Nom Nom Paleo

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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Tonnato Sauce

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Tonnato Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Okay: what do you think of tonnato, a creamy, tangy sauce made with anchovies, capers, and canned tuna? For those of you smiling—high five! And if your nose is wrinkled in disgust, hear me out. I was once in your shoes, but this umami-packed sauce is truly a cinch to make from pantry staples and tastes good on EVERYTHING.

Tonnato Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

This classic Italian sauce is typically paired with chilled poached veal (vitello tonnato) and served as a picnic dish. Sadly, I almost never have poached veal lying around the house, so after I blitz a fresh batch of tonnato, I pour it on crudités, hard-boiled eggs, sliced heirloom tomatoes, poached or sous vide chicken, or steamed vegetables. Or all of the above.

Tonnato Sauce by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

It’s seriously good stuff.

Here’s what to gather to make 2 cups of sauce:

  • 1 (7-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 5 anchovies packed in olive oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup Paleo Mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions:

Dump all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Done.

The sauce can be kept in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for a couple of days.

If you need more instruction and pictures before you’re willing to try this, read on, my skeptical friend.

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Thai Curry Chicken

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Thai Curry Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I’ve got a recipe that’s quicker, healthier, and tastier than ordering takeout from your neighborhood Thai joint.  Just grab some chicken (or whatever quick-cooking protein on hand) add some frozen and leftover vegetables, and stir in some curry paste and coconut milk. After a few minutes on the stove, you’ll have a fragrant, flavorful curry. Instead of tipping the delivery guy, you can give yourself a pat on the back instead.

My PSA of the day: Make sure your pantry is stocked with a few Thai curry pastes. My favorite brands are Aroy-D and Mae Ploy and I like yellow, red, and green. You can buy these pastes at most Asian markets, but choose the ones that only contain herbs and spices. Read your labels, folks.

Thai Curry Chicken by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Ingredients (Serves 4 people):

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 small onion, chopped medium
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai curry paste (whichever color you prefer)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 10 ounces frozen vegetables
  • 2 cups leftover roasted kabocha squash
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

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Virginia Is For Hunter-Gatherers’ Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce

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I’m excited to welcome Brent and Heather as guest bloggers! 

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Brent and Heather are the adorable and talented couple behind Virginia is for hunter-gatherers, a paleo blog dedicated to health and wellness through home-cooked meals. I first discovered their blog last year when I peeked in on a burger party they threw with Russ Crandall. Now, that’s my kind of party.

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After losing over 70 pounds collectively, Brent and Heather spend their free time cooking and blogging their real-food passion for the world.  People: Do yourselves a favor and sign up for weekly new recipes at vahuntergatherers.com or join them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Ever since that fateful day last November when I drooled over their inventive burger combinations, I’ve been hooked on their clean, unfussy styling and photography. Plus, their recipes are always simple and delicious. I’d be a dummy if I didn’t ask them to help me with a blog post and, thankfully, they agreed to write one. Without further ado, here’s Brent and Heather’s Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce!

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Once upon a time, when Heather and I first started our own documented cooking adventures, we were pretty lost.  Still in the initial sticker shock/grief period of, “But what can I eat?,” we spent a lot of time scanning the internet looking for “paleo-friendly” recipes and meal ideas.  Michelle’s blog was one of the first I came across, as I was a pretty intense tumblr addict.  Once I moved to Virginia and was juggling two jobs, tumblr went away, but Nom Nom stayed.  I later found out the connection between fitbomb and nomnompaleo, and I was excited to see a pair that really thought about fitness and health when it comes to movement and diet.  Plus, there’s the added benefit of following the family adventures since I’m not quite ready to enlist my own little army of helpers.

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Spicy Salmon Cucumber Bites

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Want to impress your pals with an elegant yet simple hors d’oeuvre? Look no further than these spicy salmon cucumber bites! If you’ve already got some cooked salmon and mayo in your fridge, you can whip these omega-3-fatty-acid-packed appetizers in a jiffy.

