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Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Hardcover – December 17, 2013
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Nom Nom Paleo: Food For Humans clearly describes what the Paleo diet is all about and why it makes sense. As a cook who embraces all diets, and therefore no particular diet beyond fresh cooked food, I love this book for its sound techniques, flavorful pairings, and innovative dishes. There's also a contagious joyousness about the way Michelle presents food that makes you want to cook along with her. I want to cook Paleo because she makes it look so fun!
-Michael Ruhlman, James Beard Award-winning author of numerous books about food and cooking, including Ruhlman's Twenty and Charcuterie
I don't care if you're a discriminating foodie or a picky tot: If you're a human who eats food, you need this book. Nom Nom Paleo's lip-smacking recipes, zany humor, and eye-popping style will prove to you that Paleo won't just make you look, feel, and perform better--you'll eat better, too.
-Robb Wolf, New York Times bestselling author of The Paleo Solution
This book is just plain fun--packed with creative cartoon graphics, tasty photos, and yummy recipes that appeal not only to committed Paleo dieters, but to anyone who loves good food.
-Bruce Aidells, IACP Award-winning author of The Great Meat Cookbook
A delightful read--playful, irreverent, fun--from beginning to end, with easy-to-follow recipes that will inspire anyone wanting to eat a more healthy diet. Thank you, Michelle and Henry, for showing us that eating Paleo doesn't have to mean eating steak and broccoli every day!
-Elise Bauer, award-winning creator of SimplyRecipes.com
"What's for dinner?" is no longer a stress-inducing conundrum, as Nom Nom Paleo proves that cooking for your family can be easy, healthy, and fun. Featuring delicious recipes and lots of kitchen self-help, this book details step-by-step instructions perfect for the stovetop-challenged, and enough variations to inspire the budding chef. And the photos... oh, the photos! Worthy of their very own coffee table, the pictures and original illustrations make this unique cookbook perfect for the visual learner.
-Melissa Hartwig, New York Times bestselling author of It Starts With Food
-Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW's Good Food
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My expectations were way beyond exceeded. The cookbook itself is absolutely gorgeous--it has a big, solid cover, easily turnable pages, and beautiful pictures that really make you hungry! You'd never guess that this was a "paleo" cookbook: it looks (and is) very professional.
Whether you are an experienced chef or a newbie home cook, you'll find a recipe that's just right for you. There are simple dishes, like shrimp and watermelon skewers, that are perfect for quick weeknight dinners, and more complex dishes, like the Southwest Cowboy Chili, that are great projects for weekend culinary adventures. So far, I have made the Spicy Coconut Shrimp, Peruvian Spatchcocked Chicken, Slow-Cooker Kahlua Pig, Polpette di Vitello, and Egg Fo Young--all five have been tasty, easy to prepare, and really pretty on the plate. (My favorite so far? Hands-down the Peruvian Spatchcocked Chicken.) I'm also looking forward to trying the Slow-Cooker Korean Short Ribs, Devils on Horseback, Pistachio Apple Salad, and Crispy Gizzard Confit, among many others...I know I'll keep turning back to this cookbook for months to come.
One other review complained that the recipes were "too simple." In my opinion, we sometimes get so wrapped up in fancy, complicated preparations that we forget what tastes best: things like a warm baked sweet potato, slow-cooked roast beef, or a perfect hardboiled egg. Michelle's recipes have really inspired me to get back to basics and just enjoy the taste of simply prepared vegetables and protein.
I'd highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who is passionate about healthy food, from those just exploring paleo to old-time pros. I promise you won't be disappointed.
My favorite thing about Michelle Tam's cooking style is that she uses a lot of ingredients that bring umami to your dish. Umami is that savory meaty flavor that comes from naturally occurring forms of glutamate (not to be confused with MSG...stay away from that junk) and a few other amino acids. It fires up your taste buds while filling your entire mouth with full deep flavor. You know those rich savory dishes that are just so incredibly delicious but you just can't quite put your finger on why? That's umami! Ingredients like mushrooms, beef, seaweed, fish sauce, tomato paste, caramelized onions are just a few of the ingredients that bring this special flavor to your dish and this cookbook is full of them.
The book begins with her and her husband's journey to Paleo, the basic 411 on what exactly Paleo is, as well her tips and tricks for running a kitchen as smoothly as possible. My favorite are the defrost bowl, which I've done forever and it's a huge time saver, as well as defrosting meat (wrapped in plastic...you don't want the water actually touching the meat) in water to defrost in a flash. I've done that for years but I always thought of it as my dirty little secret because I thought somehow it wasn't the safest or most sanitary thing. It was just too easy and convenient to stop though. My mind has been eased as it is apparently perfectly fine and safe. Yay!
I appreciate the fact that all of these recipes are actually Paleo and that the treat section is kept to a minimum. The recipes aren't full of copious amounts of sweeteners like maple syrup, dates, or honey. The author does use honey in a few but it's usually just a tablespoon or two. As someone who does a lower carb version of Paleo I can live with that small amount.
There are some non-recipe recipes that take up a lot of space. I prefer it when authors condense easy staples like zucchini noodles, mashed cauliflower, roasted squash, etc into a couple pages instead of each taking up the same space, or more, as a "real" recipe. Well Fed 2 does this perfectly. Still, I don't feel like these were added gratuitously to bulk up the book and I, as a reader, don't feel like I got conned into buying a book full of "recipes" for things like scrambled eggs and veggies, steamed broccoli, etc. For that reason this small nit pick doesn't merit any deductions in rating. It really is an excellent cookbook that is at the forefront of what is available in the genre right now.
There's a Building Blocks section full of condiments and ideas to quickly and easily boost the flavors of your meal. I love it when cookbooks put effort into things like this. Sometimes on a weeknight I just don't have the time to experiment with an entire recipe from scratch but sear or grill some meat with a fabulous new spice mix, sauce, or dressing and you have a delicious new culinary adventure on the table in minutes.
