Forky Friday: 3/15/14

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Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I thought it was going to be teeth-chatteringly arctic in Chicago today – a stinging reminder for this California girl that spring has not yet sprung in all parts of the US of A. But happily, it’s not nearly as frigid as I expected. Yay!

Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m in town for the weekend to attend a conference, eat my way around the city, and do two joint book events with my gal pal, Diana Rodgers. (If you’re interested in coming, go RSVP for our free book events at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville and CrossFit 312 right here in Chicago!) 

Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But before I do, I suppose I better get caught up with another edition of Forky Friday. Are you ready?

Reading is Good For You

Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know that Paleo books are hitting shelves at a fast and furious pace. Yes, our cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, is my personal favorite (shameless plug alert!), but there are two brand-spankin’ new books you really must check out:

Joshua Weissman, the talented young man behind the gorgeous Slim Palate blog, has just released his first cookbook, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook. I’ve hung out with Josh a few times, and each time, I’m awestruck that he’s already figured out – at the tender age of 18! – what most folks never get: that the key to good health is getting into the kitchen and cooking nourishing food from scratch. Heck, it took almost 40 years on this planet for this old lady (I’m pointing at myself) to come to that realization.

When I was a senior in high school, I was still buying lunch from the school vending machines (Doritos and Hawaiian Punch, thankyouverymuch) and mainlining non-fat frozen yogurt. Josh is a wonderful role model for eaters of all ages – and he has amazing skills behind the stove and camera to boot. 

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Fish en Papillote (in Parchment) with Citrus, Ginger, & Shiitake

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Fish en Papillote (in Parchment) with Citrus, Ginger, & Shiitake by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

By the time I get home from a long nightshift, I’m hungry for “dinner”—even if it’s 8 in the morning. While it’s mighty tempting to just mash up some canned tuna with avocado, the food snob in me sometimes demands a fancier meal. One that doesn’t come out of a can. 

In an ideal world, someone else would cook for me (and clean-up, too), but with the kids at school and Henry at work, I’m left to my own devices. Luckily, what I’ve devised for this type of occasion is a frou-frou fancy-pants dish that’s a breeze to assemble: Fish en Papillotte with Citrus, Ginger, and Shiitake.

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The name may sound complicated, but it really doesn’t get much simpler than this: fish and vegetables are steamed in a tightly sealed paper packet with aromatics and a bright, tangy sauce. (Not sure what kind of fish to buy at the market? Check the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.) 

Fish en Papillote (in Parchment) with Citrus, Ginger, & Shiitake by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

After all, even if you’re cooking for just one, you deserve to eat something special. It’s important to practice self-love, right? In fact, as you’re preparing this dish for your seafood-loving self, I insist that you belt out The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston and/or chant this daily affirmation:

Here’s what you’ll need to feed one lucky person:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounce skinless white fish fillet (like cod, which is what I used)
  • kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal brand)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 thin orange or lime slices
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and cut into 2 inch sections

Fish en Papillote (in Parchment) with Citrus, Ginger, & Shiitake by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 450°F. In a small bowl, combine the coconut aminos, orange juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and sesame oil.

Fish en Papillote (in Parchment) with Citrus, Ginger, & Shiitake by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Eats: 3/1/14

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The kids spent the night at their grandparents’ last night, but we didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in. At the crack of dawn, Henry and I rolled out of bed, made a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs with furikake (I use Urashima All Natural) and homemade sriracha

Paleo Eats: 3/1/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and headed out to San Francisco to meet up with Chef Pete Evans at the Ferry Building Farmers Market.

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Pete’s visiting from Down Under, where—as my Aussie readers know—he’s an acclaimed mega-celebrity chef, having launched the hugely popular and award-winning Hugos restaurants before becoming a cookbook author and television heartthrob. For the last few years, Pete’s been a judge on the TV cooking competition show My Kitchen Rules—a ratings monster for Channel Seven. Americans may recognize Pete as the host of his PBS series, Moveable Feast.

Best of all? Pete cooks and eats Paleo.

Paleo Eats: 3/1/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Pete’s newest book, Healthy Every Day—which makes its debut next month in Australia—is filled with delicious and nutrient-dense real-food dishes. Yes, quinoa makes an appearance here and there, but even the most fanatical orthodox Paleo eaters will heartily agree that the pages of Pete’s cookbook offer brilliant, creative takes on the healthy, nourishing foods we all enjoy.

Paleo Eats: 3/1/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And let’s face it: his dishes are pure eye candy.

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Pete and I have corresponded via email for months, but we hadn’t met in person until today. In town to shoot footage for his new “Recipes for Life” series, Pete asked me to accompany him on a trip to the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers Market. Our plan was to pick out some fresh, local ingredients (with a small camera crew in tow), and then head back to our house to film our cook-a-thon for his show.

Paleo Eats: 3/1/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Paleo Eats: 3/1/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We got to the Ferry Building early to avoid the crush of the Saturday morning crowd. As I chatted with Pete, his producers and camera-wielding geniuses, Rob Tate and Gustavo Monroy, circled and swooped around us…

Paleo Eats: 3/1/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…while I did my best to avoid looking awkward.

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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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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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