food

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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I have a long history with Bill and Hayley of Primal Palate. We first met online on, of all places, a Paleo diet forum in early 2011. I had recently changed my eating habits and was looking for a place to share my thoughts on the burgeoning movement; I remember that someone on the forum asked for a jerky recipe, and both Bill and I posted the recipes from our freshly-minted blogs, and the connection was made. If someone had told me that a few years later I’d be a guest at their wedding, I would have laughed them out of town. But I was! Over the years, we’ve both been at it nonstop – I’ve kept this little blog trucking (and wrote a cookbook or two along the way), while B&H wrote four cookbooks, created an iOS app, redeveloped and redesigned their blog multiple times, started their own frozen Paleo cookie dough, and have now begun a really neat project which I’m excited to share today: organic spices.

While their landing page will give you all the info you need to know on these newly-announced spices, I wanted to share a bit about them from my experience. I was lucky to be one of the first to taste-test the spices, and I was immediately impressed with their quality. The ginger, garlic, turmeric, and oregano are extremely potent and fresh – they put the spices in my spice rack to shame. The spice blends they developed (Adobo, Barbecue Rub, and Meat & Potatoes) are impeccably balanced, with distinct aromas and flavors that aren’t overbearing. I’ll admit it, I’m not the type of guy who gets excited about pre-made spice blends (I tend to make my own from scratch), so I think it means a lot when I say that I will likely be ordering replacements for my test bottles pretty soon.

If you’re interested in upgrading your spice cabinet, or if you are looking to stock up on some of the spices that are featured in Paleo Takeout, I encourage you to check out their selection.

At long last, Paleo Takeout has arrived! To celebrate, I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes from the book. This “Bam Bam Shrimp” recipe is inspired by a certain shrimp dish found in a couple different chain restaurants across the United States.

One cool fact – when coming up with a title for the recipe (one that reminded readers of the original dish without infringing any copyright!), I was stumped. So I posed the question to the Paleo Takeout Facebook group and after a lot of great feedback, we decided on the term “Bam Bam Shrimp”, since it got the point across and had a bit of a Paleolithic (in other words, Flinstones) feel to it. Other frontrunners included Bazinga Shrimp, Dynamite Shrimp, and Whiz Bang Shrimp.

I want to take a second and thank everyone for your continued support, enthusiasm, and readership. Paleo Takeout began as a whim, then an eBook, and now it’s finally here as a full-scale print book, and easily the most challenging (and rewarding) project I’ve ever undertaken. The book is now available online and in stores, wherever books are sold. If you’re an international reader, please note that Book Depository ships worldwide for free.

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Although my recipes principally follow a gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, and Perfect Health Diet framework, I often get requests to adapt my recipes for Whole30 and the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). These two eating styles in particular are further restrictive in that the former is intended to reset your eating habits, while the latter is designed to heal and reverse autoimmune symptoms.

I’m familiar enough with both eating parameters that I was able to go through every recipe in Paleo Takeout and make individual adjustments to comply with those requirements while still preserving the spirit of each recipe. So if you’re trying out a Whole30 or healing from autoimmunity, feel free to use this guide as a means to enjoy my book. I’m very proud of this guide, as it took me nearly a month to compile everything, and I was able to retain 94% of the recipes for Whole30 and 80% for AIP, which is pretty awesome. Plus this is definitely my longest post ever, over 7,000 words! Substitutions are referenced in order of appearance in the recipe.

Other helpful links:


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As you may remember from my Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe from a couple weeks ago, I’ve been tinkering with the new Sharp convection microwave, running it through its paces to see how it can apply to an everyday kitchen. In addition to your typical microwave features, the convection microwave also acts as a convection oven and a roaster.

So when coming up with possible recipe ideas, I decided to make a dish that is just about the opposite of what you’d expect to come out of a microwave – barbecue ribs. The microwave worked exceptionally well, since the convection feature tenderized the ribs and the roaster crisped them up before serving. Conventional oven instructions are also provided below.

