Mint and Balsamic Vinaigrette Stained Pappardelle with Fennel and Peas

When I’m without a solid idea for what to make for dinner, my mind drifts to pasta. I’ve probably said the same thing for countless other dishes in the ~3.5 years I’ve been posting here, but meh. This particular dish is lighter fare than my usual pasta hodgepodges, having a bit more of a springy/warm day feel about it.

The noodle: pappardelle since I wanted something with some bulk for the sauce to cling to. I added some bacon, sautéed onions, fennel, peas, and swiss chard, all tossed in an intriguing mint and balsamic vinaigrette for the sauce (here’s my original inspiration for the sauce).

The total dish is simply delicious. The flavor is not explosive, but it is quite full of more subtle, nuanced flavors. You have a mix of sweet, smoke, and licorice-like anise, with a light tanginess from the balsamic/dijon countered by a… click to read more…

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Beet Risotto

Did you miss me? Well I missed you–its been a long time since I last posted, so I thought I’d come back with something bold and colorful: beet risotto. Even the beet skeptics will love this one given how rich, bright, and earthy this dish is.

But first, some important business. Yes, there’s no neglecting that Mike’s Table has gotten a little dusty these past few months and I apologize for that. This wasn’t due to a lack of interest–I’ve been cooking as much as before. The past several months have been a bit more hectic for me, one big reason being that I am in the midst of divorce (short version: she cheated). While a source of aggravation, I have been fine and that ordeal is but a small cloud lingering over the vast, clear sunny sky that is the rest of my life. I’ve been focused on myself and the many who truly matter in my life,… 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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Asparagus Risotto with Poached Eggs

After the doldrums of winter, each new week of spring is like a food reawakening for me. In the past few weeks, a number of my favorites have started popping up again at the farmer’s market, and as I always do, I tend to overindulge as if these vegetables won’t make a reappearance at the same time again next year. Today’s meal focuses on one such vegetable: asparagus.

Risotto has become something of a go-to meal for me (and if you’re afraid of making it, don’t be–trust me, its easy. Try this. Now). Its fairly easy to make and provides a rich, makes-you-feel-so-good canvas to work with, no matter what the goal. I thought creamy, cheesy goodness was the perfect place to highlight asparagus.

The risotto packs a double punch of asparagus: a lightly boiled asparagus puree is mixed into the rice (also adding a nice… click to read more…

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Chicken in Tarragon Mustard Cream Sauce

I don’t use mustard very often, but absolutely love it in sauces. Something about a well done mustard sauce is intriguing to me as it can take on many forms–sharp and tangy, rich and hearty, or just downright elegant. This was another such delightful experience for me: a simple chicken breast sauté, coated with a light, sumptuous mustard cream sauce with tarragon.

Don’t let the simplicity in preparing this dish fool you–the flavor is fantastic and it would fare well if you’re cooking for guests. The chicken is simple–nicely browned, tender on the inside–and the sauce has a rich tang, accentuated by the anisey, spicy notes you get from tarragon (a great foil to completing this sauce). Heck, I could enjoy the sauce straight and could definitely see using it in pasta dishes (if thinned out with… click to read more…

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Coq au Vin (French Fricassee of Rooster)

I think its safe to say that we’ve all heard of coq au vin. This is a classic French dish with two big players: chicken and red wine. Well, a correction to that: not just any kind of chicken, but when properly translated, rooster and red wine.

Coq au Vin

This dish isn’t a quicky–like any other stew, it requires slow cooking and a tough protein that will stand up well to slow cooking. Just like how you wouldn’t make a beef stew from filet mignon (and if you do, please don’t tell me), coq au vin should not be made from an everyday, tender chicken. You want a tough bird that will release a ton of flavor (which is what will give the sauce an incredible flavor) and maintain its form after long periods of cooking, so this is why you would opt for something like a rooster or stewing hen if you have the option (plus, they’re typically cheaper–bonus!). Is… click to read more…

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