Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 (Paleo Cooking From Elana’s Pantry)

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I’m smack-dab in the middle of a three-week hiatus from my zombie drug dealing duties, but that just means I’m only wearing three hats this week: full-time mommy, food blogger, and crazed cookbook author. Our final edits for our forthcoming cookbook are DUE TOMORROW, and it’s all hands on deck.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

When I’m not corralling the kids, I’m poring over our proofs and cringing every time I find a typo. Henry’s exhausted, too; after the kids are in bed each night, we’ve been cranking away on edits and design. Both of us are staying up waaay too late and and waking up waaay too early.

As a result, my coffee habit has bloomed into a full-blown addiction. Every morning, I’ve been mainlining coffee as I get the boys ready for day camp—and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. I found this sketch in Big-O’s notebook:

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Busted.

Yesterday, after I packed the kids’ lunches, I made myself a quick breakfast of fried sausage, sauerkraut, and sliced cherry tomatoes. 

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our meals this week have mostly consisted of slapdash, uninspired fare because I haven’t had the time or energy to make anything elaborate. But this night would be different: I promised the kids that I’d make up for my negligence by preparing a proper dinner from Elana Amsterdam’s wonderful new cookbook, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For years, I’ve been a huge fan of Elana Amsterdam’s simple, fool-proof, and delicious culinary creations. I love that she healed herself with food, and I draw inspiration from her fierce commitment to her boys. Ever since I received an advance review copy of Elana’s cookbook several weeks ago, it’s been taunting me from the top of the pile of books on my nightstand:

Pick me up! Cook from me! Can’t you see that I’m filled with almost 100 gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free recipes? Didn’t you see my Bacon Tart recipe?! 

As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients stocked in my fridge and pantry for Chicken Marbella, a roasted chicken dish I remember making (and loving) years ago from one of my very first cookbooks, The Silver Palate by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. Elana’s version retains all of my favorite elements (prunes, olives, capers, vinegar, oregano, and olive oil) and replaces the ones I no longer use (sugar and wine).

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Although Elana’s recipe calls for cubed chicken breast, I ended up using skin-on, bone-in thighs and drumsticks ‘cause that’s what was sitting in my defrost bowl.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The marinade was a breeze to throw-together — except for the fact that the olives in my pantry were not pitted. I painstakingly removed all the pits by hand, but learned later from Instagram commenters that I could’ve quickly removed the seeds with my trusty cherry pitter. D’oh! I’m such a dummy.

I stuck the chicken in the fridge to marinate until dinnertime, and then shuttled the kiddos to camp.

At noon, I decided to take a short break from editing the cookbook to make myself a quick bowl of zoodles and meatballs

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I already had bulk Italian sausage and jarred marinara sauce in the fridge; with the help of my spiral slicer, lunch was ready in 10 minutes.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But after filling my belly, I got sidetracked from book editing, and spent the rest of the afternoon snapping pictures to post on Instagram instead. (I know: I’m terrible.) I’ve suddenly (finally!) discovered how much I like posting pictures on Instagram. Follow me if you want to see what I’m snapping with my iPhone.

By the time I looked at the clock, it was already time to pick up the boys from camp. When we got home, I found my Good Eggs delivery on my doorstep. Good Eggs is an online market that pairs consumers with a carefully vetted and curated group of local farmers and artisans. Its mission is to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide, and although Good Eggs is in only select markets right now, they’re looking to expand.

If you live in my neck of the woods (or Los Angeles), you can get all sorts of great items delivered Tuesday through Thursday to a local pick-up site (for free) or to your home (for an extra $3.99). I ordered a pastured pork sampler, pastured eggs…

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and organic produce. 

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Everything was super fresh, well-sourced, and reasonably priced for the outstanding quality. I may never go to the store again.

For dinner, I grabbed the marinated chicken from the fridge…

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…tossed it in a roasting pan

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and popped it in the oven along with a tray of ghee-tossed broccoli, trumpet mushrooms, and baby carrots.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Dinner was ready in about 45 minutes.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Because I modified Elana’s recipe to use bone-in, skin-on thighs and drumsticks in place of chicken breasts, I also broiled them for a couple of minutes to brown the skin.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Elana’s recipe is fantastic: the perfect balance of savory, sweet, and tangy.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Big-O requested three(!) servings of chicken and kept raving about how this dish was his new favorite.

Paleo Eats: 6/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I have to agree with him. The chicken was fab, but the best part of this dish was the flavorful olives and prunes, which had soaked up all the juices of the roasted chicken.

There are many more recipes I can’t wait to make from Elana’s book, like Honey Lemon Chicken and the aforementioned Bacon Tart. (BACON! TART!) People: you need this cookbook. And it costs less than $15—I’ve spent more on an uncooked chicken at the market.

I wish I could spend the rest of the day making dishes from Elana’s beautiful book, but it’s time for me to get back to work. Editing my own cookbook has given me an even greater appreciation for the work that folks like Elana have put into their food writing, recipe development, and testing. Go show Elana your love for all that she does!