When Life Gives You a Heat Wave, Make Poké

My actual meal.

It is too goddamned hot to cook anything. I understand that August is the peak of summer. I understand I live on an island made primarily of concrete. I understand my apartment is on the top floor and I’m pretty sure there is a pipe above my ceiling that pumps liquid magma from the core of the earth through the walls. I understand that in the winter, that molten hellfire makes it so toasty in my house we never have to turn on the heater, but when the outdoor temperature is 95 degrees and my weather app tells me it feels like 105, I shouldn’t be able to open a window and feel a cool breeze into my home.

When life gives you a heat wave and even thinking about turning on your stove makes you start to melt into the floor, make poké.

First off: sushi rice. Begin by rinsing the rice off, and if you are a cook like me who can do pretty much everything but cook rice without burning half of it in the bottom of the pot, use a rice cooker. I have a nifty pressure cooker slash rice cooker (slash slow cooker — and I have only ever used it for rice) and, bonus, using a rice cooker means no extra heat in your ridiculously hot house. Put some sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and salt in with the rice so it doesn’t taste completely like bland wallpaper paste when done.

Next, grab a mandolin, set it to the slimmest cut, and slice a carrot and cucumber, leaving enough of a nubbin so that your husband doesn’t hover over you, certain you are going to somehow space out and start slicing your fingertips into ribbons. Blame Chopped episodes where people under extreme pressure have shredded their hands on mandolins, making your better half terrified of the contraption (although it’s probably also an indictment of your grace and poise that he believes you capable of doing the same harm to your hands in a stress-free environment).

Dunk the cucumbers in a mixture of half a cup water, half a cup rice wine vinegar, and a little over a quarter cup sugar. Throw in some salt too, if you want, mostly because you hate sweet things.

Grab your sushi grade tuna (because the guy at the fish counter gave you a horrified look when you tried to buy the cheaper stuff from him, even though it said “fresh” right there on the sign) and if your knife is sharp enough, cut it while it’s still frozen. Don’t think about whether this is an okay chef move or not: it’s super easy to make nice little cubes out of frozen fish, so go with it. Toss the tiny half-frozen fish cubes in a bowl.

In another bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, siracha, rice wine vinegar, and mayo to make a delicious poké sauce. There are no measurements here: keep fucking around with it and feeding it to your husband till he makes a noise that either means “it’s good now” or “Jesus Christ stop sticking a spoon in my face”. Mix this sauce with your fish. Leave the extra for later when you realize you under-seasoned your rice. Again.

Thinly slice green onions.

Get your rice out of the rice cooker and spread it over a sheet pan. Feel fancy. Let it cool.

Grab your avocado and dice it up.

Gnaw on the tobiko can for a while until your husband runs over to you, pries it from your teeth and/or fingers, reads the directions, and opens the small tin with a bottle opener.

Pile rice into two bowls, then arrange each ingredient in a different mound on top of the rice. Grab your bottle of toasted sesame seeds and sprinkle them over the whole shebang to make it look super pro. Scoop tobiko out of its glass container and put it in the middle of everything, then hand said tobiko back to your husband to somehow finagle the top back on.

Sit in front of a giant fan because your air conditioner is literally useless and eat your cold, delicious, hoity toity poké and hope that, someday soon, the house won’t be your own personal sauna.

Later, go to the gym to cool off.

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