This was originally posted here. For those of you who don't know, my dear friend Fritzie and I have a co-authored blog called Academic Kitchen. Stop by and check us out sometime:)
For this post, I want to share a few things that I'm totally addicted to. First off, I'm currently addicted to listening to the Paleo Summit, that's going on from now til March 4th. It's a series of radio interviews with varios experts in Paleo lifestyles. Each day, there is a different set of audio interviews that are posted. These interviews are available for only twenty-four hours. When the summit is done, the interviews and transcripts will be available for sale. I'm loving the plethora of information because the organizer has set up a diverse set of speakers, some who contradict each other. If you have the time, check it out!
As I probably mentioned before (maybe not), I'm currently addicted to Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Admittedly, I own quite a few paleo cookbooks, but this is the one that I use ALL THE TIME.
There are several reasons why I love Well Fed so much. First, there's a ton of variety. I'm never bored with the recipes she has because with most recipes, she lists ways to vary the it so that you can potentially make two to four different dishes using the same components. Second, it's a true paleo cookbook. While I'm not super strict, I like that Joulwan sticks to strict paleo because it shows that paleo cooking can be strict, yet delicious. Third, she introduces some simple, but effective cooking techniques such as brining chicken to make sure it stays moist and emphasizing that chili needs to simmer for two hours to ensure deliciousness. Take it from me, she's TOTALLY RIGHT! Third, her recipes are really easy. Fourth, she has a section where she shows how you can cook/prep for the week, making paleo eating very do-able. (Yes. Treating cooking like a CrossFit WOD definitely helps with making home-cooked meals manageable and efficient!) Fifth, she has a cooking style that I can relate to. I'm someone who isn't really good at following strict recipes. This is because I don't usually trust recipes. I take for granted that most cooks won't share their secrets. Therefore, cooking is about 10% recipe and 90% instinct and soul. Luckily, Joulwan's directions are great! But they also give you room to experiment. She provides the base ideas and you, the budding paleo cook can run wild. Pretty awesome!
Finally, the reason why I'm addicted to Well Fed is because it introduced me to my next addiction: Penzeys Spices! OMG!OMG!OMG!HOLYJEEBUS!OMG! For those of you who don't know, Penzeys is a store (and website) that sells spices. That's it. Just spices. Thing is, it sells deliciously fresh and totally inspiring spices! Luckily, there's a Penzeys in Menlo Park. At my last visit, I picked up a few things. Aren't these things just beautiful?
I have to say that shopping at Penzeys has totally inspired my inner chef. First off, it prompted me to re-organize my spice cabinet. Check it out, y'all! Isn't she gorgeous? FYI - I get my spices in various places. As long as there is a Penzeys nearby, I'll always go there first. However, I also shop for spices at Trader Joe's and Cost Plus World Market. Though I have some stuff from Costco, I'm going to stop that because there's no reason for me to have two pounds of cinnamon. Really. There isn't.
I must admit that with my spice rack all revamped, I've been really inspired in the kitchen. Here are a few results of this weekend's cooking adventures. After a conversation with the Manpanion about my eating goals, I told him that I respect his love for carbs and such. Just because I'm trying to be better at a paleo/primal diet doesn't mean he has to suffer. However, I do want to know that I'm feeding him well. (Yes. I pack him lunch everyday. I'm awesome like that.) I explained that he would see a few changes in his meals. Primarily, I'm cutting out bread, noodles, and pasta. Instead, I'm packing him potatoes (the colored ones, not the Idaho ones), yams, squash, and other friendly starches. He trusts my cooking senses, but will miss the rice. I cooked these seasoned red potatoes to pair with the pot of chili I made.
I swear this next dish tastes better than the photo looks. I wanted to make a creamy Italian-inspired dish. I make a mean alfredo, but I wanted to create something that had those sensibilities, but was (mostly) dairy free. Using coconut milk and two different cheese-flavored spices (they have minimal amounts of cheese, so this dish isn't 100% paleo), I created this creamy chicken and vegetable dish. It turned out fantastic! Unfortunately, I don't have an exact recipe. Let me think about this and I'll post the "recipe" of this dish soon.
And there you have it. A few of my current addictions...