Bibliophiles' Lunch

Sisters share paleo recipes, books, and DIY

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Super Simple Magret de Canard


2 magret duck breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 T coconut oil or other cooking oil
1/2 onion sliced into rings
1/4 cup ruby port

Slice a Magret duck breast across the grain into 1/4″ slices.  Salt and pepper the slices.  Fry the slices in several batches, starting with a little oil in the pan to start with, then periodically draining the excess oil as the slices cook.  When the duck slices are cooked, remove from the pan and saute the sliced onion until softened and golden.  Separate the oil from the meat drippings, add port to the drippings and reduce by half to create a sauce for the duck.


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Kohlrabi salad


Kohlrabi is a fairly mild member of the cabbage family. When the bulbs are chopped into matchsticks, they make a nice salad. This time I was inspired by this Epicurious recipe.

3 kohlrabi bulbs peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced into matchsticks
juice of one lemon
2 T olive oil
sea salt
1-1/2 T chopped mint leaves
Optional: 1/3 cup toasted walnuts

Slice the kolhrabi and apple. Make a vinaigrette out of the remaining ingredients and pour over the chopped kohlrabi mixture. Sprinkle the walnuts over the salad and mix it.

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Potage de Crecy — Carrot Soup


I love carrot soup, so I turned to my favorite recipe in The Soups of France by Lois Anne Rothert.  However, she uses potatoes, butter, milk and curry powder none of which are currently on my diet, so I adjusted the recipe as follows:

2 T red palm oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 to 4 cups chopped carrots
1 T chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic, mashed
4 cups chicken broth to cover vegetables*
1-1/2 cups coconut milk**
salt to taste
shredded chicken to garnish

Melt the palm oil and saute the onions until they’re soft. Add the carrots, ginger and celery and saute a few more minutes. Cover the vegetables with broth and add the garlic. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Puree the soup with a stick blender and add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Add the chicken to bowls and pour the soup over the chicken.

* Broth: Take a chicken carcass, break into pieces and remove most of the meat. Cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer covered for 3+ hours. Let cool and strain out the pieces.

**Coconut milk: Blend 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut in a high speed blender to reduce the size of the pieces. Add 3-1/2 cups water and bring to the boil. Let cool for 1 hour. Blend in a high speed blender for 1 minute. Strain through a nut milk bag. Alternatively, use canned coconut milk if you can find any without guar gum, gellan gum or other stabilizers and additives.

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Sarah Ballantyne’s Cran-Apple Coleslaw


Purple cabbages have such a gorgeous color and the cranberries set it off beautifully.  This recipe is so simple and quick.  Slice the cabbage in the food processor, make a simple vinaigrette and combine.  Add a sliced apple and some cranberries.  Ballantyne uses coconut water vinegar which I don’t have, so I used apple cider vinegar.  I think next time I’ll cut the cranberries in half as whole they are difficult to pick up with a fork.  Such a quick, simple salad–great!

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Apple Pie-Stuffed Apples — Sarah Ballantyne


I made Sarah Ballantyne’s Apple Pie-Stuffed Apples from p 350 of The Paleo Approach Cookbook. They are super simple. Just core apples, scoop out most of the interior flesh, leaving the bottom intact chop the apple bits with some grated lemon zest, put back into the apple shell and bake. I chose to leave out the cinnamon that she uses since my husband can’t stand cinnamon. I added chopped walnuts and a few (1 per apple) chopped cranberries to the apple pieces. This would a pretty presentation and be festive enough for Paleo Thanksgiving if I hadn’t used a macintosh apple which got too soft during cooking.

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Burgundy Fish Stew with Wine, Shallots, Prosciutto and Mushrooms — riffing off Julia Child’s recipe


I began with Julia Child’s recipe for Burgundy Fish Stew with Wine, Onions, Lardons, and Mushrooms from Mastering The Art of French Cooking Volume II pp 43 – 45, but I altered it as follows:

2 plump shallots chopped
2 T pork fat (or other fat)
1/4 lb chopped prosciutto slices
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
1 clove garlic, mashed

1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 quart chicken stock (I used Kitchen Basics no MSG, gluten free stock)
24 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 oz dried lobster mushrooms
1-1/2 lb firm fleshed white fish (I used haddock or was it halibut?) cut into 2″ squares
salt and pepper to taste

In the fat fry the shallots and prosciutto until the shallots are soft and clear and just beginning to caramelize. Add the herbs, garlic, wine and chicken stock. At that point I dumped in the dried lobster mushrooms. Then saute the white mushrooms in more pork fat. Part way through I decided that the liquid cooking out of the mushrooms was tasty and threw them into the soup pot too. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the fish and simmer for 8 – 10 minutes until just done.

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Soupe a la Victorine (Puree of White Bean Soup, Eggplant and Tomato Garnish) — Julia Child


When it gets colder out I love to have hot soup for dinner. This recipe is taken from Volume II of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (pp 22 – 24). I altered the recipe slightly as follows:

1 cup white beans (I used haricots tarbais)
2 cups sliced leeks
1 sliced shallot
3 T duck fat (or other animal fat or butter)
2 bay leaves
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried sage
1 lb pork ribs
1-1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper corns
1 package merguez sausages

1 eggplant
1-1/2 t salt
2 – 3 T animal fat (I used left over bacon fat) or butter
1 lb tomatoes peeled, seeded and juiced
4 large cloves garlic, minced

1. Soak the beans at room temperature in cold water for at least 12 hours.
2. Drain and rinse the beans after soaking and bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the beans to the water and return to the boil. Boil 2 minutes then remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour.
3. While the beans are soaking for the hour slice the leeks and shallot and cook them slowly in the fat or butter until they are tender and translucent. Raise the heat a bit and cook until lightly browned.
4. When the beans are done soaking their hour, drain the water they are in and rinse the beans again. Put the beans, leeks, pork ribs, salt, pepper corns, thyme and sage into the pot and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil then turn the heat down to maintain a simmer. Simmer 1 hour.
5. Add the sausages and simmer an additional 40 minutes until the beans and pork are tender.
6. While the soup is cooking prepare the garnish. Chop the eggplant into 1/2″ dice and salt. Let stand in a colander over the sink at least 20 minutes.
7. Dip the tomatoes into boiling water for 10 seconds then peel them. Remove the core and slice in half. Remove the seeds and juice into a small bowl; strain this pulp and discard the seeds. Chop the tomatoes.
8. After the eggplant has stood with the salt pat it dry with paper towels.
9. Saute the eggplant in 2 – 3 T fat or butter until lightly browned.
10. Add the chopped tomato, tomato juice and garlic to the eggplant and cover. Simmer slowly until tender–about 15 minutes.
11. To finish the soup, remove the bay leaves, pork and sausage from the soup and puree the beans and leeks with a hand held blender. Slice the pork and sausages and return to the soup.
12. Enjoy!

To make this autoimmune friendly skip the garnish or take Julia Child’s advice and prepare a fennel, shallot and garlic garnish as above. She recommends adding tomato to this combination, but I think it could be skipped in the name of avoiding nightshade vegetables.