Nom Nom Paleo

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache

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Doing a Whole30 this month? You rock. But QUICK! LOOK AWAY! THERE’S NOTHING TO SEE HERE!

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Really—this post ain’t for you…or at least, not right now. Go check out my Whole30 recaps, or better yet, go make yourself some Cracklin’ Chicken or Sweet Potato Hash with Fried Eggs. Come back in September—this ice cream’ll still be here. 

Still with me—and looking for a cool, dairy-free treat to beat the heat? Then follow along as I crack open my copy of Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream and whip up some vanilla ice cream with chocolate ganache!

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ever since a review copy arrived in the mail, I’ve been eyeing the vanilla ice cream. You’d think I’d make a beeline for the chocolate ice cream recipes in Kelly’s beautiful new book, but NOPE. Know why?

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

’Cause of this little guy.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As soon as he spied me dragging my long-neglected ice cream maker out of the garage, my six-year-old vanilla ice cream fanatic knew what was up. And he wasn’t shy about pointing out precisely which recipe he wanted me to make.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Vanilla packs a huge wallop, and is anything but boring. According to Cook’s Illustrated, vanilla’s a “flavor potentiator” that not only increases our perception of sweetness, but also our ability to taste other ingredients that accompany it—like nuts, fruit, coffee, and chocolate. 

But as much as I share Lil-O’s love of vanilla, there’s no way I was going to let someone who can’t even tie his own shoes keep me from my beloved dark chocolate. 

The compromise? Ganache, baby. GANACHE.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As Kelly points out, ganache (a.k.a. fancy chocolate sauce) can be made dairy-free, too; just substitute full-fat coconut milk for the heavy cream. Drizzle some ganache over a scoop (or three) of Kelly’s rich, dairy-free vanilla ice cream, add a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds, and you’re all set for one of the best frozen treats you’ve had since going Paleo.

Kelly Brozyna’s Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream + Ganache by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who’s ready to scream for some ice cream?

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My BFF (My Best Farmer Friend)

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It’s kind of baffling that Diana Rodgers can stand me. I mean, I was rude to her the first time we met, and a year later, I almost burned down her family’s 18th century farmhouse.

My BFF (My Best Farmer Friend) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m glad she doesn’t hold a grudge, and that we’ve become fast friends. We’ll be roomies again in a few days, when Diana’ll be back in the Bay Area to present at the fourth annual Ancestral Health Symposium. This year, the conference will be held at my alma mater, UC Berkeley (go Bears!), which means I’ll get to show Diana where I used to pick up bean and tofu burritos while clomping around town in my shiny black Doc Martens and listening to Pearl Jam on my Discman.

It won’t be quite the same, though, as when our family stayed at Diana’s farm in Massachusetts for AHS in 2012. 

My BFF (My Best Farmer Friend) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our family still reminisces about our time as guests at Clark Farm, and how it changed the way we look at food. Ensconced in our little pocket of the Silicon Valley, we have no pets (save for a few neglected Furbies), and our yard produces nothing but weeds, so for my iPad-addicted kids, staying on a farm was like living on Mars. In a good way.

My BFF (My Best Farmer Friend) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The O’s loved the farm, and didn’t want to leave (or say goodbye to their new friends).

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Last week, when Diana posted the first of several videos from Clark Farm about how she and her husband Andrew raise and harvest healthy food, my boys eagerly watched it with me.

Watch this video—you’ll learn a lot from Diana, Andrew, and their team (including their kids). It certainly made us wish we were hanging out on the farm again.

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Slim Palate’s Pistachio-Crusted Salmon

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Slim Palate's Pistachio-Crusted Salmon by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Know what you can get with just six ingredients and twenty minutes? A seriously sophisticated supper.

I wish I could take credit for this elegant and deceptively simple salmon dish, but I actually found it in my pal Joshua Weissman’s The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook. At the ripe old age of 18 (yep—Josh wrote his cookbook before graduating from high school), he’s figured out that no one needs a bunch of fussy ingredients or fancy techniques to create flavorful, crowd-pleasing dishes.

Slim Palate's Pistachio-Crusted Salmon by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Having tried Josh’s Pistachio-Crusted Salmon, I’ve decided to add it to the regular dinner rotation at our house because:

  1. I want my family to eat more fish.
  2. My kids love salmon, I know I won’t hear any complaints at the dinner table.
  3. always have the other ingredients for this recipe on hand—except for the salmon.

