Updated 2010-01-06 19:59:56 ID=572:1

© 2010 The Romantic Table
©2010 The Romantic Table, Steamed Mussels 2010-01-06 19:50:44:242
©2010 The Romantic Table

Steamed Mussels is a dish best leisurely consumed.

January's recipes that will bolster you up!

Now that we're past the hectic holidays we need some recipes that will help fight the cold and flu season and bolster our disposition to have an enjoyable 2010.

I don't know about you, but the McGourtys had a very hectic holiday get-together with several relatives in town for the celebration. All the "richer than normal" food and entertaining really took a toll on our systems. Many of us ended the celebration with colds. Time for some home-cooked remedies.

Under the weather for the last week and a half, I turned to my "sure-fired food weapon" of defense: Roasted Chicken Soup. What's different about this chicken soup and what makes this such a stand-out is that the chicken parts and vegetables are first roasted in a 425 degree oven for an hour. This amplifies all the flavors and goodness. Then you cook it on the stove with herbs and such to make a really deep-flavored soup that you can practically taste and feel your defenses getting stronger with each swallow!

©2010 The Romantic Table, Roasted Chicken Soup 2010-01-06 19:53:12:243
©2010 The Romantic Table

During cold and flu season there's nothing that comforts quite like homemade chicken soup!
Another standout recipe that's really mellow and easy to digest -and is very fun to eat is Steamed Mussels. We first had these when we were traveling on business (and worn out from traveling) at a little Bistro in Lyon France late one evening. Boy! Did they ever pick us up! After eating these we actually had an extra bounce to our step when we walked!

A fabulous recipe to have when you're feeling better that really warms the body on a cold night is our To Die For French- Style Scalloped Potatoes. They're the best that we've ever tasted!

We have two versions of this recipe available. The lighter version uses just Half and Half with potatoes as the main ingredients and is absolutely delicious. (As pictured.)

©2010 The Romantic Table, French Style Scalloped Potatoes  2010-01-06 19:58:11:244
©2010 The Romantic Table

French Style Scalloped Potatoes is a simple straight forward recipe.
But if you really want a heavier and more creamy version of the recipe, you also can add heavy whipping cream in the final minutes. But be warned, the heavier version is absolutely sinful but also heavier to digest.

In both versions, the main trick to this recipe is to slice the potatoes paper- thin (2mm.) You can accomplish this task easily by using a 2mm slicing blade on a food processor or a mandoline. This speeds-up the baking process and the result is scalloped potatoes that literally melt in your mouth!

Our dessert recipe is another one we learned while traveling, in Vienna, Austria. There at the Intercontinental Hotel, we saw two patrons being served a humongous dessert of what looked like a huge platter of cooked egg white meringue with lots of shaved dark chocolate. We asked what it was and the waitress told us all about the Salzburger Nockerln , how it was made and that even though it looked gigantic and rich, it was very low in calories. That was enough to get us to try it and also to recreate it at home. It's delicious! And after most of us gorged ourselves a little too much over the holidays,Salzburger Nockerln is a dieter's dream come true! Try it for yourself!

If you've been feeling a little blah since New Years, it's probably partially due to excitement let-down and to being a little worn-out. Time to go back to "basics" and reinforce your system with some mellow foods and a couple new recipes. Try these out for size and see if they don't make the month move more smoothly for you -and before you know it, it'll be the early part of Spring!

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A tip from Sue!

A good cook should control the salt and spices!

Do not use salted butter, garlic powder, or heavily salted canned foods. Instead, if you need butter, use unsalted butter and then add in the salt separately so that YOU control the amount of salt you need. The same goes for spices. Using commercially salted and seasoned products will homogenize the taste of your recipes. When you eat something, you should be able to taste all the individual.flavors of a dish.