Primal Pizza

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I recently picked up a copy of the newly released book “Everyday Paleo around the World: Italian Cusine” by Sarah Fragoso.  I have to say it is one of the best Paleo cooking books I have yet to come across.  I think it is so important to delve into traditional cuisines with a focus on the all the nutrient dense Paleo ingredients they have to offer.  That is essentially the purpose of this blog, and it is exactly what Sarah Fragoso did with this book, and what she has envisioned for the entire “Everyday Paleo around the world” series to come.

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Creamy Cauliflower Purée

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Cauliflower is a really under appreciated vegetable.  Most people think of it as a bland, pale version of broccoli.  I still do not understand why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to eat it raw and dip it in ranch dressing- the texture is horrible and store bought ranch is questionable at best.  It’s mild, natural sweetness comes out when it is cooked, and it is incredible in the way that it’s texture can be manipulated.  Popular in the Paleo world, this unassuming cruciferous vegetable is often shredded, roasted, and puréed into incredibly decadent creations.  In this recipe I will be focusing on the latter technique in order to create a creamy cauliflower purée with less time and effort that in takes to whip up some mashed potatoes.

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Hu Kitchen (New York City)

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Earlier this summer I picked up a copy of Paleo Magazine while traveling and read about a Paleo-centric restaurant in downtown New York.  I knew that I absolutely had to check it out on my next weekend trip to the city.  I actually ended up eating brunch there twice this summer and was able to forego the mediocre diner omelette I usually suffice for while traveling.

Hu Kitchen was opened last September by two siblings, Jordan Brown and Jessica Karp. Neither of them have prior experience in the food industry, but they are incredibly passionate about spreading awareness and making nutritious, sustainable food accessible.  With a team of knowledgeable advisors, they have successfully opened a restaurant that serves truly “primal” food.

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Herb roasted almonds

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Almonds are a really popular snack these days.  Filling and a good source of healthy fats and protein, they are a great option for in between meals or when traveling.  Unfortunately, most of the almonds that fill the shelves of super markets are laden with unhealthy ingredients that turn what is normally a clean, whole food into a processed one.  Turning over a package of seasoned almonds often reveals some nasty surprises: vegetable oil, corn maltodextrin, and hydrolyzed corn and soy protein just to name a few.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather not put the aforementioned substances in my body.

Fortunately there is a solution: roast your own.  In about 10 minutes you can have a generous-sized batch of delicious herb roasted almonds, made with nothing but nutritious, natural ingredients.

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Del Campo (Washington, D.C.)

This is probably the perfect time and the perfect place for me to publish my first restaurant experience on the blog.  I was in Washington D.C. last week visiting friends before I’m off to Argentina, and I couldn’t refuse when a friend suggested that we check out the tasting menu at Del Campo’s new asado bar.

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The Chinatown restaurant opened it’s doors in April and aims to showcase the flavors and ambiance of South American cuisine, particularly that of Argentina, Peru, Uruguay and Chile.  Inspired by Chef Victor Albisu’s early days working for Argentine and Uruguayan butchers and his travels to Peru and Chile, the result is an expansive menu largely centered on ceviches and grilled meat dishes.  The beverage selection complements this beautifully with an array of South American cocktails and wines.

Arriving to the restaurant about 30 minutes prior to my reservation, I took a seat at the rustic looking bar and ordered a classic South American cocktail- the Pisco Sour.  Typically comprised of Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup and an egg white, it has refreshing citrus flavor and a rich, creamy texture.  Del Campo’s rendition is beautifully executed and left me wanting another, although I decided to forgo a second in anticipation of the wine pairings offered on the asado menu.

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Bacon, Egg and…Kale

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I’ve always been a fan of the classic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.  Growing up I enjoyed them every way possible: on biscuits, bagels, hard rolls, English muffins, and toast.  I loved them with extra crispy bacon, fried eggs over medium, and a slice of sharp cheddar melted over top, just starting to brown and caramelize on the edges.  I don’t know many people who don’t love a good bacon, egg, and cheese.  After radically changing the way I eat over the past year I can honestly say that I don’t miss them- in sandwich form that is. What I ultimately discovered is that the toasted bread on the outside is the least important part.

With just a single pan, a few quality ingredients, and less time than it takes to run to the closest deli, you can make a decadent version of this classic American sandwich by replacing bread with kale.  No, I am not joking…

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Enjoying Chocolate Guilt-free

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A trio of single-origin chocolate bars- courtesy of Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco

I have always been a fan of dark chocolate. Even before I adopted my current lifestyle I always preferred dark to milk chocolate. In foodie speak, eating milk chocolate is like liberally dumping cream and sugar in a French-pressed cup of coffee, diluting a 30 year-aged scotch with ice, or smothering a wagyu ribeye in A1 steak sauce (*gasp*). It masks the incredible flavors that cacao is capable of producing. Just like wine or tea, cacao beans can produce a huge variety of flavors depending on their growing environment and processing after the harvest.

Good dark chocolate consists of roasted cacao beans and organic sugar- that’s it. The best quality bars contain very small amounts of high quality sugar that is selected specifically selected to complement the characteristics of the beans. For the most part, the highest quality chocolate (and most nutritious) has a cacao percentage of 70% or higher.

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Capello’s Gluten-free, Grain-free Pasta

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After following a Primal/Paleo lifestyle for the past seven months I can honestly say that I never feel deprived whatsoever.  I believe that the most delicious ingredients can hold their own without the addition of highly refined grain products such as bread and pasta, which are nutritionally void at best and potentially quite toxic to a large number of people.  As a foodie, I am however against extreme restriction and all for the occasional indulgence.  One of my previous go-to comfort foods was a nice bowl of pasta, usually carbonara or bolognese and topped liberally with some high quality parmigiano reggiano cheese.  Upon developing a severely adverse reaction to gluten, this meal seemed like it would be out of the question indefinitely.  Sure you can improvise with spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or a store-bought gluten-free pasta, but it just isn’t quite the same.  I could never replicate the perfectly al dente quality that “real” pasta offers.  That’s when I stumbled across Capello’s Gluten-free, Grain-free Pasta.  It is an absolute game changer, and in my opinion tastes better than traditional pasta ever could.

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