Monday, June 6, 2016

My review of Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas. Often when one decides to “go Paleo” the question of dessert comes up. Vanessa Barajas has the answer in her delightful Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind. Yes, you can have dessert, but make it a special occasion and not an everyday happening. Her book offers a selection of tasty salads, casseroles and sides, but the main focus is on very special desserts that look and taste amazing. The book is well laid-out with the usual how-to’s, tool selections, tips about flours, leaveners and general terminology in chapter one. The recipes follow. I particularly liked the Duck fat Fries (p. 90) that use russet potatoes and truffle salt. Loaded mashed Cauliflower (p. 92) is filled with bacon, onion, egg and fresh chives, so tasty you’ll never miss the cheese. My favorite recipe in this section is the Chipotle Chicken Salad (p. 102), a combination of shredded, cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken from Costco) with diced celery, red onion, mayo and chiles in adobo sauce. In the lengthy dessert section, I was particularly drawn to the Spiced Maple Pear Tart (p. 192). Pear tart is a family favorite at Thanksgiving and this is on the must-try list for this year’s celebration. It calls for a Holiday Spiced Crust (p. 174), apple juice, maple syrup, bosc pears and full fat coconut milk. Other recipes include Crème Brulee, several gorgeous cakes, cookies, cashew clusters, chocolate-covered toffee and cookie dough fudge. Truly decadent, but fully Paleo creations for that special occasion. The recipes are easy to follow and outstandingly photographed. There are troubleshooting tips plus instructions for making items such as chocolate curls and ways to decorate cakes (Check out the jaw-dropping creation on pages 233 and 234—a Caramel Maple Fig Cake in four layers!). If desserts are your thing, this is the book for you. If you haven’t gained five pounds just feasting your eyes on all this decadent loveliness, follow Vanessa’s instructions and you’ll be crafting show-stopping desserts in no time.