I’m in no way a "Paleo" eater, but what I’ve come to appreciate about most Paleo cookbooks is that their authors are just so darn creative in the kitchen.
Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, the bloggers behind Nom Nom Paleo (nomnompaleo.com), have published their first cookbook, "Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans" (Andrews McMeel, $35), and they’ve packed three books’ worth of recipes, culinary tips, serving suggestions and how-to photos in those 288 pages.
With a comic book flair we’ve seen in a number of recent cookbooks, Tam and Fong wrote and designed a book full of fresh ideas for cooks who aren’t afraid to try something new, not necessarily just those eating a diet free of legumes, gluten, sugar or milk.
Take this burger recipe. In addition to putting a new spin on an old favorite, Tam and Fong suggest more than 10 condiments or toppings whose recipes you’ll find elsewhere in the book, ranging from a spicy pineapple salsa to a Paleo ranch dressing. Not many cookbooks offer that kind of well thought-out interconnectivity in which the recipes build on one another.
Tam will be in Austin in early April to talk about the book at 7 p.m. April 10 at Barnes & Noble at the Arboretum and at the PaleoFX Conference at the Palmer Events Center, which takes place April 11-13.
Big-O Bacon Burgers
Bacon. Mushrooms. Beef. Dangerously good. A word to the wise: Make more than you think you’ll need! You can either serve these on roasted portobello mushrooms, leaves of lettuce or, for a non-Paleo meal, regular hamburger buns.
— Michelle Tam
2 Tbsp. lard or fat of choice, divided
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, minced
4 oz. bacon, frozen and cross-cut into small pieces
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe heirloom tomato, sliced
Heat 1 Tbsp. of the lard in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and sauté the cremini mushrooms until the liquid they release has cooked off. Set aside.
Pulse the frozen bacon pieces in a food processor to the consistency of ground meat. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bacon and cremini mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently combine the ingredients. Be careful not to overwork the meat. Divide the mixture into four portions (or more, if you’re making sliders), and use your hands to flatten each into ¾-inch-thick patties.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of lard in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and fry up the patties in the hot fat, turning once. Regular-sized (6-oz.) burgers should take about 3 minutes per side; slider burgers should take about 2 minutes per side. The meat inside should be perfectly pink all the way through, and studded with pretty little pieces of smoky bacon and mushrooms.
Transfer the patties to a wire rack so that any excess cooking fat can drain off. Serve each patty with tomato slices in sturdy butter lettuce leaves or roasted portobello mushrooms. Makes 4 burgers.
— From "Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans" by Melissa Tam and Henry Fong (Andrews McMeel, $35)