Vegetables

It’s a New Year, which means many folks are just starting (or restarting) a new healthy eating adventure. One of the more popular eating challenges is the Whole30 (heck, it’s the #6 book on Amazon as of this morning). It’s been a few years since I’ve done a Whole30, which is a 30-day program with explicit guidelines. It doesn’t stray far from the way I eat anyway, other than the fact that it’s more stringent on honey, alcohol, dairy, and rice than my typical diet.

One thing I remember from my last Whole30 (in 2012, if memory serves me) was that I had a hard time keeping up my carb intake – at the time, the only carb-heavy foods allowed were sweet potatoes, beets, and plantains, which grew tiresome after a month of eating them. Luckily, the folks behind Whole30 remedied that in 2014, when they added white potatoes to their list of allowed foods. Hopefully this recipe – which includes two starchy vegetables – will make this month’s Whole30 a bit easier for everyone (also, don’t forget about this guide which transforms 94% of the 250+ recipes in Paleo Takeout to be Whole3o-compliant).

The turnip is one of the first cultivated vegetables, with some records dating back 17,000 years. Turnip roots aren’t as popular in the US as their greens, which are similar to mustard greens in taste. This soup is one of my favorite ways to prepare turnips, as it accentuates the natural creaminess of the root; serve this to your guests, and they won’t believe you that it’s dairy-free. Adding potatoes to the soup adds more body and heft to the dish, warming the belly on these cold winter evenings.

Fun fact: the rutabaga, another common root vegetable, was originally a cross-cultivation of the turnip and cabbage. It is also referred to as “neep” in some countries, likely a carryover from the Old English word næp (and before that, the Latin word napus), which meant “turnip”. Rutabagas and turnips are often confused for one another, with a common misconception that rutabagas are just large turnips.

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Many mornings, I wake up in the mood for eggs…but also not in the mood for eggs, you know what I mean? The consistency and flavor of traditionally-prepared eggs are both a godsend for predictability and a major exercise in patience for discerning eaters like yours truly. And it’s not just me who is sometimes bored with eggs; it’s a global pheomenon, demonstrated by the myriad of ways to prepare eggs – scrambled, fried, flipped, deviled, basted, roasted, poached, shirred, boiled, and scotched. I feel like a cast member of Forrest Gump right now, but you get my point.

Egg Bhurji is a recent favorite, as it combines exotic South Asian flavors with an egg scramble for delicious effect. All it takes is a bit of prep to chop and soften the vegetables before adding in the eggs; it’s definitely worth that extra few minutes of effort.

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I recently partnered with Reynolds Kitchens to develop some unique Fall and Holiday recipes for their Endless Table project; some were reimagined classics (see: Tender Eye of Round Roast), while others were new creations designed to capitalize on the versatility of tin foil (see: Roasted Sausage and Sauerkraut, Oven Roasted Artichokes).

I enjoyed the opportunity to dive into one specific product, and it end up maturing the way I think about tin foil – no longer relegated to simply preventing foods from sticking to a baking sheet, but rather as an instrument that can molded to fit a number of circumstances.

For one recipe, these Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites, the tin foil solved one particularly pesky problem: how to roast sweet potato pieces so that they are fully cooked but not dried out. The solution is simple – cover the sweet potato bites with Reynolds Wrap for the first half of the cooking time, then remove the foil and let the oven crisp up the outside of the potatoes. Adding bacon, as expected, raised the dish’s flavor to a whole new level; and the strategic use of tin foil allowed me to ensure the bacon and sweet potatoes were cooked just right, and in tandem.

The full recipe is hosted on the Reynolds Kitchen website; click here to check it out. Also be sure to watch the video above – these sweet potato bites make a cameo appearance mid-way through the shot (they’re on the right).

Local friends: I’ll be having a talk, cooking demo, and book signing in a couple weeks – for more info, see the bottom of this post.

This little soup has made quite a journey over its lifetime. It was traditionally a sauce served over rice in its native India, but British colonials returning to England from travels abroad in the 19th century sought to recreate the dish at home. It eventually evolved into a mildly-flavored soup and spread as far as Australia, and there are now hundreds of variations of the dish.

