Whole30® Sriracha

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I’ve gotten tons of positive feedback about the Paleo Sriracha recipe I posted back in December (thank you!), and I love hearing that many of you have whipped up batches of the stuff to serve with…well, everything. After my recipe was picked up by websites like BuzzFeed and Grist, even non-Paleo eaters have been making their own junk-free versions of the famous Rooster Sauce. Yay!

BUT…what if you’re a sriracha lover who’s doing a Whole30®, and can’t have honey for a month? It’s your lucky day, ‘cause I have a solution:

Whole30® Sriracha by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Just like the original recipe, this’ll take just 20 minutes, and yield 2¼ cups of what Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal calls “a delicious blessing flavored with the incandescent glow of a thousand dying suns.”

Ready for the recipe?

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The Round-up: 30 Days of Whole30 Recipes!

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Whole30 Roundup by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Here it is: 30 days of Whole30® recipes—complete with tips, tricks, and encouragement to get you through the month!

Below, you’ll find a set of links to each of the daily Whole30-friendly recipes I posted throughout the month. Bookmark this post (or follow my Whole30 Pinterest board); then, when you’re stumped for meal ideas, come back for inspiration.

Book-lovin’ Whole30 eaters should also pick up a copy of my New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans! It’s packed with new and classic recipes—many of which can’t be found anywhere else. Plus, over 100 of them are Whole30-compliant! Here’s a downloadable list of Whole30 recipes in my books.

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And if you have an iPad, go download my Webby Award-winning app! With over 100 Whole30-approved recipes, interactive guides, a customizable shopping list, fully-emailable recipes, and a 30-day Whole30 meal plan, this iPad app is an invaluable tool for Paleo foodies and culinary newbies alike.

Now: onto my day-by-day guide to 30 days of Whole30 recipes!

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(Looking for my previous Whole30 experiences? Check ’em out here and here.)

And when you’re all done? Don’t fret, ’cause resources abound:

  • First, head on over to Whole9 to gobble up their wrap-up post, including links to articles about living (and eating!) in the days, weeks, and years post-Whole30. And if you have a copy of “It Starts With Food” on your bookshelf, take another look at Chapter 20 (“Strategies for Long-Term Success”), which is packed with tips for sustaining good health.

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  • Lastly, HAVE FUN. I believe strongly that the lifestyle changes that really “stick” are the ones that are fun and exciting. Continue to foster your culinary curiosity, and play around in the kitchen. Not only will you eat healthier, but you’ll develop skills and gain knowledge that’ll make you even more awesome than you are right now (as if that’s even possible).

How did your Whole30 go? How do you feel? And what are your post-Whole30 plans?


Looking for more recipe ideas? 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)!

Whole30 Day 30: Oven-Braised Mexican Beef

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It’s Day 30! But before we sprint across the finish line, I have one more recipe to highlight.

This weekend, I’m off to New York to attend my cousin Jennifer’s baby shower. Henry and the kids will man the fort while I’m gone, but they won’t be left to fend entirely for themselves: I’m leaving them a big pot of Oven-Braised Mexican Beef. 

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Wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with homemade guacamole, this spicy, hearty take on chili con carne should keep my family’s bellies full while they cheer on the Niners this Super Bowl Sunday.

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Follow the jump for the recipe and some announcements!

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Whole30 Day 29: Garbage Stir-Fry with Curried Cabbage

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I rarely have time to make a big production out of my meals. Between work and parenting (and blogging and app development and — shh! — a new secret project), my cup runneth over. I’m not about to make a special weeknight trip to the market to hunt down some exotic ingredients for a complicated new recipe I found in a cookbook.

Instead, when pressed for time (which is just about always), I rummage through my pantry and fridge and MacGyver something together. And that usually involves some handy-dandy Emergency Protein™. (Who says I can’t trademark that?)

There are plenty of ways to quickly cook up a batch of Emergency Protein. My iPad cookbook app shows off a method for slow-roasting meats in an oven, and you can always just throw a steak on the grill or water oven. Leftovers can form the basis of a super-simple Emergency Protein meal, too. For example, on Saturday night, Henry reheated some leftover Slow Cooker Kalua Pig, paired it with a variation on Cauliflower Fried “Rice,” and voila! Dinner was on the table in minutes.

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All out of leftovers? If you have a Defrost Bowl™ in your refrigerator, this shouldn’t post a problem at all. (What? You got a problem with me trademarking that, too?)

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Over the years, I’ve gotten lots of questions about my Defrost Bowl, but there’s really nothing all that magical about it. It’s just a big bowl in my fridge that I use to thaw a bunch of frozen meat. (Note: It’s a bowl — not a colander. I certainly don’t want to clean up the bloody goo that inevitably oozes out of my packages of meat.) Every few days, I transfer some frozen protein from my freezer to my trusty Defrost Bowl; then, when it’s time to get cooking, I grab whatever Emergency Protein is no longer icy, and then decide on a cooking method.

