By Diana Hsieh
Recently, I was sent free review copies of two new paleo cookbooks: Paleo Comfort Foods and Make it Paleo. I've had a chance to peruse and make a few recipes from the former, but I've only just perused the latter. So it's too early to give my final opinion, but I wanted to at least offer my preliminary thoughts on these cookbooks.
Both books are stunningly beautiful, with full-page photos that make you want to make and eat every dish, RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT. That's non-trivial! I don't like a cookbook without pictures, as "ooooh, that looks yummy" is a huge part of my motivation to try a recipe.
Also, I like the design of both cookbooks. The recipes consume one page at most, with the ingredient list separated from the instructions. So you can easily assemble your ingredients, and you don't need to flip pages in cooking. The instructions are clear and simple too.
My sole complaint -- and this applies only to Paleo Comfort Foods, not Make it Paleo -- is the lack of a true table of contents listing all the recipes and their page numbers. That's a huge obstacle to using the cookbook, not only for finding new recipes of interest, but also for re-finding favorite recipes. I'd be ever so appreciative if Julia and Charles Mayfield would publish such a table of contents as a PDF on their web site. (Pretty please!) I'd print it and keep it in the front of the cookbook as a handy reference.
As for the recipes, the two recipes that I've tried from Paleo Comfort Foods were stellar, although I must admit that I modified them for my own purposes. I made a stew of their "braised short ribs" (pg 288). That was phenomenally tasty. I also made their "venison-stuffed peppers" (pg 296), albeit with beef and sun-dried tomatoes instead of venison and celery. (I don't much like celery, and I didn't have any on hand.) That turned out fantastic too, very rich with flavor, including the pepper that I reheated the next day for lunch. (The sun-dried tomatoes were an awesome substitution, surely better than celery!)
Just looking through the recipes of Paleo Comfort Foods, I see so many that I want to try, such as:
- Maryland crab cakes: I've been wondering how to make crab cakes without a gluten-y binder.
- Spicy salmon salad: Paul adores salmon, and anything with homemade mayo is phenomenal.
- Bacon-wrapped dates: A favorite of mine at "The Med," my favorite restaurant in Boulder.
- No peanut sauce: Thai yummy!
- Creamed spinach: I'm intrigued by the fact that the dish is made with coconut milk.
- Julie's barbeque chicken: I've not yet tried to make a paleo barbeque sauce.
- Shrimp skillet: This looks similar to a super-yummy dish that Tammy and Greg Perkins taught me to make.
- Fish tacos: I love fish tacos.
- Pot roast: A winter favorite, particularly for Paul.
- Poached pears: I've always wanted to try making these.
- Jules' banana pudding: Oh my.
If you'd like to look at and test out some of the recipes before buying Paleo Comfort Foods, check out their web site. They've got eight recipes posted.
As for Make It Paleo, that's by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason of The Food Lovers Primal Palate. It looks really quite good. I'm not sure, but its recipes look somewhat simpler on average than those in Paleo Comfort Foods. Either way, I'm eager to try some of their recipes, including:
- Hot pepper hummus: Made with zucchinis!
- Buffalo wings: So good for an NFL Sunday, I hope.
- Lamb meatballs with mint pesto: Oh my.
- Beef tenderloin with balsamic drizzle: I want to eat this RIGHT NOW.
- Jamaican Jerk Salmon: Paul will love it!
- Seared Ahi Tuna with Wasabi Mayo: Yummy!
- Roasted brussels sprouts: One of my favorite fall vegetables.
Overall, if you like to cook and eat delicious food, I think you'll be very pleased with Paleo Comfort Foods and Make it Paleo.
If you're looking for even more paleo cookbooks, check out: