Forky Friday: 12/6/13

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Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Eek! I still haven’t packed for our trip to Asia, so this post will be short and sweet. It’s still worth a read because the links are cool and I’ve got a sweet discount code at the end of this post. After all, you guys really are the best ever, and deserve some end-of-week savings, right?

Mel’s A Big, Bright, Shiny Star

I love this new video by my pal Melissa Joulwan on how to peel a grapefruit the correct way. It’s so soothing and illuminating. I want her to make more videos, don’t you?

Go buy her new cookbook, Well Fed 2, and make Thai Pink Grapefruit Salad pronto. And did you see that she’ll be doing a joint signing with me and Diana Rodgers on January 2nd? It’s almost to capacity, so go RSVP now

Yay for Russ!

I’ll admit it: I’m a celebrity gossip junkie, and am an avid reader of People Magazine. But this week, I have even more reason to be impatient for the mailman to deliver this newest issue ’cause my friend Russ Crandall's featured in it!

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Now I won’t have to hide the Sexiest Man Alive issue under the couch anymore when company comes over!

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Forky Friday: 2013 Holiday Gift Guide + Coupon Codes

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2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, shopaholics: It’s that time of year again, when we burn off our Thanksgiving calories by trampling over each other in a frenzied rush to save a few bucks. After all, what exemplifies gratitude and elicits more holiday cheer than shoving your thumbs into a guy’s eyes so he’ll let go of the limited edition Lego Chima set you promised to buy your kid for Christmas?

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

To be honest, even if I wasn’t working night shifts at the hospital this week, you couldn’t pay me enough to brave the Black Friday crowds. Someone else can tweet about the looting and rioting at Walmart this year. I’m content to trawl the Internets in search of holiday gifts.

In fact, I’ve already been scouting out some of the awesomest presents available online:

For Cookbook Lovers:

As the right-hand navigation bar on my blog clearly shows, there’s no shortage of incredible Paleo books out there. You really can’t go wrong with any of the tomes listed on the right side of my website.

For example, this is the perfect time to grab copies of Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2 and Diana Rodgers’ Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go. At my very first book signing (at CrossFit Palo Alto on the evening of Thursday, January 2), both Mel and Diana will be joining me—and though we’ll all be selling our books at the event, it can’t hurt to stock up, right? (Especially if you can’t make it to the signing.) Keep your eyes peeled—details and an RSVP link will be posted on Sunday Monday (I’m behind…)!

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

But come on: What kind of terrible self-promoter would I be if I didn’t hawk my own cookbook? Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans hits shelves on December 17—just  two-and-a-half weeks away! Preorder the book at AmazonBarnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold. There’s a Kindle version, a Google Play version, and even a super-interactive enhanced Apple Books edition of our cookbook that looks incredible on an iPad or iPhone. (Nook and Kobo versions are coming, too.)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

And get this: Between now and December 1, you can take an extra 30% off any book offered by Amazon.com by entering the code BOOKDEAL at checkout. Not to be outdone, Barnes & Noble is also offering 30% off through December 2 with the coupon code BFRIDAY30.

If my math is correct, that means you can get Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans for just $15.50—over 55% off the $35.00 cover price. Grab the deal while you can!

2013 Holiday Gift Guide by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + A Giveaway!

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Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

[11/24/13 UPDATE: Whoa! The tickets for the party SOLD OUT in just a few hours! Thank you all for your excitement for our book! And for those who didn’t nab a ticket, I’ll be posting about my book tour events soon—hope to see you then!]


Got plans for the hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 4, 2014? Don’t get stuck listening to your roommate complain about another New Year’s hangover; instead, come join us in San Francisco for the Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Cookbook Release Party!

I can think of at least five reasons you must come celebrate with us:

1. THE BOOK!

It’s our labor of love, and the reason we’re throwing this shindig!

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our book was a labor of love, and we hope you dig it as much as we do.

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And besides, we included butt jokes in the book.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Copies of our cookbook will be available for purchase at the party (while supplies last!), and we’d be thrilled to sign ’em for you. We love this book, and can’t wait to share it with you in person!

2. THE FOOD!

What’s a cookbook release party without insanely great food? We’re going to pass around the bestest Paleo brunch bites this side of the Mississippi! 

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Our friend Simone Shifnadel of Zenbelly is catering the party, and she’ll be sending around plenty of hearty, brunch-y appetizers. I also have it on pretty good authority that Simone’s famous No Joke Dark Chocolate Cake will make an appearance, too.

Plus, with generous food contributions from friends like U.S. Wellness Meats, Whole Foods, Good Eggs, and others, we’re in for some seriously tasty grub.

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Book Release Party + Giveaway by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

3. THE PEOPLE!

While you eat, you can mingle with your fellow foodies and Paleo nerds. What could be better? I mean, where else are you going to find such a large gathering of people who don’t eat bean burritos?

