Despite my love of cooking and the Paleo diet, I don’t usually buy Paleo cookbooks. I’m not that great at following the instructions in recipes. Ironic, I know.
However, sometimes a cookbook comes along that’s hard to resist, like Simone Miller’s Zenbelly Cookbook.
What makes Simone’s recipes so Zen?
She measures and lays out all the ingredients in her recipes before she starts. This is what chefs call “Mise en place” (this is French for ‘everything in place’)
Somehow it takes the fear and overwhelm out of making something for the first time when you see a photo of the ingredients laid out neatly like a zen garden. Not only does it seem doable but also like a peaceful experience. Below are the ingredients for her bread sticks.
I’ve had the opportunity to try Simone’s cooking twice. Once at a Paleo potluck where I couldn’t get enough of her smokey butternut squash hummus and homemade crackers and the second time a full 3 course dinner she catered for Chris Kresser’s book signing. I’m pretty picky about food and prefer my own cooking over most restaurant food, but if I could afford to have Simone as my private chef, I’d be trying to woo her into my kitchen.
Instead I have the next best thing, her cookbook.
It was hard to choose what to make first, there was the apple cider donut holes, the sweet cinnamon cereal, the cashew cream cheese or the plantain fries. I chose her biscuit recipe because they looked so good and only took 10 minutes to prepare and 15 to cook.
Translation: super fast and easy. Who doesn’t like that?
What I learned from Simone with this recipe is if you want light and flaky baked Paleo baked goods, you need to cut the butter into the flour while it is very cold. As the cold butter cooks in the oven it creates light, flaky layers of dough.
If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry, I link to a video that demonstrates this technique in the instructions below.
Zenbelly biscuit ingredients
2 1/2 cups of blanched almond flour
3/4 cups of arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
4 Tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, duck fat or lard (if using duck fat or lard, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes to get it very cold)
2 Tablespoons of honey
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper,.
In a large mixing bowl combine arrowroot, almond flour, salt and baking soda and stir with a whisk to combine.
In a small bowl, beat the honey and eggs together and add to the dry ingredients.
Stir to combine.
Drop the batter onto the baking sheet with a large spoon. (It was challenging for me to use a spoon because of the dense texture of the batter, so I used this ice cream scoop to make 12 effortless biscuit rounds).
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
Let cool for a few minutes and slather these babies with butter and enjoy comfort food heaven.
You can use these biscuits to make Zenbelly’s strawberry shortcake, eggs Benedict or eat them plain for breakfast like I did.
Simone says you could freeze them for later, though it might change the texture a little bit.
What I love about the Zenbelly cookbook is that it provides more than recipes. She teaches “behind the scenes” chef tricks learned from years working in restaurants and running a catering company. She explains everything beautifully, making professional cooking techniques accessible to home cooks like me.
I’ve learned quite a few useful cooking techniques from this cookbook even thought I’ve been cooking daily for almost a decade!
If you also want to make beautiful, delicious, simple Paleo recipes that won’t stress you out I highly recommend picking up a copy of the Zenbelly cookbook here.
- 2½ cups of blanched almond flour
- ¾ cups of arrowroot
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- 4 Tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, duck fat or lard (if using duck fat or lard, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes to get it very cold)
- 2 Tablespoons of honey
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper,.
- In a large mixing bowl combine arrowroot, almond flour, salt and baking soda and stir with a whisk to combine.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives. You want it to resemble coarse crumbs. Here’s a video on how to do this.
- In a small bowl, beat the honey and eggs together and add to the dry ingredients.
- Stir to combine.
- Drop the batter onto the baking sheet with a large spoon. (It was challenging for me to use a spoon because of the dense texture of the batter, so I used this ice cream scoop to make 12 effortless biscuit rounds.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.