Top positive review
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The bar has been raised!
on October 21, 2013
Melissa Joulwan did it again!! Well Fed 2 somehow manages to rise above the excellence that is the first Well Fed. The recipes seem more diverse and the beginning of the book is packed full with all kinds of non-recipe meal ideas including lots of ways to dress up your eggs, burgers, and broccoli.
The book is also about 1/3 larger than the first one but still kept to a manageable size. I cannot stand big behemoth cookbooks with only a handful of recipes I want to actually make. I love that these books are light, portable, and they don't take up too much counter space.
Lately I've been kind of obsessed with making condiments. I was delighted to see that there is an entire section of condiments and every single one of them looks mouthwatering. Including quite a few ways to jazz up your basic mayo recipe.
Before I ever cooked a thing I read it front to back like a novel. The recipes are so full of interesting flavors that pop off the page and make your mouth water. Little personalized touches, stories, and anecdotes make each one even more special. The photos are stunning! Even better than the first book. They are more colorful, brighter, and they make you want to eat!! Like calorie and carb free appetizers! :)
You can also rest assured that no matter how mouthwatering and delectable these recipes are every single one of them is squeaky clean Paleo. Like W30 approved squeaky clean. Well, except for one or two treats. Now I'm totally down for the occasional Paleofied treat but I already have umpteen million recipes for them not to mention the internet is full of ideas for every single kind of Paleo brownie, cookie, pie, or cake you can think of. Treats definitely have their place in a healthy lifestyle but what we really need is more coobooks packed with delicious but clean eats! Which is exactly what we get with Well Fed. So cook, eat, and rest assured that you are nourishing both your soul and your body as you do so.
I got my book last Thursday so had time to look it over and narrow down the first batch of recipes to try. I do a big cookup every weekend so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. Now for the most important part! How the food actually tasted! Here is what I made so far:
Pina Colada Chicken: Such an interesting combination of flavors. It works. This dish is spectacular. I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a stir fry or stew but mine came out pretty saucy. Next time I'm cutting the coconut milk in half. I can tell though that this is going to be a staple from now on.
Oven Baked Salmon Cakes: Super fast, super easy, and super delicious. I served them with the Remolade sauce in the jazzed up mayo section. A-mazing! I made a bunch and froze them for super fast meals later.
Old School Meat Sauce: This was a project to make. It is a dish that you put your heart and soul, and a good chunk of an afternoon, into. Although it was my least favorite of all the recipes so far it is still very good. I just prefer a lighter brighter tasting marinara whereas this is rich, earthy, and herbaly tasting. It is delicious though and my bf and his friends devoured it then went back for seconds. Good thing the recipe made a ton. I doubled the meatballs as one pound of meatballs for all that sauce wasn't near enough. At least not in my house. Ooh I have to say that the Italian sausages after being browned and simmered for hours in that sauce were delectable! I don't think I've ever tasted a more delicious Italian sausage. I set them aside for me without telling anyone! My little secret. :)
Moroccan Chicken and Apricot Meatballs: A huge hit here!! I love the entire Burgers, Balls, and Bangers section. A lot of the recipes use ground pork, one of my most favorite protein choices, so this was right up my alley. My bf and brother devoured the entire recipe, I got to at least taste two of the meatballs, so I had to make more. This recipe inspired me to make a slightly different take on it but with pork and I added some 100% apricot preserves, Lebanese Spice mix, and used pistachios. I love when a cookbook inspires me to take an already amazing recipe and put my own spin on it and come with something equally amazing. It's like paying for one recipe and getting a bunch more! And the trick with water, cream of tartar, and baking soda is genius and makes for soft tender meatballs. Love it!
Deli Tuna Salad: This is tuna salad taken up five or ten notches! I cannot describe the delicious mouthful of flavor you get from this recipe. And it was so ridiculously fast to put together. I will be eating this for lots of lunches this week. On jicama slices!
Tabbouleh: This recipe is not just good. It's life changing I want to eat tabbouleh every day until I die good!! Easily my favorite recipe and I know it will be a staple. The thing is I never even really liked regular wheaty tabbouleh before going Paleo but something about the beautiful picture and the description of this recipe made me try it. I'm so glad I did. Initially I thought it called for too much mint and parsley so I halved the amount. Then tasted it and went ahead and added the full amount. That taught me not to mess with perfection!
Belly Dance Beet Salad: I'm not sure I've ever tasted anything with beets in it that wasn't delicious. They have been one of my most favorite foods since childhood. This recipe takes the classic beet and orange combination for a spin. A savory sweet spicy cuminy cinnamony spin! Delicious!
Lizard Sauce: This instantly became a new staple condiment in my house. It is spicy but not hot. It has such a depth of bright but smokey earthy flavor to it. The first things I'm using it on are eggs and a burger topped with lizard sauce and guacamole.
Almost Amba: Love!! I dipped my morroccan apricot meatballs in this. I never would have come up with this combination of flavors on my own. This is going to be my new veggie dip instead of Paleo ranch for a while.
Lebanese and Jerk Spice Mixes: Delicious and amazing flavor combinations. I never really liked jerk chicken but this jerk mix is incredible.
So as you can see I cooked up a storm this weekend! Everything was delicious and a hit. Honestly there are a lot of mediocre Paleo cookbooks out there. I know because I have almost all of them. They all get the same five star reviews from professional bloggers looking to drum up publicity for their blogs. I think it's great that the Paleo community supports each other in this way but it leaves regular non-professional paleoers like myself at a loss to find credible reviews by people who actually cook the food in the books. Not to worry with either of the Well Fed books. They are packed full of creative interesting flavors yet are accessible and doable for even beginner cooks. These books truly are gems in the Paleo cookbook genre and I couldn't recommend either of them more.