Book Review: Freshalicious (Eat Fresh. Eat Local. Eat Healthy) by Stacey Fokas and her American Adobo recipe

These days, it’s not difficult anymore to find a recipe of just about any food combinations you can think of…they’re all over the internet.   So new recipe books just don’t get me excited anymore.   But cookbooks I’d keep an eye on are the ones filled with interesting narratives of food journeys, in addition to exciting “must try” recipes.

One such book that I find “worth owning” is Stacey Fokas’ Freshalicious.  Just reading her introduction to the book, she already inspired me to enjoy frequent visits to nearby roadside fruit and vegetable stands, grocery stores’ produce section and farmers’ markets for my food sourcing.  And I smiled (yes, am guilty!) when she even mentioned that “when you’re at the drive-thru, thinking you’re saving time, you’re actually just cutting your health and well being”.  Stacey’s book is really an eye opener, a shot in the arm, an awakening, a new approach to healthy eating.  Her writing style is endearing…it’s like having a mom beside you in the kitchen who keeps reminding you of making better food choices (and really think twice about processed foods).

The recipes in the book are listed by seasons, so you’d right away could guess that Stacey’s Pulled chicken and apple butternut squash soup (recipe in my next post) would be in Autumn and interestingly enough, Stacey included Adobo (our Adobo, but yes, American Adobo) is listed in the Winter season.  I had a nice brief phone chat with Stacey and she is one genuinely nice and “easy to talk to” person.  She credited a co-worker for sharing the Adobo recipe.  She even sent me a picture of an Empire apple called for in her Butternut squash recipe.  Just so many new recipes she shared in her book using “first time I’m hearing this” ingredients…recipes like:

*Elk liver with onions and fresh veggies
*Hockley blue oyster and shiitake mushroom soup
*Fiddleheads with garlic
*Rosemary roasted quail on brown Canadian wild rice

And don’t even think that “Freshalicious” recipes are plain, simple and not exciting.   In fact, she covered everything, from Dad’s simple fresh garlic bread to fresh whole wheat pizza dough to Cumin pork rib roast with homemade applesauce to Decadent Chocolate lavender cake.  I bookmarked these exciting recipes to include in my food offerings for this year’s special family gatherings:

*Sooo sexy sangria with fresh strawberries and wild strawberry liqueur
*Margeritza! Greek Easter soup
*Strawberry salty stars with cardamom shortbread dough

With exceptional and stunning photos adorning Stacey’s book, it is so easy to love her book.   I told Stacey the photography and food stylings are spot on…Stacey couldn’t thank enough her friends Mike McColl (, Simon Burn and Lisa Clements.

Visit to get your copy of Stacey Fokas’ Freshalicious and let’s enjoy recreating her mouth-watering recipes in our own kitchen.

Now let’s talk ’bout Stacey’s Adobo, her American-style Adobo.   She included the exciting flavor combinations of Philippines’ Adobo (soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar for that “Tamis, Alat, Asim” tastes…sweet, salty, and tangy) but in a much mild proportions, thus the American-style.  Filipinos loved strong and bold flavors of these 3 ingredients.  When I make my adobo, expect 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup of soy sauce seeping through chicken or pork cuts during the cooking process.   Potatoes, fresh ginger and red onion…these you wouldn’t find in most of adobo recipes, but they would be great additions.  I’d include some whole hard boiled eggs in Stacey’s Adobo.

ADOBO (Chicken legs and potatoes in a pan)

8 skin on organic chicken legs
6 large potatoes
1 large red onion
sunflower oil for frying
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 – 3 tablespoons white vinegar
few shakes of soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 dry bay leaves   sea salt to taste
1 – 2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water, approx.

Wash the chicken legs and score deeply on all sides to ensure cooking through.  Peel and quarter the potatoes.  Chop the red onion and fry it in sunflower oil until it starts to caramelize.  Add the chopped garlic and ginger and then turn the heat down to medium.

Add the chicken legs and fry for a few minutes to cook the outer skins.  Add the vinegar and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring.  Add the potatoes, soy sauce and brown sugar.

Add the chicken stock and/or enough water to cover the potatoes and chicken.  Toss in the bay leaves and simmer for 35-45 minutes.  Do not taste the sauce until the potatoes and chicken are cooked.  You can re-season at this time.  The sauce should be nice and brown, like the chicken has created its own gravy.  Serves 4 – 6

Another Stacey’s recipe,  Pulled chicken and apple butternut squash soup is in my next post….I get it Stacey….FRESH IS ALWAYS BETTER!


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