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When 70 degrees feels tropical

March 5, 2009

Watching the snow melt, craving the 60 (possibly 70!) degree weather that we’re being promised this weekend, and going through my Hawaii pictures, appropriately missing a few major Hawaiian delicacies – beaches, weather, awesome public transportation, Joanna, majestic views, poke.

Let me focus on the poke (pronounced “po-keh”- meaning to slide or cut) part for a minute (although I really do miss you, Jo!) and my desire to drag it kicking and screaming back to the mainland- because I’m thinking if the weather does hit a lovely 70 degrees this weekend, this is Sunday night’s dinner (somewhere, the husband is in a food trance, drooling, rocking…).

Out in Hawaii, someone just showed up at a Super Bowl Party with a plate full of poke, and I was in love (take that chicken wings!). Its fresh ahi tuna, marinated to the ‘ith degree, with some green stuff tossed in.

According to some Hawaiian website that seems reputable, its served as an appetizer or snack and usually consists of bite-sized pieces of raw, fresh fish mixed with seaweed and kukui nut relish. Although, since its kind of up for interpritation, I’ve found recipes that include all types of seafood (everything from swordfish and snapper to octopus and lobster), herbs, spices, nuts, marinades, fruits, vegetables, seasonings and even tofu.

And here’s the deal – you can buy this at the grocery store just sitting in the case. For cheap! So, if the weather hits 70, you’ll know what interesting stuff I’m putting together Sunday night. And if not, if its cold, I’m feeding the boy beets and potatoes.

Ahi Tuna Poke Recipe

2 pounds fresh or sashimi-grade Ahi tuna steaks, cut into bite-size pieces*
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 to 2 chile peppers, cored, seeded, and finely minced
Coarse salt (kosher or sea salt to taste)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Boy choy or romaine lettuce leaves

If you cannot buy freshly caught fish, because you don’t live in Hawaii, purchase only fresh sashimi or sushi-grade fish.

O, and to toast sesame seeds: Place sesame seeds in a small dry saucepan over medium heat; stirring occasionally, toast 3 minutes or until golden brown(watch closely as seeds burn easily).

In a large bowl, combine tuna, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, ginger, chile pepper, salt, sesame seeds, and macadamia nuts; mix lightly.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

To serve, tear leaves into comfortable holding sizes and spoon approximately 3 tablespoons of poke onto each piece. either eat with your fingers or use a fork or chopsticks.

Of course, this is not something where you can get local fish, but I would recommend supporting Philadelphia Lobster & Fish, which has always been beyond reproach and utterly awesome. Except for the Butterfish (Hawaiin Butterfish, White Tuna, etc) – avoid at all cost.

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