I have a bit of a cookbook addiction. I like instructions. I like following rules. Oldest child syndrome maybe, but I know my strengths and winging recipes isn’t one of them. I’ve been working with Juli behind the scenes for a little while now, so when she asked me to start helping with cookbook reviews it seemed like a no-brainer. I was already nose deep in all of the newest ones, and I have a lot of opinions. Easy right? You’d think. After I wiped off my sweaty palms and quelled my initial panic, I realized that I had the very perfect book to start with. Once upon a time I was the kind of person who ordered the same thing, at the same restaurant, but hold everything that made it taste good. I was predictable (boring) in my (bland) food choices. But one summer I escaped to the Mediterranean and everything changed. I embraced the local flavors, first with trepidation, then with all out abandon. I discovered how amazing fresh, local food can taste. Okay, I may have paused when they put a whole fish in front of me… but when in “Rome” (Santorini) right? Greece was where I really fell in love with food, so I could not wait to tell you all about Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by Caitlin Weeks, Nabil Boumrar and Diane Sanfilippo!
As soon as I get a new cookbook, I fan through all the pages then work my way from back to front. Because desserts of course. This cookbook is beautiful! Every recipe has a photo to go with it, which is an absolute must have for me to buy it. After I finish looking at all the pretty pictures and marking future meals with brightly colored post-its, I go to the beginning to get into the heart of the cookbook. Here we get to learn Nabil and Caitlin’s stories – how they grew up, their food influences and how they teamed up with Diane to put it all together. They give us a breakdown of regional flavor variations throughout the Mediterranean and teach us about the main influence for their recipes, Nabil’s home country of Algeria in North Africa. Lifestyle lessons from the Mediterranean will make you want to live more relaxed. What I found especially helpful is the section about stocking your kitchen. They break down the best, good, baseline, and worst options for meat, eggs, seafood, fruits & vegetables, nuts & seeds, dairy, spices & herbs. With so many options at the store – wild caught, farmed, organic, grass-fed, soy-free, raw- this made it very simple to determine the best fit for me and my budget. They even give us a shopping list and recommend cooking equipment. What really sets this cookbook apart is every recipe has allergen/dietary restriction swaps in an easy to understand chart. Need nut free, egg free, low FODMAP, AIP, SCD/GAPS or lower carb? They have you covered! Just to tease you, here are some of the recipes I bookmarked: Crab Hash with Poached Eggs & Hollandaise, Crepes with Pomegranate Sauce, Easy Paleo Falafel, Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Hummus, Mediterranean Paleo Pizza, Fig & Ginger Chicken Tajine, Lamb Kebabs, Cioppino, Allspice Oxtail Soup, Cauliflower Couscous, and Fig Brownies.
It was hard to pick which recipe to share with you, but since it finally got a little chilly and drizzly in California I jumped on the opportunity to make some soup. Too bad it was back up to 80 before the leftovers were gone. The beauty of this recipe is that it took longer to write this up than it did to make it and it was bursting with flavor. And it’s pumpkin… that makes it holiday themed right? Did you get yourself anything? No?! Well while that pot is simmering, head over to Amazon and treat yourself to this cookbook!
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, ghee or coconut oil
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp paprika
- fine sea salt & ground black pepper
- 2 cups full-fat, canned coconut milk
- 3 cups homemade cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin (about two 15 ounce cans)
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
- ¼ cup chopped pine nuts, for garnish
- Melt the fat in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes, until translucent. Add the nutmeg, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the coconut milk, pumpkin, and broth to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, uncovered. Keep simmering for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove the soup from the heat. Use an immersion blunter to puree, or puree in a blender or food processor in batches. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Add half the cilantro and stir. Divide the soup between bowls and garnish with the remaining cilantro and the pine nuts before serving.