November 2013

14 posts

Forky Friday: 2013 Holiday Gift Guide + Coupon Codes

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, shopaholics: It’s that time of year again, when we burn off our Thanksgiving calories by trampling over each other in a frenzied rush to save a few bucks. After all, what exemplifies gratitude and elicits more holiday cheer than shoving your thumbs into a guy’s eyes so he’ll let go of the limited edition Lego Chima set you promised to buy your kid for Christmas?

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

To be honest, even if I wasn’t working night shifts at the hospital this week, you couldn’t pay me enough to brave the Black Friday crowds. Someone else can tweet about the looting and rioting at Walmart this year. I’m content to trawl the Internets in search of holiday gifts.

In fact, I’ve already been scouting out some of the awesomest presents available online:

For Cookbook Lovers:

As the right-hand navigation bar on my blog clearly shows, there’s no shortage of incredible Paleo books out there. You really can’t go wrong with any of the tomes listed on the right side of my website.

For example, this is the perfect time to grab copies of Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2 and Diana Rodgers’ Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go. At my very first book signing (at CrossFit Palo Alto on the evening of Thursday, January 2), both Mel and Diana will be joining me—and though we’ll all be selling our books at the event, it can’t hurt to stock up, right? (Especially if you can’t make it to the signing.) Keep your eyes peeled—details and an RSVP link will be posted on Sunday Monday (I’m behind…)!

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But come on: What kind of terrible self-promoter would I be if I didn’t hawk my own cookbook? Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans hits shelves on December 17—just  two-and-a-half weeks away! Preorder the book at AmazonBarnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold. There’s a Kindle version, a Google Play version, and even a super-interactive enhanced Apple Books edition of our cookbook that looks incredible on an iPad or iPhone. (Nook and Kobo versions are coming, too.)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And get this: Between now and December 1, you can take an extra 30% off any book offered by Amazon.com by entering the code BOOKDEAL at checkout. Not to be outdone, Barnes & Noble is also offering 30% off through December 2 with the coupon code BFRIDAY30.

If my math is correct, that means you can get Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans for just $15.50—over 55% off the $35.00 cover price. Grab the deal while you can!

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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#forky friday #black friday #shopping guide #gift guide #paleo #primal #nom nom paleo
Giving Thanks

’Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except for me, because I had to don my trusty hospital scrubs and start another week of graveyard shifts.

Giving Thanks by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But don’t feel badly for me. I have so much to be thankful for, including:

Giving Thanks by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

  • Date nights! This week, Henry and I took a much-needed breather over dinner at Ad Hoc in Yountville. There, we tucked into a platter of Ad Hoc’s famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken for the first time in several years (!). Unlike our pre-Paleo forays to Ad Hoc, we ordered  the gluten-free version this time. No, it’s not Paleo, but I’m happy to report that the crispy, tender chicken was just as mind-blowingly delicious as before.

Even better: our new friend Ruben at Ad Hoc decided that a copy of our book had to be displayed above the bar.

Giving Thanks by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After a few of the staffers spotted it and flipped through it, one came over to ask me: “So what exactly is Paleo?”

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Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + A Giveaway!

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

[11/24/13 UPDATE: Whoa! The tickets for the party SOLD OUT in just a few hours! Thank you all for your excitement for our book! And for those who didn’t nab a ticket, I’ll be posting about my book tour events soon—hope to see you then!]

Got plans for the hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2014? Don’t get stuck listening to your roommate complain about another New Year’s hangover; instead, come join us in San Francisco for the Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Cookbook Release Party!

I can think of at least five reasons you must come celebrate with us:

1. THE BOOK!

It’s our labor of love, and the reason we’re throwing this shindig!

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our book was a labor of love, and we hope you dig it as much as we do.

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And besides, we included butt jokes in the book.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Copies of our cookbook will be available for purchase at the party (while supplies last!), and we’d be thrilled to sign ’em for you. We love this book, and can’t wait to share it with you in person!

2. THE FOOD!

What’s a cookbook release party without insanely great food? We’re going to pass around the bestest Paleo brunch bites this side of the Mississippi! 

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our friend Simone Shifnadel of Zenbelly is catering the party, and she’ll be sending around plenty of hearty, brunch-y appetizers. I also have it on pretty good authority that Simone’s famous No Joke Dark Chocolate Cake will make an appearance, too.

Plus, with generous food contributions from friends like U.S. Wellness Meats, Whole Foods, Good Eggs, and others, we’re in for some seriously tasty grub.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

3. THE PEOPLE!

While you eat, you can mingle with your fellow foodies and Paleo nerds. What could be better? I mean, where else are you going to find such a large gathering of people who don’t eat bean burritos?

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#Nom Nom Paleo #Nom Nom Paleo cookbook #cookbook #Paleo #Primal #gluten-free #book release party #designer vinyl figures #urban vinyl
Forky Friday: Nomtastic Thanksgiving Roundup!

Forky Friday: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Today’s Forky Friday is all about getting you ready for Turkey Day!

Yes, I know Thanksgiving’s still days away, but it’s not too early to get crackin’—especially if your frozen turkey still needs to be thawed. Besides, the weekend’s the perfect time to get a head start on the ginormous feast you’ll be devouring come Thursday. Ideally, you can prep most of your sides beforehand so you can focus on the turkey on Thanksgiving.

Forky Friday: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Me? I’ll be reporting to work at the hospital on Thursday night, so I’ll miss the holiday fun—but you can still enjoy the nomtastic Turkey Day menu I put together for you!

To recap, here are the festive autumn dishes you should prepare (or strong-arm your friends and family into making for you):

Butterflied Big Bird (Spatchcocked Thanksgiving Turkey)

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Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing

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Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

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Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash

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Umami Gravy

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Paleo Pumpkin, Coconut, & Maple Custard Cups

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But that’s not all! If you head over to my Recipe Index, you’ll find LOADS of other free recipes that are perfect for your Paleo Thanksgiving. Here are just some of ’em:

Brussels Sprouts Chips

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Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

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Pressure Cooker Braised Kale and Carrots

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Roasted Broccoli With Crispy Prosciutto & Balsamic Vinegar

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Bacon

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#paleo #primal #thanksgiving #paleo thanksgiving #nom nom paleo #gluten-free #grain-free #paleo recipes
Umami Gravy

Okay, gang: Thanksgiving’s just one week away, so here’s Part 5 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! Just tuning in? I’ve already got you covered for turkeyBrussels sprouts, cran-cherry sauce, and mash—and today, I present to you: a flavor-packed, make-ahead Umami Gravy! 

Umami Gravy by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yep, this is a rich, thick gravy that you can pour on EVERYTHING. I love my Easy Paleo Herb Gravy and my Slow Cooker Roast Chicken & Gravy, but this recipe’s the one you break out for company. 

Traditionalists may scoff because there are no turkey pan drippings in this gravy, but by using bone broth or rich chicken stock, you can minimize your game-time kitchen chaos by making this gravy a couple of days before Thanksgiving. You simply reheat it just before you go into Feast Mode. (I don’t know about you, but this lady hates frantically cooking against the clock.) 

Plus, this gravy is packed with carefully selected ingredients that boost umami: savory bone broth, tomato paste, dried and fresh mushrooms, and fish sauce. Once all these flavorful ingredients have simmered, simply purée everything together and voila! Thick gravy! 

Umami Gravy by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Umami Gravy keeps in the fridge for several days, and is a great item to keep in the freezer for everyday meals. Just cook up your favorite quick-cooking protein and simmer it in this fantastic gravy. 

Ready for the recipe?

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#paleo #primal #thanksgiving #paleo recipes #gluten-free #nom nom paleo
Roasted Garlic Autumn Root Vegetable Mash

It’s Part 4 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (If you’re just tuning in, go check out Part 1Part 2, and Part 3!)

Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be complete without a generous serving of mashed root vegetables. And while mashed potatoes will always have a special place in my heart, I’ve come to prefer this Autumn Mash as a comforting, colorful alternative because: (A) it tastes better, and (B) it’s so much prettier. (After all, we eat with our eyes first, right?)

Longtime readers of my blog might recognize this recipe as an adaptation of an old favorite—but the secret ingredient in this new version is buttery, mellow roasted garlic, which adds warmth and richness to this mildly sweet vegetable side. Best of all, this dish doesn’t just taste fab, it also keeps fantastically. Make a batch a couple of days ahead of time, and reheat it when you’re ready to feast. Minimizing the muss ‘n fuss (or is it fuss ‘n muss?) on Turkey Day is always a good thing.

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GIVEAWAY: GIR BACON SPATULA + NOM NOM SWAG!

**UPDATE on 11/21/13: The giveaway is OVAH! Please check your email to see if you won!**

Our cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food with Humans, hits shelves in exactly 30 days! As you can see, we’re ready to jump off the screen with excitement!

Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

If you’re excited about it, too, make sure you’ve signed up for my free email newsletter! (Don’t worry: I’ll never, ever, ever share your email address with anyone!) The reason? I’ll be sending to my newsletter subscribers a downloadable 50-page PDF sampler of my cookbook this Thursday, November 21, so hop to it and click here!

And that’s not all! To celebrate my upcoming book release, I’m kicking off a month of giveaways—starting with this week’s prize package:

GIR Bacon Spatula + Nom Nom Swag Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 11/15/13

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m interrupting my Nomtastic Thanksgiving recipe series to bring you this week’s Forky Friday links—but don’t let me sidetrack you from planning your Turkey Day menu! My Butterflied Big Bird, Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing, and Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce are an excellent start, but a few other recipes on the Internets have raised my eyebrows—chief among them J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Sous Vide Deep Fried Turkey Porchetta. (Of course, as a self-respecting cavelady, I’d fry the porchetta in animal fat or ghee, and I’d omit the flour from the gravy).

