California Central Coast Recipes

Complete Index to the Romantic Table's Easy-Elegent Recipe Archive.

This web site is about how to find and enjoy some of the best of the California Central Coast’s Food and Wine bounties. All these California Central Coast Recipes are home-kitchen tested and the photographs are the fully cooked final products.

Cooking is NOT something that you should dread. It’s very straight forward and logical. It can be really fun and relaxing. I hope that I can pass on to you some of the techniques and “tricks” of my cooking experiences through the years. My recipes have a practicality factor that I’ve perfected over the years so you’ll get the most taste and looks for time spent. I will show you how to make a good-looking as well as good tasting meal in a half hour or so, you can enjoy quality dining every night at home for a mere fraction of the cost of dining out!

Cooking should be fun as well as an adventure! These recipes are not carved in stone. They’re meant more to use as guidelines. For example, if you especially like a certain ingredient and would like to use more, go ahead and alter the recipe to your personal taste.

What are California Central Coast Style Recipes?

©2008 The Romantic Table, Susan McGourty's Table Talk, a California Central Coast Lifestyle blog. 2011-06-09 16:33:16:80

2009-04-20 12:02:41 ID=370:0
© 2009 The Romantic Table

Occasionally we get asked, what's different about California Central Coast Recipes? I reply that it has to have these three basic characteristics: the recipe uses fresh locally-grown ingredients, simple healthy preparation and simple but elegant presentation. We work hard to make things easy. Here's how one recipe evolved from an over-ambitious -multi-step recipe to that of one of our most simple, healthy and at the same time elegant ones.


About the Romantic Table’s Recipes

©2008 The Romantic Table The Mediterranean Diet, rich in seafood and complex carbohydrates is good for your health and quality of life. 2008-07-25 16:13:06:33

2008-08-13 19:37:01 ID=40:1
© 2008 The Romantic Table

Though our recipes are heavily influenced by the Italian cooking style, the Mediterranean Diet is really the basis for all our recipes,


Baked Goods

Garlicky Croutons1. Garlicky Croutons
Garlicky Croutons are a must for a traditional Caesar Salad. But don't just use them for salads! Garlicky Croutons are equally good on top of hearty soups like Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks and stews and chili recipes like Chili - Sue's Own Hardy Mediterranean Style. These are so good. When I first wrote this recipe, I unconsciously set the serving number to 2 instead of 8 because you could practically munch them all yourself!

Homemade Pizza Dough Made With Yeast Starter2. Homemade Pizza Dough Made With Yeast Starter
This is my recipe for Homemade Pizza Dough using a Yeast starter for bread or Pizza Dough - Homemade Biga. This recipe is a bit time-consuming, but if you're home anyway, it's well worth the time to make it, Please see my blog Homemade Pizza: my quest for a really good recipe.. After many years of experimenting with different types of dough, this is my current recipe using two parts Unbleached Flour to one part Whole Wheat flour. This makes enough dough for three large (14 inch diameter) thin crust pizzas.

Onion Pizza3. Onion Pizza
Onion Pizza is a classic rustic style Mediterranean style recipe. It is made either as a pizza with a thin crust --like we do here, or as a Focaccia with onion topping.

Panettone French Toast4. Panettone French Toast
Panettone French Toast is French toast on "steroids". As you probably know, Panettone is the Italian orange flavored Christmas Bread. It generally is available in most markets starting around Thanksgiving time. We always seem to have a few extra on hand so we decided that Panettone French Toast would be perfect for a Christmas Day or New Years Day brunch.

Pizza Margarite5. Pizza Margarite
Pizza Margarite is my favorite kind of pizza.. It's so simple to make, yet flavorful --and you could argue healthy too.

Pizza Marinara --a Neapolitan Classic 6. Pizza Marinara --a Neapolitan Classic
Naples is the home of Pizza, and no pizza exemplifies a Neapolitan recipe than this classic pizza topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese,anchovies and capers. Though some purists don't even use cheese, we do because we love the flavors of the two cheeses.

Pizza Quattro Stagione - Four Seasons Pizza7. Pizza Quattro Stagione - Four Seasons Pizza
Pizza Quattro Stagione, or four seasons pizza is a classic combination pizza celebrating the four seasons. The traditional toppings are artichokes for Spring, olives for Summer, mushrooms for Fall and prosciutto for Winter. What makes this pizza special is the toppings are not intermixed, but each occupies is own "corner." This gives you four different tastes as you "eat" your way through the seasons.

The Ultimate Garlic Bread8. The Ultimate Garlic Bread
Garlic Bread lovers, this recipe is for you!!! Our version of Garlic Bread is unlike others. First you start with a loaf of French bread, cut it lengthwise, and then cut into pieces without cutting all the way through the crust. Then each section- between and on top of- you spread with butter and garlic that's been thoroughly combined into a thick paste. Then either bake or grill.

Yeast starter for bread or Pizza Dough - Homemade Biga9. Yeast starter for bread or Pizza Dough - Homemade Biga
A Yeast starter for bread or Pizza Dough, known as a Biga or a sponge, really can make all the difference in the world. The final taste of the finished product is more delicious and flavorful if you don't skip this preliminary step. It adds a real yeasty smell to the dough and helps the dough rise. It doesn't take but a few minutes to make this, but it does require planning ahead a day or two to make the Biga. -You want this to ferment at least thirty-six hours prior to use.


Calamari Fritti - Fried Calamari with Spicy Marinara Sauce
1. Calamari Fritti - Fried Calamari with Spicy Marinara Sauce
Calamari Fritti, or fired calamari is one of the simplest, but at the same time most delicious seafood delicacies. The key is to use a good quality --small wild caught cuttlefish in the preparation. They are very delicate, so you usually cannot find them fresh in your seafood market, but frozen works very well.

Caponata2. Caponata
When Summer finally comes, one of the first seasonal recipes we love to make is Caponata. Caponata is a sweet-sour vegetable compote made with Eggplant. In some parts of Italy every family has it's own carefully guarded secret recipe. Since you readers are all part of our extended family, here is our "secret recipe" for you to enjoy.

Crab Cakes Romantic Table Style3. Crab Cakes Romantic Table Style
Crab Cakes Romantic Table Style is a recipe that even if you're following the Lenten practice of abstinence during Lent, you could serve it for company or a party. These little cakes are so easy to throw together-especially if you already have the crab meat. 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!

Crispy Shoestring Onions Romantic Table Style4. Crispy Shoestring Onions Romantic Table Style
Our recipe for Crispy Shoestring Onions Romantic Table Style is one you can use as an appetizer, side-dish or wine-tasting accompaniment! These can be dangerous-It's hard to stop eating them!

Figs and Prosciutto 5. Figs and Prosciutto
Figs and Prosciutto combine to form an elegant appetizer that's absolutely delicious! All you need are fresh figs, and a few slices Prosciutto. The preparation is so simple, but when placed on a plate so that the diner can eat a piece of each in one bite-full, it turns into a "food marriage" of mouth-watering appeal.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta 6. Fresh Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
One of the delights of late summer harvest time is when the fresh heirloom tomatoes are at their peak and we kick off a barbecue with an appetizer of bruschetta with fresh tomato topping.

Fried Green Tomatoes7. Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes is so simple and straight-forward you hardly need a recipe! With cool growing conditions for tomatoes here on the Central Coast of California (although great for wine grapes!), many of us unfortunately have an abundance of green or nearly-ripe tomatoes on the vine. This recipe answers the question "what to do with them". And after you taste these after they're cooked, you'll be happy that you're fortunate to have green tomatoes available! They almost taste like mini-pizzas!

Grilled Eggplant Pizzettes with Fresh Herbs8. Grilled Eggplant Pizzettes with Fresh Herbs
Grilled Eggplant Pizzettes with Fresh Herbs are the perfect solution for that pizza urge when it is Summer and you are not in the mood for baking. These are grilled and are so very simple and quick to throw together, it's almost embarrassing! But they sure reap the Ooh's and Ahhh's from everyone. They will steal the show!

Grilled Oysters Romantic Table Style9. Grilled Oysters Romantic Table Style
Grilled Oysters Romantic Table style is a really simple and elegant way to prepare oysters on the grill. Though not quite as complex in taste as Oysters a la Charra this recipe is done so easily and quickly it is a perfect appetizer to make standing around the grill with your friends drinking a little wine as you cook.

Grilled Zucchini with Pomegranate and Feta cheese10. Grilled Zucchini with Pomegranate and Feta cheese
On the Central Coast in late Fall pomegranates are available everywhere. As a matter of fact, they grow so well here they are commonly used here as hedges. We tend to think of them as landscaping, not as food! We are always shocked to hear how much our less fortunate out of the area friends and family have to pay for them.

Olive Caviar11. Olive Caviar
Because of its strong olive-salty taste, we call this appetizer "Olive Caviar." Of course there is no fish taste, but it is still a sophisticated taste not for the faint of heart! Just a little bit on a piece of toasted baguette will do most people.

Oysters a la Charra12. Oysters a la Charra
Oysters a la Charra is my version of "Oysters on Horseback", which I had for the first time in Osaka Japan. My husband had to go Japan for an extended business trip. It was Christmas time, so the company he was working for offered to send me along too! The night we arrived in Osaka, we had Oysters on Horseback. We loved them! And since our stay in Osaka lasted almost two months, we were able to have this dish often.

Party Wings Romantic Table Style13. Party Wings Romantic Table Style
One of our long-time favorite ways to serve chicken to a group of guests is our chicken "Party Wings Romantic Table Style." 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.

Quick from the Pantry Stuffed Clams14. Quick from the Pantry Stuffed Clams
Stuffed clams are always a great appetizer. When fresh clams are not available Quick from the Pantry Stuffed Clams is a low-cost appetizer that you can have on hand anytime when you need a good-tasting emergency appetizer. It uses canned minced clams that are readily (and inexpensively) available at most grocery stores. This recipe is almost as good as our more costly one that uses fresh clams--and is much quicker than the Stuffed Clams Central Coast Style.

Roasted Beets15. Roasted Beets
Roasted beets are amazingly simple to make. Served with a little olive oil as an appetizer or as an ingredient for different pastas like Golden Beets with Pappardelle, their bright color and sweet taste cannot be compared to their washed out boiled or canned counter parts.

Roasted Peppers Italian Style 16. Roasted Peppers Italian Style
This is our version of the traditional Summer Italian Roasted Peppers antipasto recipe.

Rosemary Skewers with Shrimp and Sea Scallops 17. Rosemary Skewers with Shrimp and Sea Scallops
Rosemary Skewers with Shrimp and Sea Scallops is another of our grilled offerings. It is so simple, it's almost needs no recipe. It does have one requirement though-that you have access to fresh growing rosemary to make the skewers. You simply take the leaves off the rosemary branch, then alternate on the "skewer" shelled and de-veined shrimp and sea scallops that have been marinaded in extra virgin olive oil and garlic, then put on the grill for a couple minutes each side. Oh! so good! And oh! so simple!---But yet a little sophisticated.

Sauteed Mushrooms on Grilled Crostini18. Sauteed Mushrooms on Grilled Crostini
I always wondered what was the difference between a Bruschetta like Fresh Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta and a Crostini. They are both slices of a grain based "loaf" and grilled. I finally found the answer from a good Italian friend, Bruschetta is always a slice of grilled rustic bread. A crostini on the other hand can be bread or something else like a slice of Polenta as is the case here.

Shrimp Janel19. Shrimp Janel
Shrimp Janel got its name when we were making Brandied Shrimp with Mushrooms and Green Onions, which we served on Gemelli. I told my husband that our friend Janel -a real feisty blond- would LOVE this because it has all her favorite ingredients.

Smoked Salmon , Asparagus and Dill Frittata20. Smoked Salmon , Asparagus and Dill Frittata
This is one of our favorite Frittatas. It's so gorgeous and is as delicious as it looks. You can serve this as an appetizer for a few or as an entree for two. The real "trick" to making this an outstanding frittata is to use some really flavorful smoked salmon. If you have a choice of eggs, use some free-range chickens' eggs, as they should be darker-colored (yellow) yolks for a real showy presentation.

Steamed Mussels21. Steamed Mussels
Steamed Mussels French Style (Moules a la Mariniere) is one of our favorite seafood recipes. The first time I remembered having mussels this style was in Lyon, France. We had just arrived after a long flight and our French hosts took us out to their favorite local Bistro. Moules a la Mariniere was on the menu as an appetizer for the day. After ordering, our waiter arrived with a gigantic mound of steamed small mussels. Though ravenous, we were overwhelmed! However, the actual "meat" of the mussel was just a small delicious morsel so we soon made short work of the stack.

Stuffed Clams Central Coast Style22. Stuffed Clams Central Coast Style
Stuffed Clams Central Coast Style is our version of the East Coast Clams Casino Style. This is a traditional Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve Appetizer in our house. Served on the half shell, when these little stuffed clams are hot from the oven your guest just can't say no! They are very showy and very wine friendly to serve.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms23. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms make a very dramatic presentation, but are really easy to make. Stuffed with bread crumbs, garlic, prosciutto and spices, they pair wonderfully with that first glass of dry red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon as a dinner kick-off.

Tapenade Central Coast Style24. Tapenade Central Coast Style
On the Central Coast, most Mediterranean style restaurants offer an olive-based tapenade with bread when you sit down to order. For olive lovers most restaurant offerings are pretty boring. So we've come up with a Tapenade Central Coast Style that has a little more oomph to it, though not as spicy as our Olive Caviar.