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My Defrost Bowl serves another purpose, too: It forces me to cook my meat before it spoils, and keeps me from stuffing my face with take-out. Win-win!

One of my all-time favorite ways to whip up supper in a flash using Emergency Protein is to make a Garbage Stir-Fry™. (Yes, I’m trademarking EVERYTHING. That’s my secret project.)

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Keep reading, and I’ll show you how to make a fragrant and zesty Garbage Stir-Fry with ground meat, curry, and cabbage. Don’t worry about the name – I call it Garbage Stir-Fry, but once you taste it, you won’t want to throw any of it away.

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Take Two: A Big Update to My iPad Cookbook App!

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Right before Christmas, I proudly announced the release of an update to the Nom Nom Paleo iPad® cookbook app. Unfortunately, there was an unforeseen glitch: The wrong version of the app had been inadvertently submitted to Apple for approval. And the company’s App Store review team was shutting down for the holidays. Argh.

So for the past two weeks, we (and you) have been stuck with an old version of the app, without all the new goodies we promised. Double argh. We can’t say sorry enough times to make this right, but thanks for bearing with us anyway.

Thankfully, with the App Store team back in action, we got word late yesterday that our update — the real one! — has been approved by the good folks at Apple. And now, version 1.5 of the Nom Nom Paleo app is finally live!

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So what does this mean for those of you who own an iPad or iPad Mini? Keep reading for the full scoop!

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Rogan Josh (Lamb Stew) - The Easy Version

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Folks, I’ve discovered another game changer.

After reading John “Doc” Willoughby’s article “Deep Flavor, No Browning Required” in the NYT, I’ve decided to forgo pre-searing meat when I cook stews. According to the article, the way to “cold start” a stew is to skip the normal searing of meat in hot oil and replace it with a gentle warming of the protein in some fat, aromatics, and spices. No sputtering oil or grease burns AND you still get a delicious, flavorful dish? Awesome.

The other day, I decided to test out this method with my Rogan Josh recipe. How’d it turn out? The final dish was yummy and flavorful and nobody missed the browned bits (or the greasy mess).

Here’s what I gathered to feed 6 adults:

  • 2.5 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Rogan Josh seasoning
  • ½ cup full fat Greek yogurt (or coconut milk)
  • 2/3 cup water Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 300 F, prepped the lamb…

…chopped the veggies…

…and melted the ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat.

Once the fat melted, I dumped in the lamb, onions, carrots, spices, salt, and pepper.

I stirred the mixture constantly for 5-8 minutes until the spices were fragrant.

Next, I added the water and yogurt and increased the heat to high to bring the contents to a simmer.

I put on the lid and placed the stew in the oven for around two hours or until the lamb was very tender. I removed the stew from the oven and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper.

I transferred the finished dish to a storage container with the intent of reheating it in a few days.

Stews always taste better when they’ve been allowed to mellow out in the fridge for a day and this was no exception. My parents kept on remarking that the lamb was super tender and delicious. I think they’re just surprised that my food is edible these days. Practice makes perfect…

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken And Gravy

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In the past, I’ve always had crappy results when I’ve tried to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker. The bird would always be overcooked, stringy, mushy, and dry. Super icky. Last night, I cooked a whole chicken in my slow cooker and it was AMAZING! I‘ll never prepare a whole chicken any other way again. Yes, that was a hyperbolic statement but I’m sticking with it.

The method I followed was a mash-up between Sarah Fragoso’s Spice Rub Crock Pot Chicken and the chicken in a pot recipe from Slow Cooker Revolution.  I heart both, so how could I fail? 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pound organic kosher chicken (I prefer the taste of the salt-washed bird)
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee
  • 2 onions, chopped medium (or 2 cups of your favorite alliums)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (you can use up to a tablespoon to add more umami)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup white wine (replace with 1/4 cup extra chicken stock if on Whole30)
  • Sunny Paris seasoning (or your favorite seasoning)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Here’s what you do:

Gather and chop up your veggies…

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…and melt the ghee in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic (I threw in some scallions, too)…

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…and add the tomato paste.

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The aromatics should be softened and lightly browned after 8-10 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

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Then, deglaze the pan with the wine and/or chicken stock, and transfer everything to your slow cooker. Dry off the bird and season it well — inside and out — with salt, pepper, and your favorite poultry seasoning. (I like Sunny Paris seasoning from Penzeys Spices.)

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Place the chicken breast side down in the slow cooker, put on the cover, and set it to cook on low for 4-6 hours.

