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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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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Asparagus, Swiss Chard, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Spring time is when food starts to become more fun for me. All the interesting produce starts to slowly come into season again, teasing their way forward to the bounties of summer. One such beacon for me: asparagus. I love the stuff and will probably be eating it on a nearly daily basis in all forms for as long as it is locally in season.

I tend to love asparagus prepared simply–either grilled with a bit of citrus or paired with something tangy and creamy. This dish leans more in the latter direction: a freshly made pizza topped with asparagus, wilted swiss chard, and goat cheese. Do I tend to overdo it in the quantity of toppings when I make my own pizza? Maybe according to some, so top your pizza with however much you see fit–me? I’ll just be looking for excuses to eat more asparagus and this light pizza just screams… click to read more…

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Arancini di Riso (deep-fried balls of risotto)

Deep frying things just has a way of making all sorts of simple things more interesting, and well, downright incredible. So imagine if you took something that was already pretty incredible to start with, and then deep fried that…well that would just have to yield something all the more incredible, right? Yes, yes it does.

Arancini di Riso is the proper Italian name for deep-fried balls of leftover risotto. If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to make risotto–lots of different kinds depending on what’s in season. Its creamy, luxurious, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The one downer with risotto though is that the leftovers are just never the same as when you serve it fresh–the flavor is just as good, but the texture is forever gone and that’s a part of what makes risotto so special.

Arancini is the answer to that problem. You simply scoop… click to read more…

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