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Paleo By Season’s Atkilt (Spiced Ethiopian Vegetable Stew)

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Paleo By Season’s Atkilt (Spiced Ethiopian Vegetable Stew)

Autumn may trigger pumpkin spice cravings in most folks, but for me? Not so much. I yearn instead for hearty Ethiopian fare. It’s not just because I’m contrary by nature, like my mom. (I know you’re shaking your head, mom, but it’s true.) As longtime readers know from my Doro Wat recipe post, I fell in love with Ethiopian cuisine during my first semester in college. Naturally, the return of crisp, fall weather always stirs up memories of chowing on comforting stews at my favorite Ethiopian joints in Berkeley.

In other words, I’m feeling old and wistful about my glory days.

Paleo By Season’s Atkilt (Spiced Ethiopian Vegetable Stew)

Thankfully, to scratch that nostalgic itch, I can turn to my review copy of Chef Peter Servold’s Paleo By Season. For those of you who don’t know Pete, he’s the classically trained chef behind Pete’s Paleo, a fantastic Paleo meal service that ships all over the U.S. Like all the best chefs, Peter knows that the quality of a dish hinges on the use of fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. And in his beautiful cookbook, Pete groups his recipes by season (hence the title!) so that readers can cook the best of the available bounty.

Paleo By Season’s Atkilt (Spiced Ethiopian Vegetable Stew)

Flipping through the “Fall” section of Pete’s cookbook, I yelped. I’d discovered not one, but three Ethiopian recipes. My favorite of this trio happens to be the simplest: Atkilt, a humble spiced root vegetable stew. I’d tinkered with my own recipe in the past, but I never quite nailed the flavor combination—and my attempts sometimes came out overly mushy, too.

Thankfully, early in his career, Pete worked at an Ethiopian restaurant—and not surprisingly, his version of Atkilt is spot-on. I was instantly transported back to my days as a wide-eyed freshman at Cal. All that was missing was my dorky tie-dyed leggings, jangly Telegraph Avenue jewelry, and cockroach-kickin’ Doc Martens boots. 

Ready to check out Pete’s recipe?

Paleo By Season’s Atkilt (Spiced Ethiopian Vegetable Stew)

Here’s what to gather to serve 4-6 people as a side dish:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small green cabbage (1 pound), cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium carrots (1 pound), cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1¾ pounds white potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (you can substitute cauliflower florets if you don’t eat potatoes—but hey, did you hear that potatoes are now Whole30-approved?)
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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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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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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