Bibliophiles' Lunch

Sisters share paleo recipes, books, and DIY

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Paleo Sweet Potato Biscuits


There were some left over sweet potatoes in the fridge and I thought they’d make a nice biscuit or dessert. After searching on the internet, I was inspired by Our Fifth House’s recipe for sweet potato biscuits and varied her recipe a bit to make a dessert version:

2 cups cooked sweet potato
3 eggs
3 TBS melted butter or other fat
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 TBS coconut flour
2 TBS honey (optional)

Mix the sweet potato, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, honey, and baking powder in the food processor until it is a smooth puree. Add the coconut flour and puree again. Drop by spoonfuls onto a lined baking pan and cook 20 – 25 minutes at 400. Actually, mine were very moist on the inside while browned on the outside. I think I will try 375 F oven for longer next time to solidify them better, although they cooled down well.



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Soupe de Chataignes Corse (Chestnut and Pancetta Soup)


I am trying to avoid onions and garlic as I find these things so hard to digest. I decided to alter the Chestnut and Pancetta Soup recipe from The Soups of France by Lois Anne Rothert by substituting celeriac for the onion and broth for the water.

Celeriac (celery root) comes in many sizes.
I used three small celery roots for this soup.

1 lb chestnuts packed in a glass jar
3 oz pancetta diced
3 small celery roots peeled and diced
1 large fennel bulb sliced
6 cups chicken broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the pancetta in the soup kettle for 5 minutes to render the fat and brown the bits. Add the chopped celery roots and saute for a few more minutes. Add the fennel, chestnuts and enough broth to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Broccoli Rabe with Anchovies


I had never cooked broccoli rabe before, so I searched for some recipes for inspiration. Mark Bittman says that broccoli rabe is more closely related to turnips than to regular broccoli. Marcella Hazan has a pasta recipe for broccoli and anchovy sauce. Since I don’t eat pasta I altered and simplified the recipe. She says to use only 6 anchovies, but I had one of those little tins of anchovies with twice that many and no way to store the leftover anchovies neatly, and my bunch of broccoli rabe was quite big, so I used all the anchovies. This kind of cooking doesn’t always work out, but it was ok today. My version:

1 large bunch broccoli rabe
3 TBS olive oil
1 small tin anchovy fillets in oil
1/2 tsp piment d’espelette (mild French red pepper)

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the broccoli rabe. Boil until soft but not soggy. Drain. In a large frying pan heat the oil on low and add the anchovies. Stir them around in the warm oil until they melt into the oil. Add the red pepper (piment d’espelette) and mix. Add the drained broccoli rabe and stir over medium heat until coated with the anchovy sauce.

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Mayonnaise d’Avocat


My mother-in-law just sent a wonderful book, Cuisinez Gourmand Sans Gluten, Sans Lait, Sans Oeufs… by Valerie Cupillard. It appears to have a lot of very useful advice about gluten, dairy and egg free cooking. The first recipe to catch my eye is this one for avocado mayonnaise. In French, mayonnaise can refer to anything that has a mayonnaise like consistency in addition to referring to mayonnaise. For example, the original name for Chocolate Mousse was Mayonnaise au Chocolat. I would describe this avocado mayonnaise as tasting more like guacamole than mayonnaise, but having a definite mayonnaise consistency. We used it tonight as a dressing for leftover sliced chicken that I fried in olive oil to reheat (no FODMAPs, so no onion or garlic, although avocado can be a problem for some). Cupillard recommends adding spices of your choice to vary this mayonnaise (curry, paprika…) according to your tastes.

1 avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
2 pinches salt
6 TBS water (I left this out)

I threw the ingredients (except the water) into the food processor and blended them until smooth. Then I decided that mayonnaise usually has a bit of mustard and oil in it, so I added:

1 tsp lemon juice (again)
1 TBS mustard
3 TBS olive oil (add slowly while the food processor is running)

Then I ran the food processor again until it was a lovely smooth consistency.

It was a gorgeous color and quite tasty and simple to make. I think I may try making some with wasabi next time. It is the right color for wasabi and P loves wasabi mayonnaise.

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Breadfruit Pancakes


Yesterday I bought a breadfruit from Whole Foods.


It is about the size of a cantaloupe but dark brown with a bumpy skin like a lichee. I looked online for recipes and came across a website for a breadfruit bake-off in Hawaii. It seemed to be a starchy basis for lots of different types of dishes, and many recipes started with steaming or boiling the breadfruit and then incorporating it into whatever dish. I, therefore, peeled, cored and sliced it before steaming it for 15 minutes. The recipes say it is steamed enough when it is easy to pierce with a fork and not to overcook it as it will get waterlogged. When it was steamed, I used some of it as the starchy basis for gluten-free pancakes. It is supposed to have a bread-like smell when cooked and as far as I can tell through my stuffed up nose it smells like the bread from Chinese pork buns, so nothing like French bread.

1 cup steamed breadfruit
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk (more if needed to thin the batter)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
pinch salt
oil or butter for frying.

I combined the ingredients in the blender and added coconut milk until the batter was liquid enough to blend. Breadfruit seems to absorb a lot of liquid. The batter was not perfectly smooth–there were still some lumps–think latkes. Spoon a silver dollar pancake into a hot frying pan.

The pancakes were bland but pleasant, held together pretty well and would be good with maple syrup although I ate them plain. They are a filling carb.

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Paleo Ham Soup


I began with the Paleo Ham and No-Bean Soup from, but of course I changed a few things around. This is such a simple recipe that I couldn’t resist trying it. I find simple soups with limited ingredients come out much better than soups where I throw everything in the kitchen into the pot. I had an applewood smoked ham from Whole Foods that was a bit too salty for me, so I figured it would work in a soup.

1 head cauliflower
1 small ham, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 slender scallions, chopped

Separate the cauliflower into florets, cover with water and boil until soft. Use the stick blender to puree the cauliflower. When it is smooth, add the diced ham, carrots, celery, and scallions. I had no ham bone, so I left this out. Bring soup to the boil and simmer half an hour.

Paleo cooking uses cauliflower as a base for gravy and as a grain substitute among other things, and I thought this would be a great soup base. Even without broth or a bone to boil, this soup came out satisfyingly rich. I think it would be even better with broth, but I didn’t have any on hand.

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Sweet Potato Hash Browns

imageThese were simple and delicious.

The original recipe was on Epicurious, but I modified it by leaving out the red pepper, and reducing the onion, to suit my diet which has to be low in nightshade plants and onion.

Two pounds of sweet potato, diced
Bacon I use four to six slices depending on my mood
1/4 onion chopped, I reduce this because really I shouldn’t have any
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and black pepper

Chop the bacon into small strips. Fry bacon, remove from pan, fry onion in bacon fat. Add sweet potato, cover and cook until soft. Add bacon, thyme, salt and pepper.