Updated 2009-10-03 15:55:28 ID=518:1

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table, Eggplant and Fresh Tomato sauce on Bucatini. 2009-10-03 15:30:52:205
©2009 The Romantic Table

Eggplant and Fresh Tomato sauce on Bucatini.

October is the California Central Coast's best time of year for cooking and fun!


We love this time of year! It's practically perfect weather to enjoy outside events that take place this month in our area such as the wine and walnut harvests celebrations. Now with the cooler Fall weather's arrival, we've got some easy recipes to help you enjoy this perfect time of year with not too much fuss and using a lot of this season's vegetables.

I'm always in a good mood this time of year! When the weather is just right. The nights are good sleeping weather, and there's a lot of new vegetables and fruit to be the "centerpieces of my cooking's attentions" that revitalize my recipe-brain-storming hours. Of course way off in the distance, I know the chore of Christmas approaches. But for now at least, I'm happy and content with right now and finally free of the stipulation that I need to cook in a "beat-the-heat" mode.

I know a lot of you out there have a big list of commitments to fulfill such as football and soccer games to attend, schoolwork for you to help your children with besides wanting to attend wine and food events. So to make the most of this enjoyable time of year, we come up with some easy recipes that are easy to throw together but pack a big punch.

©2009 The Romantic Table, Shrimp Scampi, perfect when you want seafood but don't have much time to be in the kitchen. 2009-10-03 15:34:45:206
©2009 The Romantic Table

Shrimp Scampi, perfect when you want seafood but don't have much time to be in the kitchen.
One of our all-time favorite quick shrimp recipes is what we call "Shrimp Scampi." We've been making this for years and always turn to it when we want seafood but don't have much time to be in the kitchen. As long as you have some frozen shrimp on-hand, the dried herbs of chervil, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, pasta and a few cloves of garlic and a splash of white wine, it can be put together in fifteen minutes or so. And oh! is it delicious! Just add a leafy green salad and you've got a kudos-quality meal!

If you've been browsing our recipes you'll know that we love using eggplant as the main ingredient in a number of our favorite recipes. It's such a versatile vegetable that satisfies one's appetite so well. This summer's crop was especially good! The eggplant is especially filling in one of our new recipes, Eggplant and Fresh Tomato Sauce on Bucatini. We lightly flour and saute the cubed eggplant, then make a fresh tomato sauce with oregano and serve it on a bed of Bucatini, which is like a thick spaghetti with a hole down the length of the noodle to give the ultimate coating and texture for the rest of the ingredients. It's delicious!

©2009 The Romantic Table, Sweet-sour Balsamic vinegar marinated baby onions. 2009-10-03 15:36:48:207
©2009 The Romantic Table

Sweet-sour Balsamic vinegar marinated baby onions.
For our next October recipe we're featuring is a sweet-sour Balsamic vinegar marinated baby onions side-dish that's quite unusual. They make a delicious appetizer or side dish to keep in mind for the upcoming holidays. When you see baby white onions--or you could use pearl onions- either at the Farmers Markets or the grocery store, BUY THEM! These are a real treat! Basically all you do is boil them. Then chill them a day or two and then serve them chilled. The marinated onions can keep a couple weeks, refrigerated, so you can make the most of them!

In addition to the wine harvest, October is also the walnut harvest. (And we're crazy about these nuts because the way they taste and because they're so versatile!) I've got another pesto for you. This one is with hydrated sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts with a few herbs and garlic thrown in. Pretty much a snap-especially if you have a food processor or blender.

©2009 The Romantic Table, Red Clam Sauce from the Pantry 2009-10-03 15:46:01:208
©2009 The Romantic Table

Red Clam Sauce from the Pantry
The next recipe is one of our "new favorites" because of it's simplicity and ease to throw together providing you have some of its ingredients in the pantry. We call it Red Clam Sauce from the Pantry. This recipe was inspired by our friend Nick Canigiula of Tuscali Olive Oil Company when he made his version for us. This is a delicious recipe that brings out the best of canned clams, canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, of course a little onion and garlic and a bit of Sweet Marsala wine to smooth everything together. It's a very respectable full-bodied sauce for being thrown together so quickly! You'll be surprised how satisfying this clam sauce is! If you have it, serve it with a little crusty peasant bread, extra- virgin olive oil for dipping and a salad and you've got an "quick banquet!"

While late summer's fruit is still with us, we've also have a dessert or two for you to enjoy. They're pretty easy and straight forward to make and have the taste of good dessert comfort food.

So stay tuned and we'll be serving up some enjoyable recipes for you to enjoy as we make our way through the rest of the month as we approach Halloween.




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A tip from Sue!

Sauteing whole garlic

If your recipe calls for whole garlic, it doesn't burn as easily when in larger pieces. But you do need to score your garlic cloves all over in order to release the garlic juices and fragrance .Always be careful to avoid burning the cloves. It'll make the garlic cloves bitter and ruin what you're cooking.