Nom Nom Paleo

Peachy Pork-A-Bobs

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Peachy Pork-a-Bobs by Michelle Tam

I grew up in suburban Menlo Park, California. You wouldn’t know if from the tree-lined residential streets and quaint downtown, but my hometown’s the birthplace of Google, Round Table Pizza, and the psychedelic 60s. I lived a block away from what is now the first-ever Tesla Motors dealership; as a high schooler, I worked there as a file clerk when it was a Chevy showroom. (I got hit by a truck while sprinting across the street after work to watch Donahue. If only I’d owned a DVR in 1989, I would’ve skipped the ambulance ride to the hospital.)

Menlo Park is also home to the Connoisseur’s Marketplace, a difficult-to-spell mid-summer festival highlighting food, wine, music, and art. As kids, my sister and I would peer into each of the stalls, tug on our parents’ arms and beg to buy trinkets and snacks. “Too expensive,” they’d say. 

"Can we at least buy a lemonade? It’s hot out!"

"No. We have lemons at home, and we live two blocks away."


The one thing—the only thing—for which my mom and dad would gladly shell out their hard-earned bucks? Pork-a-bobs. We always made a beeline for the Filipino stand offering grilled swine slathered with a sticky-sweet barbecue glaze. I haven’t been back to the Connoisseur’s Marketplace in over twenty years (even though it’s just the next town over from Palo Alto), but I still think about those skewers.

This year’s Connoisseur’s Marketplace just took place last weekend. So when the fine folks over at U.S. Wellness Meats asked me to develop a new recipe for them, Pork-a-Bobs were the first thing to spring to mind.

Peachy Pork-a-Bobs by Michelle Tam

My version incorporates sweet summer peaches in the smoky, fruity sauce, because I really don’t know of a better flavor combination than grilled pork and peaches. The pork is marinated in a simple, flavorful marinade, which means the sauce isn’t absolutely necessary. But I brush on the sauce after the pork’s off the grill (so it doesn’t burn) to give the meat an extra boost of flavor and to make it a fun, messy, lick-your-fingers treat.

Although I normally reserve pork shoulder for low and slow cooking preparations, it’s also fantastic cubed and grilled. This recipe keeps on giving because the pork reheats beautifully and the leftover sauce (which can be smeared on your favorite meats) will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

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Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce (Inspired by The Croods)

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I’ve always been a film buff. Aside from the obituaries, my favorite part of the local paper was the movie section; starting in elementary school, I’d pore over the weekend reviews to decide which flicks were worth dragging my family to see. Ever the weirdo, I vetoed my older sister’s request to see Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal and cajoled my parents into taking us to see Tootsie instead. Sure, in December of 1982, the cross-dressing jokes flew right over my eight-year-old head, but who cares? The movie got two thumbs up from Siskel & Ebert, people.

Ironically, I watch fewer grown-up flicks now than I did when I was in second grade. These days, when Henry and I venture to the cineplex, it’s usually with the boys in tow, so we stick to family-friendly fare. And recently, as we settled into our seats to watch another kiddie flick, this trailer caught my eye:

Yowza — an animated film about a prehistoric cave-dwelling clan! “Think they eat Paleo?” I whispered excitedly. The Double-Os nodded. “I think they do CrossFit, too,” my five-year-old solemnly added.

I made a mental note: We were going to catch The Croods as soon as it hit theaters.


So when I was contacted by the movie studio a few weeks ago and asked to develop a recipe inspired by The Croods, it wasn’t hard for me to say yes. DreamWorks Animation requested something family-friendly, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work creating a dish that’s simple, tasty, Paleo, and kid-approved: Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce.


Speared hunks of beef, flattened with a heavy object and grilled over an open fire. Sounds like caveman family fare to me, don’t you think?

Trust me: If Lil-O — the pickiest eater in our house — liked ‘em, your kids’ll gobble them up, too!


Wanna see the simple step-by-step instructions? They’re so easy even a caveman could do it!

Here’s what to hunt and gather to make 16 skewers:

For the Cherry Barbecue Sauce (Makes 1⅔ cup of sauce):

  • 2 teaspoons ghee or fat of choice
  • ½ cup minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) ginger root, peeled and finely grated (I use a Microplane)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos (or wheat-free tamari)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 10 ounces frozen cherries, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Smashed Steak Skewers:

  • 1½-pound flank steak
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Here’s the step-by-step instructions:

The cherry barbecue sauce is a cinch to make and can be prepared ahead of time.

First, melt the ghee over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent (around 5 minutes).


Stir in the garlic, ginger and tomato paste…


…and sauté for 30 second until fragrant.


Add the coconut aminos, vinegar, juice…


…and cherries…


…and bring to a boil.


Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cherry mixture is thickened.


While the sauce is simmering, stir occasionally and smush the cherries against the side of the pot.


Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or measuring cup and set aside.

