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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Penne with Seared Chicken Breast and Green Garlic Pesto

I’m a little late on posting this recipe since green garlic season may have already come and gone (some of you might still find it), but that brings us right over into garlic scape season, so its an easy substitution to make! If all of that flew over your head, you’re missing out on something great and need to try it as soon as possible (more on that in a moment). So what did I do with this bit of tasty spring produce? I made a simple green garlic pesto to highlight green garlic as the star of the show in this pasta dish.

If you’ve never heard of green garlic before (or scapes, which are kind of similar but are in fact, different), they’re actually pretty interesting. Unfortunately, you probably won’t find them at your grocery store, but you should have better luck at a farmer’s market. Simply put, green garlic is garlic before it has fully matured… click to read more…

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Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of those pasta dishes with an enticing name that doesn’t get enough attention. A quick glance at the ingredients tends to paint it as a simple, almost ordinary pasta dish…and don’t get me started on the many “alternative” versions of this dish out there that include things like bacon or prosciutto (a dead giveaway that you should be looking for a different recipe). The humble appearance of this dish aside though, it is really incredibly flavorful and one of the most uniquely flavored pasta dishes I’ve had the pleasure of eating. The success of this dish is pretty much entirely dependent on one magical ingredient: guanciale.

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

As I’ve discussed before, guanciale is a dry-aged, cured pork jowl that is mind-blowingly simple to do at home (and probably easier to do yourself compared to finding it stocked in any grocery stores). The stuff packs a punch and delivers a concentrated, rich, porky flavor that… click to read more…

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Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake

Pound cake is a rare treat for me, and given how easy it is to make, I’m not sure why I don’t have it more often. Its delicious, rich, crumbly, and buttery on its own but is also easily tweaked to highlight other flavors.

Lemon and Ricotta Pound Cake

In this case, I chose to go with a more Italian inspired flavor profile: creamy and tangy ricotta with the bright flavor of lemon. The cake was delicious, and I topped it off with a simple, sweet, lemony glaze to further the lemon flavor. The final result was delicious with a sweet, crispy crust around the edges and a tender, crumbly, delicious cake inside. My only regret was using too small of a loaf pan (so I also had some free-form pound cakelet blobs to enjoy on the side, lol).

  • Cake
    • 1.5 cups flour
    • 2.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup/6 oz unsalted butter
    • 1.5 cups fresh whole

click to read more…

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Guanciale

It wasn’t very long ago when I had no idea what guanciale was. It sounded exotic, and while I know I’d heard the term here and there, I truly had no idea what it was, where to get it, or why I’d care. Being the curious food person I now am though, I learned a bit more about it, and now, with access to fantastic, locally raised pork, sought to make my own. So if you’re in the same boat I was and are wondering what guanciale is, the answer is simple: awesome.

Guanciale

If “awesome” didn’t do it for you, in more descriptive terms, guanciale is lightly seasoned, air-dried, cured pork jowl. Many people try to compare the end product to prosciutto or bacon. While those are both wonderful things, they really are nothing alike and if you have any inkling that they are adequate substitutes, dash that thought. The only comparison worth considering between guanciale… click to read more…

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Penne with Ragù of Roasted Tomato and Sausage

There’s something homey and comforting about a good pasta dish. I’m not sure what it is, but its the kind of meal that just always does it for me. While I had visions of bolognese sauce dancing in my head, I knew I didn’t have the time to make it this week, so instead, I opted for something with a similar feel that was a bit more summery fare. Plus, after seeing Jeff’s roasted tomato & sausage penne, my mind was pretty much set that I had to do something similar.

Penne with Ragù of Roasted Tomato and Sausage

With tomato season coming to a slow end, I can’t find myself getting enough of them. In sandwiches, salads, or sauces, I just need more. I’ve never had tomatoes like I get here in North Carolina. So with my usual, weekly bounty of approximately waymorethanIshouldhavebought, I thought a sauce was in order. I decided to roast a few in the oven, rather than… click to read more…

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