In the introduction to The Primal Gourmet Cookbook: 120 Easy and Delicious Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle, Ronny Joseph Lvovski makes it clear he is a self-taught cook and recipe innovator. “The extent of my culinary education is a half-day cooking class I took in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a man named Basil,” says the Toronto native, who has a PhD in art history and cultural studies, and teaches part-time at York University. “It was a great class and I still cook the recipe I learned that day, a Thai green curry. The only thing I cut back was the amount of sugar.”
For years, Lvovski battled his weight and negative self-image. He’d embrace a new diet, work out religiously, then fall off the wagon and return to unhealthy eating habits. By 2012 he’d had enough. A friend recommended a Paleo diet, which allows meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. He figured he could live with that.
In fact, he has never looked back. “I don’t own a scale. Pounds are not something I worry about as long as I feel good and not inflamed,” he says. By 2015, he had a popular blog and Instagram account (@primal_gourmet) where he shares his own Paleo dishes with ingredients readily available at grocery stores.
“I didn’t want to cook what I thought was boring Paleo food so I drew on the dishes of my heritage, my travels, and I took inspiration from the city I live in, Toronto, which has one of the most diverse cultural cuisines in the world. My mantra is: It’s not a diet if it’s delicious. These dishes, I hope, are a reflection of the life I’ve lived so far.”
Florentine egg cups
- 1 tablespoon ghee, plus more for greasing
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach, finely chopped
- 11 large eggs
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
- 4 ounces no-sugar-added smoked salmon, thinly sliced into ribbons
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with ghee and set it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills.
In a large non-stick skillet, melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the shallot and bell pepper, season with a pinch each of salt and black pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut milk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Using a spoon, distribute the vegetable mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Divide the sliced salmon evenly over the vegetables, then ladle the egg mixture over the top. Bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the centre of an egg cup comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Serve immediately, or let cool, transfer to an air-tight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Excerpted from The Primal Gourmet Cookbook: 120 Easy and Delicious Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle by Ronny Joseph Lvovski. Copyright © 2020 Ronny Joseph Lvovski. Photographs © 2020 by Donna Griffith. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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