Arugula Salad with walnut-olive dressing1. Arugula Salad with walnut-olive dressing
On the California Central Coast, areas which have a strong marine influence from the Pacific Ocean do not freeze and continue to grow produce throughout the Winter. It is during this time of year that we get some of the best leafy green vegetables and makings for winter salads.

Baked Goat Cheese on Baby Spinach Leaves with a Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette2. Baked Goat Cheese on Baby Spinach Leaves with a Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
Baked Goat Cheese on a Bed of Baby Spinach Leaves with a Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette is one of our favorite salads. 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!

Balsamic Vinaigrette3. Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic Vinaigrette has to be one of the most versatile dressings ever! --Right up there with a Lemon Vinaigrette for multi-use ability.

Caesar Salad 4. Caesar Salad
Caesar Salad is a perennial favorite Romaine Lettuce salad since it was first invented by the early 1920s. But most people are mystified by the preparation involved. Well have we got a surprise for you! We've come up with an easy Caesar Salad with a fresh Lemon Vinaigrette Caesar Salad dressing that will only take minutes to prepare. And it's SO-O good!

Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes5. Caprese Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes
Nothing says "Summer time" to food lovers like fresh tomatoes, and when you have great heirloom tomatoes available, the best way to highlight them is in a Caprese style salad of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.

Chicory, Toasted Walnuts and D'anjou Pear Salad with a light Lemon vinaigrette6. Chicory, Toasted Walnuts and D'anjou Pear Salad with a light Lemon vinaigrette
Chicory, Toasted Walnuts and D'anjou Pear Salad with a light Lemon vinaigrette is so easy to assemble. It's almost embarrassing to need a recipe. This is a fresh light salad to serve when you're bored by your "usual house salads." It really perks up a meal.

Christmas Pear and Pomegranate Salad7. Christmas Pear and Pomegranate Salad
Christmas Pear and Pomegranate Salad is one that's perfect for Christmas and New Years dinners-or anytime when red D'Anjou pears and pomegranates are in season-with its colorful red and green ingredients.This is quite an eye-appealing salad! And oh so easy to put together!

Early Summer Greens and Cherries Salad8. Early Summer Greens and Cherries Salad
Early Summer Greens and Cherries Salad made with heirloom Speckled Trout-back Greens, fresh cherries, vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, brie cheese and raisin bread croutons is a delicious alternative to an everyday salad. It makes the use of in-season Bing cherries, a often over looked salad addition and complementary buttery fresh raisin bread croutons for both an unusual look and taste. It's fresh-fun-and delicious!

Greek Salad-A Spinach and Feta Salad9. Greek Salad-A Spinach and Feta Salad
We've got an easy Greek Salad recipe for you that you can throw together in just a few minutes. With its Feta cheese, sweet white onion, Kalamata olives and homemade red wine vinaigrette -and a loaf of crusty bread -on some hot nights, it's almost a meal in itself! And the neat thing about this salad, with spinach available year round, you can enjoy this salad almost anytime. If you have the choice, buy the chunk Feta rather than the crumbled. The whole chunk stays more fresh and moist than the crumbled style.

Grilled Romaine with Raspberry- Walnut Vinaigrette10. Grilled Romaine with Raspberry- Walnut Vinaigrette
Grilled Romaine with a Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette is a marvelous grilled appetizer or salad. It's very unusual as well as flavorful. This too, is a simple recipe to make. Using Hearts of Romaine, you simply coat the romaine wedges in olive oil and add a little salt and pepper, then grill for a few minutes.Then put the grilled wedges on plates and top with our Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette and if you have them to spare, some chopped walnuts and raspberries. It's so good, you almost want to make it a meal!!

Lemon Vinaigrette11. Lemon Vinaigrette
This is the French classic light fresh lemon vinaigrette for many types of salads.

Luscious-and FUN Grilled Nectarine Salad12. Luscious-and FUN Grilled Nectarine Salad
This past summer it has been a fantastic season for stone-fruit! It was practically impossible to buy a lousy peach or nectarine. But what was REALLY fun, was in lieu of tomatoes which were pretty lousy again this year, we'd grill nectarine or peach halves and serve them on a bed of Spring Mix dressed lightly with a little Balsamic Vinaigrette made just for complementing this out-of sight- delicious salad-treat! (The grilling process caramelizes and magnifies the fruits' sweetness.) It made every-night seem special! And we're still grilling them nightly! They're so good, you do not need a dessert!

Mint Pesto Romantic Table Style13. Mint Pesto Romantic Table Style
Our homemade Mint Pesto Romantic Table Style is much more interesting and flavorful than the traditional mint jelly. Made with fresh mint and fresh Italian parsley it's very cooling to the palate. Then we added our ranch-grown walnuts, a little garlic and California Extra virgin Olive oil and of course salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, the flavors meld deliciously -and memorably for so many dishes!

Mixed Greens and Pear Salad14. Mixed Greens and Pear Salad
This is a light refreshing unusual salad that can be a cooling appetizer or salad for all types of summer dishes and barbecues from grilled seafood to light pasta dishes.

Orange and Fennel Vinaigrette15. Orange and Fennel Vinaigrette
Orange and Fennel Vinaigrette is a refreshing salad dressing that's easy to make as well as healthy and oh! so fresh-tasting. It's a vinaigrette that you'll want to use often when your other dressings get boring and you want to add some spunk to your menu! Made with fresh orange juice, orange zest, a little crushed dried fennel seed, a tad of white wine vinegar and of course extra-virgin olive oil, it's sure to be a hit!

Orange, Fresh Fennel  and White Onion Salad16. Orange, Fresh Fennel and White Onion Salad
Orange, Fresh Fennel and White Onion Salad is a very light summer salad, perfect for accompanying grilled chicken or fish. It is made with fresh fennel bulb, crushed dried fennel seed, sweet white onion, fresh oranges, and my own recipe for Orange-Fennel Vinaigrette.

Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette17. Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette
Our Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette is a refreshing and eye appealing dressing. For example, served cold on Grilled Romaine with Raspberry- Walnut Vinaigrette quarters with additional raspberries and walnuts it can be a refreshing summer appetizer or salad.

Roasted Golden Beets and Radicchio Appetizer Salad18. Roasted Golden Beets and Radicchio Appetizer Salad
Roasted Golden Beets and Radicchio Appetizer Salad is a multidimensional recipe and makes use of the variety of salad greens available late Spring and early Summer and the first baby beets coming into the market. This recipe features roasted golden beets, Frisee, Chicory (Endive), Radicchio, Shaved Pecorino cheese, Prosciutto and roasted walnuts all drizzled with our Lemon Vinaigrette On hot June evenings, this would be a great start to a summertime dinner. For that matter, we like it as a light meal all by itself.

Strawberry Walnut Watercress Salad19. Strawberry Walnut Watercress Salad
Strawberry Walnut Watercress Salad is a perfect salad when our local strawberries are at their peak flavor! We wanted a salad that would be a little different but yet very appealing. We just HAD to find a way to incorporate fresh strawberries -one of everyone's favorite fruits in a fresh late Spring early Summer Salad. So, to match the berries, we found some gorgeous watercress that was worthy of the strawberries.

Tomato and Bread Salad20. Tomato and Bread Salad
This is our version of the classic Tuscan Panzanella - Bread Salad. Unlike the Tuscan version which uses stale bread which you moisten with water, we prefer to use a lighter fresh bread such as a Filone or Pugliese and make it fresh.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad21. Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
When friends show up for a summer dinner, a quick salad is a simple salad of vine ripe tomatoes, basil and mozzarella dribbled with extra virgin oil oil. The secret to this salad is to use really great tasting tomatoes, if you have that, nothing else really matters. Serve this with Roasted Peppers Italian Style, some fresh bread and wine and you have a complete no-cook light evening meal.

Tradewinds Salad- A delightful mix of ingredients from California22. Tradewinds Salad- A delightful mix of ingredients from California
We call this salad Tradewinds because it's a delightful mix of ingredients originally from all over the world! Crumbled Blue cheese from Europe, an Herb-mix of salad greens from Salinas-the "salad bowl" of the nation, Toasted Almonds and Asparagus from here in Central California, and Cranberries from the northern parts of the U.S. East Coast, all with a Light Lemon Vinaigrette with Mexican Blue Agave Sweetener and Basil

Winter Spinach Salad with Persimmons and Sesame Seeds23. Winter Spinach Salad with Persimmons and Sesame Seeds
This is a great salad made with Baby Spinach, Fuyu Persimmons, and Sesame Seeds, topped with a little mild sweet Balsamic Vinegar and Extra-virgin olive oil. It's so foolproof and easy to throw together that it's almost embarrassing having a "recipe" for it. Its fresh and mellow taste make it a nice start to a non-spicy meal.


Broccoli and Potato Cheddar Soup1. Broccoli and Potato Cheddar Soup
Broccoli and Potato Cheddar Soup is a perfect recipe to serve on Saint Patricks Day. I'm married to an Irishman that was raised in Ireland during his high school years. In Ireland, the Irish do NOT eat corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day. --That's an American-Irish custom!

Country Style Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup 2. Country Style Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup
Our Country Style Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup is just what's needed on a cold chilly day! Made with Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh or frozen spinach, chicken stock and a little butter and cream, this soup is not only healthy and inexpensive- but also easy to make! And Oh! it's so savory and warming for your insides, you'll want to make this often when the weather turns stormy and cold. There's nothing quite like it to put you in a mellow mood.-And if you serve it with some whole wheat cheddar cheese sandwiches- or better yet -paninis, it's down right sensational!!!

Easy Rich Duck Stock3. Easy Rich Duck Stock
We love duck! Duck is usually available year round in the local food markets. Usually it is frozen, but unlike chicken because the meat is darker and a bit more oily, duck freezes much better than chicken with less loss of quality. We love roast duck, but let's face it, it is hard to eat and it seems like so much is wasted. So, our favorite way to prepare duck is Duck Ragu and Duck Risotto. Risottos need a broth base, and rather than using plain chicken stock we really want to use a good rich duck broth as a base.

Easy Seafood broth4. Easy Seafood broth
Easy Seafood broth is a quick broth to make when you need a fish-based broth for a risotto or pasta. If you have some shells from shrimp -like when you are making Shrimp Risotto, this is a quick recipe that you can throw together in a just a few minutes --but you do need to let it simmer for an hour or so to intensify the flavors. The end product will be fabulous!

Genovese Fish Chowder- Romantic Table Style5. Genovese Fish Chowder- Romantic Table Style
Genovese Fish Chowder- Romantic Table Style is our version of the classic Genovese Burrida. Made with fresh cod, red snapper and/or halibut as your fish base along with a classic trito of onion,carrots and celery, this chowder packs a delicious punch! It uses similar ingredients to the Manhattan Fish Chowder, but with saffron instead of classic Italian seasoning and of course no bacon (a classic Manhattan style anything ingredient), it is very different in taste. It is very easy to make and oh! so fresh-tasting! Because it uses fresh locally-caught fish, it's not only healthier but also easier on your budget. Though technically "meat-less" it makes a glorious meal especially when accompanied by a nice salad and a glass of wine.

Manhattan Fish Chowder6. Manhattan Fish Chowder
For those fish-lovers out there, this recipe is 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 the 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!

Onion Soup - Country Style with Cheese and Bread7. Onion Soup - Country Style with Cheese and Bread
Onion soup is a classic country recipe favorite. It's a great choice when you're on a strict budget. Onion soups have been popular with poor people as far back as Roman times, because onions were always easy and plentiful to grow. And the ingredients of the soup were almost always at hand: beef or chicken broth, onions, cheese and dry bread.

Pumpkin Soup8. Pumpkin Soup
This soup requires a good sweet cooking pumpkin, ideally a Kabocha pumpkin (a Japanese pumpkin found locally in Farmers Markets and grocery stores) or a sweet tasting cooking pumpkin. It's pretty easy to make.-The hardest thing about it is cutting the pumpkin open! -After that, it's a cinch! The soup is a bright yellow and it's so creamy and mellow; your insides will "smile!"

Roasted Chicken Soup9. Roasted Chicken Soup
Roasted Chicken Soup is a deep rich-flavored chicken soup that has real soul and character. During cold and flu season there's nothing that comforts quite like homemade chicken soup!

Roasted Vegetable Broth10. Roasted Vegetable Broth
Roasted Vegetable Broth is my own recipe for making a hardy "hit the spot" vegetarian broth. Worthy of savoring by itself, it also makes a magnificent vegetarian stock for use in risottos and sauces when you don't want to compromise flavor and your guests don't want to eat meat-based anything.

Rock Cod Chowder11. Rock Cod Chowder
This creamy fish chowder is loaded with calcium, protein and Vitamin D and is pretty easy to make and it's very delicious! It's so yummy and comforting that it's good to serve when you're having a few close friends over to while away the hours over good conversation and mellow easy-to-digest food.

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks12. Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hocks is a "basic" that most cooks have in their arsenal for cold wintry days. The convenience of having the dried split peas in your pantry, along with your basic trito of onion, carrot and celery make this a snap to throw together, though it does require a few hours of simmering to make it really mellow.

Sues Vegetable Soup, Romantic Table Style13. Sues Vegetable Soup, Romantic Table Style
This recipe is a "keeper!" -at least for us anyway! I was in a Blah-mood a couple of weeks ago and I knew I had to "shake things up!" I felt I needed a good vegetable soup to make things right --but I wasn't in the mood for a minestrone. So I decided to make my own vegetable soup recipe up that would fill the bill --and now it's one of my favorite soups ever! Simply called Sues Vegetable Soup-Romantic Table Style it uses a medley of vegetables from your fresh produce section.

