About a month ago, I posted Julie and Charles Mayfield’s Paleo Gumbo as NFCA’s Gluten-Free Recipe of the Week. The dish is one of more than 125 in the duo’s new gluten-free cookbook, Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen, which hit shelves earlier this month. Julie and Charles were eager to share this book with the gluten-free community, so they sent an advance copy, which I eagerly perused.
The Paleo Diet gets its namesake from the paleolithic era. Essentially, it’s eating the way cavemen did – lots of meat, veggies, fruits and nuts. No processed foods or added sugar. No grains or dairy, either, as those didn’t become staples in the diet until humans settled down and started farming. Fortunately, modern cooking techniques do apply. As Julie and Charles point out, food processors and Dutch ovens are welcome tools in their cooking.
The cookbook itself is a work of art. Recipes include basics like Cave Ketchup and Spaghetti Sauce, to favorites like Fried Chicken and Bangers and Mash, to sophisticated fare like Braised Rabbit, Carrot Timbales and Melon Gazpacho. As if the titles weren’t enticing enough, a mouthwatering, so-close-you-can-taste-it photo accompanies each recipe.
The recipes are easy to read, with the ingredients and directions listed in clear and distinct columns. But it’s the little touches, like the Introduction for each recipe and the Tips & Tricks, Variations, Hints and other notes included at the bottom that gives you a real feel for the authors’ passion.
I made the Fire-Roasted Salsa and The Tastiest Slaw Ever (with a name like that, who could resist?). The salsa was simple, yet so fresh and flavorful. Pop some tomatoes under the broiler, then blend them up with some onion, cilantro and a few surprises, and you’re done. The slaw went beyond the usual cabbage and lettuce combo with the addition of mango. It was colorful blend, with sweet and tart flavors. A great option for a barbecue…or just when you refuse to let summer go.
One thing to note: Not everyone who follows the Paleo Diet does it for celiac disease, so there is the occasional mention of cheating in the authors’ anecdotes (rest assured, all of the recipes in the cookbook are gluten-free). We’d like to stress that cheating is never a good idea if you have celiac disease. So, enjoy all the gluten-free meals this cookbook will help you make, and relish the fact that you’re doing your body good!
Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen is available at Amazon.com and in bookstores nationwide.