whole30

My parents-in-law recently visited from Hawaii over the holidays, to help around the house as we adjusted to having a new baby in our family. It was great spending the holidays with them, but it also made me realize how much I miss living in Hawaii. I lived there from ages 21 to 28, and many of the events that shaped who I am today – from meeting and marrying my wife, to honing my skills as a home chef, to suffering the worst of my health adventures – came while living in view of the Honolulu skyline. For a few of those years, Janey and I lived with her parents, whom we affectionately called our “roommates”.

When we left the island in 2008, it genuinely felt like I was leaving home; time has caused that sentiment to wane a bit, but in the end, Hawaii has a special place in my heart. And within that special place in my heart there is another, perhaps specialer place in my heart, which is where Hawaii’s Chinese-style oxtail soup resides.

The title for Hawaii’s best oxtail soup is hotly contested. I’ve heard everything from Kapiolani Coffee Shop to Aiea Bowl. Somewhat surprisingly, restaurants attached to bowling alleys are generally known for having good oxtail soup – even the famous Kapiolani Coffee Shop oxtail soup got its start at Kam Bowl, which closed in 2007 but re-opened just last month.

I like to think that preparing an authentic dish from Hawaii makes the sting of not living there hurt a little less, and you really can’t go wrong with a Chinese-inspired creation that’s equal parts rich and comforting. So we’re going to recreate it today for those of us who can’t just drive to our local bowling alley to buy a bowl of soup. Included below are stovetop and electric pressure cooker variations of the recipe, whatever floats your boat.

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PSA: I’m offering a free preview copy of Paleo Takeout starting today through February 12th, via this 100% free bundle. A bunch of Paleo-minded authors and bloggers teamed up to provide some really helpful eBooks and meal plans – over 70 resources in all, valued at over $1,000! The preview copy of Paleo Takeout includes 10 recipes from the book, plus a few more thrown in for good measure.

Lately, I’ve been taking tiny steps to minimize all those little stresses in life. For example, I’ve been driving on backroads on my way home from work each day, which has much better scenery and fewer cars zipping in and out in front of me. It might take an extra minute or two out of my day, but it’s adding years to my life, right? That’s what I’d like to think. Regardless of any increases in my life expectancy, I’ve been arriving at home in a better mood, so it’s well worth it.

In similar fashion, we’ve recently been taking it a bit easy in the kitchen. Having a small baby at home will do that; my lullaby-singing skills have greatly improved, but I definitely have less time to chop up a bunch of ingredients. So meals like these Spaghetti Squash Bolognese Boats have been a hit, with minimal hands-on time but plenty of flavor. Plus, this recipe requires only three ingredients: squash, pasta sauce, and ground beef.

If you’re hoping to spend a bit more time in the kitchen, you could always make your own pasta sauce (here’s my recipe). Additionally, I’ve included quick instructions on how to roast the spaghetti squash seeds, so that nothing is wasted.

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It’s a New Year, which means many folks are just starting (or restarting) a new healthy eating adventure. One of the more popular eating challenges is the Whole30 (heck, it’s the #6 book on Amazon as of this morning). It’s been a few years since I’ve done a Whole30, which is a 30-day program with explicit guidelines. It doesn’t stray far from the way I eat anyway, other than the fact that it’s more stringent on honey, alcohol, dairy, and rice than my typical diet.

One thing I remember from my last Whole30 (in 2012, if memory serves me) was that I had a hard time keeping up my carb intake – at the time, the only carb-heavy foods allowed were sweet potatoes, beets, and plantains, which grew tiresome after a month of eating them. Luckily, the folks behind Whole30 remedied that in 2014, when they added white potatoes to their list of allowed foods. Hopefully this recipe – which includes two starchy vegetables – will make this month’s Whole30 a bit easier for everyone (also, don’t forget about this guide which transforms 94% of the 250+ recipes in Paleo Takeout to be Whole3o-compliant).

The turnip is one of the first cultivated vegetables, with some records dating back 17,000 years. Turnip roots aren’t as popular in the US as their greens, which are similar to mustard greens in taste. This soup is one of my favorite ways to prepare turnips, as it accentuates the natural creaminess of the root; serve this to your guests, and they won’t believe you that it’s dairy-free. Adding potatoes to the soup adds more body and heft to the dish, warming the belly on these cold winter evenings.

Fun fact: the rutabaga, another common root vegetable, was originally a cross-cultivation of the turnip and cabbage. It is also referred to as “neep” in some countries, likely a carryover from the Old English word næp (and before that, the Latin word napus), which meant “turnip”. Rutabagas and turnips are often confused for one another, with a common misconception that rutabagas are just large turnips.

