Cook Book Alerts

I Think I Believe in Paleo…

January 3rd, 2016….and we resolve to do better this year. Eat healthier, workout, balance life, and so on and so forth. Honestly, I’m already salivating for the chance to bite into a delicious cheeseburger with a side of truffle fries. But why can’t we have our fat and eat it too? The truth is you can! Seriously.. not all fat is bad and if you choose to eat your favorites in moderation you can still achieve the results you want. Right?

So where do we begin? At the first of December, I started making changes to my daily habits. The first goal was drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. Drinking water not only helps boost your metabolism and cleanse your body of waste but also acts as an appetite suppressant. Drinking more water can also help your body stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight.

The second step is far more personal and requires some diligent research to see what works best for you and your lifestyle. I chose to eliminate “bad” complex carbohydrates and sugar from my diet with a primary focus on whole foods, chock-full of vegetables and limited quantities of pasture- raised locally-sourced meats. As a chef in Kentucky I have access to some amazing farms including Pike Valley Farm which is a certified organic farm with free range chickens, 100% grass fed beef, heritage breed pigs, and more. The quality of their meat has made a tremendous difference in my overall health. To learn more about Pike Valley visit

With just the increase in water, decrease in processed wheat and refined sugars; focusing on vegetables and local meat, I have lost 10 pounds in one month! (Let it be noted…I dropped these 10 pounds over the holidays and yes I cheated on bourbon and bacon on Christmas with ZERO reservations) No starvation diet here, no hunger pains, just results. I think I am a believer in Paleo.

This now so common household kitchen term is less complicated than it sounds. The Paleo tent is big enough to fit a host of different approaches, but the core tenets of this “caveman” eating remain the same:

  • Eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. Prioritize grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation.
  • Avoid foods that will harm us by causing systemic inflammation, wrecking our guts, or derailing our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and processed foods so conveniently placed in the middle of every aisle in the grocery store. (I mean how many different boxes of cereals can there be?!) #tangint

Once slang as “the caveman diet” Paleo has certainly entered into the 21st century. Not that I can speak for the caveman, but I highly doubt they were eating roasted beets with fennel and Brussels sprouts topped with a walnut vinaigrette, or a Chinese braised pork belly with grilled bok-choy and a sesame ginger glaze. You can find an abundance of helpful resources to explain the benefits of this lifestyle along with thousands of gourmet recipes that even a novice cook can perfect. I haven’t posted a cookbook alert in over a year so I thought I would hit you with a double whammy as you start down a road towards the new and improved you of 2016.

Some of my current Paleo favorites include:

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

practical paleo

Against all Grain by Danielle Walker


And here is one of my very own recipes to get you going…
Roasted Beet and Brussel Sprout Salad with Fennel and Walnut Vinaigrette
beet and brussel sprout salad

Roasted Beet, Brussel Sprout & Fennel Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2 large beets
  • 1-2 fennel bulbs (Fennel fronds reserved for garnish)
  • coconut oil, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • Orange Segments (optional)


  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or unfiltered raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 TBSP walnut oil

Heat the oven to 400. Cut large brussels sprouts in half, and trim any tough stems. Peel and cut the beets into large chunks (about an inch). Cut the fennel length wise and remove the bottom core and slice in 1 inch thick pieces. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss with a drizzle of melted coconut oil (roughly 2 TBSP) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the vinaigrette. Mince the shallot and toss in a medium bowl with the next five ingredients. Whisk together and while continuing to whisk vigorously, slowly add the walnut oil to create an emulsified vinaigrette. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the brussels sprouts, beets, and walnuts. Taste for salt and pepper, garnish with fresh fennel fronds and orange segments (optional) and serve. Can be prepared up to two days ahead of time.


Cook Book Alert: Haute Potato

I have heard more times than I can count from various customers that if they only had one food they could keep and would have to discard all others the choice is most commonly potatoes.   Apparently cook book author and blogger Jaqueline Pham understands this all to well in her new cookbook Haute Potato.

haute potato cookbook


Jacqueline created her blog as a way to interact with other foodies who share her passion for gourmet cooking and international culture. She has experience developing, testing, and photographing recipes for food manufacturing, and has had the opportunity to cook for a Nobel laureate, several Fortune 100 executives, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and even a famous Hollywood actor! She lives in San Francisco, CA.  This Paris (France, not KY) born, Vietnamese gal can cook and has shared her passion and love for our favorite vegetable in this delicious book!

