Updated 2008-12-11 01:56:30 ID=179:1

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, November brings rain and cool weather in the Huer-Huero River Valley. 2008-11-04 16:24:59:70
©2008 The Romantic Table

November brings rain and cool weather in the Huer-Huero River Valley.

November's Fall recipes

With November's cooler temperatures brings the thoughts of more "tummy-warming" meals and the start of holiday get-togethers. With that in mind, we'll start showcasing some of our favorite dishes that can be served for any occasion.

November is also the time when we also start to think about (and sometimes hyper-ventilate) about Christmas or Hanukkah in December and all those other approaching responsibilities. This is the time our bodies need a little extra energy to help us face the coming cold weather as well as rev us up to face the onslaught of holiday cooking and company. And nothing does that better than warm comfort "Mama-cooking." We've got a few recipes that pretty much fill the bill, and can be served anytime.

We start off with a yummy Portobello Mushroom Appetizer that is very easy to make and dramatic to serve. -It''s almost an entire entree by itself --and is pretty filling so don''t pair it with a heavy main dish.

Next we do a Pumpkin Soup, that's recipe is based on a soup I had daily for lunch while in Japan twenty-five years ago. If you're lucky enough to find or grow a Kabocha pumpkin (found in Farmers Markets and grocery stores here locally) it makes the perfect soup. The soup is on the slightly sweet side but is very elegant, so it makes a great appetizer.

For our risotto recipe we have a very fitting dish for this season with fresh pumpkins available: A pumpkin and ham risotto. It's pretty easy to make and quite colorful too. Providing you can find a good sweet cooking pumpkin, this dish is very flavorful, unusual and quite healthy too!

©2008 The Romantic Table, Cappellacci de Zucca (
©2008 The Romantic Table

Cappellacci de Zucca ("ugly hat pasta")
Our pasta offering this month is a delicious homemade Cappellacci de Zucca (homemade "ugly hat pasta") filled with roasted pumpkin and nutmeg filling, with a light butter- walnut and sage sauce. This is one of my favorite recipes!!! A few years ago, the Paso Robles Italian restaurant (Alloro) offered a delicious version of this dish -which I adored. However the restaurant only lasted a couple of years, then went out of business. Since then I've been searching for that much loved-taste, but no other place has quite offered a dish that had the same satisfying taste, so I began making my own. I'm pretty pleased with this recipe-hope that you like it as well.

For our main entree, we have a dusey for you. At Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago, we bought some exceptional deep yellow spaghetti squash. I thought right away that the spaghetti squash would be the perfect bed to serve a homemade duck breast ragu. We came home and roasted the squash and while it was cooking made a delicious hunter-style duck ragu with a Farmers Market duck breast.

©2008 The Romantic Table, Spaghetti Squash and Hunter Style Duck Ragu. 2008-11-04 16:43:18:71
©2008 The Romantic Table

Spaghetti Squash and Hunter Style Duck Ragu.
The squash-ragu duo not only pleased the eyes, but also the palate and tummy, was pretty easy to make and economical too.

Then, for the finish, I'll share my mellow recipe for a peasant-style pear tart. There are many ways to serve pear tarts, this recipe is easy to throw together, and pretty fool-proof. --It's almost a cross between a little cake and a pudding. My husband has a more dramatic-looking and high-tech recipe, but it does not have a "Mama-cooked feeling"(for me) in the tummy. (Of course this recipe's merits is often debated between us!)

All in all, November proves to be a time of change of cooking styles as well as political and economical, so one thing we can do, is to stay "constant" with some good warm home-cooked meals to stabilize our metabolisms. Enjoy and cuddle-up!

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A tip from Sue!

The difference between white, black and red pepper

Do you know the difference between white, black and red pepper?

White pepper gives you an "immediate hot." Black pepper develops more slowly as you chew, while red pepper has a delayed kick or hotness.