Nom Nom Paleo

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing

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It’s Part 2 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (If you missed Part 1, it’s over here!)

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Growing up in a Chinese-American household, I never had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner: no turkey with stuffing, no cranberry sauce, no mashed potatoes with gravy, no sweet potato pie with marshmallows. But don’t cry for me, Argentina: the truth is, I never missed out on anything. After all, every Turkey Day, our family still gathered together at our house, and my mother would whip up a special East-Meets-West feast. We always had a Very Special Fusion Thanksgiving. (The menu changed every year, though my personal favorite involved Chinese sticky-rice-stuffed Cornish hens.)

Today’s recipe takes a page from my mom’s handbook: a traditional Turkey Day vegetable side with Asian flair! *Insert jazz hands here.*

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

A tangy orange-ginger dressing gives this warm Brussels sprouts slaw a zesty zing that’ll liven up your Thanksgiving table. Besides, this is a super-easy side dish: it takes just 20 minutes to throw together. You can even shred the sprouts a day in advance, and cook ‘em in your already-hot oven after your turkey is done and resting. And if you have leftovers (and you probably won’t!), this slaw keeps really well, and can be eaten cold, hot, or at any temperature in-between. This just might be my favorite Brussels sprouts recipe—and that’s saying a lot because I love these mini cabbage impostors.

Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready for the recipe?

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Tropical Paleo Granola

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Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m back at the hospital burning the midnight oil, but I still have visions of sandy beaches, tropical drinks, and snorkeling alongside sea turtles dancing in my head. That’s the problem with vacation: it has an annoying tendency to end.

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m trying to hold onto as much island zen as possible, though. One of the vacation treats that I can’t get out of my head is an açaí bowl topped with crunchy house-made “Paleonola” that we enjoyed at a sunny vegan cafe the other day in Lahaina. Naturally, upon returning home, I felt compelled to tackle a grain-free granola recipe. (The rest of the açaí bowl’s on my list of to-dos, too.)

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Just for the record: Yes, I know “Paleo granola” is an oxymoron. There was a time when I thought that granola was a health food that I could and should eat on a daily basis, but the times they are a-changin’. I know granola—grain-free or not— is “treat” food that should be eaten only in moderation, and not an everyday breakfast superfood. But with that disclaimer out of the way, let me just say that just a handful of this stuff delivers a mildly-sweet, nutty, tropical crunch like nothing else.

As soon as we came home the other night, I started tinkering in the kitchen with different nut, seed, and sweeteners. It took a few batches, but I finally got it just right: crunchy, not too sweet, and with flavors that remind me of my favorite fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas stuck in ’em. Make a batch and share with your pals!

Tropical Paleonola by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ingredients

Yield: 7 cups

  • 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (approximately 1-inch cubes)
  • 5 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately ½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 cups raw almonds (I use a combination of raw almonds that are roughly chopped, slivered, and sliced.)
  • 3 cups raw coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

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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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Kelly Brozyna’s Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust

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Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You know that I’m a chocoholic, right? I don’t care if the Paleo Police kick down my door—I love dark chocolate. Just a tiny square of my favorite dark chocolate bar can usually satisfy my cravings for something sweet, which in turn keeps me from compulsively making “Paleofied” desserts on a regular basis. But on those occasions when I want a grain-free treat, it has to be ridiculously great. And made of chocolate, too. (Is that redundant?)

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

That’s why I thank my lucky stars for Kelly Brozyna. Super-mom, blogger, and author of numerous cookbooks, Kelly adopted a gluten-, dairy-, and refined-sugar-free diet almost a decade ago to deal with a multitude of serious health issues in her family. Later, when she took her family one step further—from gluten-free to grain-free—their health went from pretty good to awesome.

I’ve long been a fan of Kelly’s blog, The Spunky Coconut. Her recipes—and especially her dairy-free frozen treats—are incredible. But what I admire most about Kelly is that she puts family and fun first. I loved tagging along on social media as her family drove from Denver to their new home in Southern California. And I’m excited to “meat up” with Kelly and her clan when she’s in the San Francisco Bay Area next month.

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

She’ll be in town to promote her beautiful new tome, The Paleo Chocolate Lovers’ Cookbook. Filled with page after page of inventive and gorgeously photographed chocolate recipes, this is the definitive guide for real food enthusiasts with a cacao fixation. In other words: me.

Concocting Paleo desserts isn’t my strength, but clearly, Kelly’s been perfecting her craft for many years. Her Paleo dessert pantry includes a few new-to-me ingredients like liquid stevia, hemp milk, walnut flour, and chia meal—all of which I’m eager to play with as this holiday baking season approaches.

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But I wanted to make something from Kelly’s book now, and because I didn’t have all of these ingredients on hand, I chose a eye-popping recipe that I could whip up with items already in my pantry: Chocolate Pie with Raw Graham Cracker Crust.

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I loved that it was so simple to make—just a little chopping, melting, and blitzing—but admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about how this dessert would turn out. After all, the only ingredients are walnuts, Medjool dates, cinnamon, coconut cream, coconut oil, dark chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Hmm…no honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar?

But my fears evaporated as soon as I dipped my finger in the pie filling and gave it a taste. Wowza.

I quickly hollered for the boys (and a pal who was over for a playdate) to sample it. They all went nuts, even though Big-O isn’t normally a fan of coconut or dates. (I conveniently failed to disclose the ingredients to them, but I have a feeling all three would have raved just as excitedly after tasting the filling.)

Kelly Brozyna's Chocolate Pie + Raw Graham Cracker Crust by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In fact, I was able to crank out two mini pies in no time at all, and the results were deliciously decadent. It was like eating a chocolate truffle in a nutty graham cracker crust. If you’re cool with using a microwave (which I am), this recipe is even simpler ’cause it means the chocolate, coconut oil, and coconut cream can be melted/heated in a jiffy.

After I posted a picture of my finished Chocolate Pie on Facebook and Instagram, I was deluged with requests for the recipe. But because it’s not mine to share, I wanted to first ask for Kelly’s permission. Lucky for you, she said yes. You’re welcome!

Ready for the recipe?

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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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