While coconut milk was likely the original ingredient used to add richness to the soup, cream eventually took over in the UK. Personally, I like the exotic notes that coconut milk provides, so I reverted this dish back to its roots. This soup is typically thickened by adding rice and blending it with the other ingredients, but if you’re rice-free, don’t worry about it, the soup will still have a fairly hearty thickness to it thanks to the soup’s blended sweet potato.

One of my favorite aspects of this dish is that it imparts a slightly exotic flavor while using common ingredients (much like another favorite, Sukuma Wiki). Lastly, one fun fact: the name mulligatawny is derived from the Tamil (Southern Indian) words மிளகு தண்ணீர் (mullaga and thanni), which translate to “pepper water”.

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A favorite dish from Paleo Takeout is my Ramen recipe (page 112), which contains eight different types of Ramen and a variety of add-ins. It’s an excellent way to enjoy different takes on the same soup, while sneaking in a good amount of broth at the same time.

Like a lot of North America, we’re receiving a ton of rain right now, which always puts me in the mood for soup (admittedly, it doesn’t take much for me to get in a soup-eating mood). I figure some of you might be interested in soup right about now too, so here is my take on a simple pork-based Ramen, with some added curried winter squash to celebrate the coming winter season. Both pressure cooker and stovetop instructions are provided.

Ramen is a Japanese noodle dish inspired by Chinese cuisine (the word Ramen itself is borrowed from Lāmiàn, a type of Chinese noodle). Ramen is a relatively new phenomenon; it first started appearing in Japan during the early 20th century, but quickly gained ground after World War II, when soldiers returning from war in China had developed an affinity for Chinese-inspired cuisine (namely noodle soups). At the same time, Japan started importing American-grown wheat flour, which spurred the Japanese noodle-making industry. Ramen’s popularity was secured in 1958 when instant ramen noodles were invented, and later exported starting in 1971.

The impressive reach of Japanese Ramen can be neatly summarized by one fact: it has become very popular in China, where it is called Rìshì Lāmiàn (“Japan-style Lāmiàn”). That the soup can originate in one country, gain prominence in another, only to return to the original country with a new identity is both a testament to how delicious this soup is, as well as the ingenuity and adaptability of the human spirit.

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A few weeks back, my friend Stacy from Paleo Parents sent a text to me and our mutual friend, Jennifer from Predominantly Paleo, that went something like this: “Hey, I want to recreate this Red Robin Banzai Burger that I’ve loved for years and we should do a collaborative project because you two are pretty cool.” I liked the idea of teaming up with some other bloggers for something new, and I’m always game for recreating particular flavors (I did write a book of restaurant recreations, after all). So I jumped into the game.

While most folks associate Red Robin with burgers, they have an impressive selection of salads as well. This Caeser-dressed and fire-grilled salad, affectionately called “Insane Romaine”, is a favorite of mine, and I thought this was a great opportunity to recreate their dish plus finally try my hand at a homemade Caesar salad dressing.

Once we had our project in mind, we started talking to Chosen Foods, who recently debuted their avocado oil-based mayonnaise, and decided to take the collaboration one step further: we all featured the mayo in our recipes, too. Be sure to check the bottom of this post for the other two dishes included in our Red Robin recreation progressive dinner: the aforementioned Banzai Burgers plus some crispy fries and “Campfire Sauce”.

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Pommes Anna is a famous French preparation of white potatoes, borne in the mid 19th century. The story goes that the dish was named after Anna Deslions, a well-known Parisian courtesan, who frequented Café Anglais where chef Adolphe Dugléré invented the dish to honor her (and the wealthy clientele that she brought into the popular restaurant).

The idea of naming food after celebrities appears to be a time-honored tradition. Some examples: Beef Wellington was named after the Duke of Wellington (in celebration of his victory during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815), Pizza Margherita was named after Queen Margherita, Beef Carpaccio is named in honor of painter Vittore Carpaccio (who worked with vibrant reds), and who could forget the Arnold Palmer?

