Forky Friday: 7/11/14

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Forky Friday: 7/11/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Dying to know what food-related links are top-of-mind for me this week? No? Well, just humor me anyway.

Taco Bell: Going Paleo?

Once upon a time, I proudly declared Taco Bell to be my favorite fast-food joint. As a high schooler, I made a Run To The Border™ on a regular basis with my fellow pimply-faced pals to order (and then annihilate) pile after pile of crunchy, cheesy Taco Supremes. I even wanted my very own caulking gun to squeeze reduced-fat sour cream on…well, everything. Weirdly and disgustingly enough, I have fond memories of Taco Bell. That’s why this Bloomberg article suggesting that Taco Bell’s attempting to tap into the Paleo market actually made me hopeful…for a nanosecond.

Forky Friday: 7/11/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Upon closer inspection of Taco Bell’s press release announcing its new “Cantina Power Menu,” though, it’s painfully obvious that the company’s just upping the protein on the menu without doing anything to improve the quality of the ingredients. And despite the misleading headline of the Bloomberg piece, Taco Bell’s new menu clearly doesn’t aim to be Paleo at all. After all, they should know that Paleos won’t stuff junk into our mouths just ’cause the protein volume’s been doubled. Our mascot may be a caveman, but we’re not stupid; Taco Bell’s food products—no matter how high protein or low carb—are nowhere near Paleo-friendly.

I still kind of want a Taco Supreme, though.

Guess Who (I Wish) Was Coming to Dinner

I’m not usually a fan of icebreaker activities, but there’s one get-to-know-you question I really dig. Melicious posed it to me a while back: “You can have dinner with any characters from movies, TV, or books that you want. Table for 8. Who’s at the table?”

Clearly, I have a hard time with reading comprehension, because instead of offering up a bunch of fictional characters like she asked, I spat out a list of celebrities like Andy CohenAnthony Bourdain, and George Takei. The only non-celeb on my list was BMO from Adventure Time — the best robot companion in the Land of Ooo.

But now, I’m thinking about swapping BMO out for the hardest working man in show business, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Sorry, BMO, but a guy with 16 jobs trumps a cute little robot. Even one with an alter ego named Football.

Forky Friday: 7/11/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Not only has Questlove dazzled audiences (including Late Night fans) as the drummer/frontman of The Roots, but he also happens to be obsessed with eating fabulous food.

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Forky Friday: 6/13/14

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Forky Friday: 6/13/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Happy Friday the 13th! Yeah, I know it’s been a while. At the end of each week, my dear old dad’s been reminding me that I haven’t put up a new Forky Friday in eons, so I think it’s past time I put up a new post packed to the gills with my favorite finds from ’round the world wide web. So in advance of Father’s Day, this one’s for you, Pop!

Celebrate Your Dad!

Yep—Father’s Day is Sunday. THIS Sunday. Got something special planned for the big poppa in your life? If you’re still searching for a cool gift, I’ve got a feeling all the grilling guys (and gals) out there will love Chris Schlesinger’s and John “Doc” Willoughby’s The Big-Flavor Grill

Forky Friday: 6/13/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ever since I received a review copy a few weeks ago, I’ve been testing many of the no-marinade, no-hassle recipes on our grill. The simple techniques in this book are a revelation: simply pick the right cut of protein, slap on a zero-fuss rub, grill the meat, and then toss the fire-charred goodness with a flavorful sauce. That’s it.

The Big-Flavor Grill has made a spontaneous griller out of me. It’s a game-changer.

One of my favorite dishes in the book is the recipe pictured on the book’s cover: Grilled Skirt Steak with Smoky Red Onions and Grilled Avocados. 

Forky Friday: 6/13/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

From start to finish, this meal took just 30 minutes to make. If—like me—you’ve had an irrational fear of grilling over an open flame, this book’ll get you over the hump, and it makes for an incredible Father’s Day gift.

But if you’re strapped for cash, you don’t need to buy a present to make your dad feel appreciated. Just let him know you’ll be making brunch, and reconnect with your old man over a plate of Bacon Pancake Sandwiches

Forky Friday: 6/13/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…or grill him a Chili Rib Eye Steak by following Chef Pete Evan’s drop-dead-simple technique!

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Nom Nom Paleo Dinner Party At Cookhouse

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Last month, as part of a special sweepstakes on this site, twenty of my readers scored an invite to a cozy Paleo dinner party in San Francisco with me and Henry. This exclusive shindig had secretly been in works since January, when Amanda Nudelman of Disqus (the company that powers the comments on my blog!) reached out to me with an idea to create an “IRL” (in-real-life) community event. It sounded like a whole lotta fun, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out.

Nom Nom Paleo Dinner Party At Cookhouse Photo by Irja Elisa Photography http://nomnompaleo.com

The deck was stacked in our favor—gorgeous venue, incredible chef, and cool peeps—but as the date approached, I began to fret. After all, our guests were picked randomly from the pool of readers who entered the giveaway, so no one would know each other. Would our dinner companions get along? Would there be awkward silences? Paleo food fights? Would I have to break out my Fake Call App to bail me out? Or would we be making 20 new friends?

