Clams in White Wine Sauce (from The Ancestral Table)

24 Feb


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

As you probably read in my post from the other day, I’m knee-deep in recipe development and writing, in order to get my sophomore cookbook ready for release – which is a lot of fun, but leaves me with little time to keep up with blog recipes. So, I figured out a solution that’s good for both of us: I’ll just post a recipe from The Ancestral Table! I’ve been meaning to share more of these recipes anyway, and this one is a special favorite in our house. The wine sauce is the highlight of the dish, and it is absolutely, ridiculously, heartbreakingly delicious. One of these days I’ll figure out a way to batch-cook and sell this sauce for millions of dollars, but for now, here’s a bit more about the dish, stolen directly from the book (I can do that!):

While clams, wine, and butter are all delicious, the combination of the three is truly divine. This dish, developed in the Provençal region of France, is the quintessential marriage of these rich, decadent flavors. It is equally tasty when prepared with mussels.

Though wild and sustainably caught seafood is generally ideal, it’s better to buy farm-raised clams and mussels. They are raised on ropes suspended above the sea floor, which makes them less gritty than wild clams and mussels dredged from the ocean floor. Dredging up wild clams and mussels can also damage the ocean’s ecosystem.

Even though I’m mostly MIA for a bit, there are still ways to get your Russ Crandall fix (is there such a thing?), should you need it. Next week, I’ll be participating in the Virtual Ultimate Health Summit, which focuses on restoring your health through lessons on diet, sleep, energy, hormones, body image, confidence and stress. I am one of 16 panelists, and I’ll be talking about how history, food culture, and health can combine to find that perfect balance of tasty food and healthy diet, with an emphasis on safe starches (no surprise there, right?). It’s free to enroll, and runs for two weeks, so check it out!

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Paleo Take Out – Soon to be a Print Book!

21 Feb

Hi everyone, there have been some big changes happening lately, so I want to take a second to bring you up to speed.

After hearing a lot of feedback that you folks were interested in seeing a print copy of Paleo Take Out, I started looking at publishing options for the eBook. After weighing a number of factors, I decided to team up with my publisher, Victory Belt Publishing, and we’ll be releasing a print version of the book instead of the eBook I was initially planning on. Since the majority of the book has already been written, we’re going to slide the book into Victory Belt’s summer release schedule to get it out as soon as possible – so look for it in stores starting this June! That’s ridiculously fast in terms of cookbook releases.

In addition to the Asian-inspired takeout dishes I was originally including, I decided to add another chapter of American restaurant and fast food favorites (mindfully recreated, of course). So in addition to your favorite Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian dishes, you’ll also see some other takeout standards like pizza, burgers, wings, and fried chicken. I feel like it is a natural progression since some of my most enduring recipes have been recreations of restaurant favorites, like my chicken nuggets recipe. It’s shaping up to be ridiculously awesome.

As cool as a print book is, there is also one problem associated with not releasing Paleo Take Out as an eBook – in marketing The Safe Starch Cookbook, I have been promising a $5 discount code for Paleo Take Out on the eBook’s originally scheduled release date of March 1st. But without an eBook, that discount code would be worthless, right? So I wanted to figure out something that could adequately replace that anticipated discount.

What I settled on is to release a sample of Paleo Take Out, featuring 10 recipes that will be in the book plus 5-10 recipes that didn’t make it into the final cut of the print book. So on March 1st I’ll reach out to everyone who has purchased The Safe Starch Cookbook and get them a copy of this new sample eBook, and it will come standard with all purchases of The Safe Starch Cookbook starting March 1st, too. I think that’s totally worth $5.

So you’ll have to forgive me, as I’ll be hunkering down and putting the final touches on the book over the next month, then subjecting myself through a whirlwind editing cycle immediately thereafter – so I may be a little scarce here on the blog for a bit. But it’s for a worthy cause, promise!

Oh, and I have a final title: Paleo Take Out: Restaurant Favorites without the Guilt. I almost have the final cover completed, which I’ll be sure to share soon!

Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller)

17 Feb


I know what you’re thinking. It’s something like this – “Seriously, Russ? You already have an awesome Swedish Meatball recipe in your cookbook. Way to put a new coat of paint on your old favorites.”

