It’s hard to believe that my last Paleo cookbook roundup was only two months ago, because I’m already getting overwhelmed with another stack of new books. So I think I’m going to continue to write these review roundups each season. Personally, I can’t wait for the next roundup, since by then I’ll finally get my grubby hands on the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook!
Since we’re talking about cookbooks, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I announced my own cookbook last week, which will be out next February. If you haven’t already, I’d really appreciate it if you considered pre-ordering my book; pre-order sales go a long way towards getting it distributed and placed in high-profile stores. I’m a relatively small fish in the big Paleo pond, so every sale helps. Thanks! Okay, enough about me, let’s dive into other peoples’ hard work.
Make-Ahead Paleo: Healthy Gluten-, Grain- & Dairy-Free Recipes Ready When & Where You Are
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Tammy Credicott, author of Paleo Indulgences and The Healthy Gluten-Free Life, has made a cookbook for people looking to eat well without having to spend long periods in the kitchen. The book is broken down into different sections: Make & Freeze, Low & Slow (crockpot recipes), On the Go (cold foods that can be carried in a portable cooler), Room Service (one-pan foods that could theoretically be made in a hotel room), Travel Treats (desserts), and Week in a Day (a week’s worth of dinners made in one day). The book is full of useful cooking, freezing, and travel tips.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to easily prepare proteins, this is a great option; however, if you’re looking for a whole-meal solution, you’ll need to consult other books as well because the recipes are heavy on meats and treats, and not much else. I think overall this is a good concept, because roasting or sautéing veggies to accompany Tammy’s recipes would be a cinch. My biggest disappointment is that there is only one seafood recipe, which I think is a criminally underused protein source in the Paleo cooking world.
Favorite Recipes: Mango Cilantro Chicken, Roasted Tomato Bacon Soup, Deviled Ham ‘n’ Eggs.
The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook
Release Date: October 1, 2013
As its name implies, Kelly Brozyna’s The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook is a cookbook centered on dishes made with chocolate. It’s mostly desserts (duh) and breakfast foods, but there are a few savory dishes in here as well. Kelly breaks down the science, history, and ethics surrounding the chocolate trade then dives right into the main event: well-researched and beautiful chocolate dishes. I’m immediately impressed with the diversity and depth of this book. Also, in a world full of Paleo tomes, this book is refreshingly thin and easy to carry around.
Kelly obviously knows her way around a Paleo-minded bakery (this is her fourth dessert cookbook), and uses a variety of gluten-free flours and starches to create evenly-flavored treats. That being said, there are enough non-baking treats in the book and there’s something in here for everyone. Not a cookbook to consult daily, but definitely worth cracking open when you’re looking to celebrate with a chocolate treat.
Favorite Recipes: Frozen Chocolate Custard, Matcha Truffles, Barbecue Sauce.
The 21 Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally
Release Date: October 8, 2013
After showing Diane a preview of my book this past March, she hesitantly showed me what she had been working on: The 21 Day Sugar Detox. She wasn’t hesitant to show me the book because she wasn’t proud of it, but rather she thought that since I focus on high-reward foods I wouldn’t be interested in a book designed to basically break people of their high-reward food habits. She couldn’t have been more wrong, and I think this book is an important addition for people hoping to realign their eating habits through a dramatic, no-nonsense method. The book includes three different levels separated by how strict of a plan you wish to follow, with three modifications (Pescetarian, Energy, and Autoimmune) that are added to some of the levels as well. What I particularly appreciate is that Diane isn’t expecting anyone to cut out all foods cold turkey; for example, Level 1 includes gluten-free grains like rice and buckwheat, and both Levels 1 and 2 include full-fat dairy. I think this is a good plan to let people ease into a better eating lifestyle, which is something I advocate.
The recipes themselves are like those found in Diane’s previous book, Practical Paleo: they rely on simple tastes and fresh ingredients. I have no problem with this concept, and I think it really highlights the natural and colorful tone of this book overall.
Favorite Recipes: Mustard-Glazed Chicken Thighs, Buffalo Shrimp Lettuce Cups, Broccoli & Bacon Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing.
Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat
Release Date: October 22, 2013
To tell you the simple truth, Well Fed 2 makes me a little afraid. Not in a hide-under-your-bed kind of way, but more like afraid that after this book comes out next week, nobody’s going to buy my cookbook next February. This book has exactly what I look for in a cookbook: a diverse mix of unpretentious, incredibly flavorful, and internationally-minded dishes. At first glance, it’s hard to believe that Melissa’s latest book is Whole30-compliant, with not a single smidgen of grains, sugar, alcohol, legumes, or dairy to be found; instead, she makes up for these ingredients by using a hefty amount of exotic spices and kitchen know-how to create complex and rewarding tastes.
Well Fed 2 also includes Paleo and Whole30 basics, kitchen tools, and cooking tips which are simple and well-researched. All of the recipes are written in a cheerful, funny style that is unassuming and keeps you turning the pages. One of my favorite Paleo-centered cookbooks of the year, hands down.
Favorite Recipes: Merguez Sausage Seasoning, Deconstructed Gyro, West African Chicken Stew.
Paleo Happy Hour: Appetizers, Small Plates & Drinks
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Personally, I like seeing topical and niche cookbooks with a Paleo mindset, and Paleo Happy Hour: Appetizers, Small Plates & Drinks may be the quintessential example of this concept. There are several unique chapters, to include Mimosa Munchies (brunch dishes), Appetizers, Small Plates, Pub Grub, Saloon Sides, Sweet Treats, and Delectable Drinks. I also appreciated the alcohol and mixer guides which help clarify some of the controversy surrounding alcohol and Paleo eating.
While the drinks are a little more scarce than what I’d expect from a book with the words Happy Hour in its title, it more than makes up for it with some really interesting and delicious-looking solid foods. There are dishes of every flavor and color, with everything from classic prosciutto-wrapped melon to herb-infused grilled artichokes. Kelly did a great job of finding a balance between vegetable, seafood, and meat sides. Honestly, most of these appetizers and small plates would fit in just fine at most restaurants on a Friday night.
Favorite Recipes: Pesto-Stuffed Tomatoes, Mango Gazpacho & Blackened Shrimp, Garlic Clams.