Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tuna and Salmon Ceviche

Until sushis became widely popular, it was really rare to eat raw fish in France. Except for their steak tartare or fresh oysters, French people don't really eat raw proteins. Sure, you'll always find one person who likes to gobble one fresh raw egg (aka gober un oeuf) but even if I can eat pretty much anything and I LOVE soft-boiled eggs, I can't gober un oeuf. Beurk...
The first time I ate ceviche was while traveling in South America (that's where it's originally from in case you did not know). My husband having lived in South America as a child enjoyed ceviche so we ordered shrimp ceviche one evening in Chile. Shrimp or fish is generally marinated in lime which "cook" them so you never have that feeling of eating raw shrimp/fish like you would if you had sashimi in a Japanese restaurant.
Like most recipes, every country in South America (at least the coastal ones with the exception of Argentina where fish is not mainstream at all),  has its own ceviche recipes. Back when we lived in Ithaca we were invited for dinner to our Ecuatorian friends' house (she really is from Argentina but being married to an Ecuatorian she had gotten used to eating ceviche, the Ecuatorian way that is). And for us who expected a raw-lime marinated-type of dish, we were really surprised to be served a shrimp soup  that had been cooked in a ketchup-based sauce topped with popcorns!! It was nonetheless very good but as you can expect, my husband who has very specific narrow ideas of what a ceviche should taste like, was disappointed! Not that he did not enjoy the dish (he liked it a lot) but this was not the ceviche he was expecting. And when it comes to food, expectations (especially the ones referring to one's mother's cooking) can be extremely dangerous! (My advice: never-ever dare trying to serve a dish that has been served to your spouse by his mother while growing up! No matter how good your recipe is, his expectations will kill your dish! The only solution, call it something totally different!!!)

Here is my brother's tuna-and-salmon ceviche recipe. He made is for us back in August (and yes, my husband liked it despite the fresh ginger and soy sauce ; his expecations were different since no shrimp were served!)  I made it again last weekend when we had a nice day that gave us a Summer day in October. It's definitively not a recipe I'll cook in the middle of cold weather... but something to keep in mind for next Summer, unless you live in the Southern hemisphere or in a climate where it feels like Summer everyday! Lucky you! Bon Appetit!

- 1 pound of ahi tuna
- 1 pound of fresh salmon skin off
- fresh ginger : the quantity depends on your taste: I tend to like it a lot so I use a lot ; I grate about 1 inch.
- soy sauce to taste
- green onion (2) chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- a few capers (optional)
- one mango
- 4 limes, juiced

  • Prepare the marinade: mix the pepper, together with the mango, green onion, capers. Mix in lime juice, fresh ginger and soy sauce. 
  • Cut the salmon and tuna in tiny cubes.
  • Pour the marinade on the fish and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. The longer you'll marinate the fish, the more "cooked" it will be.
My Personal Comments
  • If you are planning on serving it to kids (or adults who can't chew on fresh ginger), dice the ginger instead of grating it and remove the ginger pieces before serving.
  • You could replace the pepper with a cucumber (if easer to digest). The idea of the pepper is to add "crunchyness" to the dish.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scale it (up or down) but scale it, please!

My brother and his family were visiting over the Summer and one of the questions he asked us was if, after so many years in the US, there were still things that shocked/surprised us... or whether we were so used to our environment that we did not even pay attention anymore.
We got use to the big cars, gallons of milk,  having pharmacies that look more like a supermarket than a pharmacy, people eating all the time.... but here are the answers I gave him:
1) The status of the infrastructure. We live in the wealthiest country in the world... and yet when I look at the status of the bridges, when I zigzag through the Center City streets to avoid foot-deep potholes, when I see all those shredded tires on the highways, I am still shocked.
2) The ramping obesity of the population, especially among young adults and children...
3) Everybody seems to have a lawyer (and a therapist?)... to the point that part of our life is defined by what I call the "fear-of-lawsuit", which in some way limits creativity, spontaneity and research.
4) The fact that millions of Americans still lack proper access to healthcare.
5) The fact that some streets in the suburb don't have a sidewalk for people to walk on...
6) On a more funny, albeit tricky, note, the fact that it's the only country that does not use the metric system (except in scientific settings). Think about it, even the Canadians and the Australians have adopted part of it... After so many years in the US, I still can't picture out a set amount of square feet, or worse, cubic feet. The first time I sat foot on a scale in the US, I had a 1/10th of second of scare because all of a sudden I felt really heavy!!
This system is so unpractical that bypass tools were invented to simplify it: nobody knows what size a queen/king size bed is in inches and very few people know how much a cup of flour weighs... The only time Americans use (most of them without realizing it) the metric system is when they go skying. "180 skis" actually mean that the skis are 1.80m tall...

All that to say that I was REALLY happy to read an article about digital scales in the New York times the other day (disclosure: the picture of the scale on this post comes from the article)...
While I would not be able to comment on the different brands displayed in the article, the additional comment I will make is that I love to have my children use our cooking scale and start experimenting with weighing different things (I don't like it that much when everything they weigh end up on the floor!!)  For bigger kids (and adults!!) it's obviously great for calculus... So don't be intimidated; you'll see that, like with most things in life, you'll get used to it. "Most things".. I am not sure I'll be able to still get used to all my points above!
Scale it! If not for you, do it for your children...