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Forky Friday: Thanksgiving Smorgasbord!

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

Today’s Forky Friday is all about getting you ready for Turkey Day!

Yes, I know Thanksgiving’s still days away, but it’s not too early to get crackin’—especially if your frozen turkey still needs to be thawed. Besides, the weekend’s the perfect time to get a head start on the ginormous feast you’ll be devouring come Thursday. Ideally, you can prep most of your sides beforehand so you can focus on the turkey on Thanksgiving.

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

Me? I’ll be reporting to work at the hospital on Thursday night, so I’ll miss the holiday fun—but you can still enjoy the nomtastic Turkey Day menu I put together for you!

To recap, here are the festive autumn dishes you should prepare (or strong-arm your friends and family into making for you):

Butterflied Big Bird (Spatchcocked Thanksgiving Turkey)

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Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing

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Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

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Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash

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Umami Gravy

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Paleo Pumpkin, Coconut, & Maple Custard Cups

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But that’s not all! If you head over to my Recipe Index, you’ll find LOADS of other free recipes that are perfect for your Paleo Thanksgiving. Here are just some of ’em:

Brussels Sprouts Chips

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Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”

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Pressure Cooker Braised Kale and Carrots

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Roasted Broccoli With Crispy Prosciutto & Balsamic Vinegar

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Bacon

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Umami Gravy

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Okay, gang: Thanksgiving’s just one week away, so here’s Part 5 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! Just tuning in? I’ve already got you covered for turkeyBrussels sprouts, cran-cherry sauce, and mash—and today, I present to you: a flavor-packed, make-ahead Umami Gravy! 

Umami Gravy by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Yep, this is a rich, thick gravy that you can pour on EVERYTHING. I love my Easy Paleo Herb Gravy and my Slow Cooker Roast Chicken & Gravy, but this recipe’s the one you break out for company. 

Traditionalists may scoff because there are no turkey pan drippings in this gravy, but by using bone broth or rich chicken stock, you can minimize your game-time kitchen chaos by making this gravy a couple of days before Thanksgiving. You simply reheat it just before you go into Feast Mode. (I don’t know about you, but this lady hates frantically cooking against the clock.) 

Plus, this gravy is packed with carefully selected ingredients that boost umami: savory bone broth, tomato paste, dried and fresh mushrooms, and fish sauce. Once all these flavorful ingredients have simmered, simply purée everything together and voila! Thick gravy! 

Umami Gravy by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Umami Gravy keeps in the fridge for several days, and is a great item to keep in the freezer for everyday meals. Just cook up your favorite quick-cooking protein and simmer it in this fantastic gravy. 

Ready for the recipe?

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Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash

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It’s Part 4 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (If you’re just tuning in, go check out Part 1Part 2, and Part 3!)

Roasted Garlic Autumn Mash by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Thanksgiving dinner just wouldn’t be complete without a generous serving of mashed root vegetables. And while mashed potatoes will always have a special place in my heart, I’ve come to prefer this Autumn Mash as a comforting, colorful alternative because: (A) it tastes better, and (B) it’s so much prettier. (After all, we eat with our eyes first, right?)

Longtime readers of my blog might recognize this recipe as an adaptation of an old favorite—but the secret ingredient in this new version is buttery, mellow roasted garlic, which adds warmth and richness to this mildly sweet vegetable side. Best of all, this dish doesn’t just taste fab, it also keeps fantastically. Make a batch a couple of days ahead of time, and reheat it when you’re ready to feast. Minimizing the muss ‘n fuss (or is it fuss ‘n muss?) on Turkey Day is always a good thing.

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Forky Friday: 11/15/13

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Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’m interrupting my Nomtastic Thanksgiving recipe series to bring you this week’s Forky Friday links—but don’t let me sidetrack you from planning your Turkey Day menu! My Butterflied Big Bird, Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing, and Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce are an excellent start, but a few other recipes on the Internets have raised my eyebrows—chief among them J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Sous Vide Deep Fried Turkey Porchetta. (Of course, as a self-respecting cavelady, I’d fry the porchetta in animal fat or ghee, and I’d omit the flour from the gravy).

And as for leftovers, Stupid Easy Paleo’s Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich is the only way to go, don’t you think?

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay, enough turkey talk. Let’s get to the links!

The Incredible Edible Egg

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Despite buying dozens of eggs every week from Good Eggs, it doesn’t take long for our family to finish ’em.

This isn’t a surprise. Eggs are one of my favorite nutrient-packed foods, and I love that my boys wake up to a plate of them every morning. (The kids’ standard breakfast: mushroom omelets or scrambled eggs. Henry, meanwhile, has his sunny-side up.)

