Poke. The trend that is slowly trying (and both sadly and happily failing) to turn NYC into the laid back coastal city of San Francisco. If you are from California, then I am jealous of you for many reasons. One being that you are fortunate enough to have already enjoyed this refreshing dish for the many years it finally took us New Yorkers to get our shit together and hop on board. I love all forms of seafood: grilled fish, sushi, sashimi, shellfish, raw bars (my form of heaven), and creatures that many scurry away from (I’m looking at you baby octopus with all 8 tentacles attached). That being said, I had never experimented in the kitchen with preparing and consuming raw fish. Is it because I live in Manhattan and don’t fully trust the seafood I purchase enough to eat it raw? Honestly, probably. So with the combination of my summer weekends spent at the beach near the ocean / much more trustworthy fish, and the inspiration of my good friend, it was time to test my kitchen skills and tackle poke bowls. After a weekend filled with hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and one too many scoops of ice cream, Sunday night called for a light, yet also somehow filling, dinner to start the week off right. I set out that afternoon and headed to the fish market both bloated and determined to impress my parents. The result of this excursion was a DIY poke bowl station that took under 45 minutes to prepare but won the title of “one of my dad’s top 3 favorite meals this summer”. Boom. Mission complete.
By now, I don’t think I need to justify or explain my love affair with peanut butter. But in case you are a new Freckled Foodie fan and are unaware, I freaking love it. It is a staple in my kitchen (I have quite the collection) and I believe it serves a purpose in every single meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert. You name it, peanut butter belongs there. One thing I do not love about peanut butter (GASP) is all of the brands that are filled with unnecessary ingredients, specifically sugar. Peanut butter should have one ingredient. You guessed it: PEANUTS. This is one of the many reasons that Crazy Richards has quickly won my heart in the lineup of a thousand different nut butter brands. Continuing my effort to prove that peanut butter serves a purpose in all times of the day, I decided to incorporate this delicious jar into an even tastier sauce to accompany my go-to weeknight zoodle dinner.
Check out more information on Crazy Richards PB and my featured recipe here
Ever since starting Freckled Foodie and continuously photographing my meals, I’ve noticed one stand out consistent meal: zucchini noodles and salmon. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta. In no way am I going to tease you to believe that this will replace the hearty, comforting, nap induced bliss you feel after a bowl of hot pasta. However, what I can tell you, is that there are many of nights I actually prefer to have this meal instead (I know, blasphemy). I was always skeptical of “zoodles” for this exact reason. Refusing to accept them as a form of pasta, I changed my mindset to view them as simply another delicious option for a meal, which is exactly what they are. This meal’s pulling force that continues to suck me in on a weekly basis is the place it lands on the taste / effort scale. This meal is exceptionally easy to make, especially if you follow some of my prepping tips below, and requires minimal effort in the kitchen. It also is a refreshing, light, and delicious dinner or lunch option while seemingly impressive to dinner guests. Plus, these zoodles are simply aesthetically pleasing when they so perfectly resemble long ribbons.
This (delicious) meal was inspired by two questions I found myself wondering this past week. One, what exactly makes a pesto a “pesto”. Is it the basil? Is it just a leaf blended with some type of nut and an oil? Is it simply something green that is a spreadable sauce? Two, why the heck is half of the fennel I just purchased all stems and fronds and what am I supposed to do with them (because I am mentally unable to throw away any type of food). Along with these questions, I found myself at my favorite local butcher shop looking through the glass case the same way I have a thousand times before but all of a sudden gravitating towards a different type of meat: lamb. Following my stomach (because how else should you live life), these thoughts, questions, and epiphanies, I was led me to one thing: fennel frond fucking pesto. Sorry, I know I have an extremely bad cursing habit and use the F word as an adjective too often, but it just rolled off the tongue so perfectly. So anyway, this triple F pesto sauce became the connection between all of my wondering thoughts and the base of a deliciously adventurous, and very different than my usual, weeknight dinner.