Since mid 2013 I’ve followed a Primal/Paleo diet and have had an interest in books on this topic that naturally include cookbooks. I was delighted to review Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan. Having followed Melissa’s blog www.ClothesmaketheGirl online for some months, I was interested in learning more.
The layout of this book is easy to follow with a table of contents up front and each type of dish (Sauces and Seasonings, Protein, Veggies and Salads, Fruits) listed with page numbers, along with helpful information on what to prepare for a week’s worth of meals. By cooking a batch of chicken thighs, a quantity of ground beef and some partially sautéed veggies you’re ready to mix and match for a week’s worth of tasty Paleo fare, the perfect solution for a busy working couple.
The introduction by Whole30 founders, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig explains that elaborate preparation and fancy food is not needed, just wholesome, fresh ingredients. This precedes a section on What is paleo with photos of Melissa’s mother and father, some background on her interest in Middle Eastern cooking, stocking the kitchen and basics of utensils and pantry essentials. While most paleo cookbooks contain similar information on stocking the pantry, Ms. Joulwan’s is original in that she offers suggestions on how to make subtle changes to almost every recipe in the book. A mini-section titled Hot Plates lists combinations of the Weekly Cookup items that work well together for nearly any type of fare (Asian, French, European, Greek, Indian and so on).
And then there are the recipes! I particularly liked making Sunshine Sauce (p. 45) for my Thai-inspired dishes. It’s a little like a satay sauce with the addition of sunflower seed butter but it also has rice vinegar, coconut aminos and ginger along with coconut milk and some cayenne. Perfect for Pad Thai or some of the Hot Plates. I’m a lover of my own spice mixes, and one of the first ones I tried was Ras El Hanout (p. 47) which is excellent on butternut squash and kale.
My favorite recipe from this book is actually three superb recipes: The best Chicken You Will Ever Eat (p. 69) calls for brining skinless, boneless chicken breasts, then rubbing them with a spice blend, grilling them and serving them with Moroccan Dipping Sauce (p. 55). The combination of flavors is rich and exotic and will have you making this dish multiple times. The chicken is delicately seasoned and oh-so-moist. I’ve made this recipe several times with amazing results and, in fact, had some leftovers just before writing this review.
The Creamy Italian Dressing(p. 59) saved me all through my first Whole30. So easy to prepare and so tasty.
Melissa writes in a snappy style that kept me interested throughout the book. In fact, I want to try all her recipes. I have my eye on the Jicama “Potato” Salad (p. 137) and the Zucchini Noodle Aglio et Olio (p. 133), the ideal way to initiate my new veggie spiralizer.
Well Fed is the first book in Ms. Joulwan’s series, and each recipe is grain, sugar, legume and dairy free, a perfect addition to your Paleo kitchen