MP Taverna’s Michael Psilakis Wants to Make Weeknight Cooking Easier
The Irvington chef’s new cookbook is all about planning ahead.
Photos courtesy of Chef Michael Psilakis
It’s hard to imagine that a chef has trouble getting dinner on the table. At his seven restaurants, including MP Taverna in Irvington, Chef Michael Psilakis is responsible for feeding hundreds of diners each night. But at home, he can be just like us: too busy to cook. “It’s the struggle in today’s family structure,” says Psilakis. “Healthy eating tends to be thrown out the window because life takes over. It’s daunting to come home after work or school activities and stare at a bunch of raw, unwashed, unprepared ingredients and think how am I going to get this meal on the table?”
Live to Eat, Psilakis’ new cookbook (released on January 31), is a gourmet-yet-approachable guide to meal prepping, with a emphasis on healthful eating. Each of seven chapters focuses one of Psilakis’ “Magnificent Seven” — Greek yogurt, garlic confit, roasted cherry tomatoes, red wine vinaigrette, tomato sauce, sweet-and-sour onions and peppers, and prepped produce — that can be transformed into more than 150 recipes. “This is how we make your food in 15 minutes at the restaurant,” says Psilakis. “If you spend [time] on weekends blanching and shocking vegetables or making sauces, throwing something together on Tuesday isn’t daunting at all.”
Smoked Salmon sandwich
You could turn Greek yogurt, for example, into a selection of parfaits, substitute it for mayo in a chicken- or egg-salad sandwich, or turn it into chipotle-yogurt sauce that’s just asking to be slathered on everything. A chapter on sweet-and-sour onions and peppers includes recipes for spicy chicken tacos and a quick Mediterranean shrimp stir-fry.
“I didn’t want to be on a diet,” writes Psilakis in Live to Eat’s introduction. “The thing that separates the Mediterranean diet from all others — and will keep you eating well and improving your health — is that it just tastes good.”
Want to pick up a copy and meet Psilakis? He’ll be at the new Barnes & Noble in Eastchester for a cookbook signing on March 9 at 7 p.m.