Seeing that Aaron (my beau) & I hijacked my parents long weekend at their Cape house and brought the dogs for another session of Doggy Camp, the opportunity for a ‘thank you’ luncheon presented itself….

To explain doggy camp. My family is clearly obsessed with dogs - some people might call us crazy, overprotective, and accuse us of treating them like babies… the list goes on and on of what I have heard regarding our approach to dogs. Luckily, my two furbabies and my parent’s dog are bro’s for life. When my parents take Nas & West to their Cape House we call it Doggy Camp.We do this because we are weird, we know it, embrace it, & wouldn’t have it any other way.


...I kicked my mom out of the kitchen, and took over as hostess. Yes, I could have easily picked up a check at a restaurant but I find something intimate about entertaining in any form. Hosting is a great joy in my life. I love coming together with friends and family sharing a meal. There’s no greater high than seeing the delight that your cooking has brought to people you care about. Seeing as my parents already had our night time BBQ all planned, I thought an impromptu lunch would be the perfect break from the beating summer sun.

With my parents in the garden & Aaron reading his latest book of the month while relaxing on a pool float, I snuck away to create my favorite lunch: a Mezze Plate. A mezze plate can look vastly different depending on if you are taking inspiration from the Middle East or Italy.

Meze comes from the Middle East, meaning small plates.

Mezza (mezzo as the masculine form) comes from the Italian, meaning half.

There are so many flavor profiles you are able to explore when creating these small plates. I usually just look to see what is available in the fridge and go from there. Today I had two plates, one inspired from Italy the other the Middle East. My homemade baba ganoush is famous in the Phelan household. Luckily, I already had some of my roast garlic hummus made ahead of time so all I needed to do was to roast an eggplant. My absolute favorite cheese shop is in Chatham and even luckier for me, I live about a seven minute bike ride away. There I picked up three cheeses: sharp cheddar from a local farm, truffle oil infused cheese, and a soft goat milks cheese. While there I thought might as well pick up some of my go to cured meats: sopressata and salami. I am not a fan of the precut so I get them in a log rather than cut. Back at home, I picked some cucumbers and lettuce out of our vegetable garden for lettuce wraps. I then grilled up some pita bread, then added some much needed extra nibbles like caper berries, roasted peppers, & leftover cold, grilled duck. The hardest part of a mezza plate to me is the presentation. Do you think I did a good job?

Until next time, bon appetit!

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