Tomato and Rice Soup with Basil14. Tomato and Rice Soup with Basil
Tomato and Rice Soup with Basil is a classic "comfort food" especially when served with the classic accompaniment of grilled cheese sandwiches (or even better, grilled cheese paninis!). If you love the taste of tomato and basil, once you try this soup, I bet you'll never be satisfied with that famous store-bought brand again!

Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind15. Tuscan-Style White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind
Tuscan White Bean Soup with Parmesan Cheese Rind is a classic and is sure to please the most hearty of appetites. This soup is very inexpensive to make, but is absolutely delicious!

Primi (Pasta and Rice Dishes)

A to Z Pasta with Balsamic Butter
1. A to Z Pasta with Balsamic Butter
When fresh Asparagus comes on the market in early spring, this is a quick unusual recipe to throw together that has a very unique taste ---and it's very healthy too.

Acorn Squash with A Butter and Parmesan Sage Sauce2. Acorn Squash with A Butter and Parmesan Sage Sauce
Acorn Squash and Pappardelle with a Sage Parmesan Cream Sauce is one of my favorite pasta-sauce combinations!. This is a delicious sauce--especially when teamed-up with the right pasta! This is a very mellow pasta dish made with cooked and lightly sauteed chunks of acorn squash served with a wide noodle like pappardelle. The acorn squash gives the pasta a sweet slightly nutty taste with goes very well with the sage spice of the sauce.

Arugula and Sun-dried Tomatoes Pesto3. Arugula and Sun-dried Tomatoes Pesto
If you arugula and sun-dried tomatoes as much as I do, this pesto is so ridiculously easy to make and delicious, you'll want to find more opportunities to make it. The trick is finding a good quality sun-dried tomato to use. You can use some dry sun-dried tomatoes that have been rehydrated with boiling water and let them absorb the water for an hour or so. But better yet if you find a good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil packed version, you're all set to make this quick great-tasting meal in no time at all.

Asparagus Risotto4. Asparagus Risotto
This is one of my favorite risottos! If you have available fresh Asparagus this is a fantastic way to utilize this noble vegetable.

Bow Tie Pasta with Cream, Prosciutto and Peas5. Bow Tie Pasta with Cream, Prosciutto and Peas
This is my version of an Italian classic, and one of my favorite recipes. It’s absolutely delicious and it’s elegant enough to serve for a weekend meal with dinner guests.

Brandied Shrimp with Mushrooms and Green Onions6. Brandied Shrimp with Mushrooms and Green Onions
Brandied Shrimp with Mushrooms and Green Onions, is a simple dish to make, but yet very sophisticated with the mushroom, brandy and caramelized green onions in the sauce. Though it's a very rustic winter style recipe, it's a nice break from those heavier meals that you're bound to eat. For a little extra bite, we reserve a bit of the green onion and add it in uncooked at the end.

Broccoli Rabe (Rappini) with Italian Sausage and Mezze Penne Pasta7. Broccoli Rabe (Rappini) with Italian Sausage and Mezze Penne Pasta
Broccoli Rabe (or Rappini ) is an inexpensive green that's high in anti-oxidants and vitamins and is a great ingredient for a hearty and healthy dinner entree. A relative of the broccoli family, when it's cooked with a little Italian sausage and pasta, then topped with a little Parmesan cheese it's delicious.

Brocollini with Italian Sausage and Gemelli Pasta8. Brocollini with Italian Sausage and Gemelli Pasta
We love the broccoli family of vegetable. it's a low-cost vegetable that's packed with good health qualities. Brocolini is another member of the broccoli family, but has a subtle difference in taste and dramatic difference in looks. It's very high in anti-oxidants and vitamins and when served with a little Italian sausage and then topped with a little Parmesan Cheese, is a very robust meal.

Bucatini Southwestern Style 9. Bucatini Southwestern Style
Bucatini Southwestern Style is a festive pasta using Bucatini pasta (which is shaped like a thick spaghetti with a hole down the center-like a straw.) We call it Bucatini Southwestern Style because it has the flavors of the Southwest -sauteed uncured bacon, onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano and a little crushed red pepper flakes in a thick tomatoes sauce that's been simmered for thirty minutes or so. When tossed with the bucatini, it is so savory and will please your heartiest males out there. It's a very satisfying pasta sauce that can be mixed up quickly. It's another "pasta from the pantry" that you can have on hand for emergencies!

Bucatini with Pancetta, Watercress and Tomatoes10. Bucatini with Pancetta, Watercress and Tomatoes
Bucatini with Pancetta, Watercress and Tomatoes even with the fresh watercress, is a "manly-pleasing" taste. What makes this special is the bucatini pasta. it's a thicker strand pasta, but because it's hollow, it doesn't feel or taste too heavy -but it's a substantial bite. By the way, Albertsons now carries a couple brands of bucatini!

Bucatini with Sausage, Porcini Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce 11. Bucatini with Sausage, Porcini Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Bucatini with Sausage, Porcini Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce is a "Mama-style" meal that just about always is welcome. All you need is some bulk sausage, together with some hydrated dried Porcini mushrooms that one normally has on hand, with a little garlic, red pepper flakes, a little tomato paste, red wine and salt and pepper. Nothing that "earth-shattering" but delicious just the same! This is another great resource because you can have most of the ingredients in the pantry -another last minute dinner!

Cappallacci de Zucca with Butter-Walnut Sage Sauce.12. Cappallacci de Zucca with Butter-Walnut Sage Sauce.
This is a homemade pasta called a "Cappallacci" (which means ugly hat) filled with roasted sweet squash like Buttercup or Japanese "Kabocha" and nutmeg filling, served with a light butter- walnut and sage sauce. This is one of our favorite recipes!!!

Carbonara Central Coast Style13. Carbonara Central Coast Style
In Carbonara Central-Coast Style, practically every ingredient comes from this county. It's a real "classical Central-Californian" dish. And this is not "just a chick dish!" It has the flavors that men will love too. (My husband raved about it the first time I made it for him!)

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto14. Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
Chicken and Mushroom Risotto with a light cream sauce is so delicious and satisfying. It's one of our favorite risottos. It is a little different from our other risottos because it is made in two steps. First you saute the chicken pieces with the mushrooms and a little garlic, then add a little cream and save for later. Next you make the rice part of the risotto. Finally at the end you fold in the chicken and mushrooms, add the Parmesan cheese and get set for Nirvana!

Chicken Cacciatora | Chicken Hunter Style15. Chicken Cacciatora | Chicken Hunter Style
Chicken Cacciatora is one of my favorite dishes that I like make when it’s cold outside. I don’t know why this is called “hunter style” unless unlucky hunters ended up eating chicken or they were “chicken hunters” to start. This recipe method is a modified version of the classic Italian preparation for game birds, something long gone from the past.

Chicken Thighs with Baby Portabello Mushrooms16. Chicken Thighs with Baby Portabello Mushrooms
Chicken Thighs with Baby Portabello Mushrooms is a perfect meal for a chilly cold Winter night. We like it served on a bed of Chestnut Fettuccine but you can substitute any other wide noodle. It's also delicious on Polenta. Oh is this good! --And if you have a food-processor it's pretty easy to put together. You start by first browning the chicken thighs. After you brown the chicken, you then quickly saute thinly sliced white onions, garlic, thyme and mushrooms, deglaze with dry white wine, then reintroduce the chicken back into the medley. Add salt, pepper and dry Marsala wine then simmer for a half hour or so.

Christmas Pesto17. Christmas Pesto
Like many families, we like to put up a Christmas tree. We like to do it a couple of evenings before Christmas while listening to music, or watching some of our favorite Christmas movies. OK, probably not the most efficient way to put up a tree, but it's a lot of fun and gets us into the Christmas Spirit. It always seemed to be a bother to make a complicated dinner while we were in the spirit and having fun. So for the occasion, this is a quick recipe I created I named Christmas Pesto.

Classic Basil-Walnut Pesto with Linguine.18. Classic Basil-Walnut Pesto with Linguine.
This is a great dish- especially in the summer when it’s hot and you don't feel like standing over a hot stove and the Basil is especially fragrant.---The only thing you cook is the pasta.

Classic Italian-American Meatball Lasagna19. Classic Italian-American Meatball Lasagna
Classic Italian-American Meatball Lasagna is a recipe that you'll love to serve year-round. This style lasagna is very different from its Italian cousin --this version is the Italian-American traditional Mama-style Italian favorite of anyone that loves Italian food. It is a perfect "turn-to" recipe for feeding large numbers of guests at reunions, get-togethers and even picnics! One of the best things about this recipe, it's easy to do in stages ahead of time, and can even be assembled a day in advance and then at the last minute baked. Making it during the hot summer just takes a little planning ahead to get the assembly done the night before. Then just relax and bake when needed.

Collard Greens with Italian Sausage and Pappardelle Pasta20. Collard Greens with Italian Sausage and Pappardelle Pasta
Pappardelle with Collard Greens and Sausage is a main course pasta offering that's a real budget-saver. It is based on Collard Greens with just a little "homemade" Italian sausage added for flavor.

Creamy Tomato and Goat Cheese Sauce with Spaghetti 21. Creamy Tomato and Goat Cheese Sauce with Spaghetti
I love this dish and most of my girlfriends do too. My husband likes this but calls it more of “a chick dish.” He just doesn’t understand how the complexities of food flavors affect the "female palette and how we respond to “comfort food.”

Dandelion Greens with Toasted Walnuts and Pasta22. Dandelion Greens with Toasted Walnuts and Pasta
Dandelion Greens that are tender and have been organically grown offer another base for a delicious very inexpensive pasta dinner. If you like Beet greens or Swiss Chard pastas, you'll like Dandelion greens. The trick to using these as a base, is to parboil the greens for two to three minutes prior to sauteing them. Then if you use a flavorful onion with them, and toasted walnuts they'll be transformed into a dinner that you'll be proud of!

Duck Ragu	23. Duck Ragu
This is a very unusual way to make duck. You can make it with duck breasts available from a good butcher, or do what I did when I couldn't find any, de-bone a duck. Whatever type of duck you use, it needs to be coarsely ground by either your butcher or yourself.

Duck Risotto24. Duck Risotto
We LOVE Duck! We try to think of ways to utilize this flavorful bird. If you already have Duck Ragu on hand, this is an easy risotto to throw together. Like all risottos this takes a little time for preparation and cooking but it’s worth the effort.

Eggplant Arrabiatta with Spaghetti25. Eggplant Arrabiatta with Spaghetti
For eggplant lovers that like a little extra "kick" to their meal, Eggplant Arrabiata is a great one to have in your recipe repertoire.

Festive Summer Pepper Sauce with Spaghetti26. Festive Summer Pepper Sauce with Spaghetti
When summer peppers are at their best, this is my version of a classic Italian recipe that features the use of red, yellow and green peppers. It's quite a colorful presentation that really embodies one of the best vegetables of the season.

Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Brandy Cream Sauce27. Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Brandy Cream Sauce
Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon and Brandy Cream Sauce is a very elegant recipe -and it's so easy to make! It may be quick to prepare but it is so sophisticated and satisfying -you'll want this recipe as a regular for those days when you need something elegant for guests, but you're pressed for time.

Fettuccine with Tomato and Prosciutto Ribbons28. Fettuccine with Tomato and Prosciutto Ribbons
This is a fantastic recipe! – though it’s deceptively simple and a jiffy to make, it packs a big taste. The trick is to keep the sauce ingredients in large enough pieces so the flavors blend, but not mask each other. I recommend keeping the ingredients in house all the time for those days when you’re running late but want a good flavor- filled meal.

Fettuccine with Walnuts and Gorgonzola Cheese 29. Fettuccine with Walnuts and Gorgonzola Cheese
Our Fettuccine Pasta with Walnuts and Gorgonzola Cheese is a quick-to-throw together meal that's more complex tasting than it sounds. When you're tired of a lot of other pasta sauces, this is one that will help snap you out of your doldrums. It's not a bland sauce. This sauce (with pasta) can be used as a main course with a big leafy salad or as a delicious and novel side dish.

Flowering Kale and Cauliflower with Capanelle Pasta30. Flowering Kale and Cauliflower with Capanelle Pasta
If you're in the vegetable section of your market and see some gorgeous purple flowering kale, buy it! You can turn this photogenic vegetable into a low-cost meal that's quite delicious!

Foresta Sauce with Strozzapreti31. Foresta Sauce with Strozzapreti
When you’re “cooked-out” and starting to feel bloated by all the rich meals that you’ve been enjoying, try one of my grandmother’s nice tomato sauces that she made with wild mushrooms. It always makes me feel "leaner" after eating. I call it one of my “purge meals” that are a godsend for waistlines.

Fresh Clams in Red Sauce with Linguine 32. Fresh Clams in Red Sauce with Linguine
This is a really nice recipe, done simply with fresh tomatoes, basil and clams. It has a wonderful full-bodied flavor. It is the "red" complement to the equally delicious Fresh Clams in White Wine Sauce with Linguine .

Fresh Clams in White Wine Sauce with Linguine 33. Fresh Clams in White Wine Sauce with Linguine
This my version of a classic Italian Recipe "Linguine con Vongole." It is the "white" complement to the classic Fresh Clams in Red Sauce with Linguine.

Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand34. Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand
Fresh pasta are the mainstay of Northern Italian Cooking. There is nothing like a true Lasagna Bolognese, a stuffed Ravioli like Cappallacci de Zucca with Butter-Walnut Sage Sauce., or for that matter any ragu with Tagliatelle. Every province in Italy has their own specific names for the varieties of pasta, but basically they are either ribbons, or sheets, which in turn can be folded or stuffed, or layered with sauce.