First of all, thanks for the compliment. Second, these meatballs are a little different. For example, Danish Frikadeller are often smashed and look more like little patties than those little round balls you might be expecting. Think of them as Denmark’s LEGOs (probably their coolest invention) vs. Sweden’s crescent wrench (also a cool invention); both are useful, but serve slightly different purposes.

The recipe itself differs from Swedish meatballs in that I found that adding a bit of tapioca starch makes the balls stick together really well, and they’re pretty delightfully spongy, too. I also played around with the spices until I found something that delivered a distinctive Old-World taste while using common pantry items.

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Torsk (Scandinavian Poached Cod)

10 Feb


I love buying frozen fish. It’s super handy and still tastes great since many fishermen can flash-freeze it almost immediately after harvesting. And while fish thaws quickly, the thawing process is still a tiny pain in the butt; so I started looking for ways to forgo the whole “thawing” thing altogether (sheesh, how lazy can I get?). And that’s when I stumbled upon my new best friend, Torsk.

The word Torsk itself means “cod” in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, but also is often used to describe a cod dish in Scandinavia that is sometimes cooked from a frozen state. Perfect. When researching Torsk recipes, I found that they were either poached or broiled; never one to do something halfway, I decided to do both methods in the same recipe to get the best of both worlds. Pulling this dish off is a little different from your typical recipe, but don’t worry, I’m here to walk you through the process. I’m really excited about this recipe, especially because you can pull fish out of the freezer and put it on your dinner table in 20 minutes. It just can’t be beat in terms of convenience and tastiness.

Most broiled versions of Torsk call for butter, but in order to keep the butter from burning I mixed in an equal amount of ghee (which has a much higher smoking point since it doesn’t have milk solids). Lately I’ve been using Tin Star Foods ghee, which is hand-poured in small batches using Kerrygold butter (from grass-fed cows). This ghee is awesome – smooth, flavorful, and rich. Definitely worth your time.

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Lamb Vindaloo

3 Feb


Vindaloo is a curry dish originating in the Goa region of West India. It is actually the Indian interpretation of the Portuguese dish Carne de Vinha D’Alhos (Meat with Wine and Garlic), borrowed from the Portuguese colony in Goa. The original dish is seasoned with vinegar, and that slightly sour taste remains in most Indian interpretations today.

While you’ll find potatoes in Vindaloos at many Indian restaurants worldwide, Vindaloo purists will argue that the dish shouldn’t have potatoes; what’s interesting is that the original Portuguese dish does indeed feature potatoes. So they were lost at some point, only to find their way back again. The Indian dish does stray from its source, though: Carne de Vinha D’Alhos is usually made with pork, and the Vindaloos you’ll find in Indian restaurants is most often made with lamb. Likewise, the Indian dish is moderately spicy, unlike its Portuguese counterpart. For this recipe, I kept the heat fairly mild; to spice it up, simply add more chili powder.

After such a warm reception to my pressure-cooker Instant Stew recipe from a couple weeks ago, I decided to make this dish using my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker as well. For those of you without a pressure cooker, fear not: stovetop instructions are included. At its essence, the recipes are the same; the pressure cooker just cuts down the cooking time considerably.

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Now Available – The Safe Starch Cookbook

1 Feb

I’m happy to announce that The Safe Starch Cookbook is available for sale starting today! I think you folks will love it. Head on over to my eBook landing page for more info, but here it is in a nutshell: 167 pages, 64 recipes, pretty pictures, meal-planning ideas, money-saving tips, and more – all centered on balancing your meals through the judicious use of starchy foods that are low in toxins and immensely satisfying.

I’m selling The Safe Starch Cookbook for $10, and it comes with a $5 discount for my next eBook, Paleo Take Out, for when it releases on March 1st.

The Safe Starch Cookbook is an interactive PDF, and will work on any computer, tablet, or smart phone. I built the whole book from scratch, and I’m really proud of it; I designed it to be awesome no matter how you read it. For example, its native dimensions are optimized for the iPad, but will work on any other device just fine; and when using Adobe Reader on your home computer, the recipes will display as a beautiful two-page spread. If you want to test it yourself, here is a PDF sample recipe for Bangers and Kale Mash.

Click the link below to buy The Safe Starch Cookbook, using PayPal or any major credit card.

If you have a blog of your own, please consider signing up as an affiliate to earn a commission for every sale of this nifty resource. Click here for more info.

