When we first met Russ Crandall at Paleo f(x) in Austin, TX last Spring, we had heard of him & his blog – The Domestic Man – for sure…and his opinion on onions ;). If you haven’t read Russ’s story, it’s one that will inspire you – check it out on his blog here. After suffering a stroke at only 24 years of age, then being diagnosed with autoimmune condition and other health issues, Russ turned to diet to treat himself. And it worked.
Sean and I bonded with Russ over our mutual use of food as medicine, sure, but also our shared affinity for all things Disney. 🙂 During that trip we saw some preview images for his book, The Ancestral Table, and let me tell you – we were blown away. There’s something to his photography that captures such warmth and comfort that you just can’t replicate. All of us food bloggers strive to do what Russ does with each recipe spread – invite you the reader into our home, crave what’s on the page and make it for yourself.
Russ’s approach to cooking comes from growing up in professional kitchens, and it shows. Within The Ancestral Table, he takes you on a culinary journey across all different cultures leaving you itchin’ to get in the kitchen. I love the mix of classic recipes (Pizza!, Gnocchi, New England Clam Chowder) to a tour of around the world – from Asian (traditional Vietnamese Pho), to Moroccan (Lamb Tagine) to Russian (Borscht), of course, delectable desserts (Almond Panna Cotta). The landscape in this book is nothing short of incredible.
What I love most about The Ancestral Table is Russ’s take on starches in the Paleo diet. I’m a firm believer in an individual diet plan – paleo isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” lifestyle. Personally, I do better eating potatoes (white, sweet, red, yams, all of them!) and white rice weekly – Sean stays fairly ketogenic for his epilepsy…me without carbs = not so pleasant ;). So of course I’m a fan of the starches chapter. My recommendation is always to go strict for 30 days and slowly add back in dairy, potatoes and see how you feel. Each body is different and trust your gut – literally!
The Ancestral Table isn’t just a “paleo” diet book. It’s a beautiful collection of recipes from around the world through the ages. There is something to be said that the table is the heart of a family. Is there anything better than sharing a meal with family/friends/etc around a dinner table? And making a recipe out of The Ancestral Table around which to gather your loved ones sounds like a great evening to me. Time to crack open that bottle of wine & toast to life.
The Ancestral Table is officially available as of today. Order yours from Amazon. You surely won’t regret it. Now, enough blabbering on and on. Russ has given us permission to share with you a recipe from the book and we’ve chosen a favorite of Sean’s: New England Clam Chowder!
- 5-7 lbs live clams
- 3 cups water
- 2 6.5 oz cans minced clams, juice retained
- 6 oz bacon (6 strips), coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbs white rice flour
- 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾" cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup heavy cream
- black pepper to taste
- 1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Scrub the clams with a stiff brush and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
- Soak clams in cold water for 30 minutes, then drain and rinse again.
- Place clams in a stockpot with 3 cups water and steam on high heat for about 4 minutes or until the clams are just slightly open.
- With tongs, remove clams and transfer them to a bowl to cool; pour out and reserve all the liquid from the clams along with the water used to steam them.
- Once cool, pry open shells and remove clam meat (use a paring knife if needed).
- Chop the clams into thirds and mix them with the canned clams.
- Add the juice from the canned clams to the other reserved liquid.
- In the same stockpot, sauté the bacon on medium heat until crispy. About 6 minutes.
- Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in rice flour and sauté until toasted, about 2 minutes.
- Add potatoes, bay leaf and the reserved clam liquid (don't pour in the last of the liquid if it looks gritty).
- Simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Do not overcook.
- Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cream and clam meat. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add pepper to taste, and salt if needed.
- Stir in parsley and serve.
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