Nom Nom Paleo


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**UPDATE on 11/21/13: The giveaway is OVAH! Please check your email to see if you won!**

Our cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food with Humans, hits shelves in exactly 30 days! As you can see, we’re ready to jump off the screen with excitement!

Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook! by Michelle Tam

If you’re excited about it, too, make sure you’ve signed up for my free email newsletter! (Don’t worry: I’ll never, ever, ever share your email address with anyone!) The reason? I’ll be sending to my newsletter subscribers a downloadable 50-page PDF sampler of my cookbook this Thursday, November 21, so hop to it and click here!

And that’s not all! To celebrate my upcoming book release, I’m kicking off a month of giveaways—starting with this week’s prize package:

GIR Bacon Spatula + Nom Nom Swag Giveaway! by Michelle Tam

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Giveaway Time! BACON from U.S. Wellness Meats!

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I’m so excited to announce that the fine folks at U.S. Wellness Meats are sponsoring my giveaway to feed everyone’s  addiction to salty swine!

What’s up for grabs?

Six packs (nine pounds!) of sugar-free hickory smoked Whole30®-approved pork bacon!

The recipe for this bacon was recently tweaked and now it only contains two ingredients: compassionate certified pork and sea salt. It’s bacon that you can eat 365 days a year, even when you’re on a Whole30. If you win, you can use this delicious smoked pork to whip up the dishes in my upcoming iPad® app’s Baconfest recipe pack!

Here are the rules for this contest:

  1. You must be a U.S. resident. (Sorry international readers!)
  2. Like the U.S. Wellness Meats Facebook fan page.
  3. Share the promo video or the announcement post for the upcoming Nom Nom Paleo iPad app via Twitter,  Facebook , and/or Pinterest. Please make sure you tell folks that the app will be available on 4/27/12!
  4. Leave one comment on this post telling me that you followed all steps by 4/24/12 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Shoot if I wasn’t running this contest, I’d want to win.

**UPDATE on 4/25/12 at 1:08 a.m.: THE CONTEST IS OVAH! Congrats to DAVID WENDLAND!**

Hardcore Albacore a.k.a. Broiled Bacon-Wrapped Tuna Medallions

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I love, love, love my new seafood CSA, Siren SeaSA! The pristine albacore in my weekly delivery was so fresh that I needed only a simple marinade, BACON, and high heat to get it ready to stuff in our mouths.

I got the idea for wrapping my tuna in bacon from the Siren SeaSA site (a new recipe is posted every Thursday in anticipation of the catch of the week). I modified the recipe with a technique for par-cooking the bacon in the microwave (those folks at Cook’s Illustrated are so smart) and I also whipped up a Paleo-friendly marinade.

Here’s what I gathered to feed 2 people:

  • 1 pound skinless albacore loin, sliced crosswise into 1.5 inch medallions (yields 5 pieces)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 5 slices of thin-cut bacon

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the broiler on high and made sure the top rack was 6 inches from the heating element.

I cut my tuna loin into five mini steaks…

…and placed them in a large bowl.

I whipped up the marinade by combining the orange juice, coconut aminos, vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, and Aleppo pepper in a measuring cup.

I poured the finished marinade…

…over the albacore medallions and let them marinate for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, I placed the bacon on a microwave-safe plate lined with four sheets of paper towel…

…and covered them with two more sheets. I microwaved the bacon on high for 1-2 minutes so it was cooked halfway but still pliable.

After the tuna was finished marinating, I wrapped each piece in a slice of bacon (with the ends tucked under the fish) and placed them on a rack which was on top of a foil-lined baking tray.

I broiled the bacon-wrapped tuna for about 4 minutes on one side and flipped them over and cooked them for an additional 2 minutes (or until bacon is crispy).

Here’s a quick video showing how I made these bacon-wrapped bites. And if you don’t recognize the background music, you’re clearly not as nerdy and decrepit as me.

Paleo Eats: 7/6/11

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Wanna know what I ate on my last night of work for the week?

My first meal consisted of a hodgepodge of snack items: 1/4 pound of roast beef, sliced English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and store-bought spicy guacamole.

When my stomach started grumbling at 3:00 a.m., I gobbled up a heaping tablespoon of coconut butter. Maybe I got a rogue batch but the coconut butter was tasting more like oil than coconut flesh — which is kind of the opposite of how I like it. Rawr!

For my last meal at work, I reheated some leftover Thai yellow curry with grass fed beef brisket and roasted cauliflower.

After I got home from dropping Big-O off at summer camp, I went to bed and napped for three hours. (Flip day alert!)

I woke up in the early afternoon and snacked on a grass fed Paleo kit and a handful of coconut flakes.

