I picked up a wonderful cookbook – Michelle Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. It’s been out since 2013 but it is still one of the most creative cookbooks I’ve come across. And it is a fun read…how many cookbooks can you say that about?
I’m a big fan of Tan’s blog (same name as the book). If you are looking for healthy recipes and cooking inspiration, you need to check out her site.
Like her blog, the book includes recipes and cooking tips that are easy to follow. The combination of her witty prose, awesome cartoons and wonderful photography (by her husband) depict her love of real food, kitchen gadgets, and cooking.
You can’t read this book and not want to have fun in the kitchen. Regardless of your diet of choice she inspires you to turn away from the processed crap.
Help For The Novice
Tan works to take the fear out of cooking or trying something new. She offers 20 tips to help those who get overwhelmed in the kitchen. While I’m not a novice when it comes to cooking (I’m no pro either!), I can say the list is a good reminder for me to mix it up a little bit in the kitchen.
All of the tips are great and help keep things simple for maximum flavor. Tips like reading the recipe first, preparing ingredients before you start cooking, learning about different salts, and using a hot pan with meats all go a long way to help you keep it simple and flavorful.
Like Tan I too am a kitchen gadgetaholic. I just love kitchen supply stores. But as I started cooking more and more, I came to the realization that the quality of food is far more important than the tools. Well that, and the fact my kitchen is the size of a shoebox. Now I’m scaling back, tossing out any one-use tools and evaluating other equipment. Why do I need a garlic press if I have a damn good chef’s knife?
So I was really happy to see Tan include a list of her essential kitchen tools. Not only do I like to compare notes with fellow foodies, but also it gives me an idea of what tools are needed to make the recipes in the book! Too bad more cookbook authors don’t include such a list.
The good news is that nearly all of her tools she lists are on my own kitchen essentials list. Score!
Recipe Organization And So Much More
The book starts off with the foundation recipes to build the staples in your paleo kitchen – clarified butter, seasonings, dressings and paleo mayo. I do love this. We are creatures of habit. It makes sense to keep on hand those key ingredients that you use over and over again – but freshly made rather than overly processed.
Next up are the standard sections you find in most cookbooks — appetizers, salads & soups, seafood, poultry and meats. However Tan adds her unique twist. I’ve made kale chips before, but I never thought of making chips from mushrooms or prosciutto.
Plus the number of Asian dishes sprinkled throughout the book is awesome. I love Asian food but I gave it up when I went LCHF. I just didn’t know how to replicate that awesome taste without the carbs. I mean sriracha only goes so far. Egg foo young (it looks absolutely delicious), walnut prawns, and pho are all back on the menu.
I loved the section dedicated to eggs! Besides being my favorite food, it is one of the most perfect foods created when it comes to healthy fats and protein. I love that Tan gives the incredible, edible egg its due!
For parents of picky eaters, she carved out pages just for you. She goes into detail of the trials of converting you two young boys over to eating real foods and away from the sugary processed junk.
She also provides great tips for making your kid’s (or your own for that matter) lunch. Plus the accompanying photos give you great ideas for delicious and nutritious meals that’ll kick the PB&J to the curb.
I especially liked that the shortest section of the book is the dessert chapter. She understands that treats are just that — treats. Tan recalls what a sweets junkie she was and that the lack of dessert recipes is a reflection of how her family now eats. For Tan, desserts are celebratory and not an everyday thing.
However, the recipes she includes in this chapter look absolutely yummy. The berry soup is something I have to try before summer ends.
So, What Am I Making First?
The tell-tale sign of a good cookbook? You can’t decide what you’re going to try first.
I generally only like to try a few new recipes in a month. Why? I’m all about consistency with my foods. Yes I try new things, but for me trying new recipes all the time usually causes bad things to happen to my hips, butt and thighs.
Well I broke that rule after reading this book. I just couldn’t pick one recipe. Heck I’m lucky I narrowed it down to the ones listed below.
- Uova in Purgatorio (Eggs in Purgatory)
- Peruvian Roast Chicken with Aji Verde Chili Sauce
- Polpette di Vitello (Meatballs)
- Salade Lyonnaise
- Big’O Bacon Burgers
Playtime is about to begin!