Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops

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Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

With its Creole heritage, smothered pork chops is hearty comfort food at its most straightforward. Just brown some chops and cover ’em with a thick, savory layer of sautéed onions and gravy; you’ll have a satisfying meal in no time. But don’t mistake easy for bland. My flavor-first version of this southern dish will satisfy even the most ornery eater—guaranteed.

The secret to a smashing onion gravy, of course, is the roux—the thickening agent traditionally made from approximately equal amounts of fat to flour. My Paleo roux substitutes arrowroot powder for the flour, and uses bacon drippings as the fat of choice, which adds a wonderful smokiness to the sauce.

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And what goes better with pork chops than apples? Answer: nothing. 

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The sweetness of the fruit and onions strikes the perfect counterbalance to the bacon-y richness of the gravy. An apple a day doesn’t just keep the doctor away—it also takes these pork chops from good to great. 

Bacon Apple Smothered Pork Chops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Is your stomach growling yet? Then let’s get down to business!

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Upcoming Book Events in Corte Madera, Denver, and Chicago!

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After a couple of months of travel and book promotion, I’m back to alternating between weeks of hospital night shifts and full-time mommy duty. Still, I’ve managed to squeeze in some recipe testing (I have some tasty dishes coming to the blog soon!) and to do a smattering of book events during the weeks when I’m not slinging drugs in the middle of the night.

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Coming up:

Corte Madera, California

I may have done a few San Francisco Bay Area events already this year, but this’ll be my first signing in the north bay! On February 28, I’ll be appearing with Chris Kresser at Book Passage in Corte Madera, where we’ll be taking questions from the audience before attacking your books with Sharpies. (RSVP by clicking here). If you can’t make it to sunny Northern California to attend our talk, watch this virtual joint book event that we did with BookTalk Nation yesterday:

Technology is pretty cool: At the link above, you can order a personalized signed copy of my cookbook, too. Just enter the name of the recipient of the book, and I’ll write a note to him or her in the book before it gets shipped to you from one of my favorite indie bookstores, Kepler’s Books. (This was the bookstore I used to walk to from my parents’ house when I was a wee lass.) You gotta hurry though, ’cause the offer ends TONIGHT (Thursday, February 20, 2014).

Denver, Colorado

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I visited Colorado. Where did the time go?

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I’ll be heading out to Chicago next month, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pop into Denver to hang out and sign books at CrossFit Verve, home of the amazing Matt and Cherie Chan.

I’ll be in Colorado for one night only on Thursday, March 13, 2014, at CrossFit Verve from 7 to 9pm. At the start of this free event, I’ll host a Q&A—you can ask me ANYTHING!—as well as a giveaway filled with Nom Nom Paleo swag and Hamilton Beach slow cookers. Boulder Bookstore will be selling books at the signing, so if you don’t already have a copy (or if you want more!), you can easily pick one up at the event. Plus, there’ll be lots of local Paleo-friendly businesses at the event sampling their wares, so my one-and-only stop in Rockies is sure to be a rollicking good time. Learn more about the event and RSVP by clicking here!

Chicago, Illinois

From Denver, I’ll be flying to Chicago to attend a conference, eat my way through the city, and sign books at two free events with my gal pal, Diana Rodgers, author of Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go and the coolest nutritionist/organic farmer on the planet.

On Saturday, March 15, we’ll be taking questions, doing giveaways, and signing books at the venerable Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville starting at 11am. If you’re reading this right now and live in or near Naperville, you better get your rear end over to Anderson’s next month, or I’m going to have Diana sic her farm animals on you. We don’t expect to draw anywhere near as many readers to Anderson’s as Weird Al did, but still. Click here to learn more and RSVP!

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Finally, for you city-folks who can’t be bothered to make it out to the ‘burbs, Diana and I will be coming to see you at Chicago’s CrossFit 312 on Sunday, March 16, from 1 to 3pm, where we’ll host a Q&A and raffle off free stuff before getting to the serious business of personalizing your books with misspelled non-sequiturs and bad puns. Click here to read the deets and RSVP. 

See you soon!

