Kyle and I recently celebrated our four year anniversary here in Hawaii. When I dreamed of moving to ‘paradise,’ and the reality of 6 months of vet visits and the liquidation of all my material assets had yet to set in, I harbored a naive vision of what my new life would be like. It wasn’t quite Gilligan or Hawaii 5-0, but it did involve picking fruit from the tree in my yard, driving a VW bus spray-painted variegated colors, and waking up early to salute the sun on a surfboard. Knock my hubris all you want, but I knew there were many different ways to live in Hawaii, and this represented my idealized version. And when moving all the way across the globe seemed scary or less than feasible, I would picture this life in all its idyllic perfection. To be fair, sometimes I also fantasize about joining the Parisian royal court, with an unlimited supply of macarons and champers at my disposal, so I get when I’m being unrealistic. “Let them drink wine!” if you will.
Interestingly, the surfing part of that fantasy seems most laughable to me now. I don’t have a fruit tree to pick from, (come through, condo living!), but I have a number of friends and colleagues that do, and they are as generous with their bounty as they are with their friendship. And I don’t have a VW bus—yet—but I’m constantly on the lookout for that magical vintage vehicle that comes with its own mechanic who accepts payments in the form of the mango bars we bake for them. So these goals feel attainable. I learned quickly upon moving here, however, that maybe surfing isn’t as easy to master as those damn Beach Boys imply. But I’m perfectly willing to cheer all surfers on from the safety of the beach, wading into water no deeper than 10 feet, perhaps armed with a cocktail and a healthy respect for the ocean.
If I were to surf, or more likely shoulder the responsibility of feeding several hungry surfers, this is the meal I would make (just as I would make bangers and mash after watching my friends skydive. Proud nonparticipant here). This is a perfect after beach meal, post-work out nosh, or weeknight dinner for the frisky seafood lover in all of us. If you can get your little mitts on some quality Ahi (frozen is fine) or comparable fish, you’ve got a beach-bum meal in the making. You can build a sand castle in your living room or drive that VW bus all the way to Paris.
Pack light, I say. I’ll see you there.
- 1 pound of Ahi, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup cilantro, minced
- 1 tablespoon shallot/red onion, minced
- Zest of one lime
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher/sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- Toss all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour (but to up to 4).
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Once hot, add ahi in a single layer (you may need to cook in batches depending on the size of your pan). Cook for 1 minute on each side, and then flip the pieces over and cook for one minute more for medium rare. If you prefer your ahi cooked through, cook an additional minute or two, until no longer pink the center. Remove the ahi from heat, and set on a plate tented with olive oil to keep warm.
- ½ of a small head of cabbage, sliced thin
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ of a red onion, sliced into thin half moons
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 jalapenos, sliced into circles (you can either remove the seeds or keep them, depending on spice preference)
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
- Mix the sour cream with the garlic and lime juice. Add to a large bowl containing the cabbage and red onion. Mix well, and let rest in the fridge until ready to serve. It will keep for 3-5 days.
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and garlic cloves, and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour the liquid over the jalapeno slices in a small bowl, and let them marinate for at least an hour. Remove from liquid when ready to serve.
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of one lime
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add rice. Stir constantly until lightly browned.
- Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and stir in lime juice and cilantro.
To assemble: Build your burrito using a large tortilla (store-bought is also fine), the rice, Ahi, cabbage slaw, pickled jalapeno, avocado, cilantro, and a tomatillo crema. To make a tomatillo crema, mix ¼ a cup of tomatillo salsa with ½ cup of sour cream and stir until combined.