Forky Friday: 11/8/13

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Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

HOLY. MOLY.

Our cookbook—our baby!—hits shelves in just thirty-something days, which means that (in addition to work, kids, cooking, and blogging) I’m up to my eyeballs in frantic preparations, from planning a super-duper book release party in San Francisco (mark your calendars for Saturday, January 4!) to lining up events and swag for my book tour. (Stay tuned for details—I think you’re going to go bonkers for the fun surprises we have in store!)

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But that doesn’t mean I can’t find the time to pull together my favorite links from around the Weird Wild Web! (Besides, it’s a great excuse for procrastinating.)

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down

Believe it or not, we won’t even be in the country on our book release date—we’ll be in Thailand. In fact, our little family will be hanging out in Asia for most of December, eating our way through Hong Kong and Chiang Mai on official Nom Nom Paleo business.

Okay, maybe we’ll just be sampling local delicacies for 90% of the trip. But that’s important business to me!

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My parents are insisting that I try the local seafood while I’m in Hong Kong—but all I can think about is the prospect of eating swamp eels and penis fish. I’m already bracing myself; the last time I was in China, I was taken to a restaurant and served turtle soup and bear paw stew.

This trip, we’ll be spending most of our time in northern Thailand—Chiang Mai, to be precise. And I’m already looking forward to eating authentic Thai cuisine, which is nothing like the sickly-sweet, greasy Americanized fare found in the States. In fact, Serious Eats just debunked a bunch of Thai food myths with Chef Andy Ricker of Portland’s Pok Pok.

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One important lesson I learned from this article: “Chopsticks are only used in Thailand when you’re going to a Chinese restaurant or a noodle restaurant.” So next time you hit your favorite Thai joint, pick up a fork and spoon instead.

A Solution to the Problem of Contaminated Spices

Remember when I freaked you out last week about the prospect of consuming dried herbs and spices contaminated with bug parts and salmonella? Don’t fret! There’s a simple solution: Use fresh herbs!

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

According to this oldie-but-goodie from The Kitchn, you can easily substitute fresh herbs for the dried variety:

[F]resh herbs tend to have a more delicate flavor than dried, so I tend to use more of it. My general rule of thumb is to use 1½ times the amount of fresh as I would dry. Meaning that if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, I’d start with 1½ teaspoons of fresh thyme. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there!

Of course, if you want to just make an incredible meal featuring the bright flavors of fresh herbs, my sister’s Green Chicken is a can’t-miss dish.

Forky Friday 11/8/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 11/1/13

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Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

ARGH. I’m in the middle of another week of graveyard shifts, and between work and kids and Halloween and cooking and getting ready for our cookbook launch (planning a release party and book tour is no small task!), I barely have time to feed and bathe—let alone get this Forky Friday post done.

In fact, you’re probably reading this on Saturday. I’m such a loser.

In keeping with my Debbie Downer mood tonight, I’m going to front-load this post with links to a whole host of Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad news. Ready?

Ai-Ya! The Sky is Falling!

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One of the week’s biggest food news stories was that the southern California city of Irwindale filed a lawsuit to shut down the production of sriracha at Huy Fong Foods’ nearby plant. The city claims that the fumes from the recently-opened $40 million factory are irritating residents, and hopes to halt sriracha production until Huy Fong takes steps to reduce the offending odors and spicy irritants. A production stoppage, however, would leave sriracha lovers stricken.

Sriracha’s passionate defenders have quickly rallied around their beloved “Rooster Sauce.” Matthew Inman, creator of the Oatmeal (and aficionado of sriracha) had this to say about the sriracha standoff in Irwindale:

"I personally would relish in the opportunity to live in a neighborhood bathed in rooster sauce. The thought of watching a blood-red sunrise soaked in clouds of red peppers and garlic would pretty much be my ideal morning. I feel like our country is still recovering from the near Twinkie extinction in 2012, and now we get hit with this?

The dinosaurs had their meteorite. We’ve got our sriracha shortage. If a sriracha shortage isn’t one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, then I don’t know what is. Now is the time to stock your fallout shelters full of tasty rooster juice. The end is nigh.”

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Luckily for hot sauce lovers across the universe, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge denied Irwindale’s request for a preliminary injunction, which means that sriracha production can resume at Huy Fong’s plant—for now.