And as for leftovers, Stupid Easy Paleo’s Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich is the only way to go, don’t you think?

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, enough turkey talk. Let’s get to the links!

The Incredible Edible Egg

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Despite buying dozens of eggs every week from Good Eggs, it doesn’t take long for our family to finish ’em.

This isn’t a surprise. Eggs are one of my favorite nutrient-packed foods, and I love that my boys wake up to a plate of them every morning. (The kids’ standard breakfast: mushroom omelets or scrambled eggs. Henry, meanwhile, has his sunny-side up.)

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Don’t believe that eggs—yolk and all—are good for you? Then read this new piece by Paul Jaminet, in which he busts some myths about the healthfulness of eggs.

Sustainable Farming in My ‘Hood

I was delighted to spot this article in the New York Times this week, featuring some of my hands-down favorite sustainable farmers and purveyors in the San Francisco Bay Area, from Leftcoast Grassfed and Early Bird Ranch to the aforementioned Good Eggs.

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

They’re all working together to raise meat, poultry, and eggs the right way—and making money, too. The point is that sustainable farming isn’t just good for health and the environment, but it can be a profitable enterprise, too. Win-win!

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Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

It’s Part 3 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you’ve just joined the cooking party!)

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Sweet and sour is one of my favorite flavor combinations. It perfectly describes my personality. And although I never tried cranberry sauce until I began attending the annual Thanksgiving potluck at my in-laws’, I fell hard for it right away. It didn’t matter if I got a dry piece of turkey breast; a dollop of tangy cranberry sauce would make it all better. But sadly, once I started eating Paleo, I had to skip the cranberry sauce altogether. After all, I knew that most recipes are sweetened with LOADS of white sugar.

But this year, I was determined to come up with a Paleo-friendly version of cranberry sauce—one inspired by the cranberry-cherry-apple juice blends from my childhood. By themselves, cranberries can be unpalatably bitter and sour. But by adding an equal amount of cherries and simmering the fruit in apple juice, I was able to counter the mouth-puckering tartness of the cranberries with some natural sweetness. Prefer a sweeter sauce? Just a touch of honey will do the trick. And if you make this Cran-Cherry Sauce a day ahead and allow the flavors to meld further, it tastes even better.

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing

It’s Part 2 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (If you missed Part 1, it’s over here!)

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Growing up in a Chinese-American household, I never had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner: no turkey with stuffing, no cranberry sauce, no mashed potatoes with gravy, no sweet potato pie with marshmallows. But don’t cry for me, Argentina: the truth is, I never missed out on anything. After all, every Turkey Day, our family still gathered together at our house, and my mother would whip up a special East-Meets-West feast. We always had a Very Special Fusion Thanksgiving. (The menu changed every year, though my personal favorite involved Chinese sticky-rice-stuffed Cornish hens.)

Today’s recipe takes a page from my mom’s handbook: a traditional Turkey Day vegetable side with Asian flair! *Insert jazz hands here.*

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

A tangy orange-ginger dressing gives this warm Brussels sprouts slaw a zesty zing that’ll liven up your Thanksgiving table. Besides, this is a super-easy side dish: it takes just 20 minutes to throw together. You can even shred the sprouts a day in advance, and cook ‘em in your already-hot oven after your turkey is done and resting. And if you have leftovers (and you probably won’t!), this slaw keeps really well, and can be eaten cold, hot, or at any temperature in-between. This just might be my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe—and that’s saying a lot because I love these mini cabbage impostors.

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready for the recipe?

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Butterflied Big Bird (Spatchcocked Turkey)

It’s Part 1 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series!

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

No, I said BUTTERFLIED—not BUTTERFRIED. Sorry to disappoint, butter lovers! And for you strict Paleo peeps, a note of warning: there’s butter in this recipe, though ghee is a fantastic substitute. (If you’re zero-tolerance when it comes to all forms of dairy, substitute duck fat or schmaltz.)

With this post, I’m starting a series of Thanksgiving-related recipe posts, and I figured I’d tackle the hardest one first. Every November, the prospect of roasting a whole turkey strikes fear into the hearts of even experienced cooks. The entire process—from picking a bird to carving it—can be daunting. No one wants to serve a dry, powdery turkey to their gathered friends and family…especially if you’ve got an in-law who’s just waiting to pounce on a kitchen blunder. But never fear: even if Olivia Soprano is your mother-in-law, this foolproof method will keep you in her good graces.

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Step One: Pick a Bird

This article by Serious Eats covers everything you need to know about selecting a turkey. (In fact, it covers all things turkey.)

By the way, I learned a valuable lesson this year: Don’t get greedy. The first turkey I roasted to test this recipe was waaaaay too big. The gigantic 18-pounder(!) that I bought from Tendergrass Farms was delicious and came out beautifully (It’s the one I photographed for this post!), but it barely fit in my oven. My second bird (which I didn’t photograph) was a much more manageable 12-pounder that actually fit on my roasting tray.

Step Two: Gear Up

For my recipe, you’ll want to make sure you have a sharp, sturdy pair of poultry shears (to tear through thin bones and cartilage like a skilled orthopedic surgeon). You’ll also need an oven-proof wire rack and a baking sheet or large broiling pan.

Lastly, you’ll need an accurate meat thermometer to ensure perfectly cooked meat. If you don’t want to keep having to open the oven to check your turkey, your best bet is to get an in-oven thermometer.

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Seriously: a meat thermometer is not negotiable. It’s the only way to make sure you don’t overcook your big, pricey turkey and disappoint your guests. 

Step Three: Mark Your Calendars

If you don’t want to eat turkey-flavored popsicles on Thanksgiving, you have to start thawing your bird in the fridge beginning on the Friday or Saturday before Turkey Day. It’ll take 3 or 4 days to fully defrost, and then you’ll want  to dry-brine the bird and let it sit for 1 or 2 more days in the fridge before roasting.

On Thanksgiving Day, make sure you allow for at least 30 minutes of resting time before you carve up the bird. So if you want the bird on the table by early afternoon, you need to pop it in the oven in the morning.

Step Four: Cook!

My Butterflied Big Bird recipe combines Judy Rodgers’ dry-brining techniques with J. Kenji López-Alt’s Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey and my own simple herb butter.

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The turkey is spatchcocked and dry-brined with kosher salt, and then left to sit loosely-covered in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Underneath the crispy skin, the tender meat is flavored with an herb-infused butter (or ghee, if you prefer).

Ready?

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Forky Friday: 11/8/13

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

HOLY. MOLY.

Our cookbook—our baby!—hits shelves in just thirty-something days, which means that (in addition to work, kids, cooking, and blogging) I’m up to my eyeballs in frantic preparations, from planning a super-duper book release party in San Francisco (mark your calendars for Saturday, January 4!) to lining up events and swag for my book tour. (Stay tuned for details—I think you’re going to go bonkers for the fun surprises we have in store!)

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But that doesn’t mean I can’t find the time to pull together my favorite links from around the Weird Wild Web! (Besides, it’s a great excuse for procrastinating.)

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down

Believe it or not, we won’t even be in the country on our book release date—we’ll be in Thailand. In fact, our little family will be hanging out in Asia for most of December, eating our way through Hong Kong and Chiang Mai on official Nom Nom Paleo business.

Okay, maybe we’ll just be sampling local delicacies for 90% of the trip. But that’s important business to me!

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My parents are insisting that I try the local seafood while I’m in Hong Kong—but all I can think about is the prospect of eating swamp eels and penis fish. I’m already bracing myself; the last time I was in China, I was taken to a restaurant and served turtle soup and bear paw stew.

This trip, we’ll be spending most of our time in northern Thailand—Chiang Mai, to be precise. And I’m already looking forward to eating authentic Thai cuisine, which is nothing like the sickly-sweet, greasy Americanized fare found in the States. In fact, Serious Eats just debunked a bunch of Thai food myths with Chef Andy Ricker of Portland’s Pok Pok.

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One important lesson I learned from this article: “Chopsticks are only used in Thailand when you’re going to a Chinese restaurant or a noodle restaurant.” So next time you hit your favorite Thai joint, pick up a fork and spoon instead.

A Solution to the Problem of Contaminated Spices

Remember when I freaked you out last week about the prospect of consuming dried herbs and spices contaminated with bug parts and salmonella? Don’t fret! There’s a simple solution: Use fresh herbs!

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

According to this oldie-but-goodie from The Kitchn, you can easily substitute fresh herbs for the dried variety:

[F]resh herbs tend to have a more delicate flavor than dried, so I tend to use more of it. My general rule of thumb is to use 1½ times the amount of fresh as I would dry. Meaning that if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, I’d start with 1½ teaspoons of fresh thyme. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there!

Of course, if you want to just make an incredible meal featuring the bright flavors of fresh herbs, my sister’s Green Chicken is a can’t-miss dish.

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Saag Gosht (Lamb with Spinach Sauce)

Saag Gosht (Lamb with Spinach Sauce) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When Henry was working in India earlier this year, I interrogated him daily about his meals. “What did you have for lunch today? KeemaRogan Josh? TELL ME!” 

"I’m having pizza and sandwiches," he deadpanned.

Liar. 

My husband loves Indian food as much as I do, and as he regaled me with  stories of dining on buttery murgh makhani and spicy seekh kabob in restaurants from Delhi to Agra, I seethed with envy. Yeah, he was stuck toiling away on the other side of the globe—but he was feasting on all the Northern Indian dishes I wanted to eat.

Saag Gosht (Lamb with Spinach Sauce) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

So a few weeks ago, as Henry readied himself for another trip to India (which was subsequently postponed—yay!), I decided to console myself with a big pot of saag gosht, lamb with spinach sauce.

