recipe

Phew! My summer book release tour is almost over, just one last signing in Destin FL on Thursday with Jennifer Robins, author of Down South Paleo. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been traveling every weekend since June, only to return to work each week. It was a lot of fun to go out and meet so many nice folks, but I’m really looking forward to having a weekend off; I already have a hefty list of new recipes I’d like to tackle!

Since I still have cookbooks on the brain, I wanted to share my take on Chicken Fried Steak; folks who already own my first cookbook, The Ancestral Table, should recognize this recipe.

Also known as Country Fried Steak (or CFS), Chicken Fried Steak is a staple of Southern cuisine in the United States. Since its name stems from the fact that it is prepared like Fried Chicken, this dish is usually associated with Southern cuisine. But it wasn’t born exclusively in the South. German and Austrian immigrants arrived in Texas during the 1800s, and wanted to create one of their favorite foods, Schnitzel, but had a hard time finding pork. Instead, they used beef, since it was in abundance, and CFS as we know it today was born. I love the fact that it’s a mixture of Old World and New World cuisines.

Chicken Fried Steak is a great meal for those on a budget, as cube steak (sometimes called minute steak) is generally easy to find and very cheap. If cube steak is unavailable in your area, you can make your own using thin round steaks and a blade meat tenderizer (also, your local butcher can usually prepare cube steak if you ask nicely).

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Poke is a raw fish salad from Hawaii, most famously made with yellowfin tuna (“Ahi”). The word “Pokē” itself is a Hawaiian verb that means to slice or cut. It’s not unlike other raw fish dishes worldwide (fish tartare, carpaccio, and sashimi, for example), but it holds a special place in my heart, having lived in Hawaii for most of my 20s.

Originally made with sea salt and seaweed, foreign ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, onion, and tomato were added later when other cultures brought their cuisines (and ingredients) to the islands. Poke as we know it today – with a base of fish cubes, soy sauce, onion, and salt – became popular in the 1970s when it started to appear in local cookbooks, and has been growing in popularity ever since.

For those of you who haven’t picked up Paleo Takeout yet, or are thinking of gifting it, now’s the perfect time to grab it – the book is currently down to $18.13 on Amazon right now, which is 48% off its $35 cover price! Amazon is having some trouble keeping the book in stock, so if you want it even sooner, both Costco and BJs superstores are carrying the book at a deep discount, too (less than $22 each). For my international readers, keep in mind that Book Depository ships worldwide for free, and their current price isn’t bad either ($26.56)!

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One of my favorite recipes from The Ancestral Table is Jerk Pork. When first writing the recipe for the book, I told myself that eventually I would make a chicken variation of this Caribbean classic and post it on this blog; I think it’s about time to follow through, since it’s a perfect summer grilling recipe. From the book:

Jerk is a cooking method and seasoning from Jamaica that typically involves marinating in a paste of allspice (pimento) and Scotch bonnet peppers (often confused with their cousin, the habañero) and cooking over a fire made with pimento wood. Jamaica was first inhabited by the Arwak Indians from South America more than 2,000 years ago.


The Arwak brought with them a cooking technique of marinating and drying meat over a fire or in the sun, the basis of beef jerky as we know it today. It also served as the origin of jerk cooking, as in this jerk pork recipe, although the two dishes are wildly different today; beef jerky is a dried, preserved meat, while jerk pork is tender and juicy.

As a reminder, I am smack-dab in the middle of my Paleo Takeout book release tour, with events every weekend through August. Click here to see if I’m coming to a city near you, and to RSVP!

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Tuna Casserole is one of America’s most divisive meals; some love the idea of recapturing treasured childhood moments spent digging into this comforting dish, while others wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. I think there are enough folks in the first camp to provide me a steady stream of requests for a health-minded adaptation over the years, so here we are.

Initially, I couldn’t fathom why people were asking me to recreate Tuna Casserole – the dish I grew up with was made with egg noodles, and pasta is a no-go on the Paleo diet (well…I’m okay with rice pasta, but I digress). Turns out there is a segment of the population that feels a true Tuna Casserole is made with potatoes instead of noodles; once I got word of this concept, throwing the rest of the casserole together was cake.

As with a couple other recipes this month (see: exhibit 1 and exhibit 2), I was approached by Sharp to create dishes using their Convection Microwave, and this casserole seemed like a good fit; the microwave’s convection oven function worked like a charm. One advantage I discovered while making this dish in the microwave was that I could soften the onion in the microwave itself instead of dirtying an extra pan; I used the bottom roasting element to act as a conventional stovetop, then switched it to the convection oven setting and baked the rest of the dish. If you don’t own the microwave (yet?), I’ve provided conventional stovetop and oven instructions below.

I’ve also teamed up with Sharp to give away one of the microwaves that I’ve been using during these cooking adventures. See the bottom of this post for directions on how to enter.

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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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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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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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In my new office here in Pensacola Florida, we have an interesting combination of Navy families. Two of my co-workers have spouses they met while stationed in England, and another met his wife while serving in Canada. I’ll often ask them what new dishes they’d like for me to bring into work, as they typically (and unknowingly) are my tasting judges. The question inevitably gets passed to their spouses, and all too often I hear complaints that there are “no good curries” to be found in our town. This Chicken Korma recipe is the result of those conversations.

“Korma” comes from the Urdu word ḳormā, which means to braise. This dish, as with other braised dishes like Rogan Josh, is characteristic of Moghul cuisine, which was first introduced to Northern India by the Mughal Empire in the 16th Century; the Mughal were a predominantly Muslim people of Turko-Mongol descent (some claimed to be direct descendants of Genghis Khan).

There is a lot of variation to kormas, but the underlying theme includes a slow braise in a rich, mildly-spicy curry sauce, often flavored with yogurt or heavy cream. For this recipe in particular, I kept it relatively dairy-free (what’s a recipe without butter or ghee?) and used a bit of lemon juice to impart the tanginess you’d expect from using yogurt.

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