Ceviche is a popular seafood dish in Central and South America made from raw seafood (usually fish or shrimp) marinated in citrus juices. Today, it is most associated with Peru, who even has a holiday to celebrate the dish (June 28, if you’re interested). Spaniards arriving in the Americas found that the pre-Inca peoples of Mocha had a similar dish, which used the fermented juices of the banana passionfruit. There is archeological evidence of ceviche’s consumption as far back as 2,000 years ago.

Unlike Peruvian ceviche, the Mexican variation often includes tomatoes, jalapeños, and green olives. That’s the variation we’re going to make today.

When choosing a fish, it’s best to use a white ocean fish like sea bass, grouper, halibut, or flounder. Keep the fish as cold as possible while preparing it, and be sure to remove the blood line (the dark line down the center of some fish) to keep the dish from tasting too “fishy”. I also prefer to combine the ingredients near the end; red onions steeped in lime juice will color the dish prematurely.

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We’re currently vacationing in Orlando this week (and consulting my Disney guide from time to time). The weather is perfect, the crowds are terrible (as expected), and our son Oliver is having a great time relaxing and getting away from the stresses of kindergarten. In preparation for our trip, I decided to revisit one of the first recipes I posted on this blog, beef jerky.

It’s amazing how jerky has endured as one of my all-time favorite foods since childhood. The word “jerky” itself is borrow from the word ch’arki, which translates to “dried, salted meat” in the Quechua language (spoken in the Andes region of South America).

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Spam is very popular in Hawaii, dating back from its widespread use in World War II. In fact, spam is consumed more per capita in Hawaii than in any other state, and is even served at McDonald’s and Burger King there. This little dish also doesn’t carry the “poor people’s food” stigmatism that it enjoys in the rest of the US. Spam musubi is a variation of Japanese onigiri (rice balls wrapped in nori seaweed) and is a common snack in Hawaii; I personally lived off of them for years. We would often sneak them into our pockets for UH football games and take them on plane trips to the mainland. Ah, memories.

Now that we’ve been living in the Baltimore/DC area for the past couple years, our only shot at getting our hands on spam musubi is making it at home. Luckily my wife is awesome and can make it with her eyes closed. To capture the authentic Hawaii taste you’ll need Aloha brand shoyu (which contains soy and wheat) as well as mirin (sweet rice wine, which is hard to find without corn syrup nowadays) so I’m labeling this as an “official cheat meal”. You could definitely try it with tamari to eliminate the wheat, or coconut aminos to also eliminate the soy, but the taste may be compromised. Also, keep a look out for mirin without corn syrup, which you can find at some Japanese grocery stores.

Interestingly, spam is paleo-friendly; its ingredients consist mainly of pork products and potato starch. It is, however, loaded with sodium and nitrites, so you’ll definitely want to eat it sparingly, look for the lower sodium version, and drink lots of water! (I sound like my mother.)

Also, you’ll need a onigiri/musubi mold, which you can find on Amazon for relatively cheap.

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