Cookbook Review: The Paleo Chef Quick Flavorful Paleo Meals for Eating Well

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

<a href="">The Paleo Chef: Quick, Flavorful Paleo Meals for Eating Well</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

The Paleo Chef is one of the cookbooks I've been anxiously waiting for this year.  For such a highly acclaimed book, I was was rather disappointed.  Since I own most of Pete Evans' books (My Kitchen, My Grill, My Party, Cook with Love, and Pizza) I was expecting the same caliber as the other ones.  This book does feature many wholesome, healthy recipes but they lack creativeness and flavor. Many recipes are taken from his other books but ingredients adapted to the Paleo diet. If you are looking for new food ideas, this is definitely not the one. There were many filler recipes such as nori chips, sweet potato fries, kale chips, sauerkraut, cauliflower fried rice, and ice pop.

For the recipes that I tried, I found a few issues with them. The nasi goreng cauliflower rice didn’t hold up in the cooking process and became quite mushy, the flavor profile of the Vietnamese chicken wings was off, and the chicken curry had okra and spinach which tasted really strange in a curry. The recipes that I did enjoy include scrambled eggs with smoked trout and kale, black chia seed puddings, and apple-berry crumble.

Overall this book is a great way to learn about the Paleo diet and understand better ingredient choices like coconut oil, ghee, and raw honey instead of olive oil, butter, and sugar but it lacks inventiveness. After poring over the book, I only found a handful of recipes that interested me.  

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher

Vietnamese sticky wings

Friday, January 23, 2015

Today we’re sharing our favorite chicken wings recipe.  Marinated with fish sauce and garlic, then deep fried and smothered in a caramelized sauce, they are finger licking good.  This dish was inspired by the salted chili crispy chicken wings at Vu’s uncle’s restaurant Long Provincial in Seattle.  Vu’s uncle, Tam, was so excited to share these wings with us when they first appeared on the menu.  We finally understood his excitement after inhaling a whole plate of wings in less than five minutes.  Yes, we inhaled them.  How we didn’t choke was a miracle to me.  The wings were the epitome of umami.  

For us, these wings are more than a treat, they bring back fond memories of Seattle.  During my first year pharmacy residency, I looked forward to our monthly trek from Spokane to Seattle to spend time with family and to indulge in Vietnamese food.  If you’ve been to Spokane, you know that Vietnamese cuisine or Asian cuisine in general is missing from the food scene.  By the time we got to Seattle, it would be 10 or 11 pm, and we were beyond starving.  Instead of grabbing something from a fast food restaurant during our drive, we saved our tummy for the mouthwatering Vietnamese food at uncle Tam’s restaurants.  

We loved our dinners with uncle Tam, eating practically everything from the menu.  Yes we were pigs and completely guilty of gluttony.  Then again, our love for Vietnamese food runs deep and we were deprived living in Spokane.  We would stay late into the night, past the restaurant closing, devouring plate after plate of deliciousness, endless cocktails, and sharing our passion for food and pharmacy until the wee hours of the morning.  In case you’re wondering about the pharmacy part, uncle Tam’s daytime job is a pharmacist but his passion for food has transformed him into an incredibly talented businessman and restaurateur of both Long Provincial and Tamarind Tree.  These wings are our way of paying homage to uncle Tam but as much as we have experimented with the recipe, we haven’t reached the perfection of his wings.  Nevertheless, we love our version of uncle Tam’s chicken wings and hope you’ll be hooked on these umami bombs.



Vietnamese sticky wings

2 lbs of chicken wings (about 8-10 wings)
½ cup of warm water
½ cup of sugar
½ cup of fish sauce (Phu Quoc)
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
½ cup of rice flour
¼ cup of cornstarch
2 tsp baking soda
vegetable oil for frying
lime wedges for garnish
green chile peppers for garnish

1. For the marinate, combine water, fish sauce, and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Add minced garlic and pepper.
2. Add the wings and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours for the most flavor).  Turn them every 4 hours to make sure the wings are marinated evenly.
3. Drain the wings by leaving them in a colander for 10 minutes.
4. Sift rice flour, cornstarch, and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
5. In a large pot over medium heat, fill the pot to about 2 inches of oil and bring it to 350 degrees F (if you don't have a thermometer, leave it on medium heat).
6. Toss the wings, a few at a time, in flour then shake off excess flour.
7. Fry the floured wings for about 8-10 minutes, 4 minutes on each side (8 minutes for smaller wings and 10 minutes for larger wings) until golden brown.  
8. Transfer them to a tray lined with paper towel to drain off excess oil.
9. Drain the garlic pieces from the marinate and deep fry them until golden brown.  Reserve for later.
10. In a saucepan, simmer the marinate over medium-high heat until it becomes syrupy and dark golden in color, about 10-12 minutes.
11. Toss the wings in the reduced sauce. 
12. Place the wings in a serving dish, sprinkle fried garlic on top, then add lime wedges and green chiles.

*For the most flavor, let the wings marinate overnight.
*If you don't want your wings too sticky, use a brush and glaze them as much or as little as you like.

Green Goodness Juice

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We have juiced sporadically over the years and recently started juicing on a weekly basis after ditching our Jack LaLanne Juicer for the Omega Masticating Juicer.   It’s impossible for us to eat all of the recommended daily servings of vegetables and fruits so juicing has become a way to incorporate a lot more green leafy vegetables in our diet.  We enjoy juicing and think of them as a treat rather than a cure all or weight loss miracle.    

Even Aiden likes this juice even though they’re loaded with tons of greens like kale, spinach, and celery, hence the name “green goodness”.   This is the only way we sneak greens into his diet since he’s quite a picky eater.  

The apple provides s a sweet flavor that balances the harsh taste of kale, spinach, and celery.  Another immediate benefit that we have seen with this juice is Aiden’s bowel movement becoming more reqular and constipation becoming a non issue.  

Besides providing a lot of fiber, kale and spinach have high amount of vitamins (vitamins K, A, B, C, and E) as well as minerals (manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorous, and magnesium) necessary for a growing toddler.  If you’re new to juicing, give this recipe a try! 

Green Goodness (makes about 1 cup)
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of kale leaves and stems
2 celery stalks
1 medium-large Fuji apple

1. Soak kale and spinach in a cold water bath for 5 minutes.  Rinse and let them dry in a colander.  Cut the kale leaves into 1 inch pieces.
2. Wash and cut both the celery and apple into 1 inch pieces.
3. Juice the spinach and kale first.
4. Juice the apple next and celery last.

*All of the vegetables and fruit for this juice are organic.  For the freshest juice and highest level of nutrient, drink juice within 24 hours.  Otherwise refrigerate your juice in a airtight glass bottles for up to 72 hours.  Weck jars and Ball mason jars work very well.

Book Review: Your Family in Pictures

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I was really excited to get this book because I missed out on many photo opportunities for our son’s first year.  In Your Family in Pictures, Me Ra Koh presented a lot of useful information about photography pitfalls and opportunities that a regular mom like myself often misses.  I appreciate her photo recipes for special events like holidays and vacations as well as regular day to day activities like breakfast, bedtime routine, and backyard fun .  It was great to see photos of other moms featured in this book.  It’s a testament to Me Ra Koh’s work in transforming seemingly normal moments into beautiful memories.  Through this book, I learned a lot of tips to capture family photo that will be cherished for many years.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in using photography to preserve your family stories.

*I received this book to review complementary of the publisher