When our good friend Russ Crandall aka The Domestic Man aka The Cran Man (nobodyreallycallshimthat) told me what his new book was about, I had a veeery Miss Cleo ESP moment. I knew that jam was going to be awesome and boy, was I right. That joint was on POINT! Anyone who knows Russ knows that his cooking skills are top notch, and his food never disappoints. Like, ever. Ever, ever. His previous book, The Ancestral Table, is just as awesome and even more beautiful + elegant. He’s been recognized by Food & Wine, Tabasco, Yahoo, Saveur, and more, and is now officially (yes, that required bold, italicized AND an underline) a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! All of which are so well deserved. He’s also one of the coolest, most down to earth bros you’ll ever meet, so, there’s that, too… I fo reals feel like Russell is my spirit animal.
Now, there’s two things I look for when thumbing through cookbooks:
First – and always first – is how many recipes I want to make when I flip through the beautifully-photographed pages. Usually for me & cookbooks, it’s about 10 out of 150+ recipes. (What’s up with that?! That ain’t right and I know I’m not alone on this!!) This time, I wanted to make everything. Obviously, it may have helped that I’m half-Korean and Asian-centric recipes appeal to me, but, those recipes are just half of what Russ has jam-packed into this bright red baby of his. Let me explain…
Basically any takeout and/or restaurant-favorite dish you could ever want is in this cookbook. From Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino food to Indian, Persian, Italian, Mexican, Greek dishes – and of course, our All-American favorites. Think “General Tso meets Kentucky Colonel”. Plus, Russ provides recipes for pretty much any and all basic sauces, condiments, and sides to go along with them. Fish/beef stock, tzatziki sauce, teriyaki sauce, guacamole, coleslaw, ketchup, mayo, honey mustard & barbecue sauce, flatbread, burger buns, french fries, and soooo much more. It’s insane… in the membrane!
The second thing I look for is how easy the recipes look. Are the ingredients easy to attain? How long will they take? And obviously, how well do they turn out? Luckily I know Russ’ recipes work for me. I’ve followed his blog long enough and know him + his recipes well enough by now that I usually have everything needed to make one of his recipes. I chose to make this Tom Kha Gai for this post because A. it’s my favorite Thai soup - if I’m not ordering summer rolls, you can bet I’ll be getting a bowl of Tom Kha - and B. I already had all the ingredients needed! Ah, the luxuries of having a freezer – I had chicken breast, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass AND ginger all freshly frozen & ready to be turned into soup. (How did we ever do without freezers!)
If you do not have those ingredients on hand, never fear! Your regular grocer will have so much more than you’d ever expect. Plus, almost every city has a local Asian market nearby, as well. Most of the recipes in this book require just a one-and-done shopping trip kinda thing – meaning once you receive your copy of Paleo Takeout, you can go shopping, just once, with your PTO recipes/grocery list in hand. Simply head to your local Asian market, or stock up in the Asian aisle + produce section of your regular local grocery store.
**You’ll see in the cooking notes that you can optionally add extra veggies to your soup [Chinese cabbage, carrots, bell pepper]. I ALWAYS take advantage of hiding extra veggies where I can, so, I threw in some cabbage, kale, carrots, and bell pepper. Also per the instructions, I added some extra lime juice, coconut milk, fish sauce, and coconut sugar. (I like my Tom Kha Gai to be eeextra sour, coconut-milky, sweet & savory.) It’s amazing how the four pillars of flavor in Thai food so perfectly balance each other out.
recipe cookbook is wonderful. (I mean, yeah, the recipe’s wonderful, too.) BUT, THE WHOLE BOOK, MAN… The whole thing is just perfection. Like I said, I may be biased because I’m half-Korean, but, even my FULL-Korean mother is impressed by how authentic Russ’ recipes have tasted. I brought her his japchae (Korean sweet-potato-noodle + veggie stir-fry) before and we both LOVED it. We’re planning to do a full-blown Korean meal night using all the recipes from Paleo Takeout, so, stay tuned for that.
All in all, Paleo Takeout is a food-lovers dream. All your takeout restaurant favorites, tweaked specially for the time-starved, gluten-free/grain-free/paleo home cook.
Congratulations, Russ!!! We love you!
- [b]Soup Base:[/b]
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 6 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn, or grated zest of 1 lime
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, white parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 inches galangal or ginger, peeled & coarsely chopped
- Soup Ingredients:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb. total), thinly sliced
- 1 (14 oz.) can full-fat coconut milk
- 6 oz. mushrooms (straw, enoki, shiitake, oyster, or white)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
- 1 tsp coconut palm sugar or honey (optional)
- sea salt, to taste (about 1 tsp)
- To Garnish:
- large handful of fresh cilantro, stems included, chopped
- Thai chili oil
- Cooking Notes:[br]**[i]If using shiitake mushrooms, remove the stems before cooking – they are too tough to eat.[/i][br]**[i]Optional ingredients to consider when adding the mushrooms: Chinese cabbage, bell pepper, and carrots.[/i]
- Combine the soup base ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Strain and discard the solids, returning the broth to the stockpot.
- Add the chicken to the broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms and simmer until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes, then add the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Taste and add salt and more fish sauce & lime juice, if desired.
- Serve garnished with cilantro & Thai chili oil.