Any questions? Leave a comment below or send me an email. Thanks for your continued readership, enthusiasm, and support!

Indonesian Meat and Potato Fritters (Perkedel)

27 Jan


Perkedel are Indonesian fried fritters, found everywhere from city streets to high-end restaurants. This dish carries a lot of variations, but most contain potatoes and ground meat, so that’s what I focused on in this recipe (most variations use just beef, but I found adding pork evens out the flavors). Speaking of variations, I made two versions of this dish as you’ll see in the pictures below: one with the breading, and one without. Both are awesome and easy to throw together.

The word Perkedel is actually a derivative of the Dutch word Frikandel, which is a deep-fried sausage that doesn’t have a casing and is often sliced down the middle and stuffed with toppings (the original #hotdogasthebun, in truth). The Dutch first colonized Indonesia, so there is a lot of cool Dutch influence like this in the archipelago (and vice-versa – Indonesian food is wildly popular in The Netherlands).

Totally unrelated, but the folks at Tabasco offered to give a selection of their sauces to one of my readers, shipped in time for Super Bowl this weekend; head over to this FB post to throw your name in the hat, if you’d like.

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Instant Stew

20 Jan


First of all, sorry about that title. Just like the elusive free lunch, there is no such thing as an “Instant Stew”. You see, I recently asked my Facebook followers what dish they’d like to see me develop, and I received several requests for pressure cooker and stew recipes. We use (and love) an electric pressure cooker called an Instant Pot, so that’s what I used for this recipe (and hence the name).

At its heart, this dish is similar to many of my other stew recipes, but with a new approach. When it comes to simple weeknight recipes, many folks like the idea of crockpot stews (wherein you leave the ingredients to slow-cook while away at work). But I’ve found that more often than not, the vegetables become too mushy and tired after a long simmer. This is where a pressure cooker really shines, as it shaves a multi-hour recipe into just over an hour, making it a potential weeknight option with superior texture.

If you want to make this dish without any fancy (awesome) gadgetry, I’ve also included stovetop instructions below.

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The Ancestral Table – Now Available in Select Costco Stores!

19 Jan

This is a huge week for me. After nearly a year of hoping, pleading, and hand-wringing, the fine folks at Costco are now carrying a test batch of my book, The Ancestral Table, in select stores! If sales go well, it will be pushed to stores nationwide, which would be even more awesome.

If you live near one of these areas, I would love it if you picked up a copy for you or a friend. If you think of it, I’d also love it if you emailed me a picture of my book in the wild! And while you’re at it, there are a ton of Paleo-friendly ingredients to be had at Costco stores; check out Sarah Ballantyne’s Ultimate Costco Guide (page 8) for a great list of items that most stores carry.

Read on for a full list of store locations. Thanks again for your support!

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Chicken Parmesan (Grain-Free)

13 Jan


Parmigiana is a method of Italian cooking wherein breaded, fried cutlets are layered in cheese and tomato sauce. Originally made with eggplant (Melanzane alla Parmigiana), breaded chicken and veal cutlets are popular as well. There is some dispute as to where this dish came from; logic would dictate that the Northern city of Parma started the craze, but Southern regions Campania and Sicily also stake a claim in this dish. A common misconception is that the dish got its name from its inclusion of Parmesan cheese (despite the fact that mozzarella is the most common cheese used in this dish); but like Chicken Parmesan, Parmesan cheese got its name from the fact that it is produced in the city of Parma.

While Chicken Parmesan is fairly well-known in the US, it’s of monstrous popularity in Australia, where it is called Chicken Parm, Chicken Parma, or even Chicken Parmy. Their take on the dish usually includes french fries, and was named the #37 best food in the world by CNN Traveler a few years back.

My take on the dish is surprisingly similar to the way I made it while working as a line chef many years ago; the only thing that’s changed is the breading ingredients. While plain tapioca or arrowroot starch works well for its first dusting layer, mixing the starch with some potato starch for the outer breading layer gives the outside a crisp texture. If you’re looking for a really authentic, slightly rough texture that only breadcrumbs can provide, you could toast your favorite gluten-free bread, cool it, then blend to make breadcrumbs. But as you’ll see from the pictures below, this simple preparation is pretty awesome, too.

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