This week’s review is by Anne from our Review Team. When the opportunity to review the newest release by Sarah Fragoso on Italian Cuisine and the book by our friend Diana Rodgers on Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go came up, we knew exactly who needed to review them: our resident Italian-loving working mom!
Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts ON THE GO hit home with me. I work full time and am always looking for quick ways to get delicious and nutrient dense foods into my family. My son packs his lunch every day and some of our “go-to” meals were getting a bit stale. Diana includes a 3 week guide to school lunches (just in time for our new school year to start) which I can assure you I’ll be putting to good use. In addition to the meals she suggests my son has picked out his own combination of lunches and showed more interest than I’d seen in quite a while. This alone made this book a hit with me.
Diana’s quick introduction to Paleo hits most of the do’s and don’ts in a concise manner. I wished I’d had her Paleo Guide to Dining Out when I started. Knowing what is “safer” at various ethnic restaurants would’ve been a lifesaver. I currently travel for work occasionally and have my Paleo on the go fairly dialed in but when I first started I had no idea what to do when away from home for a while. Diana gives some quick suggestions on what to do in her “Paleo for Busy Travelers” section.
The recipes and pictures are mouthwatering to look at. But most importantly the recipes are delicious. My husband who is quite the cook and foodie himself grabbed this and started planning. Last weekend I returned home from running errands to a delicious bowl of Peppery Smooth Gazpacho courtesy of my husband. Anytime a cookbook inspires my husband to cook for me I’m a happy woman.
While beets are not the most popular item in our house I’m a HUGE fan and love to try different ways of using them. I found Diana’s Winter Beet Salad with Orange and Fennel and knew I had to give it a try. I was not disappointed and you won’t’ be either.
- 4 beets
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 oranges (blood oranges make it even prettier!)
- 1 fennel bulb
- 1/4 red onion
- 1 head radicchio
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp blood orange vinegar
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- If using raw beets, rinse them with water and place each one on a square of tin foil. Coat them lightly with olive oil and wrap them up. Roast for about 45 minutes at 350F (180C, or gas mark 4) or until you can piece them with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for about 10 minutes until they are cooked enough to handle but still warm. Peel the beets, slice them and place in a large bowl.
- Next, peel the orange. If you want to be fancy, you can section it but there are some good nutrients in the white part, so I tend just to slice the orange into bite-size pieces, leaving some of the white.
- Slice the fennel bulb thinly using a knife or mandolin.
- Chop the radicchio and add to the bowl with the beets and orange, then add the parsley and cilantro.
- Drizzle the entire salad with the vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice and olive oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Toss the salad. It sits well before serving as the beets take up the acids in the dressing.
I was very excited to get the opportunity to review Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free. Italian food is a staple in our house and I hoped to get some new ideas and inspiration. I’ve loved looking through and getting inspiration for my own culinary exploits. Many people might think that Italian cuisine is mostly pasta, pizza and breads. That is far from the case and Sarah gives you almost 100 examples of that. (Although she did sneak in a few pizza recipes just not the traditional gluten laden ones we are all more familiar with.) I enjoyed the focus on fresh vegetables and simply ingredients while not compromising flavor or eye appeal. I personally prefer to cook seasonally and a good portion of the recipes allowed me to do that.
In addition to the expected recipes Sarah gives an overview of the different areas of Italy she and her family visited and the chefs that inspired her recipes. There is a section on the best places to stay and of course eat in those areas as well as a comprehensive guide to common ingredients and tools. This is not just a cookbook but a mini guidebook to Italy.
One of our favorite quick meals is pasta and we all enjoyed Sarah’s Sausage and Fennel Sauce. When your garden produces the bounty of zucchini that ours has you find more and more recipes that are “pasta” focused. I will say that you must buy a Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable slicer (one of the tools Sarah lists in her guide) if you want to truly replicate the noodle feel of your gluten past.
I love quiche and frittata and found Sarah’s vegetable quiche a delicious quick meal I could make out of my garden bounty. I’ve substituted zucchini for the eggplant and it was equally delicious.
- 1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced into rounds (approximately 10-12 ounces)
- 1 cup tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, peeled and finely diced
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup pecorino cheese, cubed, optional
- 12 eggs
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, diced
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and place the thinly sliced eggplant rounds into the dry skillet. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. You’ll have to do several batches of these, as they won’t fit into the pan at once.
- Place a layer of the eggplant slices on the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish.
- Evenly sprinkle on the diced tomatoes.
- Add another layer of eggplant slices
- Evenly spread the diced red bell pepper.
- Add one last layer of eggplant slices if there are any left, and sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper over the top.
- If you are using the pecorino cheese, evenly sprinkle the cubed cheese over top of all of the vegetables,
- In large mixing bowl, whisk the e3ggs together with the garlic, basil, and Italian parsley.
- Pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetable layers in the banking dish.
- Cover tightly with foil, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Remove the foil, and bake another 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are set all the way through.