Bibliophiles' Lunch

Sisters share paleo recipes, books, and DIY

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Carrot & Squash Soup


I had a butternut squash and wanted to make it into soup, so I looked through some recipes online and modified one to suit the ingredients I had on hand. I began with a recipe for Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup but modified it as I didn’t have parsnips and didn’t think an apple was necessary.

3 oz pancetta rounds
1 medium butternut squash
1 lb carrots (I had a bag of mixed colors and used all the yellow carrots and a few of the orange ones)
1 small onion
1 clove elephant garlic (which is milder than regular and much larger)
1 tsp chopped ginger
2-1/2 chopped fresh turmeric root
1/2 tsp piment d’espelette (a milder French red pepper)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 qt chicken broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt

Chop the pancetta and fry it in the bottom of the kettle. When it is crisp remove the pancetta and reserve it to use as a garnish for the soup. Using the fat rendered by the pancetta, saute the chopped onion until it has softened. Add the squash peeled an diced, chopped carrots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, piment d’espelette, cardamom, salt, coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are softened. Puree the soup with a stick blender and serve garnished with pancetta.

This soup is a bit spicy and nicely warming for a cold winter evening. It is also a lovely rich yellow color and delicious.


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Coeur Braise aux Carottes


When I asked the guy behind the counter at Whole Foods if they had a beef heart he looked as if he’d like to gag,  but he went and looked for one in the back.  My recipe calls for a veal heart weighing 1 kg but I got half a beef heart weighing 3-1/4 lbs and used half of that.  I am trying to eat more organ meats as they are supposed to be so good for you, but I have to work at getting over the yuck factor in order to do so.  I figured that in a stew heart would seem pretty much like regular beef cuts–it is a muscle after all. This recipe is pretty much a straight translation of “Coeur de Veau Braise aux Carottes” on p 161 of Les Recettes Faciles de Francoise Bernard.  This is like The Joy of Cooking of France–the basic cookbook that you receive when you get married.  Everyone seems to have it.  This is considered an easy and inexpensive recipe.

1 veal heart (I used 1/4 beef heart)
1 shallot (the original recipe called for 2 onions, but I didn’t want to eat so much onion)
3 Tbs butter or other fat
1 kg carrots
2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
1 quart broth (the original recipe calls for water)

Francoise Bernard tells you to ask the tripier to remove the tough membranes from the interior of the heart. I didn’t get it from a tripier (tripe butcher) so I removed the tough bits and silverskin from the heart myself and chopped it into small pieces. Brown the meat in several batches. Chop the shallot and saute it for a couple of minutes while you chop the carrots and celery. Return the meat to the pot along with the carrots, celery, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cover with liquid. I used broth for a richer and healthier option, but water would work too. Bring to a boil on the stove top, cover and place in a 300 F oven for about 2 hours. Remove the bouquet garni before serving.

The stew was tender and savory. Beef heart is rich in iron, phosphorus, copper and selenium, and it is a good source of B vitamins and Coenzyme Q10.

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Stuffed Squid


I began with Jacques Pepin’s recipe for Stuffed Squid Poulette with Kasha from The Art of Cooking pp 67 – 69. The original recipe uses flour and cream for the final sauce, leeks which I didn’t have and eggs in the stuffing. My version:

1-1/2 lbs Squid
1 TBS butter or other fat
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 lb shrimp

Prepare the stuffing by placing the carrots, celery and scallions in a food processor. Pulse until the vegetables are as well chopped as you want them for the stuffing. Melt 1 T butter or other fat in a skillet and saute the chopped vegetables for a couple of minutes. Pulse the squid tentacles in the food processor until they are in small pieces. Add the squid, garlic, salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture and cook for about a minute on high heat. Remove the stuffing mix from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp and pulse them in the food processor until they become a paste. Pepin adds an egg, but I skipped that as the protein from the shrimp will help hold the stuffing together without it. Mix the shrimp paste into the stuffing mixture and fill each squid body about half full. The stuffing will expand and the squid will shrink as they cook, so half full is all they can handle.