But the next court hearing’s set for November 22, at which time the court may decide to pull the plug. According to Huy Fong owner, David Tran, “If the city shuts us down, the price of sriracha will jump a lot.” (If you wanna take a peek inside Tran’s gigantic hot sauce operation, check out this video.)

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But don’t worry. You don’t have to rely on Huy Fong to make your favorite condiment. Even if the company’s sriracha production is halted, you can always use my recipe to make your own Paleo Sriracha at home—minus the preservatives and sugar! (I even have a Whole30-compliant sriracha recipe!)

Forky Friday: 11/1/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 10/25/13

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Forky Friday 10/25/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s the Friday before Halloween, and our house is getting more ghoulish by the second. Before my kids suck us into the vortex of costumes and fake cobwebs, whaddaya say we get to this week’s links?

Ghee Whiz

Forky Friday 10/25/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This blew my mind: Who knew that my favorite small-batch ghee maker, Sandeep Agarwal, is also a bona fide butter historian who’s amassed a traveling treasure trove of butter-related artifacts?

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Welcome to Butter World.

Now can someone make Bacon World, please?

Greased Lightning

While we’re on the topic of Sandeep’s ghee, have I mentioned my favorite new way to start a night shift? I use my stick blender to blitz a cup of Philz’ Silken Splendor with a dollop of Pure Indian Foods’ Primal Fat. This is my version of Stupid Easy Paleo’s version of Bulletproof Coffee, only I call it Greased Lightning.

(To be honest, I haven’t done a lick of investigation into the highfalutin’ health claims surrounding Bulletproof Coffee. I just like the taste of coconut and ghee in my coffee.)

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Tell your friends! It’s a mathematical fact: Bacon makes everything taste better.

Forky Friday 10/25/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground

I have the blackest thumb in the whole world, so I’ll happily shell out for my fruits and veggies. But if you don’t mind bundling up and mucking around in the soil, check out this fantastic article on winter gardening by Chasing Delicious.

Still My Favorite Cooking Show Of All Time

Ladies and gentlemen, Weber Cooks.

It’s not Paleo, but it’s perfect nonetheless.

(When I need a good cry, I watch the version with the sad instrumental score. Watch it and weep.)

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Forky Friday: 10/18/13

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Forky Friday 10/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m in the middle of another week of graveyard shifts, but I’m whistling a happy tune. Know why? ’Cause Henry was supposed to leave for India today on business, but his trip was cancelled (or at least delayed)! I’ve been grinning ever since I got the good news. FaceTime is great, but it doesn’t beat face time.

(There’s another reason I have a big smile on my face—but you’re going to have to wait until the end of this post to find out why!)

Enough blathering—time for some tasty links!

Break It On Down

I’ve been researching lobster recipes lately, but the idea of dismembering a live, wiggling crustacean with my bare hands has always intimidated me a bit. As a kid, I watched my mom do it in our kitchen all the time; the results were delicious, but the process struck me as grisly.

But after watching the stunning and amazing Kristen Kish break down a lobster with both grace and force, I’m inspired to give it a shot.

(Video link here!)

Gooble Gobble, One Of Us!

I’m a Twitterholic. It’s my hands-down favorite social media platform; I keep track of current events, TV spoilers, and gossip of the day on Twitter, and try to respond to just about everyone (who isn’t rude) who tweets me. (Are you following me on Twitter? Because I want you to. Unless you’re a psycho killer, in which case please don’t.)

Forky Friday 10/18/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

So I was excited to learn back in January (via a tweet) that Jack Dorsey—the guy who gave birth to Twitter—was giving Paleo a shot. It looks like it wasn’t just a short-term New Year’s Resolution kind-of-thing, either; according to this profile of @jack in this week’s New Yorker, he’s stuck with it!

Meanwhile, Jack’s fellow Twitter co-founders are investing big in the vegan fake-meat start-up that I wrote about a while back. Hmm.

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Forky Friday: 10/11/13

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Forky Friday: 10/11/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our household is finally emerging from an epic week of barfing. I’m not kidding; one by one, we succumbed to a killer stomach bug that transformed us into spewtastic demons. We were like a family of stunt doubles for Linda Blair.

Forky Friday: 10/11/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

How’d we get over it? Plenty of rest, bone broth, kombucha, and soft-scrambled eggs. If you’re stuck in the aftermath of the pie-eating contest scene from Stand By Me, check out these helpful tips from Mark Sisson.

