Can you say umami? If not, by the time you are finished with Joshua Weissman’s Slim Palate cookbook, not only will you be able to say it, you will be able to make it! Taking inspiration from both Weston A. Price as well as the Paleo/Primal diet (and I’m guessing some Texan heritage, too) this book is all about eating real food. Joshua walks the reader through just what exactly this means – from buying organic food, to sourcing local farms, and really thinking about how the food on your table effects the environment, your local economy and your health.
If that isn’t compelling enough, there’s also the endearing story of how Joshua, a teenager, was tired of being bullied because of his weight, so changed his diet and lost more than a 100 pounds! He started his journey with the Slim Palate blog, in which he created and photographed all the recipes himself, which then blossomed into this beautiful cookbook. What’s not to love? And we haven’t even gotten to the recipes yet.
The cookbook is basically “primal” meaning it is mostly paleo but there is some use of “good” dairy (like cream, full fat yogurt, butter, and goat cheese). However, Joshua makes it easy to use dairy substitutes, if you have an allergy to it.
None of the dishes are overly complex to make, and yet they’re fully complex in flavor. Or another way to say it is: full of umami. Joshua takes a whole paragraph to describe this Japanese word, that others have called the fifth taste – a combination of the other four basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty and bitter. He then beautifully demonstrates umami time and again, with each mouth-watering, expertly photographed recipe.
As an example, here are just a few of the entrées that my family loves: Bacon and Caramelized Shallot Quiche (with an almond flour – zucchini crust); Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary, Thyme and Black Trumpets; Cacao Oven Brisket; and Pulled Pork with Spicy Vinegar Sauce. As you can see, the recipe titles alone speak for themselves. Wait until you see the photographs.
He’s got plenty of delicious sides dishes as well, such as Ginger Lime Coleslaw and Loaded Cauliflower Mash (with bacon, chives, butter and gruyere). And his soups, such as the Asparagus Soup with Crispy Shallots and the Chilled Coconut, Avocado and Cucumber Soup, are comfort food for any day.
Oh, and if you’re worried that there won’t be any treats in a paleo cookbook, don’t be! Just check out this array of grain-free baked goods: Coconut Breakfast Muffin, Mini Cinnamon Scones, Pancakes with Almond Butter and Blackberry Sauce, Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf, Cauliflower Tortillas, Mexican Chocolate Chocolate Cookies. Need more reasons to indulge? How about Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Fudge, Cardamom and Pistachio Chocolate Truffles, Raspberry Meringue Tarts, Mocha Cupcakes with Roasted Hazelnut-Chocolate Frosting and Mint-Avocado Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs (dairy-free). To name a few.
While there are tons of great cookbooks and recipes out there, there is always the one or two that you keep going back to again and again. For me that has been the famous Silver Palate cookbook, as well as several of my dog-eared, grease-splattered Cook’s magazines, all of which have held up for more than a decade. Now I have a new favorite to add to my collection: The Slim Palate Cookbook. I am certain it will be a household favorite for years to come.
If you’d like to make this a household favorite, too, you can purchase on it on Amazon!