Tag Archives: health

Oven Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes)

8 Apr


Jerusalem artichokes have an interesting history. There is no connection between this tuber and the city that bears the same name; they were originally cultivated by Native Americans. The most common theory behind their current name stems from the fact that Italian immigrants named them girasole, which later became “girasole artichoke”, which then eventually developed into “Jerusalem artichoke”. Its other name, sunchoke, is a relatively new name for the tuber that stems from the fact that its flowers look a lot like sunflowers.

While only distantly related to artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes still carry a distinct (okey dokey) artichokey flavor when cooked. They have a similar texture to potatoes. They’re one of my favorite starches because of their versatility; they can be eaten raw or cooked, they don’t need to be peeled, and they taste good both gently cooked and fully roasted.

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Savory Slow Cooker Ham

1 Apr


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

Ham recipes have always been special to me; they tend to remind me of family gatherings. But recently, they have been especially special. For starters, my other ham recipe marks the first collaboration I did with my friends at US Wellness Meats, when I was their April 2012 Featured Chef. Last year, that same ham recipe was featured in People Magazine. That’s quite a lot of attention from one little cured pig leg!

The other day, US Wellness Meats asked me to try out another ham recipe, this time using a slow cooker. I jumped at the chance. This recipe is simple and not unlike my other recipe, but with the added convenience of simply throwing everything in a pot to cook in a savory broth. Better yet, this recipe works well in two ways: perfectly cooked to 140F and sliced, or slow-cooked to shreddable deliciousness. Instructions for both methods are provided below.

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Book Review Roundup – Spring 2014

28 Mar

Man, there are a lot of new books out right now. I have a mounting pile that needed some attention, some that I personally bought and others that were sent for me to review. I thought I’d take a moment and briefly look at these additions to my growing library.

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Homemade, Fermented Ketchup

25 Mar


It’s funny, but up until recently I assumed there was already a ketchup recipe on my blog. I didn’t discover its absence until I developed Thursday’s recipe (hint: it rhymes with “beet oaf”), when I couldn’t find my recipe online. At first I was confused, and thought the search function of my blog was definitely broken. So…sorry about that, and here you go.

The history of ketchup is pretty awesome. It all started with garum, an ancient fish sauce first used by the Ancient Greeks and later the Romans. It reached Asia some 2,000 years ago via trade routes, and became a staple in many Asian countries, particularly Vietnam (where they later perfected the sauce using anchovies). Vietnamese fish sauce as we know it today entered China about 500 years ago, and the Chinese (particularly those in the Southeast providence of Fujian) spread it around the rest of Asia. The Fujian word for fish sauce? You guessed it, ketchup. In fact, many Asian languages today still use a form of the word “ketchup” to refer to sauces; a common example is the Indonesian word kecap (pronounced “keh-chap”), a catch-all term for fermented sauces.

When Europeans arrived in Asia in the 1600s, they were enamored with fish sauce (they’d long forgotten about garum) and took it back to Europe. Many variations of ketchup existed in Europe for hundreds of years, the most popular being walnut ketchup and mushroom ketchup (the practice of using fish eventually died out). It wasn’t until the 1800s that people started adding tomatoes to the sauce, and H. J. Heinz took it to a new level in 1904 when his company figured out a way to bottle and preserve the sauce using natural ingredients (the mid 1800s were full of horror stories about deadly batches of ketchup made with stuff like boric acid and coal tar). Heinz was also one of the first to add copious amounts of sugar to the sauce.

My recipe still maintains the sweet and sour taste we’ve all come to expect from ketchup, but throws a historical twist in for good measure: a bit of fish sauce.

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A Tale of Two Chilis: My Review of The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook (and a Giveaway)

20 Mar


Left: Chili Con Carne from The Ancestral Table. Right: Texas Chili from The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook

I don’t know about you guys, but my teenage years were not very productive. I played and sang in punk rock bands, and we churned out a cassette tape release every six months or so. That was about it. At the time I felt like a pretty prolific chap, but it pales in comparison to the milestones that teen blogger Joshua Weissman (the writer behind the website Slim Palate and the newly-released cookbook, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook) has reached in the past couple of years.

Writing a cookbook is not easy. Surviving your teenage years is not easy. Somehow, Joshua managed both, and while I can’t speak for how easily his adolescence is going, this book is a significant accomplishment in and of itself. But this book is even more impressive; it is the tale of one young man’s journey from obesity to health (he lost 100 pounds along the way). Ultimately, this project is more than a cookbook – it’s an early chronicle of someone destined for great(er) things.

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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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Japchae (잡채)

11 Feb


Today is kind of a big deal for our family. After nearly two years of work, The Ancestral Table is finally in stores today! To celebrate, I thought it would be fitting to post my cookbook recipe for Japchae, which is a common party dish in Korea today.

Japchae has its origins in the 17th century; fittingly, it was first served at a party for the reigning king. Originally made with just vegetables and mushrooms, sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon, also called glass noodles) were introduced in the 20th century and are now an integral part of the dish.

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Early Praise for The Ancestral Table

8 Feb

I know, it’s totally unfair of me to be writing about how people like my book when it won’t release until Tuesday! I’m a big jerk. But I wanted to take a minute and thank the people that have helped to bring some attention to The Ancestral Table during these past couple of weeks, and to share some of their impressions of the book. Without further ado, let’s dig in.

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Lobster and Mussel Bouillabaisse

6 Feb


Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal (Southeast France) stew, typically made with fish and shellfish. Although it was originally made with rockfish, today it’s also made with all sorts of different seafood. For this recipe in particular, I decided to go with lobster and mussels; I like the idea of pairing two foods that are at opposite ends of the price spectrum (lobster = rare & elegant, mussels = common & unglamorous). This dish is paired with my lobster stock recipe, so be sure to check that out since you’ll need some stock. Putting this dish together – stock and all – is actually a fairly quick experience: in about 90 minutes you’ll have a recipe that will have your dinner guests swooning.

Don’t let the assumed costs of buying lobster deter you. If available in your area, live lobsters are surprising affordable when compared to the going rate at a seafood restaurant. And really, sometimes you can’t put a price tag on eating a rich, classic meal in the comfort of your own home.

Also, don’t forget that I’m hosting a giveaway this week; click here for a chance to win two live 1.5 lb lobsters from lobster.com ($65 value)! The giveaway is limited to continental US residents and ends midnight, Saturday, Feb 8th, 2014. Good luck!

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Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak

28 Jan


Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak is a specialty of Santa Maria, California, which lies about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Tri-tip is taken from the bottom sirloin of the cow, and is often cut into steaks and sold as “sirloin steak” (a tougher version of the prized “top sirloin steak”). When sold whole, as is used in this recipe, it can weigh up to 4 pounds. This lean, moderately tough, and economical cut of meat fares best when cooked only to medium-rare or medium.

The key to making a good Santa Maria Tri-Tip is cooking it so that it has a crusty outside and tender, juicy inside. There are different ways to achieve this result; in Santa Maria, chefs often use a grill that can be adjusted up and down, so as to develop a crust and then pull it away from the fire to prevent burning.

My method is similar. We’re going to only heat one side of the grill, indirectly roast it until it reaches a certain temperature, then place it directly over the fire to create a tasty crust at the end. The end result is a dead simple recipe that always makes for a tasty experience.

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