At other times, the food itself turns folks into celebrities: Caesar salad is not named after Julius Caesar but Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who invented the salad in 1924 while living in Tijuana, Mexico; and nachos are purportedly the invention of Ignacio Anaya, a boy who in 1943 whipped up the dish to feed some hungry soldiers in Piedras Negras, Mexico.

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As summer’s heat comes full swing, I’ve been less apt to spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Sometimes a cold meal like my recent Ahi Poke or Gazpacho creations come to mind, but other times I still want something hot – so long as it doesn’t require heating up the whole kitchen. I think this Thai Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry is a perfect solution, as it only takes a few minutes on the burner, and since it’s mostly vegetables, it also comes off more as a light meal than a big feast. 

One of my favorite finds during my April trip to Tabasco was their Garlic Pepper sauce. It carries the same flavor as their original sauce, but with an added garlic accent that is complimentary without being distracting. It seemed like an excellent fit for this Stir-Fry, and I was right!

This Thai version of Sweet and Sour differs a bit from the sticky/sweet Chinese-American version we’re all more accustomed to. The main difference is that it’s mostly vegetables, with shrimp an optional add-in. It’s also more on the sour side than sweet, which fares really well with the fresh cucumbers found in the final product.

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Yep, it’s getting to be about that time of the year again. You know, when it’s just too dang hot outside to fire up the oven or stovetop. A popular food blogger trend is to eventually post a Gazpacho recipe, so I figured it’s about time for me to share my own take on the dish. This is what I would consider a classic take on Gazpacho, although since I’m still coming down from my incredible visit to the Tabasco headquarters in April (see here), I couldn’t resist spicing this soup up with some of their original pepper sauce.

Gazpacho is an ancient cold soup first developed in Andalusia, the southern region of Spain. It is believed to have been introduced first by Arabic culture as a soup made from leftover bread, and possibly influenced by the Romans with the soup’s telltale inclusion of vinegar. Tomatoes, now an integral part of modern Gazpachos, came much later, once Columbus returned from the Americas bearing a weird, red ornamental fruit that was eventually used in culinary circles (after everyone got over their belief that tomatoes were poisonous).

In my opinion, the key to a good Gazpacho is to find a marriage of contrasting flavors, namely fresh cucumbers, tart tomatoes, sweet bell pepper, and biting onion. So that’s what we’re going to use as our base, and then complement the vegetables with garlic for immediacy, lime juice for brightness, olive oil for body, vinegar for tanginess, Tabasco for heat, and a pinch of basil for that last bit of spark to round things out.

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Boerenkool Stamppot is a Dutch dish of mashed potatoes (“stomped pot”) mixed with kale. There are sometimes other vegetables mixed into Stamppot, like sauerkraut or endive, but as the Dutch say, “Boerenkool is het nieuwe zwart” (Kale is the new black). Note: they probably don’t actually say that! Either way, it’s worth it to incorporate the most nutrient dense vegetable on the planet into the dish.

Stamppot is typically served with a mild smoked sausage called rookworst, either sliced and mixed into the dish like in my pictures, or served on top of the vegetables. It’s all going to get mixed up in your stomach anyway, so feel free to arrange it as you please.

Here’s something really exciting about the photo you see above – I live-broadcasted my photography session! I started using the Periscope app (available on iOS and Android), which lets you livestream just about anything you want, and people can re-watch the broadcast for the next 24 hours. Think of it like a spontaneous YouTube. I think I’ll be using it on the weekends while photographing or cooking my recipes for the blog; it’s a neat way to interact with you folks (you can send chat messages to me while I’m working). Join me if you’re interested – my username is, predictably, thedomesticman.

Oh! And some more cool news. My presentation from Paleo f(x) 2014 was officially released on YouTube. Honestly, I had forgotten all about it so it was a neat surprise to see it appear online yesterday. Click here to watch me talk about six ways to improve the quality of Paleo-minded cooking; the talk is called “Our Great-Grandparents Were Totally Paleo: Six Suggestions for Improving Paleo Cuisine by Following Traditional and Gourmet Culinary Practices” (what a mouthful!). I’ve also embedded it at the bottom of this post.

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