Fresh Egg Pasta by Machine35. Fresh Egg Pasta by Machine
Pasta may be the crown jewels of Italian Cooking. Every province in Italy has their own specific names for the varieties of pasta. For most people, Pasta IS Italian cooking. Fresh pasta is the ultimate pasta, and with a little mechanical help, it is not that hard to make.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce with Fresh Smoked Mozzarella and Campanelle36. Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce with Fresh Smoked Mozzarella and Campanelle
In the summer when temperatures are soaring and you have really great-tasting tomatoes and fresh basil to work with - but don't feel like working too hard, here's an option for a quick fresh tomato based pasta entreé instead of grabbing a frozen pizza. This recipe uses Smoked Fresh Mozzarella for a "summer barbecue" twist on the old favorite Penne or Shells Pizza Style.

Fusilli with Wild Mushrooms	37. Fusilli with Wild Mushrooms
The following recipe is one that uses Oyster, Shiitake, and dried Porcini Mushrooms. Here on the Central Coast we have access to superb fresh oyster and Shiitake mushrooms at our Farmers Markets. You can find the dried Porcini in the produce section of most trendy grocery stores.

Gardeners Pasta38. Gardeners Pasta
Gardeners Pasta uses golden squash, diced red pepper, onion and fresh marjoram with pasta shells. Now that it's August, the squash is in ts prime and these beauties are as good as they look. This recipe, too is pretty straight forward --and very quick! In the time it takes to boil the pasta water and cook it, you can have the rest of the ingredients cooked to perfection. The trick to this recipe's great flavor is to NOT over-cook it. Start by sauteing a little white onion in extra-virgin olive oil until softened, add in the diced red pepper, the thinly sliced golden squash coins, some chopped fresh marjoram and salt and pepper to taste and add a tad of chopped Italian parsley, then toss with pasta shells.- Topped with some grated Parmesan cheese and a glass of wine and you're all set for a great meal.

Gnocchi with Zucchini, Green Onions and Marjoram39. Gnocchi with Zucchini, Green Onions and Marjoram
Wait until you try our Parmesan Gnocchi with Zucchini, Green Onions and Marjoram. Is it ever delicious and mellow! Using ready-to-cook store-bought Parmesan Gnocchi and summer's fresh-off-the vine zucchini that's been sliced lengthwise on a mandoline or by hand it's a real "recipe- sleeper!" We start by lightly sauteing the zucchini and make smooth with a light cream sauce that's punctuated with chopped- fresh marjoram, butter , cherry tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It is so comforting and a real vegetarian-style "comfort-food" that will sooth and give renewed strength to the lucky diner.

Golden Beets with Pappardelle Pasta40. Golden Beets with Pappardelle Pasta
Beets with Pappardelle Pasta is one of our favorite recipes. What takes this dish to a new level is the use of Golden Roasted Beets.

Golden Cauliflower with Pancetta and Penne41. Golden Cauliflower with Pancetta and Penne
When cool Winter season is here, and the kohl crops are abundant, we see some beautiful types of Cauliflower in the local food markets. Most of the crop comes right from Salinas, practically in our backyard, so the vegetables are fresh and the quality is always excellent. One especially pretty type, a deep gold almost orange color caught our eye recently. We just knew we had to do something with it!

Golden Saffron Cream Sauce with Ravioli42. Golden Saffron Cream Sauce with Ravioli
This is a really elegant and delicious sauce to use on seafood ravioli or tortellini or seafood itself such as scallops or shrimp. It’s quite eye-catching and is very easy to make. The final product when served looks and tastes much more time-consuming. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me---just enjoy!

Homemade Spaghetti Ohs!43. Homemade Spaghetti Ohs!
Homemade Spaghetti Ohs! is one for the younger-set -but their parents will appreciate it too! We all know stories about young fussy-eaters. This recipe was concocted with them in mind: A very mild tomato sauce-pasta that we call Homemade Spaghetti-Ohs. When adults are "burned-out" on food and want to simplify, this recipe is another waist-slimming and detox recipe for them to enjoy. We actually found some "O-type" pasta in one of our grocery stores to use and got us thinking about making an economical, easy-to make, healthier and better-tasting Spaghetti-O sauce. The pasta type is technically called "Anellini." Small round o's pasta. If you can't find that you can substitute "wagon-wheel" pasta as well.

Lamb Ragu44. Lamb Ragu
This is one of our favorite ragus. It’s so delicious and the flavors complement each other so well and make this quite an unusual treatment of lamb.

Mini Penne with Mushrooms, Sausage and Eggs45. Mini Penne with Mushrooms, Sausage and Eggs
Mini Penne with Sausage, Mushrooms and Eggs uses sausage, mushrooms and eggs on Mini- Penne pasta. It's easy to throw together, but don't try this if you're running late. This recipe is very straight-forward and easy to put together, but because you need to saute the Italian sausage first,--and boil water for the pasta, you don't want to be rushed or try to make this on a day when the mercury is topping out! This is a full-bodied sauce that your men in the house will especially appreciate when you all get tired of lighter fare which happens occasionally especially during the summer months. This is another version of a Italian carbonara.

Mushroom Risotto with Cabernet Sauvignon46. Mushroom Risotto with Cabernet Sauvignon
This is a delicious dish from Northern Italy. This takes a little more time for preparation and cooking but it’s worth the effort.

Mushrooms with Marsala and Cellentani
47. Mushrooms with Marsala and Cellentani
This is a delicious fall and winter dish. Though it’s not high-calorie, it tastes like it is.---It’s very substantial and filling.

Orecchiette Rapini48. Orecchiette Rapini
Orecchiette with Rapini is an easy pasta to throw together and is a classic Italian-style vegetarian pasta. This pasta combines the flavors of blanched Rapini, with lightly-cooked garlic, bread crumbs and olive oil. Pretty basic, but a surprisingly flavorful punch -especially when you top it off with some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and serve with a flavorful glass of wine!

Orecchiette with Zucchini49. Orecchiette with Zucchini
In early summer, when small firm green zucchini and summer squash start showing up in the market, this recipe is a favorite of ours. Also about this time of year fresh Basil and Italian Parsley start showing up as well, and this Italian classic recipe incorporates all of these ingredients in a light easy-to prepare sauce. This sauce is best when used with Orecchiette (ears) pasta or Conchiglie (shells).

Pappardelle with Creamy Roma Tomato Sauce50. Pappardelle with Creamy Roma Tomato Sauce
The addition of just a little cream adds such a different dimension to this Pappardelle with Creamy Roma Tomato Sauce. Made similarly to our Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce, it incorporates fresh off the vine Roma tomatoes (good sauce tomatoes!) with fresh oregano (or dried in a pinch), Italian parsley, extra virgin olive oil and the addition of a bit of heavy cream. The whipping cream gives this dish a velvety smooth consistency --especially so when mixed with the wide noodle Pappardelle.

Pappardelle with Kale, Uncured Bacon, Onion and Garlic51. Pappardelle with Kale, Uncured Bacon, Onion and Garlic
Winter is leafy-greens time on the Central Coast. It is a good time to take advantage of some of the most healthy and tasty vegetables available during the year. Rather than just serving these vegetables as a boring side dish, make them the main course by serving as the featured item in a pasta dish. This recipe featuring pappardelle pasta in combination with Kale leaves, uncured bacon, onion, garlic and Asiago cheese make this a delicious pasta dish that's also stretches your budget. It's very filling and satisfying.

Pasta Presto From the Pantry52. Pasta Presto From the Pantry
Pasta Presto From the Pantry is a recipe that I conjured up when I was looking at some of my bottled vegetables that have been staring me in the face for a couple weeks- bottled roasted red peppers and oil-cured black olives and baby corn pieces. I bought these on a whim at the grocery store. They looked good, the price was right, so I bought them with the intention of using them somehow. I knew the hot weather was going to be here in the next few weeks, so I started thinking how best I could combine these quickly with minimal cooking-time and still have a delicious entree. Aside from the short time of cooking the thin spaghetti pasta, nothing else is cooked! But you should use less garlic then you would in a normally cooked sauce, since the garlic -in its lightly-cooked form (from the heat of the pasta) is not as cooked and thus, has a more strong flavor. So be aware!

Pasta Primavera53. Pasta Primavera
Pasta Primavera is probably the one Italian style pasta dish that everybody knows but nobody can agree upon what it is! No doubt this is due to the fact that the ingredients --fresh spring vegetables are what is ever in season at the time and cooking methods vary as required. But even so, the vegetables must be fresh and the sauce light

Pasta Shells with Walnuts and White Cheddar54. Pasta Shells with Walnuts and White Cheddar
Pasta Shells with Walnuts and White Cheddar is a great recipe that you can make quickly for emergencies. You start out by making a roux with flour, butter and onion. Then you deglaze the roux, with a little hot chicken broth, add chopped walnuts, Italian parsley, salt and pepper and toss with the cooked pasta shells and shredded white cheddar cheese. Another quick-easy to make and delicious meal when served with a salad and glass of wine! This recipe really excited me by its simplicity but full-bodied flavor!

Penne or Shells Pizza Style55. Penne or Shells Pizza Style
When you’re in the mood for pizza but don’t have the time or want the clean-up that making homemade pizza can entail, this is the recipe for you! –It has the same flavors and satisfaction of the favored pizza but not the work. –This is a favorite Friday-night dish of ours.

Penne Pasta in a Light Tomato Sauce56. Penne Pasta in a Light Tomato Sauce
Penne Pasta with a Light Tomato Sauce is our version of the fabled favorite of Frank Sinatra's when he'd return from a heavy traveling concert schedule and be tired of heavy meals. As rumored in several books and cookbooks, he'd request a simple light tomato sauce with basil or oregano on penne pasta. This sauce is a fundamental light chunky Italian red sauce.

Penne with Artichokes, Sauteed Onions and Parmesan cheese57. Penne with Artichokes, Sauteed Onions and Parmesan cheese
Our recipe for Penne with Artichokes, Sauteed Onions and Parmesan takes advantage of all the local and inexpensive artichokes in the markets this time of year. Artichokes are not the most malleable vegetable ever invented --they're a lot of work for the flavor returns.

Penne with Broccoli, Golden Raisins and Walnuts58. Penne with Broccoli, Golden Raisins and Walnuts
Penne with Broccoli, Golden Raisins and Walnuts is our recipe that's loosely based on one that's an old classic from the southern part of Italy. Almost everyone will like this recipe combination --be it used as a nice side-dish or as the main pasta course.

Pistachio-Almond Herb Pesto59. Pistachio-Almond Herb Pesto
We love California pistachios and almonds and eat them almost daily as part of our lunch with fruit. I thought I'd tryout the combination for use on pasta. I added the herbs basil, sage and Italian parsley to give it a further dimension, with a splash of lemon juice to perk it up. I made it and we both liked it! We also thought it would work well as a side dish to compliment pork or poultry. It's a nice quick light pesto to throw together on a hot night to accompany a quickly grilled thin pork loin chop and salad.

Pumpkin and Ham Risotto60. Pumpkin and Ham Risotto
If you like risotto and pumpkin, this is a recipe for you. With its colorful ingredients of pumpkin, basil, ham and white onion it's very colorful and is an unusual combination for these vegetables.

Quick Spaghetti with Tuna from the Pantry61. Quick Spaghetti with Tuna from the Pantry
Here’s a real easy recipe for when you have run out of cooking ideas, but want something more substantial than junk food or cereal. This is a household favorite. You make it with ingredients you probably always have on hand in your pantry. It’s really mellow and always satisfies your hunger –and it’s pretty healthy too!

Ravioli with Walnut Sauce.62. Ravioli with Walnut Sauce.
This is a quick but really elegant dinner entree.—It tastes as if it's really hard to make but it’s a snap to throw together.

Raw Summer Tomato Sauce with Basil with Spaghetti63. Raw Summer Tomato Sauce with Basil with Spaghetti
This is my version of the classic raw tomato sauce that most good Italian restaurants offer---especially in the summer. It's a great alternative when it's hot outside and you don't feel much like cooking.

Red Clam Sauce from the Pantry64. Red Clam Sauce from the Pantry
Red Clam Sauce from the pantry was inspired by our friend Nick Canigiula of Tuscali Olive Oil Company, who made his version a couple times for us. This is a great emergency recipe when someone drops by unexpectedly! You probably always have the main ingredients on hand anyway. Made with canned clams, coarsely chopped canned tomatoes, tummy-satisfying oregano --and if you have it on-hand, Italian parsley for texture it is almost downright sophisticated.

Rigatoni with Black Olives and Mushrooms65. Rigatoni with Black Olives and Mushrooms
Rigatoni with Black Olives and Mushrooms is a robust tomato ragu that incorporates Italian brown mushrooms with oil-cured black olives (or Kalamatas) garlic and a little red pepper on rigatoni pasta, topped with a little Parmesan cheese. This is a waist-friendly recipe that you'll be able to pull out whenever you're feeling like you need to "stream-line" your regime and get back "to basics." And oh! Is it ever delicious!

Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccolini and Yam66. Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccolini and Yam
Rigatoni with Chicken Broccolini and Yam, features one of my all-time favorite combinations -Poultry and Yams. They go together so well and the combination is so delicious, but usually most people just think "turkey and yams" as in the winter holidays. So why not try this combination: Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccolini and Yams! It's not only very affordable to make but oh so deliciously comforting! And you can enjoy it year-round!

Rigatoni with Eggplant, Mushrooms and Thyme67. Rigatoni with Eggplant, Mushrooms and Thyme
If you like eggplant and mushrooms, then you're going to love our recipe for Rigatoni with Eggplant, Mushrooms and Thyme! It's a "mama-cooking-style" that really satisfies. It's SO mellow-definitely a "comfort-food style meal!" Just picture the combination of caramelized white onions with garlic, eggplant, brown mushrooms, thyme and a little cream with pasta- then topped with Parmesan cheese! All you need to complete the picture is a salad and a nice glass of red wine.

Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu68. Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu
Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu uses still in-season eggplant which is still available in most of our gardens or in the grocery stores. We combine this vegetable with a fennel sausage and make a wonderfully-seasoned--and very flavorful Ragu. This is "mama-cooking" and OH! So good!

Rotini with Swiss Chard and Fresh Sausage69. Rotini with Swiss Chard and Fresh Sausage
Our recipe for Rotini with Swiss Chard and Sausage might sound ho-hum but it packs big flavor on a budget. 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.

Rustic Marinara with Eggplant, Black Olives and Capers with Bucatini70. Rustic Marinara with Eggplant, Black Olives and Capers with Bucatini
For eggplant lovers that like a little extra "kick" to their meal, Rustic Marinara with Eggplant, Black Olives and Capers with Bucatini is a great one to have in your recipe repertoire. It's a multi-dimentional entree with the different textures of the lightly-breaded cubed eggplant, coarsely-chopped tomatoes, halved oil-cured black olives, capers and optional crushed red peppers flakes for accent that packs quite a punch.

Saffron Risotto with Shrimp and Scallops71. Saffron Risotto with Shrimp and Scallops
Saffron Risotto with Shrimp and Scallops is both very delicious and quite appealing to look at and savor. This recipe is good enough for your most sophisticated guests and is perfect when you want to entertain, but still want to adhere to the Lenten calendar. PLUS it stays on budget!

Saffron Scallop Risotto72. Saffron Scallop Risotto
Saffron Scallop Risotto is a delicious dish. But I hadn't made this for a few years--and tastes change, so I was anxious to learn if I still liked it as much as I remembered. Nowadays, it's much easier to find Bay Scallops in the grocery-store. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Albertsons carries a frozen line of Bay scallops in four-ounce packages for one dollar --and they're good!

Sausage Risotto
73. Sausage Risotto
This is a another delicious risotto that is perfect when accompanied with a nice Balsamic vinaigrette salad.

Savory Summer Pasta74. Savory Summer Pasta
When it’s hot we try to keep the kitchen and house as cool as possible. This is one of our favorite non-cooked sauces. –The only thing you have to heat is the pasta water for the shells pasta (which doesn’t require too much time.)

Seven Layer Homemade Lasagna with Lamb Ragu75. Seven Layer Homemade Lasagna with Lamb Ragu
Seven Layer Homemade Lasagna with Lamb Ragu is our variation of the classic Lasagna Bolognese. It uses Lamb Ragu instead of the classic Bolognese Ragu and plain pasta sheets instead of spinach pasta. This lasagna is to die for and you already know how to make the basic parts (three of my favorites) -Lamb Ragu, -Basamella Sauce and Fresh Egg Pasta.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo76. Shrimp Fra Diavolo
The origins of Fra Diavolo is not clear. Some say it is Italian, other 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 Marinara Sauce ready. It is very intense and very delicious. When you want to splurge for your company, this is a good one to serve.

Shrimp Paloma
77. Shrimp Paloma
This is a quick and delicious shrimp dinner entrée that combines the flavor of shrimp, the earthiness of fresh mushrooms and the sweetness of Summer tomatoes - with a little added zestiness of red pepper and green onions. It is not hard to make - but it looks and tastes so regal!- A very nice presentation of shrimp for your guests.

Shrimp Risotto78. Shrimp Risotto
Shrimp Risotto has got to be one of our favorite seafood entrees. The tastiness of the sweet shrimp cooked with a trito-based seafood broth is so delectably delicious it practically digests by itself. The secret is to shell and de-vein the shrimp up-front and use the shells to make a seafood broth to use when you make the risotto. See my blog Risotto - Rice Italian Style! and recipe Easy Seafood broth.

Shrimp Scampi Style79. Shrimp Scampi Style
Shrimp Scampi Style is a very easy and quick recipe, but at the same time a very elegant dish to serve guests. In addition to the required garlic and extra virgin olive oil, this recipe uses the classic Mediterranean spice combination of basil, chervil and thyme, with a little red pepper thrown in for a bit of heat in a light sauce that is more of a coating than a heavy sauce.

Shrimp with Angel Hair and Saffron80. Shrimp with Angel Hair and Saffron
Shrimp with Angel Hair and Saffron is a trito based pasta dish. Unlike some of our other shrimp pastas like Shrimp Scampi Style, this is a very mellow pasta dish. There is something very mellow about a trito -onion, carrot and celery, with saffron, that agrees with me especially when I am down and a little bit off. When combined with melt-in-your-mouth angel hair pasta, I am in heaven!

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca81. Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
This is a great pasta sauce for those of you out there that like food with “a kick.” It’s definitely “opinionated” in its truest form. The legend has it that its name was derived from “the ladies of the night” who would whip up this dish for their hungry customers. Other researchers say that it derives it name from its spicy impertinence. It’s saucy alright!

Spaghetti Carbonara82. Spaghetti Carbonara
If you like eggs and black pepper like I do, this is the pasta for you! The name "Carbonara" comes from the black pepper which is supposed to resemble coal dust. The origin of this recipe is originally from the Rome area of Lazio, but there are probably as many variations as there as towns and cities in Italy since the ingredients are basic and found everywhere.

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomatoes83. Spaghetti with Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomatoes
Broccoli is such a low-cost and healthy vegetable that we look for ways to put it to work in our menu repertoire! Broccoli actually pairs very with tomato, so here is a low-cost pasta entree that we've come up that pairs Spaghetti with Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

Spaghetti with Eggplant, Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil84. Spaghetti with Eggplant, Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil
This is our version of an Italian classic. The traditional recipe calls for the addition of Ricotta Salata to the sauce which I prefer to omit. We are tomato-holics! When fresh tomatoes are in season, I want nothing in my sauce to mask the taste of fresh tomato and fresh basil - a match made in heaven!

Spaghetti with Pancetta, White Onions and Red Pepper Flakes85. Spaghetti with Pancetta, White Onions and Red Pepper Flakes
Some like it hot! And if you do, our Spaghetti with Pancetta, White Onions and Red Pepper Flakes is for you!

Spaghetti with Pepperoni and Mushrooms Sauce86. Spaghetti with Pepperoni and Mushrooms Sauce
Spaghetti with Pepperoni and Mushrooms Sauce is another "quickie" for when you're in a hurry, need a delicious non-complicated recipe that can feed the gang. The only ingredients you need are mushrooms, pepperoni, canned tomatoes and spaghetti. It's almost foolproof in it's ability to satisfy and make, and it makes a lot while sticking to the budget.

Spaghetti with Pepperoni Tomato Sauce87. Spaghetti with Pepperoni Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti with Pepperoni Tomato Sauce is a life-savior on those days that you're running late because you stayed too long at the swimming pool or beach. This recipe is a "no-brainer" to throw together and it's one that you can have the ingredients on-hand for any emergency supper. I like to have a stick of "Boars Head" Pepperoni on hand in the fridge for anytime I'm in the mood for a little kick without much fuss. This is SO easy to throw together! All you need is a good-quality stick of Pepperoni, some garlic, a good can of whole tomatoes, a teaspoon or so of dried oregano, a little parsley and extra virgin olive oil to make a deep rich-flavored sauce that make your guests think you toiled for a couple hours.--Hardly! You can throw this one together in a matter of minutes. The trick to make this sauce taste so good is to finely dice the pepperoni to help expedite the flavor-transfer from the pepperoni to the entire sauce. You do this simply by slicing the pepperoni link lengthwise, then quartering each lengthwise section some more and slice bite-sized pieces. While your pasta water boils, you can easily prepare the sauce. (Remember, if it gets too hot in the kitchen, you can also boil your water on the grill.)

Spaghetti with Savory Lobster Sauce88. Spaghetti with Savory Lobster Sauce
Spaghetti with Lobster Sauce is a savory lobster sauce that's VERY elegant and very festive. It reminds me of the kind of dinner served on Christmas Eve when we were abstaining from meat prior to the Christmas Eve Mass. This recipe would also be very festive and elegant as a pasta course for a New Years Eve dinner party. This version is more savory than spicy, but you can spice it up or tone it down as you like depending on your preferences.

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Sweet Red Pepper.89. Spaghetti with Zucchini and Sweet Red Pepper.
Spaghetti with Zucchini and Sweet Red Pepper might sound boring, but this particular combination with fresh basil and garlic is absolutely divine! Sometimes the simplest combination of ingredients -especially when you add the Parmesan cheese for accent- can combine together in such a surprising unexpected delight.

Strozzopretti with Caramelized Onion and Mushrooms90. Strozzopretti with Caramelized Onion and Mushrooms
Strozzopretti with Caramelized Onion and Mushrooms made with white onions, Italian brown mushrooms and a little dried Porcini mushrooms seasoned with thyme and white wine has a robust but smooth tasting earthy sweetness to it. When served on strozzopretti pasta with a little Parmesan cheese added on top, it will make a mouth medley worthy of a special evening.

Stuffed Bell Peppers, Italian-Style91. Stuffed Bell Peppers, Italian-Style
Late summer's Stuffed Bell Peppers, Italian-style are a delicious, healthy and eye-catching entree that almost everyone will like. A filling of rice, Italian sausage, Parmesan cheese, egg and herbs combine with the baked tender peppers , served with the accompanied homemade sauce to give the tummy a Oh! La!-la! feeling of pure satisfaction.

Stuffed Manicotti Romantic Table Style92. Stuffed Manicotti Romantic Table Style
Stuffed Manicotti Romantic Table Style is one of our more sophisticated pastas, though still very much in the Mama-cooking tradition. Partially-cooked manicotti tubes are filled with spinach, nutmeg, and onion, combined with ricotta, and Parmesan cheeses, then baked with home made Marinara Sauce and a topping of mozzarella cheese and more Parmesan cheese. This is one "killer-recipe" that you'll want to use time and again when you are cooking for a crowd. And even better you can make it ahead of time and do the baking closer to dinner-time. This is always a crowd-pleaser.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Pesto with Fusilli 93. Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Pesto with Fusilli
Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Pesto with Fusilli is a quick and inexpensive pasta with a lot of flair and taste. Hydrated sun-dried tomatoes perk-up to become a good foil for toasted walnuts, golden onions, oregano and garlic in a delicious pesto served on fusilli. It's an inexpensive and quick dinner to throw together once you have rehydrated your sun-dried tomatoes.

Swiss Chard with Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon and Pappardelle Pasta94. Swiss Chard with Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon and Pappardelle Pasta
Leafy greens such as Swiss Chard are often over-looked and unappreciated as main course vegetables. In the cool Winter season they are at their peak. With a little creativity they can be the basis for both an inexpensive yet very delicious and healthy meal.

Thin Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Garlic and Parsley95. Thin Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Garlic and Parsley
Thin Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Garlic and Parsley is unbelievably easy and FAST to make. I've nicknamed it "The Day-After Too Much Feasting Recipe!" You know that feeling the day after you indulged a bit too much? This recipe is a real lifesaver for those evenings when you're sort of tired of food, want just a "little something" to eat but are too tired to tackle any recipe with more than a few steps. This recipe really saves the day--and it'll save your waistline too! Eat this recipe for dinner and by bedtime your stomach will start feeling more normal.

Thin Spaghetti with Wild Mushrooms96. Thin Spaghetti with Wild Mushrooms
Thin Spaghetti with Wild Mushrooms will transport your memory's taste and smell to that of Bologna Italy. It's absolutely delicious and surprisingly very easy to make! This recipe is very typical of the kind of pasta dish you would find in a trattoria in Bologna, very simple and not tomato based, but broth based. Of course in Bologna it's always served with fresh egg pasta like tagliatelle, but thin spaghetti will do in a pinch.

Turkey Tetrazzini97. Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Tetrazzini is for those days after "the big turkey meal" when most people have extra turkey on hand, but don't know what to do with it. Though it is not a true Tetrazzini, we use a Basamella Sauce instead of a Mornay Sauce, to make it lighter than a traditional tetrazzini recipe.

Zucchini Blossoms with Spaghetti 98. Zucchini Blossoms with Spaghetti
If you're able to find some Zucchini Blossoms with their bright yellow flowers, this is a fantastic sauce to showcase them! The sauce is very unusual, makes a great presentation and is absolutely delicious.

Zucchini Coins with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives with Pasta Shells99. Zucchini Coins with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives with Pasta Shells
You'll hit the Jackpot when you taste some of summer's best vegetables combined together to make a fresh pasta dinner a summer night's hit.

Zucchini, Carrots, Green Onions on Fusilli100. Zucchini, Carrots, Green Onions on Fusilli
The trito medley of Zucchini, Carrots, Green Onions on Fusilli topped with Parmesan Cheese can be served as a main course or as a side dish. It can be made completely vegetarian or vegan (without the cheese!) if you use a non-meat broth such as Swanson's delicious canned Vegetarian Broth as your base. The green onion adds a bit of a sharp flavor so you'll find this meat-less recipe is quite filling despite its waist-slimming natural attributes. Anytime if you're feeling a bit full of too much indulging, this is the cure that will help make you feel "lean and mean" and ready to get back on track!

Secondi (Entrees)

Baby Zucchini and Zucchini Blossoms Frittata
1. Baby Zucchini and Zucchini Blossoms Frittata
When you are in a hurry and need a quick evening meal, there is nothing like a Frittata - especially when there are fresh tender vegetables available like Baby Zucchini. This recipe is a little more involved than the typical Frittata, but the results are well worth the little extra effort.

