I live in south Florida, where we get to live with the obnoxious oppression of sauna-like weather conditions for the better part of half of any given year. Consistently over 90 soggy degrees Every. Single. Day, it’s humid, it’s sticky, and you can pretty much forget about perfect eyeliner or cute hair. Stepping outside in the summer here is only slightly better than stepping into a giant, warm, wet, slightly moldy kitchen sponge.
But probably not by much.
So we grouse and we complain and without fail the first thing anyone says around here is, “It is SO hot, isn’t it? It is just so hot“, like this is the FIRST TIME EVER, and of course everyone nods and agrees and it’s just one big fat complaint fest. Because, well, you know, it IS really so freaking hot. And as with anything in life…..along with the good comes the bad and the bad with the good; so in the midst of all this torrid smarmy heat (“bad”), if you are paying attention, and if you are really, really lucky……
Have you ever pulled out an orange (at work, perhaps?) and asked anyone if they would like a piece? Chances are you won’t get much response. Hey, you were just trying to be polite, right? Fine, good, more for you, or so you might think; let me tell you the minute you dig your thumb into that rind and peel it back and that first whiff of sunshine scented diffusion sprays through the air – Oh yeah! Noses perk right up and heads pop over and next thing you know,
you could use another orange. Hmmm.
Behold…my take on the poke (pronounced POH-Key, just in case you needed that) bowl.
A traditional poke bowl is both cooked and raw, hot and cold, all at once, sort of like a burrito bowl meets The Little Mermaid. Rice serves as the cooked portion of the production, a blank canvas to hold up the rest of the more assertive supporting cast. A staple of Hawaiian cuisine since, oh probably the dawn of the volcano, the poke bowl has found itself a place in mainland-style foodie trendiness, right alongside acai bowls, power bowls, and cereal bowls.
Yeh, I’m kidding about the cereal bowls, wink wink. Let’s not get crazy about what sort of vessel you serve this up in/on. This is so beautiful, so amazingly delicious, so easy to assemble together on the fly (NO COOKING INVOLVED AT ALL no lie), that you would probably eat it out of a shoe if I gave it to you like that. I know I would.
Okay … make that a brand new, super clean, very fancy, really nice shoe.
I’m finally fessing up, Tostitos. I’m just not really that into you.
Yeah, you heard me right, although I hid it well for years. Being from New Mexico and all, where they practically invented chips and salsa (I am pretty sure it’s an official “food group” there), I plowed through my fair share TO BE SURE. But what choice did I have? You gotta have the salsa, right? And fresh guacamole? Puh-lease, there is nothing better on this planet………so what could I do? I couldn’t use a spoon (oh, I thought about it, I did), and double dipping in public is completely out of the question….so I jumped on the bus and I ate all the chips. But you know . . . I had to.
It was that or no salsa. No guacamole. No joy.
Ever. (cue the teardrop running slowly down the side of cheek)
I have good news. No, you didn’t win the Publishers Clearing House Giveaway.
Sorry. But, listen………
Mangoes are available in January. Did you know this? I gotta tell you, I absolutely did not so when I spotted them at my not exactly trendy local grocery store I bee-lined right over and snagged a couple….but not without my suspicions. Produce out of season typically equals either way expensive or not-sah-good (usually both). Turns out mangoes have two growing seasons depending on where they’re from. January mangoes! This is awesome! No, really, this is exciting stuff!
But only if you like to eat.