Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Peanut Sauce

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I don’t know where this past weekend went. Sunday evening crept up on me and I was at a lost. Eager to get in some sort of laziness, I forwent lining up a blog post for yesterday and watched a movie with my love and went to bed before 8. (In my defense, I did run 10 miles, while nursing a hangover, in 80* weather earlier that day.)

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I finally got around to trying zucchini noodles one night last week. Why I waited this long? I’m not sure. I’ve had the recipe bookmarked since the beginning of the summer – enticed by the simplicity of the zucchini noodles, a naturally gluten-free pasta alternative? Sign me up.

But I procrastinated. Until I couldn’t procrastinate anymore. My new mandoline was begging to be used. Sitting in its box for nearly a month, untouched? Unacceptable. This seemed like the perfect chance to break it in. It actually turned out to be a fabulous, light summer meal while our thermometers were breaking 85* here in the Pacific Northwest!

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Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Peanut Sauce

The original recipe actually calls it tangy peanut sauce but mine didn’t have much tang to it. If you are looking for more zip, I’d double the rice vinegar. Maybe even triple it! That the benefit to a no-cook sauce – taste as you go and adjust for your palate!

Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS

2 cooked chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
4-6 medium-sized zucchini and summer squash (I used 4 medium and 1 large zucchini)
About 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
About 1-2 tbsp toasted cashews
red pepper flakes for garnish

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten free tamari)
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic (or more)
1/2-1 tsp granulated sugar (depending on taste)

At least 1/4 cup water, add 1-2 more tablespoons depending on texture

Make the peanut sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Start by adding 1/4 cup water as the recipe suggests, and if the sauce is too thick for your taste, add additional tablespoons water to reach desired consistency.

Prepare the zucchini ribbons by using a mandoline or by using a peeler designed to julienne vegetables. Briefly blanch the vegetables in a pot of boiling water by adding  the zucchini 2 minutes (it gets tender very quickly). Drain the hot water, immediately add cold water to stop the cooking, and once the vegetables have cooled, drain the water again. You may want to blot the zucchini dry as they tend to retain quite a bit of water. This was my only complaint.

Assemble the dish by putting some of the vegetable ribbons on a plate and topping them with diced or shredded chicken, then the peanut sauce, and chopped cilantro, cashews, and red pepper flakes if you don’t mind some heat.  Serve at room temperature, but can also be served cool (if you would like to refrigerate ingredients before serving).

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Dining Out: Taprock Northwest Grill

I sure do feel like we’ve been eating out a lot! But it certainly has been fun!

Every time we have gone to Central Market, I have ogled the Taprock.

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(Source)

I think mostly I just really liked the building! Apparently, an old breakfast place use to be here until it burned down a few years back.

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We had heard that the food was just okay so I was hesitant to try but I knew my mind wouldn’t settle about it until we tried it out on our own. I had an itch to scratch.

I liked the decor inside as much as I liked the outside of the restaurant but it had a slight chain restaurant feel to it. We actually spoke to the manager and she said there is one other Taprock down in Oregon but they are owned by Elmer Restaurants which of course is a pretty decent size chain – maybe two dozen locations?

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The entire concept of the restaurant is obviously Northwest Grill. I loved the idea of it and saw a lot of things on the menu that appealed to me: local, sustainable, wild, grass-fed, Oregon, Idaho, Washington.

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We started with the fried zucchini spears.

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These were massive spears and were almost too much of an appetizer for the two of us! They were really delicious. Not at all greasy or overcooked. The zucchini still had a nice crunch to it. We pretty much dominated this dish.

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For dinner, I ordered the Dungeness Crab Chopped Salad, no olives, dressing on the side (when I heard it was Thousand Island and not the said “housemade seafood dressing”).

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This was actually just a pretty standard salad. The crab was definitely fresh and it was delicious. And my love for egg, bacon, and avocado won me over but there wasn’t really a “wow” factor for me here.

