Firstly, I should say that I’m really excited to be done with the semester and the second year of my program. It was a crazy ride, for sure, but I think I finished up pretty strong, with my sanity in tack. Now that the school year is done, however, I’m excited to be able to update a little more often, and hopefully get some recipes and workouts up.
Secondly, I should say that this cookbook review has been a long time coming. Diana Rodgers, creator of Sustainable Dish, was kind enough to send me a copy of The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook to review back in March. Because things have been so crazy, I am only now finding the time to sit down and construct this post.
Though I’m only sharing one recipe from this book with you today, I have tried a fair amount of them at this point so I am more than confident in recommending this book to add to your collection.
What’s awesome about this book, however, is that it’s not just a book of delicious recipes. It’s a comprehensive guide to sustainable growing practices. While I acknowledge that most of us, myself included, are not in a possible to start our own farms where we raise our own animals and grow our own produce, we can all benefit from learning more about sustainable growing practices. One of the major principles underlying the paleo lifestyle is building a better connection with our food and there is no better way to do that than by educating ourselves about the how our produce should be grown and how our animals should be raised in order to then support growers and companies that engage in these practices.
The book is just about 400-pages, organized into four major parts: Raising, Growing, Cooking, and Living. The “Raising” section discusses how to properly raise animals such as chickens, pigs, goats and even bees, providing an abundance of information about their behaviors, diets, and spatial requirements. “Growing” is a guide to successfully growing your own produce with a ton of practical info about soil, planting beds, different plant species and pests. As you might have guessed, “Cooking” is where all the yummy stuff is, like the recipe that I’m sharing with you below. And finally, the “Living” section provides a template for creating balance in your life through an over healthy lifestyle. Some of the topics covered include, “Getting Away From It All”, “Find Personal Fulfillment,” and “Playing Chicken Shit Bingo” (apparently this is a form of entertainment on the farm). Thus, rather than focusing solely on the consumption portion of food, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook serves as a comprehensive guide to living a holistically sustainable life. The pages provide you with all the information you need to understand food systems and to be not only a health-conscious, but an environmentally-conscious consumer.
I’ve been reading The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook before bed for the past few weeks (as a way of distracting myself from starting at my screens right before bed) and I feel as though I’ve become so much more knowledgable about food production, and more firm in my anti-factory farming politics. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves their body, loves food, and loves the environment.
Now, on to the yummy stuff.
Many of you may know, that I love Indian food. Like, OBSESSED with the flavors. So it’s not surprising that I chose this recipe to share with you guys. It’s amazing and delicious and easy to make and rich in nutrition. Enjoy!
- 3 TBL ghee*
- 2 cups white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 TBL minced fresh ginger
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 1 TBL seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 C water
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro laves plus more for garnish
- 2 large eggplants, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds or lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks
- 1/4 C ghee, melted
- Sea salt and ground pepper
- 1. Make the spiced beef: In a large skillet, hear the ghee over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- 2. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, paprika, cumin and garam masala and cook for another 3 minutes.
- 3. Add the beef, breaking up into clumps with a spatula. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.
- 4. Stir in the tomatoes, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and water. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
- 5. Add the vinegar and turn off the heat. Set aside.
- 6. Stir in the cilantro and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
- 7. Make the eggplant: Heat the grill to medium heat.**
- 8. Rub the ghee over the eggplant slices and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
- 9. Place the eggplant on the grill. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, then flip and continue coking for another 5 minutes or so, until the eggplant softens.
- 10. To assemble the dish, start by placing one eggplant slice at the bottom, cover with a layer of the beef mixture, then add another eggplant slice, one more layer of beef, and top with final slice of eggplant. garnish with cilantro.
- *The original recipes specifies ghee, which is traditionally used in Indian cuisine, but you could sub for another cooking fat of your choice
- **If you don't have a grill, or don't want to use it, you can cook the eggplant in the broiler. To use this method, heat the broiler to high. Rub ghee, salt and pepper over both sides of the eggplant slices and place them on on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 3-4 minutes on each side, checking fairly often to be sure they don't burn.