Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Arugula Pesto

For father's day lunch, treat your stone-age sweetheart to a simple bowl of zucchini “spaghetti” lightly tossed in nutty, peppery arugula pesto.

Mr. Flintstone and I met when we were both in grade school. He went to an all-boys school while I attended an all-girls school. It just so happened that our dads were co-workers and we frequently got dragged to weekend parties and whatnot. I remember him best out of all the others because I actually saved him from drowning when we were 8. We went to the same high school. We hung out in the same circle, swapped comic books, and snuck out to concerts together. We got accepted in the same university. We experienced the highs and lows of academic life, along with other collegiate exploits. We were each other’s constant—default roadtrip buddy, tutor, detective, proofreader, loan shark, defense lawyer, critic, wingman. We were the inseparable best of friends who would most definitely recoil in horror if someone were to suggest that we be anything more than that.

Believe it or not, Mr. Flintstone and I did not hit it off until our first out-of-the-country trip together. But that’s another story.

Mr. Flintstone and I navigated through the turbulent waters of career life together. He used to be on the slender side, but the burden of career life had slowly begun to manifest itself in his midsection. Soon after, Mr. Flintstone got sick. He resurrected from his ordeal a changed man. He started brisk walking after work every other day. Eventually, the afternoon brisk walk evolved into a sunset jog. Not long after, he started hitting the gym before going to work.

It surprised no one when Mr. Flintstone announced that he’s going paleo 6 times a week (as you can surmise I gave him the nickname Mr. Flintstone because of his dietary preference). As the Kitchen Commander of our, er, cave, I demanded to know what he can or cannot eat. After giving me the full brief—

Me: So what you’re saying is, you’re not going to be eating rice?
Mr. Flintstone: That’s correct.
Me: So you’re renouncing your nationality? What kind of Filipino doesn’t eat rice!?
Mr. Flintstone: Where did that come from? You’re over reacting!

At first, I was sad to have lost my carb-bonanza and dessert buddy, but I’m also happy that he’s taking extra steps to improve his well-being.

As a compromise, we both agreed that Mr. Flintstone would create his own meal plan and conduct all the research (a.k.a. recipe hunting) and I would do all the grocery shopping and cooking. Fair enough.

Mr. Flintstone’s so-called “cheat day” is on Sunday, the designated family day. It’s easier, after all, to eat a few tablespoons of grains than suffer through his mother’s interrogation. “Why aren’t you eating the mashed potatoes. Don’t you like it?”

I would like to think of myself as a supportive spouse, but there are times wherein I would taunt Mr. Flintstone with freshly baked bread and a plate of exceptional pastry. Eventually, I learned how to adapt to his newfound dietary preference. I also learned to adopt it from time to time. For example, I’d grill chicken inasal, and we’d pair it with cauliflower “rice” and a ton of greens.

For father’s day, I’ve decided to treat Mr. Flintstone to a gourmet paleo-friendly feast. Whether you have a Barney Rubble or a George Jetson at home, this spread will earn you accolades.

For lunch, treat your stone-age sweetheart to a simple bowl of zucchini “spaghetti” lightly tossed in nutty, peppery arugula pesto.

Later on, have a “hunter and gatherer” themed dinner and commence it with oysters on the half shell with smokey bacon, shallot, wild chili, calamansi, and coconut vinegar mignonette.

Afterward, serve up a big plate of lean, mean steak onglet (hanger steak) with roasted spicy sweet potatoes and French green beans.

Strictly speaking, the paleo diet doesn't allow alcohol. But Mr. Flintstone can't seem to resist a large mug of ice-cold, Jack Daniels-spiked Lynchburg Lemonade!

Zucchini "Spaghetti" with Arugula Pesto

Zucchini “spaghetti”

Ingredients:

4 large zucchini

Procedure:

1.    Lay a zucchini on a skid-free surface.  Carefully run a peeler over the side of the zucchini to get even, flat layers. Once you get to the core, turn the zucchini and start peeling the other side. The seeds are too soft and won’t hold its shape.
2.    Assemble the flat layers and slice into long, thin “noodles”.
3.    You may serve this raw or sautéed in olive oil, roasted garlic, salt, and pepper.

Arugula pesto

Ingredients:

3 cups arugula, chopped
1 ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup toasted pili nuts or cashews
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Optional: 1 ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Procedure:

1.    Pulse everything in a food processor or blender until texture resembles coarse sand.
2.    Season with salt and pepper.
3.    Allow to rest for a few hours for the flavours to fully develop.
4.    Serve!

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