Hello, Fresh Approach Cookbook Club members,
We braved the sleet and ice last week and it was worth it! We feasted on butternut soup with sage, curried chicken salad, chocolate ganache tarte and more, with every delicious bite 100% paleo.
Our group began both evenings with discussion, tips and conversation about “going paleo.” Our nutrition expert, Brenda, gave us a primer on the chemistry of the paleo diet and pitfalls to avoid when following it. For instance, be careful to eat a well-balanced meal, full of fruits and vegetables. The amount of protein (which tends to be high in fat) should equal the size of the palm of your hand. Get her handout here.
Brooke showed us her favorite brand of pork rinds which are better than the typical packaged rinds or chicharrones you find at convenience stores. She thinks they’re a great crunchy snack and perfect with guacamole.
Looking for recipes and inspiration for following this diet? Check out Paleo Magazine.
Dishes Made In March With Comments From The Cooks (All recipes from Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great by Danielle Walker)
Ann Stuart made Sweet Potato Chips With Creamy Dipping Sauce, p. 86. She had trouble crisping the chips, but thinks the sauce is terrific.
Brenda and Maryann baked Rosemary-Raisin Crackers, p. 78, and served them on an hors d’oeuvre tray. Both cooks found this recipe easy-to-make and suggest it would be delicious with other dried fruits, such as cranberries or cherries. Kathy thinks the recipe for Chicken Satay with “Peanut” Sauce, p. 68, is “easy and good.” Jayna and Julia found the Korean Beef Wrapped With Asparagus, p. 74, needed a longer cooking time than indicated. Our hosts, Ellen and Kate made the flavorful Rosemary Toasted Almonds, p. 84. When baking the nuts, check them after 20 minutes, because you don’t want to burn them!
Soups and Salads
Elaine and Nancy treated us to the beautiful and tasty Roasted Butternut Squash Soup With Sausage, p. 94. Elaine says that the sausage makes this soup special, while Ellen recommends frying the sage leaves in olive oil and then salting them before placing them on the soup. Everybody loved Liz’s and Catherine’s Curried Chicken Salad, p. 102, which even “passed the husband test!” We tried two beautiful salads this month. Brooke made Bibb Lettuce With D’Anjou Pears, p. 100, on Wednesday. The next night, Kate made Winter Salad With Romaine, Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash.
Both Tracey and Bill treated us to delicious, but “easy” Slow Cooker Sesame-Orange Chicken, p. 130. Cheryl made another slow cooker main dish- Pot Roast, p. 170. The secret to thickening the sauce? She pureed half the vegetables before returning them to the pot. Betty thought the Braised Chicken in Artichoke-Mushroom Sauce, p. 132, was a straightforward, good recipe. Pat recommends using Granny Smith apples for this “simple, but good” recipe for Sausage With Apples, p. 32. Ellen’s family loved the Pulled Barbeque Chicken With Coleslaw, p. 140, which has a “great sweet-salty combination.” The coleslaw was a real hit!
Greens and Sides
Both groups enjoyed the stir-fried Ginger-Garlic Broccoli, p. 112, made by the trio of Justin/Matt/Jayna and Kathy. It uses Coco Aminos (found at Whole Foods) in place of soy sauce which isn’t allowed on a paleo diet. On Thursday, Kristin made the “super easy” and tasty Stir Fried Bok Choy, p. 116. Meredith’s Crispy Sweet Potato Fries With Wasabi Aioli, p. 82, never “crisped!” She suggests making extra aioli to go with the fries.
Desserts and Breads
In March, Fresh Approach sampled four breads: Banana Bread, p. 224 (Laurie), Sandwich Bread, p. 226 (Ann), Orange-Cranberry Muffins, p. 230 (Buffy) and Zucchini Bread, p. 236 (Judi). All were delicious! Laurie suggests adding chocolate chips and a little extra salt to the Banana Bread recipe. Judi reminded us that honey has a range of flavors depending on the terroir and the diet of the bees. For this zucchini bread, she used her favorite, Tupelo honey. Melanie made a show-stopping and decadent dessert, Ganache Tart With Toasted Hazelnuts (p. 284) which she served with Ginny’s Coconut Milk Whipped Cream and Berries, p. 60 & 292. For the ganache, Melanie used bitter chocolate. She warned us that cacao butter is difficult to find. Kathryn likes these Trail Mix Granola Bars, p. 202. She was a little surprised, because the chocolate melted rather than remaining as chips.
Okay, folks, please weigh in with further comments and suggestions. What were your favorite dishes?