Recipe: Cheater’s Ceviche

Until recently, I had no idea what ceviche was. Then I had some that changed my life!

That last bit was a bit dramatic, but ceviche has quickly become one of my favorite things to order at San Diego eateries. What is it? It’s kind of… a fish dip? That really doesn’t sound appetizing, does it. But picture: A strong tortilla chip heaping with refreshing lime-drenched fish, corn, tomato, and cilantro. Sounds better, doesn’t it?

So, after googling around for a few recipes I learned the secret: The fish (usually a firm, white variety) goes into the mixture raw, and while marinating, the lime and lemon juices “cook” it –the fish gets firm and turns opaque instead of translucent… sounds cooked to me, right?

Not quite brave enough to do it the “real” way, we cooked up a bunch of shrimp we had hanging around in our freezer and made up a batch of cheater’s ceviche.

Ingredients

  • Shrimp or other seafood (I don’t know how much… two cups?)
  • Corn (1 can)
  • Tomato (one tomato, seeds removed)
  • Onion (1/3)
  • Cilantro (as much as you like)
  • Lemon Juice (1/3 cup)
  • Lime Juice (1/3 cup)
  • A dash each of: salt, pepper, cayenne
  • Protip: Add avocado, or at least have some slices ready when you serve this–for an earthy balance to the sharp citrus.

Ceviche

I cooked my shrimp with a little bit of garlic and oil, let cool, and carefully cut them into thirds–this dish will be chunky but it’s good to have pieces all relatively the same size. Then I diced my onions and let them chill in a bowl of cool water to remove some of the sharpness (drain the water after a few minutes). I Finely minced the cilantro and seeded and diced the tomato. I squeezed two lemons and five (I think?) limes in order to get the appropriate amount of juice. You should do yourself a favor and buy bottles of lemon and lime juice.

Ceviche

Mix everything together in some kind of vessel (it doesn’t matter what, really), cover, and let chill in the refrigerator at least an hour (ours was overnight). I stirred ours up occasionally.

To be honest, since the lemons were easier to squeeze than the limes, I erred on the side of lemon juice and my first foray into this dish was very tart. Note to self! Using the appropriate amount of lime juice is very important! Additionally, I feel that the addition of avocado would have toned down the tartness and been an incredibly delicious addition.

Ceviche

As I said in the beginning, this is usually served in small portions with chips, but we had this over greens for dinner. Healthy! I love finding fresh and interesting recipes that will be made more often as weather continues to warm up.

Work Perk (Food!)

Also Titled, “That time I took a cooking class at Sur La Table”

Cooking at Sur La Table

Yes! It’s true! There is a gigantic kitchen in the back of our store where certified chefs teach classes almost daily. A few weeks ago Doug and I were invited to take part in the Szechuan cooking class!

Now, I love Chinese food but have always been really mystified when it comes to preparing it. In this class we made a peanut glass noodle dish, spicy stir-fried eggplant, hot and sour soup, and pork potstickers. Everything was incredibly delicious!

Szechuan Cooking

I don’t think I will be cooking a lot of Chinese food from scratch at home though, because all the recipes required just a few tablespoons of like six or more different kinds of vinegar, oil, paste, etc. That’s a lot to keep on hand if you’re going to be using them in small doses! I did learn some useful tips like adding sugar and/or vinegar to counteract something too spicy.

The most exciting part for me was folding the potstickers shut. Doug actually got really good at crimping the edges like the potstickers you might buy in the freezer section. I was less successful, and just made sure to seal them shut smoothly (photo above). Making potstickers did seem like something I would be able to make at home sometime!

Here’s the part where I make this post relevant to you. Taking a cooking class like this was so fun! I think that it would make an awesome date or an awesome Christmas gift, if you have a friend that likes to cook. I appreciated learning more about a cuisine that I generally do not make at home.

Check out a list of Sur La Table locations, or for my readers in Kansas, call Apron Strings in Hutchinson and ask if they have any info on their cooking classes! Many smaller kitchen stores (non-chains) have classes so make sure to ask!

[And no, although I do work part-time at SLT, I am not getting paid to write this post. I just felt like it :) ]

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Tips

I am not gluten-intolerant, but I am noticing an increasing number of people around me with gluten intolerance, which in it’s simplest essence, is a wheat allergy. (I know it can be more complicated/nuanced than that, though. Here’s a great resource.) Growing up with a sibling who has a food allergy (peanut) I can sympathize with the importance of awareness and the ability to accommodate someone’s food requirements. Just in case you need to bring a GF contribution to a Thanksgiving gathering next week, this post is for you.

My friend Amy has been modifying her diet in the past year to be gluten-free. I asked her to curate a link round-up of Thanksgiving favorites which have all been pre-screened by someone “in the know” to be GF! So, feel free to get in the kitchen with any of these! 

Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey

Rachael Ray’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Spinach

Corn Bread Stuffing (A great alternative to regular bread stuffing)

Oven Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Sweet Potato Casserole (Amy’s note: this recipe calls for flour in the crunchy topping. Leave the flour out and everything will be OK, or simply pick up a GF flour from a grocery like Whole Foods.)

Fresh Pumpkin Pie (note: use this GF recipe for pie crust)

My take-aways: Luckily, it would appear that most Thanksgiving foods do not need to be altered. Turkey? Sure, as long as you stuff the bird with vegetables or corn bread stuffing. Mashed potatoes? Yams? Cranberry sauce? In the clear. It’s when you get to the dressing/stuffing, rolls, pies, and casseroles that a chef needs to use caution. In regards to marshmallows, the normal ones are GF but use caution when considering ones with fancy flavors or anything. Also, be wary of canned soups (cream of chicken, cream of celery, etc) due to preservatives that might include modified food starch or malt flavoring. And for salads, don’t use croutons, but use nuts, sunflower seeds or tortilla strips to add a little crunch.

Now, I know GF baking is a whole different animal! So many different kinds of flour to keep track of! Luckily for me, I prefer making savory dishes and leave the baking for someone else. Have you ever created a special menu due to one of your guests having an allergy? Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s challenging!