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This bird was close to 4 pounds, so I aimed for about 4.5 hours of simmering.

When the chicken’s finished cooking…

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…take it out of the slow cooker and let it rest for 20 minutes.

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De-fat the braising sauce…

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…check for seasoning, and blend it with an immersion blender

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… to make a delicious gravy.

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This gravy is kickass!

Rip up the chicken up with your hands like a true cavegirl or caveguy…

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…and serve it with the gravy.

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My favorite thing about this recipe is the breast stays moist! Love it! Don’t ever cook chicken longer than 6 hours on low!

And DON’T FORGET TO SAVE THE GRAVY! It’s pretty much incredible on everything.

Cheater Crispy Sous Vide Duck Confit Legs

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Hey R, here’s a different way to heat up those Costco-purchased Grimaud Farms duck confit seasoned legs that’s super easy and the results are astounding.

I used to heat them up in the oven per the instructions of the package (stick in 400 F oven with skin side up for 15 minutes) but I was always disappointed with the flabby skin and the dried out texture of the meat. Since these babies come vacuum-sealed and are probably prepared sous vide originally, I’ve always wanted to reheat them in the water oven and then sear the legs off on the stove to crisp up the skin.

I opted to cook them this way tonight and they turned out PERFECTLY! My one minor gripe is the skin’s never intact on the legs so it’s a crapshoot how much crispy skin you get. That being said, I will NEVER make my own duck confit — I’ll just pretend I did.

Here’s what I did to feed 2.5 people:

I filled and heated the SousVide Supreme to 140 F and grabbed a package of Grimaud Farms duck confit seasoned legs from the fridge. 

Although the legs come vacuum-sealed already, I opted to reseal them in a Foodsaver bag since I don’t know if the original plastic container can be heated. 

I dunked the legs in the water oven for about 45 minutes and took the legs out…

…and patted them dry. 

I melted 2 tablespoons of duck fat in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and seared the legs skin side-down for about 2 minutes…

…flipped them over, and browned the other side for about a minute. There’s lots of splatter so cover up with an apron.

Voila! 

French bistro quality, super-crisp skinned and tender duck legs at home!

Chez Panisse Braised Red Cabbage

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Here’s another simple yet delicious recipe culled from Alice WatersChez Panisse Vegetables. The woman is a genius.

The finished dish is an awesome bowl of purple comfort food – tender, sweet, tart, and savory. It goes well with any protein so it’s a wonderful cabbage side dish to have in your repertoire.

Here’s what I gathered to feed 4-6 adults:

  • 1 red cabbage (green works great as well), outer wilted leaves and core removed, and sliced very thin
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of duck fat (bacon grease would be delicious as well)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated

Here’s how I made it:

The first thing I did was gather and chop up the ingredients.

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I scooped out the duck fat…

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…and melted it over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet.

Once the duck fat was melted, I sautéed the onions for about 5 minutes.

Next, I added the cabbage, vinegar, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and water.

I brought it up to a boil, put on a lid, lowered the heat, and simmered the cabbage for 20 minutes.

I peeled and grated a Fuji apple and added it to the cabbage mixture.

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I mixed it in, put on the lid, and let it cook for 5 more minutes. I tasted the cabbage and adjusted for seasoning.

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I love the combination of cabbage, apples, and sherry vinegar!

Sous Vide Carnitas

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I’ve made carnitas the traditional way, but the process can be a big a pain in the ass. Delicious, yes, but it requires more effort than this lazy-butt is willing to expend. I’d rather head to my favorite taqueria and buy a pound.

This is why I was so excited to read R’s super-simple yet scrumptious recipe for sous vide carnitas a few days ago. As soon as I read her post, I immediately ran to the garage and pulled a big pork butt out of the chest freezer to recreate the recipe at home. (Remember? I have 100 pounds of pork in there.)

I followed her recipe pretty explicitly, but I lazified it even more by using 4 tablespoons of Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming seasoning instead of making my own dry rub.

Here’s the play-by-play:

I brined the cubed pork butt for the suggested 24 hours in the fridge…

…rinsed off the excess brine…

…dried off the pork…

…tossed it with the Arizona Dreaming seasoning

…vacuum-sealed the seasoned pork in two packets…

…dunked the packets in the SousVide Supreme for 28 hours…

…removed the cooked pork from the water oven…

…blotted the pork cubes dry…

…pan-fried the cubes in a couple tablespoons of lard, and drained them on a wire rack.

For dinner, I served carnitas lettuce tacos topped with diced white onions, cilantro, Primavera salsa, and homemade guacamole.

Very tasty and easy-peasy! The meal prep takes some advance planning, but it’s definitely worth it. I can’t wait to make this again and again and again and again…

Thanks for the great recipe, R.! I’ll repay you with a big slab of pork belly!