Cooking at Home with Brian Murdock, Mohegan Lake

As Murdock grew more concerned about his health as he aged, he found the “caveman” diet to be just what he needed: lots of protein and little grains, sugar, processed food and other Paleo no-nos.

Brian Murdock of Mohegan Lake  specializes in primal or “caveman” cuisine. A retired teacher, he’s the primary cook for his family of five—including his working wife and three daughters—plus Mickey, the dog.

Started to cook: In his 20s. “When I was on my own, I’d call my mom for any problems I had cooking one of her meals.” First dish: Lasagna. His kitchen: 12 feet by 24 feet, with electric appliances, stainless steel, granite counter tops, and marble floors. Signature cuisine: Formerly Italian and now primal, or “caveman,” eating. “It’s turned my cooking upside down.” A quick primer on primal eating: No grains, sugar, processed  foods, soy, canola, or corn oil, or legumes. “Some primals eliminate dairy but I don’t. I pretty much have the family on meat, eggs, veggies, and fruit.” When did he go paleo? November, 2011. Why? “As I’ve gotten older, I have become increasingly more concerned about my health. I’m pretty healthy now and want to stay that way.” Signature dish: Pizza with a cauliflower- or chicken-and-mozzarella crust. Most unusual ingredient used: Coconut oil—to fry, sauté, and bake. Weirdest ingredients he’s whipped up a dish from: Chocolate pudding made with avocado and cherries. Best tip for preparing delicious food: Cook things slowly. “I prefer to have a meal sit for a while and then re-heat it. I find it tastes better.” Easiest dish to master: Soups. “Cook the ingredients, add spices—maybe cumin, turmeric, or curry—cook slowly in broth, churn up in the food processor, and, for the final touch, add some heavy cream or a dollop of sour cream, and you’ve got a great soup.” Can’t-live-without-it cooking gadget: The food processor, for smoothies, grinding nuts for flour, and making homemade mayonnaise, soups, pizza crust, chicken salads, etc.  Always in his fridge: Eggs. “They’re used a lot in primal recipes. For example, primal pancakes can be made with eggs and banana, eggs and coconut flour, eggs and almond flour, eggs and coconut, or a combination of all of the above.”  Most recent culinary triumph: Two friends whom he prepared a dinner for, including cauliflower pizza, curried carrot soup, and pan-seared halibut with cilantro sauce, wanted every recipe. “I even impressed myself!”

Culinary Influences
Cooking soundtrack: Jazz. Most food-splattered cookbook: Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier. Favorite online recipe collection: The PaleoFood Recipe Collection at;; Cooking bloggers he follows: Mark Sisson at; Diane Sanfilippo at; Megan at; and Sarah Fragoso at

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Local Shopping & Dining Guide
Everyday supermarket: Stop & Shop in Baldwin Place. Favorite market: Mrs. Green’s Natural Market in Yorktown Heights, especially for nuts, coconut flour, and organic produce and meats. Source for organic meats, eggs, and veggies: Hemlock Hill Farm in Cortlandt Manor. Best source for meats: BJ’s and Trader Joe’s. Don’t-feel-like-cooking restaurant option: “Marco in Mahopac for great, grass-fed steaks that are cooked to perfection—and great Martinis, too.”

For Murdock’s recipe for “You Won’t Believe It’s Cauliflower Pizza Crust,” please go to

Take It From Them 
Our Chefs’ Top Tips for Newbie Cooks

“Get a cookbook or hit the web, find a recipe, and jump in.” 

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