A half hour before you want to grill your skewers, soak 16 bamboo skewers in water.

Grab your slab of flank steak and cut it into 16 pieces.


First, cut the steak in half lengthwise (along the grain).

Next, slice the steak in half across the grain, then in fourths…


…and finally in eighths.


Carefully stab each slice of meat through the center with a soaked skewer.



Now comes the fun part: Grab a hefty meat pounder or small cast iron skillet, and smash each steak skewer until it’s about ½ inch thick.





I’m sure The Croods would’ve used sticks and stones, but I prefer to keep my kitchen rock-free.


Season the beef with salt and pepper…


…and brush both sides with melted ghee.


Fire up your backyard grill, and cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.



Let the meat skewers rest for 5 to 10 minutes…


…before brushing on the cherry barbecue sauce.



A garnish of fresh green scallions is optional, but it can instantly transform this rugged plate of skewers into a more refined dish.


Serve immediately and watch your kiddos tear into them with sharp little incisors!



Don’t forget to check out The Croods when it comes out on March 22nd!


Full disclosure: As I mentioned above, this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).

Paleo Eats: 7/24/11

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My Sundays off are wonderful, and today was no exception. Not only did I get to sleep in past 7:00 a.m., but I also discovered that I got a nice shout-out on Mark’s Daily Apple for my sous vide goat loin chop recipe!

(If you’re visiting for the first time, WELCOME! Check out my About Me link if you’re nosy and wanna know my deets.)

Since I wasn’t hungry in the morning, I skipped breakfast. We met my parents and the kids for lunch at Shalizaar and gorged on a mess of charred meats.

We ordered the same items as our last visit plus a few extras: 

Complimentary Sabzi (herbs, radish, walnuts, & feta)…

…Kashk-e-Bademjan (pureed eggplant and garlic with sauteed mint and kashk)…

…a mixed green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, dates, and feta…

…side of lamb shank…

…and a plethora of grilled meats.

Here’s a shot of my lunch plate:

Although we stuffed our bellies to the max, we still had a nice box of charred meat leftovers to bring home.

In the afternoon, we took the kids to the park where they frolicked in the sand, scrambled up the play structures, and slid down the slides. While we took turns watching the kids, Fitbomb and I alternated practicing double-unders on the blacktop.

When we came home, I was totally unmotivated to whip up dinner. As if by magic, Dr. HA sensed my quiet desperation and emailed us an invite to an impromptu barbecue at her place. Score!

The impressive spread included barbecued Mexican corn, a ginormous green salad chock full of goodies…

…barbecued chicken…

…and a melon and mint salad.

Here’s my dinner plate before I scarfed everything down:

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! 

The food was phenomenal and my sides hurt from laughing all night. Plus, I found out that I’m personality type 6

Seriously — what’s more important than delicious food shared with great friends?

Paleo Eats: 7/3/11

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Yay! I’m finally more than halfway through my workweek!

My first meal at the hospital was a hearty portion of leftover emergency protein with Asian cauliflower fried rice, roasted spiced mushrooms, and nuked green beans

….plus a handful of coconut flakes.

Right before I left work, I ate a bunch of carrots dipped in Thai “no peanut” sauce and a quarter pound of roast beef.

I stopped by the Mountain View Farmers’ market on my way home and picked up veggies, fruit, and my new favorite meat — pastured goat.

When I got home, I threw all my purchases in the fridge and freezer and hopped right into bed. We were heading to a meat-a-palooza at K and R's house in the evening so I seriously had to catch my zzzz's. If I'm inhaling large quantities of smoked meats, my head's gotta be in the game.

At 5:00 p.m., I jumped out of bed and hustled the family to the meat fest.

As soon as we got to the party, my boys immediately bonded with I and D on the couch…

…and the adults gathered outside for grub and libations.

The food was AMAZING! K, the Bacon King, spent days curing and smoking a bunch of delicious pasture-raised meats and it was all finger-lickin’ good.

The menu included slow-smoked pork shoulder…

…barbecued Early Bird Ranch chicken…

…and some of the best ribs I’ve ever eaten.

As a delightful counterpoint to the meaty goodness, HA brought two refreshing bowls of watermelon salad…

…one of which was clearly labelled for the big people.

Here’s a picture of my dinner plate:

The get-together wasn’t a total hedonistic bacchanal. During the intermission between dinner and dessert, Coach Trish held an impromptu Oly lifting seminar.

After dinner, there was a veritable buffet of yummy berry-based desserts. I’m a sucker for homemade ice cream so I indulged in a small portion of K’s homemade vanilla ice cream topped with scads of fresh berries. Definitely worth it.

We reluctantly left the party at half past eight and tucked the kiddies into bed as soon as we got home. I squeezed in five minutes of double-under practice, packed my stuff, and sped off to work. 

BTW — K and R are the coolest party hosts ever. Who else sends you home with homemade bacon as a party favor?