Country-style ribs were an easy choice, since their connective tissue breaks down during the braising phase, which creates very tender ribs with minimal time. They are cut from the pig’s shoulder blade section; in fact, the bones you see in the ribs aren’t ribs at all, but cut pieces of the shoulder blade itself.

In support of the Sharp convection microwave, I’ll be participating in a live Twitter chat tomorrow (June 17th) at 3pm EST; to join in on the conversation, simply follow the #SharpNewWave hashtag tomorrow. They’ll be giving away a microwave during the chat, which is pretty awesome, so be sure to swing by.

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Hi everyone, I’ll be hitting the road this summer to meet readers and sign copies of Paleo Takeout. Along the way, I’ll be teaming up with some of my favorite authors. Read below for the details, and be sure to RSVP for the event so I know how many folks to expect.

Please bear in mind that while I’d love to add more dates and locations, due to my day job, this is likely all the travel I’ll be able to manage this summer (I am working to squeeze in one more date, more info on that soon!). I’ll be adding more information on each event as I confirm the details; for now, you can periodically check my Events page as the events near.

If you know of a great location in one of the cities below that doesn’t have a firm venue booked, I’d love to hear your suggestions. It’s surprisingly hard to get book stores to do signings, so any help you can provide (like asking your local shop to host my signing) would be very helpful, thank you!

If you’re not able to make it one of the signings, never fear – if you call FoxTale Book Shoppe at (770) 516-9989 before June 27th, you can order a copy of the book and I’ll sign and personalize it for you during my signing at their Atlanta shop, and they’ll ship it anywhere in the US! Okay, on to the dates.

June 19th – Pensacola, FL (more info) I’ll be at SoGourmet Pensacola and cooking dinner using dishes from the book, which will include Egg Drop Soup, Cauliflower Rice, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Kung Pao Pork, Vegetables in White Sauce. I’ll be also throwing together a Rice Pudding dessert from The Ancestral Table. Be sure to pre-pay for the event, and I’ll see you there – lots of fun (and wine) to be had!

June 23rd – Pensacola, FL (more info) Come by and get a signed copy of Paleo Takeout on the day it releases! I’ll be doing a small, informal celebration/signing at my local Barnes & Noble.

June 27th – Atlanta, GA (more info) This is my official book release party, with special guest (and Atlantan) Sarah Ballantyne in attendance! We’re going to have all sorts of fermented drinks, plus a broth tasting featuring broths and soup bases from Paleo Takeout, made by yours truly!

July 9th – Seattle, WA (more info) I’ll be returning to my home state of Washington and co-signing with Ciarra Hannah (author of The Frugal Paleo Cookbook) and Jenny Castaneda (author of One-Pot Paleo).

July 10th – Portland, OR (more info) with Mickey Trescott (author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook) and Jenny Castaneda (author of One-Pot Paleo).

July 12th – San Francisco, CA (more info) with Simone Miller (author of The Zenbelly Cookbook) and Jenny Castaneda (author of One-Pot Paleo). Simone will be bringing snacks!

July 18th – Los Angeles, CA (more info) with Jenny Castaneda (author of One-Pot Paleo).

July 25th – Denver, CO (more info)

August 1st – Boston, MA (more info)

August 7th – Washington DC (more info) with Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth, authors of Real Life Paleo, Beyond Bacon, and Eat Like a Dinosaur

August 8th – New York City, NY (more info)

August 15th – Austin, TX (more info) with Jenni Hulet (author of My Paleo Patisserie and Joshua Weissman (author of The Slim Palate cookbook. This event is going to be super fun, hosted by Picnik Austin; $30 admission includes a full-course dinner featuring catered dishes from Paleo Takeout!

August 21st – Chicago, IL (more info)

August 22nd – Kansas City, MO (more info)

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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I was recently approached by Sharp to try out their new convection microwave as part of a challenge to rethink the way we cook with microwaves. Initially, I kept thinking about those disastrous microwave cookbooks from the 1980s and 1990s (this one might be the best example of all time), but after a bit of reading I decided to take them up on the offer. After all, if the telephone can radically change over the course of 10 years, and the Instant Pot can change how we look at pressure cookers, shouldn’t a microwave make some leaps and bounds as well?

I must have been living under a rock, because apparently microwaves can do all sorts of cool things today, and this model is no exception. At its core, this device serves three functions: 1) a standard microwave, 2) a convection oven, and 3) a roaster (with heating elements both on the bottom and top of the microwave). And because the microwave is much smaller than a traditional oven, it preheats much more quickly (it took me five and half minutes to pre-heat it to 400F). I envision this microwave to be an ideal solution for those without the space for a typical oven or as a secondary oven when you have lots of items to bake at once (Thanksgiving comes to mind).

To test the microwave, I decided to try it out on a very standard, traditional recipe: roasted brussels sprouts (with bacon, of course). I first baked the bacon at a convection setting, then roasted the brussels sprouts in the rendered bacon fat using the roaster setting. It worked like a charm – the food cooked evenly and easily, with a texture which is about the opposite of what you’d expect from a microwave (crispy and browned). I also provided conventional (oven) instructions for this recipe below.

The microwave also combines Sharp’s cooking functions to allow you to try different ways of heating food. For example, I reheated the leftover brussels sprouts with a combination of 50% microwave power and 50% roaster (top heating element) and they came out both hot and crispy – not your typical microwave re-heating experience.

I’ll be posting a couple more recipes using this microwave over the course of the next month, so let me know in the comments if you have any questions or anything you’d like me to address in a future recipe.

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Things are really moving with my next cookbook, Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites without the Junk. For starters, the book finished printing last week, and my publisher overnighted a copy to me so I could be one of the first to check it out. I’m very happy with the finished product, and I think you’ll love it too! I’m in the middle of scheduling a summer book tour, and I’ll be sure to share the dates as soon as I have everything arranged – if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my brand new weekly newsletter, where I’ll be sharing news and recipes in one convenient little email package.

For this week’s recipe, I wanted to highlight some of the techniques and ingredients that you’ll find in the book, to set the stage for when it releases on June 23rd. This Twice-Cooked Pork dish uses a technique common to Chinese-American takeout restaurants called velveting, where lean meat is thinly sliced, marinated in a starch mixture, then blanched and drained before being added to a stir-fry. Have you ever had some Beef & Broccoli with steak pieces that are super soft and tender? That’s velveting at work.

While this method isn’t absolutely required for any of the recipes for the book, it’s a fun technique that really adds a tasty dynamic to your Asian-inspired dishes. I also tend to start my velveted meat as the first part of the cooking process, so that I can chop my veggies and prepare my stir-fry sauce while the meat is tenderizing – the timing tends to flow naturally that way.

In terms of ingredients, I used this recipe in particular to highlight rice cooking wine (sometimes labeled as Chinese cooking wine or just rice wine) and Sichuan chili peppers (those are the whole dried peppers you’ll find in dishes like General Tso’s Chicken), since both are commonly used in Chinese-American dishes. Similarly, arrowroot starch is commonly used in Paleo Takeout to create a thickening slurry; both potato starch and tapioca starch can be used in a pinch, but I’ve found that arrowroot best mimics the thickening properties of cornstarch.

For a full list of uncommon pantry ingredients that are found in Paleo Takeout, be sure to check out my online shopping guide that lists the ingredients plus how often they appear in the book. Additionally, I’ve set up a similar guide for tools that I used in writing the book.

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Confession time: a couple weeks ago, when a reader requested that I make this dish, I had to look it up because I had never heard of it. Somehow, I had inadvertently avoided Chicken Piccata my whole life. Although truth be told, I rarely visit Italian restaurants any longer since bread, pasta, and pizza all contain that pesky (but delicious) protein, gluten. And after that, what’s left at your typical Italian-American restaurant – salad? Regardless, I did a bit of research on the dish, and here we are.

The origin of this dish isn’t confirmed, but most believe it to be of American design, most likely by Italian-American immigrants during the 1930s. In Italy, Piccatas today are commonly made with veal, but here in the US, chicken prevails. The cutlets are breaded and pan-fried, and then a sauce is made with the drippings. It’s a simple technique made remarkable by its combination of flavors – wine, broth, lemon juice, and capers.

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