Forky Friday: 2/14/14

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Forky Friday: 2/14/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Forky Friday: 2/14/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Because I heart you guys so much, I’m going to treat y’all to a special Forky Friday roundup of recipes from my new cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, that have been reprinted (with permission!) around the web. Some of ’em (like my Bone Broth and Slow Cooker Kalua Pig) are classics that are familiar to loyal readers, but many of these recipes have never before appeared on my site, including my umami-packed Magic Mushroom Powder and Macadamia Nut “Ricotta.” You won’t find these exclusive recipes on my blog’s Recipe Index, so bookmark this post and share it with your friends.

Forky Friday: 2/14/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Alright—enough of the jibber-jabber. On to the recipes!

Asian Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

This is one of my signature dishes, so there was zero chance of me leaving it out of my cookbook. Since the book’s release, I’ve loved seeing how my fried “rice” has been re-created (and in some cases, re-imagined!) by some of my favorite bloggers, including Diana Rodgers of Sustainable Dish, Kate Williams at Serious Eats, and Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Check out this video of Jaden’s wonderfully pared-down riff on my recipe:

(Can’t view the video? Click here!)

Bone Broth

Are you sick of hearing me extol the virtues of meaty bone broth?

Well, too bad, because I’m here to tell you to read this Serious Eats article about my recipe, in which my bone broth is put to the test. 

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Pressure Cooker Mexican Beef

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For the past couple of years, I’ve been making Oven Braised Mexican Beef at least twice a month because it’s simple and delicious—and because the kids’ll actually eat it. But here’s a dirty little secret: these days, I rarely braise it in the oven ’cause I can get similar results in a fraction of the time using a pressure cooker.

I’ve extolled the virtues of pressure cooking before, but it’s truly become one of my favorite cooking methods. (I love pretty much anything that helps me get satisfying meals on the table before I have to rush off to the hospital.) My trusty stovetop pressure cookers have been workhorses in my kitchen for some time now, but I recently treated myself to an Instant Pot because I’d read so many great things about this electric programmable multi-cooker. Also: I’m a gadget hoarder.

In fact, I’m such a hoarder that I’d neglected to break out my Instant Pot for months after buying it. It sat in a box in my garage for months before I managed to de-clutter my kitchen enough to make room for it.

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And now, I’m totally crushing on my Instant Pot. I love that I can make bone broth at a moment’s notice without having to babysit it like a stove-top pressure cooker. Also, the sauté function lets me brown aromatics or meat right in the pot before I throw in the rest of the ingredients. Yippee!

One thing to note: The Instant Pot cooks at a slightly lower pressure (11.6 psi) than my stove top pressure cookers (15 psi), but that just means having to add a few minutes to the cooking time. I increase the cooking time by 7 to 15%, and refer to my friend Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking website and charts for specific cooking times. If you’re at all a fan of pressure cooking, I suggest that you do the same. One more thing: even though the dish is finished in about an hour, I often don’t serve it ’til the next day. There’s a scientific reason why stews and braises taste better as leftovers.

So with all of that out of the way, wanna see how I’ve modified my Mexican Beef recipe to work in a pressure cooker?

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Paleo Eats: 2/5/14

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It feels like it’s been eons since I wrote up my daily eats. (I have no excuses; I’ve just been juggling other stuff and trying to spend more quality time with the kids.) Let’s hope I haven’t gotten too rusty!

My first meal of the day? A couple of over-easy eggs seasoned with furikake and bacon. 

Paleo Eats: 2/5/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know: it often feels like there’s not enough time in the morning to make a proper breakfast. As a full-time working parent, I feel your pain. The convenience of boxed cereal and toaster waffles is undeniably alluring. But it really doesn’t take much effort to throw together a healthier morning meal. And besides: it tastes better!

Paleo Eats: 2/5/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This morning, as soon as I trudged out of my bedroom and into the kitchen, I popped a tray of bacon into my countertop toaster oven. While the porky slices sizzled unattended, I prepared the kids’ school lunches and fried up plates of over-easy eggs. By the time Henry got home from his morning CrossFit sweat-fest, the eggs were done and the bacon was crisp. I sliced up some fresh fruit, and presto! Breakfast was ready for the entire bed-headed clan.

For those of you demanding to know “WHAT IN THE SAM HILL IS FURIKAKE?” (and too captivated by this oh-so-riveting blog post to tear yourself away to do a Google search), let me explain. Furikake’s an umami-packed traditional Japanese seasoning blend made with dried seaweed and often featuring other ingredients like toasted sesame seeds and dried bonito.

Paleo Eats: 2/5/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Book Events!