Saag gosht is a well-loved dish in the greater Punjab region in Pakistan and Northern India—but it’s pretty popular in our house, too. In the fall, I love nothing more than tucking into a bowl of spicy, tender lamb stewed in a fragrant spinach sauce. 

I use lamb neck pieces in my saag gosht because they’re cheap, and I like gnawing on bones. Of course, boneless lamb shoulder works great, too, especially if you’re worried about choking on bones. (But come on, people: live dangerously!)

Saag Gosht (Lamb with Spinach Sauce) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I adapted this recipe from one of my favorites in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking. I simplified it a bit, but made sure to retain all the bold flavors. Some saag gosht recipes call for cooking the spinach until the sauce resembles the gray, murky swamps on Dagobah, but I prefer to keep my spinach bright green and perky. Like all stews, saag gosht tastes even better after it’s had a chance to mellow in the fridge for a couple of days. Plus, it freezes beautifully.

Serves 6 people

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 4 pounds of lamb necks, cut cross-wise into 2-inch pieces (or 2 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1½ inch cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand), divided
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 30 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1½ tablespoons garam masala
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • juice from ½ lemon

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Forky Friday: 11/1/13

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

ARGH. I’m in the middle of another week of graveyard shifts, and between work and kids and Halloween and cooking and getting ready for our cookbook launch (planning a release party and book tour is no small task!), I barely have time to feed and bathe—let alone get this Forky Friday post done.

In fact, you’re probably reading this on Saturday. I’m such a loser.

In keeping with my Debbie Downer mood tonight, I’m going to front-load this post with links to a whole host of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad news. Ready?

Ai-Ya! The Sky is Falling!

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One of the week’s biggest food news stories was that the southern California city of Irwindale filed a lawsuit to shut down the production of sriracha at Huy Fong Foods’ nearby plant. The city claims that the fumes from the recently-opened $40 million factory are irritating residents, and hopes to halt sriracha production until Huy Fong takes steps to reduce the offending odors and spicy irritants. A production stoppage, however, would leave sriracha lovers stricken.

Sriracha’s passionate defenders have quickly rallied around their beloved “Rooster Sauce.” Matthew Inman, creator of the Oatmeal (and aficionado of sriracha) had this to say about the sriracha standoff in Irwindale:

"I personally would relish in the opportunity to live in a neighborhood bathed in rooster sauce. The thought of watching a blood-red sunrise soaked in clouds of red peppers and garlic would pretty much be my ideal morning. I feel like our country is still recovering from the near Twinkie extinction in 2012, and now we get hit with this?

The dinosaurs had their meteorite. We’ve got our sriracha shortage. If a sriracha shortage isn’t one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, then I don’t know what is. Now is the time to stock your fallout shelters full of tasty rooster juice. The end is nigh.”

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Luckily for hot sauce lovers across the universe, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge denied Irwindale’s request for a preliminary injunction, which means that sriracha production can resume at Huy Fong’s plant—for now.

But the next court hearing’s set for November 22, at which time the court may decide to pull the plug. According to Huy Fong owner, David Tran, “If the city shuts us down, the price of sriracha will jump a lot.” (If you wanna take a peek inside Tran’s gigantic hot sauce operation, check out this video.)

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But don’t worry. You don’t have to rely on Huy Fong to make your favorite condiment. Even if the company’s sriracha production is halted, you can always use my recipe to make your own Paleo Sriracha at home—minus the preservatives and sugar! (I even have a Whole30-compliant sriracha recipe!)

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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#forky friday #links #Paleo #primal #gluten-free #sriracha #Nom Nom Paleo

October 2013

12 posts

Hank Shaw's Slow Roasted Duck (& a Giveaway of Duck, Duck, Goose!)

Hank Shaw's Slow Roasted Duck (& a Giveaway of Duck, Duck, Goose!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When I was a kid, my favorite dish was Cantonese roast duck. And frankly, I still love this dish.

Every few weeks, my mom would buy a whole roasted duck from Chinatown for a family feast. The heady smell of roasted meat and five spice powder always drew me into the kitchen; there, I’d stealthily pick at the tender duck and crispy amber skin while it was still in its take-out container.

My mom always bought the entire duck—with head and neck still attached—because she wanted to utilize the whole animal. She wouldn’t carve it up until we got home; the meat would go on a platter while the carcass was used to make a flavorful master stock for the rest of the week’s meals.

Hank Shaw's Slow Roasted Duck (& a Giveaway of Duck, Duck, Goose!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Once, when I asked her why she never had the guy behind the counter at the Chinese market chop up the meat for her, she laughed. Anyone naive enough to do that would inevitably get stiffed a few pieces, she explained. The best pieces.

Right before dinner, my mom would reheat the duck in the oven to re-crisp the skin, and then place it on her gnarled wooden chopping block and hack it into bite-size pieces with her ginormous cleaver. This was my cue: I’d oh-so-casually sidle up next to her and make puppy eyes at her until she handed me a piece of glistening meat to scarf down before dinner.

My love of duck has persisted to this day. But although I’ve prepared it a number of different ways, I never attempted to cook a whole duck until just last week. The reasons? I didn’t have ready access to a top-notch source for whole ducks, and I wasn’t confident that I had a fool-proof recipe. After all, high quality ducks are expensive, and I didn’t want to screw it up.

Hank Shaw's Slow Roasted Duck (& a Giveaway of Duck, Duck, Goose!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But recently, two things changed. I’ve become a regular customer/convert of Good Eggs—a service that delivers fresh food from local farmers and artisans to customers’ doorsteps—and I was delighted to see that they’re selling whole ducks from Early Bird Ranch in Pescadero. And just a few weeks ago, I received an advance review copy of Hank Shaw’s latest cookbook, Duck, Duck, Goose.

The stars had aligned. It was time to roast my first whole duck.

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#giveaway #Nom Nom Paleo #Hank Shaw #Duck Duck Goose #paleo #primal #paleo recipe #gluten-free
Orange Sriracha Chicken

Orange Sriracha Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For years, my in-laws owned a restaurant in Castro Valley, California, serving up the Americanized Chinese dishes to customers craving deep-fried wontons, pot stickers, crispy chow mein, sweet-and-sour pork, and egg foo young. Although these Westernized creations aren’t authentically Chinese, they reflected the tastes of Americans in the 1950s and 1960s who were dipping their toes in the “exotic” flavors of Asia for the first time.

Back then, a whopping 90 percent of all Chinese immigrants in the U.S. came from a tiny area the size of Rhode Island in the southern province of Guangdong (Canton), so it’s no surprise that the flavor profiles of this new hybrid cuisine were distinctly Cantonese-American. And that’s what my in-laws offered on their menu.

Orange Sriracha Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But over the years, as immigration expanded to other parts of China, Americanized Chinese food began taking on more flavors from other regions of China, from Fujian to Sichuan. Westernized Chinese cuisine began rapidly evolving.

Orange chicken—battered and fried chicken pieces slathered in a thick glaze of sweet orange-chili sauce—is one of the Chinese-American dishes that surged in popularity during this period. Hunan in origin, orange chicken started popping up in Chinese restaurants across America over the past few decades.

Sadly, as this dish made its way to fast food Chinese joints, the recipes got sloppier and sloppier. The gloopy version you’ll find at the mall food court these days is often grosser than gross; it’s coated in soggy clumps of batter and drowning in overly sweet, artificially colored sauce. This incarnation of orange chicken isn’t even remotely close to real-food-friendly.

Wanna try my recipe for Orange Sriracha Chicken instead?

Orange Sriracha Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 10/25/13

Forky Friday 10/25/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s the Friday before Halloween, and our house is getting more ghoulish by the second. Before my kids suck us into the vortex of costumes and fake cobwebs, whaddaya say we get to this week’s links?

Ghee Whiz

Forky Friday 10/25/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This blew my mind: Who knew that my favorite small-batch ghee maker, Sandeep Agarwal, is also a bona fide butter historian who’s amassed a traveling treasure trove of butter-related artifacts?

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Welcome to Butter World.

Now can someone make Bacon World, please?

Greased Lightning

While we’re on the topic of Sandeep’s ghee, have I mentioned my favorite new way to start a night shift? I use my stick blender to blitz a cup of Philz’ Silken Splendor with a dollop of Pure Indian Foods’ Primal Fat. This is my version of Stupid Easy Paleo’s version of Bulletproof Coffee, only I call it Greased Lightning.

(To be honest, I haven’t done a lick of investigation into the highfalutin’ health claims surrounding Bulletproof Coffee. I just like the taste of coconut and ghee in my coffee.)

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Tell your friends! It’s a mathematical fact: Bacon makes everything taste better.

Forky Friday 10/25/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground

I have the blackest thumb in the whole world, so I’ll happily shell out for my fruits and veggies. But if you don’t mind bundling up and mucking around in the soil, check out this fantastic article on winter gardening by Chasing Delicious.

Still My Favorite Cooking Show Of All Time

Ladies and gentlemen, Weber Cooks.

It’s not Paleo, but it’s perfect nonetheless.

(When I need a good cry, I watch the version with the sad instrumental score. Watch it and weep.)

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#forky friday #paleo #nom nom paleo #gluten-free #paleo recipes #primal #link love
8 Things I Love To Do On Maui

It’s getting chilly outside. Instead of complaining about the cold, let’s dream of laying out on a warm, sunny beach out in the middle of the Pacific instead. What do you say?

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For my fellow dreamers out there (including those of you who are planning a trip to Hawaii), here’s a list of my 8 favorite things to do whenever I’m on Maui. (Confession: this is also the perfect excuse for me to bore you to death with my vacation photos.)