Nom Nom Paleo Dinner Party At Cookhouse Photo by Irja Elisa Photography http://nomnompaleo.com

Nom Nom Paleo Dinner Party At Cookhouse Photo by Irja Elisa Photography http://nomnompaleo.com

My questions were all answered on Saturday night. And as I should’ve known, I’ve got some of the coolest readers on the planet.

Nom Nom Paleo Dinner Party At Cookhouse Photo by Irja Elisa Photography http://nomnompaleo.com

Amanda hired a professional photographer (yay, Irja!) to document the festivities, which meant Henry could actually put down his camera and enjoy himself for once. Of course, my compulsive husband ended up snapping some shots with his phone anyway because HE. CAN’T. STOP.

Nom Nom Paleo Dinner Party At Cookhouse Photo by Irja Elisa Photography http://nomnompaleo.com

Want to see how twenty modern cavepeople (who don’t know each other) party in a San Francisco loft? Then keep reading!

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Forky Friday: 5/2/14

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Forky Friday: 5/2/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s finally the weekend, and I bet you’d like nothing more than to kick up your heels and order takeout. I know how you feel: I, too, want to dial up my favorite Asian joint and dispatch my manservant (a.k.a. Henry) to bring home boxes of food that we mindlessly inhale in front of the boob tube.

But then I remember: the anticipation of Asian takeout is far better than the reality. Almost without fail, the greasy dishes from our local Chinese/Thai/Japanese/Korean restaurants are coated with vegetable or seed oils and feature gloppy sauces made from all sorts of badness: soy, sugar, gluten, preservatives—you name it. And I usually feel icky afterwards.

Forky Friday: 5/2/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

So what’s a hungry cave lady to do when she’s cravin’ some Asian?

Answer: She calls up her pals and throws a Paleo-friendly cooking party! That way, everyone can cook together and have a great time. Don’t even stress about the menu ’cause I’ve compiled a bunch of easy and healthy Asian dishes that will please everyone!

(Please ignore the Coca-Cola can in the circa-1975 photo below. Please also ignore the fact that I’m apparently mesmerized by it.)

Forky Friday: 5/2/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready for some Paleo Asian dishes from me and my pally-pals?

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Egg-stravaganza!

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Eggs: they’re pretty magical. They’re amazingly portable, wonderfully versatile, and my favorite emergency protein by a mile. Like me, Henry loves eggs, no matter how they’re prepared: scrambled, poached, soft-boiled, over-hard, you name it. (My pun-loving husband might even describe them as eggceptional, but that’s going a yolk too far.) Plus, eggs are quite possibly the most nutrient-dense super-food around.

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[Photo: Bacon-Topped Deviled Eggs from my iPad® app]

Yes, we’ve all heard about eggs and cholesterol. But as Liz Wolfe writes in Eat the Yolks, “[t]he notion that cholesterol causes heart disease has been abandoned by many physicians and scientists. Why? Because after decades of studies and spin, there’s still no hard evidence to prove the hypothesis.” In fact, lowering dietary or blood cholesterol hasn’t been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease at all.

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I love how the late, great Nora Ephron put it

I have friends who eat egg-white omelettes. Every time I’m forced to watch them eat egg-white omelettes, I feel bad for them. In the first place, egg-white omelettes are tasteless. In the second place, the people who eat them think they are doing something virtuous when they are instead merely misinformed. Sometimes I try to explain that what they’re doing makes no sense, but they pay no attention to me because they have all been told to avoid dietary cholesterol by their doctors.

According to yesterday’s New York Times, the doctors are not deliberately misinforming their patients; instead, they’re participants in something known as an informational cascade, which turns out to be a fabulous expression for something that everyone thinks must be true because so many reputable people say it is. In this case, of course, it’s not an informational cascade but a misinformational cascade, and as a result, way too many people I know have been brainwashed into thinking that whole-egg omelettes are bad for you.

Seriously: most folks need not fret about limiting their egg intake. So listen to Liz: “Eat egg yolks with abandon—they are a health food. Why? Because the cholesterol in real food, like egg yolks, is not just a powerful antioxidant. It’s also packaged with other nutrients we need.”

Yolks aren’t just chock full of awesomeness—they’re the tastiest part of the egg, too.

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On average, our family of four goes through about four dozen pastured eggs each week—and we never get bored with ‘em. Want to be an eggspert in eggceptional egg cookery? Here are a bunch of ways to keep your palate eggcited and eggstatic! (I promise to stop with the egg puns now.)

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How Green Was My Chicken

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Scratching your head about what to make for St. Patrick’s Day? Try my sister’s phenomenal Green Chicken. It’s not exactly a traditional Irish dish, but it’s butt-kickingly delicious. 

Plus, it’s green! (Hence the name.)

This stuff’s even greener than the Chicago River right now!

If you don’t have chicken at the ready, you can use the emerald-green marinade as a sauce — just drizzle it in soups or on grilled meats for an instant boost of flavor (and color).

