Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tuna and swordfish ceviche

The other day I finally made it to the hairdressers. I was greatly in need, my hair was extremely grateful.

Saying I dislike going to the hairdresser is an understatement. What seems to be a national passtime here in Italy, especially among the older gals, is something I dread. I mean, when you have a job and kids, the last thing you want to do is waste away your precious Saturday sitting at the hairdressers fighting throngs of other women. I can think of so many other things to do in those hours. Like stuffing some of the clothes overflowing from my laundry basket into the washing machine. Or running an errand. Or making a meal in daylight that I can actually post about. Or, so much better, spending the afternoon at the park with my family and maybe eating some sushi for lunch. Even pulling the fuzz balls off of my wool sweater has more appeal to be honest.

Besides hating to wait around for hours even if I have an appointment, I feel like a Christian in the Colosseum fighting off lions the girls insistently offering manicures, pedicures, special treatments, hair masks or their $50,00 bottles of shampoo and conditioner.

Not to mention going to a decent hairdresser is an expensive affair and you usually purposely mess up what you just paid for with your own hands the minute you turn the corner. And that on your walk home you realize every other woman has your hue of golden blond with warm highlights. I mean, is it just here that every woman over sixty seems to have the same puffed up bad hair color with blonde highlights that look like they were painted on by a road line marking machine?

Unfortunately the older you get the harder it is to walk around in your bed hair and to be taken seriously in life. Another unfortunate thing is that when you turn *beep* you have  a new problem to deal with, or rather a new color. White.

Why do men "grey"? Why do they get to call their white hair appealing things like pepper and salt or speckled? Why do George Clooney and Richard Gere just get sexier?

When a woman gets white hair, it is the beginning of the end. It is all downhill from there. They even dedicated a whole episode of Sex and the City to Samantha's discovery down south.

And why is the only white hair I have located exactly on the top of my head, where my hair parts, sticking up obnoxiously for the whole world to see, just in case people hadn't already noticed its annoying, wiry, thick texture. Couldn't I have more, but strategically hidden on the sides, under layers of youthful  hair? Not me, nuh-uh. My scalp seems to be saying: we ain't got much, so we might as well boast it.

So this is the story of when I went to the hairdressers to hide those little suckers and for the first time (because it wasn't a Saturday and I wasn't in a rush and because I had said no enough times) decided to go with the flow and have the half hour treatment to pamper my hair with nutrients and such.

And lo and behold I discovered a new world. The lady I was assigned to put on Barbra Streisand from an IPad lying next her station, she pulled out a foot rest from the chair I was sitting in and pushed a button that got the rollers going in what I discovered was a massage chair (I instantly felt like Sally hanging out with Harry in The Sharper Image). She then proceeded to massage a personalized concoction into my hair and I decided to enjoy it for the few mintues it lasted.

Little did I know the massage would last the whole half hour of hair mask. The woman massaged my head, my neck, my shoulders, my face. She even massaged my ear lobes! Who even knew ear lobes liked massages? Well, let me tell you, they do. 

When it was over, not only did the camouflaged white hair make me look 5 years younger, I also felt a decade younger. Lady, why didn't you just tell me I would get a free massage with my hair treatment???

Because I am still feeling good, and because I am trying to improve my eating habits and lose a few pounds these days, my recipe today is a healthy and tasty dish that is good for the body and soul.

Ceviche, as I am sure most of you know, is a Central-South American seafood dish prepared cooking the fish in citrus juice, usually lime, instead of heat. It is often accompanied by fresh cilantro (coriander), chili peppers and raw vegetables like onions, avocado etc. I left out the heat factor for my kids and used tomatoes, small green peppers, cucumbers and chives to make it as refreshing and light as possible. I also added a tablespoon of dried unsweetened coconut and a pinch of banana chipotle salt from  Farm Candy to give it a tropical hint and a teeny touch of heat. You can really play around with ingredients and quantities, so I am only giving you guidelines. Use any vegetable that appeals to you, or none for that matter, choose your favorite citrus (I am partial to lime), pick any fish you like but make sure it is very fresh.

This will make a great appetizer served with some toasted bread or tortilla chips or a healthy salad for lunch.

Before making these, please keep in mind that it is always best to freeze any fish you intend to eat raw for at least 76 hours. For more details, go here.
tuna and swordfish
10 ripe vine tomatoes
2 cucumbers, deseeded
about 6 small green peppers
a bunch of fresh cilantro (stems included)
about 2 tbsp of chives, chopped
5 limes and zest (or enough to cover the fish and a little extra)
1 tbsp dried unsweetened coconut
big pinch of Farm Candy banana chipotle salt (normal salt will be fine too of course)

Juice the limes and set aside enough to dress the ceviche at the end. Zest a couple of them before squeezing them for extra flavor and color.
Rinse and clean the fish, cut into bite size pieces, place into a small bowl and cover with lime juice. Put in fridge for about 30 minutes, depending on the kind of fish you are using. I only marinated the tuna in for about 15 minutes. You want the juice to cook the fish but not to break down the texture too much.
While the fish is "cooking", chop up the cilantro and the vegetables (I deseeded the cucmber but not the tomatoes) into small chunks. You can finely chop up the stems of the cilantro to mix in with the vegetables and save the leaves to garnish at the end as they tend to wilt and get soggy. 
When the fish is ready, drain the excess juice and mix it with the vegetables. Dress with a little olive oil, lime juice, lime zest and salt and serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve.


  1. I used to love the whole ritual of getting my hair cut, but now that I have it dyed as well I get so bored. Hours of sitting with foiled highlights then having it chopped does feel like a big waste of my weekend!

    I love the look of your ceviche. I first had it in South America when I was travelling after university and have loved it ever since.

  2. I like going to the hairdresser, and getting a massage; just cant afford to do it every week like most girls here (or maybe my salon of choice is too expensive!); anyway, like the looks of your ceviche!

  3. Love cheviche! Such a great idea for a light meal!

  4. I so remember that about hair salons in Italy. Not that pleasant of an experience. My hair is an unruly mop lately, I look like a wild woman and my new grays are doing exactly what yours were...
    I love ceviche. Something tells me I should wait til after pregnancy to eat it, just in case, but I can almost taste the lime.

    1. Yes, I would definitely wait! ;o)

  5. This looks beautifully refreshing.

  6. That looks wonderful! And it sounds like salons in Italy are quite different to in Australia! P.S. I'm in Rome at the moment and it's so beautiful! :)

    1. Glad you are enjoying it! Look forward to reading about it.

  7. The ceviche sounds terrific...especially with the coconut. Very tropical.

  8. I love this post! Love it! You perfectly capture it all - the good, the bad and the ugly! I feel just the same way but I have never let myself go for the whole shebang: the special treatment for both hair and body (and soul, obviously). Great post! And love the ceviche - or tartare? I love raw fish and keep looking for a great and tasty recipe. I'll be channeling this recipe!

  9. This dish looking nice & me too like very much tuna fish recipes ever in life...!!!


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