Like, sincerely broken. Not in that “the dog ate my homework”, excuse-y kind of way. I’m not blaming the oven for almost setting my cookies on fire yesterday, even though it was programmed to bake at 350 degrees. Except, that’s exactly what I’m doing — because, instead of heating up to a sensible cookie-baking temp, it heated up to approximately five billion degrees. Parchment paper turned to ash. Macadamia nuts and dark chocolate morphed together into hardened lumps of expensive coal. This all happened within three minutes.
I went to turn the oven off, and it said “This function is not in use“… Uh… Okay. So, I’ll just live like this now. I’ll get used to existing in a home with burnt cookies and a blazing oven inferno — spouting hell fire and destroying dreams. For a moment I imagined us dragging blankets into the kitchen and camping out in front of our new perma-hot stove heater for the rest of the winter. It’s the more expensive version of one of those garbage can fires you see in hobo movies. I tried to turn it off again. It shut down this time. Just for kicks I tried to turn it back on and it gave me an error message. To anyone who’s experienced this you will understand when I say my oven was giving me a glaring, steaming, cookie-charring middle finger.
The oven and I are in a fight. She’s not talking to me. But, it’s Friday night and we’re having guests over for dinner. Perfect timing, right? I thought so. Said guests follow a pescetarian diet, which is essentially a fancy-fish-eating-vegetarian. What do you serve at a dinner party where you have one grain-free gal, two fancy fish eaters, one dude who eats anything, and no oven? I feel like there should be a punchline to a joke here. But, the only joke is that this is my real life. I guess the punchline is this: Poke. I’m making Poke. You laughing yet? Probably not. That joke was fishy at best. Heyyy-ooo. I’m sorry that you just unsubscribed from my blog. Please stay. My oven is already not talking to me. I don’t want to lose more friends this week. I’ll cool it with the fish puns. Promise.
Poke holds a very special place in this Hawaiian girl’s heart. I grew up watching my grandfather cut up an entire fresh tuna on his kitchen counter. I would stand suspiciously close to him, reaching my chubby kid fingers up toward the counters to demand “Mashimi“. That’s kid speak for Sashimi. This would make him laugh. He was a sucker for my chubby-baby face so he’d always oblige. This method also worked for the M&Ms he stashed on the top of the refrigerator. A simple chubby toddler finger pointed at said M&M’s, coupled with pleading Tweety Bird eyes, was enough to move candy from the top of that fridge to my mouth. Papa is good eating partner. Always has been. I always seemed to catch him snacking on poi with dried shrimp, or dried squid, and he’d always share. He knows the things I love to eat and will often make them, even if they don’t traditionally go with the meal. For example, he’s brought a potato salad to Thanksgiving because he knows it’s my favorite. My grandparents are kind of amazing that way. So, when important events have happened in my life such as graduation or my wedding, they always make sure that there is Poke. I didn’t eat too much on my wedding day (because, WHIRLWIND), but I remember taking the soup bowl that was reserved for the Chicken Long Rice being served, and filling it up with poi and Poke. The caterers gave me a knowing nod as if to say, “Yes, I understand. That’s the good stuff”.
I’ve made it almost all the way through this post talking about my broken oven, my dinner guests and my grandparents, but I haven’t even touched on what the heck this Ahi Poke is. Well, it’s kind of like the best raw seafood salad you’ll ever eat. The raw tuna marinates together with soy sauce and sesame oil. Chopped raw onions and garlic go in for some bite and flavor. I added Sriracha to this recipe in order to make it spicy. Top with sesame seeds. You can eat it over rice, like a sushi bowl, or with poi if you have it (um, if you do… can you please share with me? #willtravelforpoi). You can also just eat it on its own. I’ve been known to eat the leftovers for breakfast. My husband only looks slightly concerned that his bride is chowing down on raw fish and onions first thing in the morning. To my defense, this stuff can be even better the next day. The flavors marinate even further into the fish… drool. Gimme.
When I’ve posted pictures of Poke on my Instagram in the past, people have inquired how to make it at home. So, I’m here to demystify it for you. The secret: IT’S SUPER EASY. As long as you have sashimi grade tuna and a few other things, it comes together in a couple of minutes. Yup. Minutes. Do you hear that angry-cookie-hating oven? MINUTES. I probably shouldn’t poke at a sleeping beast. She might spontaneously burst into flames. But, really…
Enjoy, friends. I think I solved your whole, “What to cook for a couple of Pescetarians when your oven is broken” problem. Oh, wait… that was MY problem? Riiiight. Either way, I hope this Poke knocks your socks off!
Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke
Serves 4 as a meal, or 8 as a side dish.
- Rinse your tuna steaks and pat them dry. Using a sharp knife (such as a sushi knife) cut your fish into cubes, discarding any tough, stingy or fatty pieces.
- Place your fish into a bowl with your chopped onion, and garlic. Add in your tamari, sriracha, sesame oil and stir together well. Add in your chopped scallions and sesame seeds and stir again. Taste it to make sure the spicing is to your liking. Adjust as needed. If you are using coconut aminos, you might have to add more to the recipe to get the desired taste.
- Serve immediately, or allow to marinate together for a few hours or up to overnight. The longer the fish sits, the more flavor it will absorb from the spices. Enjoy!