Thankfully, I can order sustainable seafood from Siren Fish Co. (via Good Eggs)—including some fantastic wild king salmon. I tweaked Josh’s recipe slightly to accommodate my one-pound fillet, which I divided into three portions. But don’t worry: the magical flavors and textures of this dish are all Josh.

Here’s what to gather to feed 3 people (or—in our case—2 adults and 2 pint-sized boys):

  • 1 (1-pound) wild king salmon fillet, skin on and pin bones removed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard (I actually used the whole grain variety)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives or scallions
  • ½ cup shelled salted and dry roasted pistachios, crushed

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Forky Friday: 7/25/14

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Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know: it’s hot, you’re tired, and you need to rest your sweaty noggin. The remedy? Pour yourself a large glass of pineapple coconut water and lose yourself in my favorite links of the week!

Jimmy Kimmel’s No Master Chef

If your gut is friends with dairy, Gordon Ramsay’s method for making creamy scrambled eggs is well worth a try. The dish appears dead-simple to whip up—especially when Chef Ramsay (yes, that’s Ramsay with an “A”—caution butt photo ahead) makes it on TV—but looks can be deceiving. His recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live proves that not everyone can be a Master Chef. 

Don’t worry, Jimmy—practice makes perfect!

Hot Tubbin’ Steaks

It saddens me to report that my “defrost bowl” now sits empty most of the time. I’ve just been too lazy and forgetful to keep replenishing it with frozen meat from the freezer. 

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Still, I don’t sweat it if all my meat’s frozen solid ’cause I know of a sure-fire way to defrost steaks in a flash. You may have heard that you should only thaw meat in the fridge or in cold water, but in fact, you can dunk frozen meat in hot water to get it ready for the grill in just minutes.

Food scientist Harold McGee was recently interviewed on The Splendid Table about how it’s perfectly safe (and smart!) to thaw steaks in 100°F water. (And by the way, if you’re a self-proclaimed food nerd and you don’t have copies of McGee’s Keys to Good Cooking and On Food and Cooking on your bookshelf, I’m calling you out RIGHT NOW.)

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Slice and Dice Like A Ninja

You already know that the most important weapon in your kitchen arsenal is a sharp chef’s knife (and not just because it’s all sharp and stabby), but are you cutting your veggies in the most efficient way possible? If not, check out this great video by Andrew Zimmern as he demonstrates how to cut perfect batons, matchsticks, ½” dice, and brunoise (a.k.a. super-teeny-tiny dice).

Bonus round: Want an ingenious tip for slicing a bunch of cherry tomatoes all at once?

Grab two plates (or container lids), a sharp knife, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. And watch this video. Don’t forget to take a moment to admire how the posh British narrator calls ’em to-MAH-toes.

Really—this works like a charm. See?

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday: 7/25/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Mind blown, right?

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Nom Nom Paleo Invades Whole Foods Market!

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Hey, eagle-eyed Whole Foods Market shoppers in Northern California and Reno: Have you noticed a familiar face peeping at you from the aisles? Don’t worry, it’s not a creepy stalker lurking behind the olive bar—it’s Cartoon Me!

Nom Nom Paleo Invades Whole Foods Market Northern California! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com No, you’re not hallucinating: Right now, at all 40 Whole Foods Market stores across Northern California and Reno, my goofy mug is everywhere. Pretty crazy, right?

Nom Nom Paleo Invades Whole Foods Market Northern California! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Over the years, plenty of folks have asked me how to stock their pantries, fridges, and freezers with Paleo-friendly supermarket purchases. I’ve pointed ’em in the direction of my blog, my iPad app, and my cookbook, but I know that shoppers would prefer to just see my recommendations right there while they’re shopping in the store

And now, it’s actually happening.

Nom Nom Paleo Invades Whole Foods Market Northern California! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not long ago, the team at Whole Foods Market Northern California reached out to pitch a summertime partnership with Nom Nom Paleo—and how could I say no? Aside from my local farmer’s markets (and Good Eggs), Whole Foods is where I spend much of my hard-earned moolah in an effort to feed my family right. Unlike shopping at other supermarkets, I don’t have to wade through a bunch of hyper-processed Frankenfoods to locate my preferred kitchen essentials. (Also, I have to admit that the prospect of seeing my cartoon logo plastered all over Northern California Whole Foods Market locations was irresistible.)

