I don’t have very much time to experiment in the kitchen because I work every other weekend, and work very, very long shifts where I’m home anywhere between 9:00-10:00 p.m. And when I get home from work, I’m usually preparing a sandwich wrap, salad, or something quick for my next day’s lunch and dinner for work.
So when I finally do have some time off, it’s usually a race in the kitchen to cook anything and everything that I have been pondering for some time. I eat, dream, and think food every moment I can. Some say it’s an obsession. I call it a favorite past-time. I digress. I will spend most of my day at various grocery stores or farmers markets looking for the perfect ingredients that I need, or that might inspire me to create or recreate something new. Grocery stores are what art stores are to artists. Liquor stores to alcoholics. You’re probably thinking “wow, I can’t believe she just went there.” Yes. Yes, I did. I think you get the point. Again, I digress.
Well, I finally had a chance to stock up on some supplies that I’ve needed for my kitchen at Sur La Table. One item in particular was a 2.5 inch round cookie cutter. You would think that this was standard in any kitchen. But cookie making was never something my Mom did while I was growing up. And if she did make cookies, fancy cookie cutters and such were not necessary. Her style was rustic. So it never occurred to me to keep a cookie cutter around. Well, I had been wanting to make ahi tuna tartare and a few other ingredients, and finally found the perfect opportunity to buy a cookie cutter. I know. It’s silly. You’re probably thinking, “who needs a reason to buy kitchen supplies?” It’s the Asian in me. Is that a reason? Okay, maybe I’m stereotyping. It’s the way I was brought up in my family, where saving every little penny and spending very little was hammered into us. So I like to justify the reason for such a purchase :)
Speaking of justifying costs, I couldn’t bring myself to spend about $200 on Lowel Ego lights. I have been scoping out Lowel Ego lights for months now. Reading user reviews, perusing through foodie blogs that utilize the lighting system, and basic information on the product. The lights are an ingenious idea to use in a home studio. Albeit, natural light is always the best; I, unfortunately, do not have the best natural lighting through our home to utilize. So, I needed a home set-up. I had a hard time bringing myself to buy the lights, because there were other items at the top of my list that I needed. So, one glorious night after work, I was unwinding by looking at do-it-yourself light set-ups, and came across a website for do-it-yourself Lowel Ego lights! Low and behold, my project after my first day off, I made my way to four different hardware stores to gather the supplies, and constructed two look-a-like Lowel Ego lights for $40. Yep. Read and weep. Heehee :) I was extremely excited to photo my first subject… ahi poke tartare!
Ahi Poke Tartare
1 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna, diced into small cubes
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 (0.4 ounce) package of NOH Hawaiian Poke Mix
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons tobiko
Sriracha sauce or La-Yu Chili Oil
1 medium avocado, cut into thin slices
1 sheet of Nori seaweed, cut into thin strips
2.5 inch round cookie cutter
Rehydrate the ogo (seaweed) in a bowl of water, and allow to steep for about 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the ogo, roughly chop it, and place it into a bowl with the ahi tuna.
Add two teaspoons of sesame oil, green onions, tobiko and the rest of the NOH Hawaiian (Hawaiian salt and red chili flakes) package to the bowl of tuna. Mix well. I didn’t find the red chili flakes to be spicy, and we like our poke spicy, so we added a tablespoon or two of Sriracha to spice things up a little bit.
Place cookie cutter onto small plate. Spoon poke mixture into cookie cutter and pack it down with the back of the spoon. Gently lift cutter up and away from stack. Place a few slices of avocado on top of the poke, and top with a few strips of Nori. Make 5 more servings in the same manner. Enjoy immediately.
If time is of the essence, or you just don’t want to have to mess around with cookie cutters and such, simply enjoy the poke out of the bowl. We made some poke handrolls with rice, Nori, thin strips of cucumbers, and thinly sliced avocados. It was yummy.