About a month ago, Rachel contacted yours truly and told me she liked my blog and the way I went about cooking. (I was full of spring all day, and saw my long dream of becoming a famous chef turn into reality, but I digress ;-) )
She offered to send me a copy of her cookbook and if I would be so kind to try the recipes and write some reviews. So here we are. Before I get into the cook, it need to mention Rachel's' ex-husband Don Matesz. He helped co-write the book. If you read Richard's blog (I do everyday) you might already be familiar with Don as he comments frequently. Don has his own SUPERB blog called Primal Wisdom. It is very concise and well written. He makes difficult subjects easy to understand for all. So please take a look if you haven't yet. it will become one of your daily reads.
The Garden of Eating
I don't know how many of you are cook book aficionados, but unlike the more traditional variety with just pictures and directions, this baby (all 580 pages of it) is part cook book, part paleo/primal education and part meal planning and shopping guide. It also cleverly shows a nutritional break down for each recipe which ties in with the chapter on how to construct a good eating regimen.
Heavily influenced by Weston A. Price. The start of the book gives a great review of what "Real Food" eating is all about. They even tackle the subject of FAT. I like that, because with all the quality information out there in regards to the myth of "bad fat", we are still a "fat-phobed" nation.
This book would be excellent as a gift for friends and family that would like to start eating the way our little community does. I can not stress enough how simple Rachel makes it to get going. For everyone that still struggles with inspiration, BUY this book. You will be set for at least a year.
I will write more about the different non-cooking chapters of the book in the rest of the series. I will do at least 7 posts with recipes and pictures. A good weeks worth of The Garden of Eating".
So what did I make first? There's so much to choose from, so I decided to just let fate decide. I tossed the book on the kitchen table and randomly opened to a page. What did I get?
"SAVORY SHRIMP & COCONUT BISQUE"
I can always get my hands on fresh local shrimp so this was a great one to start with. Ingredients; 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (side note; this is where Rachel really shines with her thoroughness for people that need help cooking. Little notes along the ingredients like "make sure the shrimp are patted dry"). 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil, 1 teasp. sea salt, 1 cup finely chopped onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 cup thinly sliced crimini mushrooms, 1 cup of carrots, 1 -14 ounce can of coconut milk, 3 cups of "shrimp shell stock" or preservative free chicken stock, 1 tbsps paprika, 1 tbsps lemon juice or acv , 1/4 or 1/2 teasp chipotle or hot sauce, 1/4 teasp black pepper, 3 tbsps arrow root powder (again the little details) or...4 tbsps if you are using lite coconut milk. 1/4 cup minced scallions, chives or parsley for garnish. (My input, you can use cilantro also.)
1. chop veggies and set aside
2. Heat oil in a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic,mushrooms, salt and carrot, stirring for 1 minute after each addition. Cover reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Shake unopened can of coconut milk. Rinse top and remove lid. If contents have separated, whisk or puree in blender or food processor until smooth (see how she helps if you are new to coconut milk. Many people are)
4. Add coconut milk, stock or broth, paprika, lemon juice, chipotle and black pepper. Bring to a boil, add shrimp and dissolved arrow root. Reduce heat and simmer. Stir until thick and shrimp turns pink, about 5-7 minutes. Ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.
Nutrition for 1 serving; 296 calories, 13 gr. protein, 20 g carbohydrate, 18 g fat, 42 mg calcium, 416mg sodium.
Before I tell you how this "fine restaurant tasting bisque" came out, I want to quickly explain the shrimp shell stock.
Just the take the shells from about 1 pound of shrimp. Toss together with 2 celery stalks, small onion, a few carrots 2 or 3 garlic cloves a bay leaf and 5 or so peppercorns. Cover with water, (about 3 inches above food line) bring to a boil turn down heat and simmer for an hour. When you pour it threw your strainer, press on the veggies to get out all the flavor. I added 1 tbsp of fish sauce to this stock. This is so simple to make, and will give you bisque the real restaurant type flavor you're used to.
The bisque was unbelievable. I almost didn't believe I was the one who made it. Full of strong and subtle flavors, perfect texture and great aroma. This is really an easy recipe to try and you will be most pleased with the results.
Ok, back to my day job. Much more to follow.
Had you ever heard of Rachel? Have you seen the book? Was my recipe description clear?