At Cheeky we want every meal to count, because we’re on a mission to make mealtime matter. From the food on our plate to those we share our meal with, we can make a difference starting at the dinner table. 

That’s why we’ve asked three of our favorite foodies to talk about what “make mealtime matter” means to them, and the dishes they’d share with the people they love using our new dinnerware collection.
First up, we’d like to introduce to you Liren Baker of Kitchen Confidante. Liren is a New York native who embraced life in California when she moved to San Francisco in 2000. Her appetite for all things beautiful and delicious followed her as she lived and tasted her way through the country and traveled the world.

What does “Make Mealtime Matter” mean to you?

For me, the time around the table is sacred. It doesn’t matter if it’s the kitchen table, a formal dining table at a restaurant, or a picnic blanket at the park - it is about taking the time to focus on who is around the table, sharing the moment with you. Because to me, the people are as important as the meal.

If you could invite any four people to dine with, living or not, who would you choose?

I love laughter and I love to learn - so I would want to invite friends and family who make me laugh. But if I could invite some famous people, I would love to have Steve Carrell for his sense of humor, James Beard and Julia Child, possibly the most epic entertainers I can imagine. And I’d have my mom, who passed away years ago. She was one of the liveliest people I knew, and I know she would have a great time.

What about the design of this plate, inspired you to make this dish?

The colors of this plate are all about summer and fresh flavors, and it inspired me to embrace the simplicity I love when I cook in the summertime. I love how the produce at this time of year is so wonderful that you can let the food speak for itself. A simple pasta dish with blistered tomatoes is as easy as you can get, and of course, who doesn’t like pasta?

What’s your favorite question to ask guests at your dinner table?

I always love to ask, if I don’t know already, how a couple first met. I’m a sucker for a good love story, and every couple is so different! Some love stories are romantic, some are hilarious, and often, unexpected.

How do you choose to help end hunger and why?

This is a serious issue, and when I am surrounded by food, a very sobering thought. I try to support as many local events and charities as possible, and involve my children in the process. It’s important for them to understand this and find some personal responsibility as they grow into this world.

Read on to see the dinner Liren put together with our Porter Dinnerware Set.

Melon Salad with Baby Greens

4 cups mixed baby greens
2 cups cantaloupe balls
2 cups honeydew balls
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup goat cheese
¼ cup chopped mint
Divide the baby greens and melons between 4 plates. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with goat cheese and mint and serve immediately.

Summer Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes

1 pound fettuccine
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
4 oz sliced prosciutto
1 pint cherry tomatoes
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain.
In a skillet, heat the butter and olive oil, add the shallots, prosciutto and tomatoes and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are blistered and soft, but not quite bursting. Add the pasta to the vegetables and toss in the parsley and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Mint Peach Sorbet

For the Mint Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1-2 sprigs fresh mint
For the Mint Peach Sorbet:
1 1/2 cups mint simple syrup (to taste)
16 oz sliced and peeled peaches (fresh or frozen)
Combine water, sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sugar dissolves, about 3-4 minutes. Upon brewing your simple syrup, drop in mint leaves, and allow the mint to steep for an hour or two. Cool completely. Remove mint before using. The simple syrup can be done in advance.
Put simple syrup and peaches in a blender. Adjust sweetness as necessary, depending on the quality of the peaches. Blend until smooth then transfer to a bowl. Chill the sorbet mixture for at least an hour in the refrigerator. The sorbet mixture can be made up 24 hours in advance.
Put mixture into an ice cream maker and churn for 20 to 30 minutes.
Store in an air-tight container in the freezer.

Photography by Liren Baker of Kitchen Confidante for Cheeky. Buy your Porter dinnerware set here.