One of my favorite food bloggers and cookbook authors by far is Russ Crandall who blogs as The Domestic Man. His Paleo-friendly recipes focus on classic, traditional, and international dishes from a historical, linguistic, and cultural perspective. When I heard that he was releasing a new cookbook called Paleo Takeout, it excited me to no end! I love Russ’ recipes because they always, and I mean always, turn out great (see my previous review of Russ’ Ancestral Table cookbook) and with his new book he does not disappoint.
Paleo Takeout includes all the familiar “takeout” recipes from a variety of ethnicities like: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian and traditional American takeout dishes that we all know and love. For me personally, I have really, really missed Chinese and Japanese food since I transitioned to a strict gluten-free diet as these types of restaurants use soy sauce which usually always contains gluten. With all of this considered, I did a little (okay, big) happy dance when this book arrived in the mail.
If you are a “paleo perfectionist,” you should know that he does include rice, white potatoes, fermented soy (tamari sauce) and a little dairy, however, in the back of the cookbook he gives all of the modifications for strict Paleo. On his website, he also gives recipe options for those following an Autoimmune Paleo Protocol or in the midst of a Whole30. As someone with a food sensitivity to some tomato products – fresh tomatoes and tomato paste, to be precise – I adore all of the options he painstakingly provides!
On to the Paleo Takeout recipes…
I went through the book as soon as it arrived, looking for something that I had all the ingredients on hand to make, as I couldn’t bear to wait a single minute longer before digging into this beautiful book. I keep a fairly well-stocked real food pantry and I had everything to make Chicken Teriyaki. I have to admit that I have a weakness for Chicken Teriyaki; every time we go out for Japanese food, I drool over my husband’s dish since he doesn’t have quite the gluten sensitivity that I do. We’ve tried numerous recipes at home but they all fell short by not capturing the thick, syrupy consistency of traditional teriyaki. As usual, Russ did not disappoint – the texture and flavor of the sauce turned out perfect with the ideal shiny, lacquered glaze of classic Japanese teriyaki, along with the famous sweet and salty flavor.
I also chose to make the Honey Walnut Shrimp because it qualifies, hands down, as my all-time favorite Chinese dish and I never, ever get to eat it because of the gluten in the shrimp breading. In fact, it was this dish that un-welcomingly shed light upon my severe gluten sensitivity a few years ago when I indulged in it and woke up with a big, fat cold sore on my lip.
The dish daunted me a bit because I thought it was one of those wickedly delicious, but tricky and complicated Chinese dishes. I was so pleased to find out that it was surprisingly quite easy! Russ broke it down into three easy steps: the walnuts, the sauce and the shrimp. When you break things down into stages, it takes some of the fear out for me and I’m sure, for others as well. I only made one change to Russ’ awesome recipe – I cut the candied walnut recipe in half as my husband thinks the texture of walnuts leaves much to be desired. He’s a bit picky but I still love him! In hindsight, I regretted this decision because the crispy and perfectly caramelized nuts created the perfect compliment to the juicy, tangy, sweet shrimp – I definitely could have had more mixed into my dish. One taste of the finished dish harkened me back to my favorite Chinese restaurant, creamy and sweet with a hint of tang – in China they would say “chī hǎo hē hǎo” 吃好喝好 which means “eat well and drink well” similar to saying Bon Apétit at the start of a meal (1). I served the shrimp over an Asian cabbage stir-fry, which I’ll post the recipe on my blog for you soon so stay tuned for that!
I can not recommend Paleo Takeout enough – I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the delicious recipes it contains, like Sweet & Sour Chicken, Fried Chicken in a Bucket, Egg Drop Soup, Chicken Parmesan and not to mention, a plethora of chicken wing recipes. My copy has a bajillion post-it notes marking recipes I want to whip up so I’ll post the pics of these delicious dishes to my Instagram account for everyone to salivate over. If you follow a paleo, primal, ancestral or real food template and really miss all of those infamous takeout foods from your past, head on over to Amazon and order it right now! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Kudos Russ!
Do you have your copy of Paleo Takeout yet? If so, what are your favorite recipes?