At dinnertime, I was intent on making a hearty salad with leftover sous vide chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, baked bacon, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and greens. That’s quite a mouthful. Let’s just call it a Cobb salad, shall we?

I chopped the veggies, sliced the chicken, boiled a bunch of eggs, and blanched and baked The Bacon King’s homemade bacon (made with pastured pork belly).

Woooowee this bacon was tasty! Even Lil-O, the uber-picky, ovo-lacto-carb-fiend gobbled it right up!

Now, back to dinner…

I tossed everything on a salad plate and dinner was served:

Here’s a tip of the day: Store your ripe avocados in the fridge — they’ll last longer.

Good night!

Super Porktastic Bacon-Topped Spinach and Mushroom Meatloaf

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I was inspired to make this bacon-topped, veggie-laden meatloaf after watching this video on I wasn’t brought up on bad meatloaf as a child, so I don’t have an aversion to it like some folks. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a college student, I used to routinely hit up all the local diners to seek out the best meatloaf sandwiches.

I’ll be the first to admit that not all of my kitchen experiments turn out tasty, but tonight’s pork-y loaf was definitely a winner. Don’t believe me? My six-year old declared that he was rating it “FIVE stars!” AND he polished off his plate. (This doesn’t always happen; often, he butters me up with a compliment but then doesn’t eat the meal at all. It’s sweet, yet infuriating.)

The original recipe looks delicious, but I decided to veer away from it — not only to make it Paleo-friendly, but also to simplify the steps. In place of the milk and fresh breadcrumbs, I threw in coconut cream, coconut flour, and minced mushrooms. And since I’m too lazy to steam, drain, and chop fresh spinach, I replaced the fresh spinach with chopped frozen spinach. Also, after the recommended baking time, the bacon on top was still kind of limp, so I briefly stuck the meatloaf under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. Who wants soggy bacon? Not this gal!

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4-6 hungry adults:

  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion (from 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup small-dice celery (from about 2 medium stalks)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 pound ground pork (the original recipe calls for 1 ¼ pounds of pork, veal, or beef but I only had 1 pound of ground pork defrosted)
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3-5 bacon slices
  • Tomato sauce, warmed, for serving (optional)

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 350 F with the rack placed in the middle. I dumped a packet of frozen spinach into a Corningware container

…covered it with a lid and nuked it on high for ~4 minutes to defrost it. Then, I dumped the spinach in a colander and pressed out all the liquid.

I heated the butter over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet and tossed in the chopped onions and mushrooms along with some salt and pepper to taste.

I sautéed them until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were softened.

Next, I blended the coconut cream, parsley, and celery until a puree was formed.

In this case, the $29 immersion blender trumped the expensive Vitamix; the small volume didn’t blend properly in my fancy blender.

I placed the pork in a large bowl, followed by the chopped spinach, coconut flour, garlic, measured salt and pepper, and nutmeg.

Then, I added the coconut cream puree, beaten eggs, onions, and ‘shrooms.

I used my hands to gently combine all the ingredients.

I tested if the seasoning was right by frying up a tiny meatloaf patty.

Then, I transferred the mixture to an ungreased 9 x 5 loaf pan…

…and layered the bacon on top.

(You can store the uncooked loaf in the fridge for up to a day and then bake it at your convenience).

My loaf pan is kind of leaky, so I put it on a lined baking sheet before sticking it in the oven. I baked the meatloaf for 70 minutes, rotating it at the halfway point. Then, I broiled it for 3 minutes to crisp up the bacon.

There’s quite a bit of grease that pools in the pan so I poured it off and I let the loaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing into it.

I served the meatloaf slices with a generous ladle of Rao’s marinara sauce, but they also taste great without it.

Man, this meatloaf was super-moist, delicious, and chock-full of veggies! Coconut haters: Don’t worry - you can’t taste any coconut at all.

I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!

Paleo Eats: 2/26/11

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I’m barely at the halfway mark of my workweek and I’m dragging a bit. Yes, it’s probably due to the fact that I went to a class at CrossFit Palo Alto  after my nightshift instead of catching some zzzz’s. A long, intense WOD combined with bright sunlight shining in my eyes (decreased melatonin) on the drive home is not conducive to good sleep. Whatever. I had a great time in class and I’ll do it do again.

On night three of work, I ate the same chow as I did the night before. It pays off to have lots of leftovers!

My first meal of the night was a box of leftover grass fed T-bone steak, winter squash puree, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon

…followed a few hours later with a snack of leftover mini frittata muffins

…and capped off with my “dinner” of Chili Con Carne seasoned grass fed ground beef, cauliflower fried rice, and roasted asparagus.

On my way home from work, I picked up my weekly veggie CSA box.

For once I was glad the contents were skimpy because my fridge was already stuffed with veggies from my Mariquita Farms “mystery box” and from going to the store earlier in the week.

