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Easy Paleo Recipes

By Anna Dantoni –

paleocookbookThe Paleo diet is a national craze with many people adopting the plan as a weight-loss regime and then staying with it as a long-term lifestyle choice. Consequently, there are lots of new cookbooks on the market that feed into the trend. The latest is The Paleo Foodie Cookbook by Arsy Vartanian, who has a blog called Rubies and Radishes and is the author The Paleo Slow Cooker. She discovered the Paleo diet in 2008 and adopted it as a way to potentially resolve some health issues. It worked for her and now Vartanian advocates the diet and devotes a great deal of her time to creating grain-free recipes for her family and blog readers.

Paleo gets its name from the Paleolithic Period (15,000 years ago) when Stone Age hunters and gatherers did not farm or raise animals for food. A modern Paleo diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture-raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, roots and nuts. You don’t eat any grains, legumes, dairy products, soy, potatoes, refined salt or sugar and processes oils or alcohol. No processed packaged foods either. It’s a restrictive diet in other ways too since you sauté or fry with coconut-sourced fats, lard, ghee or olive oil.

To embrace this diet, it is imperative to clean out your pantry and re-stock it with items to need to properly prepare Paleo recipes. This includes ghee (the Hindu word for fat), which is butter that has been simmered and the milk solids removed, leaving pure fat or ghee. It’s similar to clarified butter but ghee is simmered longer to brown the milk solids. This adds a slightly nutty flavor to the finished ghee. The Paleo Foodie Cookbook includes shopping lists, instructions for making ghee, helpful hints, substitutions as well as 120 gluten-free, grain-free Paleo recipes that are simple to prepare and sound quite delicious. As you know, the co-publisher of Flavors & More, Chef Judi Gallagher, has been on the Paleo Diet for about six months. She lost the 25 pounds she was determined to shed and reports that she feels healthier now she is “eating Paleo all the time.”

If you want to try it for a time or welcome Paleo as a lifestyle, here are a few recipes from Arsy Vartanian’s book to introduce you to a diet that seems to be embraced by just about every third person you meet.

 

Salmon Ceviche with Mango and Cucumber

sc(serves 4. There’s no cooking and this dish is a wonderful appetizer or first course for a Spring meal.)

1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed, diced

1 serrano pepper, minced

3 tablespoons scallions, chopped

½ cup cucumber, peeled and chopped

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ cup each fresh lemon, lime and orange juice

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 avocado, chopped

 

In a medium-sized bowl combine salmon, serrano pepper, scallions, mango, cucumber cilantro and mint. Add lemon, lime and orange juices, salt and pepper and make sure all of the ingredients are well coated. Place in the refrigerator for two hours. Fold in the avocado, taking care not to smash. Adjust salt and pepper and serve in individual cups or martini glasses.

 

Pancetta-Wrapped Figs with Walnuts

figs( This is a great canape to serve when you’re dining al fresco in the garden or on the patio this Spring.)

24 walnut pieces

12 large black mission figs, sliced in half

24 strips of pancetta, very thinly sliced

 

For the vinaigrette:

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoons mint, chopped

1 teaspoon chives, chopped

sea salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop walnuts and press into the center of each fig. Wrap a piece of pancetta around the fig. Place figs on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until pancetta is browned. While they cook, stir the vinaigrette ingredients. Add salt and pepper. Arrange figs on a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

 

Sun-Dried Tomato and Mushroom Lamb Burgers

lamb-burger(Serves 6. A sophisticated Springtime burger you serve open-face on a portobello mushroom. For additional flavor and eye appeal, top with sautéed onions threads and sliced avocado.)

 

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

½ cup dried porcini mushrooms, chopped

2 pounds ground lamb

2 pieces bacon, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ onion grated

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sea salt

½ teaspoon pepper1/2 cup fresh parsley

¼ cup fresh basil

1 jalapeno pepper,minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

for the Portobello Mushrooms:

6 portobello mushrooms, stemmed

sea salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Rehydrate sun-dried tomatoes by placing them in a bowl and covering them with warm water. Let them soak at room temperature for at least 45 minutes or until they are flexible. Rehydrate dried mushrooms by placing them in a bowl and covering them with warm water for 30 minutes. Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Combine and tomatoes, mushrooms, lamb, bacon, garlic, onion, chili powder, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, jalapeno and egg. Mix gently. For into 6 patties. Remove the stems from the portobello mushrooms. Generously salt and pepper them and liberally brush with melted butter. Grill burgers for about 4 minutes a side for medium burgers. Cook portobello mushrooms for 5 minutes per side or until heated through and tender. Top each portobello mushroom with a burger and serve.

 

Panfried Halibut With Avocado Salsa

Pf(Serves 4. This one is light, bright and tastes like Springtime. Very fast to prepare.)

 

For the Avocado Salsa:

2 scallions, chopped

1 small jalapeno, minced

¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 avocados, peeled and chopped

 

4 halibut filets, (4-ounces each)

2 tablespoons butter

sea salt and pepper

 

In a medium bowl, combine scallions, jalapeno, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and lemon juice. Fold in avocados, taking care not to smash. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add butter. Generously salt and pepper the halibut. Once the butter is warm, cook the halibut until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the fish is cooked through, opaque and flakes easily, about 3 minutes. Top with avocado salsa and serve.

(The Paleo Foodie Cookbook by Arsy Vartanian. Page Street Publishing. Hardcover, $28.)

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