Updated 2009-03-23 14:48:02 ID=27:1

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan Bonofiglio McGourty 2008-08-05 12:14:53:18
©2008 The Romantic Table

Cooking should be fun as well as an adventure! I hope that I can pass on to you some of the techniques and “tricks” of my cooking experiences through the years.

Susan Bonfiglio McGourty

About this web site


Cooking is NOT something that you should dread. It’s very straight forward and logical. It can be really fun and relaxing and I hope to make you see that side of it. Learn a few cooking tips and you will enjoy quality dining every night at home for a mere fraction of the cost of dining out!


About Me

I like to cook and I hope it shows. I was lucky to grow up in a restaurant family that thought nothing at all about putting together an easy to make but delicious meal on a regular basis. I remember my mother and grandmother each making five to six pies a day! Then on top of that, they would work at our restaurant making meals with my dad and grandfather for our customers until late evening. Thinking back, I really appreciate and marvel at their endurance and dedication!

We had an old-fashioned full service restaurant that had everything from a full service fountain to making country pan-fried chicken and Lake Michigan perch dinners. Those kind of “mom and pop” restaurants have pretty much disappeared nowadays.

My first “duties” in our restaurant occurred as far back as when I was four. I slept peacefully under the cash register as my mom was the evening cashier. (Maybe that’s why I am so cost-conscious about the price of rising groceries or eating out!)

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-06-30 15:50:04:19
©2008 The Romantic Table

Yup, that's me at age 5, popping up for a late night snack.

My Mom had a toasted bun with some of our homemade barbecue on top. It looked so good! I was "stalking it" for a quick bite!
By the time I was a teenager, I was multi-tasked at working there. I was able to do everything from waiting tables, brewing ice tea to making desserts, breading chicken and seafood, making and cooking all our many items on the menu, cleaning all the equipment, maintaining an inventory, scheduling workers and doing the bookkeeping late at night. Between college and grad school, my husband and I ran the restaurant ourselves. Working in a restaurant is a hard job! –Even today when we occasionally eat out, I have high respect for all those in the food industry.

I am lucky to be married to a man whose mother and grandmother also cooked professionally and had a love for cooking, and an appreciation for the technique and love that making a nice meal on a regular basis can mean to your well-being as well as health—not to mention cost savings!

I’ve been influenced by people such as Julia Child and Marcella Hazen. Julia Child had a sense of “fun about cooking” that I’ll never forget. She never took herself too seriously and she enjoyed sharing her cooking insights and experiences, be they bad or good, with her readers. As a side note, my first cookbook that my mother bought me when I was six was the “Fun to Cook Book”. With its colorful pages and easy directions I really enjoyed that book! Still to today, when I purchase a cookbook for myself, I evaluate it by its cooking-fun approach. I hope you’ll find this website that way too!

I prefer the Mediterranean style of cooking over the French. Now don’t get me wrong, French cooking is delicious! But on a regular basis, the Mediterranean-style (primarily Italian) is much fresher, lighter and easier to throw together than its French cousin.

I find that eating a Mediterranean diet will maintain your health, weight and food tab better than most other cooking styles. And for us lucky to live on the California Central Coast with such an abundance of fresh produce, seafood and lean meats, the Mediterranean diet is a no-brainer healthy lifestyle choice.

About this website.

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-06-30 09:07:57:20
©2008 The Romantic Table

A Mediterranean diet will maintain your health, weight and food tab better than most other cooking styles.
This web site is about how to find and enjoy some of the best of the California Central Coast’s food and wine bounties. All these recipes are home-kitchen tested and the photographs are the fully cooked final products. Your first time through making a recipe, allow extra prep time than what's stated until you know the recipe a little better.

After looking over this website you may notice that the majority of the recipes focus on the main dinner entrée’. In our busy day-to-day schedule, having the main meal entrée selected and planned is the majority of the challenge.—If you’ve got that under control you pretty much have the whole dinner set. With all the emphasis now on weight control and health, the thing to worry about is the main dish. As long as you have a nice healthy salad to accompany the planned meal entrée, you’ve got it made!

And for dessert, on a daily basis nowadays, it’s better to finish off a meal with a simple dessert such as fresh fruit or a sorbet instead of a calorie-laden pastry or ice cream. I do have a few of my favorite desserts listed though for more special occasions rather than on a daily basis.

Cooking should be fun as well as an adventure! These recipes are not carved in stone. They’re meant more to use as guidelines. When I cook, I like to challenge myself to see what new twist I can put on a recipe to make it even better. For example, if you especially like a certain ingredient and would like to use more, go ahead and alter the recipe to your personal taste.

I hope that I can pass on to you some of the techniques and “tricks” of my cooking experiences through the years. My recipes have a practicality factor that I’ve perfected over the years so you’ll get the most taste and looks for time spent. I hope that I can show you how to make a good-looking as well as good tasting meal in a half hour or so.

Cooking is NOT something that you should dread. It’s very straight forward and logical. It can be really fun and relaxing and I hope to make you see that side of it. Learn a few cooking tips and you can enjoy quality dining every night at home for a mere fraction of the cost of dining out!

Plus we will keep you on top of food and wine things that are happening right here under our noses on the Central Coast, so you can have a lot of fun too.

Join us as we show you how you can enjoy and entertain your family and friends with some of the freshest, healthiest and easiest ways possible and save money too.




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A tip from Sue!

Mark perishable ingredients

When ever you bring home a brand new spice, oil, vinegar, flour, sugar or other perishable ingredient, mark the bottle/container with the day’s date with a felt tip pen. Most "permanent markers" will write on just about any container.

That way if you don’t use it very much, but it’s been opened, you know how fresh it is. For an important meal don’t “submarine yourself” by using past expiration ingredients that have long lost their fresh taste and flavor.