At home, I opened up a couple packages from Amazon and was happy to find a bunch ‘o fats…

…but mad to discover that I’d mistakenly ordered a big ass box of finely shredded coconut instead of coconut flakes.

Argh. Serves me right for groggily (and recklessly) ordering stuff online in the middle of the night. That was good reminder that I needed to go to sleep right away. But before I hit the hay, I seasoned a small pork shoulder roast with Chili Con Carne seasoning, salt, and pepper and stored it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge to roast off later in the week.

When I woke up at 5:30 p.m., I felt well-rested and refreshed. Although I’ve been working graveyard shift for almost a decade, it still takes me a few days to get back into the groove of things.

I was too tired in the morning to defrost any meat so I sent my hubby to Calafia to pick up a rotisserie chicken…

…while I roasted a tray of carrots and celery root

…and stir-fried collard greens with bacon and shallots.

I know I’ve been making this dish a lot but the combination of greens, bacon, shallots, and vinegar is too tasty to try something different.

Here’s my plate:

(BTW, a frail Steve Jobs was snapped by National Enquirer photogs a couple weeks ago exiting Calafia Cafe.)

After dinner, I helped put the kids to bed and then I practiced some power cleans in the garage My form is really ugly but I’m working on it, ‘kay? When the clock struck 9:20 p.m.,  I got my crap together and went to work.

Paleo Eats: 2/25/11

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Without further ado, here are my eats on my second night at work…

My first meal in the middle of the night was a box of leftover grass fed T-bone steak, winter squash puree, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon.

A few hours later, I snacked on a couple leftover mini frittata muffins

…and a handful of macadamia nuts and coconut flakes.

For my “dinner” I ate a box of Chili Con Carne seasoned grass fed ground beef, cauliflower fried rice, and roasted asparagus.

After work, I marinated some tandoori chicken thighs and then drove to my class at CrossFit Palo Alto. It’s tough doing a WOD on my day off but it’s damn near impossible after a night shift. I was wiped out after my class so I went to bed right away.

At 5:00 p.m., I was kinda groggy but I started preparing dinner. I baked the tandoori chicken thighs…

sautéed spinach with shallots and bacon

…blitzed some garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes

…and pureed a large vat of curried cream of broccoli soup. I started blending this soup with my old immersion stick blender but it literally sparked in my hand and blew a fuse. Yikes. Out came my trusty Vitamix and I pureed my veggie soup in a few seconds.

My Vitamix is super powerful but it’s a pain in the ass blending up hot soup without making a big mess. I already ordered my replacement immersion blender on Amazon for only $26.95…

Here’s me digging in:

You’d think I’d be full after all this food, but I still managed to cram down half a package of coconut flakes while I surfed the web. Them flakes are dangerous.

After stuffing myself silly with coco goodness, I packed my stuff for work and set off once again to bring home the bacon.

Paleo Eats: 2/11/11

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On my second night at work, I started chowing down at the stroke of midnight ‘cause I was hungry, damn it.

My first snack of the night was baby carrots with aubergine dip and a hard-boiled egg.

A few hours later, I ate my “lunch” which was a box of sous vide chicken breast, green beans, and roasted bell peppers.

I followed it up with a small container of coconut milk and strawberries.

The last thing I ate at work was a box of leftover lamb chops, green beans, sauteed mushrooms, and roasted carrots and butternut squash.

When I came home, I quickly marinated some tandoori chicken thighs and stashed them in the fridge before dashing off to my class at CrossFit Palo Alto.

This was the first time I’d gone to an exercise class after working a 10-hour night shift and I was a little nervous I’d drop a barbell on my head. To put your minds at ease, I came home unscathed. I was tired and sore but no contusions.

As soon as I returned home, I went straight to bed because it was WAY past my bedtime. I woke up at 5:00 p.m. and quickly dashed to Zombie Runner to pick up a zombie plushie for Big-O’s friend’s birthday and a couple pairs of Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS shoes for myself. I love my Vibrams!

I returned home 40 minutes later and popped my tray of tandoori chicken legs in the oven and started making my side dishes.

First, I heated up two frozen packets of Cascadian Farm winter squash puree in my SousVide Supreme (set at 135 F) for about 30 minutes and mixed it with some butter, salt, and pepper. Then, I sautéed some spinach with bacon grease, shallots, and a dash of Banyuls vinegar.

I took the chicken legs out of the oven…

…and cranked up the heat to broil and popped in a tray of asparagus tossed with macadamia nut oil, salt, and pepper. About eight minutes later, the asparagus was finished and I drizzled on some balsamic vinegar.

Here’s my dinner plate:

Good eats in under an hour.

