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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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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Lemon and Herb Grilled Whole Rockfish

As the weather warms with hints of summer’s imminent arrival, you might find yourself itching for a reason to enjoy more of your meals outside. I’ve certainly found myself drawn to the grill more and more as of late, and in this case, I wanted a simple meal that felt more…provençal?

I prepared this meal with one of my absolute favorite fish dishes in mind. Preparation is wonderfully simple: start with a whole fish and stuff the belly cavity with as much in the way of aromatics as you can possibly fit in there, oil the fish generously, and grill it until cooked through. This is the kind of dinner that costs you at most 10 minutes of effortful time, and after that, all you need to do is wait. The flavors are clean and delightful–a clean brininess, smoke tinges from the grill, and perfume of lemon, thyme, and rosemary throughout, all intermingled on delicate, moist flakes… click to read more…

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Fancy Schmancy Frank and Beans

I’m not sure what the weather has been like by you, but this winter has been so ridiculously mild. I’m someone who loves winter for the cold and the snow. Being able to go for a run in my shorts and to relax at home with the screen-door open, well, it throws me off. Despite this, I still crave the big, bold, hearty flavors you would find in winter food; something to warm your insides…even if they’re already pretty warm.

When I was young, on a rare occasion, my mom would put together a quick and simple treat for dinner: frank and beans. No its not fancy and yes, many people will lift up their nose at the thought. I loved it. Not really sure why–maybe it was just how infrequently it was a dinner option, but it was just one of those dinners that hit the spot. So I thought I would totally miss the point and make… click to read more…

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Penne with Squash Blossoms, Asparagus, and Sausage in a Light Parmesan Cream Sauce

As spring transitions to summer, a lot of fun, promising produce is available with the best of spring and the best of summer both still available to work with. This dish tends a bit more towards spring-time (especially since the weather is pretty steadily at 100°F+ everyday here lately), but you get the idea. This pasta dish has sautéed Italian sausage, a light, creamy sauce flavored with Parmesan and a fistful of basil but the stars are asparagus and squash blossoms.

As summer squash starts to take off, they put off a ton of blossoms (and baby squash), which, if you’ve never had them, are well worth a try. They’re a bit milder and delicate in both texture and flavor compared to their fully matured siblings, but they are still distinct and quite pretty. The easiest way to get a hold of squash blossoms if they’re not at your farmer’s market: plant summer squash/zucchini in your backyard (they simply… click to read more…

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