1. EXHALE.

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Seriously. As soon as I get off the plane, I blow out all the air in my lungs—along with all the tension and worries of Real Life. I then proceed to suck in a long, deep breath of sweet vacation air.

Hawaii isn’t New York. Everything’s slower, mellower. (Traffic included.) I don’t fight it. Whenever a bit of stress creeps into my shoulders or neck, I take a deep breath and remember how lucky I am to be here.

2. LOAD UP ON GROCERIES

Dining out every meal on the island can get expensive fast—and finding Paleo-friendly foods on restaurant menus can be a challenge.  You can save a bundle by just cooking breakfast every morning and a few suppers.

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As soon as we leave the airport, we always hit the Costco and/or Whole Foods to stock up on everything from purple sweet potatoes and fresh pineapple to grass fed meat and farm-fresh eggs. Down to Earth is another great place to stock up on natural foods in Kahului. Produce from the mainland is definitely more expensive, so try to get locally-grown stuff from Kula.

And to replenish throughout the week, we usually head to the Foodland Farms in Lahaina and the (vegan-friendly) Honokawai Farmer’s Market.

3. GO RESTAURANT HUNTING.

Cooking is awesome, but it’s not vacation if you find yourself in the kitchen preparing all your own meals.

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our restaurant excursions have ranged from special-occasion joints (Mama’s Fish House, Lahaina Grill, Pineapple Grill, Sansei, Honu)…

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…to cheap plate lunch spots (Da KitchenAloha Mixed Plate).

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Vacation’s the perfect time to visit out-the-way eateries (like The Hali’imaile General Store) and food trucks (like Shark Pit), too.

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We’re not always Paleo-compliant while on vacation, but we’ve found that most places are super-accommodating to dietary restrictions.

For example, longtime readers know that I can’t get enough of Star Noodle – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve eaten there in the few years since it opened. We don’t order from the “noodles” side of the menu, but there’s plenty of other dishes to enjoy. There are gluten-free items, too.

8 Things I Love To Do on Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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#maui #listicle #paleo #primal #gluten-free #nom nom paleo
Yummy Mummies (a.k.a. Halloweenies)

Yummy Mummies by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Halloween is a BIG DEAL in our household. It’s not just because our neighborhood is notorious for throwing itself into the ghastly spirit of the holiday, or because my kids are aspiring Hollywood monster make-up artists. It’s not even because Henry proposed to me 15 years ago on the most special date he could think of: Halloween night. 

It’s ’cause we love scaring the living daylights out of people.

Really. Every Halloween, while the boys strike terror in the hearts of our neighbors…

Yummy Mummies by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…Henry strings up fake skulls in front of our house, and cackles when trick-or-treaters are too freaked out to approach the front door.

Yummy Mummies by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As for me, scaring people is a year-round avocation. I’m the kind of mommy who likes to crouch behind doors and corners until my unsuspecting children amble by—AND THEN SUDDENLY JUMP OUT AND SHRIEK IN THEIR FACES. They scream; I laugh and point.

(To be fair, they do this to me, too. But I’m scarier and better at hiding.)

Yummy Mummies by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Being a fearmonger is hard work, though, so I like to make sure our entire family fuels up with creepy edibles before heading into the night to sow panic and dread.

The only problem? Halloween’s become all about ingesting sugar bombs and sweet treats. Finding a Halloween-themed recipe that’s suitably spooky and Paleo-friendly is more difficult than trying to figure out why Michael Myers is wearing Captain Kirk’s face. But this just made me more determined to come up with a savory Halloween dish. 

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#Halloween #Halloween recipes #Paleo #Paleo recipes #Nom Nom Paleo #Yummy Mummies #Halloweenies
Forky Friday: 10/18/13

Forky Friday 10/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m in the middle of another week of graveyard shifts, but I’m whistling a happy tune. Know why? ’Cause Henry was supposed to leave for India today on business, but his trip was cancelled (or at least delayed)! I’ve been grinning ever since I got the good news. FaceTime is great, but it doesn’t beat face time.

(There’s another reason I have a big smile on my face—but you’re going to have to wait until the end of this post to find out why!)

Enough blathering—time for some tasty links!

Break It On Down

I’ve been researching lobster recipes lately, but the idea of dismembering a live, wiggling crustacean with my bare hands has always intimidated me a bit. As a kid, I watched my mom do it in our kitchen all the time; the results were delicious, but the process struck me as grisly.

But after watching the stunning and amazing Kristen Kish break down a lobster with both grace and force, I’m inspired to give it a shot.

(Video link here!)

Gooble Gobble, One Of Us!

I’m a Twitterholic. It’s my hands-down favorite social media platform; I keep track of current events, TV spoilers, and gossip of the day on Twitter, and try to respond to just about everyone (who isn’t rude) who tweets me. (Are you following me on Twitter? Because I want you to. Unless you’re a psycho killer, in which case please don’t.)

Forky Friday 10/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

So I was excited to learn back in January (via a tweet) that Jack Dorsey—the guy who gave birth to Twitter—was giving Paleo a shot. It looks like it wasn’t just a short-term New Year’s Resolution kind-of-thing, either; according to this profile of @jack in this week’s New Yorker, he’s stuck with it!

Meanwhile, Jack’s fellow Twitter co-founders are investing big in the vegan fake-meat start-up that I wrote about a while back. Hmm.

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Giveaway: A Signed Copy of Well Fed 2 & Socks!

The days are getting nippy. Can you think of a better way to get cozy than to curl up with a fantastic cookbook in some comfy knee-highs? I didn’t think so.

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Thanks to my pal Melissa Joulwan, one lucky winner will win a signed copy of her soon-to-be-released cookbook, Well Fed 2 AND a pair of Well Fed Socks! I’ve already gushed about the awesomeness of her book here, and everybody knows Gumball Poodle makes the best socks ever.

So what are you waiting for? There are a bunch of different ways to enter for a chance to win—and even international readers can enter to win—so click on the box below to get in on the action! 

Forky Friday: Birthday Cookbook Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But do it soon, ’cause the deadline is 8 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, October 18, 2013!

Good luck, everyone!

Are you lost and looking for my recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).

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#Well Fed 2 #Melissa Joulwan #Nom Nom Paleo #Giveaway #Paleo #Gumball Poodle #Well Fed
Cooking From Well Fed 2 (And An Exclusive Recipe From The Book!)

Cooking from Well Fed 2 http://nomnompaleo.com

The first time I met Melissa Joulwan, she hugged me.

It was the summer of 2011. We had planned to meet for dinner at Animal in Los Angeles with the Hartwigs of Whole9, and my nerves were jangling like deranged wind chimes. I’d never before met any Internet celebs in real life (or, frankly, anybody from the community of Paleo bloggers at all). I was going to meet a group of real-food superheroes that I’d admired and followed ever since going Paleo; their advice had changed my life. As Henry and I approached the restaurant, I felt like the new kid at school. I was desperate for my inner goober to stay hidden.

But that first hug from Mel—and her warm smile—instantly put me at ease. She teased and I giggled, and in no time at all, we were all sharing plates of food and raucous laughter. It’s hard not to become good friends with people with whom you’ve shared a platter of fried brains.

Cooking from Well Fed 2 http://nomnompaleo.com

Since then, we’ve shut down restaurants in multiple time zones. Whenever Henry and I meet up with Mel and her husband Dave, we lose track of time, excitedly chattering about any and everything until we’re kicked out of whatever establishment we’re in. 

It’s not just Mel’s keen palate, sassy writing, and glossy hair that I love; she and Dave are among the most creative, funny, and generous trailblazers we know. They strive to always do the right thing, aligning their goals with their values, and balancing work with play (and travel!). No wonder Mel and Dave are our role models; they follow their passions and make cool stuff—all while staying absolutely true to themselves.

As you all know, Mel’s dazzling personality and love for amazing flavors shines brilliantly in her first cookbook, Well Fed—the most dog-eared, sauce-splattered, well-loved resource in my kitchen.

Cooking from Well Fed 2 http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s a flat-out amazing book—I can’t tell you how many people have confessed to me their deep love of it—but Mel’s now done the impossible: she somehow managed to improve on Well Fed. No matter if you’re cooking to impress a crowd or just yourself, Well Fed 2 offers everything a real food lover could hope for in a cookbook: international flavors, inventive tips, vivid stories, and stunning photography that dances off the page. The first time I flipped through the book, I already knew everything would be crazy-delicious, because my picky palate is rivaled only by Mel’s high flavor standards.

I joked recently in a recent interview with Liz Wolfe on the Balanced Bites podcast that I don’t read books any more—I just read magazines because I don’t have the time (or attention span) to get through anything longer than an US Weekly article (preferably about Baby Nori—and not just because her name makes me hungry for sushi). Besides, books are for smart people. But I do make an exception for cookbooks. And besides my own book, there’s no cookbook I’ve anticipated more than Well Fed 2

Cooking from Well Fed 2 http://nomnompaleo.com

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#Well Fed #Well Fed 2 #Nom Nom Paleo #The Clothes Make The Girl #Melissa Joulwan #Paleo #Primal #Gluten-Free #Whole 9 #Cookbooks
Forky Friday: 10/11/13

Forky Friday: 10/11/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our household is finally emerging from an epic week of barfing. I’m not kidding; one by one, we succumbed to a killer stomach bug that transformed us into spewtastic demons. We were like a family of stunt doubles for Linda Blair.

Forky Friday: 10/11/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

How’d we get over it? Plenty of rest, bone broth, kombucha, and soft-scrambled eggs. If you’re stuck in the aftermath of the pie-eating contest scene from Stand By Me, check out these helpful tips from Mark Sisson.