So I got cookin’.

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Spice Hound Giveaway

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Spice Hound Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

**UPDATE on 7/27/14: The giveaway is OVER! Congrats to Chavy C.!**

Staying motivated in the kitchen ain’t always easy, but we all know that cooking our own meals is the best way to nourish ourselves and our families. The problem? WE’RE TIRED AND LAZY.

I’m right there with you. But here’s my secret to mouth-popping food: I keep a stash of delicious flavor boosters in my pantry. That way, when I’m too exhausted to cook anything complicated, I turn to a handful of dishes I can whip up on autopilot that still deliver big flavor. Example? Garbage Stir Fry!

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The key to amping up the flavors in even your simplest homemade concoctions is to use high quality spices, salts, and seasoning blends. I’ve tried a lot of spice blends on the market, and as longtime readers know, some of my favorites are from a local Bay Area company, Spice Hound. Years ago, I met the owner, Tammy Tan, when my nose (and my kids’ grabby hands) led me to her stand at the Palo Alto Farmers’ Market.

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After purchasing and trying a bunch of Tammy’s spice blends, I was hooked.

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You can smell the difference with Tammy’s spices as soon as you twist open the jars. Her blends and spices are incredibly fresh (unlike a lot of the spices in the supermarket that have been sitting on the shelves for who-knows-how-long), and go a long way towards enhancing the dishes I make. Spices and salts are Tammy’s passion, and she searches the ends of the earth to source the best ones available.

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Plus, Spice Hound grinds all the blends in house and just about all of ’em are Whole30-approved! At the moment, Spice Hound spices are only available online for shipment to the 50 states. (If you’re in the Bay Area, you can also pick them up in person at Spice Hound’s San Francisco brick and mortar store and at the Sunday Campbell and Palo Alto farmer’s markets.)

But thanks to Tammy’s generosity, everyone on the planet—not just us Americans—has a chance to try my favorite blends in this week’s giveaway!

What’s up for grabs? 

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Pressure Cooker Crispy Potatoes

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"But…but…but…potatoes aren’t Paleo!"

(7/18/14 UPDATE: White potatoes are now Whole30 approved!)

Once again, with feeling: It all depends on what you mean when you say “Paleo.” There is, after all, no such thing as one definitive Paleo diet. Potatoes may not have been available to cavemen, but I really don’t care. Historical re-enactment ain’t my cup of tea. (Besides, it’s not like our prehistoric ancestors snacked on dark chocolate bars, either.)

My personal template for Paleo eating focuses on nutrient-packed whole foods that don’t hurt me. For me, potatoes fall into that category. After checking out Bill and Hayley’s post on the Paleosity of potatoes, listening to the safe starch debate, and soaking in Mat Lalonde’s talk about nutrient density at the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium (during which Mat pointed out that peeled potatoes are actually more nutrient dense than sweet potatoes, save for the beta-carotene in the latter), I’ve decided that an occasional portion of peeled potatoes are a-OK on my plate. Your circumstances may be different; for instance, if you’re on a super-low-carb protocol at the moment, you’re probably not looking to down a bowl of spuds.

Blah, blah, blah, science, science, science, blah, blah, blah.

With that pesky business out of the way, let me show you how to use a pressure cooker to make spuds with crispy exteriors and fluffy interiors in no time flat.

Ready?

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Here’s what to gather to make a side dish fit for four folks:

  • 1 pound fingerling or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform 1 - 1½ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee or favorite animal fat
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced Italian parsley
  • ½ medium lemon

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Watercress With Seared Prosciutto + Peaches

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Watercress With Seared Prosciutto + Peaches by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Heads up: A ten-minute meal comin’ your way!

I’m not kidding—this dish takes NO. TIME. AT. ALL.

Prosciutto-wrapped peaches on a bed of bitter greens is a classic Italian starter that I used to order every time I spotted it on a summer menu…’til it finally dawned on me that this dead-simple recipe can be made at home for pennies on the dollar. Yeah, I can be dense sometimes. It took this old dog a decade to learn this peachy new trick, but hey: better late than never, right?

Once ripe peaches made their first appearance of the year at the local farmers’ market, I started making this savory, sweet, and assertive summer salad on a regular basis. Can you blame me?

