January Jumpstart: Week Two

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Okay, gang—we’re entering the second week of our January jumpstart. You still with me? Good!

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Before we dive in, I’ve got a special treat for those of you who’ve embarked on a Whole30 this month: due to popular demand, I’ve created a free downloadable list of all the Whole30-friendly recipes in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. Click here to get it!

Spoiler alert: Over 100 of the recipes in my book are Whole30-compliant! As the review of our book on the Whole30 site points out:

A few of the sauces and dressings call for honey or some other form of added sugar, but she does her best to give you a Whole30-compliant substitute, like using a pitted date instead of honey in her sriracha. Which means the entire cookbook, right up to Page 249, is almost completely Whole30-friendly.

Haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of my book yet? No worries—here’s another nomtastic batch of recipes to try as you tackle the New Year and punch it in the face!

Easy Paleo Frittata

I love eating leftovers for breakfast, but I know that for many folks, it’s absolutely unthinkable to start the day with something that resembles dinner food. The solution? Throw your leftover meat into a sunny, eggy frittata

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Garbage Stir Fry with Curried Cabbage

This is a fantastic way to quickly and easily transform that package of ground meat in your fridge into a fragrant and hearty weeknight meal. And don’t be put off by the name—after all, one person’s garbage is another person’s stir-fry, right?

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Tonnato Sauce

Going Paleo doesn’t mean getting stuck with bland, boring foods. Instead, give your taste buds a big bear hug by making sure you’ve got plenty of delicious sauces and flavor-boosters on hand, like this classic, umami-packed Italian sauce.

January Jumpstart: Week Two by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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January Jumpstart: Week One

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January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who’s ready for a fresh start to the year?

To inspire you to kick off 2014 with some deliciously healthy eats, over the course of January, I’m going to lay out four weeks’ worth of lip-smacking, nourishing grub. And don’t worry if you’re on the straight-and-narrow this month—I chose recipes of mine that should fit into any Paleo template, whether you’re on a short-term dietary reset like the Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox, or you’ve settled into an everyday real-food approach.

Before we get started, I should point out that this isn’t meant to be a meal plan. In these posts, I won’t be telling you what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you certainly shouldn’t feel compelled to make every single thing listed (though you certainly can, if you feel like it!). Instead, I hope that some or all of these recipes will strike your fancy, and spark ideas about other dishes you can make this month and beyond. My goal is simple: to inspire you to cook and eat Paleo without sacrificing flavor or fun.

So with that out of the way, here are my picks for Week One:

Shrimp-Stuffed Mushrooms

This simple Asian-inspired appetizer is a crowd-pleaser that never disappoints—even when the “crowd” consists of just me and my boys.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ghee

As you go through January—heck, as you go through life—you’ll find that you need ghee, and plenty of it. Trust me on this.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Mayonnaise

You’ll need mayo, too. And making it with an immersion blender is even easier, so what are you waiting for?

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Sriracha

And since we’re on the topic of flavor-boosters, why not make yourself a batch of homemade sriracha—the kind that isn’t loaded with unpronounceable preservatives? Sriracha is, after all, a delicious blessing flavored with the incandescent glow of a thousand dying suns.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Doro Wat

Need to warm yourself from the inside-out? This wonderfully spicy Ethiopian chicken stew should do the trick.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Roasted Chestnuts

On finger-numbing winter evenings, there is nothing better in this world than a bag of freshly-roasted chestnuts. I repeat: nothing.

January Jumpstart: Week One by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com 

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Nom Nom Paleo’s Top 15 Posts of 2013

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Nom Nom Paleo's Top 15 Posts of 2013 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As the year draws to a close, let’s step into our time machine and revisit my top posts of 2013. I dug through our site metrics, and learned that of the roughly 200 (non-cookbook-related!) posts I published on Nom Nom Paleo over the past 12 months, these 15 were the most popular, as judged by traffic, notes, comments, and dissemination on social media:

15. Orange Sriracha Chicken (October 27)

I don’t know if it’s the sweet, citrusy notes in the sauce or the spicy sriracha kick—or if readers were just freaked out that the Huy Fong Sriracha plant in southern California was seemingly under constant threat of shutdown—but my recipe for Orange Sriracha Chicken was a fan favorite. (It’s one of mine, too.)

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

14. Forky Friday: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord (November 22)

Every November, we’re faced with a conundrum: How do we prepare a Turkey Day feast for a house full of Paleo eaters? This year, I posted a series of Thanksgiving recipes, ranging from Spatchcocked Turkey and Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw to Cran-Cherry Sauce and Umami Gravy. And in advance of the big dinner, I posted a rundown of all the recipes—and added a bunch more, too. Wanna see?

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13. Kelly Brozyna’s Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust (September 30)

I adore Kelly and her family. And when I received an advance review copy of her latest book, The Paleo Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook, I couldn’t wait to get cooking. Everything looked incredible, but Kelly’s Chocolate Pie recipe jumped off the page at me. See what I mean?

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

12. Round-up: Another Week of Paleo Lunches (August 23)

For the second year in a row, I partnered with Jackie Linder of Lunchbots—the best and most stylish stainless steel lunch containers in the known universe!—to present a week’s worth of Paleo-friendly packed lunch ideas. We had a great time putting these lunches together, and happily, it looks like you guys enjoyed reading about them, too!

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Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement!

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Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello from northern Thailand!

I hope you’ve been enjoying our blog posts about our travels in Asia, but before we head out for more adventures in Chiang Mai, I wanted to shoot you a quick note because…drum roll, please…today marks the official release of our cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans!

(I’m using the word “official” because—much to my surprise—copies of my book have already been magically popping up in bookstores across North America. Woo hoo!)

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s been a long road. Henry and I painstakingly pieced this thing together from scratch—from the writing, photography, and recipe testing to the illustrations, cover design, and layout of each page. We even conscripted some underage labor into helping out.

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Thankfully, we had the help of our wonderful, life-saving partners at Andrews McMeel, and the unflagging encouragement of our family and friends. Together, we crafted a book that we’re incredibly proud to call our own. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to finally share with you everything that Henry and I poured into the pages of this cookbook.

Our (Cookbook) Birth Announcement! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans is packed with stuff—literally. We filled every last page to the very edge of the margins with over 120 recipes and more than 900 step-by-step photographs and cartoon illustrations—not to mention tips, tricks, and even a few off-color jokes. Our aim was to create a fun, engaging cookbook that’s as entertaining as it is useful for you. And now, after years of work, it’s finally here!

This is where you come in…

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Forky Friday: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord!

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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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Umami Gravy

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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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Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash

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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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Forky Friday: 11/15/13

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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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Butterflied Big Bird (Spatchcocked Turkey)

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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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