Okay—onto more fun stuff!

Don’t Cook While Wearing Four-Finger Rings

Along with his new album, rapper 2 Chainz released his first digital cookbook, “#MEALTIME,” and although it’s not Paleo, it’s certainly a must-read. After all, it includes such critical kitchen tips as “Take first pair of Versace sunglasses off, and replace with second pair of Versace sunglasses” and “[i]f wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook.” 

Apparently, 2 Chainz was inspired to write this book because he was experiencing stomach problems and wanted to cook and eat more healthfully.

My only gripe? #MEALTIME contains only 15 recipes, and 2 Chainz appears to favor turkey bacon. Oh, and lots and lots of gold leaf.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Butcher

Eatocracy compiled a list of some of the best butchers in the country—those who source their meat from small, sustainable family farms, and provide all the traditional butchery services that your grandma remembers so well.

Forky Friday: 10/11/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I do have a bone to pick with the list, though: where are my peeps from San Francisco’s 4505 Meats?

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#nom nom paleo #paleo #primal #gluten-free #paleo recipes #forky friday
Alex Boake Rocks

I tried my best to stay in a blissed-out, zen-like state post-vacation, but I had to immediately jump back into working nights, and now my whole family (including me) has a stomach bug. But you know what puts a smile on my face? This lovely picture of yours truly drawn by uber-talented artist and blogger Alex Boake!

Nom Nom Paleo Portrait by Alex Boake http://nomnompaleo.com

Aren’t those red sneakers the best? I need to go get some pronto—and learn to juggle knives and kettlebells, too. 

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#Alex Boake #cartoon #nom nom paleo #paleo #primal #gluten-free #paleo recipes
Tropical Paleo Granola

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m back at the hospital burning the midnight oil, but I still have visions of sandy beaches, tropical drinks, and snorkeling alongside sea turtles dancing in my head. That’s the problem with vacation: it has an annoying tendency to end.

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m trying to hold onto as much island zen as possible, though. One of the vacation treats that I can’t get out of my head is an açaí bowl topped with crunchy house-made “Paleonola” that we enjoyed at a sunny vegan cafe the other day in Lahaina. Naturally, upon returning home, I felt compelled to tackle a grain-free granola recipe. (The rest of the açaí bowl’s on my list of to-dos, too.)

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Just for the record: Yes, I know “Paleo granola” is an oxymoron. There was a time when I thought that granola was a health food that I could and should eat on a daily basis, but the times they are a-changin’. I know granola—grain-free or not— is “treat” food that should be eaten only in moderation, and not an everyday breakfast superfood. But with that disclaimer out of the way, let me just say that just a handful of this stuff delivers a mildly-sweet, nutty, tropical crunch like nothing else.

As soon as we came home the other night, I started tinkering in the kitchen with different nut, seed, and sweeteners. It took a few batches, but I finally got it just right: crunchy, not too sweet, and with flavors that remind me of my favorite fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas stuck in ’em. Make a batch and share with your pals!

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ingredients

Yield: 7 cups

  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (approximately 1-inch cubes)
  • 5 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately ½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 cups raw almonds (I use a combination of raw almonds that are roughly chopped, slivered, and sliced.)
  • 3 cups raw coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

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Forky Friday: 10/4/13

Forky Friday 10/4/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Aloha, my friends!

Did you miss me? We’ve been away on vacation this week, but our time on Maui is winding down, so we’re going to try to make time pass as slooooowly as possible ’til we have to head back to the mainland. In the meantime, let’s get to those weekend links!

Forky Friday 10/4/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Fear The Fish?

Because fresh fish is so plentiful and fresh in Hawaii, I’ve been ordering it every time I see it on a menu. That’s why I was so relieved to read that concerns over mercury levels in fish may be unfounded. After all, I love me some fresh seafood!

It’s Time To Celebrate with Decorative Gourds!

Forky Friday 10/4/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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#paleo #primal #gluten-free #paleo recipes #nomnompaleo #forky friday

September 2013

14 posts

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You know that I’m a chocoholic, right? I don’t care if the Paleo Police kick down my door—I love dark chocolate. Just a tiny square of my favorite dark chocolate bar can usually satisfy my cravings for something sweet, which in turn keeps me from compulsively making “Paleofied” desserts on a regular basis. But on those occasions when I want a grain-free treat, it has to be ridiculously great. And made of chocolate, too. (Is that redundant?)

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

That’s why I thank my lucky stars for Kelly Brozyna. Super-mom, blogger, and author of numerous cookbooks, Kelly adopted a gluten-, dairy-, and refined-sugar-free diet almost a decade ago to deal with a multitude of serious health issues in her family. Later, when she took her family one step further—from gluten-free to grain-free—their health went from pretty good to awesome.

I’ve long been a fan of Kelly’s blog, The Spunky Coconut. Her recipes—and especially her dairy-free frozen treats—are incredible. But what I admire most about Kelly is that she puts family and fun first. I loved tagging along on social media as her family drove from Denver to their new home in Southern California. And I’m excited to “meat up” with Kelly and her clan when she’s in the San Francisco Bay Area next month.

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

She’ll be in town to promote her beautiful new tome, The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook. Filled with page after page of inventive and gorgeously photographed chocolate recipes, this is the definitive guide for real food enthusiasts with a cacao fixation. In other words: me.

Concocting Paleo desserts isn’t my strength, but clearly, Kelly’s been perfecting her craft for many years. Her Paleo dessert pantry includes a few new-to-me ingredients like liquid stevia, hemp milk, walnut flour, and chia meal—all of which I’m eager to play with as this holiday baking season approaches.

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But I wanted to make something from Kelly’s book now, and because I didn’t have all of these ingredients on hand, I chose a eye-popping recipe that I could whip up with items already in my pantry: Chocolate Pie with Raw Graham Cracker Crust.

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I loved that it was so simple to make—just a little chopping, melting, and blitzing—but admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about how this dessert would turn out. After all, the only ingredients are walnuts, Medjool dates, cinnamon, coconut cream, coconut oil, dark chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Hmm…no honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar?

But my fears evaporated as soon as I dipped my finger in the pie filling and gave it a taste. Wowza.

I quickly hollered for the boys (and a pal who was over for a playdate) to sample it. They all went nuts, even though Big-O isn’t normally a fan of coconut or dates. (I conveniently failed to disclose the ingredients to them, but I have a feeling all three would have raved just as excitedly after tasting the filling.)

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In fact, I was able to crank out two mini pies in no time at all, and the results were deliciously decadent. It was like eating a chocolate truffle in a nutty graham cracker crust. If you’re cool with using a microwave (which I am), this recipe is even simpler ’cause it means the chocolate, coconut oil, and coconut cream can be melted/heated in a jiffy.

After I posted a picture of my finished Chocolate Pie on Facebook and Instagram, I was deluged with requests for the recipe. But because it’s not mine to share, I wanted to first ask for Kelly’s permission. Lucky for you, she said yes. You’re welcome!

Ready for the recipe?

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#Kelly Brozyna #Spunky Coconut #nomnompaleo #chocolate #Paleo #vegan #Primal #gluten-free #Paleo recipes
Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui

After a hurried morning meal of baked eggs seasoned with furikake (toasted sesame and nori)…

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…we grabbed our bags and hopped on a plane bound for Maui.

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

If you’ve stuck around for a while, you probably know that once or twice a year, our family decamps to Hawaii—our home away from home. I love everything about the islands: the people, the pace, the climate, the beaches, the sunsets, the food.

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

{Photo credit: Lil-O. This officially marks the first time my five-year-old has contributed a photograph to my blog.}

This trip came at the perfect time. It’s been an especially busy year for us. And though we’ve done our best to juggle parenting, full-time jobs, blogging, and cookbook-writing—not to mention a good deal more traveling than usual—we’ve all felt the strain. (Our schedules aren’t letting up, either. In two weeks, Henry, who just got back from New York, is heading off to Asia yet again.) Hitting the “pause” button is exactly what the four of us needed.

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Well, okay…the five of us, if you include Cat Power. (Just to be clear: I’m referring to Cat Power, Lil-O’s ever-present stuffed cat—not Cat Power the musician.)

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Although my carry-on bag was crammed with meaty treats…

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…we were starving by the time we arrived on Maui.

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Even after polishing off a late lunch of Thai food and hitting the grocery store to stock up on protein and plants for the coming week…

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

9/28/13: A Vacation Day in Pictures by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…our stomachs declared that it was dinner time.

A return to Star Noodle was in order.

Paleo Eats 9/28/13: Back to Maui by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 9/27/13

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You thought I forgot about Forky Friday, didn’t you? I figured as long as I published this post before midnight in Pago Pago, it’s not late. It’s technically still Friday, after all.

Enough idle jibber-jabber. Let’s get to the links!

A Restaurant A Day…

These days, I eat the vast majority of meals at home, but I’ve long been passionate about searching near and far for good places to eat. I’m an admitted gastrotourist—I pick my travel destinations not based on historical significance, art, or culture, but by the prevalence of insanely-great eateries.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

High on the list of places I like to visit for the food? New York. Henry just flew back from NYC, and I’ve already quizzed him about every meal he enjoyed while in the city. But vicarious living ain’t enough for me; if I live to be over 100 years old, I want to pull a Harry Rosen and dine out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at a different hoity-toity restaurant in NYC. (Hat tip to Melicious!)

Pig Love

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Oh, bacon. How I love you.

How To Make Friends And Impress People With Food Trivia

Ever have trouble engaging in light, witty cocktail-party banter?  Me, too. My social circle prefers NPR to TMZ, so no one ever wants to chat about the Kardashians with me.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But through trial and error, I’ve learned that food trivia is a sure-fire ice-breaker. So if you’re searching for something to discuss that’s more interesting than the weather (but less controversial than politics), turn to Tori Avey’s Did You Know? 10 Surprising Food History Facts.