Beef Pizzaiola,  Central Coast Style2. Beef Pizzaiola, Central Coast Style
Central Coast Round Steak- Pizzaiola Style is based upon a Neapolitan classic. It has the flavors of a good pizza but since it's beef, is something much more substantial to easily serve several.

Braised Lamb Shanks Osso Bucco style3. Braised Lamb Shanks Osso Bucco style
This recipe is so delicious, it needs to be savored. I make and serve this "Osso Bucco" style, but use lamb shanks rather than veal shanks because veal is very hard to find, as well as expensive. The prep work isn't hard, but you DO need to allow enough time for the lamb shanks to simmer long enough for the meat to start falling off the bone -and then it practically melts in your mouth. I like to serve this on a bed of warm soft Basic Polenta so that its flavors are distinctive.

Braised Quail Hunter Style4. Braised Quail Hunter Style
Braised Quail Hunter Style is a real show-stopper when you want to serve something very special and elegant. We especially love to serve this on grilled polenta--very showy indeed! --And Oh! so good! If you're lucky enough to have a hunter-friend that goes quail-hunting, and gives you a few of the catch, you might be able to make it with fresh quail. But otherwise, there are a few good American companies that clean then fast-freeze their farmed-quail. All you have to do is to defrost it and braise it gently in wine.

Calamari with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Eggplant5. Calamari with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Eggplant
Calamari with Fresh Tomatoes and Eggplant is a very light seafood dish --but don't let that lightness fool you! It has amazingly complex aromas and textures. Made with layers of calamari, eggplant and fresh tomato sauce with oregano, the aromas are intoxicating. There is no cheese in this recipe so it is not like a lasagna in taste. The white wine, olives and capers give it a bit of a Caponata flair. And like a caponata, it can be served at room temperature as a cold buffet dish.

Chicken Divan6. Chicken Divan
Our recipe for Chicken Divan REALLY stretches those hard-earned dollars. It's a great recipe for families or those on a budget. It starts with using leftover chicken meat. We usually use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. We eat the dark meat for one dinner with slaw or a salad then the breast meat, we save for the Chicken Divan. This recipe uses for its base, thawed and lightly cooked frozen spinach, then topped with a layer of spaghetti interspersed with chicken bits and Basamella Sauce then topped with Parmesan cheese and a dusting of dry breadcrumbs then baked in the oven for twenty minutes or so.

Chicken Julia7. Chicken Julia
This recipe goes back many years with us. In 1974 when we first moved to the California Central Coast, Julia Child had a T.V. show called :"Julia Child's Kitchen." Larry and I started watching it and feel she was the first person to really get us started on the road to Mediterranean-style cooking.

Chicken Kabob with Mushrooms, Onions and Sweet Peppers8. Chicken Kabob with Mushrooms, Onions and Sweet Peppers
Chicken kabob with mushrooms, onion and sweet peppers is a summer grilled favorite. The mushrooms are simply amazing in taste.--They really absorb the marinade and turn the two tastes into a flavor that's unforgettably delicious. The marinade is just a bit spicy as presented here, but feel free to adjust the sweetness and the hotness to your personal preferences.

Chicken Piccata9. Chicken Piccata
Chicken Piccata is a twist on the classic Italian Veal Piccata. Besides using chicken which is easier to find in the market, our Chicken Piccata recipe is a sure-fire performer that you can make all year round. Aside from having to pound the chicken breast fillets flat -which can be done in advance, the recipe is very quick to make.

Chicken Salad Central Coast Style10. Chicken Salad Central Coast Style
In the eighties and early nineties, when my husband and I used to travel up to the Cupertino -Los Altos area, we'd always stop at our favorite "Emporium Department Store" for lunch. They had the best Chicken Salad Sandwich that we've ever tasted! This is another "chick recipe" as my husband calls it-though he admits he loved it too.

Chicken Saltimbocca 
11. Chicken Saltimbocca
This recipe comes from Rome Italy. Saltimbocca in Italian means “jumps in mouth.” The sage and the proscuitto complement the chicken breast so well and have such an unforgettable taste that I know that this will be one of your favorites too.

Chicken Stew Central Coast Style12. Chicken Stew Central Coast Style
Chicken Stew Central Coast Style is our version of a classic dish from the South Pacific Coast Chiapas region of Mexico called Pollo en Estafado Diego de Masariego (Chicken Stew Diego de Masariego Style.) The cuisine from this area of Mexico is not very hot, but very flavorful making use of a wide variety of vegetables and fruit much like Mediterranean cooking. We find this recipe very interesting because the flavors are very similar to some of the classic Ragus from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Perhaps the original recipe came from Bologna via the French interventions in Italy and then Mexico. But then again who's to say, maybe Emilia Romagna was influenced by Chiapas

Chili - Sue's Own Hardy Mediterranean Style13. Chili - Sue's Own Hardy Mediterranean Style
Chili - and the Southwest goes back a couple centuries or so, when times were pretty uncivilized and conditions rough for the traveling cowboys and gold-prospectors. Back then it was a stew of beef, and a type of chili peppers (grown wild on bushes along the trail in Texas) with sometimes a little tomato and beans added. Several "original" recipes are said to come from the San Antonio, Texas area. The one thing all the recipes had in common was the use of Mexican chilies.

Duck breast ragu served on Spaghetti Squash14. Duck breast ragu served on Spaghetti Squash
We love squash! --We love Duck! Why not combine the two! This is our recipe for a duck breast ragu (duck breast and squash bought at our local Farmers Market) served on a bed of freshly roasted Spaghetti Squash. It's very delicious and a real showy presentation and really not that much work.

Eggplant Parmesan Romantic Table Style15. Eggplant Parmesan Romantic Table Style
Eggplant Parmesan Romantic Table Style is based on my mother-in-law's old-time favorite of the much-loved classic. This too is an economical meal for a family that's easy to stretch to fit the number of guests at the table. Served as a main course, with a salad, some garlic bread and wine it'll satisfy the most discriminating vegetarian. Served as a side-dish, it'll feed a crowd!

Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna Style  16. Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna Style
Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna Style is our version of a "high-tech" Eggplant Parmesan. With its seven layers of eggplant, homemade sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan, it's unbelievably good and surprising healthy.

Fair Eggs17. Fair Eggs
Eggs are one of the simplest entrées to make when you are in a hurry or just tired. This is a very fast and easy way to make an egg entrée with a surprisingly complex taste and texture.

Fish Sandwich, Romantic Table Style18. Fish Sandwich, Romantic Table Style
Most of us that like fish, adore fish sandwiches. BUT what restaurants "throw at you" is not only pretty crude, it is over-cooked and lacking in "style," "eye-appeal," "flavor" and of course healthiness! The key to a great fish sandwich is EVERYTHING including the tartar sauce needs to fresh. So we came up with an easy recipe that's pretty "fool-proof," but also easy and quick to make, yet healthy enough that it won't derail our diets.

Fish Tacos Romantic Table Style19. Fish Tacos Romantic Table Style
Fish Tacos Romantic Table Style is the result of our search for a great fish taco. It's one that I've been personally been craving for months but was disappointed multiple times by several different restaurants' versions. So, I decided to dream-up my own version of the "perfect Fish Taco recipe." Our recipe for Fish Tacos Romantic Table Style is delicious! We like to make it with locally-caught firm fresh fish. Ideally you could make it here on the Central Coast using fresh Rock Cod, or the other local favorite- fresh Red Snapper. Either one turns a corn tortilla into a masterpiece! Your family and friends will LOVE it!

Grilled Lamb Chops Romantic Table Style20. Grilled Lamb Chops Romantic Table Style
This is how we do simple Lamb chops Romantic Table Style (Spring's best red meat!) We like to also use our own homemade Mint Pesto - much more interesting and flavorful than the traditional mint jelly.

Grilled Portobella Mushroom and Vegetable Sandwich21. Grilled Portobella Mushroom and Vegetable Sandwich
Our grilled Portobella mushroom and vegetable sandwich with goat cheese and a "killer" of a chipotle aioli sauce is SO delicious and as filling as a large hamburger. It's so easy to assemble and put together providing you have access to some nice produce and a grill.

Grilled Skewers of Linguica, Fresh Fennel, Oranges, and Vegetables22. Grilled Skewers of Linguica, Fresh Fennel, Oranges, and Vegetables
Grilled Skewers of Linguica, Fresh Fennel, Oranges and Vegetables are both fun and appetizing to make either as appetizers or a main course when it's hot and you don't want a heavy meal. The grilled orange and fennel gives the sausage a lightly sweet and tangy taste.

Grilled Vegetables and Capicola Sandwiches23. Grilled Vegetables and Capicola Sandwiches
When it's hot and you're doing a lot of barbecuing, our Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with Capicola recipe is one that's easy to grill and serve on a hot night. This makes good use of some of summer's best vegetables-peppers, eggplant and onions, with a few slices Capicola, topped with arugula and a homemade red wine vinaigrette all on some crusty lightly-grilled bread (such as Pugliese.) It's a balanced meal right in your hand! What's nice about this meal, you can skip the Capicola and make it with all vegetables, add a little bit of meat, or add a lot of meat according to your taste.

Heros Quick Sausage and Mushroom Ragu24. Heros Quick Sausage and Mushroom Ragu
There is truth to the saying, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!" And one way to do this for MY man, is to serve him a hearty Ragu on a bed of soft Polenta! So I call this recipe Heros Quick Sausage and Mushroom Ragu with Soft Polenta. This recipe uses Fennel sausage, white onions, garlic, fresh Italian brown mushrooms, canned whole tomatoes, red wine, oregano and Italian parsley served on a bed of soft Basic Polenta . It is delicious for "unmanly females" too!

Hunter-Style Chicken with Wild Mushrooms25. Hunter-Style Chicken with Wild Mushrooms
Chicken Hunter-Style with Wild Mushrooms is a great way to serve chicken for several people. I like to serve this on a bed of golden 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.

Italian-American Meatballs-Romantic Table Style
26. Italian-American Meatballs-Romantic Table Style
Oh there's nothing like a good meatball -loaded with the freshest of ingredients, lightly browned, then simmered in a good Basic Marinara Sauce until the flavors meld! This is Italian Mama cooking at its best! When you're hungry- just like pizza - Spaghetti and Meatballs is always a welcome favorite that pleases everyone. Here's my recipe.

Lamb Shanks Romantic Table Style.27. Lamb Shanks Romantic Table Style.
Lamb Shanks Romantic Table Style is a very country style method of preparing lamb shanks. Lamb shanks are very flavorful, but unless fully and slowly cooked, they can be pretty tough. Slow and leisurely roasting with aromatic root vegetables result in lamb that is not only tender, but very flavorful.

Meatloaf Romantic Table Style28. Meatloaf Romantic Table Style
Meatloaf Romantic Table Style is one that I've been making many decades --in fact since my teens! It's a winner and not only a "manly-meal" but also a crowd-pleaser. It's a cook-pleaser too since this can be made in advance-in fact even tastes better when done ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.

Next-Day Frittata29. Next-Day Frittata
Here's a an easy Frittata recipe that can turn a little left-over pasta into a delicious appetizer or entree.

Oven Fried Chicken with Mushrooms and Garlic30. Oven Fried Chicken with Mushrooms and Garlic
Oven-fried Chicken with Mushrooms and Garlic, is a perfect winter meal when it's crisp outside and you're craving something hearty-but don't want a meal that's too similar to a Thanksgiving-taste.

Pan-fried Harvest Chicken with Red Grapes31. Pan-fried Harvest Chicken with Red Grapes
Pan-fried Harvest Chicken with Red Grapes incorporates freshly-harvested red grapes that add a complementary and very seasonal taste to the comfort-food favorite flavor of the chicken. The technique for pan-frying the chicken is based on my family's way of cooking at my family's restaurant, the Country Cousin. Our specialty Pan-fried Chicken, which we were well known for, was NOT deep-fried! It took 25 minutes to cook, but it was so delicious it was worth the wait. A side-note, the famous slow-food chef of Berkeley's Chez Pannise Restaurant, Alice Waters, got her start in "the restaurant business" at my family's seasonal Drive-In on the shores of Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana!--Small world!

Poached Sole with Basil Cream Tomato Sauce32. Poached Sole with Basil Cream Tomato Sauce
If you live on the West Coast, our local answer to Dover Sole is the locally caught Sand-dabs. They are very delicate and very flavorful when gently poached in white wine and fresh tomatoes. And so delicious! Serve this with a crusty bread, a nice salad and a glass of wine and you'll be in bliss!

Roast Chicken33. Roast Chicken
When I was a little girl, chicken was relatively expensive so it was reserved for special meals like Sunday Dinner. Today, chicken is one of the most inexpensive and delicious meats, and roasted chicken especially is not only delicious but healthy too! Though it's easy to cook, most people nowadays don't think about cooking it themselves. Instead they buy an over-cooked dried out rotisserie baked chicken at the grocery store. Maybe not too bad in taste, but no where as good as one you cook yourself!

Roasted Pork Loin with Fruit34. Roasted Pork Loin with Fruit
For several years now I've been craving a roasted pork loin that's stuffed with fruit. I've enjoyed one recipe in particular that was served me a few years ago and really impressed me with its distinct fruity-moist filling. I've been trying to duplicate that mouth- satisfying experience at home. I've finally come up a very delicious recipe that more than satisfies! I call it Roasted Pork Loin with Fruit.

Rock Cornish Game Hens Balsamico
35. Rock Cornish Game Hens Balsamico
This is an absolutely divine way to serve Rock Cornish Game Hens!—It’s quite unusual and has a taste and dramatic presentation that will make your dinner guests crave for more. If you use Rock Cornish Game Hens, get yourself a couple cooking bricks to press the hens flat. I use a weighted bacon press. They're available at kitchen stores up and down the California Central Coast.

