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Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor

Michelle Stark

Michelle Stark is the Food Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, overseeing the food content online and in print, including cooking and restaurants. She also manages social media accounts for the Entertainment department, including food. Previously, she was part of the Things to Do crew and co-host of Play Tampa Bay. She has designed and edited the Times' daily entertainment page, and wrote weekly about television at The Feed blog. Stark joined the Times after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with degrees in mass communications and international relations.

Phone: (727) 893-8829

Email: mstark@tampabay.com

Twitter: @MStark17

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  1. Cook Hack: How to make a flax egg for vegan baking

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    How to make a flax egg for vegan baking

    A tricky part of baking vegan treats is finding a way to substitute all those classic baking ingredients: butter, dairy and egg. Well, we've got a good workaround for the egg, that all important binder: flax. Flax is a seed high in omega-3 fatty acids; flaxseed meal is ground raw flaxseeds. When mixed with water, the meal acts as a "flax egg." Here's how to make it: Mix 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons of water. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken, then add it to recipes as you would an egg. This amount is the equivalent of one egg. ...

  2. Wellness experts weigh in on the vegan diet

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    A doctor offers thoughts on the benefits and potential concerns of a vegan lifestyle. Michelle Stark, Times food editor

    How do you define veganism?

    Following a vegan diet means eating only plant-based foods. Vegans refrain from eating any food derived from animals, including eggs, honey and dairy products. People who adhere to a strict vegan lifestyle also avoid buying clothing, cosmetics and other products that come from animals....

    A medical doctor and author who writes about wellness, Weil is the founder and director of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona.
  3. Author Victoria Moran has tips from her three decades of veganism

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    Victoria Moran has been a vegan for 31 years, long before supermarkets carried Vegenaise. A New York City-based author, holistic health counselor and speaker on the plant-based lifestyle, Moran, 65, started practicing vegetarianism when she was 19 and slowly made her way toward a total vegan diet.

    Her new book, The Good Karma Diet, says we should align our eating habits with our ethics, and as a result do what's best for the planet. To her, veganism means "to live and eat in a way that means I'm doing the most good and the least harm possible, to both others and to my body."...

    Victoria Moran, who wrote The Good Karma Diet (Tarcher, 320 pages, $16.95), has been a vegan for more than three decades.
  4. Vegan recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

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    By Michelle Stark Times Food Editor

    Here are some vegan recipes that use mostly whole foods and naturally vegan ingredients, scrumptious and satisfying meals that longtime vegans and omnivores alike will enjoy.

    Breakfast

    EASY

    Churro Waffles

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder...

    Begin the day with Churro Waffles, a dish featured in Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking.
  5. From the food editor: Going vegan for a week

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    When I, a meat-eater whose love affair with cheese is well documented, think of some of the best vegan meals I've had, I think of dishes that showcased real, non-animal products. Things like fruit, vegetables and nuts — not things like vegan cream cheese. Processed vegan products can contain artificial ingredients and soy fillers to make them taste like their meat or dairy counterparts. To me, that defeats the purpose of a plant-based diet, which can be wonderfully diverse and sustaining....

    Vegans can enjoy tasty burgers too. This one is made with sweet potatoes and cannellini beans and topped with avocado and onion.
  6. #CookClub recipe: Vegan Sweet Potato Burgers

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    As part of our all-vegan food section this week, this #CookClub recipe is vegan, too. I chose a burger made with mashed sweet potato and white beans, because why should carnivores get to have all the fun this summer cookout season? You can make the burgers vegetarian with the addition of a thick slice of melted cheese atop each burger and a schmear of Greek yogurt flavored with garlic. Or add vegan-friendly toppings such as creamy avocado and crunchy red onion....

     MONICA HERNDON | Times
  7. Old Navy is cool now (right?!)

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    Sorry, no J. Crew Factory sale alert or fashion photos today, just a link to some interesting bedtime reading about Old Navy. That's right, everyone, Old Navy, that ubiquitous retailer you might associate with hoodies and branded Fourth of July shirts for the whole family. Well, no longer fellow sale seekers: The New York Times has all the details in this story about the store's rebirth into a cooler, more H&M-like version of its former self....

    Pixie Pants!
  8. Five ideas for corn: chowder, fritters, pudding

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    Summer is almost here in Tampa Bay, and with that, a lot of unpleasant things: sticky-sweaty clothing, afternoon storms, bug bites galore. But it also means a bounty of summer produce, including bright, sweet, fresh summer corn. The traditionally salted and buttered cobs are used in everything from salad to ice creams these days. Here are five ideas for how to use those ears.

    Corn fritters...

    Cutting kernels of corn from an ear, slicing down, is an easy task, quickly done.
  9. Cook Hack: How to check and recalibrate meat thermometers

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    How to check and recalibrate meat thermometers

    It's the season for grilling, which means it's the season for using meat thermometers to make sure you're not serving raw pork chops. Here's how to make sure you're getting the right temperature. Plunge the probe of a meat thermometer in a glass of ice water (you want a slushy water-ice mixture), making sure it's not touching the bottom or sides of the glass. Check the dial. Does it read 32 degrees F after 30 seconds? If not, you need to recalibrate. There should be a nut under the dial part of a standard dial thermometer; use some pliers to turn it until it's pointing to 32 degrees F. Digital models may come with a reset button you can hold down (if not, try the on/off button) while the thermometer is submerged in the water; wait until it reads 32 degrees F. ...

  10. From the editor: How to fix a crispy chicken craving

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    Satisfy your crispy chicken craving

    To celebrate my boyfriend's recent graduation from pharmacy school, we had dinner at one of our favorite go-to celebratory spots: Epcot. Specifically, the upscale Le Cellier Steakhouse in the theme park's Canada section.

    I know, it sounds silly, a fancy dinner in a restaurant where the majority of patrons are wearing shorts and flip-flops. ...

    Put a new spin on sandwich ingredients with Ham, Cheddar and Apple Quesadillas.
  11. Beat the heat with homemade desserts: granita, ice cream, more

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    As temperatures ramp up in the Tampa Bay area, you need an indoor activity to throw into the mix this Memorial Day weekend. Something cool, refreshing, rewarding. How about making homemade frozen treats? As an activity, it's satisfying for kids and adults. And the results — bright popsicles, slushy granita, ice cream sandwiches — are ideal for serving at picnics, barbecues and other festive, toasty gatherings....

    From left are Blondie Sandwiches With Chunky Cherry Ice Cream, Plum Ginger Granita and No-Churn Peach Ice Cream.
  12. #CookClub recipe: Ham, Cheddar and Apple Quesadillas

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    I came up with this recipe for ham quesadillas out of desperation when its ingredients were about the only things I had in my fridge for dinner. It bears little resemblance to a quesadilla in the traditional sense, but the tortilla puts a new spin on these sandwich ingredients.

    ...

      MONICA HERNDON | Times.
  13. 'Mad Men' finale recap: Season 7 Episode 14 — 'Person to Person' ends an iconic series with a bold image

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    Let me preface this recap of Mad Men's series finale by saying that formulating deep thoughts about a Mad Men episode 5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour after it airs is sillier than the idea of Don doing yoga. Oh, wait, that just happened, didn't it? Yeah, uh, more on that in a bit. Anyway. If this show has done nothing else, it's shown us the important of looking at things over time. Since it started in 2007, Mad Men has taken us through an entire decade, almost in real time. It took its sweet time telling its story, the one about Don and Dick, Peggy, Pete, Betty, Joan, Roger; about moon landings and civil unrest and presidential assassinations; about advertising and families and gender roles and identity. It revealed things about its characters and its storytelling over time, forcing fans of the show to wait for big splashy payoffs like the dissolution of Sterling Cooper or Don's secret identity. (Remember when we didn't know what that secret was?)...

    This is the only photo from tonight's episode on AMC's press site. Do not ask me why.
  14. The 'Mad Men' finale is Sunday; here's how to say goodbye with style

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    The final episode of AMC's Mad Men airs Sunday night. And for a show that has a relatively microscopic audience (it rarely cracks the 3-million-viewer mark), it's had a permanent spot in our pop culture since it debuted in 2007. Sunday's finale of a show many consider to be one of the best of the past decade will no doubt be scrutinized for a long time to come. That's just what we do when TV shows end these days, even if one hour of a show (and especially this show) is not nearly as important as all that came before. Will Don Draper turn out to be real-life mystery man D.B. Cooper? (No way.) Will Pete Campbell end up with his own private jet and a mansion in Kansas? (Probably, because weasels tend to win.) Is this the last we've seen of Peggy? (Hope not!)...

    The cast of Mad Men.
  15. From the food editor: Praise for Panera's plan to drop additives

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    Praise for Panera's plan to drop additives

    Last week, Panera Bread announced it's going to get rid of more than 100 food additives found in its food by the end of 2016.

    As someone who strives to eat as cleanly as possible and who hasn't been able to quit the chain's Asiago Cheese Bagels since working there in high school, I have to pause and give them kudos for the move. ...