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Don’t believe that eggs—yolk and all—are good for you? Then read this new piece by Paul Jaminet, in which he busts some myths about the healthfulness of eggs.

Sustainable Farming in My ‘Hood

I was delighted to spot this article in the New York Times this week, featuring some of my hands-down favorite sustainable farmers and purveyors in the San Francisco Bay Area, from Leftcoast Grassfed and Early Bird Ranch to the aforementioned Good Eggs.

Forky Friday 11/15/13 by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

They’re all working together to raise meat, poultry, and eggs the right way—and making money, too. The point is that sustainable farming isn’t just good for health and the environment, but it can be a profitable enterprise, too. Win-win!

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Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce

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It’s Part 3 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series! (Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you’ve just joined the cooking party!)

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Sweet and sour is one of my favorite flavor combinations. It perfectly describes my personality. And although I never tried cranberry sauce until I began attending the annual Thanksgiving potluck at my in-laws’, I fell hard for it right away. It didn’t matter if I got a dry piece of turkey breast; a dollop of tangy cranberry sauce would make it all better. But sadly, once I started eating Paleo, I had to skip the cranberry sauce altogether. After all, I knew that most recipes are sweetened with LOADS of white sugar.

But this year, I was determined to come up with a Paleo-friendly version of cranberry sauce—one inspired by the cranberry-cherry-apple juice blends from my childhood. By themselves, cranberries can be unpalatably bitter and sour. But by adding an equal amount of cherries and simmering the fruit in apple juice, I was able to counter the mouth-puckering tartness of the cranberries with some natural sweetness. Prefer a sweeter sauce? Just a touch of honey will do the trick. And if you make this Cran-Cherry Sauce a day ahead and allow the flavors to meld further, it tastes even better.

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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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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Butterflied Big Bird (Spatchcocked Turkey)

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It’s Part 1 of my Nomtastic Thanksgiving series!

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

No, I said BUTTERFLIED—not BUTTERFRIED. Sorry to disappoint, butter lovers! And for you strict Paleo peeps, a note of warning: there’s butter in this recipe, though ghee is a fantastic substitute. (If you’re zero-tolerance when it comes to all forms of dairy, substitute duck fat or schmaltz.)

With this post, I’m starting a series of Thanksgiving-related recipe posts, and I figured I’d tackle the hardest one first. Every November, the prospect of roasting a whole turkey strikes fear into the hearts of even experienced cooks. The entire process—from picking a bird to carving it—can be daunting. No one wants to serve a dry, powdery turkey to their gathered friends and family…especially if you’ve got an in-law who’s just waiting to pounce on a kitchen blunder. But never fear: even if Olivia Soprano is your mother-in-law, this foolproof method will keep you in her good graces.

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Step One: Pick a Bird

This article by Serious Eats covers everything you need to know about selecting a turkey. (In fact, it covers all things turkey.)

By the way, I learned a valuable lesson this year: Don’t get greedy. The first turkey I roasted to test this recipe was waaaaay too big. The gigantic 18-pounder(!) that I bought from Tendergrass Farms was delicious and came out beautifully (It’s the one I photographed for this post!), but it barely fit in my oven. My second bird (which I didn’t photograph) was a much more manageable 12-pounder that actually fit on my roasting tray.

Step Two: Gear Up

For my recipe, you’ll want to make sure you have a sharp, sturdy pair of poultry shears (to tear through thin bones and cartilage like a skilled orthopedic surgeon). You’ll also need an oven-proof wire rack and a baking sheet or large broiling pan.

Lastly, you’ll need an accurate meat thermometer to ensure perfectly cooked meat. If you don’t want to keep having to open the oven to check your turkey, your best bet is to get an in-oven thermometer.

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Seriously: a meat thermometer is not negotiable. It’s the only way to make sure you don’t overcook your big, pricey turkey and disappoint your guests. 

Step Three: Mark Your Calendars

If you don’t want to eat turkey-flavored popsicles on Thanksgiving, you have to start thawing your bird in the fridge beginning on the Friday or Saturday before Turkey Day. It’ll take 3 or 4 days to fully defrost, and then you’ll want  to dry-brine the bird and let it sit for 1 or 2 more days in the fridge before roasting.

On Thanksgiving Day, make sure you allow for at least 30 minutes of resting time before you carve up the bird. So if you want the bird on the table by early afternoon, you need to pop it in the oven in the morning.

Step Four: Cook!

My Butterflied Big Bird recipe combines Judy Rodgers’ dry-brining techniques with J. Kenji López-Alt’s Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey and my own simple herb butter.

Butterflied Big Bird (Thanksgiving Turkey!) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The turkey is spatchcocked and dry-brined with kosher salt, and then left to sit loosely-covered in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Underneath the crispy skin, the tender meat is flavored with an herb-infused butter (or ghee, if you prefer).

Ready?

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