Okay—onto more fun stuff!

Don’t Cook While Wearing Four-Finger Rings

Along with his new album, rapper 2 Chainz released his first digital cookbook, “#MEALTIME,” and although it’s not Paleo, it’s certainly a must-read. After all, it includes such critical kitchen tips as “Take first pair of Versace sunglasses off, and replace with second pair of Versace sunglasses” and “[i]f wearing a four-finger ring, carefully place it on a side table before starting to cook.” 

Apparently, 2 Chainz was inspired to write this book because he was experiencing stomach problems and wanted to cook and eat more healthfully.

My only gripe? #MEALTIME contains only 15 recipes, and 2 Chainz appears to favor turkey bacon. Oh, and lots and lots of gold leaf.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Butcher

Eatocracy compiled a list of some of the best butchers in the country—those who source their meat from small, sustainable family farms, and provide all the traditional butchery services that your grandma remembers so well.

Forky Friday: 10/11/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I do have a bone to pick with the list, though: where are my peeps from San Francisco’s 4505 Meats?

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Forky Friday: 10/4/13

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Forky Friday 10/4/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Aloha, my friends!

Did you miss me? We’ve been away on vacation this week, but our time on Maui is winding down, so we’re going to try to make time pass as slooooowly as possible ’til we have to head back to the mainland. In the meantime, let’s get to those weekend links!

Forky Friday 10/4/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Fear The Fish?

Because fresh fish is so plentiful and fresh in Hawaii, I’ve been ordering it every time I see it on a menu. That’s why I was so relieved to read that concerns over mercury levels in fish may be unfounded. After all, I love me some fresh seafood!

It’s Time To Celebrate with Decorative Gourds!

Forky Friday 10/4/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 9/27/13

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Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You thought I forgot about Forky Friday, didn’t you? I figured as long as I published this post before midnight in Pago Pago, it’s not late. It’s technically still Friday, after all.

Enough idle jibber-jabber. Let’s get to the links!

A Restaurant A Day…

These days, I eat the vast majority of meals at home, but I’ve long been passionate about searching near and far for good places to eat. I’m an admitted gastrotourist—I pick my travel destinations not based on historical significance, art, or culture, but by the prevalence of insanely-great eateries.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

High on the list of places I like to visit for the food? New York. Henry just flew back from NYC, and I’ve already quizzed him about every meal he enjoyed while in the city. But vicarious living ain’t enough for me; if I live to be over 100 years old, I want to pull a Harry Rosen and dine out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT at a different hoity-toity restaurant in NYC. (Hat tip to Melicious!)

Pig Love

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Oh, bacon. How I love you.

How To Make Friends And Impress People With Food Trivia

Ever have trouble engaging in light, witty cocktail-party banter?  Me, too. My social circle prefers NPR to TMZ, so no one ever wants to chat about the Kardashians with me.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But through trial and error, I’ve learned that food trivia is a sure-fire ice-breaker. So if you’re searching for something to discuss that’s more interesting than the weather (but less controversial than politics), turn to Tori Avey’s Did You Know? 10 Surprising Food History Facts.

I, for one, can’t wait for my next opportunity to sprinkle trivia about “mock bananas” made with boiled turnips into casual conversation.

It’s Apple Season!

Speaking of food trivia, here’s a great party trick you can use to impress a crowd: Memorize this list of 20 apple varieties. Then, challenge someone to an apple-variety name-off. You’ll win every time, and hearts will flutter.

Don’t worry. No one will think you’re weird at all.

(Speaking of apples, don’t forget to make some apple chips, too. Here’s a recipe you can use. There’s one in my upcoming cookbook, too!)

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 9/13/13

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Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This is the first Friday in a month-and-a-half that I’m not spending on a plane or at work! I’m looking forward to hanging with my boys, catching up on sleep, and synthesizing some vitamin D. Plus, we’re celebrating Henry’s Chinese birthday (you know, according to the lunar calendar) ‘cause my man was born on the day of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.

I always tell my husband that the reason his head is so incredibly large is ‘cause he was born on such an auspicious day. (I do try to resist the urge to call him Moon Head on his birthday, though. I’m nice like that.)

