By Laura Janelle Downey
Peter Servold used the art of cooking to woo Sarah Menkes seven years ago. “We did a Paleo challenge together,” he says. “I went to the store and got every vegetable and different proteins.” From there, he’d go to Sarah’s place to prepare the meal. And when he arrived, Sarah would be plugging away on her computer while sipping a glass of wine. “I would be in the kitchen cooking and I thought, ‘This would be a good life, this would be a good thing.'” It ended up being a great thing. The two got married in 2011 and the following year, opened Pete’s Paleo, an online meal delivery service with commercial kitchens in Atlanta and San Diego.
“People take everything so literally with the Paleo diet and they say, ‘Paleolithic? Do you cut with a rock and cook over an open fire?'” He sees the diet in a different light. “It’s better described as the ‘Great Grandmother’ diet,” he says. “If your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food then it is probably not food.”
The basic tenets include nonprocessed meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds. “We eat beef, fish and chicken. It’s about variety,” he says. “Paleo is just about getting outside of your comfort zone. If you know how to cook a sweet potato, you can cook every root vegetable that exists like rutabaga, beets, turnips, and all kinds of squash,” Peter says. “They all kind of cook the same. You just toss them in olive oil and put them in the oven for a little while. It’s about not being intimidated by it.”
With demanding schedules, Peter and Sarah make time to catch up on their day over dinner.
As for whipping up something in the kitchen, Peter says, “Be bold and try new things.” He also notes that the abundance of fresh ingredients available year-round makes experimenting in the kitchen easier than ever. “It’s amazing what is available now to everybody. I prefer to shop at Whole Foods but there are really great produce and products at Publix and Kroger,” he says.
At home, Peter continues to prepare Sarah’s favorite meals whenever he gets the chance. “Sarah really loves cast-iron chicken thighs. Each time, I’ll just use different seasonings like curry or adobo.” He’ll pair the dish with roasted purple sweet potatoes and broccoli. “In 35 minutes, you’ve made an unbelievable nutrient-dense meal.”
THAI GINGER PORK SAUSAGE RECIPE
Cook time: 10 minutes
• 1 pound ground pork
• 4 teaspoons table salt
• 3-4 Thai basil leaves, chiffonade
• 1½ teaspoons finely minced garlic
• 1½ teaspoons seeded, minced Thai chiles
• 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
• Preheat oven to 375 F.
• Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
• Form the sausage mixture into 2-ounce patties.
• Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
• Sear the sausages for 1 minute on each side, for a total of 3 minutes.
• Place the pan in the oven and cook for 7 minutes.
• Serve immediately.
BATTERED FISH TACOS RECIPE
Cook time: 6 minutes
• 1 pound white fish fillet, cut into strips
• 1 large egg
• 3 tablespoons water
• 1 teaspoon table salt
ALMOND FLOUR COATING
• 2 cups fine almond flour
• 1 teaspoon table salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup olive oil
• Several butter lettuce leaves for serving
• Several lime wedges for serving
• Pat the fish completely dry with paper towels.
• Slowly heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy sauté pan, until it reaches 300 F.
• In a shallow bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the egg wash.
• In another shallow bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the almond flour coating.
• Place the fish strips into the egg wash, then into the flour coating. Repeat on opposite side.
• Place fish in pan for 3 minutes, or until flour coating turns golden brown. Flip the fish and cook opposite side for 2 to 3 minutes.
• Serve in a butter lettuce leaf with a wedge of lime.