Hawaii Photos and ceviche

June 10, 2015

I’m finally getting a bit of a handle on things around here after our vacation, but it took a whole week of fumbling and bumbling and running around like an idiot.  Re-entry after a trip always kicks my ass and reminds me that I really need to be more organized. Miss D. started math tutoring and photography camp this week, and M. started tennis lessons, and I could not, for the life of me, keep their schedules straight. Gah!

I did get a chance to sort through some of the Hawaii photos, so I thought I’d share some with you:

IMG_2315                    ^Geeklets with ukelele


WP_20150529_10_26_44_Pro                    ^colorful Koi


IMG_2364                     ^look! It’s a leetle lee-zard!

IMG_2388                    ^family photo minutes before Miss M. got eaten by a gi-normous wave

IMG_2370                   ^Geeklets gorking out about the eerie light in the submarine

WP_20150526_17_35_21_Pro                         ^post-shark bite

IMG_2396                      ^a family who rows together, stays together


I also wanted to share a little story about one of Hawaii’s most awesome native foods: poke. Remember how excited I was to stuff myself to oblivion with poke? There’s only one caveat to that: restaurants charge a LOT of money for an order of poke. A small order of poke runs you around 30 bucks. That kind of price tag will make a girl think twice about her vow to binge on poke at every meal (and yes, I’m a freak who would gladly eat raw tuna for breakfast).

That’s essentially what poke is–tuna sashimi–but it’s flavored with some other little goodies like onion, cilantro, chiles, soy, sesame oil and sometimes avocado or mango, if the chef is feeling a little bold. Sometimes it’s served with corn or taro chips, which is my preferred method of eating it, but sometimes it’s just served as is, in a bowl.

Poke is delicious, but I learned that I’m pretty particular about my poke, which is something I didn’t know before, because in the past I rationed myself to one poke meal per Hawaiian trip (see price tag issue listed above).  This time, though, we discovered the Fish Market Maui! They’ll whip you up a pound of poke (seasoned as you like) for $17.99, which is a steal, because it easily feeds 2 people. The first time I asked the guy at the counter to whip me up a batch, I just specified that I like it spicy, because that’s all he really asked. That poke was good, but not awesome, mainly because I felt it was too heavily seasoned with sesame oil. Sesame oil packs a really powerful punch; a little goes a long way, and if you err on the side of excess, it totally overpowers the flavor of the fresh tuna, which is what you’re paying the big bucks for! Don’t overseason my fish, man!

The second time I ordered it, I made sure to tell them to go light on the sesame oil, and I thought it was much better. I also found that I like my poke cut into smaller cubes of tuna, rather than a large dice. This is mainly because I like to scoop my poke onto tortilla chips, and smaller cubes are more chip-friendly. The Fish Market Maui doesn’t add avocado to their poke, and I understand why, because avocado is so dang perishable, but if I’m making poke, it’s gotta have avocado. Avocado just makes everything mo’ betta, you know?

So after all this talk of poke, you are probably waiting for a recipe, right? Well, you won’t get it…yet. This is because the Fish Market Maui also sells several different varieties of ceviche, which is the Mexican/Latin American version of sashimi/poke/raw marinated fish, and I was too gluttonous to pass it up, so I ate a heck of a lot of ceviche on this trip, too. One night, as my husband and I were tucking into our different tubs of marinated fish, I said, “You know, I really like poke but I just realized that I’m stone-cold crazy about ceviche.”

It’s true. For me, ceviche wins the prize–there’s something about those Latin touches–the zing of the lime and the heat of the chile, that own my heart. I’ll be making poke this summer, don’t get me wrong. I still crave it. But the thing I wanted to make most after I returned home? Ceviche. A big fat bowl of it. I guess my vacation isn’t really over after all.

Scallops are one of my favorite ingredients to use in ceviche. I love their natural sweetness and the way scallops soak up any flavor you dress them up with. If you can find dry-packed scallops, go for it. Dry-packed aren’t pumped up with salt or sugar or water, so the flavor is cleaner and your ceviche won’t be overly watery in texture. You can vary the amount of onion, chile, cilantro and substitute any vegetable that suits your fancy. You can also feel free to substitute any other mild fish (halibut is another great one) or use shrimp instead. Ceviche is pretty open to interpretation. You can also skip the avocado and use pineapple or mango instead, but I never skip the avocado.

I’ll be working my way through ceviche recipes this summer, and I’ll be experimenting with poke, too.  There’s nothing better on a hot summer day. Bring the heat, summer! I’m ready for you.



Scallop Ceviche

serves 4-6 as an appetizer or 2-3 as a meal


1 pound sea scallops (preferably dry-packed) cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 garlic clove minced

1/3 cup finely diced sweet onion or scallion

1/2 cup diced red or orange bell pepper, or chopped seeded tomato

1-2 jalapeno chiles, finely diced (take the seeds out if you like things less spicy)

3-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1-2 diced avocados (optional but recommended)

a glug of good olive oil

salt and pepper

a pinch of sugar


Combine lemon and lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the scallops. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring halfway through refrigerating.

Remove scallops from liquid with a slotted spoon. Stir in the bell pepper, cilantro and avocado, if using. Add a glug of olive oil and a pinch of sugar. Taste, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tiffany June 10, 2015 at 6:02 am

Your daughters are stunners.


Dana Talusani June 10, 2015 at 9:16 am

Awww, thanks, Tiff!


Michele Ford June 10, 2015 at 6:13 am

Mmmmmmmm, ceviche is a summer fav around here. I have never had it with scallops and am going to try this. I will be watching for a shrimp version too (hopeful hint)
Greaat pics of the islands!


Biz June 10, 2015 at 8:53 am

Hells yes this is going on my menu – stat! Okay, but quick question – the dry-packed scallops – is that in the freezer? Or is that fresh shrink wrapped packages? If I use fresh bay scallops, can I just squeeze the liquid out of them before making? So many questions, but I know you love me so you will answer them :D


Dana Talusani June 10, 2015 at 9:16 am


The dry-packed ones are in the fresh, shrink-wrapped packages. I hadn’t thought of squeezing out the excess water…I suppose you could? My only concern is that sometimes the wet scallops have been treated with iodine and I think it gives them an “off” flavor, but maybe that’s just me? If you do try it with that method, let me know how it works! I’m curious.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me June 11, 2015 at 5:40 am

Why do I click on these things ten seconds before I have to leave the house??? Photos are gorgeous as is the scallop ceviche. I’m coming back later to read better than the fast skim. <3


Sherri June 11, 2015 at 7:25 am

Love the photos! Your girls have gotten so grown up and pretty! I hadn’t seen pics in a while. Also will try the ceviche recipe. My husband is Peruvian, and his family is very into the ceviche.


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri June 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

Love that family photo on the beach. Glad you had a good time, Kitch!


Abbe @ This is How I Cook June 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

What a fabulous trip and what a beautiful family you have! Your ceviche sounds fabulous. Believe it or not Costco now sells poke on weekends where we live. Several different varieties and they are good. I’m not sure as good as what you’d have in Hawaii, but they aren’t bad!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me June 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had ceviche with scallops…definitely want to try that. All aforementioned ceviche/poke sounds wonderful. Maybe worth the trip just for that. Sounds like a great trip (maybe minus the shark attack)!


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