Honey Granola with Cranberries and Figs

I was never one to eat just yogurt. Yogurt itself just seemed weird to me. Don’t get me wrong–I was happy to cook with it or churn up a batch of frozen yogurt, but just eat it straight? Well, Stephanie showed me what I was missing all this time: a good granola recipe.

A good, tangy, sticky-with-honey, nutty, granola that chews back when you crunch into it was that special something I needed to turn me on to yogurt. Or to just eating fistfuls of granola for that matter. Its stupid easy to make, way better than the myriad of choices you can grab at the grocery store (for an arm and a leg), and a fantastic way to start your day (or just to snack on). I like to work a little bit of dried fruit in there, but the nice thing about granola: it is very forgiving and very open to experimentation. For… click to read more…

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Eggplant Parmigiana…deconstructed

For a good while now, I have been a rude host: I have neglected to introduce you, my dear readers, to the hostess of Mike’s Table. My partner in crime and someone who is as happy to be in the kitchen as I: Stephanie.

She is a truly lovely woman and both Ramya and I are blessed to have her in our lives. She was happy to ghostwrite, but I’d much rather she share the spotlight, so without further ado…onto the food, but this meal, brought to you by Stephanie (eaten by myself):

Although it’s been a couple years now, I remember how intimidating it was to cook for Mike in the beginning. Fully aware of his notoriety as a famous food blogger, I wouldn’t dare use one of his own recipes for fear that I might screw it up. So, every week I would scour the internet, read through all my cookbooks, and even search bookstores for… click to read more…

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A Pretentious Beach Picnic in a Jar

Summer-time is vacation time. I recently enjoyed a short trip to the beautiful beaches in the state I now call home, so I will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. Before heading out to enjoy sand, sun, and surf though, I was sure to pack a cooler with a few home-made items so that I could enjoy a pretentious picnic on the beach (because for some reason, the thought of a snooty picnic with appropriately paired Chardonnay greatly amuses me).

We packed all of the food in jars, two of the recipes coming from the great Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (I really love this cookbook–not pictured were the cheez-it-like crackers from this book we also made and brought on the trip). In one jar is cured salmon–incredibly simple to prepare, a beautiful red color, and surprisingly refreshing beach-food. In another, we had the matching olive oil cured potatoes,… click to read more…

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Pear and Avocado Salad with Blue Cheese and Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Growing up, I didn’t eat salads. I avoided them like the plague and only after years of my stalwart resistance did I finally cave and make the concession that I would eat other family member’s croutons. Now that I enjoy a very hearty salad before dinner nearly every night, I look back and can’t help but chuckle (especially when I compare myself a a child to my three year-old daughter who also enjoys her salad nearly every night…with not a crouton in sight).

As summer ramps up, I can’t help but feel inclined to mix up the salads a bit more to keep things interesting. In this case, the salad itself was light but the flavors were sharp, crisp, and creamy with bits of acidity all from the like of avocado, pear, and blue cheese. It was all brought together by a surprisingly lively dressing that would be very versatile on many a salad and sure to delight: lemon… click to read more…

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Strawberry Jam

Long-time followers of this blog know, my love of strawberries is no secret. So when strawberry season rolls around here in North Carolina, I over-indulge big time (I even finally dug up 40 sq ft for a strawberry garden in the backyard). So what to do when even I find I can’t consume these plentiful strawberries quickly enough? Prepare for the dark days ahead and preserve them by making strawberry jam! Its pretty hard to beat the flavor of good, home-made jam, and if you’ve never made your own, its incredibly easy.

yields approximately 6 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars

  • 3 and 1/3 pints strawberries (about 2.5 lbs)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 box pectin
  • 3.5 cups granulated sugar

As with all home preserve-making endeavors, be sure to follow safe canning practices. That means a few things:

  • Wash the jar(s) in warm soapy water and then submerge in boiling water until you’re

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Spring Pea Risotto with Garlic Scapes and Pancetta

When I want to enjoy the produce of spring-time, whether its beets or asparagus, I’ve found I follow something of a trend: I make risotto. So with the arrival of fresh English peas and garlic scapes, well, what other options did I have?

Risotto is like my snooty version of comfort food. Rich, just slightly al dente grains of rice swimming in a creamy, luxurious sauce never fails to provide a canvas upon which to brush some incredible flavors. In this case, the focus was delicious, fresh peas–puréed into the sauce and bedecked whole throughout the rice leaving a tinge of varying shades of green throughout. These are countered with equally distinct but gentle flavors such as leeks and garlic scapes, all elevated with a touch of lemon for brightness. In more stark contrast for an unctuous bit of crunch is some pan-fried pancetta.

Words wouldn’t effectively capture this dish. For all the richess, this… click to read more…

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