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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

  1. Five ideas for parchment packet dinners


    Meals cooked in parchment packets offer super-easy cleanup, but the packets are also an ideal cooking vessel for many proteins, particularly chicken and fish. It's a desirable dinner option because you can throw everything into a folded piece of parchment paper, then open it less than an hour later and reveal a complete meal. The steam created in the packet cooks meat and vegetables in their own juices, creating moist, flavorful food. Put a fancy twist on the evening and tell your dinner companions you're serving up the dish "en papillote," the French term for "in parchment." It makes for a beautiful presentation. ...

    Mediterranean Cod comes together easily, and flavorfully, in a parchment packet.
  2. #CookClub recipe: Feta-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf


    Raise your hand if you've ever made a really good meal, then let the leftovers languish in the fridge well past their acceptable eat-by day. This happens a lot in my house, because I'm cooking for two at the most. So when I cook something that makes a lot of food, I have to remember (and be in the mood) to eat a couple more servings.

    Why, then, did I pick a big ol' meatloaf recipe for this week's #CookClub? It's strategic. You see, I have a plan for these leftovers....

    A drizzle of tzatziki sauce brings an extra taste of the Mediterranean to Feta-Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf.
  3. 'Mad Men' recap — Season 7, Episode 12, 'Lost Horizon': You've come a long way, Peggy


    As is typical with Mad Men seasons, the first few episodes of this final huzzah were a mild disappointment, last week’s mid-point episode proved an exciting turning point, and now the show looks poised to get better and better from here till the end. Sunday’s “Lost Horizon” is a real treat, funny yet meaningful, poignant yet exciting, taking time to move the plot forward while indulging in things like Mad Men’s Most GIF-able Moment.    ...

  4. Hulu wins the bidding war for 'Seinfeld,' will stream all nine seasons starting in June


    In the immortal words of George Costanza: Streaming, Jerry, streaming! 

    According to the New York Times, Hulu has acquired the rights to every single episode of Seinfeld, one of the most popular sitcoms ever and a notable hold out in the streaming wars. (The other biggie, Friends, caved a few months ago.)...

    Jerry Seinfeld at Hulu's presentation on Wednesday.
  5. Amy Schumer does it again: Watch her video for 'Girl, You Don't Need Makeup'


    Another day, another Amy Schumer sketch brilliantly skewering rampant Hollywood sexism. The Comedy Central comedian (who's been on a serious roll lately) released a video on Tuesday's episode of her Inside Amy Schumer show poking fun at boy band One Direction's makeup-shaming lines in their massive hit That's What Makes You Beautiful....

  6. J. Crew Factory flash sale happening NOW, go!


    This morning in Tampa Bay, the land of sunshine and seabreeze, the sky is a drab grey, the ground soaked and soggy, the air chillier than usual. If ever there was a day when we needed some online retail therapy, today is that day.

    Enter J. Crew Factory, a beloved Deal Divas discount site that is having a flash sale today AND TODAY ONLY. Everything is 40 percent off, and clearance merch is 30 percent off. Plus, you get free shipping, which makes this sale at least 75 percent more appealing to my wallet. Use the code POPPING....

  7. Recipes, tips for a picture perfect picnic while the weather is nice


    Do you feel that breeze? That gentle reminder that Tampa Bay has not yet been lost to the wet, scorching days of summer? It's telling you to drop whatever you're doing and embrace the sliver of springtime we have left. The ideal activity: a picnic.

    A month or two from now, eating outside will be a sweaty chore. Now? A shady spot by the water is the perfect accompaniment to crustless sandwiches and lemonade....

    Try a meal of crackers with artichoke spread and bright red beet hummus; fried chicken with an olive medley; a hunk of Brie and that trusty baguette; a premade fruit salad; and a fizzy drink.
  8. #CookClub recipe: Lemony Ricotta Pasta


    Food is all about connection, whether it's making a meal in the family kitchen or bonding with friends over a divine cheese plate. In this new weekly column, I want to connect with you about everything from our nation's changing eating habits to the local foodie scene to what's cooking in my kitchen. Look for cooking tips and food trends, with a particular focus on clean, healthy eating and how to put together simple, satisfying recipes....

    Savor a taste of spring with Lemony Ricotta Pasta, which includes fresh and flavorful pea shoots/tips.
  9. Cook hack: different uses for a vegetable peeler


    Different uses for a vegetable peeler: This cook hack puts a common kitchen tool, the vegetable peeler, to use in different ways. Beyond helping us rid potatoes and carrots of unwanted outer layers, a peeler is a good way to make "ribbons" out of vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash and carrots. Think of it as a low-tech (and cheaper) version of the popular spiralizer contraptions used to make veggie noodles. Just use the hand peeler on the veggies like you would to get the skin off, except keep going until you've peeled the entire vegetable. Work the raw ribbons into salads or saute them slightly with salt, pepper and butter for a simple side dish. Another fun peeler trick: Use them on blocks of Parmesan cheese or hunks of chocolate to get curls perfect for garnish. ...