I, for one, can’t wait for my next opportunity to sprinkle trivia about “mock bananas” made with boiled turnips into casual conversation.

It’s Apple Season!

Speaking of food trivia, here’s a great party trick you can use to impress a crowd: Memorize this list of 20 apple varieties. Then, challenge someone to an apple-variety name-off. You’ll win every time, and hearts will flutter.

Don’t worry. No one will think you’re weird at all.

(Speaking of apples, don’t forget to make some apple chips, too. Here’s a recipe you can use. There’s one in my upcoming cookbook, too!)

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Eats: 9/24/13

Paleo Eats: 9/24/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After working 6 graveyard shifts in a row, cooking was the last thing on my mind when I got home from the hospital yesterday morning. Henry’s still in New York City, so I couldn’t count on him to make dinner. And because I’m not exactly a great meal planner, I had no leftovers to repurpose.

So did I give in to the evil Mini-Me perched on my shoulder, egging me on to throw in the towel and JUST ORDER SOME TAKEOUT ALREADY?

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you already know that I managed not to cave.  

Paleo Eats: 9/24/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It helped that my in-laws were here to watch the kids while I was at work. By the time my car screeched into the driveway, they’d already gotten the Double-Os fed, dressed, and packed for school. After accompanying the spawn to their classroom doors, I checked the defrost bowl in my fridge for thawed meat, and found two packs of chicken thighs.  Now, all I needed was a simple way to cook ‘em.

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Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods + The Recipe for Meat Loaf Muffins!

Who’s got two thumbs and loves quick and easy comfort foods?

This tired mother!

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Although my dear hubby is off to New York on a business trip and I’m smack dab in the middle of another week of night shifts, there’s no excuse not to cook. I’m not saying it’s easy; as I’ve said before, I’m terrible at meal planning. But luckily, I’ve got a new weapon in my kitchen arsenal that helps procrastinators like me get nourishing, flavorful, real-food meals on the table with a minimum of fuss or muss: Julie and Charles Mayfield’s new cookbook, Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods!

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After an early review copy of the Mayfields’ cookbook showed up in my mailbox, I immediately whipped out a bunch of sticky-notes and began bookmarking my favorite recipes. But can you blame me?

Since starting this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people from the Interwebs, but Julie and Charles are two of my absolute favorites. Henry and I instantly bonded with this warm and gracious couple back at the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium over our shared love of good food and belly laughs. Since then, every time we’ve seen Jules and Charles—whether it’s in L.A., Austin, Boston, or their home base in Atlanta—we’ve had more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And now, there’s a third Mayfield to enjoy!

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s not just that the Mayfields are a lovely family—they’re also foodies of the first order. Longtime readers know that the kiddos and I had a great time cooking through their first cookbook, the wildly popular Paleo Comfort Foods, and their fried chicken remains one of our favorite recipes.

Remember the first time I made their chicken? (I can’t believe it’s been TWO YEARS since we shot this video. Where does the time go?)

What I love about Jules’ and Charles’ follow-up is that its pages are crammed with similarly rib-sticking recipes—but all of ‘em can be prepared from start to finish in a flash.

In the past week alone, I’ve made multiple batches of the Mayfields’ easy and delicious Meat Loaf Muffins (recipe below). This is hearty, portable fare at its simplest, and it’s fantastic for both dinner and as a packed lunch.

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In fact, every time we finished eating a batch of Meat Loaf Muffins, Big-O demanded that I make more of ‘em because he liked munching on ‘em at school.

Cooking From Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods (and The Recipe For Meat Loaf Muffins) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: Birthday Cookbook Giveaway!

Forky Friday: Birthday Cookbook Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

**UPDATE: THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER! PLEASE CHECK YOUR EMAIL TO SEE IF YOU WON!**

"Happy birthday, mommy! What are you turning today?" Lil-O asked me when I got home this morning.

"I’m turning old,” I told him.

As a gift to myself, I’m not posting a typical Forky Friday. Instead, I’m treating myself to a solid chunk of sleep before heading to my graveyard shift at the hospital tonight. For half a second, I’d considered taking the day off from my regular zombie drug-dealing schedule, but as my sister once reminded me, I’m not turning 5 years old. I can work on my birthday. Don’t get me wrong: I’d much rather be dining at RN74 with the awesome Paleo Chef a.k.a. Mary Shenouda, but duty calls.

Enough about my real job—I’d rather celebrate the last year of my 30s with a present to YOU! And guess what? This giveaway isn’t limited to just U.S. residents—it’s open to everyone in the whole wide world!

Ready?

Forky Friday: Birthday Cookbook Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s no secret that I love cookbooks. I never went to culinary school or trained with a professional chef; instead, I learned to cook by watching my mom and sister in the kitchen and obsessively poring over cookbooks. These days, I rarely cook from books (I read ‘em for pleasure), but I firmly believe that you’ve got to master the basics in order to excel in the kitchen. 

The best cookbooks aren’t just for newbies—they’re perfect for all levels of expertise: from rookies learning to boil water to pros who are looking to up their game. The four books I’m giving away go well beyond the basics; they’re essential tomes for every kitchen.

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Paleo Eats: 9/16/13

When I’m not on zombie drug dealer duty, I stay home to herd the kiddos while Henry’s off being a caveman lawyer in the city. But ironically, my days “off” are much more hectic and harried than when I’m on a week of nightshifts. Perhaps it’s ’cause I’m less vigilant about planning when I’m not scheduled to be at work, but during the weeks I’m not rushing to get to the hospital, I inevitably find myself scrambling to get meals on the table.

For example, after waking up late yesterday morning, I had just 30 minutes to get the kids fed, cleaned, and packed for school. (Confession: the “cleaned” part sometimes gets skipped.) So breakfast had to be a simple affair: I prepared plain egg omelets seasoned with Red Boat Fish Sauce

Paleo Eats: 9/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…in my favorite well-seasoned mini cast iron skillet

Paleo Eats: 9/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and then rolled each one around a slice of Black Forest ham.

Paleo Eats: 9/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

These grab-and-go breakfast bites come in handy when we’re all rushing out the door.

Paleo Eats: 9/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I barely had time to run errands in the morning before I headed back to school to pick up Lil-O from kindergarten. “School is tooooo shooooort,” my five-year-old whines. “I want to stay in school forever.”

He’ll change his tune soon enough.

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Stupid Easy Paleo's Kickin' BBQ Shredded Chicken

Stupid Easy Paleo's Kickin' BBQ Shredded Chicken http://nomnompaleo.com

Say hello to my guest blogger, Steph! I’ve been a longtime superfan of her blog, Stupid Easy Paleo, ’cause her recipes are fantastic and her photos are drool-worthy. Plus, Steph’s brainy, brawny, and cute as a button. She’s got twelve years of science teaching experience, a certificate in holistic nutrition, and an unabashed love of tasty Paleo food. Steph went Paleo in early 2010, and it didn’t take long for her to decide that she was never turning back. Eating clean, nutrient-dense foods has fueled her both in life and as both a competitive CrossFitter and mountain bike racer. Steph launched Stupid Easy Paleo in 2011 as a way to help spread the word about how to make simple, tasty recipes to help people in their quests to just eat real food.

Stupid Easy Paleo's Kickin' BBQ Shredded Chicken http://nomnompaleo.com

I love the recipe she’s posting today because it’s the perfect make-ahead dish when you’re craving barbecue—even after the dog days of summer have long faded from memory and you find yourself hunkered under a giant comforter this winter. Take it away, Steph!

Tender, shredded chicken swimming in a savory and slightly spicy sauce…do I have your attention? Good because this recipe is sure to get your taste buds amped up!

As an athlete, getting enough protein to support recovery can be a challenge for me, and falling into a rut with meat choices is something I try to avoid. Adding sauces and spices to a blank protein canvas and making frequent use of my favorite culinary secret weapon - the crock pot - are two of my favorite ways to feed the machine and keep myself from getting a big fat case of food boredom. This recipe makes good use of a drool-worthy sauce and meat that practically cooks itself. Win-win!

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Forky Friday: 9/13/13

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This is the first Friday in a month-and-a-half that I’m not spending on a plane or at work! I’m looking forward to hanging with my boys, catching up on sleep, and synthesizing some vitamin D. Plus, we’re celebrating Henry’s Chinese birthday (you know, according to the lunar calendar) ‘cause my man was born on the day of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

I always tell my husband that the reason his head is so incredibly large is ‘cause he was born on such an auspicious day. (I do try to resist the urge to call him Moon Head on his birthday, though. I’m nice like that.)

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, gang. Before you unplug for the weekend, I’ve got a Forky Friday crammed with links for you to chew on: 

Coffee Makes The World Go ‘Round

I know coffee isn’t Paleo, but it sure does make the world go round. Click on this link to see how people all over the planet are enjoying it as part of their morning ritual.

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

An Eggcellent Font

I’m not about to shell out $70 for this egg font, but it’s pretty awesome.

Of course, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you’re a big font nerd, go crazy. I’m sure your friends and family will appreciate your eggtastic messages.

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Eats: 9/10/13

Spoiler alert: Here’s a picture of the dinner I made last night. 

Paleo Eats: 9/10/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The only reason I put this image here is because I didn’t want to start this post with a photo of my face. I didn’t want to ruin your morning.

My night shifts this week at the hospital have gone swimmingly. I’ve been practicing what I preach about prioritizing sleep and eating clean in order to survive shift work, so I feel pretty good as my work week comes to a close. See?