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Here’s what to gather to make 16 bites:

  • ¼ cup Paleo mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Tabasco
  • ½ pound cooked salmon
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and cut crosswise into ¾-inch thick slices
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 bunch chive sprigs (optional garnish)

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Asian Chicken Thighs

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No, I’m not calling this dish “Asian Chicken Thighs” solely because I’m of Chinese ancestry. (Though come to think of it, I call dibs on putting the prefix “Asian” on every one of my recipes. They sound more exotic that way, don’t you think?) 
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Rather, this simple weeknight chicken dinner hits all the notes that you’ve come to expect from Asian comfort food. It’s savory, sweet, tangy, and packed with umami. And did I also mention that the marinade can be ready in just minutes?
Here’s what to gather to feed 4-6 people:
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 slices of fresh ginger, each approximately the size of a quarter
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons macadamia nut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or if you’re on the Whole30 or avoiding honey, use ½ small apple, peeled, cored, and diced)
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 pounds chicken thighs
Here’s how to make the chicken:
Dump everything except for the chicken into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Then, bake the bird parts for 40 minutes at 400°F. The end!
What?!? You want to see step-by-step pictures? Man, you guys sure are demanding. But if you insist…

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Paleo Chawanmushi (Savory Egg Custard)

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Poke a spoon through the delicate, quivering surface of these savory Japanese steamed egg custards, and you’ll find a treasure trove of ingredients inside: diced seafood, poultry, and veggies. With just a few adjustments, I’ve come up with a flavor-packed Paleo version of chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) that you can steam on the stove, bake in a water bath, or pop into a sous vide cooker.

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Paleo Plan’s Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt

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Why look! Another guest blogger! This time it’s Neely Quinn, the pint-sized dynamo who runs The Paleo Plan!

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Mel, Holly, and I  met Neely last fall when she attended our Do It Better! Paleo Seminar in Estes Park, Colorado. Not too long ago, she reached out to me and volunteered to guest post about making a super-simple two-ingredient dairy-free yogurt in the oven. That’s right: TWO INGREDIENTS. The technique was so novel and easy that I had to take her up on her offer. Teach us, Neely!


Luckily for me — but very unfortunately for her — my friend Cat Caruso has so many food sensitivities that she has to be creative in the kitchen.

Cat’s culinary accomplishments range from the most perfect coconut macaroons ever created, to a tender delectable crock-pot lamb roast, to coconut milk ice cream, and last but not least…coconut milk yogurt.

Obviously, her food sensitivities don’t extend to coconut.

Why had I not thought of coconut milk yogurt before!? Sometimes when she tells me what she’s just whimsically whipped up, I feel really stupid for not having done it before myself.

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Not only is coconut milk yogurt a fantastic idea, it’s really delicious. It’s tangy, creamy, and satisfying like yogurt should be. One thing to note is there’s pretty much no protein in it, so you’ll have to get your grams somewhere else.

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Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce (Inspired by The Croods)

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I’ve always been a film buff. Aside from the obituaries, my favorite part of the local paper was the movie section; starting in elementary school, I’d pore over the weekend reviews to decide which flicks were worth dragging my family to see. Ever the weirdo, I vetoed my older sister’s request to see Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal and cajoled my parents into taking us to see Tootsie instead. Sure, in December of 1982, the cross-dressing jokes flew right over my eight-year-old head, but who cares? The movie got two thumbs up from Siskel & Ebert, people.

Ironically, I watch fewer grown-up flicks now than I did when I was in second grade. These days, when Henry and I venture to the cineplex, it’s usually with the boys in tow, so we stick to family-friendly fare. And recently, as we settled into our seats to watch another kiddie flick, this trailer caught my eye:



Yowza — an animated film about a prehistoric cave-dwelling clan! “Think they eat Paleo?” I whispered excitedly. The Double-Os nodded. “I think they do CrossFit, too,” my five-year-old solemnly added.

I made a mental note: We were going to catch The Croods as soon as it hit theaters.

