to sourcing issues, and mine is shoyu-style, so no Hawaiian salt. But it took a lot of fiddling to arrive at this combination, we only taste the difference immediately upon arriving home from The Islands.

Ahi Tuna or Octopus Poke

The recipe is the same whichever seafood you choose to use, just give the octopus an extra 30 minutes for the flavors to permeate. The tobiko gives it a luscious look and an interesting mouthfeel. I made a shrimp version for MZ, with some ebi from the sushi case, and she loved it! That's my girl...

1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/2 cup green onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
1/3 c soy sauce
2 T mirin
1 good shake togarishi shimichi, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or 1 seeded Thai bird chile, minced
1/2 t freshly grated ginger with juice
1 lb. sushi-grade ahi, cut to 1 cm dice
2 t toasted sesame seeds, halved (a combination of black and white looks lovely)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tobiko

Combine the sweet onion, the white part of the green onion and the soy, mirin, chile or pepper flakes, garlic and ginger while dicing the ahi. Add the ahi, one half of the sesame seeds and 1/2 of the tobiko. Stir gently to combine, add the sesame oil and stir again. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the green part of the green onions, and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds and tobiko. Enjoy on fried wonton chips, cucumber slices or a fork.

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A new blog and a new recipe

Hey, we started another blog! Yep, a few of us who gather regularly for pot luck are collaborating on a recipe collection and you can check it all out at Sunday Potlucks.

And here's my first contribution, Chicken, Tomatillo & Sweet Potato stew.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Ceviche el Tigre

A recent trip to Sayulita in the State of Nayarit, Mexico yielded some of the best ceviche I've ever had. It was made with dorado, or mahi mahi, freshly caught by members of our party. We grilled it up the first night, and on the second night six adults and three toddlers descended on El Tigre, a local restaurant that speciliazes in all things fish. She made Dorado Two Ways for us, the first course this addicitive ceviche and the second grilled with a variety of sauces. My favorite was the Mojo de Ajo, right after the ceviche, of course.

The proprietress was kind enough to share her recipe, which we attempted to duplicate on the third day, to quite good results.

Certainly the freshest of fish has a lot to do with our success, but I do plan to try this at home with whatever appropriate sushi-grade fish I can get my hands on.

Ceviche El Tigre

2 lbs. impecably fresh dorado/mahi mahi or similar fish, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. salt
1 cup lime juice
2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2-1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced (optional)
2-5 T ketchup, to taste
Mexican hot sauce, such as Huichol or Valentina, to taste

Good-quality tortilla chips, preferably round and about 5" in diameter.
More Mexican hot sauce, such as Huichol or Valentina

Combine the fish with the lime juice, black pepper and salt and allow to sit, refrigerated, for about 1.5 hours, or until the fish becomes firm. Add the rest of the ingrdients, tossing lightly to combine. Adjust flavors to taste and enjoy with tortilla chips and more hot sauce to taste.

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