Whether you serve them up as a side of crispy Vietnamese Sweet Potato and Shrimp Fritters or as a savory meal of Crepes Vonnassiennes with Smoked Salmon, these beauties are one of the most versatile foods around. Haute Potato gives this humble vegetable new life with delicious preparations ranging from simple baked dishes to over-the-top fried affairs.

Featuring beautiful photographs and 75 gourmet recipes, you’ll love digging into imaginative fare like:

  • Vietnamese-Style Shrimp and Potato Salad
  • Baked Bacon and Quail Eggs in Roasted Potato Cups
  • Prosciutto-Wrapped Fig and Gnocchi Bites
  • Potato Quiche Lorraine
  • Parsley and Walnut Pesto?Roasted Potatoes
  • Sweet Mashed Potatoes with Maple Syrup and Roasted Bananas

If this is one of those foods you can’t live without,  I suggest you stop in and pick up of a copy of this cookbook. (and just in time for Christmas!)


Cook Book Alert: Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques by Jacques Pépin.

Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques by Jacques Pépin.
Fans of Pépin’s classic books La Méthode and La Technique rejoice: the master French chef has reshot all the photographs from those books for this new single volume. Everything from boning a chicken to making fancy decorative fruit garnishes to, turning an old refrigerator into a smoker, Pépin shows you how to properly function in the kitchen with thousands of step-by-step photographs.
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers: November 13.



Pretty excited about this one.  I really appreciate the classic French culinary technique. So clean, precise, and beautiful.  He definitely knows his stuff and is one to trust!    The time-tested recipes show everyone, from the greenest home cook to the seasoned professional, how to put techniques into practice. This completely revised edition will  include thousands of color and black-and-white photographs throughout and is redesigned to make it even easier to follow the step-by-step techniques.



Cook Book Alert: How To Cook Everything!

The Huffington Post recently posted a list of New & Noteworthy Cookbooks for Spring 2012 and I must agree with this pick.  Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” has been a standard cookbook for more than a decade, but this new photo-intensive cousin is designed to help those “new2cooking”  who think they cannot turn on the stove without visual instructions or feed their scramble eggs to the dog. In addition to images of finished dishes and simple techniques Bittman includes a number of useful cooking guides showing, for example, how to distinguish between rare and medium-rare meat. The 185 recipes are primarily for safely familiar dishes, but there’s enough adventure here to lead budding cooks into new areas as well.

Cookbook Alert: Just Married & Cooking

Just Married and Cooking hits shelves in May 2011!!

This glam-on-a-budget plan for eating and entertaining is to be filled with over 200 recipes which focuses on fresh, seasonal foods.  It’s two sections Life as We Know It showcases everyday eats that get you through the week in style and New Traditions that centers around special events you and your honey can cook up every coupla weeks. 

Authors James Briscione, two time Chopped champion, chef to A-list celebrities, and new bride Brooke Parkhurst author of Belle in the Big Apple and food columnist of Full Plate have teamed up to bring you this future best seller.   You can also find Brooke teaching media seminars as well as Date Night Couple’s Cooking Classes along side her hubby at the Institute of Culinary Education.

This cookbook has already received praise from  Ted Allen host of Chopped and Food Detectives as an “Instant classic that every young couple should put on their gift registry….it’s an owner’s manual for the heart of the household.” 

You can preorder today at Barne’s & Nobles, Amazon, Borders, and IndieBound. 

Sounds like a winner to me!

Information provided by

The Pioneer Woman Cooks! Brilliant!


Cook Book Alert:

Rae Drummond author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Recipes from an accidental country girl  is anything but an accident.  The photography, step by step pictures,  ranch family stories, and realistic approach to cooking makes this cookbook a wonderful find and great addition to any cookbook collection.  From her Marlboro man steak sandwich, to the perfect potroast, to the most decadent brownies I have ever tasted, this cookbook brings the comfort and simplicity of good food back to the kitchen.  I have to admit that Rae Drummond may be my idol….she does have one of the top cooking blogs on the internet.  Thank you Rae for your inspiration and this beautiful full color cookbook.  Well done!

The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011

 The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011 offers an outstanding compilation of unique dishes and great recipes – all of which have been tested and refined for virtually foolproof production in the home kitchen. Black and white photos accompany step-by-step preparation instructions perfect for general cooks. The voice of the test cook who refined each dish accompanies each recipe, providing many culinary insights in an outstanding top pick highly recommended for any general or culinary collection.

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