Updated 2009-12-03 00:29:30 ID=561:1

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table, Flourless Chocolate Walnut Tort 2009-12-02 21:37:04:233
©2009 The Romantic Table

The ultimate Flourless Chocolate Walnut Tort, worthy of your finest guests!

December is here! Time for some quick fun recipes!

Christmas and New Years is approaching. Almost all of us have too many things to do and not enough time to do them as we get ready to enjoy this season. This month's recipes are all pretty quick to throw together and festive too! Here are some of our favorite elegant quick recipes to help you with your entertaining duties.

This time a year I start to hyperventilate over too many things to do and not enough time to do them. With so many obligations to finish, I feel like my "idle" is stuck on high!

This is the time to pull out some of our quick (but new to you) recipes that will help take some of the pressure off when you're entertaining.

©2009 The Romantic Table, Steak Diane 2009-12-02 21:40:24:234
©2009 The Romantic Table

Steak Diane, based on a steak entree originally served at New York City's "Delmonico Hotel."
The first of one of our longtime tried and true recipes is an elegant little dish that we call "Steak Diane." We first learned about this recipe from Julia Child on her "Julia Child's Kitchen" PBS television show in the early-seventies. It's based on a steak entree originally served at New York City's "Delmonico Hotel."

The recipe is quick to make, makes a showy presentation (especially when it's set aflame with brandy or port) and oh so delicious! It's reduction sauce is to die for and then it's usually served with mashed potatoes or sauteed potato buds and a vegetable such as green peas. You can easily make the ensemble is fifteen minutes or so, so you'll have more time to enjoy your guests.

A quick side dish recipe that we're serving up for you this month is simply Golden Orzo with Saffron. This rich golden pasta side dish is so attractive on a plate, delicious and only takes ten to fifteen minutes to prepare, plus it's good with most any kind of seafood or poultry.

With many of you having company this Christmas and/or New Years, our appetizer is another recipe that comes to our aid. We call it "Stuffed Clams-Romantic Table Style." This too is a pretty quick one to throw together. Using some clams, shallots, thyme, Italian parsley, soft bread crumbs, a little bacon and Parmesan cheese it combines to be the perfect accompaniment for wine - friends- and good conversation.

©2009 The Romantic Table, Chocolate Pecan Cookies 2009-12-02 21:43:11:235
©2009 The Romantic Table

Chocolate Pecan Cookies, made with no flour and only five ingredients.
The colder weather we've been having lately has put me in the mood to bake some cookies. The other day I was looking through my grandmother's recipe card file and I came across a very old but very simple recipe for Quick Chocolate Pecan Cookies. I don't know where the recipe originated, but I decided to give it a try and make it myself-especially since I had plenty of gorgeous Farmers Market pecans on hand.

Simple as can be made with no flour and only five ingredients, it took me only ten to fifteen minutes to make the cookies and then another ten to fifteen minutes for them to bake --and they pack quite a lot of chocolate flavor and nutty crunchiness. They're definitely worth "the trouble!"

When your guests are in the mood for just "a little something" but nothing too big to ruin their appetite or their figure, these little chocolate-pecan goodies are the perfect offering-and you can proudly say that you made them yourself from scratch! (Though they taste like they took longer than that to make!)

Then for our final-but grand finale to the holiday dessert scene we've come up with the ultimate Flourless Chocolate Walnut Tort worthy of your finest guests. This tort is so delicious it should be outlawed- though you could rationalize that it's almost "healthy."

It's loaded with walnuts, egg whites and yolks (so there's lots of protein in it) NO FLOUR for those of you who are celiacs, only ten ounces of chocolate and only one cup of sugar for a tort that can easily feed eight.

So there you have it. December is going to go fast! Too fast! But at least you have a few more quick but elegant recipes that you can have in your arsenal.

If you're rushed like I am, try to calm down and remember that Christmas and New Years' celebrations are NOT about "things" they're about sharing each others' good conversations, values, memories and favorite food with one another and being grateful for "what we have" and "those we have." Savor the moment!

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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.