Paleo Eats: 9/10/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

(Actually, I’m laughing because Lil-O cracked a funny about something totally age-inappropriate and possibly genital-related.)

Also, diligently donning my amber goggles after work, banning electronic devices from my bedroom, and hitting the sack before 11 a.m. meant I managed an average of 7 hours of sleep every day. To be honest, getting enough sleep might be the only reason I’ve had enough energy to cook dinner every night. Want to see what I ate yesterday?

After getting home from the hospital in the morning and getting the boys off to school, I made myself a hot dog.

First, I whipped up some crispy flatbread using Tara Grant's wonderful Magical Multipurpose Paleo Dough

Paleo Eats: 9/10/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and then I topped it with a sausage link, some halved cherry tomatoes, and a mess o’ sauerkraut. 

Paleo Eats: 9/10/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Curl up the sides of the flatbread, and presto

Paleo Eats: 9/10/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews

Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We’re experiencing a heat wave in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for a gal like me who prefers crisp, chilly weather, this is a major pain. These scorchers make it hard for me to sleep during the day, and when I wake up bleary-eyed in the evening, the last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove. Luckily, this refreshing Fig & Watermelon Salad’s perfect for the final throes of summer. 

Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In California, this is the time of year when both watermelon and figs are in season. (In fact, San Diego’s Fig Fest is today!) Complementing the ripe fruit is the tang of a simple lime vinaigrette and the salty crunch of Porkitos—not to mention the mild sweetness of roasted Honey Vanilla Cashews.

The toasted cashews can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to a week. You’ll be tempted to eat the cashews right out of the oven, but make sure you save some for your salads. After all, even though eating a small amount of cashews is totally okay (I’m looking at you, Paleo Police), you should always mind your nuts.

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Forky Friday: 9/6/13

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Aaaaagh! After getting home this morning from my night shift at the hospital, I conked out in bed BEFORE FINISHING MY FORKY FRIDAY POST! (This is what happens to zombie drug dealers.) It wasn’t until I woke up this evening that I remembered that I left y’all hanging. Sorry, dudes.

Well, better late than never. Ready for another mess ‘o links?

Gimme The Real Poop

You’ve heard of Kopi Luwak, right? Also known as “civet coffee,” this brew’s made using the beans of coffee berries after they’ve been eaten and pooped out by little furry cats. I’m not kidding.

Kopi Luwak’s gotten so popular that some folks are shelling out hundreds of dollars for a taste of this stuff—so naturally, there are a ton of scammers selling counterfeit civet crap beans. Luckily, there’s now a test to check if you paid for the real deal.

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yay?

The Tipping Point

Pete Wells, The New York Times’ resident restaurant critic, is (in)famous for his strong, unfiltered opinions. I’ve been a loyal reader ever since he wrote a scathing review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, filled with nothing but largely rhetorical questions; no matter if you agree or disagree with Wells, he’s certainly an entertaining read. His latest screed against tipping is a thought-provoking piece—especially for those of us who have worked in food service (both in front- and back-of-the-house roles). What say you—are you a firm believer in tipping? Or do you side with Mr. Pink? [FYI: Link is NSFW]

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Oh, Baby

As the child of Asian immigrant parents, eating nose-to-tail was de rigueur. Fresh fish would flop around in the shopping cart that we pushed around the local Asian market, and the poultry served at the dinner table invariably had heads and feet attached. I grew up eating all sorts of things that might turn some stomachs. Perhaps that’s why reading this NPR article about eating cochinillo asado, or Spanish roasted suckling pig, made me hungry rather than disturbed about chowing on a wee baby piglet. Having eaten Chinese roasted suckling pig on visits to Hong Kong since the age of three, I can tell you it’s insanely delicious. Am I a horrible person?

Actually, don’t answer that.

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Eats: 9/2/13

Yay! September’s here, which means my month of flying back and forth between the coasts is OVER! Don’t get me wrong—I had a wonderful time visiting new places, attending a couple of beautiful weddings, and catching up with friends. But there’s nothing better than sleeping in my own bed and waking up to see my kiddos in all their bed-headed glory—even if one of ‘em ain’t exactly a morning person.

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Lil-O takes after his pop. The two of them hate getting out of bed. I hear this in stereo every morning: ”Aaaaah! Too bright! Close the shades! Close the shades!" (The other trait they share: Hair that refuses to cooperate.)

In contrast, Big-O is my Mini Me. He happily bounds out of bed as soon as the sun peeks above the horizon. And like me, he’ll pick up a book as soon as he rubs the sleep from his eyes. (We fight over cookbooks.)

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

On Labor Day, I woke up excited to finally get back into my kitchen and tinker with recipes all day. My first order of business was to make everyone a simple breakfast of eggs and fruit before marinating a batch of Damn Fine Chicken for dinner.

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My plan was to throw the wings on the grill, so I left out the alliums because I didn’t want them to burn. (And to be perfectly honest, I was a little too lazy to chop ‘em up.)

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It was a scorcher of a day, so I wasn’t in the mood for a hot lunch. After we returned from the Double-Os’ kung fu class, I cobbled together a fruity and refreshing Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews for our mid-day meal.

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

While tooling around in Pittsburgh, I craved a big salad every time we went out, but I never found one that fit the bill. Sometimes, you just need to create the one you’re looking for.

This salad called for Porkitos, some specially-roasted cashews…

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and a mess o’ fruit.

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ta-dah! (Recipe will be posted soon, I promise.)

Paleo Eats: 9/2/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Lava Flow Ice Pops

Lava Flow Ice Pops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

With Labor Day signaling the end of summer, it’s time to put all our white apparel back into storage. Good thing, too, ‘cause I have a hard time convincing my boys that mommy’s white clothes shouldn’t be used to wipe their hands and mouths.

But before the hot weather gives way to the crisp, cool autumn, what do you say about indulging in one more frozen treat?

Lava Flow Ice Pops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

These ice pops are named after one of my favorite tropical frozen drinks: the Lava Flow—a frosty piña colada topped off with strawberry purée. Come to think of it, these popsicles are more like Virgin Lava Flows, given that I’ve omitted the rum; in fact, my version’s just made with fruit and coconut milk—perfect for those of you who want to avoid any added sweeteners. Of course, if your fruit’s not quite in tip-top shape or if you prefer your desserts a tad sweeter, feel free to add some honey.

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August 2013

15 posts

Forky Friday: 8/30/13

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello from Pittsburgh! I’m here to attend Bill and Hayley's wedding (a.k.a. the #paleoroyalwedding) this weekend, but before the festivities begin, I have some serious link love to spread. Ready for this week's Forky Friday?

Wear An Apron, Not A Hazmat Suit

I love when Michael Ruhlman rants on his blog. His latest screed, Bacteria! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!, is a great (albeit NSFW) post about how we need to calm the *bleep* down about sterilizing our kitchen environments. Of course, as home cooks, we certainly need to engage our brains and be sensible about food safety—but freaking out over rinsing a chicken in your sink? Please.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As Ruhlman put it: “Please, buy good food, cook it yourself, use whatever intelligence happens to be available in that tiny head of yours. Then open a bottle of wine and eat dinner with your friends and family.” Hear, hear.

(And for the record, I almost never wash my poultry before cooking it—but not because of bacteria fears. I’m just lazy.)

Seafood: More Than Meets The Eye

If you’re like me, buying seafood can be a bewildering experience. Thankfully, there’s the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and the National Geographic Seafood Decision Guide—and recently, my pal Diana Rodgers published a great article entitled The Complex Choices in Sustainable Seafood. Hopefully, they’ll whet your appetite to make a pot of Thai Steamed Mussels!

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Marinating Before Grilling? Don’t Bother.

For the better part of a year, I’ve been grilling meats without marinating ‘em beforehand. I think it started when I first made Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri (the recipe’s in my forthcoming cookbook); with some experimentation, I realized that I could just rest my cooked meats in a marinade after the grilling was done, and it would soak up all the flavors just fine.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Just this week, my approach was validated: the New York Times posted an article entitled Welcome to the Post Marinade Era of Grilling, which points out that there’s no reason to marinate meats before grilling. A solid win for proscrastinators like me!

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How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep

I was asked about my dinner prep strategies during an interview last week, and I had to confess: I don’t give much thought to meal planning.

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m not proud of it. I often wish I were more like the marvelous Melissa Joulwan, whose ingenious Weekly Cookup and Hot Plates concepts in her cookbook, Well Fed, make meal preparation a breeze. Or like Tammy Credicott, whose new book, Make Ahead Paleo, just arrived in the mail yesterday. If I really had my act together, I might even try cooking all my meals a full month in advance, à la Tricia Callahan of Once A Month Meals

Sadly, I’m a shambling mess when it comes to meal prep, and there are days when I’m tempted to go foraging for a carnitas salad bowl with extra guacamole at Chipotle instead of turning on the stove. After all, meals are the one thing that can be easily and cheaply outsourced…

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But then, I remember: nothing beats home-cooked meals. 

Since going Paleo a few years ago, I’ve found that the only way I truly understand what I’m feeding myself and my boys is to roll up my sleeves and prepare our meals from scratch. In doing so, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for whole, nutritious ingredients. Now, with countless hours in the kitchen under my belt, my culinary chops have slowly but surely improved. Like all skills, the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. 

How I Roll: Weeknight Paleo Dinner Prep by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Plus, I love our little clan’s nightly ritual of gathering together at the dinner table; there, we can come together as a family to: Instagram the food (that would be me), wearily complain about all the Lego bricks underfoot (Henry), share defensive strategies in response to zombie attacks (Big-O), and count aloud the number of days until Christmas (Lil-O). I have fond memories of cracking jokes over supper with my parents, sister, and grandparents, and I want to pass on this important tradition to my kiddos. 