  10. 'Mad Men' recap, season 7 episode 11, 'Time & Life': This is how it ends


    Sean and Michelle are back this week to talk Sunday night's episode of Mad Men, the fourth in this final seven-episode run, which means we're just three hours away from this show ending for good. Episodes like "Time and Life," a gorgeously shot, richly acted escapade, makes us realize just how much we're going to miss it.

    Michelle: Ah, thank goodness, after a couple weeks of morose subtleties and new characters, we get a shenanigans episode that's all about our main men and women. And, man, this ep was a whole lot of fun, albeit one that's dripping with deja vu. That's intentional, as Season 7, Part 2 seems to be all about how the same old tricks that worked before - particularly for Don, but really for all of our characters - don't work now. I couldn't help but think of that second-time-around syndrome during this episode, in which the partners at SC&P connive to keep their business afloat after McCann-Erickson decides to dissolve it (it's the classic NYC problem: their rent's too high!). The partners' plan feels way too convenient from the start, down to the easy laughter at Pete's Secor Laxatives joke set-up. Heck, at one point, Roger even tells Ken, "We've done this before." ...

  11. Operation Clean Closet: Four rules to live by


    I have a closet problem. Specifically, it’s too small for the amount of clothes I have.  

    Okay, okay, so I actually have a clothes problem. Tale as old as time, really: I buy too much, too often, and am bad at wading through my stock every few months to get rid of ill-fitting or barely worn items.  

    But I've reached a tipping point that may involve three baskets of clean clothes waiting to be put away, and so I am embarking on a deep cleanse, a spring cleaning for the ages. After some trenchant investigating (i.e., Googling and scouring back issues of Real Simple magazines) and failed first-hand experiences, here are the rules I'm forcing myself to stick to this time.   ...

    Look, I bought a bunch of hangers! I'm serious about this closet re-organization.
  12. #CookClub recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs Over Rice


    Food is all about connection, whether it's making a meal in the family kitchen or bonding with friends over a divine cheese plate. In this new weekly column, I want to connect with you about everything from our nation's changing eating habits to the local foodie scene to what's cooking in my kitchen. Look for cooking tips and food trends, with a particular focus on clean, healthy eating and how to put together simple, satisfying recipes. This week, an introduction to our new version of the long-running #CookClub feature....

    Creamy peanut butter works wonders in this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs Over Rice.
  13. Five cooking ideas for blueberries: soup, oatmeal, sauce, more


    When it comes to produce, it's always best to lean into what the season is giving you, and right now that means blueberries. The tiny, tart berries are divine in scones and melt perfectly in cupcakes and muffins. They're generally used in sweets, but we found a couple of savory ways to use them in this roundup of five recipe ideas.

    On pork chops

    Cook up some pork chops, then top them with this sweet, fruity glaze. Add 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries, 1 cup water, ½ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by more than half. Serve warm on top of cooked pork chops. Recipe adapted from lecremedelacrumb.com....

    Blueberries lend their deep color and natural tartness to this antioxidant-packed smoothie.
  14. Cook hack: How to get parchment sheets that fit your pan


    How to get parchment sheets to fit your pan: If you're an avid parchment paper user, you're all too familiar with the problem of the paper not being the right fit for the sheet pan. We've got a solution for when the length of the parchment is longer than the pan, resulting in overhang. Most parchment rolls are 15 inches long. For baking sheets that are shorter than that (the one I use most often is about 12 inches long), here's an easy trick to get the size you need. Take the entire roll of parchment paper out of the box and snip a few inches off the end, making it the same width as your favorite pan. That way, every time you tear a sheet off, it'll be the right size. ...

  15. 'Mad Men' recap, season 7 episode 10, 'The Forecast': The Lost Boy


    Sometimes the symbolism on Mad Men is subtle, sly, prime for heated watercooler debate. And then sometimes...Sterling Cooper lands the Peter Pan account as Don Draper's life stays sadly, depressingly the same as people grow up around him. He can fly, he can fly, he can fly? Yeah, hopefully not off that balcony. Herewith, Sean Daly and Michelle Stark bandy about Sunday's ep (only three more until the finale!), including Joan's rich-old-dude-in-an-ascot plus the return of Ultimate Creepy Kid Glen and his kitchen tete-a-tete with Tinkerbell Betty....