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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Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews

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Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

We’re experiencing a heat wave in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for a gal like me who prefers crisp, chilly weather, this is a major pain. These scorchers make it hard for me to sleep during the day, and when I wake up bleary-eyed in the evening, the last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove. Luckily, this refreshing Fig & Watermelon Salad’s perfect for the final throes of summer. 

Fig & Watermelon Salad with Honey Vanilla Cashews by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In California, this is the time of year when both watermelon and figs are in season. (In fact, San Diego’s Fig Fest is today!) Complementing the ripe fruit is the tang of a simple lime vinaigrette and the salty crunch of Porkitos—not to mention the mild sweetness of roasted Honey Vanilla Cashews.

The toasted cashews can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to a week. You’ll be tempted to eat the cashews right out of the oven, but make sure you save some for your salads. After all, even though eating a small amount of cashews is totally okay (I’m looking at you, Paleo Police), you should always mind your nuts.

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Lava Flow Ice Pops

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Lava Flow Ice Pops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

With Labor Day signaling the end of summer, it’s time to put all our white apparel back into storage. Good thing, too, ‘cause I have a hard time convincing my boys that mommy’s white clothes shouldn’t be used to wipe their hands and mouths.

But before the hot weather gives way to the crisp, cool autumn, what do you say about indulging in one more frozen treat?

Lava Flow Ice Pops by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

These ice pops are named after one of my favorite tropical frozen drinks: the Lava Flow—a frosty piña colada topped off with strawberry purée. Come to think of it, these popsicles are more like Virgin Lava Flows, given that I’ve omitted the rum; in fact, my version’s just made with fruit and coconut milk—perfect for those of you who want to avoid any added sweeteners. Of course, if your fruit’s not quite in tip-top shape or if you prefer your desserts a tad sweeter, feel free to add some honey.

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Peachy Pork-A-Bobs

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Peachy Pork-a-Bobs by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I grew up in suburban Menlo Park, California. You wouldn’t know if from the tree-lined residential streets and quaint downtown, but my hometown’s the birthplace of Google, Round Table Pizza, and the psychedelic 60s. I lived a block away from what is now the first-ever Tesla Motors dealership; as a high schooler, I worked there as a file clerk when it was a Chevy showroom. (I got hit by a truck while sprinting across the street after work to watch Donahue. If only I’d owned a DVR in 1989, I would’ve skipped the ambulance ride to the hospital.)

Menlo Park is also home to the Connoisseur’s Marketplace, a difficult-to-spell mid-summer festival highlighting food, wine, music, and art. As kids, my sister and I would peer into each of the stalls, tug on our parents’ arms and beg to buy trinkets and snacks. “Too expensive,” they’d say. 

"Can we at least buy a lemonade? It’s hot out!"

"No. We have lemons at home, and we live two blocks away."

Argh.

The one thing—the only thing—for which my mom and dad would gladly shell out their hard-earned bucks? Pork-a-bobs. We always made a beeline for the Filipino stand offering grilled swine slathered with a sticky-sweet barbecue glaze. I haven’t been back to the Connoisseur’s Marketplace in over twenty years (even though it’s just the next town over from Palo Alto), but I still think about those skewers.

This year’s Connoisseur’s Marketplace just took place last weekend. So when the fine folks over at U.S. Wellness Meats asked me to develop a new recipe for them, Pork-a-Bobs were the first thing to spring to mind.

Peachy Pork-a-Bobs by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

My version incorporates sweet summer peaches in the smoky, fruity sauce, because I really don’t know of a better flavor combination than grilled pork and peaches. The pork is marinated in a simple, flavorful marinade, which means the sauce isn’t absolutely necessary. But I brush on the sauce after the pork’s off the grill (so it doesn’t burn) to give the meat an extra boost of flavor and to make it a fun, messy, lick-your-fingers treat.

Although I normally reserve pork shoulder for low and slow cooking preparations, it’s also fantastic cubed and grilled. This recipe keeps on giving because the pork reheats beautifully and the leftover sauce (which can be smeared on your favorite meats) will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

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Mango + Avocado Salsa on Pan-Seared Salmon

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Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

As the defiant second child growing up in a multigenerational household, I made it a point to assert my contrariness whenever I could.

