Bacalhau à Brás (Salted Cod, Eggs, and Potatoes)

18 Mar


Bacalhau à Brás is a Portuguese dish using salted cod (bacalhau), eggs, and potatoes. The Portuguese were one of the first European cultures to fish for cod, making huge harvests and preserving the fish off the coast of Newfoundland shortly after Columbus discovered the New World. Since then, this salted cod has been an integral part of Portuguese culture, and it’s often said that you can cook a new recipe using bacalhau every day of the year (some say there are over 1,000 recipes that include this fish). Advances in fishing technology in the mid 20th century had collapsed the Northwest Atlantic cod market by the 1990s – cod takes a long time to mature, and overfishing had run rampant. Today, bacalhau is most often made using cod harvested from Arctic waters under more strict quotas.

Bacalhau is made by salting and drying the fish in the sun; while it was originally a method of preservation (salted cod keeps a long time even without refrigeration), its unique, strong flavor is unmistakable and delicious, and its popularity endures today. The only downside to eating bacalhau is that it requires a bit of foresight, since it needs to be soaked overnight to reconstitute the fish.

Bacalhau à Brás is one of the most famous Portuguese dishes, and is considered the ultimate comfort meal in Portugal. The dish uses many of the quintessential ingredients found in Portuguese cooking – bacalhau, eggs, potatoes, and black olives.

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Grain-Free Flatbread (Paleo, Vegan, and AIP-friendly)

13 Mar


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Last weekend, I did a couple book signings with my friends Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom) and Stacy Toth (of Paleo Parents). It was a lot of fun. On Saturday night, Sarah and Stacy slept over at our house, so I offered to make dinner for them; Sarah and Stacy follow a modified version of the Autoimmune Protocol (a more restrictive version of the Paleo diet meant to reverse autoimmunity, see this post or Sarah’s book for more info), so I knew I had my work cut out for me. How do you treat your friends (and food bloggers at that) to a delicious meal with a limited cupboard to work with?

For the main course I made a modified version of my Beef Rendang recipe, where I subbed some butternut squash puree for the bell and chili peppers, and used mace instead of nutmeg. I think the squash added a good amount of body to the dish; it turned out well. I served it with cauliflower rice sautéed in coconut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and raisins – also good.

But I wanted to add another texture to the dish, so I tried out a more savory version of my pizza crust recipe, made AIP-friendly by eliminating the dairy and egg typically used in the recipe. I couldn’t have been happier with the results – the bread was nice and crisp, and adding nutritional yeast imparted a rich, buttery taste.

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Classic Braised Short Ribs

11 Mar


This week I’m traveling to NYC for a cooking demo, and Providence and Boston for book signings. More info here – please be sure to come visit since I’m not sure when I’ll be heading north again for a while. See you there!

I have a love/hate relationship with braised beef. While I love the tenderness that comes from slow-roasting meat in liquid, I sometimes become bored with the tired texture of braised dishes. So in writing this recipe, I decided to make a classic braised short ribs recipe, but alter its final texture by roasting it at a high heat before returning it to the braising liquid. This technique allows me to add some crispness to the beef and also presents an opportunity to reduce and flavor the braising liquid while the beef finishes.

Short ribs are one of my favorite cuts of beef, as they are extremely rich, relatively inexpensive, and very versatile. They are best known as a low-and-slow cut, but they fare just as well with high heat grilling, such as in my Wang Kalbi recipe.

The short ribs for this recipe were graciously donated by my friends at Arrowhead Beef, a grass-fed farm located in Chipley, Florida. Along with their online store, they sell their products all over Florida, at farmer’s markets and retail locations. Their short ribs were delicious – meaty and full of tasty connective tissue. They worked perfectly with this braise.

Better yet! They’re offering a 10% off total purchase for The Domestic Man readers. Use code domesticman when checking out. Offer expires March 31st, 2014 and excludes Bulk Beef options; limited 1 per customer.

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A Morning with Whole Foods Market

6 Mar

Over the weekend I was invited to a one-on-one tour of my local Whole Foods Market in Annapolis, Maryland. Although we shop at this store often, it was enlightening to walk around the store with their resident Healthy Eating Specialist and discuss some of their programs and policies. While we had a few opposing food philosophies, the amount of overlap between their goals and my health principles was impressive and encouraging. So, let’s talk about what I discovered.

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Roasted Asparagus with Béarnaise Sauce

4 Mar


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Roasted asparagus is no big deal, right? To roast asparagus, you basically just roast asparagus – not really worthy of a dedicated blog post. But pair this under-appreciated vegetable with a traditional Béarnaise sauce and you’ve got something spectacular. It’s funny what a few egg yolks and some butter can do.

Asparagus is an ancient vegetable, found in records dating back 5,000 years. In fact, an asparagus recipe appears in the oldest surviving cookbook (Apicuius, 4th century AD). While widely used by the Greeks and Romans, it nearly disappeared after the fall of the Roman Empire, only to be reintroduced in the late Middle Ages by the French.

Béarnaise sauce is relatively modern, first developed in the 19th century. It is often associated with Hollandaise sauce, as it employs a similar technique of emulsifying fat (butter) in egg yolks and acid. While Hollandaise is made with lemon juice, a Béarnaise is made with an herb-infused vinegar reduction. The sauce has nothing to do with bears, or the capital of Switzerland (Bern), but rather is named after Béarn, a former province in southwest France. Fun fact: d’Artagnan (one of the main characters in The Three Musketeers) was from Béarn.