Besides, cooking at home is far more budget-friendly than dining out every night. 

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#meal planning #meal preparation #nomnompaleo #paleo #primal #gluten-free #recipes
Giveaway: LunchBots Swag!

**UPDATE: The giveaway is over and the winner has been contacted via email! Please check your inbox!**

After reading my series of love letters to LunchBots this past week, don’t you want to win some? (If you haven’t seen my five-part series on packing Paleo lunches, check out all the posts over here.)

Giveaway: LunchBots Swag! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I pack my kids’ noonday meals in LunchBots every day, and you can, too! (No rugrats? That means you get to sleep in AND use these sleek and eco-friendly stainless steel lunch containers for yourself!)

Giveaway: LunchBots Swag! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Longtime readers know that I rave about LunchBots all the time (and not just because I’m good friends with the mastermind/mompreneur behind the company, Jackie Linder)—the quality, design, and utility of these products are just phenomenal. At the moment, I’m obsessed with LunchBots’ gorgeous new cutlery set, but to be honest, I love everything that Jackie makes.

And today, LunchBots is sponsoring up an incredible prize package to one lucky winner: A motherlode of LunchBots swag!

Giveaway: LunchBots Swag! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 5 of 5)

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Yay! It’s the last lunchbox of the week! If you’re like me, the meal-packing fatigue is really starting to set in, so I made sure to keep this one easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

Today’s LunchBots Uno features: Peachy Pork Lettuce Wraps and Cherry Tomatoes

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 5 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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#gluten-free #packed lunch #paleo #primal #nomnompaleo
Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5)

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Snicket. I know exactly what goes in my meatballs. And I happen to think they should appear at least once every couple of weeks on my dinner table and/or in my LunchBots.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For today’s lunch: Asian Meatballs with Bell Peppers & Blanched Broccoli.  

Yes, that’s right: BALLS OF MEAT.

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#packed lunch #paleo #primal #gluten-free #nomnompaleo #lunchbots
Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5)

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Custom-made fancy lunches are fun, but in all honesty, my packed work lunches almost always consist of leftovers. Why should it be any different for the rest of the family? 

Today’s LunchBots Duo is packed with: My Sister’s Phenomenal Green Chicken, Roasted Rosemary Almonds, and crudités.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I always make extra Green Chicken so I can munch on the leftovers. These drumettes make for an an easy and delicious grab-and-go lunch option. Go ahead and pack your lunchbox the night before; everything tastes great cold. (Of course, if you don’t share my love for cold chicken drumettes, you can always keep them in an insulated container like a LunchBots Thermal.)

And if eating leftovers means I get to sleep in a teeny bit more the next morning, that’s just icing on the cake. 

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#packed lunch #paleo #primal #gluten-free #nomnompaleo #lunchbots
Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5)

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who’s ready for another Paleo lunch idea? (If you missed yesterday’s box, read all about it, and also check out last year’s five-part series of packed lunches I made with Jackie Linder of LunchBots!).

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In today’s LunchBots Duo, we’re packing breakfast for lunch: Prosciutto & Egg Roll-Ups, Mini Cinnamon Apple Scone, and Mixed Fruit Salad.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know what you’re thinking: cold eggs?!? But these simple omelets make great wrappers, and they’re pretty darn good at room temp or cold. (I place an ice pack under my kids’ LunchBots.) In fact, Lil-O insists on eating his eggs cold, tamago-style (but sans sugar, soy, mirin, etc.). 

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Silverware is optional, but your fruit salad should really be portioned into a silicone cup or a separate compartment to prevent any juices from running into the rest of your food. I know it all ends up in the same place eventually, but I HATE soggy food.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Wanna see how easy it is to put this lunch together?

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#packed lunch #paleo #primal #gluten-free #nomnompaleo #lunchbots
Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5)

[UPDATED: My entire five-part series is done! Check out all the lunches here—and don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a motherlode of stainless steel LunchBots swag, too! (Entry deadline is August 28, 2013!)]

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Every year, it seems like summer ends just a little bit earlier. It’s only mid-August—Labor Day is still two weeks away!—but my kids are already back in school. (Just before his first day of kindergarten began, Lil-O announced to the kids clustered outside the classroom door that he farts out of his butt. This is going to be a looong year.)

Once again, we face the Dreaded Morning Scramble: a desperate race against the clock to get the boys scrubbed, changed, fed, and out the door—but not before getting their lunches packed. In the chaos of the morning, it can be a frustrating chore to make and pack fun, healthy, and easy mid-day meals. You know the feeling, right?

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

With this in mind, I partnered last year with my buddy Jackie Linder of LunchBots—my favorite stainless steel lunch containers in the world—to come up with a week’s worth of Paleo-friendly packed lunch ideas. (Check out our five-part series here!) This year, we decided to put our heads together again to whip up another week of Paleo lunches.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One thing to keep in mind before we kick off our new series of lunches: these are just ideas that are meant to inspire you to pack wholesome, healthful foods in your lunch boxes. Feel free to disregard the specifics, and pack whatever real foods you and your offspring will actually eat. After all, even if you’ve packed the most delicious and nutritious meal possible for your kids, it’ll all be for naught if it ends up in the garbage or traded away for a bag of chips and a can of soda.

Encourage your little ones to choose their own lunch items from your Paleo-friendly pantry and fridge. And have them help you make their lunches the night before. This way, the food you pack will actually stand a chance of getting eaten.

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And remember: lunches don’t have to be fancy. Lil-O still insists that his favorite packed lunch is cold scrambled eggs. (Weird, I know.)

Ready to read about a lunch you can pack tomorrow?

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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#packed lunch #paleo #primal #gluten-free #nomnompaleo #lunchbots
Forky Friday: 8/16/13

Forky Friday: 8/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello from Atlanta!

Forky Friday: 8/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For the next few days, I’m in the lovely Peach State to attend this year’s Ancestral Health Symposium. This is my third go-round (you can read about my previous AHS visits here and here), and as always, I dig seeing old pals (like Julie and Diana)…

Forky Friday: 8/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

and hanging in person with new ones (like Ute, Jennifer, and Russ).

Forky Friday: 8/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But this time, I won’t be writing detailed recaps of the symposium. After hopping on a cross-country flight immediately after finishing seven night shifts in a row (and arriving well after midnight), I’m too exhausted to engage my brain and type out a full-blown summary of AHS. (You can, however, tag along with me on Twitter and Instagram. I’m never too tired to tweet.)

Forky Friday: 8/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I will say, though, that my favorite talk so far was by Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf entitled “Liberation From the Industrial Food System.” Read the summary of their presentation here; it’ll open your eyes. After hearing what Robb and Diana had to say, I’m re-committing to buying my food from the farmer’s market, my CSAs, and Good Eggs. It’s the right thing for everyone.

Okay—enough about AHS for now. It’s Forky Friday, so let’s get to the links!

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#Forky Friday #Paleo #Primal #farmers' market
Giveaway: GIR Spatulas!

**UPDATE: The giveaway is over and the 4 winners have been contacted via email! Please check your inbox!**

Remember when I wrote about my 13 Essential Tools for the Paleo Kitchen? Well, that was just the tip of the iceberg. My house is filled with everything from spiral slicers and deli slicers to sous vide cookers and multiple pressure cookers. I have gyuto knives, julienne peelers, and dishers of every conceivable size. My ever-growing collection drives my neat freak husband bananas, but hey: all these doodads make cooking more fun, and they help get food onto the dinner table. So there.

GIR Spatula Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Still, this doesn’t mean I’ll buy just any old crappy gadget I spot on Pinterest or late night infomercials. I’m a discriminating gadget queen, and always make sure to do my research on sites like ConsumerSearch, Cook’s Illustrated, and The Sweethome before plunking down my cash. I also pay heed to the advice of my favorite culinary gurus like Michael Ruhlman, who long ago convinced me that rounded wooden spoons are stupid:

I have only one thing to add to Michael’s rant against wooden spoons: while I agree that wood remains a “great material” for cooking implements, I’ve come to prefer kitchen tools that don’t warp, stain, or scorch over time. That’s why I switched to flat-edged, silicone-headed spatulas a few years ago. But they’re certainly not perfect, either: The silicone heads can be too floppy (which can make mixing a challenge), and I have to separate the heads from the handles every time I wash ’em (or risk mildew growth—yuck). Plus, they’re kind of blah-looking.

But then, a few months ago, the clouds parted.

GIR Spatula Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Earlier this year, at the Food Blog Forum in Orlando, I fished a gorgeous blue GIR spatula out of my swag bag. GIR stands for “Get It Right”—and the creators certainly did just that. I was instantly struck by the spatula’s sleek design, super-comfortable grip, and well balanced heft. I couldn’t wait to try it out.

In the months since, I’ve used my GIR spatula for all manner of kitchen tasks, from folding and mixing "ice cream" to make bon bons

GIR Spatula Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…to sautéing onions and flipping burger patties.

GIR Spatula Giveaway! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

GIR spatulas are truly fantastic, and as sturdy as they are beautiful. Unlike their wooden (or wood-and-silicone) counterparts, GIR spatulas won’t warp or burn—nor will they stain after stirring a pot of marinara sauce. Also, the full-body silicone construction means I don’t have pull the head off the handle before tossing it in the dishwasher.

And did I mention that the design is a feast for the eyes?

Seriously: I love my GIR spatulas. Priced at $22.50 each, these babies aren’t cheap, but they’re well worth the price. Don’t believe me? Lucky for you, a few of my lucky readers will win three of their own GIR spatulas—for free!

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#GIR Spatulas #giveaway #sweepstakes #paleo #kitchen tools