“This!” I thought when I saw the graphic on page 5 showing the abundance of tasty foods you can eat on the paled diet.
“So true!” I said out loud to a startled Tour, when she describes the relationship between good food, health and happiness.
“Well done!” I thought when I saw the Tasty Terminology section where she explains and provides pictures to clarify the difference between chop, dice and mince.
But my favorite line from the introduction is this explanation of her intentions: “My mission isn’t to clobber you with the healthfulness of the recipes in this book. My mission is to inspire you with stories and tempt you with recipes that will make you want to smash in your face with joy.”
Melissa succeeds in her mission. Flipping through the recipes, I did kinda want to smash in my face with joy. The vibrant, close up photographs of the food – taken by her husband Dave Humphreys – amplified that feeling.
There were three main parts of the book that I found most delightful.
1) I adored the section on Sauces & Seasonings. Having an arsenal of paleo condiments and toppings is the easiest way to keep from getting unexcited by your food. Cook up a big pork roast on Sunday and top it with Lizard Sauce on Monday, Romanesco Sauce on Tuesday, Hoisin Sauce on Wednesday and on and on. It’s like a new meal every day. There were so many recipes in this section I can’t wait to try.
2) If we were to list my cooking strengths, making internationally inspired dishes would not rank in the top 10. I just don’t have a command over putting together dishes with much international flair — but with these recipes, I can totally fake it. The first recipe I made was the Mulligatawny Stew (see recipe below!), which Matt and I have been eating for lunch all week. I have folded the pages down on at least a dozen other international recipes, such as Faux Pho, Moo Shu Pork and Stuffed Grape Leaves. It’s going to be like a world bazaar in my kitchen for the next few weeks.
3) The Veggies & Salads section made me want to run into the kitchen and start cooking. Each recipe features a common vegetable prepared in a way that celebrates the vegetable. The preparation highlights – not hides – the carrots or green beans or whatever veggie is center stage. For a produce aficionado like me, this is a joy. I tried the Balsamic-Grilled Butternut, which I loved and am planning to bring to a potluck next week.
There’s one other reason I so love the book Melissa has put together – she exhibits a wonderful, adventurous spirit in the kitchen. As a dedicated estimator and improvisor myself, I appreciate that. She assures kitchen newbies, “Here’s a secret that should give you confidence: You really can’t mess it up.” She encourages experimentation by offering numerous variations on each recipe, as well as a space where you can add your own notes. It’s like she is not only giving you permission to alter the recipes – but would be delighted to hear what you came up with. If it was really good, she might even smash in her face with joy.
Now don’t take my word for it. Check out the recipe below for the Mulligatawny Stew at the bottom of this post that Melissa is allowing me to share from the cookbook!
Or download a 35-page sample of the book right HERE.
Mulligatawny Stew – From Well Fed 2, by Melissa Joulwan
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
3/4 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch coins
2 medium stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium apples, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 batch Basic Cauliflower Rice
minced fresh parsley leaves
sliced almonds, toasted
Sprinkle the chicken assertively with salt and pepper.
Heat a large, deep pot over medium-high heat, then add 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add the chicken in a single layer with some elbow room around each piece. Brown in batches so a golden crust forms, about 5 minutes per side. Remove cooked chicken to a bowl to catch the juice.
Add 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil to the pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, apples, coconut flakes, and garlic. Sauté 7-10 minutes, scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot, curry powder, salt, chili powder, allspice, cayenne, and bay leaf. Stir-fry until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the broth and water to the pot and stir to combine. Nuzzle the chicken into the liquid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, 45 minutes. Stir the coconut milk into the pot and simmer uncovered, 10 more minutes.
Serve on top of Basic Cauliflower Rice and sprinkle cheerfully with parsley and almonds.