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, gang. Before you unplug for the weekend, I’ve got a Forky Friday crammed with links for you to chew on: 

Coffee Makes The World Go ‘Round

I know coffee isn’t Paleo, but it sure does make the world go round. Click on this link to see how people all over the planet are enjoying it as part of their morning ritual.

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

An Eggcellent Font

I’m not about to shell out $70 for this egg font, but it’s pretty awesome.

Of course, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you’re a big font nerd, go crazy. I’m sure your friends and family will appreciate your eggtastic messages.

Forky Friday 9/13/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 9/6/13 

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Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Aaaaagh! After getting home this morning from my night shift at the hospital, I conked out in bed BEFORE FINISHING MY FORKY FRIDAY POST! (This is what happens to zombie drug dealers.) It wasn’t until I woke up this evening that I remembered that I left y’all hanging. Sorry, dudes.

Well, better late than never. Ready for another mess ‘o links?

Gimme The Real Poop

You’ve heard of Kopi Luwak, right? Also known as “civet coffee,” this brew’s made using the beans of coffee berries after they’ve been eaten and pooped out by little furry cats. I’m not kidding.

Kopi Luwak’s gotten so popular that some folks are shelling out hundreds of dollars for a taste of this stuff—so naturally, there are a ton of scammers selling counterfeit civet crap beans. Luckily, there’s now a test to check if you paid for the real deal.

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yay?

The Tipping Point

Pete Wells, The New York Times’ resident restaurant critic, is (in)famous for his strong, unfiltered opinions. I’ve been a loyal reader ever since he wrote a scathing review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, filled with nothing but largely rhetorical questions; no matter if you agree or disagree with Wells, he’s certainly an entertaining read. His latest screed against tipping is a thought-provoking piece—especially for those of us who have worked in food service (both in front- and back-of-the-house roles). What say you—are you a firm believer in tipping? Or do you side with Mr. Pink? [FYI: Link is NSFW]

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Oh, Baby

As the child of Asian immigrant parents, eating nose-to-tail was de rigueur. Fresh fish would flop around in the shopping cart that we pushed around the local Asian market, and the poultry served at the dinner table invariably had heads and feet attached. I grew up eating all sorts of things that might turn some stomachs. Perhaps that’s why reading this NPR article about eating cochinillo asado, or Spanish roasted suckling pig, made me hungry rather than disturbed about chowing on a wee baby piglet. Having eaten Chinese roasted suckling pig on visits to Hong Kong since the age of three, I can tell you it’s insanely delicious. Am I a horrible person?

Actually, don’t answer that.

Forky Friday: 9/6/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Forky Friday: 8/30/13

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Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello from Pittsburgh! I’m here to attend Bill and Hayley's wedding (a.k.a. the #paleoroyalwedding) this weekend, but before the festivities begin, I have some serious link love to spread. Ready for this week's Forky Friday?

Wear An Apron, Not A Hazmat Suit

I love when Michael Ruhlman rants on his blog. His latest screed, Bacteria! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!, is a great (albeit NSFW) post about how we need to calm the *bleep* down about sterilizing our kitchen environments. Of course, as home cooks, we certainly need to engage our brains and be sensible about food safety—but freaking out over rinsing a chicken in your sink? Please.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As Ruhlman put it: “Please, buy good food, cook it yourself, use whatever intelligence happens to be available in that tiny head of yours. Then open a bottle of wine and eat dinner with your friends and family.” Hear, hear.

(And for the record, I almost never wash my poultry before cooking it—but not because of bacteria fears. I’m just lazy.)

Seafood: More Than Meets The Eye

If you’re like me, buying seafood can be a bewildering experience. Thankfully, there’s the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and the National Geographic Seafood Decision Guide—and recently, my pal Diana Rodgers published a great article entitled The Complex Choices in Sustainable Seafood. Hopefully, they’ll whet your appetite to make a pot of Thai Steamed Mussels!

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Marinating Before Grilling? Don’t Bother.

For the better part of a year, I’ve been grilling meats without marinating ‘em beforehand. I think it started when I first made Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri (the recipe’s in my forthcoming cookbook); with some experimentation, I realized that I could just rest my cooked meats in a marinade after the grilling was done, and it would soak up all the flavors just fine.

Forky Friday by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Just this week, my approach was validated: the New York Times posted an article entitled Welcome to the Post Marinade Era of Grilling, which points out that there’s no reason to marinate meats before grilling. A solid win for proscrastinators like me!

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