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Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong’s Khao Man Gai

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My final day-and-a-half in Portland centered on three memorable meals: our Paleo Pop-Up Brunch with my co-host (and Bravolebrity cheftestant with the biggest knife), Chef Gregory Gourdet; a gluten-free Asian-inspired pescatarian dinner at Departure; and a down-home meal of chicken and rice at one of my favorite casual joints in the world, Nong’s Khao Man Gai.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready to hop in a time machine and travel back to last Saturday?

The cafeteria-style Paleo Pop-Up Brunch at Departure was the highlight of our trip to Portland. Despite being arranged only a week prior to my arrival (really: GG texted me just a week before our trip, and suggested that we host a brunch together), I knew that GG would deliver the goods. Part of the reason my money is on #TeamGG to win Top Chef Boston is because he can totally throw down when it comes to developing and executing a fantastic Paleo menu for a crowd—from scratch, and in no time at all. And he never seems to stress out; I’ve never seen him without a charmingly shy smile on his face.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Me? I was the total slacker in the equation—all I did was show up with a whole bunch of Mini Michelle action figures and an empty belly.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We arrived a few minutes before the brunch began, just as the spread of food was being loaded onto the tables. 

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The Double-Os were all too happy to be the official taste-testers at the front of the line.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The epic brunch menu included a choice of a Bloody Mary or mimosa from the bar…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and a lip-smacking green smoothie (with cocoa nib and goji berry)…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

… eggs baked in avocados topped with bacon vinaigrette…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…collard greens, caramelized onion, and squash quiches (with almond flour crusts!)…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…grilled hanger steak with radish kimchee…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…Thai chicken sausages seasoned with fish sauce…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…blueberry-banana pancakes with ginger, macadamia maple syrup…

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

…and carrot, ginger, and zucchini muffins.

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As if that wasn’t enough, there was also sweet potato and roasted chili hash, smoked salmon, copious amounts of bacon, and pickled shrimp. 

Paleo in Portland: Paleo Pop-Up Brunch, Departure, & Nong's Khao Man Gai by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Bananas, right?

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Giveaway Time: BLiS Gourmet Goodies!

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Giveaway Time: BLiS Gourmet Goodies! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I turned 40 last month, and to celebrate my membership into the Old Farts Club, I’m offering a gift of BLiS Gourmet goodies to one lucky winner! (Not that 40 is old. It’s the new 20, right? And I’m still one day younger than Jimmy Fallon.)

Giveaway Time: BLiS Gourmet Goodies! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Like most of my favorite kitchen staples, BLiS Gourmet was introduced to me by my chef sister. Remember Fiona? Here we are in Yountville on my birthday:

Giveaway Time: BLiS Gourmet Goodies! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Fiona’s the trailblazer in our family, so it’s no surprise that she was the first to alert me to the existence of BLiS’s small batch bourbon barrel aged Red Boat Fish Sauce. Yes, you heard correctly: BOURBON BARREL AGED RED BOAT FISH SAUCE.

From BLiS’s website:

Made with Red Boat 40n, we have taken this premium fish sauce and enhanced its natural flavors through our proprietary aging process for 7 months. The end result is a fish sauce that imparts a subtle sweetness and smokiness not found in other fish sauces. Truly an original!

In OurDailyBrine.com’s taste test of 13 brands of fish sauce, they placed BLiS in “A Whole Different League.”

I sought it out immediately. 

Giveaway Time: BLiS Gourmet Goodies! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But I didn’t stop there. I sampled BLiS’s spice blends, flavored salts, maple syrup, and sherry vinegar, and I was hooked. Don’t just take my word for it—BLiS products are also Grant Achatz’s favorites, and that guy knows a thing a two about good food.

Bottom line: BLiS has some incredible stuff, and I can’t wait to share some of it with you. And while BLiS is providing the prize package for this giveaway, they aren’t paying me to say this—I just like to gush about products I love.

(Note: All of the stuff I’ve tried from BLiS helped elevate the flavors in my dishes, but not all BLiS’s offerings are Paleo-friendly. For example, the Santa Fe spice rub contains flour. Read your labels, folks.)

Here’s what’s in the prize package:

  • BLiS Elixir Extra Old Fine Solera Sherry Vinegar
  • BLiS Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • BLiS Moroccan Spice Rub
  • BLiS Tuscan Spice Rub
  • BLiS Natural Fleur de Sel 
  • BLiS Hardwood Smoked Fleur de Sel 
  • BLiS Bourbon Barrel Matured Pure Syrup
  • BLiS Tahitian Vanilla Infused Pure Maple Syrup
This kickass collection of BLiS Gourmet products is worth just a smidge under $180. Want to win all of it? Then click on this link or the picture below to get in on the giveaway:

Giveaway Time: BLiS Gourmet Goodies! by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The deadline to enter is 8 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, October 9th, so hurry up already. Good luck!


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: 9/26/14

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Forky Friday: 9/26/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ready for my favorite food-related links o’ the week? Go grab your amber goggles and dig in!

Lego Kitchen

First things first: There is a kitchen made of Legos. Did you hear me? MADE OF LEGOS.

Forky Friday: 9/26/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I suspect at least one of my children is already planning a kitchen remodel.

I Wear My Orange Glasses At Night

Who here saw last weekend’s Sunday Style section of The New York Times? It featured a surprisingly extensive article about the Paleo lifestyle, declaring that “the time has passed when it could be written off as a fringe movement.”

Forky Friday: 9/26/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The newspaper of record has explored the Paleo lifestyle before, but the first time was almost five years ago. (Trivia: as longtime readers know, it’s how Henry and I originally learned about the “caveman diet.”) This time around, the Times contacted me out of the blue to interview me for the article. They even sent a photographer to get a shot of me in my goofy amber goggles, sitting on the kids’ messy bunk bed (because I refused to let the photographer into my even-messier bedroom).

