Updated 2012-02-09 20:09:06 ID=660:1

© 2012 The Romantic Table
©2011 The Romantic Table, Crab Cakes Central Coast Style 2011-03-03 22:27:41:280
©2011 The Romantic Table

This time of year crab is at its peak and its cheapest, Crab Cakes Central Coast Style are easy to throw together-especially if you already have the crab meat.

Festive Foods for February


Now that February is here and we're past the brunt of our coldest winter days, it's time to celebrate with some favorite festive recipes on two fun occasions: Valentines Day and Mardi Gras.

Here in California, we start getting the inkling of Spring Fever with the days becoming longer and the afternoons warming up. Also this month we have two fun reasons to celebrate: Valentines Day and Mardi Gras. And we've got a few favorites that will fit each occasion.

We have a couple great appetizers that are just perfect for your own celebration.

The first one is Crab Cakes Romantic Table Style. These little cakes are so easy to throw together-especially if you already have the crab meat or are using the freshly-canned refrigerated version. Our recipe is so simple you can practically throw this together on a whim! We also have a very simple sauce recipe to accompany them. -So delicious!

©2010 The Romantic Table, Party Wings Romantic Table Style 2010-01-31 22:56:46:247
©2010 The Romantic Table

Party Wings Romantic Table Style are marinaded overnight in our own sweet-sour with a kick light marinade and baked in the oven for thirty minutes or so. When they're almost done, they are lightly broiled for a little crispiness.
The other appetizer we suggest is Party Wings Romantic Table Style. This recipe is one of our long-time favorite ways to serve chicken to a group of guests. It's a recipe that's really manageable and not too messy. We've made these party wings for gatherings when we know that there will be no formal seating arrangements. Serving chicken this way is very convenient if the guests are standing and moving around, and the wings are not very messy to handle.

Because these little poultry gems are NOT fried or smothered in a barbecue sauce, I irreverently refer to this recipe as "naked chicken drummettes." They are marinaded overnight in our own "sweet-sour with a kick" light marinade then baked in the oven for thirty minutes or so. When they're almost done, they are lightly browned under the broiler for a little extra crispiness, then served on a serving platter or bowl. This recipe does take a little planning because the chicken requires time to marinate. For best flavor we recommend overnight marinating. Trust me, these wings are addictive!

©2012 The Romantic Table 2012-02-09 18:01:59:321
©2012 The Romantic Table

Spicy Fra Diavolo is traditionally made with lobster, but I have found that virtually any type of shell fish works well with this sauce. Since lobster is not that available on the West Coast, I use jumbo shrimp, fresh if available, but frozen works quite well also.
Our festive entree selection is Shrimp Fra Diavolo. The origins of Fra Diavolo is not clear. Some say it is Italian, others say that it an American-Italian creation. Regardless of where it comes from, this is a very delicious and festive recipe. It is easy to assemble since you have the Basic Marinara Sauce ready. It’s very intense and very delicious. When you want to splurge for your company, this is a good one to serve.

Although it is traditionally made with lobster, I have found that virtually any type of shell fish works well with this sauce. Since lobster is not that available on the West Coast, I use jumbo shrimp, fresh if available, but frozen works quite well also. Whatever type of seafood you choose to use, this is a knock-out recipe!

Festive parties call for festive desserts of course! We have two selections for you: Valentines Day Buttermilk Tea Cake and a Flourless Chocolate Walnut Rum Torte both are absolutely delicious!

©2010 The Romantic Table, Buttermilk Tea Cake 2010-01-31 20:43:27:245
©2010 The Romantic Table

Buttermilk Tea Cake is a two-layered eight-inch cake, frosted with a simple butter cream-vanilla icing made from confectioners sugar, butter and cream.
Our Buttermilk Tea Cake is a classic two-layered tea cake. This is a delicious cake, especially so when served with tea or coffee. It is frosted with a simple butter cream vanilla icing made with confectioners sugar, butter and cream. This recipe is also one of my favorite birthday cakes and its buttermilk flavor actually intensifies as it ages. So keep that in mind and make it a day ahead if you like.

To celebrate Valentines Day, we like to bake it in a heart-shaped form as pictured. The flavor of this cake is so savory and memorable. It's perfect to serve to the special someone in your life! They'll appreciate your efforts, though this cake takes only about fifteen minutes to mix up and then another fifteen to twenty minutes to bake. It was known to my family as "Mrs Gates Buttermilk Cake," I never knew just WHO Mrs. Gates was (other than an old friend of my grandmother's!). But Oh! Is it ever good!

Our other dessert, the Flourless Chocolate Walnut Rum Torte, is a real "show-stealer" and perfect for the end of your Mardi Gras celebration. With Lent starting the next day, this memorable torte will fuel you through Ash Wednesday and beyond.

©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!
This Torte is a bit of a mystery --a moist luxurious chocolate cake with absolutely no flour used in the recipe! How do we do it? The answer is quite simple, like all flourless cakes, it is actually more of a souffle than a cake. But unlike a souffle where you take pains not to overload the beaten egg whites to get maximum rise and lightness, we purposely overload this baby with dark chocolate, walnuts, rum and vanilla and allow it to fall to just the consistency of a luscious dense chocolate cake. But beware! For choco-holics it can be quite intoxicating.

This is not a tall cake, so we call it a torte. There is an ongoing debate in our family on when to serve the cake. My husband says it is best served warm surrounded by English Cream when the cake has a moist almost mousse- like texture. A lovely combination to be sure, but I say the cake is best served cool when it is more dense and is pure chocolate decadence. However you plan to serve it, this torte will be the talk of the town!

As February continues to evolve, more and more gentle reminders that Spring is on its way will start showing up -especially here on the California Central Coast! While we still have some drab cold days ahead, make the most of this month with your own reasons to celebrate!





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A tip from Sue!

An easier way to pound your meats and poultry

Been frustrated by plastic wrap that won't stay as you pound your meats? Save yourself some grief by using an extra plastic bag from your grocery store's meat or produce counter. Simply place the breast of meat inside flat between the top and bottom of the plastic bag, laying flat and pound away.