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Jodus ordered the Oregon Flat Iron Steak + Grilled Shrimp combo plate.

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Unfortunately, the steak was medium-well, not medium-rare like he ordered. He ended up dousing it in A-1. We are no good at sending food back to the kitchen. For his side, he got the bacon potato pancake which was good but very rich. The grilled shrimp was delicious, I stole one. And the vegetables were quite buttery.

The servers were all quite nice. We had a couple of managers stop by and chat. (A DSLR always draws attention!) And our main server was quite chatty. Maybe a little too much? He moved up here last year from Southern California and is having trouble adjusting to the weather. Obviously, we engaged, because we aren’t rude. But there were a few instances where we were wishing people away from our table so we could enjoy our meal.

I think overall, I enjoy the concept of the restaurant more than I enjoyed the food. I did overhear some conversations of other diners that were repeat offenders so maybe we just didn’t order the right dishes. I would be willing to give it another shot, especially since the price was reasonable for the portion size, but I’m definitely not itching to return.

Happy Friday!

Ok, so you know how I said I had the best BF ever earlier? Fact.

When I got home from work, I was greeted with this.

 

Just because flowers. The best.

Ok, back to the eats.

Morning Snack

We are officially out of kiwi so today was just yogurt with a peach.

 

I actually took a picture of my yogurt today! This Yami yogurt is totally my fav. The boy had it the other day… maybe yesterday? The day before? And said it was so good. Yay! Now we only have to buy 1 kind of yogurt at the store now!

Lunch

Leftovers graced the presence of my lunch today.

 

Minty Bulgur Wheat with Peach Salad from last night, with the Spicy Broiled Shrimp.

 

I threw all of that on top of the last of our artisan lettuce from Costco, just in time to get restocked tonight!

 

The shrimp was not nearly as spicy today! I don’t know if it was because I ate it cold or that I mixed it in really well with the bulgur salad and had the lettuce to help tame the fire but I didn’t even need to slam water after this meal!  

Afternoon Snack

Something a little different, I had strawberries  and a string cheese.

 

I pretty much just grazed on these strawberries all afternoon. It was nice to just occassionally enjoy one here and there.

Dinner

Oh how I love warm summer days! I am convinced that Seattle has the best summers! Not too hot, not too cold. Beautiful mountains. Beautiful sparkling water. Ahhh, I love it!

Boy already had the grill heated up when I got home. Tonight, we are grilling up some venison hot beer links (not to be confused with bear) that were given to us by my Mom and Not-Dad on there recent trip here.

 

While the boy manned the grill, I carmelized some vidalia onion.

We ate the links on whole wheat hot dog buns, topped with the onions and mustard.

 

On the side was leftover Confetti Couscous from Wednesday.

 

And some grilled zucchini that had been tossed in lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper.

 

Along with a tasty beer that we got from our neighbor that happens to be the brewery manager for the only brewery in town, Gallagher’s. Score! It’s on our agenda to visit when we get a free night to indulge. 😉 I was happy to see on their site that they use all natural ingredients. That’s nice of them! It appears that you can brew beers there! You, yes, you! I am intriguied and must learn more! They also offer 45 wines! I think I might die and go to heaven! It is actually probably pretty dangerous that we learned of this place!

 

There is no label so I’m not sure exactly what it is. We think a Pilsner? The boy said something about a floral hoppiness. To me, that means a bunny hopping throug fields of wildflowers. Obviously, I am uneducated in beer. Not to be confused with bear. All I know is whether I like a beer or not. And I liked this one. Thumbs up!

 

The finished product:

 

Dinner was perfect. I was very full. A little uncomfortably so but that is probably because of the beer and a couple extra bites of the couscous out of the bowl. teehee. So satisfied though. A perfect Friday night during the summer meal. The venison links had great flavor. A little zip but not too much. The skin was a little tougher to bite through than a normal link I think but oh-so worth it. Thanks Mom and Not-Dad!

Now we’re off to watch a movie! Ta-ta!

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