Oh. My. Gah.

So I received my copy of Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan (http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/) late last week and I decided that the first thing I had to make was Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Gremolata.  I don’t know why I decided to make it on the night I drive 120 miles to dance and back for the eldest; but as soon as my little cavebaby went down for a nap I went to work!  It was a bit like making a beef bourguignon without the red wine, technique-wise.  I used a chuck roast, cubed it myself (and trimmed the excess fat; this was not grassfed beef!).  I doubled the recipe as well because I was not going to work this hard for dinner two nights in a row!  The key to developing flavor in this dish is patience while browning the meat.  The first batch takes awhile, but the subsequent batches go faster.  I also did not salt and pepper the meat prior to browning because I think it draws too much liquid out of the meat and prohibits optimal browning.  I forgot to add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, and did not have rose water on hand for the gremolata.  I am sure those two additional ingredients would have sent this dinner over the top, but without it was very, very good.  I served the stew with some quick roasted brussels sprouts and pancetta from Trader Joe’s, and some roasted teeny tiny baby carrots from the organic basket. 

There are several primal/paleo cookbooks that came out in 2011.  I think Well Fed is going to be my favorite for a couple of reasons.  First, a lot of the recipes have an international flair to them – like Rogan Josh, Bora Bora Fireballs, Ras El Hanout – that keeps the dinners interesting.  Second, she delineates between “cooking” and “making dinner” and gives real advice on how to do both efficiently; third, in the “making dinner” category, she has many ideas for quick and easy meals that require a little weekend work but have a big payoff during the busy week.

I am not going to post the recipe, since I hope people will buy the book (http://www.amazon.com/Well-Fed-Paleo-Recipes-People/dp/061557226X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326260850&sr=8-1), but I did take some lovely photos while cooking.  Perhaps they will inspire you!  Whether you are primal, paleo, Whole 30, or just trying to get real food into your family, this book is a great resource!

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