Giveaway: Ciao Italia Family Classics

It's a tradition that my mom gives each of us a cookbook for Christmas every year, so I've always had a lot of cookbooks around.  I find inspiration and sources for current recipes in all of them.  The transition to eating along paleo lines hasn't changed that - I think cookbooks with only paleo recipes are great if you're just getting into the lifestyle, but I am not going to stop being a cookbook junkie.

Ciao Italia: Family Classics is the most recent acquisition.  A (primal & gluten-free) Supreme Lasagna recipe won me a copy in a PBS Food contest, but due to a mix-up I was sent two copies.  They were nice enough to let me share the extra copy with you!


Congrats to entrant 38, Carolyn!  She said:  "The "Fried Ricotta Cheese - serve on red pepper wedges instead of bread" caught my eye right away. Sounds interested! And yummy!!"

Here's how you can get a free copy of Ciao Italia-Family Classics:

1.  Read through the paleo/primal friendly main dish recipes from the book (listed below the jump), then leave a comment saying which recipe you find most intriguing.

2.  For an additional entry, follow me on twitter @shemanufactures & tweet a link to this giveaway, then come back here to leave a comment saying that you did so.

Entries close at 9 pm. Eastern on Wed. Nov. 30. One winner will be chosen by a drawing on  Accidental duplicate entries will be deleted.  Sorry, for legal reasons this giveaway is only for residents of the continental US who are 18 or older.  Entrants agree not to hold me liable for any unforeseen technical problems (like Blogger crashing).

World's Easiest Ham

If the presentation of a traditional holiday ham is Megan Fox on the red carpet, this looks something more like Britney Spears caught walking her dog in sweats and no makeup.  The ham falls apart into chunks and threadlike shreds, like BBQ, from being slowly braised.  The surrounding water turns pink.  This may not be a main dish you make to impress company, but it makes a ton of tasty meat.

The recipe is basically what you see in the picture above.  I put a ham butt of about 7 lbs in our 6 quart Le Creuset, and covered it halfway with about 4 cups of water.  I had to trim the ham a bit to get the lid on.  Then, it went into a 275 oven for 5 hours.  My mom sometimes has left the ham in overnight at 250, which will make it fall apart a bit more.

Mom got the recipe from a neighbor, Mrs. K.  Once, my sister, a friend and I went on an expedition through the corn fields between our house and hers.  It turns out that in Ohio, being able to see a house doesn't mean that it is close by.  By the time we arrived at Mrs. K's house, we were exhausted.  She seemed unfazed by three children showing up via the back field, gave us something to eat, and most importantly, drove us home.  Good neighbor.

For reference, here's the meat I started with:

Primal Party: Thanksgiving Menu

via thebittenword

Do you have a plan for Thanksgiving yet?   I have some suggestions!

Our favorite turkey recipe, for its citrus flavor and crispy skin.  When I say irresistible, you should imagine us crowding around this turkey when it came out of the oven, sneaking dainty samples at first, but then not able to stop pulling off chunks to eat.  We honestly ate dinner with our fingers right there, even though I was raised to pretend to have manners.  Don't judge.  More importantly, don't forget to thaw and get some salt in that bird ahead of time.

Gluten-free gravy!  via Serious Eats


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter

Tiny Roasted Root Vegetables

Mashed Cauliflower

Cranberry Orange Relish  Cranberries definitely need some sugar, but oranges will add natural sweetness.  Try adding in half of the suggested amount of sugar, tasting and adjusting from there.

via llsimon53


Pumpkin Custard via Food Renegade, with real whipped cream + brandy.

Ripe pears with a creamy cheese

Roasted Almonds  You know that amazing smell you get walking past a roasted nut stand?  Make these and your whole house will smell like that.  (You can reduce the sugar or use a substitute.  While I was going through a sugar substitute phase, I successfully used Truvia for half of the sugar.)

Today I'm grateful for a delicious homemade latte, a sunny day, the easy comfortable feeling of being with friends, and for the Harvest Dinner we're headed to tonight!

What are you hoping to make or eat for Thanksgiving?

This post is part of a roundup of posts by real food bloggers called Fight Back Friday.

Creamy Chicken, Kale and Red Onions over Spaghetti Squash

Have you ever been introduced as someone else?  And was the person who confused your identity someone you interacted with pretty regularly?  This happened to me once.  Even though it was an innocent mistake, and the person apologized profusely, and I always had a hard time keeping my students' names straight too, and actually sometimes their gender, so yeah, really I've done much worse...well, honestly it didn't feel great.

Maybe that's why I feel so protective of spaghetti squash when I see people recommending sauces for spaghetti squash that are designed to go with pasta.  Imagine the awkwardness!  "Sauce, you'll love my friend, spaghetti!"  "Er, actually I'm a squash, but don't worry, I don't have any identity issues from being constantly mistaken for spaghetti or anything."  Poor gold string melon.

Spaghetti squash doesn't taste like spaghetti, so I'd rather not pair it with a traditional tomato-based spaghetti sauce.  They just taste irrelevant to each other.  Why not respect the individuality of the spaghetti squash by choosing a sauce that builds on and enhances its flavor profile?

Tiny Roasted Root Veggies

I read recently that a writer should bleed in the first line.  But that only seems appropriate on a food blog if you're dealing with beets.  It's so aggressively cheerful when they bleed and turn everything pink.

Beets have been repeatedly showing up in our delivery box, so I tried pink soup (otherwise known as borscht) and on a whim I even tucked some pureed beets into brownies.  The bad news was that the brownies didn't turn out with the intended red velvet effect.  The good news was that no one suspected that the dessert had been booby-vegged.  People aren't inclined to trust you after a low-down trick like that.

These roasted root vegetables with shallots and herb salt are another reliable recipe from Fast, Fresh & Green book.  They're comforting, a very good way to warm up the kitchen and round out a weeknight dinner.  Dicing makes the vegetables cook faster and you get a nicer blend of flavors in each bite, but obviously it means the prep takes longer.  You could cut them into larger cubes and bake them about five minutes longer, but in that case leave out the shallots, which will burn.  Cutting the veggies into dice could be a good job for willing but inexperienced helpers during prep for Thanksgiving.  The herb salt is quick and makes this feel special without being fussy.