Since parenthood came into my life, so has weight gain. It hasn’t been all that bad but I think I weigh a bit more now than I did in the days after I pushed that child out. Why? Because the gym is now a long-distant memory. Since we clearly like to eat, the gym was once my very good friend four or five times a week pre-child. Now, I’m lucky to even get a long walk to the park. If I still have energy after a day of chasing after a 1 year old, I’ll may pop in a yoga DVD, but I now realize that “5 Minute ABS” only works when you are doing more than just “5 Minute Abs”. I refuse to stop eating or drinking wine but I miss those carefree days of hitting the gym whenever I wanted to sweat off my stress and weekend steak and potatoes.
So how does Mariah Carey fit into this post? Well, recently, Mariah debuted her “post baby body” – a phrase I’m kinda getting sick of seeing on magazine covers. Yeah, yeah, she did it through diet and exercise and did gain like a million pounds while on bedrest with her twins but she has a FLAT STOMACH AGAIN! How about this chick – she did a Vickis Secret bra and panties modeling shoot a few weeks after giving birth. I was still wearing my “belly band” at that point.
But, it’s never too late to try and lose a bit of that baby weight, huh? This ceviche is the perfect way to attempt to do so without getting depressed that all you are eating is salad and brown rice. This ceviche is a bit different than the ones you may have had in the past. Normally, ceviche’s fish/shellfish is “cooked” by lime or lemon juice acid that it marinates in. This particular ceviche requires one to actually cook the seafood first. It is inspired by street food we had in Brooklyn several years ago. We have remembered it all this time – it was the type of NYC street food that is very hard to find these days (one that is probably illegal and delicious). With street food becoming a weird trendy thing, possibly because of the invention of the Vendy Awards and the infiltration of slick food trucks, it is sometimes hard to find street food that isn’t overdone or trying too hard. This particular hot summer day, we discovered a woman on her stoop with a little table containing a large, plastic vat, a tupperware filled with avocados and two bottles of hot sauce. For $2.50 we received half a perfectly ripe avocado filled with shrimp ceviche in a spicy tomato sauce. It was served on a white napkin with a plastic fork. The avocado skin served as it bowl. We happily sat on the neighbors stoop inhaling this amazing snack.
Five years later, we finally got around to trying our hand at the ceviche. After a bit of research, we discovered that this ceviche is closer to an Ecuadorian ceviche which is different from the Peruvian type most are accustomed to. The main difference between the two is 1) a tomato-based marinade with a “soup like” consistency 2) most often made using shrimp that is cooked/boiled first and 3) served with popcorn and fried plantains. We played around a bit with our recipe, adding some things that are probably not traditional. For instance, the tomato base of the Ecuadorian ceviche “sauce” is often made with ketchup and doesn’t have olives. We used some Goya tomato sauce and added olives for briny-ness. We also had some baby octopus that needed eating up, so we threw that in there too.
A few weeks of this as a weeknight meal and I may not have a stomach like Mariah or legs like that Victoria’s Secret model but who cares. It’s the trying that counts, right?
- 1 lb. shrimp with shell on (about 15 to 20)
- 1/2 lb baby octopus (optional)
- 1 8oz. can of Goya tomato sauce
- juice of 3 to 4 limes
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced and then chopped into small pieces
- 1 cayenne pepper, very thinly sliced (optional)
- big handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup of alcaparrado (or just some pitted spanish green olives) + a bit of the olive brine
- 2 perfectly ripe avocados (or 1/2 avocado per serving)
- Boil your shrimp with the shells on – about two to three minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool. The take the shells off the shrimp. Keep whole or cut down the middle.
- Meanwhile, add the octopus to the boiling water if using and boil for two to three minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
- In a separate bowl, add the tomato sauce, pepper, onion, cilantro, alcaparrado or olives, lime and orange juice along with the sugar. Stir and taste. Add a bit of the olive juice for a hint of saltiness. Taste for seasoning. Add more lime juice if you want or even a pinch of garlic powder if you feel it needs that kick. This sauce is to be to your liking so play around with the ratios till it tastes like you want it!
- Add the deshelled shrimp and octopus to the tomato sauce. Stir.
- Cut ripe avocados in half and remove the pit. Scoop a small bit out from the center of the avocado to allow a bit more room for the ceviche to lay in. You can top the ceviche with that extra avocado if you like. Poor the ceviche on top of an avocado half. Top with a bit more of the cilantro. Serve with rice to make it a bit more of a meal. Enjoy!