Despite this being a busy week I actually got to try out quite a few of her recipes (as well as having already cooked several from the blog) because so many are so fast and easy! Here's what I've made so far and what I thought of it:
-Dukkah: Love this blend. Initially I thought it was going to be too high of a spice to nut ratio but it actually works. It's delicious!
-Slow Roasted Tomatoes: Yum! This is a technique I knew about but never actually did. It's really fast as most of the work is done in the oven. I had them with a French Omelette (also in the book).
-Caramelized onions- I made a big batch of these to have them ready to add fast flavor to quick meals through the week. These do take some time and attention but do it all at once and enjoy them for several days.
-Ghee: I've been making ghee for years and I love it. This should be a staple in everyone's kitchen!!
-Macadamia Nut "Ricotta": It's like cashew "cheese" but with macadamia nuts. And fewer carbs with a healthier fat profile! Plus it tastes amazing!
-Citrus Vinaigrette: Bright tangy citrus flavors that light up your mouth. Super easy but super delicious!
-Devils On Horseback: Normally I don't do fussy little hors d'oeuvres type dishes but I already had the macadamia nut cheese and it looked really easy so I was like why the heck not. They are like bacon wrapped dates but better. They're not as sweet and a little more complex in flavor. An excellent idea!!
-Tomato and Basil Salad: I just so happened to have some nice heirloom tomatoes that needed to get used so this was perfect. Another fast easy dish that adds so much flavor.
-Madras Chicken Salad- Yum!! A delicious herby curried chicken salad. Some of these types of recipes get overwhelmed with the curry powder but this strikes the perfect balance of flavors. Next time I make this I'm going to try grapes in it! Or mango!
-Classic Coleslaw- A delicious version of a classic dish. The sesame seeds are the perfect touch and IMO they make the dish.
-Fast/Slow Pho- I did the slow method as I don't have a pressure cooker. I can't fully evaluate this recipe as I used subpar spices resulting in a bland broth. I ran out of my Penzy's coriander, which I love, so used coriander and star anise of questionable quality. I had to doctor up the broth to give it more flavor but I really think it was the spices I used. With the doctoring (garam masala, more ginger, and fresh lemon grass) it came out really good. It's a delicious idea and is a great lower carb dish for those of us watching carbs. Oh and I have an order in to Penzy's for more of the good stuff to try again. This is also not that much work. It's a set it and forget it type dish. ETA: It was definitely the crappy quality spices. Much improved with the good stuff from Penzy's. Although if you have fresh lemongrass it makes a delicious addition. I've made this 5-6 times since. I love it!!
-Thai and French Omelettes: I love that she included these. The french omelette is a good reminder to pay attention to technique. You will be rewarded with a delicious soft fluffy omelette. I used Penzy's Sunny Paris spice mix in it. The thai omlette is amazing. So simple but packed full of flavor. Both are fast and easy enough to make on a weekday morning.
-Broccoli Bagna Cauda: I love baugna cauda sauce but I've only ever had it on fish. This was a new idea that totally works!!
-Spicy Tuna Cakes: These make a delicious fast weeknight meal. I had them cold for brunch the next day too. I didn't have any sweet potatoes so I subbed pumpkin puree and it worked great. Fewer carbs too!
-Fiona's Green Chicken: This is a recipe from her blog that I've made many times. It's amazing. Bright, minty, citrusy, grassy and good! I've done it with grilled pork chops and it made a delicious turkey breast as well. It's a delicious and versatile staple for me.
-Crispy Smashed Chicken: This is the perfect weeknight meal. You can spice it up and top it however you want. I used Penzy's Arizona spice mix in the coating for the chicken and topped with pico de gallo. The cookbook recommends her Spicy Pineapple Salsa or Salsa Roja Asada (both are in the book). Either one sounds amazing and I am going to do the pineapple salsa next time!
-Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy: Another recipe from her blog I've made quite a few times. It's easy and delicious. The "gravy" is sensational and a good way to use up the veggies from the bottom of the roasting pan that I've previously always tossed. What a huge mistake I've been making!
-Slow Cooker Korean Short Ribs: Short ribs are my favorite cut of beef so I always have to try any new recipe for them. This is amazing. Sweet and savory beefy goodness! I've seen this recipe on her blog but never actually tried it until the book came. It's another fast "set it and forget it" type recipe. I made both this and the Pho in no time at all on weeknights.
-Big O Bacon Burgers: This is a big 'ol whollup of umami for your taste buds. So delicious! Luckily I made a big batch and froze individual patties now they'll be ready even faster next time.
-Loco Moco: I'm from HI and this is a staple there. Using the Big O Bacon burgers just ups the flavor even more. I subbed umami gravy for the slow cooker gravy because that's what I had in the fridge. Served with cauliflower rice it's pure paleo comfort food!! I top mine with Furikake as well.
-Cinnamon Apple Scones: These are on the authors blog and I've made them plain, with the apples, and with pears. All the variations came out amazing.
-Strawberry banana ice cream: Do I even need to tell anyone that this is delicious? Well it is. I've done all kinds of berries and frozen fruits as well.
For not having a ton of time this week I sure have made a lot of recipes from this book. This is one of those books where I literally want to make every single recipe. Soon up to try are the Crispy Confit Chicken Gizzards, Magic Mushroom Powder, Magic Poached Tuna, Kahlua Slow Cooker Pig, Eggplant "Ricotta" Stacks, Uova In Purgatorio (spicy meat sauce baked eggs), and the Coconut Pineapple Fried "Rice". I could go on and on!
Paleo or not this book is full of good food and would be a great addition to anyone's kitchen!