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Paleo Perfected: A Revolution in Eating Well with 150 Kitchen-Tested Recipes Paperback – December 9, 2015
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About the Author
America’s Test Kitchen is well-known for its top-rated television shows with more than 4 million weekly public television viewers, bestselling cookbooks, magazines, websites, and cooking school. The highly reputable and recognizable brands of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country are the work of over 60 passionate chefs based in Boston, Massachusetts, who put ingredients, cookware, equipment, and recipes through objective, rigorous testing to identify the very best. Discover, learn, and expand your cooking repertoire with Julia Collin Davison, Bridget Lancaster, Jack Bishop, Dan Souza, Lisa McManus, Tucker Shaw, Bryan Roof, and our fabulous team of test cooks!
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I'd say the selection of recipes is fairly well-balanced for an 80/20 paleo lifestyle - 80% being meat-and-veggie dishes, while 20% is paleo treats such as crackers, and pancakes. Oddly enough (or maybe not so much), most of the treats can be found in the breakfast section. For people new to paleo who are used to eating muffins and cereal for breakfast, the recipes for paleo muffins and granola will probably become gateway staples to help them transition to paleo.
The book focuses on main dishes, though a decent selection of sides and appetizers has also been included. I appreciated the section of vegetarian mains very much as I've been meaning to have a few meatless meals in the week. There's also a subsection of staples, such as condiments and even paleo bread.
As it says on the cover, the book includes 150 recipes in total. Though it feels poor compared to other ATK books (their Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, for instance, contains a whopping 650 recipes!) , I feel it's a solid collection of practical recipes - mostly sautéed dishes, stir-fries and slow-cooker meals. I think that by keeping things simple and easy, they save the reader from inaction due to information overload.
The fact of the matter is that a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of the recipes in other ATK books are already primal-, if not paleo-, friendly. So why buy this book? Well, I feel it helps teach the reader/cook how paleo substitutions work best as well as how to cook recipes that have become paleo staples, but cannot be found in conventional cookbooks. If you're new to paleo, it's invaluable. If you're a paleo veteran, go on and admit it: you've been hankering for this book to come from the burners of ATK. And if that doesn't cut it for you, then all I can say is that you'll be missing out on the best nut-crusted chicken breasts ever.
This ATK cookbook offers selections in the following categories: Paleo Basics, Appetizers and Snacks, Breakfast, Poulty, "Beef, Pork, Lamb and More," Vegetarian Mains, Vegetarian Sides, and Seafood. There are no Paleo desserts as such. That is the main reason I took a star off the review, and that is strictly subjective. For some who adheres rigidly to Paleo, that shouldn't affect the overall quality of the book.
Some of the recipes I am most looking forward to trying:
--gingery stir-fried chicken with asparagus and bell pepper
--family-sized omelet with bacon and spinach
--spicy breakfast casserole with tomato and Swiss chard
--zucchini "noodle" salad with tahini-ginger dressing
--batter-fried chicken fingers
--slow-cooker caribbean chicken drumsticks
A couple of notes:
*there are some recipes in here that I have seen repeated in many Paleo cookbooks. If you are familiar with Paleo cuisine, you have probably come to expect them: spiralized vegetable noodles, chicken "noodle" soup, cauliflower rice, mashed sweet potatoes, condiments and faux bread-type recipes (in this cookbook, these are: wraps, sandwich rolls, pie dough, pancakes, and two types of muffins.) Their redundancy notwithstanding, I am glad that they are in here, because ATK is a name I trust to turn out high-quality recipes. They may be Paleo staples, but I am looking forward to trying them!
*the recipes call for homemade staples, such as broth and mayonnaise, but the cookbook states that store bought products work well, too
*There is a helpful explanatory section of different types of Paleo-approved baking products and how they compare to conventional baking products, as well as how they serve to substitute for the conventional products.
*this is the first ATK cookbook that I've run across that includes nutritional information at the back of the book for each recipe, including calorie count. I appreciate this feature, as I don't want to over-consume calories, even if it is high-quality Paleo fare!
I will update as I try out the recipes, but I want to say initially that it is looking great so far, and well worth the money!
EDITED TO SAY: this cookbook puts emphasis on grinding your own meat either for ground beef or making sausage. This isn't the first time ATK has used this idea, but I did want to mention it--either if it appeals to you, or, if you're like me, don't want your food processor filled with raw meat.