Updated 2011-02-22 18:55:57 ID=639:1

© 2011 The Romantic Table
©2011 The Romantic Table 2011-02-03 21:02:37:279
©2011 The Romantic Table

Thin Spaghetti with Wild Mushrooms will transport your mouth's taste and smell to that of Bologna Italy.

February's Recipes Are Sure to Get You Out of the Winter Blahs!

We're in the midst of some of the worst winters on decades-a definite low-point, but this month's recipes have a little something for everyone's tastes that should get us out of the doldrums! And before we know it, it will be fabulous Spring!

What a blah time of year! We're definitely out of energy from the excesses of the Holidays and Winter's stormy weather. We've "hit bottom." Now we're in the process of getting back on track and powering ahead for the Spring that's just around the corner. Even Ground Hog Day's Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow so he too thinks Winter is just about over! And we've got some GREAT new takes on food that will revitalize your bodies and souls.

©2011 The Romantic Table, Manhattan Fish Chowder 2011-02-03 21:06:26:278
©2011 The Romantic Table

Manhattan Fish Chowder -chunks of fresh fish, bacon, onions, carrots, baby gold potatoes, a little Thyme, Italian parsley and tomatoes.
For those fish-lovers out there, I've got a really good version of a Manhattan Fish Chowder that we personally like better than the original Manhattan Clam Chowder. It's hard to get really good clams out here on the Central Coast, so we've substituted really fresh Red Snapper and we love the flavor. --Though any firm white fish will work. The combination of chunks of fresh fish, bacon, onions, carrots, baby gold potatoes, a little Thyme, Italian parsley and canned tomatoes make this a full-bodied absolutely delicious chowder to chow-down on. Add a nice green salad and a glass of wine and you're in bliss.

A new recipe featuring pappardelle pasta in combination with Kale leaves, uncured bacon, onion, garlic and Asiago cheese make this a delicious dish that's also stretches your budget. It's very filling and satisfying.

Another recipe that stretches your budget is our recipe for Rotini with Swiss Chard and Sausage. Using just a little freshly made bulk Italian sausage that your butcher makes, sauteed with olive oil and garlic, with the addition of a few raisins, wine and low-cost Swiss chard and pasta, turns this into a flavorful dish that also satisfies.

Our last dish is a sensational dish that will transport your mouth's taste and smell to that of Bologna Italy. We call it, Thin Spaghetti with Wild Mushrooms. It's absolutely delicious and surprisingly very easy to make! In lieu of "wild mushrooms", I used fresh Shiitakes with also some hydrated dried porcinis, with garlic, rosemary and beef broth. Very satisfying! And very "manly!" It is not just a "chick-dish!" All will love it! And it's so simple, "the cook" will especially love it!

By the time you try all our new recipes, it'll be almost Spring! So hang in there. Hopefully the winter will retreat and bring us some decent sunshine to not only grow our favorite Spring vegetables and fruit but also to elevate our spirits to get in shape for the warm seasons ahead! Enjoy!

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A tip from Sue!

Get a Black Pepper Mill

There's nothing that substitutes for freshly cracked black pepper. You can find pepper mills in all price ranges. Just get one that looks like it will hold up well over continual use. Freshly cracked black pepper can really enhance the smell and final taste of a recipe!