Watercress With Seared Prosciutto + Peaches by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Most recipes call for grilling the porky peaches, but I’ve found that searing ’em in a skillet is a much easier and faster method. (In fact, it takes longer to fire up the barbecue than it does to prepare and eat this gorgeous hot-weather salad using a skillet.) 

Plus, I’ve replaced the usual bed of arugula with watercress. Why? ’Cause she’s the new Queen Bee of the vegetable aisle (that’s right: move over, kale), and I’ve been doing my darnedest to incorporate this nutrient-packed powerhouse into my diet. The warm peaches wilt the watercress slightly, making each mouthful  a kaleidoscope of flavors and textures.

What do you say? Ready to try your hand at my favorite summer salad?

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Forky Friday: 7/11/14

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Forky Friday: 7/11/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Dying to know what food-related links are top-of-mind for me this week? No? Well, just humor me anyway.

Taco Bell: Going Paleo?

Once upon a time, I proudly declared Taco Bell to be my favorite fast-food joint. As a high schooler, I made a Run To The Border™ on a regular basis with my fellow pimply-faced pals to order (and then annihilate) pile after pile of crunchy, cheesy Taco Supremes. I even wanted my very own caulking gun to squeeze reduced-fat sour cream on…well, everything. Weirdly and disgustingly enough, I have fond memories of Taco Bell. That’s why this Bloomberg article suggesting that Taco Bell’s attempting to tap into the Paleo market actually made me hopeful…for a nanosecond.

Forky Friday: 7/11/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Upon closer inspection of Taco Bell’s press release announcing its new “Cantina Power Menu,” though, it’s painfully obvious that the company’s just upping the protein on the menu without doing anything to improve the quality of the ingredients. And despite the misleading headline of the Bloomberg piece, Taco Bell’s new menu clearly doesn’t aim to be Paleo at all. After all, they should know that Paleos won’t stuff junk into our mouths just ’cause the protein volume’s been doubled. Our mascot may be a caveman, but we’re not stupid; Taco Bell’s food products—no matter how high protein or low carb—are nowhere near Paleo-friendly.

I still kind of want a Taco Supreme, though.

Guess Who (I Wish) Was Coming to Dinner

I’m not usually a fan of icebreaker activities, but there’s one get-to-know-you question I really dig. Melicious posed it to me a while back: “You can have dinner with any characters from movies, TV, or books that you want. Table for 8. Who’s at the table?”

Clearly, I have a hard time with reading comprehension, because instead of offering up a bunch of fictional characters like she asked, I spat out a list of celebrities like Andy CohenAnthony Bourdain, and George Takei. The only non-celeb on my list was BMO from Adventure Time — the best robot companion in the Land of Ooo.

But now, I’m thinking about swapping BMO out for the hardest working man in show business, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Sorry, BMO, but a guy with 16 jobs trumps a cute little robot. Even one with an alter ego named Football.

Forky Friday: 7/11/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not only has Questlove dazzled audiences (including Late Night fans) as the drummer/frontman of The Roots, but he also happens to be obsessed with eating fabulous food.

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Spicy Tuna Cakes

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Spicy Tuna Cakes by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Now that I’ve quit my job, I should’ve spent the past week developing and writing up a brand-spankin’ new recipe for y’all, but you know how it is: the mountain of crumpled-up laundry on the couch is keeping me from doing ALL THE THINGS. I’ll admit it: I’m terrible at keeping our house in order. But don’t you worry your pretty little heads; as soon as I emerge from this bottomless pile of mismatched socks and pillowcases, I’ll get back to cooking. After all, there’s nothing I love more than messing up the kitchen.

Spicy Tuna Cakes by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In the meantime, how ’bout I share one of the most popular recipes from our cookbook and iPad app? (You’re nodding, right?) Ready or not, it’s time for Spicy Tuna Cakes! 

Spicy Tuna Cakes by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I make these portable savory cakes about once a month ’cause I aways have the ingredients on hand. You may not normally associate canned fish with sweet potatoes and jalapeño peppers, but trust me on this one: they’re tender and subtly sweet, with a wickedly peppery bite that sneaks up on you. The heat levels can be adjusted to your taste; amp it up by subbing serrano peppers in place of jalapeño, or turn it down by cutting down on the red pepper flakes. Serve these spicy cakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or whip up an extra-big batch for your next dinner party!

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