Stir Fried Napa Cabbage with Mushrooms and Bacon

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To celebrate Chinese New Year, I finished off my hunk of Fatted Calf slab bacon by making a Napa cabbage stir fry with diced bacon, thinly sliced onions and cremini mushrooms. Doesn’t sound like a Chinese dish to you? Tough. Gung Hay Fat Choy, buddy.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • Small head of napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup diced bacon
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth

Here’s what I did:

I assembled the ingredients…

…heated a large cast iron skillet to medium and threw in the bacon.

The piece of bacon I had was pretty meaty and I sliced it pretty thick, so it was more like sautéing ham matchsticks as opposed to crisping thin slices of bacon.

Then, I added the onions (with some salt and pepper) and cooked them until they were translucent.

Once the onions were softened, I added the sliced mushrooms (with some salt and pepper) and sautéed them until the moisture had cooked off.

I put in the Napa cabbage…

…and splashed in some chicken broth.

I placed a lid on the skillet and lowered the heat to medium low. I simmered the dish for about 5-10 minutes until the cabbage softened to my preferred tenderness. I did a final taste for seasoning and adjusted with salt and pepper.

Easy and tasty. In the future, I’ll scoop out the bacon before adding the onions and mushrooms because the fatty part gets kind of rubbery. Because the bacon I used was more like ham, it wasn’t a problem. If I were using thin bacon, I’d definitely fish out the bacon and sprinkle the crispy pork bits on top after I finished the dish.

Paleo Eats: 2/2/11

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Even though my work week has been super busy and I’ve been stressed out about family stuff, I’m not nearly as sluggish, achy, and drained as I used to feel pre-Paleo. Yes, I get tired and a little cranky by the end of the week, but it’s more mental than physical fatigue. In fact, I always get comments from my co-workers that I seem so perky and energetic at the end of the night. Ha! I tell them that I’m just happy to be done with my shift — but secretly I know it’s because I’m eating clean. If you’re on the fence about going Paleo, just effing do it already!

Without further ado, here are my Paleo eats for the night:

I was feeling the munchies at the stroke of midnight, so I snacked on some of the husband’s fabulous homemade beef jerky and a small container of dry-roasted almond slivers and coconut flakes.

A couple hours later, I ate the second half of my broccoli and bacon frittata.

For my second snack of the night, I downed a container of coconut milk topped with strawberries and blueberries.

The final meal I ate at work? A box of leftover sous vide pork chops, cauliflower fried “rice,” and roasted carrots.

Finally, my hellish week of work has come to an end! Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy my job and I love working the night shift (I’m not kidding), but it feels freaking fantastic to have a week off.

Back at home this morning after I marched Big-O to school, I mindlessly snacked on some macadamia nuts and coconut flakes while surfing the Internet. I crashed for a 4-hour nap before hauling the kids to Big-O’s kung fu class and Trader Joe’s to replenish our staples.

Since I was sleep-deprived, I REALLY didn’t want to make dinner. My plan was to pick up a free-range rotisserie chicken at Calafia Market A-Go-Go and throw together a simple salad. Unfortunately, all the chickens were sold out within minutes. WTF? They start selling the chickens at 5:00 p.m., and every last one is gone by 5:08? I had no alternate plans for dinner. I was thisclose to grabbing some non-Paleo take-out, but instead I drove home determined to make something quick and yummy. 

I spent a few minutes frowning at the contents of my fridge and freezer before I spied a hidden treasure: frozen lamb burgers! I decided to serve them topped with sauteed onions and mushrooms alongside some quick stir-fried lancinato kale and bacon and roasted bell peppers.

I carefully defrosted the burgers in the microwave and then generously seasoned the grass-fed meat cookies with salt and pepper.

Next, I made like Martin Yan and chopped the ingredients for the stir-fried kale and bacon and the toppings for the burger.

While I was washing and stabbing at the vegetables, I threw a bell pepper on the gas range and charred it. 

I chucked the blackened pepper in a bowl and covered it with plastic wrap to let it steam.

Meanwhile, I finished stir-frying the kale and bacon. No joke: This dish is done in less than 15 minutes, start to finish.

Afterwards, I rinsed out the pan and melted some lard over medium high heat. Once the pan was hot, I added the lamb burgers and fried them for about 5 minutes on each side. When the internal temperature reached 145 F, I knew they were good to go.

At the same time, I sauteed the onions and mushrooms (seasoned with salt and pepper) in my 8-inch cast iron skillet with some grass-fed butter. Once these burger toppings were done, I peeled, deseeded, and sliced the charred bell pepper and tossed it with some aged balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then, I plated everything up and we dug in.

Dinner took just 45 minutes to make, and I went in blind. So when life throws you a curveball and your take-out dreams are dashed, just remember that you can do it, too.