Misc

Recently, I’ve been thinking about living a simpler life. The idea started when I visited Mickey Trescott’s new home in the Willamette Valley over the summer, but it really solidified when we moved all of our things from Maryland to Florida last month – over 14,000 lbs worth of belongings. As we started unpacking boxes, I couldn’t help but think that I just didn’t need so much stuff. The worst part about it? We’re still unpacking.

So for the holidays this year, we’re trying to not buy any objects for each other. Instead, we’re gifting experiences. So this week’s recipe is going to be a little different from your usual Tuesday post; I’m going to walk you through how to make gifts to hand out to people that aren’t stuff. A couple years back I made a few gallons of my barbecue sauce and gave it away as gifts. While I had a lot of fun with that idea, I wanted to do something more immediate and useful – wouldn’t it be better to just gift someone a fully-cooked delicious meal? And thus my idea of Stew for You (or Two) was born. The concept is simple: make a large batch of delicious stew, vacuum-seal it, and give it away as gifts.

I’m particularly in love with my Beef à la Mode recipe from earlier this year, yet I’m sure that its 3.5-hour cook time deters readers from making it often enough. Instead, imagine reheating a vacuum-sealed homemade meal directly in gently simmering water, offering an unbeatable experience in just 20-30 minutes. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, a resealable mylar bag or Wrap ‘n Boil bag would work well, or even something like this IndieGoGo project would be great.

So read on for the stew recipe and sealing instructions, plus other gift suggestions. Let’s make Stew for You (or Two) go viral.

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I owe a huge debt to America’s Test Kitchen and their Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks, whether they realize it or not; their books have been a staple in my reading library for nearly 20 years now. Many of the techniques I use in my cooking are founded on principles and tips that I’ve gleaned from their work. In fact, eagle-eyed readers of The Ancestral Table might have noticed that I gave them a nod in the back of my book, for influencing three of its recipes.

When they asked me to review and help spread the word about their new book, The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book: The Game-Changing Guide that Teaches You How to Cook Meat and Poultry with 425 Bulletproof Recipes, I jumped at the chance. Read on for the full review, but if you’re looking for the short version, it’s this: this is an essential guide to mastering the subtle art of cooking meat, and will set you up for a lifetime of deliciousness.

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It’s hard to believe that my cookbook is nearly 8 months old! As I was going through some of my blog’s draft archives, I came across this post that I wrote for Nom Nom Paleo back when the book first launched. For the sake of posterity, and for your reading pleasure, here it is again.

In case you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, you can find my book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or in your local bookstore. Also, be sure to check out the cookbook landing page, full recipe list, my reasons for writing the book, a list of tools and ingredients you’ll need, and a list of dishes that are Autoimmune Paleo compatible.

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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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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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Hi everyone, hope you’re enjoying my recently-released cookbook, The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle. I’ve read an overwhelming amount of nice reviews, and it’s been very heartwarming. Thank you to everyone for that.

So now it’s my time to give a little something back. Here’s a list of current giveaways that feature the book, and other great news; I’ll be doing a series of signings throughout March, and I’m also offering a service where you can buy personalized signed copies of The Ancestral Table through my local independent bookstore, shipped to your home.

Note that I’ve set up an Events page (on the top-right of this site) where you can check back for updates on signings, cooking demos, and other fun stuff.

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People say nice things about companies all the time, and I’m always leery of endorsements. After all, companies are just big, hulking, impersonal machines, right? While it’s probably easy or convenient to say that The Ancestral Table is solely the result of my own hard work over the years, the truth is that my cookbook wouldn’t have been possible without the support of many people, chief among them my friends at US Wellness Meats. I realize that sounds a little extreme, so hear me out.

Two years ago, I sent them an email asking if they were interested in partnering for some recipes. This was my first time putting myself (and this blog) out there like that, and I felt sheepish writing such an assuming email – after all, at the time I had only a few hundred Facebook “likes” and a regular readership of around 50 people. But the USWM team saw something they liked in my little site, and sent me a box of various meats to work with; they also added me as their April 2012 Featured Chef, and my website took off from there. I attribute the turning point of this blog – from something I was writing for mostly myself to what it is today – to their support in early 2012.

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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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I think it’d be really fun if you cooked through The Ancestral Table, and I’d love to follow you on your journey. I wrote this book with that very idea in mind, and for two specific kinds of people. First, for anyone that is looking to try out a more healthful way of eating, this might be the tastiest way to go about it. Secondly, for anyone that’s been eating a Paleo-style diet for a while and is looking to either 1) try out some new dishes or 2) ramp up their skills in the kitchen, I think this is also a great solution.

I’m not saying that you have to exclusively cook every meal straight out of this book (after all, there are only a couple breakfast recipes in here), but I have a feeling that most people (and their tastebuds!) will benefit from cooking frequently out of my little tome.

It would be awesome if you shared your progress as you cook your way through The Ancestral Table. Please send me emails, upload pictures to my Facebook page, tag me on Instagram. Or simply use my nifty little hashtag, #theancestraltable, so that I can find it.

To kickstart your new adventure, I wanted to provide you with a list of items (tools and ingredients) that you’ll need in order to tackle most of these recipes. That way, when the book releases on February 11th you can jump right in.
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