Updated 2009-10-03 19:16:11 ID=482:1

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table, Calamari and eggplant with a homemade fresh tomato sauce. 2009-09-01 19:40:38:193
©2009 The Romantic Table

Calamari and eggplant with a homemade fresh tomato sauce.

September --Grilling and Enjoying the Last Days of Summer

Summer may be dwindling away, but we've got some more great meals planned that will help keep you cool, enjoy your family and friends and keep the cooking heat outside.

It's back to school time and back to our regular routine, but at least for the next few weeks, the summer heat is still with us. Also the best of summer - vine ripened tomatoes, summer squash, greens, figs and melons- are still here for us to enjoy, so we've come up with some great grilling recipes that are pretty quick to throw together and fun to enjoy with family and friends.

When I think back to when I was in college and just returning to school life, there was a transition period, at least for me, when part of me was in denial --part of me was incredulous that it was Fall and still so warm outside. But, another part of me was happy that I was getting back onto a regular schedule.

For these transition weeks, I knew I did best by just adhering to a schedule until I "got with it" and in the swing of things and tuned that confusion into excitement about what was going on daily. Our recipes this month do just that, we start shifting gears into Fall-cooking mode It's still hot outside we can use some of our favorite summer produce to cook on the grill. It's easier and leaves us more time to spend the dwindling summer with family and friends.

One of our recipes puts the spotlight on grilled Portobella mushrooms in a grilled vegetable sandwich topped with goat cheese and a "killer" of a chipotle aioli sauce. It's so delicious and surprisingly very filling!

Another very quick recipe to throw together-especially if you're running late, utilizes fresh arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil to make a light zesty pesto that's perfect for a hot late summer evening.

©2009 The Romantic Table, Figs and Prosciutto, an easy and elegant appetizer.  2009-09-01 19:37:28:192
©2009 The Romantic Table

Figs and Prosciutto, an easy and elegant appetizer.
Figs are now available in most farmers markets as well as better grocery stores. We like to eat them as an appetizer with prosciutto. It's a real "no-brainer" to assemble on a plate for easy eating satisfaction! We'll show you how.

Another easy to throw together meal that's an unusual combination of almonds, pistachios, fresh sage, fresh basil, a little bit of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil to make a really unusual but savory pesto. This can be served as an entree or the perfect accompaniment for a quickly grilled pork loin chop.

Though not as quick to throw together, our next recipe is absolutely divine! It uses readily available calamari steaks and layers them with thinly sliced eggplant and a homemade fresh tomato sauce to create pure bliss for the diner's mouth. Its seven layers of eggplant and calamari (similar as in form as a lasagna, though without cheese) melded together with the other ingredients to create pure eating heaven!

©2009 The Romantic Table, Grilled yellow and green zucchini ribbons with mint 2009-09-01 20:01:48:194
©2009 The Romantic Table

Grilled yellow and green zucchini ribbons with mint.
There's a lot of great-tasting yellow zucchini available now. The ones that we've been eating taste sweeter than the green variety. They're always great grilled with a little mint that can be served hot or even better yet-chilled. It's so refreshing!

This time of year is bitter sweet for me! I'm sad to know fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh peaches and summer vegetables are on their way out for the season, but waiting in the wings we'll be starting to see some delicious apples (and you know I'm a apple-lover!) and pumpkins. This opens up whole new category of recipes to think up for next month!

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A tip from Sue!

Use A Pasta Pot for Pasta

If you like pasta and are planning on having it often, I recommend getting a pasta pot.

After trying different sets, the best one I’ve found was the original, least expensive one. It’s a stainless steel pot with separate built-in pasta basket. It also comes with a vegetable steamer. Something like it is available on the Internet for about $40.00. and at several local supermarkets as low as $30.00.

You don’t need to have a real heavy pan---otherwise you’re going to waste all your time heating the pan instead of getting it to boil quickly. Don't worry about hot spots since all you’re going to be doing with it is boiling water.