gluten-free

Here we are, folks: less than two weeks left to order the limited edition physical version of The Heritage Cookbook! I’ve been busy putting the final touches on this print edition, which I’ve redesigned from the ground up. I’m very proud of how it’s progressing, and I think you’re going to love it. Mark your calendars: the hardcover book will only be available for purchase until June 30th, and won’t be available in stores or on Amazon (after that, the digital edition will be the only version available).

Speaking of loving things, here’s a recipe from the book – one of my favorites. This curry noodle soup has a hefty ingredients list, but most of these can be tucked away in your pantry for other creations, like Thai Red Curry, Thai Green Curry, or Chicken Panang. So it’s really like an investment in deliciousness.

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Ajiaco is a soup found in both South America and Cuba. Its name comes from the word aji (“pepper”), originally traced to the indigenous Oto-Manguean family of languages that were prevalent in present-day Mexico as far back as 7,000 years ago. Today, the aji pepper refers to a specific pepper fruit (Capsicum baccatum) popular in South America, and is also known as the “bishop’s crown” pepper throughout the Caribbean. This aji pepper serves as the flavor base for the soup, giving it a subtle intensity and unexpected bite.

Another signature element of this dish is the potato. Nearly 10,000 years old, potatoes originated in the Andean mountain regions of present-day Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, and it is estimated that over 4,000 native varieties of the tuber exist in these regions. This dish is traditionally prepared with a variety of potatoes, a testament to the diversity of potatoes available in South America.

This recipe is modeled after the Colombian version of Ajiaco, which always features chicken, corn, and potatoes (and the aji pepper, of course!). Like peppers and potatoes, corn is native to the Americas. The Colombian version is also spiced with guasca leaves, which are in the daisy family and native to South America. If you can’t find these dried leaves at your local international market, you can easily find them online.

The Cuban version of Ajiaco, also very popular, is a bit thicker (more akin to a stew), and features chicken, beef, and pork – what a feast. The Peruvian version is quite different from these soups, in that it isn’t served as a soup at all, but ran even thicker dish of braised potatoes and peppers (often without meat). And while all of these dishes now include ingredients that weren’t native to the Americas, such as garlic and onions, they still capture the spirit of the original (and likely forgotten) native dishes that inspired them.

And last but not least, a gentle reminder that the limited edition print version of my latest cookbook, The Heritage Cookbook, is only available for purchase through June 30th. Once they’re gone, they’re gone – they won’t be available in stores or on Amazon! These physical versions are really special to me; because I am publishing and shipping them myself, I can make the book look exactly how I envision it to be, and can sign/personalize each copy as I ship it out to you. CLICK HERE to learn more and to grab a copy for yourself!

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Here it is: my first recipe published on the blog that features dried beans. Well, technically, I posted a recipe in 2013 for Cow Heel Soup which featured split peas, but I made them optional. If you’re wondering why I incorporated beans into the recipes for my latest book, be sure to check out this post from last week – but long story short, the recipes in The Heritage Cookbook are historically accurate for a reason. The book investigates the link between traditional foods and health, with the underlying idea that we may have specific adaptations to the foods our recent ancestors relied on as staples. So to omit historical ingredients, prepared in traditional ways, undercuts the entire premise of the book. And just maybe, if eaten in a traditional context, some of these foods might not be so bad from time to time.

So yep, beans. We’re going to use fava beans or lima beans, which are nice and meaty. And like with all of the recipes in the book that feature beans, we’re going to soak them overnight, which increases their digestibility and makes them far easier to cook (plus, this is the way they have been traditionally prepared for thousands of years). One interesting note: while they have a similar appearance and taste, they are from two different corners of the world. Fava beans are part of the pea family, from the eastern Mediterranean, and have been cultivated for 8,000 years; lima beans, on the other hand, are a New World bean, discovered in Peru about 4,000 years ago. There’s an easy way to remember the origins of beans: peas, chickpeas, and fava beans are Old World, and everything else is from the Americas. Pretty cool, huh?

Oxtail stews are found all over the world, and were recorded as far back as the Roman times (but definitely eaten before then – it’s just that nobody was writing about them). This dish in particular is modeled after the Caribbean (specifically, Jamaican) version of this dish, developed at a time when slaves had to make do with lesser cuts of meat, like oxtails. This oxtail stew uses a healthy dose of allspice (native to the Americas) for its base flavor, and the meat is coated in a bit of sugar before being browned. This technique caramelizes the stew nicely, and is likely a remnant of sugarcane plantation cookery.