One more reason this recipe’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day: my sister’s (married) name is Fiona Kennedy, which is just about as Irish as a Chinese-American gal can get.

Convinced? Then go get the recipe here!

(Want more Paleo-friendly St. Paddy’s Day recipes? Check out these recommendations from the Philadelphia Inquirer, A Girl Worth Saving, and Against All Grain!)


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

Forky Friday: 3/15/14

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Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I thought it was going to be teeth-chatteringly arctic in Chicago today – a stinging reminder for this California girl that spring has not yet sprung in all parts of the US of A. But happily, it’s not nearly as frigid as I expected. Yay!

Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m in town for the weekend to attend a conference, eat my way around the city, and do two joint book events with my gal pal, Diana Rodgers. (If you’re interested in coming, go RSVP for our free book events at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville and CrossFit 312 right here in Chicago!) 

Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But before I do, I suppose I better get caught up with another edition of Forky Friday. Are you ready?

Reading is Good For You

Forky Friday 3/15/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know that Paleo books are hitting shelves at a fast and furious pace. Yes, our cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, is my personal favorite (shameless plug alert!), but there are two brand-spankin’ new books you really must check out:

Joshua Weissman, the talented young man behind the gorgeous Slim Palate blog, has just released his first cookbook, The Slim Palate Paleo Cookbook. I’ve hung out with Josh a few times, and each time, I’m awestruck that he’s already figured out – at the tender age of 18! – what most folks never get: that the key to good health is getting into the kitchen and cooking nourishing food from scratch. Heck, it took almost 40 years on this planet for this old lady (I’m pointing at myself) to come to that realization.

When I was a senior in high school, I was still buying lunch from the school vending machines (Doritos and Hawaiian Punch, thankyouverymuch) and mainlining non-fat frozen yogurt. Josh is a wonderful role model for eaters of all ages – and he has amazing skills behind the stove and camera to boot. 

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Pressure Cooker Mexican Beef

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For the past couple of years, I’ve been making Oven Braised Mexican Beef at least twice a month because it’s simple and delicious—and because the kids’ll actually eat it. But here’s a dirty little secret: these days, I rarely braise it in the oven ’cause I can get similar results in a fraction of the time using a pressure cooker.

I’ve extolled the virtues of pressure cooking before, but it’s truly become one of my favorite cooking methods. (I love pretty much anything that helps me get satisfying meals on the table before I have to rush off to the hospital.) My trusty stovetop pressure cookers have been workhorses in my kitchen for some time now, but I recently treated myself to an Instant Pot because I’d read so many great things about this electric programmable multi-cooker. Also: I’m a gadget hoarder.

In fact, I’m such a hoarder that I’d neglected to break out my Instant Pot for months after buying it. It sat in a box in my garage for months before I managed to de-clutter my kitchen enough to make room for it.

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And now, I’m totally crushing on my Instant Pot. I love that I can make bone broth at a moment’s notice without having to babysit it like a stove-top pressure cooker. Also, the sauté function lets me brown aromatics or meat right in the pot before I throw in the rest of the ingredients. Yippee!

One thing to note: The Instant Pot cooks at a slightly lower pressure (11.6 psi) than my stove top pressure cookers (15 psi), but that just means having to add a few minutes to the cooking time. I increase the cooking time by 7 to 15%, and refer to my friend Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking website and charts for specific cooking times. If you’re at all a fan of pressure cooking, I suggest that you do the same. One more thing: even though the dish is finished in about an hour, I often don’t serve it ’til the next day. There’s a scientific reason why stews and braises taste better as leftovers.

So with all of that out of the way, wanna see how I’ve modified my Mexican Beef recipe to work in a pressure cooker?

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Forky Friday: 1/24/14

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Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready or not, here I come—with my favorite links of the week!

In The Kitchen

When I first started eating according to a Paleo template, the biggest challenge wasn’t removing ”heart-healthy” whole grains or beans from my diet—it was the prospect of having to cook ALL THE TIME. I didn’t want to spend my entire life in front of the stove—especially when I could be catching up with The Real Housewives on TV.

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But now, having logged thousands of hours in the kitchen, I no longer feel like pulling out my hair in clumps when faced with dinner prep. Of course, it also helps that I’ve continued to learn and employ time- (and sanity-) saving tips and tricks that streamline the cooking process.

Case in point: I love this post in The Kitchn about 18 Daily Habits that Make Life in the Kitchen Better.

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And thanks to this HuffPo article, I’ve eliminated a number of bad kitchen habits, too.

My favorite new shortcut in the kitchen? I’ve been keeping a large stainless steel bowl filled with warm, soapy water in the sink so I can chuck dirty utensils and dishes into it as I cook. Presto! Washing dishes just got a lot easier!

Forky Friday: 1/24/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I just need to keep reminding myself not to toss any knives into the suds. (Because “Surprise! You just lost a finger!” ain’t my idea of a good time.)

Still Whole30in’ On?

For all of you who soldiered through the KILL ALL THE THINGS phase of the Whole30 (like my super-awesome sister Fiona!), welcome to the home stretch!

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