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So when I was contacted by the movie studio a few weeks ago and asked to develop a recipe inspired by The Croods, it wasn’t hard for me to say yes. DreamWorks Animation requested something family-friendly, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work creating a dish that’s simple, tasty, Paleo, and kid-approved: Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce.

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Speared hunks of beef, flattened with a heavy object and grilled over an open fire. Sounds like caveman family fare to me, don’t you think?

Trust me: If Lil-O — the pickiest eater in our house — liked ‘em, your kids’ll gobble them up, too!

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Wanna see the simple step-by-step instructions? They’re so easy even a caveman could do it!

Here’s what to hunt and gather to make 16 skewers:

For the Cherry Barbecue Sauce (Makes 1⅔ cup of sauce):

  • 2 teaspoons ghee or fat of choice
  • ½ cup minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) ginger root, peeled and finely grated (I use a Microplane)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos (or wheat-free tamari)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 10 ounces frozen cherries, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Smashed Steak Skewers:

  • 1½-pound flank steak
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons melted ghee
  • ¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Here’s the step-by-step instructions:

The cherry barbecue sauce is a cinch to make and can be prepared ahead of time.

First, melt the ghee over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent (around 5 minutes).

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Stir in the garlic, ginger and tomato paste…

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…and sauté for 30 second until fragrant.

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Add the coconut aminos, vinegar, juice…

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…and cherries…

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…and bring to a boil.

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Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cherry mixture is thickened.

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While the sauce is simmering, stir occasionally and smush the cherries against the side of the pot.

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Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or measuring cup and set aside.

A half hour before you want to grill your skewers, soak 16 bamboo skewers in water.

Grab your slab of flank steak and cut it into 16 pieces.

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First, cut the steak in half lengthwise (along the grain).

Next, slice the steak in half across the grain, then in fourths…

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…and finally in eighths.

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Carefully stab each slice of meat through the center with a soaked skewer.

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Now comes the fun part: Grab a hefty meat pounder or small cast iron skillet, and smash each steak skewer until it’s about ½ inch thick.

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GRRR! (THWACK!)

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I’m sure The Croods would’ve used sticks and stones, but I prefer to keep my kitchen rock-free.

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Season the beef with salt and pepper…

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…and brush both sides with melted ghee.

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Fire up your backyard grill, and cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

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Let the meat skewers rest for 5 to 10 minutes…

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…before brushing on the cherry barbecue sauce.

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A garnish of fresh green scallions is optional, but it can instantly transform this rugged plate of skewers into a more refined dish.

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Serve immediately and watch your kiddos tear into them with sharp little incisors!

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Don’t forget to check out The Croods when it comes out on March 22nd!

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Full disclosure: As I mentioned above, this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

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

Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème (Dairy-Free!)

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When it comes to chocolate pots de crème, there’s no messing around. These dense little cups of smooth, dark chocolate don’t pretend to be delicate or airy, and you’ll never mistake them for bland-tasting instant pudding or low-fat chocolate mousse. With just one bite, you’ll taste the message loud and clear: These bittersweet pots de crème are intensely chocolatey, decadently full-fat, and proud of it.

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I rarely indulge in sweets these days, but dark chocolate is my kryptonite — so when occasion calls for it, I’ll happily whip up a batch of dairy-free chocolate pots de crème. And my favorite ways to amp up the intensity of this special treat is with a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, and ancho chile powder — a flavor combination inspired by the rich, spicy kick of traditional Mexican hot chocolate.

This recipe is foolproof, provided you don’t rush things. Yes, I know it’s virtually impossible to exercise self-restraint when it comes to chocolate, but to ensure a silky-smooth ganache, staple these three tips to your forehead:

  • Be patient when forming the base custard,
  • Step away from the chocolate for a full five minutes while it’s melting, and
  • Stir slooowly and deliberately when combining the melted chocolate and custard.

Trust me: you’ll be rewarded for your stoic Jedi ways.

Ready to learn how to make these little pots o’ joy?

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