2 TBS butter or other fat
1/2 cup diced shallots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

To cook the stuffed shrimp melt the fat in the bottom of a dutch oven and spread the chopped shallots and celery on the bottom. Layer the stuffed squid over the chopped vegetables. Mix the wine with the salt and pepper and pour it over the squid. I added about 1/2 cup water to nearly cover the squid. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit over the squid and place it on top of them. Heat the pot to boiling, then cover with a tight lid and turn the heat down very low. Cook for 25 minutes.

I served the squid at this point, although Jacques Pepin used the cooking liquid to make a cream sauce. The squid were tender and delicious, and of course, squid are rich in omega-3 fats and in minerals including selenium, copper and phosphorus.

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Celery Root Bisque


I love hot soup on a cold day. This is a lovely soup–very tasty. This is my paleo adaptation:

4 oz fat of your choice (I used duck fat)
1-1/2 lb celery root (1 large), peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/2 lb shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1-1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup home made coconut milk

Saute the celery root, celery, shallots, salt and pepper until vegetables are golden–about 12 minutes. Cover with stock and boil uncovered until the celery root is very tender. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until it reaches the consistency you like. Add the lemon juice and coconut milk. Serve hot.

The original recipe on p 102 of The Gourmet Cookbook calls for 1 leg of confit duck–meat shredded and skin made into cracklings–used as a garnish. This sounds very tasty but I didn’t have one, so I skipped these parts of the instructions. Of course the original called for cream instead of coconut milk and did specify butter as the fat.

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Paleo pork fried “rice”


Here is another variation on Sarah Ballantyne’s cauliflower rice. My local supermarket deli sells the ends of their cheeses and meats for $3.99/lb, so I asked for the end of the prosciutto di parma. I figured this would be useful for frying up with vegetables even if it couldn’t be sliced thin. They seem to go through the prosciutto pretty quickly, so the end seemed fresh enough.

1 small cauliflower head
4 slender scallions
1/4 to 1/3 lb prosciutto

I diced the prosciutto into 1/2″ cubes and sautéed them for several minutes until they rendered some of their fat and browned a bit. Meantime I ran the cauliflower florettes through the food processor to make “rice”, and chopped the scallions. The green parts of scallions are supposed to be ok for low FODMAP diets, unlike the white parts. When the prosciutto bits were nicely browned, I added the scallions and sautéed for 30 seconds before adding the cauliflower. I fried the mixture for 7 minutes, stirring until it was uniformly mixed. So simple and so good!

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Haricots verts au foie gras


We thawed a package of D’Artagnan foie gras pieces for a birthday meal but were unable to finish the package.  Since I can’t refreeze the remaining pieces I have to use them up.  Here’s an ultra simple way to use a few pieces of foie gras to make decadent green beans.

1 to 1-1/2 lbs green beans
4 pieces foie gras
salt to taste

Steam the greenbeans until al dente. Chop the foie gras into small pieces and fry on medium heat for a couple of minutes until the fat begins to melt out of it. Add the steamed green beans and saute for a couple of minutes. Salt to taste.

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Kielbasa with Sauerkraut

imageI started with a recipe which I had been longing to cook.  Then it turned out that I didn’t have all the ingredients, or two hours plus of time to cook it. So I just winged it.

I had a can of Choucroute Speciale, rather than regular sauerkraut which I couldn’t find in the supermarket near me. It’s probably there somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. I did find the choucroute at a specialty supermarket, it had goose fat, white wine, juniper berries, carrots and smoked bacon in it. Coincidently white wine, juniper berries, carrots, and smoked bacon were in my recipe. To compensate for the wine in the sauerkraut I cut the wine I added in half, and left out the chicken broth. Next time I will add more liquid, or perhaps try the slow cooker.

First I browned my pancetta, then I added the choucroute, wine, and sliced kielbasa. Then I baked it for forty minutes, since it was getting very late.

it was good, but it’s probably better if you take more time and stick a bit closer to the recipe.