Joshua Weissman’s first cookbook is stunningly beautiful––from the artfully laid out photographs to the clearly written instructions and head notes (the descriptive text below the title of a recipe) to the elegant and easy to follow (yet incredibly delicious) recipes, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook will please young and old, experienced and novice cooks alike. This is not a coffee table book, although you’ll enjoy perusing the pictures. This is one you’ll want to cook from often. I’ve tried five of his recipes so far and I have many more flagged to make. One of my former cooking students and assistants who helps me test recipes for book reviews, my blog, and classes also plans to make some of the recipes.
You would never guess (without seeing Joshua’s smiling happy face on the inside of the jacket) that this book was written––and the professionally styled and photographed food shots were taken––by a 17-year old young man, much less from one who used to be very over weight and the subject of bullying by other kids at school before he took his diet and health seriously and transformed himself and his life. Through the application of whole, fresh, local, real-food, and modern paleo diet principles, Josh created a healthier, happier body and life for himself, then he set out on a mission to share what he learned with others. He’s still sharing it today through his blog and how his first cookbook.
He believes that food represents a powerful expression of love and relationship that is enriched by knowing where your food comes from and that it’s properly raised. (I agree!) Making these meals at and sharing them with others only deepens the experience, as many of you already know.
I really liked his Curried Mini Frittatas with Asparagus. I used asparagus, string beans, onions, and a little bit of carrot in the recipe when I prepared it for a client week before last (that’s what she had in the house!). I used unbleached muffin liners so it was very easy to lift the individual frittatas out of the muffin tins. My bake time was virtually the same as his (minus a few minutes at 375˚F with an oven that ran hot). I took two mini frittatas home and ate them the next day with a green salad. Yum!! I definitely want to make this again, maybe even next week.
I liked the Vinegar and Shallot Chicken I made a week and a half ago using chicken wings. A friend and I ate som of them with steamed veggies and my Practically Paleo Pesto for dinner. I froze the rest to use as “fast food” for busy days or a busy week. I forgot to shoot pictures the first time around, so I’ll have to see what I can do when I defrost the leftovers.
I made the Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge (recipe below) a record five times over the past month––once as a double batch for a local Paleo Primal Meetup in early May; once with cashew butter for a client I was cooking for; and three times with additional variations I dreamed up with different nut butters. This recipe is fantastic and the people I’ve shared it (and my variations) with also liked it!
Note: I used more stevia than the recipe called for. How much you need may vary, depending upon the brand, how concentrated it is, whether you used unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder, and how sweet you like your chocolate. I like it pretty dark and far less sweet than most would have it, but I’m more used to that now than I was 6 months ago. I plan to make this again (and again)!
Yesterday I made his Brownie recipe. You can use honey or unsweetened nut milk mixed with clear stevia liquid. I used stevia because I’m on a strict ketogenic diet with a very low-carb limit. I doubled the stevia, using Nu Naturals brand (plain, alchol-free), although their vanilla flavored stevia would have been good too!). I had a small taste after lunch and then a bigger taste after dinner. Wowza! That’s the darkest, dark chocolate brownie I’ve ever eaten. I liked it. If you’re into sweet, you’ll want more sweetener but if you like bitter and like 80% or higher dark chocolate, that recipe is for you! I think it tasted even better the second day! It would be great with coconut butter icing. See recipe here. I've created a super low-carb version of that frosting for my new cookbook. (I'll post some recipes in the coming months!)
A few night's ago, I also grilled Copper River Salmon that I marinated in Joshua’s Grilled Coconut Basil Chicken marinade. I prepared a half batch of the marinade for about 1 1/3 pounds of salmon (4 servings). I coated the salmon and refrigerated it in shallow blass bowls for about 2 ½ hours, then grilled it to perfection with a medley of vegetables (cooked on a grill basket). The meal was fantastic! My friend thought the salmon was out of this world! We both found it so moist and tender. I plan to make this again. I also want to try the chicken version! My pictures didn't do the salmon or the meal justice, so I have not posted them.
I’m intrigued by Joashu’as Cauliflower Tortillas (they look amazing!), Grilled Coconut-Basil Chicken, Roasted Turkey with Bacon and Rosemary Gravy (need an occasiona for that!), Pistachio Crusted Salmon, Egg Drop Soup, Pumpkin Blondies (I love pumpkin and winter squash), and more!
One unique feature of The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook is the minimal use of caloric sweeteners (a growing trend and something I’ve been moving toward for years). Nearly all of the dessert recipes in The Slim Palate offer the option of using clear liquid stevia with unsweetened almond milk to replace the honey. Because your tastes and the brand of stevia you use may vary, you might find, as I did, that I had to use more stevia. You could also use unsweetened flax milk in place of almond milk if you prefer. I like Nu Naturals, Kal, Sweet Leaf, and Nature’s Stevia brands. They make plain, unflavored, and flavored stevias. Maple or Peppermint brownies would be delicious!
If you read my review, follow his blog and/or read and cook from his new book, you’ll catch his enthusiasm and see how simple ingredients can be used to create extraordinarily delicious meals. Keep reading and consider subscribing to my blog to find out when I do a giveaway of this and other great paleo and primal books and products.
This is the recipe I made five times that disappeared at the last Paleo Primal Meetup Potluck in early May of 2014. My motto was "give away more than you eat of this sweet treat," which I did!
Salted Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge
This deep, dark chocolatey fudge is completely dairy free, incredibly creamy, and so satisfying! I like the complex flavor the sea salt adds. I think it enhances the sweetness.
Source: The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook by Joshua Weissman of The Slim Palate blog
1 cup almond butter (I used roasted, creamy, unsalted)
1/3 cup coconut oil, softened (I used Tropical Traditions)
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder (I used Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder because it’s lower in carbs than raw cacao powder)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (don’t even think about using imitation!)
3 tablespoons raw honey or ½ teaspoon clear liquid stevia (I used 3/4 teaspoon Nu Naturals, alcohol-free liquid stevia or Kal liquid stevia; try plain or vanilla flavored start with less; add more as/if needed)
flaky or coarse sea salt for sprinkling (I used Celtic Sea Salt)
- Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper. (I did some batches in a loaf pan and others in an 8x8x2 pan. I got 24 to 32 squares out of each batch.)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla, and honey until thoroughly incorporated and no clumps remain.
- Pour the mixture into the parchment-lined loaf pan and generously sprinkle with sea salt. Freeze for 45 minutes or until the mixture has set.
- Carefully pull out the block of fudge, cut into 1-inch squares, and serve immediately. Store any leftover fudge in the freezer.
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