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I may have returned from my whirlwind January book tour to Texas and up and down the west coast, but I’m not done scrawling my messy signature on your books just yet! Next on the agenda: a couple more Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans book events this month in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Book Events! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

First up: A lively Q&A and book signing at Whole Foods San Mateo on Saturday, February 15, 2014, from 11 am to 2 pm!

Upcoming San Francisco Bay Area Book Events! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The San Mateo store is centrally located between San Francisco and San Jose, and just across the bridge from the East Bay, so if you’re within radio broadcast distance, come on over. In addition to chatting you up, I’ll  be giving away some cool Nom Nom Paleo swag and my favorite slow cooker, a 6-quart Hamilton Beach Set ’n Forget! The event is free, but please RSVP by clicking the link here.

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Reader Appreciation Giveaway: Instant Pot & Nom Nom Paleo Action Figure!

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Man, I’m a pretty lucky gal. This week brought two wonderful surprises (and a not-so wonderful one, too).

I was on nightshift duty at the hospital last week, so I was passed out in bed when a heavy package from Paleo Magazine arrived at our house. It wasn’t until my week of zombie drug dealing was over that I opened up the box—and happily discovered that we won the four categories for which we were nominated in Paleo Magazine’s Best of 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards!

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We won for:

  • Best Food Centered Food Blog!

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Then, on Friday afternoon, another surprise: I got a text message from Diane Sanfilippo alerting me that our cookbook had managed to sneak onto the New York Times Best Sellers list in the Dining category!

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Whoa. I was (pleasantly!) stunned. Our book had been out of stock at Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble for chunks of January, so I’d dismissed our chances of making any of the bestseller lists. I was on Cloud Nine—and then thirty minutes later, the main sewage line to our house backed up.

Ugh. Nothing like a little scat to keep my ego in check.

In all seriousness: I know I don’t say it nearly often enough, but THANK YOU. I’m sending out a big virtual hug to all my blog readers and to every person who shelled out his or her hard-earned moolah for our iPad app or cookbook. Thank you for cooking along with us—you make it all worthwhile.

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I read each and every comment, tweet, and email that comes our way. But because it’s just Henry and me working behind the scenes at Nom Nom Paleo—and only after the kids go to bed at 8 p.m.—we can’t always reply to all of your messages or write a proper thank you note.

So as a small token of our gratitude, we’re giving away an brand-spanking-new Instant Pot IP-DUO60—as well as a bunch of my limited edition vinyl action figures! Yep, one winner will receive an Instant Pot and five others will win a Mini-Michelle action figure!

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Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition

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Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Before launching into this week’s links—which are all about Super Bowl party planning tips!—I want to take a second to wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year. (And if you have no clue what I’m talking about, I’m sorry; I’m guessing you missed out on a lot of red envelopes growing up!)

Now—who’s ready for some football?

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not me, that’s for sure.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE the Super Bowl. I just happen to like the stuff that happens in-between the action on the field, namely the commercials and halftime show. Each year, I giddily anticipate the potentially-scandalous, FCC-angering, lip-synched halftime show, and I’m already excited about critiquing the bazillion-dollar commercials for processed food and insurance. I wonder if any of this year’s commercials will top my all-time favorite

I‘ve hosted tons of Super Bowl parties in my time, but while others in the house are on the edge of their seats for every play, I’m usually clueless as to which two teams are actually vying for the Lombardi Trophy. This year’s different, though; I actually know that the Seahawks are playing the Broncos because my book signings in Seattle coincided with the NFC championship game between the ’Hawks and my hometown Niners. I even know who Richard Sherman is. Kind of.

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Confession: I might’ve told folks in Seattle that if they came to my Book Larder signing, their home team would win.

I’m pretty sure my father-in-law will never forgive me.

(By the way, if you missed my January tour, there a bunch of signed copies available on-line and in-store at Book Larder. Go grab ’em!)

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Anyway, enough jawing about football. Let’s talk instead about hosting a Super Bowl party!

Don’t freak out if you’re not feeling prepared. If you’re a calm and gracious host, your party will go swimmingly. The best way to ensure an even keel—besides downing pharmaceuticals or adult beverages—is to prep almost all of your food ahead of time. Right before your pals arrive, lay out a buffet of finger foods and a do-it-yourself taco bar, and you’ll be all set. People like to get up and yell at the TV, so foods that you can gobble up in a flash are the way to go if you don’t want a big mess on your floor. I don’t know about you, but if I need to mop up after sloppy guests, I tend to hulk out. (I will not tolerate missing any wardrobe malfunctions, people.)

