Hi everyone, I’m doing something a little different for the holidays this year. Starting today, I’m offering what I’m calling the Paleo Takeout Holiday Package. Here’s what the package will include:

  • a personalized, signed copy of Paleo Takeout, addressed to whomever you’d like with a personal message of your choice (or I can just wing it if you’d like)
  • a copy of my unreleased Paleo Takeout Secret Menu Items list, which includes 32 new dishes you can make using the existing recipes and techniques in Paleo Takeout (bringing the total recipe count of the book to nearly 300!)
  • a coupon code for a free copy of my eBook, The Safe Starch Cookbook
  • five pairs of Paleo Takeout chopsticks

In addition, you will receive an email after ordering, with links to electronic (PDF) copies of the Secret Menu Items and The Safe Starch Cookbook. That way if you want to order the Paleo Takeout Holiday Package for a friend, you’ll still get those two items for yourself!

I’m limiting the deal to only 100 packages, and I’ll be selling the packages for $40 each, with free shipping (but limited to US addresses).

Here’s how the purchase works:

  • pay for the package via this link (using PayPal or a credit card)
  • you’ll be redirected to a Google Form where you’ll fill out the shipping and personalization information
  • you’ll be sent an email with links to electronic copies of the Secret Menu Items list and The Safe Starch Cookbook (as well as a link to the Google Form in case you weren’t redirected automatically)
  • I’ll ship the package to the address indicated on your Google Form entry

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is gift-wrapping available?
A: Unfortunately, no. Gift-wrapping will require a different shipping envelope and will prohibitively increase my costs and efforts.

Q: No international shipping? What are you, some sort of a jerk?
A: Unfortunately, the shipping system we have set up doesn’t accommodate international shipping.

Q: What if I just want the Secret Menu Items list?
A: I will be offering the list at some point in the future (probably next spring), and it will be in a future printing of the book. But this will be the only way to get the Secret Menu Items for the time being. Also, please note that if you buy the package for a friend, I’ll still send you an electronic copy of the Secret Menu Items list (plus The Safe Starch Cookbook) for free.

Q: What items are on the Secret Menu?
A: First of all, it’s totally a secret, but I’ll give you an idea of what to expect: Asian-American Classics (4), Kid-Friendly Favorites (4), Southern Tastes (3), Restaurant Recreations (6), Salads and Dressings (4), More Pizzas (3), Seasoned French Fries (8). Favorites include Cheesy Garlic Bread, Hot Dog Buns, Fish & Chips, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and Pizza Fries.

Q: How many packages can I order?
A: As many as you’d like – but please make a separate transaction for each package, thanks.

Q: How long will it take to ship?
A: It’ll take me about a week to get the package to you from the day you fill out the Google Form, so please plan accordingly.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, thanks!

After first watching The LEGO Movie last year, our son Oliver started asking about the mysterious phenomenon known as “Taco Tuesday“. So we started a new tradition of what we call “Taco Bowl Tuesdays”; as you may have seen on my Instagram feed, we make them pretty regularly now. I thought it would be pretty fun to write up our Taco Bowl Tuesday recipe as a change of pace and a glimpse into our everyday lives.

The base of the recipe is simple: equal portions of seasoned ground beef, rice, and lettuce. There is some variation in which rice we use; sometimes we make Mexican Rice, and other times we make Cilantro-Lime Rice. The toppings themselves are usually a combination of what we have on hand and what we’re feeling at the moment.

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Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora) is a traditional Italian dish. The word “Cacciatora” translates to “Hunter” in English, as this dish was originally used to prepare rabbit and gamefowl. Today, variations that feature rabbit meat still abound.

The story goes that this “hunter’s stew” consisted of ingredients you could find in the forest or open fields. Many American versions of this dish have been altered considerably from their source material; breaded, fried chicken cutlets are often smothered in a marinara sauce (not unlike Chicken Parmesan, really). Italian versions often feature tomatoes but not overwhelmingly so; instead they’re a complement to other vegetables like onion, mushrooms, carrot, and bell pepper. Northern Italian variations of this dish use white wine, while Southern Italians use red wine.

Typically, this dish is prepared with a broken-down whole chicken. I’m down for that, but at the same time, I’m always concerned about the different cooking times for dark meat and finicky chicken breasts; instead, I prepared this recipe to feature thighs and drumsticks, so that everything comes together naturally.

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One of my favorite parts of moving to the South last year is that I can now dive head-first into a new food culture. For example, take today’s New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp. A local friend asked me if I had tried “BBQ Shrimp” yet; I immediately thought of shrimp doused in smokey-sweet KC-style barbecue sauce, which sounded a bit weird (but not altogether terrible, honestly). My friend then explained that BBQ Shrimp here in the South is not like your typical barbecue experience. Instead, it’s a crispy shrimp dish flavored with hot sauce, butter, and rosemary, typically served as an appetizer.

Barbecue Shrimp was first popularized by Pascal’s Manale Restaurant in New Orleans during the 1950s. This dish has an “old timey” feel to it today, mostly because of its liberal use of Worcestershire sauce (made famous by Lea & Perrins back in the 1830s). The end result is a little tangy, a bit spicy, and very robust in flavor. One thing I really appreciate about this dish is that it lets the shrimp take center stage. Moreover, it’s relatively cheap to throw together once you get your hands on some high-quality shrimp (especially when you consider the fact that this dish will set you back $26 at the original restaurant!). Head-on shrimp is traditionally used, but I won’t tell on you if you use shelled shrimp.

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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.

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 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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You’ve heard of Samosas, right? They’re those triangle-shaped savory pastries served in Indian and Central Asian restaurants. They’re a surprisingly ancient dish, first mentioned in the Middle East (under the name Sambosa) during the 10th century before eventually making their way across Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and even Southeast Asia. They’re practically everywhere today – you can even find them pretty easily in South Africa, as Indian cuisine started to influence British colonial food culture.

I loved Samosas in my pre-Paleo days, and I’ve been wanting to tackle them for a while. The problem is, well, pastry. I tend not to fiddle with baked goods and leave them up to the masters (see: Jenni Hulet and her book, My Paleo Patisserie). So after a bit of brainstorming, I settled on the idea of Samosa-flavored mashed potatoes. I like this idea because, heck, most people are probably eating mashed potatoes anyway, so why not kick them up a notch in terms of flavor and vegetable count.

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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!

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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Local friends: I’ll be cooking a four-course dinner as a guest chef at So Gourmet Pensacola on Saturday, January 17th from 6-8pm. There are still seats available, RSVP for the event here. See you then!

Hanger steak is a v-shaped cut taken from the diaphragm of the cow. It was a relatively rare cut until recently, because butchers commonly kept it for themselves; in fact, another name for this cut is “butcher’s cut”. It weighs less than two pounds, which is a perfect size for whipping up a date-night dish. Gents, take note: we’re only a little over a month out from Valentine’s Day – plenty of time to practice this recipe beforehand!

Hanger steak works best when cooked quickly over a high heat, and served medium rare. Marinating the cut will infuse it with a punch of flavor, but it takes a little away from the spontaneity of this dish. Instead, I like to complement the simple, tender steak with a rich sauce, like the Bordelaise in today’s recipe.

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