You want me to wear a coat because it’s 30°F outside and the windows are frosted over? No way! I’m wearing a TANK TOP. And the reason my teeth are chattering is ‘cause I’m sooo HOT.

The power struggles spilled over to the kitchen table, too. My parents and grandparents loved tropical fruit—papaya, guava, durian—but I would cross my arms and turn my nose up in disgust. I don’t want to try that mango. Papaya and durian? YUCK. I despise tropical fruit! Blech! [Insert gagging, retching noises here.]

I hate to admit it, but I should’ve listened to my elders. Especially about mango—I crave that fragrant, tender fruit now, especially the golden Ataufo variety from Mexico, which is similar to the Manila mango (a.k.a. champagne mango).

(I still can’t stand papaya and durian, though. Gross.)

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One of my favorite summer dishes is pan-seared salmon topped with a tangy and refreshing mango and avocado salsa—it’s quick, simple, and delicious. It’s easy on the eyes, too.

Mango and Avocado Salsa by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew)

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Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Half a lifetime ago, I moved to Berkeley to attend college at the University of California—the birthplace of the countercultural revolution of the 1960s. I missed the action by a generation, but even as a wide-eyed freshman in the early nineties, I saw that the hippie flag still flew proudly. Aging Deadheads, Telegraph Avenue panhandlers, and hackey-sacking students alike reveled in the free-wheeling, anything-goes spirit of the community. For many of us who were living on our own for the first time, the intoxicating scent of freedom was in the air. (The air smelled like other things, too. We’re talking about Berkeley, after all.)

And why not? College is the time for experimentation. Some of my peers dabbled in mind-altering substances. Others explored alternative cultures, music, religions, sexual identities, and politics. Some took off all their clothes and strolled around campus naked.

Me? I was just there for the food.

Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’d never tried African cuisine before college. But not long after my newly-laminated student ID was in my wallet, one of my friends—an oh-so-worldly sophomore—invited me to dinner at The Blue Nile, a now defunct Berkeley institution (right next to People’s Park!) that served up rich, spicy Ethiopian stews and a sweet honey wine called tej.

There, in the restaurant’s dark and cozy dining room, I was introduced to a multitude of fragrant, assertively spiced dishes, from yebeg alicha (a hearty lamb stew) to siga tibs (beef sautéed with onions and tongue-tingling spices). These long-simmered stews came served atop a thin layer of soft injera bread. My friend showed me how to tear off bite-size pieces of the spongy, sour bread and use them to scoop the stews into my mouth. Everything was lip-smackingly delicious. I was hooked on Ethiopian food.

After that, I made a point of seeking out Ethiopian and Eritrean joints. Wherever I happened to be—from Berkeley to Harlem, San Francisco to Boston—I’d make sure I wound up seated before a wicker mesob, hungrily tearing into a platter of slow-cooked meats, vegetables, and lentils.

Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Henry never really understood my all-consuming obsession with this cuisine. The glacially slow service at my favorite Ethiopian restaurants in San Francisco always drove my impatient husband nuts. Still, when prodded, even he would admit that the dishes are worth the long wait.

We both especially love doro wat—a slow-simmered spicy stew with fork-tender pieces of fall-off-the-bone chicken meat. Sadly, most Ethiopian restaurants only serve one or two chicken drumsticks with each order.

That’s one reason I decided to create my own Paleo-friendly doro wat recipe: I wanted to load up this fiery stew with as much chicken-y goodness as possible.

Doro Wat (Spicy Ethiopian Chicken Stew) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Chunky Monkey “Ice Cream” Bon Bons

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Who’s in the mood for a frosty, nutty, chocolatey treat?

Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream" Bon Bons by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

By merging together two of my favorite recipes—The Kitchn’s One Ingredient Ice Cream and Irvin Lin’s homemade Magic Shell—I came up with this simple, bite-sized confection.

Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream" Bon Bons by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

The steps are easy, but timing is key. You must wait for the “ice cream” to freeze completely (twice!) before proceeding, and then you gotta work fast. Otherwise, you’ll end up with melty brown lumps.

Six Ingredients + Patience = Happy Little Monkeys.

Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream" Bon Bons by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here’s what to gather to make 24 bite-sized Bon Bons:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, frozen and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons almonds or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (Chunky Monkey ice cream typically contains walnuts, but I prefer almonds)

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Swiss Chard with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Porkitos

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Swiss Chard with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Porkitos by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Swiss chard's like the Jennifer Lawrence of the produce aisle—it's more than just a pretty exterior. This gorgeous vegetable's also nutrient dense (with a whopping ANDI score of 670), quick-cooking, and delicious in so many different preparations.

Swiss Chard with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Porkitos by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Although there are numerous ways to serve chard, my favorite is the classic Catalan approach, in which the greens are wilted in a pan with sizzling minced garlic and then tossed with toasted pine nuts and golden raisins. I also crumble on a few Porkitos to add a salty, swiney crunch to each bite.

Here’s what to gather (serves 4):

  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 pounds Swiss chard
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  •  2 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from ½ lemon

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Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

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Paleo Sausage Egg "McMuffin" By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In honor of Father’s Day, I created this recipe for my Pop. He’s a lifelong fan of breakfast sausage and eggs…and, um, English muffins. But who needs bread when the filling’s the best part?

To make this breakfast sandwich resemble those from a certain fast-food joint (you know: the one with the freaky clown mascot), you’ll need some special equipment—namely, stainless steel biscuit cutters—but if you’ve got ’em, this recipe’s a snap. Plus, you can totally eat these sammies with your hands.

Paleo Sausage Egg "McMuffin" By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here’s what you’ll need to make one “McMuffin”:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee, divided (plus more for greasing the biscuit cutters)
  • ¼ pound bulk raw pork breakfast sausage
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon guacamole (optional)
Here’s what to do:
Grab two stainless steel 3½-inch biscuit cutters, and grease the insides well with melted ghee. Place one cutter on a plate and fill it with the sausage meat. (You can also easily make your own bulk breakfast sausage. Here’s Jen Cereghino’s recipe. I also have a Maple Breakfast Sausage recipe in my forthcoming cookbook.)

Paleo Sausage Egg "McMuffin" By Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

(If you don’t have bulk sausage handy, just cook up some bacon. I just Instagrammed a photo of a Bacon Egg “McMuffin” this morning—and if you’re not already food-stalking me on Instagram, you really should.)

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Slim Palate’s Lamb Osso Bucco With Gremolata

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I’m still in Austin, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you and your cooking needs. Here’s a fantastic recipe you can braise in the oven TODAY for your Sunday supper:

Doesn’t this dish look fantastic? What’s even more amazing is that my guest blogger, Joshua Weissman, isn’t even old enough to vote yet. In fact, he just finished his finals for junior year last week. Of high school. Boy, do I feel old.

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Joshua Weissman is a 17-year-old food blogger with a passion for cooking, food and health. Joshua always loved food but his love for food led to an eventual weight gain. After years of endless ridicule and physical harassment, he decided to change his life and lost over 100 pounds through healthy eating and exercise. On his blog, Slim Palate, he documents his latest culinary creations with fun stories and gorgeous photography.  To keep abreast of his kitchen shenanigans, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Take it away, Josh!

Before I start rambling, I have to take a moment to thank Michelle for having me guest post. Of the many food bloggers that I adore, she has a special place in my heart because we share a similarity in cooking styles and tastes. At my house, we joke around and call Michelle one of my “second mothers” along with Stacy from Paleo Parents. Now look what I’ve done; I’ve begun rambling and I haven’t even gotten to the post.

The dish I’m writing about is Lamb Osso Bucco With Gremolata.

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I’m in love with braising because the technique’s practically foolproof and almost always yields perfectly voluptuous, tender and flavorful meals. When braising meat, you can opt for tougher cuts because the low and slow cooking melts the tough connective tissue. 

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