Rotisserie Chicken Romantic Table Style36. Rotisserie Chicken Romantic Table Style
Rotisserie Chicken with Citrus, Onion and Rosemary is one of our long-time favorites here at home --and it's so easy and inexpensive to make! Let's face it, everything purchased in the grocery store seems to get more expensive with each visit. But the gold ole whole chicken, is still one of the best bargains in the meat counter! And it's so versatile!

Salmon with Asparagus, Oranges and Fennel37. Salmon with Asparagus, Oranges and Fennel
We love salmon! If you do too but can't grill outside, this recipe will tell you how to make it even better-tasting than on the grill--but on the stove! They say necessity is the "mother of invention", well we've come up with a WONDERFUL way to cook salmon indoors on the stove. --In fact, now this is my favorite (flavor-wise) way to cook this fish!

Salmon with Warm Basil Cream Vinaigrette38. Salmon with Warm Basil Cream Vinaigrette
Salmon with Warm Basil Cream Vinaigrette is our favorite way of preparing salmon! Right now salmon is readily available and relatively inexpensive. This recipe is a great way to showcase this fish. It is as delicious-if not more so-as it looks! One of the great things about this recipe is it's so easy to make.

Sand Dab Florentine39. Sand Dab Florentine
Sand Dab Florentine is made with one of the Central California Coast's local fish: Sand Dabs. The Florentine Style, which incorporates the use of spinach is typical of the classic Italian recipe from Florence called Sole Florentine. This recipe is a little more involved but oh! is it worth it!

Sausage with Zucchini and Roma Tomatoes40. Sausage with Zucchini and Roma Tomatoes
Sausage with Zucchini and Roma Tomatoes is a hardy late summer entree you can throw together quickly and easily expand for any crowd size. It also includes onions and red pepper. Around our house, we refer to it just as "Skillet Roma" because I make this in a large skillet. Serve it like a stew with with a loaf of crusty bread.

Sauteed Vegetables With Quinoa and Eggs41. Sauteed Vegetables With Quinoa and Eggs
This is a great recipe to throw together that combines the health and freshness of dark leafy greens, the protein and fiber of quinoa grains, and the protein and "comfort" of poached eggs. Yes! Eggs are now once again the "darling little power-food" that can help keep you going with little of "the baggage" that "the experts" once feared. This recipe has another really "in-food"-Quinoa! This wonderful grain from the Andes is chocked-full of protein and fiber and is also safe for celiacs and is low calories!

Scallops with Two Bean Cream42. Scallops with Two Bean Cream
Scallops with Two Bean Cream is a chic modern combination of seared scallops and bean creams, The scallops are lightly floured, seared, then served with a combination of black and white bean "cream" sauces; an old mellow Italian white bean recipe and a spicy black bean recipe from Colonial California. Kind of an Old World classic meets a New World upstart you might say.

Seared Ahi with mixed greens and Lemon Vinaigrette 43. Seared Ahi with mixed greens and Lemon Vinaigrette
When it gets too hot to cook inside and you really don't want a hot meal anyway, seared sushi grade Ahi tuna from the grill served with mixed spring greens, Lemon Vinaigrette and crusty bread is what you need.

Shrimp and Red Quinoa Salad Of Mixed Greens with a Lemon Vinaigrette44. Shrimp and Red Quinoa Salad Of Mixed Greens with a Lemon Vinaigrette
Shrimp and Red Quinoa Salad Of Mixed Greens with a Lemon Vinaigrette. This is SO good and is perfect for a late summer-early Fall luncheon or dinner, and goes especially well with a chilled Rhone white wine. The Quinoa goes so well with seafood as well as the lighter meats-and is a healthy addition to your cooking arsenal for planning your menus.

Shrimp Tacos - Central Coast Style45. Shrimp Tacos - Central Coast Style
Shrimp Tacos - Central Coast Style is our version of the many shrimp taco recipes of the Pacific Coast, from Mexico up through the California Central Coast, and a perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. These taco's are really juicy and messy. We like to bring the fillings and sauce to the table with warm crispy taco shells and individually assemble the tacos to our personal preference as we sit and eat with friends (and lots of napkins!) around the table.

Shrimp Tacos-TRT House Style46. Shrimp Tacos-TRT House Style
Shrimp Tacos-TRT House Style is another of my favorite ways to eat tacos! I'm a sucker anyway for fresh-good-tasting shrimp, and this recipe incorporates all the flavors of quickly sauteed shrimp and a vegetable trito, with zesty lime, green onion and shredded Romaine Lettuce for a simple garnish. I especially love to eat these tacos with hard corn taco shells -I love the crunch!

Stacked Eggplant with Basil Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella47. Stacked Eggplant with Basil Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella
Late summer we're usually fortunate to still have good eggplant and fresh basil available. Fantasizing how we could use these ingredients in a healthy easy-to-make recipe, we conjured up a recipe we call Stacked Eggplant with Basil Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella. Other than the tomato sauce, which you might already have on hand or prepared ahead of time, the only other time-consuming preparation part of this recipe is the time it takes to quickly salt and pepper, coat and saute the half-inch eggplant rounds and make a simple Basil Pesto in your food processor while your tomato sauce simmers. Then it is mere stacking the different pieces of the "eggplant puzzle" and baking for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Trust me, it's Mediterranean-styled comfort food at it's best --and healthy too!

Steak Diane48. Steak Diane
One of our long time 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." Later we learned that the recipe probably was a simplification of a classic French recipe "Grilled Beef Medallions, Henri IV."

Stuffed Anaheim Chile Peppers, Santa Cruz Style49. Stuffed Anaheim Chile Peppers, Santa Cruz Style
This is one of the first "California" Recipes I learned from my Mother-in-law when I came to California to marry my husband. She learned it from an old farmer at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market who's Spanish ancestors were original settlers back in Colonial California.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls50. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Almost everyone has had these in the past. This is our recipe. The neat thing about this recipe is that it gets better if made in advance and the cabbage rolls have enough time to soak up the flavors of the homemade tomato sauce. And you don't need to buy higher-priced cuts of meat. Actually the cheaper cuts have a better flavor for this dish! My filling uses both beef and pork along with sauteed onions, garlic, cooked white rice, Italian parsley and eggs.

Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks Trapani Style51. Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks Trapani Style
Sweet and Sour Tuna Steaks Trapani Style originated in the city of Trapani Sicily, where Tuna fishing is still an important industry. It is one of our favorite ways to cook fresh Tuna which is usually very available in our local fish markets. This recipe also works very well with a good-quality Swordfish.

Swordfish with Sage and Wine Reduction52. Swordfish with Sage and Wine Reduction
Sword with Sage and Wine Reduction is a simple but very elegant way to prepare swordfish or any firm white flesh fish. It is inspired by the French method of preparation, but instead of butter we use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for sauteing. The result is lighter in taste but equally complex.

Venison Ragu with Soft Polenta53. Venison Ragu with Soft Polenta
Venison Ragu is our version of the classic game ragu from the Apennine Mountain region of Italy. In true Emilia Romagna style the ragu spices include cinnamon and clove -something you would not expect in a ragu, but an essential foundation to this recipe. Some may may turn up their noses at using game due to its tendency to taste "wild," but this recipe uses such unusual ingredients that enhance the flavors so well, that no one would ever guess that you're not using beef (which works perfectly well by the way) from the grocer. This recipe though is a little more involved to make --but it's worth it, so allow extra prep and cook time.

Wine Country Picnic Chicken54. Wine Country Picnic Chicken
This is the perfect way to have chicken if you're going on a picnic. It's not greasy at all since it's only sauteed in olive oil. It is NOT deep-fried.

Side Dishes

Baked Tomatoes1. Baked Tomatoes
Baked Tomatoes is a sure-fire recipe even when using store-bought tomatoes. They are so easy to make! You'll want to use this recipe throughout the year, especially in the winter months --the topping ingredients are so complementary to the tomatoes, when baked the topping transforms even the blandest of winter tomatoes into a guaranteed hit with the your dinner guests.

Baked Yams Romantic Table Style2. Baked Yams Romantic Table Style
The secret to baked yams is long slow cooking and patience. If baked correctly, these little tubers have almost the savory sweetness of a dessert. Even "vegetable-reluctant kids love them after tasting them!

Basic Polenta3. Basic Polenta
Basic Polenta is cornmeal that's been cooked with water or milk that's turned into a soft mush similar in texture to mashed potatoes. It can be served straight from the pot, or dressed-up with Parmesan cheese or butter. Polenta can also be used as a bed for a good Ragu or a dish such as Braised Lamb Shanks Osso Bucco style

Braised Napa Cabbage with Pancetta and Fennel4. Braised Napa Cabbage with Pancetta and Fennel
Braised Napa Cabbage with Pancetta and Fennel is an easy side-dish. For those of you unfamiliar with Napa cabbage, it's much milder than its green or red cabbage cousins. Napa cabbage is sometimes also called Savoy Cabbage.

Brussels Sprouts Almondine5. Brussels Sprouts Almondine
Brussels Sprouts Almondine uses lightly blanched Brussels sprouts, lightly sauteed with almond oil, slivered almonds, garlic and coarse bread crumbs. You would never expect that Almond and Brussels Sprouts have a natural affinity for each other, but together they are so good they can be an entire feast for vegan and non-vegan alike!

Carrots Marsala
6. Carrots Marsala
This is my favorite way of serving fresh carrots. The natural sweet flavor of the carrots is intensified wonderfully with the tangy sweetness of the Marsala wine.

Classic French-Style Country Potato Salad7. Classic French-Style Country Potato Salad
This is my version of the classic French-style potato salad. Unlike a mayonnaise-based potato salad, this uses a fresh Lemon Vinaigrette.

Cole Slaw-Paso Robles Style8. Cole Slaw-Paso Robles Style
Our recipe for Cole Slaw-Paso Robles Style is the perfect accompaniment for summer picnics or barbecues. Loosely inspired by the the former grand old restaurant "Joshua's", our cole slaw is made using green cabbage rather than their restaurant's recipe called-for red cabbage. (Personally we think that green cabbage is more tender and is much more delicate and easier to digest.) We also use a fresh fennel bulb that's shredded along with the cabbage, as well as black raisins. The fresh fennel really lightens-up the mixture and the raisins give it a nice sweet crunch interspersed amongst the fresh veggies.

Country Cousin Baked Beans9. Country Cousin Baked Beans
This is the recipe for my family’s restaurant’s ( The Country Cousin) baked beans. Whenever I make them for a gathering, everyone “oohs and ah-hs” and wants my family recipe. Up until now, I never shared it since I wanted to keep it special for my cookbook or other cooking-related endeavor later. Though they look like they take hours to make---and even longer to bake, this is our restaurant’s kitchen secret. When my father-in –law would go on about them, I jokingly would tell him,” this recipe is why your son really married me!”

Country Crispy Roasted Yams10. Country Crispy Roasted Yams
Country- Crispy Roasted Yams goes well with many dishes! The "trick" to this recipe is to cook the yams twice. First you parboil (with skins on) for ten minutes, then after the yams have cooled slightly for easier handling, you dice them up into small cubes, and mix with finely sliced white onions, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper and roast for an hour or so until they're crispy and delicious. Sweet potato fries and chips are "in" now at several restaurants, but this recipe achieves the taste at home without deep-frying!

Country Style Potato and Cheese Torte11. Country Style Potato and Cheese Torte
Country Style Potato and Cheese Torta is a delicious country-style potato recipe that absolutely melts in your mouth. It's so easy to throw together -especially if you do all the slicing with a mandoline!

Couscous with Jumbo Flame Raisins12. Couscous with Jumbo Flame Raisins
Couscous with Giant Flame Raisins is a delicious quick side dish that you can throw together in literally a couple of minutes. Couscous is a "no-brainer" that's an often overlooked option for a carbohydrate side dish that's a perfect accompaniment to chicken or seafood. Add the flame raisins and you have a side dish that almost steals the show. The only prerequisite you need to make this recipe is to know how to boil water.

Festive Dressing with Apples, Raisins, and Mushrooms13. Festive Dressing with Apples, Raisins, and Mushrooms
Festive Dressing with Apples, Raisins, and Mushrooms is my own recipe for making an unusually fragrant and savory dressing for stuffing poultry of any kind or as a side dish for seafood as well. Katie, my vegetarian niece, says "it's almost a meal in itself!"

Fregola- A Toasted Couscous14. Fregola- A Toasted Couscous
Fragola is a form of Couscous from Sardinia. Like couscous it is made of semolina flour, but after it is formed, fragola is toasted. The cooking method is similar to risotto but it's more of a “lazy man’s risotto.” Whereas with risotto you have to ladle the broth in gradually as you stir continually, with fregola, you add the broth all at once and stir frequently for about fifteen minutes.

Golden Orzo with Saffron15. 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.

Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Oregano.16. Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Oregano.
Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Oregano has a kind of sweet earthy taste that accompanies grilled meats like beef and pork very well. Eggplant takes to grilling very well, but most cooks slice it too thickly which leaves a kind of "green-uncooked" taste to the center with a burned outside coating. To get the best of this versatile vegetable, you really have to slice the eggplant into thin slices and grill quickly over high heat.

Grilled Zucchini Ribbons with Mint17. Grilled Zucchini Ribbons with Mint
Grilled Zucchini Ribbons with Fresh Mint is a very quick and simple grilled side dish which accompanies practically any kind of grilled meat. The fresh mint gives the grilled zucchini a nice fresh sweet finish which goes especially well with grilled chicken or grilled salmon. If you can find it in your market, be sure to use some fresh yellow zucchini, it is very sweet when grilled.

