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Peachy Pork-A-Bobs

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Peachy Pork-a-Bobs by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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."

Argh.

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 http://nomnompaleo.com

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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Paleo Eats: 7/16/13

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I love spoilers. I rarely get to watch TV or movies these days, but I still comb the Internet for plot twists in current films and television shows—usually via my Twitter feed (sexy nanny replaces Lady Sybil!) or spoiler-packed websites. I still remember grinning smugly when the theater collectively gasped at the big reveal at the end of The Crying Game. (I love real-life spoilers, too. As soon as my unborn children’s privates were detectable via ultrasound, I had to see them. Okay, that sounds wrong, but you know what I mean.)

For my fellow spoiler-hounds who flipped to the end of every Encyclopedia Brown book before reading the mysteries, I fistbump you in solidarity. Let’s do the same with this post, and start with a picture of my dinner:

Paleo Eats:7/16/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

(Of course, if you follow me on Instagram, you already know what I ate, right?)

Now, let’s backtrack to the morning…

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Forky Friday: 7/12/13

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Forky Friday: 7/12/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hooray! It’s Friday again and I can share all the fun, crazy, and delicious food-related links I’ve discovered on the interwebs.

News Flash: Chickens Aren’t Toilet Trained.

I’ll admit it: I happily shell out for my weekly delivery of farm-fresh oeufs from Good Eggs ’cause I don’t have the patience to raise my own hens. Plus, I don’t want my lawn covered with guano.

Unfortunately, in their eagerness to become urban chicken farmers, many people don’t stop to consider that chickens have poopholes for a reason.

Forky Friday: 7/12/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, fine—technically, chickens have cloacae.

Speaking of cloacae, this video (which you can skip if you’re easily offended or humor-impaired) will sear the word into your brain forever. And then you can use it to impress your friends over cocktails.

Where was I…? Oh, right. Chicken poo. Some rookie chicken farmers don’t realize that chickens excrete guano until it’s too late—and end up dumping their neglected chickens at the local animal shelter. Not good.

Lesson: don’t even think of becoming an urban chicken farmer until you’ve come to grips with the true hazards of backyard hens.

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Swiss Chard with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Porkitos

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Swiss Chard with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Porkitos by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Swiss chard's like the Jennifer Lawrence of the produce aisle—it's more than just a pretty exterior. This gorgeous vegetable's also nutrient dense (with a whopping ANDI score of 670), quick-cooking, and delicious in so many different preparations.

Swiss Chard with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Porkitos by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Although there are numerous ways to serve chard, my favorite is the classic Catalan approach, in which the greens are wilted in a pan with sizzling minced garlic and then tossed with toasted pine nuts and golden raisins. I also crumble on a few Porkitos to add a salty, swiney crunch to each bite.

Here’s what to gather (serves 4):

  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 pounds Swiss chard
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  •  2 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from ½ lemon

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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?! 

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Paleo Eats: 6/10/13

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Can I tell you how happy I am to be home? Getting back from Texas in time to tuck the boys into bed made my heart sing, though it’s a bittersweet tune. Every time I give my kids a fierce bear hug, I know I’m on borrowed time; one of these days, they’ll refuse ’cause it’s no longer cool to hug their mom.

Ai ya! Enough kvetching already. Let’s cut to the chase and take a peek at my meals for the day. I didn’t make anything fancy—just a few dishes I threw together with the odds and ends I scavenged from the fridge. 

Although the school year is officially over, the Double-Os still wake up at 7 a.m. on the dot every morning. We even took the clock out of their room, hoping they’d sleep in a little longer—but to no avail. They’re like machines.

For breakfast, I sautéed sliced mushrooms…

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…and tucked them into omelets, one for each member of the family.

At five to nine, Henry hustled the boys off to day camp, and I headed over to CrossFit Palo Alto to get my sweat on with the women’s class. After a challenging workout alternating rowing, running, and deadlifting, I came home and scarfed down a half a small sweet potato and a few slices of prosciutto.

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Tonnato Sauce

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Tonnato Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay: what do you think of tonnato, a creamy, tangy sauce made with anchovies, capers, and canned tuna? For those of you smiling—high five! And if your nose is wrinkled in disgust, hear me out. I was once in your shoes, but this umami-packed sauce is truly a cinch to make from pantry staples and tastes good on EVERYTHING.

Tonnato Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This classic Italian sauce is typically paired with chilled poached veal (vitello tonnato) and served as a picnic dish. Sadly, I almost never have poached veal lying around the house, so after I blitz a fresh batch of tonnato, I pour it on crudités, hard-boiled eggs, sliced heirloom tomatoes, poached or sous vide chicken, or steamed vegetables. Or all of the above.

Tonnato Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s seriously good stuff.

Here’s what to gather to make 2 cups of sauce:

  • 1 (7-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 5 anchovies packed in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup Paleo Mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions:

Dump all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Done.

The sauce can be kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for a couple of days.

If you need more instruction and pictures before you’re willing to try this, read on, my skeptical friend.

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Paleo Eats: 5/21/13

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Late Sunday night, the Nombomb clan returned home from a quickie trip to Disney World in Orlando.

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Although we all had a blast — the boys flitted from park to park while I soaked up lots of great information and advice from the inspiring folks in attendance at Food Blog Forum — we were ready to crash in our own beds again.

Or on the floor near the baggage return carousel at the airport, snuggled up against a much-loved, well-traveled stuffed cat.

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This morning, everyone was finally ready to get back up and at ‘em. After I made the kiddos breakfast (seared sausages, sliced apple, and pastured raw milk)…

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…I assembled a quick frittata with spinach and seasoned ground beef for Big-O’s school lunch.

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I finished cooking the frittata in the toaster oven, divided it up, and stuck a slice in Big-O’s lunchbox and one in my piehole.

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