My friends at Pacific Merchants donated this Enamour dish for my recipe, which was pretty cool of them. Enamel-coated stoneware is very sturdy and versatile, and this dish is a thing of beauty. It can be used for baking and broiling, but in this case I used it as a serving dish. They are also offering 25% off purchases on their site for my readers, valid March 4-12, 2014! Use code DomesticMan at checkout.

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Callaloo (Caribbean Green Soup)

25 Feb


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Callaloo is a Caribbean dish that originated in Africa. It is typically made with amaranth leaves (aptly called callaloo in the West Indies), taro leaves (dasheen), or water spinach; since these plants are somewhat hard to find in the United States, spinach is a common replacement stateside. There are many variations of this dish, and my recipe follows the Trinidadian version, which includes coconut milk and okra. In the Caribbean, Callaloo is often served as a side dish, but when I make it, it almost always turns into a main course. I’m not the type of guy that craves vegetables often, or vegetable soups for that matter, and I crave this dish. A lot.

I think I could eat my weight in Callaloo. I don’t know what it is about this dish that makes me go crazy about it. For one thing, I feel like a superhero after I eat it – like I’ve consumed a week’s worth of vegetables in one sitting. It’s also ridiculously delicious, and carries a unique flavor despite using fairly common ingredients. The only ingredient in here we don’t eat regularly is okra, since my wife isn’t a fan of okra’s slimy texture; luckily, the texture is cleverly masked in this dish.

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A Brief History Lesson: Beef Bourguignon

22 Feb

A couple weeks ago I did a guest post on RobbWolf.com, which was pretty exciting for me. I first heard of the Paleo diet through his book, The Paleo Solution, and considering how profound of an impact it made on my health, it was just surreal to join forces with him.

For my guest post, I deconstructed the entire history of one of my favorite dishes – Beef Bourguignon – including the individual histories of every ingredient used in the dish and the people who made it. It took a fair bit of research to put it all together, and I think it’s a very interesting read, though a little longer than my typical blog posts. For posterity’s sake, I decided to move the article to this blog in case you wanted to check it out. Enjoy! The link to my recipe is at the bottom of the post.

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The Ancestral Table and the Autoimmune Protocol

20 Feb

Since I personally have an autoimmune condition, I have a lot of respect for the Autoimmune Protocol. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the protocol is aligned with the Paleo Diet (you know the drill – meats, seafood, veggies, fruits) but also eliminates other troublesome foods in an effort to further reverse autoimmune issues. The main culprits are nightshades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes), eggs (especially the whites), dairy, alcohol, and most nuts and seeds.

I’ve dabbled in the protocol over the past couple of years, eliminating certain foods for months at a time and then re-introducing them to see how I react to them. Most recently I eliminated eggs for about four months because I found myself feeling tired after eating them; I started eating eggs again this month without any issue. There are a ton of factors involved in diet and health, so I’m not saying outright that eliminating eggs for a short period of time directly affected my resiliency, but I think there is good reason to abstain from certain foods from time to time. After all, this mimics the seasonality of human diets preceding our modern era, as well as many religious practices that have endured over the years.

When I wrote The Ancestral Table I didn’t necessarily keep the Autoimmune Protocol (“AIP”) in mind, especially since two incredible-looking cookbooks on the subject are coming out this year (see: The Paleo Approach Cookbook and The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook). After doing the math, 55 of the 112 recipes found in my cookbook are AIP-friendly or easily modified to be so. While at first I thought this number was pretty low, after talking with some experts I was happy to find that 55 is actually a fairly high number compared to many of the Paleo cookbooks out there, since many of them rely on nut-based flours for texture, something that is rarely found in The Ancestral Table.

So I thought it would be worth your time to publish an AIP guide for anyone looking to buy my book while on an elimination diet. For more information on the Autoimmune Protocol, check out my friend Sarah’s site, ThePaleoMom.com.
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Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

18 Feb


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Sauerbraten (“Sour Roast”) is a German pickled roast. Traditionally made with lean horse meat, this dish works well with any lean roast. For my recipe in particular I used eye of round roast. This dish is unique in that the meat is tenderized in a wine or vinegar marinade for several days, probably a carryover from ancient preservation methods.

To counter the sour taste of the meat, Germans today commonly add gingersnap cookies to the roast’s gravy; personally, I used a bit of honey and golden raisins to cut its sourness, a custom found in Rheinischer Sauerbraten (Sauerbraten from the Rhine region in West Germany).

The eye of round roast for this recipe was graciously donated by Friends & Farms, a Maryland-based community that provides high-quality food baskets from local farms and artisans. They build the baskets with certain recipes in mind, and provide the recipes each week; each basket is designed to complement your eating habits, and is enough food for about three meals per week. You can also customize your baskets for a more Paleo-minded lifestyle, which is really cool.

Better yet, they are giving away a free weekly food basket to one of my readers – if you’re in the greater Baltimore area, click here to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends ends midnight (EST) Saturday, Feb 22nd, 2014 and is limited to Maryland-area residents; you’ll need to be able to pick up your winnings at one of their many pickup locations. Good luck!

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The Ancestral Table: Giveaways, Events, and Signed Copies

13 Feb

Hi everyone, hope you’re enjoying my recently-released cookbook, The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle. I’ve read an overwhelming amount of nice reviews, and it’s been very heartwarming. Thank you to everyone for that.

So now it’s my time to give a little something back. Here’s a list of current giveaways that feature the book, and other great news; I’ll be doing a series of signings throughout March, and I’m also offering a service where you can buy personalized signed copies of The Ancestral Table through my local independent bookstore, shipped to your home.

Note that I’ve set up an Events page (on the top-right of this site) where you can check back for updates on signings, cooking demos, and other fun stuff.

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