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Bobotie is a baked mincemeat dish and one of the more recognizable foods to come out of South Africa. It’s commonly believed that Bobotie was first derived from the Javanese dish Botok, as Dutch colonists brought the dish to South Africa from their settlements in Indonesia (née Dutch East Indies) in the 17th century. While Botok is made with minced meat wrapped in banana leaves, Bobotie is often seasoned with curry powder and dried fruit and baked with a egg custard topping – a reflection of both local ingredients and European colonial tastes.

This dish joins the ranks of other dishes on my blog, like Mulligatawny Soup and Sukuma Wiki, as exotic-tasting meals that can be created using items you likely already have in your pantry. These are some of my favorite dishes to create and share, as they have a fairly low barrier to entry but can expand your palate and culinary repertoire.

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As far as I can tell, one of this year’s most popular gadgets was the Instant Pot, an electronic pressure cooker that doubles (triples, etc) as a slow cooker, rice pot, steamer, yogurt maker, and more. I’m most frequently asked to develop recipes for it by my readers, followed closely by folks looking for slow cooker (crockpot) recipes. So this week’s Pot Roast recipe is the best of both worlds – a pressure cooker recipe that also includes instructions for slow cookers. Heck, I even threw in Dutch Oven instructions while I was at it.

Don’t let the lengths of these instructions scare you away. Each recipe is essentially four parts: brown the roast, cook the roast (and vegetables), broil the roast (and vegetables), and reduce the sauce. It’s a bit more involved than dumping everything in a pot, but well worth the extra effort: tender meat, roasted vegetables, and tasty sauce all at once.

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When filling out our weekly meal plan, my family often consults my cookbooks; after all, the main reason I included particular recipes in those books is because they’re our favorites. This week we decided to make the Thai Red Curry recipe from Paleo Takeout, and I thought it would be fun to share the recipe with you folks as well.

Thai Red Curry differs from other popular Thai curries in that its base is made from dried chiles instead of fresh chiles. In order to temper the considerable heat of dried Thai chiles (usually the only chili used in traditional Thai Red Curries), I use a combination of large, mild dried chiles (like Anaheim, Guajillo, or New Mexico chiles) and spicy Thai chiles. To increase the intensity of your curry, simply add more spicy chiles.

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Pommes Anna is a famous French preparation of white potatoes, borne in the mid 19th century. The story goes that the dish was named after Anna Deslions, a well-known Parisian courtesan, who frequented Café Anglais where chef Adolphe Dugléré invented the dish to honor her (and the wealthy clientele that she brought into the popular restaurant).

The idea of naming food after celebrities appears to be a time-honored tradition. Some examples: Beef Wellington was named after the Duke of Wellington (in celebration of his victory during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815), Pizza Margherita was named after Queen Margherita, Beef Carpaccio is named in honor of painter Vittore Carpaccio (who worked with vibrant reds), and who could forget the Arnold Palmer?

At other times, the food itself turns folks into celebrities: Caesar salad is not named after Julius Caesar but Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who invented the salad in 1924 while living in Tijuana, Mexico; and nachos are purportedly the invention of Ignacio Anaya, a boy who in 1943 whipped up the dish to feed some hungry soldiers in Piedras Negras, Mexico.

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As summer’s heat comes full swing, I’ve been less apt to spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Sometimes a cold meal like my recent Ahi Poke or Gazpacho creations come to mind, but other times I still want something hot – so long as it doesn’t require heating up the whole kitchen. I think this Thai Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry is a perfect solution, as it only takes a few minutes on the burner, and since it’s mostly vegetables, it also comes off more as a light meal than a big feast. 

One of my favorite finds during my April trip to Tabasco was their Garlic Pepper sauce. It carries the same flavor as their original sauce, but with an added garlic accent that is complimentary without being distracting. It seemed like an excellent fit for this Stir-Fry, and I was right!

This Thai version of Sweet and Sour differs a bit from the sticky/sweet Chinese-American version we’re all more accustomed to. The main difference is that it’s mostly vegetables, with shrimp an optional add-in. It’s also more on the sour side than sweet, which fares really well with the fresh cucumbers found in the final product.

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I can’t believe that in five years of blogging, this recipe hasn’t been posted on The Domestic Man. There’s no excuse, it was very shellfish of me (sorry, I had to). To be fair, I did post a lobster stock recipe last year, so there’s that.

The idea for writing a shellfish stock recipe came from the fact that over the last couple months I’ve basically eaten my weight in crawfish; since we now live so close to Louisiana, it’s really cheap when in season, and super fresh. Heck, there was even a crawfish festival in the town we live in a while back. But I was always bothered by the fact that everyone throws their crawfish shells away afterwards, so I started bringing them home to make stock. Instructions on how to make stock with other shellfish, like crab and shrimp, are also provided below.

One of my favorite aspects of making shellfish stock, or any stock in general, is that it presents an opportunity to cook with some items that often end up in the garbage (or compost bin). For example, I prefer using parsley stems in my stocks because it frees up the leaves for other recipes, and it’s one of the better ways to use up celery “hearts” (the center part), since they’re mostly leaves.

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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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