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Adobo is one of my favorite dishes; my original Pork Adobo recipe has lived on this site for over six years, and I published an updated, streamlined version last year (see: Oven Roasted Pork Adobo). And while I initially assumed that folks would seamlessly adapt those recipes for a chicken version, I’ve had several requests over the years. So voilà, this week’s recipe.

Adobo, often considered the national dish of the Philippines, is a method of stewing meat in vinegar. The word adobo itself is linked to a Spanish method of preserving raw meat by immersing it in a mixture of vinegar, salt, and paprika. When the Spanish observed an indigenous Philippine cooking method involving vinegar in the 16th century, they referred to it as adobo, and the name stuck. The original name for this dish is no longer known.

One last note – don’t forget about this month’s offer for Free Ground Beef for Life from my friends at ButcherBox. The deal expires at the end of this month, so be sure to check it out by the end of the week!

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This dish is summer in a bowl, equal parts comforting and exotic.

Bobó de Camarão (sometimes called Shrimp Bobó) is a shrimp chowder dish from coastal Brazil, thickened with mashed cassava (mandioca). This stew was likely inspired by a similar, traditional West African dish made with yams, which was brought to Brazil by West African slaves during the transatlantic slave trade from the 16th to 19th centuries. Other signature flavors from this dish include buttery red palm oil (dendê) and creamy coconut milk (leite de côco).

Red palm oil, originally from West Africa, is a controversial ingredient: the majority of palm oil is produced in Southeast Asia, where deforestation of palm oil trees has negatively impacted orangutan populations. For this reason, I prefer sustainably-harvested palm oil, like this one from Nutiva; their oil is part of the “Palm Done Right” international campaign, grown and harvested in Ecuador without contributing to deforestation or habitat destruction.

Given that red palm oil requires such careful consideration, you may be wondering why bother with it in the first place. Red palm oil is high in antioxidants and vitamins A and E, and has a health-promoting fatty acid profile (about 42% each saturated and monounsaturated fats)–in truth, it has one of the best nutrient profiles among cooking fats. And from a culinary perspective, the oil imparts a rich flavor, velvety texture, and has a high smoking point (about 350F). Over the past few years, I’ve come to prefer making popcorn in red palm oil, which adds a pleasing yellow color to the final product. If you don’t have access to sustainably-harvested red palm oil, never fear: this dish is also delicious when made with coconut oil or olive oil.

This dish is relatively simple overall, but does require a few phases: first, you’ll make a seafood stock using the shrimp shells, then boil the cassava and make a flavor base using tomatoes, onions, and peppers; next, you’ll blend the flavor base with coconut milk, pan-fry the shrimp, and put it all together. To save time, you can use peeled shrimp and pre-made seafood stock. But even then, this isn’t a dish I’d recommend you first tackle on a busy weeknight–it really benefits from an unhurried cooking environment, when you can play some relaxing music and envelop yourself in these tropical aromas. It’s worth the extra bit of effort and planning.

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I’m going to be upfront with you – if you don’t like bitter foods, you probably won’t like this week’s recipe. Much as I’d like to tout that I’ve developed a way to eliminate the bitter momordicin compounds which make this vegetable one of the most astringent foods on the planet, that’s just not going to happen. But, there’s a bit of fun to be found in diving into this historically medicinal gourd; a new taste sensation is especially exciting for those who prefer their coffee black.

In truth, there are a few tricks to make bitter melon more palatable. First, salting and squeezing the melon extracts some of its bitter juices. Pairing the bitter melon with tangy amchur (green mango) powder, sweet coconut palm sugar, and a generous amount of spices also help balance the overall flavor. Finally, giving the melon slices a nice crisping near the end of cooking, and garnishing them with fresh cilantro as they come off the heat, give the dish an ideal texture.

There are two main varieties of bitter melon: the warty, light green Chinese cultivar, and the spiny, dark green Indian version. Both work fine for this recipe, but I prefer the exotic look of the Indian variety.

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My wife and I are still reeling from the sheer amount of recipe testers who volunteered to tackle a recipe (or three) during this last stage of recipe tweaks for my next cookbook. We ended up sending out nearly 2,000 recipes, and we’re still parsing through all of the feedback and applying your suggestions to the manuscript – thanks to everyone who helped out!

