Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Here's my review of Diana Rodgers' The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook. Diana Rodgers’ The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook landed in my mailbox the other day and I’m blown away. This author and her beautiful book speak to me. The layout, photographs and information are everything a Paleo gal interested in not only what she cooks but WHERE her food comes from could want. I am that gal—living in the coastal mountains near a beach town, yet not far from Silicon Valley. We have acreage, an orchard, an organic garden and chickens. Diana’s book provides an overview of the many aspects of sustainable Paleo living wherein she discusses the problems of modern eating and offers instead the keys to a healthful farm-to-table method for better health. She covers the basics of raising animals—chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, pigs and the family cow, along with a section on sustainable seafood and another on beekeeping. You’ll learn about getting started with your garden, which varieties of certain vegetables are their personal favorites, plus how to build healthy soil and how best to rotate crops to ensure steady production. The recipes are divided into three seasons. I loved the early Season recipes that include delicacies such as Stinging Nettle Soup (p. 154), gorgeous pea green with a swirl of crème fraiche on top. There’s a grilled boneless leg of lamb with garlic scape pesto and mint that set my mouth watering and a Rhubarb Ginger Sauce (p. 172) that can be used with meat or as an ice cream topping. In the dessert section there’s one recipe…for Almond Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberries (p. 198). I’m a panna cotta fan and am carefully watching the strawberry plants in my garden so I can pluck the first fruits for the delectable dish. Midseason Recipes cover the time from July through September which coincides with canning season as well. I liked the Grilled Cinnamon Steak (p. 224) using grass-fed beef filet tail. A dry cinnamon rub coats the meat prior to grilling. Late Season Recipes (late October to mid-December) include Big Bad Rooster Soup (p. 262), a chicken soup with an abundance of fresh veggies, Moroccan Egg and Lamb Tagine (p. 266) and Hard Cider (p. 276). This one piqued my interest since we have several apple trees in our little orchard. My next dish to try will be the Rosemary Potato Stacks (p. 292), a take-off on Potatoes Anna. The book is chock full of numerous tips: how to care for cast-iron skillets, a meat doneness chart, how to render lard, how to can tomatoes and much more. The final section offers tips on living—how to have a healthy lifestyle, finding personal fulfillment, etc. While many of these are briefly touched upon, there’s a wealth of practical how to’s to interest anyone in the basics of sustainable Paleo living. For the beginner, there’s enough information to get started, and opens the doorway to additional extensive research. For the cook, the recipes alone will delight, but this book is a compendium and earns a well-deserved place on your bookshelf.


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