Updated 2008-11-06 22:31:07 ID=145:1

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-10-07 22:27:12:60
©2008 The Romantic Table

The Huer Huero River Valley and Cass Vineyard in the distance, early morning at Sunrise

October's featured recipes round-out the Summer and kick off the Fall!

Now that the days are getting cooler, and the nights crisp we can start making some of our favorite Fall recipes.

Fall on the California Central Coast is the best time of year! The weather is just perfect! Cool in the mornings but warming up comfortably in the afternoons- and cool at night for a more leisurely cooking and dining - not to mention great sleeping weather!

Fall is when we still have an abundance of summer's tomatoes, peppers and greens, but also now that it's getting cooler, we have the start of Fall's tastiest offerings such as squash, pumpkins, grapes, pears and apples. There's just so many possibilities of things to do and food options to turn into recipes.

This month we do two stuffed pepper recipes from very different cooking traditions. Stuffed Anaheim Chile Peppers, Santa Cruz Style (one of the first traditional California recipes I learned), and Stuffed Bell Peppers, Italian style. The California recipe uses a bread and cheese stuffing, while the Italian recipes uses the traditional rice and sausage stuffing. Both are very good as a main course, or a side dish.

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-10-07 22:23:01:61
©2008 The Romantic Table

Stuffed Anaheim Peppers, Santa Cruz Style.

This is a traditional California recipe.
When my husband and I were first married, we were much younger of course and like young people ate more meat -funny how your appetite for meat declines as you mature. I always served the Anaheim peppers with pork chops -actually because they were cheap and easy to cook, I served pork chops with a WHOLE lot of different vegetable dishes we now enjoy simply as the main course. Now when I am planning a dinner and debating what to serve, my husband, tired of my kibitzing, with a grin volunteers "pork chops", his way of saying, "I really don't care."

On the theme of peppers this month's pasta "Spaghetti with Pancetta and White Onions" is an innocent looking dish, but look out! It uses a dose of crushed red chili pepper to give it some real heat. If you like red pepper, this is a pasta for you!

Speaking of rice and sausage, this month's cooler weather is an invitation to start serving some of the great Risotto recipes we put aside during the Summer heat. Since we already are using rice and sausage in the Bell pepper recipe, I thought we'd give that that a different twist in an Italian-style Sausage Risotto. The rice is arborio instead of long grain, and the cooking method is slow, but the results are wonderful.

Leaving the peppers aside for a moment, we will be off in a completely different direction with a seafood selection this month. Our local sea fish is Rock Cod, so this month we will make a "Rock Cod Chowder." This is a very mellow traditional fish chowder with a milk base, potatoes, carrots -everything a New Englander would expect! Definitely the opposite of the spicy pepper dishes, and something to serve your more traditional friends who are afraid of your more spicy dishes (I have one dear friend I am sure thinks that my house has the "Kitchen from Hell", what can I say -Italians love their red pepper. Luckily I also have a good selection of very mellow, but still very traditional Italian dishes I reserve for her visits.)

Finally, to round out the menu, Fall apples are in, and we will be doing a "Baked Apple Adelaida Style" with fresh apples, walnuts, cinnamon and of course California raisins. Adelaida by the way is the little mountain community in our local Santa Lucia Mountain where the best wine grapes and walnuts are grown.

Along with the ideas above for your Fall menus, be sure to browse the recipe index for some of our other delicious and eye-catching entrees. And on top of being easy to make and elegant to serve, all the recipes can be made on a budget and that counts for a lot nowadays.

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A tip from Sue!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds!

Save those Parmesan cheese rinds when you get through with a brick of Parmesan cheese! They can be used to flavor soups deliciously. Store them in the freezer in a plastic bag, and use as needed.

The Parmesan rinds give unbelievable flavor and soul to soups and will turn a bowl of soup into an "entree" worthy of any guest. I generally use about two ounces of Parmesan cheese rinds to a stockpot of soup. Add them in after you've added the liquid and let them cook along with the rest of your soup's ingredients. You won't be sorry!

read more:
Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind