Once every few months, I make a vow that I am going to start cooking more. Sure – I mean, I do all the time. But the way I do it is highly streamlined and efficient. I microwave vegetables. I stir-fry ground beef. And really… not much else. This is the fastest way for me to cook and to get the calories I need.
I do enjoy my heals. But this time I have an added impetus to spend more time preparing food:
There is a man in whose bed I wake up from time to time.
And he likes food.
And he likes breakfast.
And wants to know what my “specialty” is.
Um – steamed zucchini and onions?
And wants to know what this whole “paleo” thing is all about.
Um – steamed zucchini and onions?
So it is to my favorite cookbook authors that I turn. Michelle Tam, of Nom Nom Paleo blog fame, is one of them. (See the book on Amazon @ here.) I am also digging into Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain, which I’ll show you a bit more of next week.
Nom nom has been a successful blog (and intense labor of intense love) for a very long time. Michelle is well-established as one of the foremost foodies of the paleo world, having taken food blogging and photography up as a ….
third full time job?
Next to working a night shift and being a loving mother to her two children and wife to her husband Henry?
(Image credit: nom nom herself.)
And here is the story of Michelle’s day to day life, in cartoon form in the book Nom nom Paleo: Food for Humans. Please forgive the poor quality of the photo – it’s very late at night and very dim in this home.
Which is beyond inspiring.
By the way – this book has only been on shelves for weeks, and already it is a best-seller.
And which I am giving away of in celebration of my food liberation journey at the end of this blog post.
So what am I turning to Michelle to do for me?
Her book (which is co-authored by her brilliant husband Henry Fong) does so many things it’s hard to nail it down precisely why it’s so perfect for my endeavor. The book’s got recipes for every meal, every kind of protein, every kind of vegetable… It’s paleo and it nails easy and delicious all at the same time. The food porn, as is so often the case with my brilliant photography and cooking friends, is out of this world.
But perhaps most important of all – Nom Nom is the most instructional cookbook I have ever come across.
Michelle walks me through everything.
Ever wonder what all the gadgets in a kitchen are for?
Done. Explained. In photo and text form.
(One of several pages of explanations of different tools.)
Because it is not that I am inept in the kitchen… not by a long shot. But there is a lot out there for me to learn about if I so choose.
Ever wonder how to make even the most basic things that everyone sort of presumes you know how to do? Or perhaps not how to make them from the get-go, but rather how to perfect them? I’ve been making carmelized onions for decades. But what’s the best way to make this staple?
Personally, my favorite part of this book is how it so perfectly walks you through both the simple basics and the complex delights. There are, as we just saw, many different recipes for “basic” staples such as carmelized onions, slow roasted tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, and the like.
And there are many different recipes for spices and for rubs and for sauces such as paleo mayonnaise, dukkah, or “magical mushroom powder” — things that I can add to a simple steamed zucchini and onions in seconds.
And Michelle hits every paleo must-have with ease and fun. Ghee, for example. Bone broth. Mashed cauliflower “rice.” (I’ve been reading about that one in the paleosphere for ages.) A “proper French omelet.” Mouth-watering steaks.
She calls both the paleo must-haves and the spices “building blocks.” With these blocks, you can make anything delicious and in a hurry.
Which is my kind of cooking.
So I have now, from Michelle, tried-and-true ways to make the basics.
I have ways to use and spice up those basics with other “building blocks” like the mushroom power.
I have a super simple way to make “macademia nut ricotta” which my mouth is watering thinking about.
And then Michelle also has all the glorious complex dishes, and broken down step-by-step, photo by photo.
This means I can make paleo siracha (!),
(again, forgive my poor lighting and focus… smart phones do not apparently have the night vision of a cat)
and I can make prosciutto-wrapped frittata muffins (breakfast in bed!!)
and I can make Chinese egg foo young
and I can make Peruvian roast chicken with aji verde chili sauce
and polpette di vitello (veal meatballs) for my Italian host mother
and grilled lamb chops and mint chimichurri
and kabalagala (plantain fritters! which I might make just so I can brag about making “kabalagala” and say it 100 times fast.)
And just about any other paleo meal I could possibly dream of.
So take that inertia.
And take that zucchini and onions.
This is a kick ass cookbook, and I really could not recommend it more highly. And I am so excited to have such a fun, informational book with me to set me up with the basics and rocking with the highly complex flavors in no time. My new “special friend” will (at very least) be a fiend for my paleo food in no time.
In honor of this book, Michelle and Henry’s incredible success in recent weeks of which I am nothing but enormously proud, and of my own desire to make food a fun, relaxing part of my life, I bought an extra copy of nom nom and am giving it away!
The giveaway will be open from now Until Friday 2/28 at midnight.
Enter by points system. Should be easy peasy, just one click here or there.
Good luck and enjoy, my lovely friends!