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Paleo By Season: A Chef's Approach to Paleo Cooking Paperback – July 8, 2014
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About the Author
Peter Servold is the owner of Pete’s Paleo. A national ready to eat Paleo company that produces and ships ready to eat meals around the country, as well as Paleo bacon and other Paleo products soon to be on the shelves in retail outlets.
Peter has worked in the culinary and restaurant field his whole life. Starting as a dishwasher when he was 13, to running front of house operations in multiple restaurants before attending culinary school. After attending Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, GA he worked at Restaurant Eugene learning the true meaning of farm to table dining. Working with the best possible ingredients, from the best local sources.
Shortly thereafter Peter met his wife Sarah. Thanks to many years of living the chef/restaurant lifestyle he was in desperate need of some CrossFit and Paleo in his life. They did a challenge for 30 days together, and that planted the seed for what would become Pete’s Paleo where the slogan is: Bringing Fine Dining to your Cave.
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On the "too simple" side: the roasted spaghetti squash for instance, or a basic marinara sauce, "braised" onions, etc. Oh, and let's not forget the strip steak recipe, which is literally to season your steak and cook it. On the "not really seasonal" side there are 3 braised meat dishes that make use of absolutely nothing seasonal, but rather only dry spices although in some cases they are least used in other dishes that do utilize seasonal produce. Then there's the beer butt chicken. I guess it's worthy of being included in a paleo cookbook because he uses cans of hard cider instead of beer? There's also too much repetition for my taste. There are 4, count them 4 burger recipes, and 2 meatball recipes to boot. How many recipes for ground meat shaped into ball or patty form does one need?
Not to be completely negative, the photos in the cookbook are quite beautiful and there's a lovely photo index at the back of the book. There also were some recipes that appealed - the carrot pistou, the shaved asparagus & beet salad, and the grilled eggplant & cantaloupe to name a few - but there simply aren't enough of them to allow this cookbook to take up precious space on my shelves. I suspect that for folks who are more well versed in eating paleo than they are in seasonal cooking then this cookbook may be a nice option. But for someone who is already fairly adept in the kitchen and who has been sourcing food locally/seasonally for some time, I'm not sure this will give you the bang for your buck. For the latter, I'd say your better off picking up an Alice Waters cookbook or even my favorite seasonal cookbook, Andrea Reusing's Cooking in the Moment (http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Moment-Year-Seasonal-Recipes/dp/0307463893/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433962393&sr=1-1&keywords=cooking+in+the+moment+andrea+reusing), which has plenty of recipes that are already paleo or easily adaptable by changing the type of cooking fat or switching from soy sauce to coconut aminos for example.
In addition to over 100 Paleo recipes (more about those later), Peter provides tips on keeping your knives sharp, how to roast poultry, even saute vegetables. He explains why he cooks, and now cooks Paleo, and he offers more tips on must-have equipment for the kitchen. There are several photos showing how to butcher a chicken—one of the few things I learned to do at an early age, having lived on a chicken ranch. Another useful set of photos shows how to properly fillet a fish.
The book and its recipes are divided into seasons, Spring starting the cycle with a plethora of flavors to excite any palate. A beautiful photo (taken by Peter’s wife Sarah) accompanies each recipe. The Brined and Roasted Chicken with Cider Pan Sauce (p. 34) starts the section and is one I’ve earmarked for an upcoming family dinner. The Pan-Seared Duck Breast (p. 40) has my mouth watering. In the Summer section is a tasty burger with avocado salsa that is to die for. The Eggplant Dip on page 106 is brightened with garam masala and is wonderful with cut-up veggies. Sort of like Baba Ganoush, only better.
Autumn kicks off with the Normandy classic Coq Au Vin (p. 148), a dish I have attempted several times with less than satisfactory results. Peter’s version looks wonderful and beckons. Winter’s offerings include Braised lamb (p. 198). I love lamb and have purchased a leg to make this delectable dish. Peter shows how the main braising recipe is the basis for other lamb dishes such as the Lamb Quenelles (p. 202). Beef, Pork, Poultry, Lamb and seafoods are not the only meats. Peter has a couple of elk recipes as well. And there are delightful veggie sides—slaw, roasted, pureed and more. Also worth noting are several useful sauces to add flavor, color and overall excitement to many dishes.
I’ve been Paleo for two years and always search for interesting, innovative ways to prepare meals while following a whole food diet that consists of 75% organic vegetables and 25% grass-fed meat. Peter’s sensible approach makes working in my kitchen a labor of love. Feel daunted in the kitchen? Not to worry. Peter provides difficulty levels for every dish, so you can start with the simpler ones and work your way up to the more complicated recipes. But trust me, these recipes are not all that difficult, and if you like to cook and are keen to use local and sustainable ingredients, this is the book for you.
There is a chapter on condiments and a guide to mushrooms, a graphic on the different cuts of meat for beef and pork, plus roasting times for various vegetables. Lastly, there is a focus on CSAs and he includes a chapter on recipes centered around a sample CSA box. He also provides links to CSAs around the country.
He indicates the level of difficulty of a recipe by 1-4 dots, 4 being the hardest. Many of the recipes seem simple enough since he really focuses on letting the ingredients shine, especially bc they are in season and at their peak in taste and quality.
My only complaint is that in the kindle version there are many font issues. It's hard to tell when a chapter begins and ends bc some chapter names aren't bolded or highlighted in any way. It might just be me, but that kind of thing really bothers me.
Overall though, I learned a lot and feel more confident in the kitchen.
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