I still have over a month of writing to go before I turn in the manuscript, then a few rounds of edits, so chances are I’ll be a little quieter than usual on the blog – case in point, I totally forgot to post a recipe last week. Yikes!

So this week we’re going to pull out an old favorite, which was published in Paleo Takeout but hasn’t made it to the blog until today. Although we love rice well enough, sometimes a plate of Cauliflower Fried Rice is just the ticket: we can clean out the fridge and the cauliflower sits a bit more lightly in the stomach compared to rice. I’ve found that baking the cauliflower “rice” ahead of time browns it nicely without making the end product all mushy. I prefer to use any leftover meat I happen to have in the fridge, but you could use fresh meat or shrimp, too (instructions below the recipe).

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The most visited recipe on this blog, by a long shot, is my old Perfect Eye of Round Roast recipe. It’s been read over 1.7 million times, which is pretty crazy. The recipe is unique because you basically blast the roast with a high heat for a while, then shut the oven off completely for a couple hours while you watch Netflix, build a snowman, fume at Twitter, or whatever else people do with their free time.

Last week, the old post celebrated its sixth birthday, so I figured it’s time for a bit of an update. In place of shutting the oven off completely, we’ll just reduce the heat to 170F, which will give you the freedom to check the roast’s temperature periodically with an instant-read thermometer to make sure you pull it out of the oven right when it’s ready. I also like to pair my roast with a wine sauce reduction, so I’ve included that as well.

This recipe is adapted from the one I used in my first cookbook, The Ancestral Table, which in turn was an updated version of my old blog post (we’re almost getting into Inception levels of cross-reference here). Fun fact: the photos from this post are actually from that original photo session from The Ancestral Table, back in March of 2013. They still hold up pretty well!

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Big news, everyone! I’m officially opening up public recipe testing for my next book, which will be called The Heritage Cookbook. I expect the cookbook to be released in 2018.

This book will focus on recipes developed to align best with your individual heritage and DNA ancestry results. As such, I’ve developed recipes from all over the world, highlighting the unique ancestral makeup of the US population (and giving similar consideration for readers living in countries with historically high immigration, like Canada and Australia). This book is a massive undertaking (300+ recipes!) and has taken over two years to put together – I’m excited to see how you like it!

Here’s the lowdown:
** Follow this link to choose a recipe and complete the submission form.
** Within 48 hours, my lovely wife Janey will email you the recipe plus a link to our feedback form.
** Please test the recipe and submit feedback by January 28th!

I’d love your help in sharing the word about this new book! Definitely share photos and your thoughts with family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and feel free to use the hashtag #heritagecooking. I only ask that you keep the actual recipes to yourself, since the final product may change before the book publishes.

If you are on Facebook, please consider joining The Heritage Cookbook Facebook group. There are over 3,400 members in the group, and we’ll be using this platform to share more info, respond to feedback, and answer any questions you may have.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your support, and enjoy the food!

*** Allergen information: please note that because this book is closely tied to genetic studies and food history, there is a likelihood that some ancient items native to a specific region (wheat in the Middle East, dairy in Europe, or corn in the Americas) will be included in recipes. This is not necessarily a Paleo, Primal, Whole30, AIP, or even gluten-free cookbook – instead, it will be focused on helping you find a personalized approach to diet for your unique heritage. To accommodate today’s evolving dietary challenges, I’ve listed common allergens in the Recipe List that you’ll find in the form (including annotation for recipes where gluten-free substitutions are provided). When developing recipes with wheat, I used ancient einkorn wheat (available on Amazon), which has a low gluten content.

Hi everyone, and welcome to 2018! It’s downright chilly across the US today, so let’s enjoy some stew.

Bigos is a Hunter’s Stew most associated with Poland, but likely of German origin. This dish, in one form or another, has been a part of Eastern European cuisine since at least the Middle Ages. The stew derives most of its flavor from a combination of meats, sausage, sauerkraut, cabbage, and mushrooms. I’ve found that adding dried plums (prunes) to the mixture adds a light sweetness to the dish that perfectly balances the sauerkraut.

It is likely that the original version of this dish was mostly meat, and reserved for the upper nobility; sauerkraut and cabbage were added to stretch out the meal, but eventually were incorporated into all preparations. Today, there remains significant variation of this dish – it is said that there are as many variations of Bigos as there are cooks in Poland.

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