So glamorous.

Forky Friday: 9/26/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The article’s pretty fair, albeit a tad sensationalistic—especially when it refers to me as “something of a Martha Stewart of Paleo.” I’m fairly certain Martha would call that bit of hyperbole not “a good thing.”

(She wouldn’t be the only one. In fact, there are hundreds of Paleo-unfriendly comments on the online version of the article. I guess not everyone wants to be weirdos like us.)

Food Waste

On a less self-aggrandizing note, I came across an eye-opening report from Harvest Public Media about the excessive amount of food we waste in America. Get this: in 2012, we dumped 35 million tons of food in landfills—even though 1 in 6 Americans goes hungry. Yikes.

Forky Friday: 9/26/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I go to great lengths to score the healthiest food available to my family—but I know I don’t always cook or eat it all.  After checking out this report, I’m reminded of the importance of doing my part in reducing food waste.

My actionable takeaways:

  1. Buy what we need, and eat what we buy.
  2. Meal plan like a champ.
  3. Finish our leftovers.

It’s that simple.

Oh—one more thing: I’m putting a “bucket of judgment” on my kitchen counter to collect all the food I toss. Shame’s the best motivator, right? If you’re ready to get inspired, watch the 30-minute video here.

Tomato-gate

Serious Eats recently posted three articles about tomato storage that blew my mind. (You can read them here, here, and here. I suggest strapping on a helmet first, to keep your brains in.) I’d always been taught that one should always keep tomatoes at room temperature because refrigerating ’em dramatically diminishes the flavor and changes the texture. My childhood memories of bland, mealy, refrigerated tomatoes reinforced this belief. I never questioned it.

Forky Friday: 9/26/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Well, until now.

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How to Store Bone Broth

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How to Store Bone Broth by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

With the kids back in school—or as I like to call it, The Friendly Neighborhood Petri Dish—I’ve been making plenty of bone broth to ward off the assorted bugs and ailments that the boys bring home. After all, bone broth is much more than a simple flavor booster for soups, stews, and stir-fries; it’s one of my favorite ways to keep the family healthy. At this time of year, Big-O and Lil-O seem to perpetually be on the verge of catching a cold, but a good night’s sleep and a steaming mug of bone broth in the morning seem to keep the worst at bay. I don’t want my boys missing school. (Confession: it’s mostly because I can’t get any work done unless they’re out of the house.)

How to Store Bone Broth by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In my cookbook, I offer three different methods to make bone broth, but I tend to either use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. Whenever I’m pressed for time and/or feeling lazy (which is ALWAYS), I break out a programmable pressure cooker and dump in all the ingredients at bedtime. Even after the cooking time is up, the soup stays hot, so we can have fresh bone broth in the morning. I’m telling you: I’m totally investing in a second Instant Pot. (And no, Instant Pot doesn’t pay me to gush. I just do it ’cause I can’t help myself.)

How to Store Bone Broth by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know, I know: to my loyal readers, the awesomeness of bone broth and programmable pressure cookers is old news. But here’s something we haven’t yet covered: once we’ve got ourselves a piping-hot pot of homemade bone broth, how the bleep are we supposed to store it?

Although Michael Ruhlman initially suggested keeping it at room temperature for up to a week (and simply boiling it each time before using it), he changed his mind after reading Harold McGee’s article in the New York Times. Even if refrigerated, the longest bone broth can be stored is a few days ’cause it’s such a spectacular growth medium for bacteria.

Here’s what I do with a freshly made batch of bone broth:

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Forky Friday: 9/19/14

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Forky Friday: 9/19/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I turn 40 tomorrow, so you have to be nice to me. For starters, I think you should crack me a joke. Big-O will go first:

Forky Friday: 9/19/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Now, it’s your turn: leave me a joke in the comments below! Make me giggle for my birthday, and I just might send you a Mini-Michelle!

Ready for my favorite links from around the Interwebs?

No Joke

Henry took the day off work, and as I write this, he’s making the Chocolate Layer Cake from the Zenbelly Cookbook (a.k.a. my pal Simone’s No Joke Dark Chocolate Cake) for my birthday. (It’s kind of my favorite—I even strong-armed Simone into serving it at our cookbook launch party, remember?) Let’s see how close Henry gets to replicating this:

Forky Friday: 9/19/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Right now, he’s muttering about how he doesn’t have the right pans, so my fingers are crossed.

[Update: He used Simone’s recipe to make cupcakes! And they’re perfect!]

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And by the way, if you’re wondering if Simone’s cookbook kicks butt, the answer is TOTALLY. I’ll be sharing her recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Bacon and Apples with you soon, but here’s a peek at how it turned out:

Forky Friday: 9/19/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our family loved it so much that I’ve already made this dish twice this week.

Cheftastic Stamps

If I still used good old fashioned snail mail, I’d be all over the U.S. Postal Service’s new set of stamps featuring five celebrity chefs: Julia Child, James Beard, Joyce Chen, Edna Lewis and Felipe Rojas-Lombardi.

Sure, these portraits are a smidge creepy, but I still dig ’em.

Forky Friday: 9/19/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Germs Rule

Once upon a time, my hubby had a crazy-unstoppable Coke Zero habit. Like many others, he guzzled artificially-flavored zero-calorie beverages thinking that they were better than their high fructose corn syrup-sweetened brethren. Those chemicals, additives, and lab-concocted sweeteners can’t possibly be harmful as long as the drink is calorie-free, right?

Forky Friday: 9/19/14 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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