Wanna see what you can put together for your buffet bites/taco bar bonanza?

Super Bowl Party Two-Bite Delights :

Dolled-Up Hard Boiled Eggs!

Deviled eggs are almost always a crowd-pleaser. Our new cookbook has a dead-simple, deceptively elegant variation called Lazy Devils. You start with a batch of perfect hard-boiled eggs

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and cut ’em in half…

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…slather on flavored mayo, and add on your favorite toppings. You can’t go wrong.

Forky Friday: 2014 Paleo Super Bowl Party Edition by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

( Oh, and I won’t tell anyone if you start with pre-boiled, pre-peeled eggs from Trader Joe’s.)

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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Russ Crandall’s The Ancestral Table

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I’m ridiculously excited that my week of nightshifts is over because that means I finally have time to geek out on my pal Russ Crandall’s new cookbook, The Ancestral Table. A review copy of his beautiful book landed on my doorstep in the middle of my workweek, and I’ve been counting down the days ’til I can spend an entire day cooking all the dishes I’ve flagged in this book. (My Japanese-food-loving spawn have already demanded that I make Russ’s Teriyaki Chicken, Japanese Beef Curry, and Yakitori—preferably all at once.)

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I already know I’m going to have a blast cooking through this book. Russ is one of my favorite food bloggers ’cause he focuses on perfectly re-creating classic gourmet dishes with traditional, real-food ingredients—and highlights each recipe with sharp, uncluttered photographs to boot. It’s no wonder that his blog, The Domestic Man, was a finalist for Saveur’s Best Special Diets Food Blog Award last year.

If you’re a fan of Russ’s blog, too, you’ll adore his book. Not only does The Ancestral Table feature spot-on international recipes, enlightening food facts, and beautiful photos — it also explains why Russ incorporates rice, potatoes, and dairy in many of his recipes. A good number of us who eat Paleo have added some or all of these formerly-verboten ingredients back into our diet; personally, I’ve found that I feel fine (even better!) consuming “safe starches” in moderate amounts. The bottom line, after all, is that our food should be nourishing and delicious without making us feel like crap afterwards.

A few days ago, I asked Russ if he would reveal some deep-dark secrets about his new cookbook on my blog—and he was kind enough to oblige. Take it away, Russ! (And go pre-order his cookbook!)


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1. Bacon only appears 4 times in the book. The Paleo movement is often associated with bacon, and for good reason; after a cursory data pull (using the Paleo cookbooks I have here at the house), bacon shows up in an average of 13% of all recipes in Paleo cookbooks. In my book, bacon shows up in 3% of the recipes. That’s not a dig against bacon or the presence of bacon in other cookbooks. It’s more of a way to highlight the diversity you’ll find in The Ancestral Table.

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Forky Friday: 1/24/14

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Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready or not, here I come—with my favorite links of the week!

In The Kitchen

When I first started eating according to a Paleo template, the biggest challenge wasn’t removing ”heart-healthy” whole grains or beans from my diet—it was the prospect of having to cook ALL THE TIME. I didn’t want to spend my entire life in front of the stove—especially when I could be catching up with The Real Housewives on TV.

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But now, having logged thousands of hours in the kitchen, I no longer feel like pulling out my hair in clumps when faced with dinner prep. Of course, it also helps that I’ve continued to learn and employ time- (and sanity-) saving tips and tricks that streamline the cooking process.

Case in point: I love this post in The Kitchn about 18 Daily Habits that Make Life in the Kitchen Better.

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And thanks to this HuffPo article, I’ve eliminated a number of bad kitchen habits, too.

My favorite new shortcut in the kitchen? I’ve been keeping a large stainless steel bowl filled with warm, soapy water in the sink so I can chuck dirty utensils and dishes into it as I cook. Presto! Washing dishes just got a lot easier!

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I just need to keep reminding myself not to toss any knives into the suds. (Because “Surprise! You just lost a finger!” ain’t my idea of a good time.)

Still Whole30in’ On?

For all of you who soldiered through the KILL ALL THE THINGS phase of the Whole30 (like my super-awesome sister Fiona!), welcome to the home stretch!

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