Updated 2010-05-03 20:44:59 ID=600:1

© 2010 The Romantic Table
©2010 The Romantic Table, Country Cousin Fresh Strawberry Tart 2010-05-03 20:37:48:256
©2010 The Romantic Table

Country Cousin Fresh Strawberry Tart with a Shortbread Crust.

May's Recipes Showcase Some of the Best of California's Delights

Spring is really popping out all over now that the rains have subsided and temperatures have climbed. May is the month that many consider, me included, the "trigger month" that sets off the charge of so many of the California Central Coast's best-tasting produce.

Fruit-lovers can start celebrating! Strawberries by mid-May, here on the Central Coast, are their best-tasting and peak of ripeness.The stone fruit starts to show up now at most Farmers Markets as we get further into May and June. Also waiting in the wings are blueberries growing more blue each day toward ripeness. May is a great month to be alive here in San Luis Obispo County and we've got a savory menu for you this month.

©2010 The Romantic Table, Baked Goat Cheese on a Bed of Baby Spinach 2010-05-03 20:39:16:257
©2010 The Romantic Table, Baked Goat Cheese on a Bed of Baby Spinach

Baked Goat Cheese on a Bed of Baby Spinach
First, we'll start off with a delicious salad that's Baked Goat Cheese on a Bed of Baby Spinach with a Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette. This salad is delicious year round, but it's especially good this time of year when the fresh lemons are at their peak. The Goat Cheese (many varieties are made locally ) is so delicious and when eaten warmed, it melts in your mouth and if you eat it slowly and it cools off to room temperature, it almost has a "cheesecake" consistency. What I like best about this salad, is that it's substantial enough to be both an appetizer AND salad on one plate!

©2010 The Romantic Table, Chicken Hunter-Style with Wild Mushrooms on a Bed of Soft Polenta. 2010-05-03 20:36:02:255
©2010 The Romantic Table

Chicken Hunter-Style with Wild Mushrooms on a Bed of Soft Polenta.
Our next entree is a great way to serve chicken for several people. It's called Chicken Hunter-Style with Wild Mushrooms on a Bed of Soft Polenta. This is so-o delicious and it's easy to make ahead of time and let it simmer slowly until your guests arrive. For this to be a knockout meal, all you have to accompany this is a nice salad and a glass of red wine.

Our dessert this month is one of my absolute favorites that my family has been making for decades, originally in our Midwest restaurant, the "Country Cousin."

Years ago, strawberries were hard to come by and relatively more expensive back then. For just a short period of summer they were available at different farms. I remember my mom and grandmother right before busy weekends at the restaurant would buy several flats of strawberries and make up to six large strawberry pies a day, a batch at a time.---And all those strawberries had to be rinsed, hulled and picked over before you could even think about making the pies! (I was put to work to help in that "department!) This is our family's recipe for Fresh Strawberry Tart with a Shortbread Crust. It's absolutely divine! What makes it so sensational is our own homemade recipe for the strawberry glaze. It's ninety-five percent all strawberries, so you could even argue that it's one of cuisine's healthier desserts! If you like strawberries, wait until you try this!

All in all the days are getting longer and most of us are climbing out of winter doldrums and looking forward to enjoyable temperatures and outdoor activities. This month we've got at least three new recipes to add to our repertoire as we look forward to the best of Spring's offerings!

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A tip from Sue!

Know your stove!

Not all stoves are equivalent! Your "medium" may be equivalent to another's "high." For instance, a lot of recipes use the "Medium heat" burner. But that can be too high if your sauteing garlic and don't want it to burn. It's better to err toward the lower setting.