Mac and Cheese-Romantic Table Style18. Mac and Cheese-Romantic Table Style
Have you ever had a craving for warm-cheesy multidimensional tasting Macaroni and cheese- and I don't mean Kraft dinner? Well I did the other day -and no, I didn't have a good recipe at hand, so I just started "winging-it!" Now don't get me wrong! I did NOT want to morph it into something that would end up being a pain in the neck to make and clean up after. So I tried to keep my wits about me!

Mamie's Pickled Beets and Eggs19. Mamie's Pickled Beets and Eggs
Mamie's Pickled Beets and Eggs is one that's been in our family for generations. Based on the classic, these are SO good and easy to make and perfect for most holiday buffets and summertime barbecues and picnics. My father absolutely savored these! Though my dad was more the promoter in the family and a "grill-man" than cook, he always couldn't wait to make these family-favorites. --"What's a holiday-gathering without Mamie's beets and eggs!" He'd always exclaim! The secret is to make a sweet-sour milieu with finely sliced white onion, whole peppercorns and dried Tarragon added for accent and flavors. If possible use week or two old eggs.--Fresh-fresh eggs are very hard to peel.

Roasted Potatoes with Onion and Rosemary20. Roasted Potatoes with Onion and Rosemary
These are absolutely delicious! We have them often. ---They’re perfect for seafood and chicken. But be warned! They're almost like potato chips, it's hard to just eat a few. --But that's OK because they're roasted, and a good source of vitamins.

Roasted Vegetables with Sage Honey Dressing and Walnuts21. Roasted Vegetables with Sage Honey Dressing and Walnuts
This recipe requires about an hour of oven-baking, but it's a snap to prepare, and we like to to serve it with a Rotisserie chicken --and feel free to cheat and just buy one at your favorite grocery--like we occasionally do. These vegetables are so-o good and go with almost everything!

Smashed Potatoes22. Smashed Potatoes
Smashed potatoes is a rustic "manly" side dish to accompany a beef roast or a braised beef dish like Beef Pizzaiola, Central Coast Style. It is guaranteed to please the meat and potato crowd! The taste is surprisingly complex, combining the taste of baked potatoes, roast potatoes and hash browns all in the same dish!

Spinach with Nutmeg and Butter23. Spinach with Nutmeg and Butter
Spinach with Nutmeg and Butter is a side dish that complements so many dishes!

Strawberry Fruit Salad and Sour Cream Parfait24. Strawberry Fruit Salad and Sour Cream Parfait
One of my grandmother's favorite Thanksgiving salads (that can be eaten as a lighter dessert as well) is her old-fashioned "mama-cooking style, Strawberry Fruit Salad and Sour Cream Parfait." Made in three layers in a regal glass crown-shaped dish, the layers of jello fruit and sour cream alternate so that when you dish it out, it's a medley of flavors for your taste buds. My relatives still have fond memories of this recipe and mention how beautiful and delicious it was. When ever I eat it, I'm comforted by its unusual fresh taste and warm memories of years past and my Nonna and the womenfolk fussing in the kitchen as they prepared the holiday feast.

Stuffed Zucchini25. Stuffed Zucchini
This is one of my favorite ways to serve zucchini though the preparation is a little more involved. So only make this when you have a little more time, but it's worth it!

Sweet and Sour Onions26. Sweet and Sour Onions
Sweet and sour onions is a very traditional Italian way to prepare onions.They are great as a side dish or part of an antipasto. This recipe is from Lazio. All regions of Italy have their own variations. In the South they will sometime add a little raisins and pine nuts to the dish.

To Die For French- Style Scalloped Potatoes27. To Die For French- Style Scalloped Potatoes
This has got to be one of the world’s best and easiest recipes for French Scalloped Potatoes! They taste absolutely divine! This version uses no cheese in the recipe so it accompanies seafood very well.


Almond Biscotti1. Almond Biscotti
Almond Biscotti are a classic Italian baked good. Whether biscotti are biscuits or cookies is debatable, but everyone agrees that they delicious. They should be very crunchy in texture, and maybe even a bit hard. This is no problem since the preferred Italian way to eat biscotti is to dunk them into a glass of Vin Santo or a late harvest wine after dinner. They are equally good with a cup of coffee as a simple dessert or an afternoon snack.

Apple Crumb Cake2. Apple Crumb Cake
Apple Crumb Cake was the name given by my mother-in-law for an apple crisp type dessert that was unlike any others I've tasted. It had absolutely no oatmeal -like a lot of others and was so incredibly delicious, yet so easy to throw together it was mind-boggling! She had it down to a science! My husband said his mom made it almost every week while growing up in rural Connecticut on acreage that had several apple trees. With a family of five children and three adults they'd finish it off fast in one sitting.-You'll want to too after you taste it!

Apple Risotto Romantic Table Style3. Apple Risotto Romantic Table Style
Apple Risotto Romantic Table Style, is a risotto style rice pudding that I wanted to create for a few years. For YEARS I've been telling my friends and family how one of these days I'm going to create a dessert risotto! But I never did --until now!

Baked Apples, Adelaida Style4. Baked Apples, Adelaida Style
The Adelaida region is located high in the Santa Lucia Mountains to the West of Paso Robles. Now a premium wine region, the Adelaida region was famous for it's high quality dry farmed Walnuts. Walnuts are still grown locally. They are small, flavorful and prized by candy makers.

Buttermilk Tea Cake5. Buttermilk Tea Cake
Buttermilk Tea Cake is a classic two-layered tea cake. This is a delicious cake, especially so when served with tea or coffee.

California Fresh Pear Tart6. California Fresh Pear Tart
This is my recipe for a practically fool-proof California fresh pear tart. It’s really easy to make and is delicious to eat. It’s almost a cross between a pudding and a cake. It’s very moist and mellow. While you can use any variety of pears for this, we personally like to us Bosc pears which have a more intense flavor. The trick to this recipe is finding the right ripe pears. It's delicious and can be served slightly warm, room temperature or chilled as we prefer.

Christmas Fruitcake Supreme7. Christmas Fruitcake Supreme
This recipe was my mom's prized recipe for Christmas--her fabulous giant Fruitcake! This fruitcake is not loaded with all the sugary super-sweet stuff like molasses etc. It's quite unlike any commercial fruitcake on the market today. But rather loaded with all types of nutmeats, and dried fruit-almost two-thirds pound each: dates, figs, almonds, walnuts, pecans, black raisins, golden raisins, cherries--both red and green, pineapple, oranges , lemons, and six ex-large eggs whites.

Country Cousin Circus Sundae8. Country Cousin Circus Sundae
Our Circus Sundae is a cold ice cream dessert that we served at my family's restaurant,The Country Cousin. It incorporates ice cream, strawberry topping (sliced freshly sliced strawberries, thawed frozen strawberries, or strawberry topping sauce), animal crackers, whipping cream, tiny candied sprinkles and topped with an open paper parasol. It's so cute! "Kids" aged four to eighty-four will chuckle when you serve it to them. And it's a snap to make! We'll show you how.

Country Cousin Clown Sundae9. Country Cousin Clown Sundae
Here is our restaurant's (The Country Cousin) version of a clown sundae--perfect for the hot summer days ahead! Young or old, this sundae brings smiles to all and it's a snap to make. We made it a little differently from the typical clown sundae, incorporating a chocolate wafer at its base which was an additional taste treat.

Country Cousin Lime Freeze10. Country Cousin Lime Freeze
At my family's "Country Cousin" seasonal restaurant on the shores of Lake Michigan, we made a large variety of old fashion soda fountain drinks. Beside the Orange Freeze, another particularly popular and memorable drink was the Lime Freeze. A freeze is like a milk shake, but rather than using ice cream and milk as a base, it is made with fruit sherbert and carbonated soda. On a hot day, in my mind at least, I think the freeze is both lighter and more refreshing than its milk based cousin.

Country Cousin Orange Freeze11. Country Cousin Orange Freeze
At my family's "Country Cousin" seasonal restaurant on the shores of Lake Michigan, we made a large variety of old fashion soda fountain drinks. One particularly popular and memorable drink was an Orange Freeze. Another version we made was a Country Cousin Lime Freeze. A freeze is like a milk shake, but rather than using ice cream and milk as a base, it is made with fruit sherbert and carbonated soda. On a hot day, in my mind at least, I think the freeze is both lighter and more refreshing than its milk based cousin.

Country Cousin Strawberry Pie12. Country Cousin Strawberry Pie
Country Cousin Strawberry Pie was a staple at my grandparents drive-in restaurant in Michigan City Indiana. I am not sure of the exact origin of the recipe. I believe that it was a "mama-style" creation by my grandmother from a number of local recipes passed among the women of her generation. No matter where the recipe came from it was then and still is now a real show stopper. Summer has not arrived officially until I have my first slice with a generous dollop of Chantilly Cream. It's Summer Fresh Decadence at its best.

Flourless Chocolate Walnut Rum Torte13. Flourless Chocolate Walnut Rum Torte
Flourless Chocolate Walnut Rum 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 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.

Fresh Strawberry Tart14. Fresh Strawberry Tart
Fresh Strawberry Tart is our family's recipe for a strawberry tart with a Shortbread Crust. It's absolutely divine! It is one of my absolute favorites recipes that my family has been making for decades. It was originally featured in our Midwest restaurant, the "Country Cousin." If you like strawberries, wait until you try this.

Lemon Custard Tart15. Lemon Custard Tart
Our Lemon Custard Tart with a Shortbread Crust is a delicious but surprisingly very easy to put together recipe. And its taste is absolutely divine!

Lemon Meringue Pie16. Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie is the classic lemon custard pie. With its lightly baked meringue top, zesty lemon custard filling and buttery pate brisee crust, it is the perfect finish to an elegant dinner. We particularly like it after a lamb entree like a rack of lamb.

Mom’s Divine Chocolate Brownies17. Mom’s Divine Chocolate Brownies
This is my mother’s recipe for chocolate brownies. –The best tasting recipe ever! This is one of the first recipes that she taught me when I was a little girl.

Mud-Pie Romantic Table Style18. Mud-Pie Romantic Table Style
Mud-Pie-Romantic Table Style is a really FUN dessert recipe to eat! It's our version of the ice cream favorite. I'm a sucker for anything ice cream-based.-I LOVE ice cream! It's wonderful coldness as it slides from my mouth to my throat --the sweetness of the chilled frozen cream mixed with juxtaposed flavors that surround it --But OH! do I worry about the calories! However, I rationalize this by knowing that most of the time, I'm following The Mediterranean Diet - defensive healthy eating., which most of our recipes subscribe to, so one can occasionally splurge a little and eat something not quite so healthy --though it's proven that chocolate and sweets are loaded with serotonin and other healthy chemicals for our nervous systems! --And that keeps us SANE!!!!

Orange Muscato Mousse 19. Orange Muscato Mousse
Orange Muscato Mousse is actually a "Zabaione Freddo." A Zabaione (or Zabaglione) is an Italian whipped custard dessert made with egg yolks, sugar and a sweet dessert wine, usually Marsala or Moscato d'Asti. This being California we just had to use one of our favorite dessert wines -an Orange Muscato like Quady Essentia. This cold orange flavored dessert is a perfect finish to a Summer dinner featuring grilled chicken or white meat of any sort.

Peach Cobbler20. Peach Cobbler
Peach Cobbler is a traditional Summer recipe bringing back memories of our grandmothers in flowered summer dresses and long aprons bringing out dishes of warm peach cobbler and ice cream to the summer picnic table as we all sat around enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Peach or Nectarine Crostata Romantic Table Style21. Peach or Nectarine Crostata Romantic Table Style
This past summer has been a fantastic season for stone-fruit! It was practically impossible to buy a lousy peach, nectarine, cherry or apricot. And boy! Did we ever let our taste-buds cravings dictate the recipes!

Poached Pears in Red Wine22. Poached Pears in Red Wine
When ripe Bosc pears come into season in the Fall, one of the holiday recipes we really look forward to making is Poached Pears in Red Wine.

Quick Chocolate Pecan Cookies23. Quick Chocolate Pecan Cookies
When you're in the mood to make some cookies here's a quick flourless cookie recipe to throw together. It is as simple as can be, made with no flour and only five ingredients. It took me only ten to fifteen minutes to make the cookie dough and then another ten to fifteen minutes for them to bake.

Salzburger Nockerln24. Salzburger Nockerln
Salzburger Nockerln is a recipe 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. We asked what it was and the waitress told us all about the Salzburger Nockerln , how it was made and even though it looked gigantic and rich, it was very low in calories. We loved it!

Sour Cream, Butter and Lemon Pound Cake25. Sour Cream, Butter and Lemon Pound Cake
This Sour Cream, Butter and Lemon Pound Cake recipe goes back a couple of generations. It was my husband's grandmother's recipe for an old-fashioned Sour Cream, Butter and Lemon Pound Cake. My mother-in -law taught me how to make it. It's almost foolproof with its easy directions. (She nicknamed it her "One-step Pound Cake.") When it comes to good-tasting cakes, this is a reliable show-stopper! This cake has been served to many people from all over the world, and they all rave about it and it's addicting flavors.

Strawberry Shortcake-Central Coast Style26. Strawberry Shortcake-Central Coast Style
Fresh strawberries and homemade shortcake have GOT to be one of the world's best food combinations! It's so refreshing and unbelievably mellow. You'd be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't enjoy this yummy Summer dessert.

Walnut Puff Cookies27. Walnut Puff Cookies
Walnut Puff Cookies are a flourless, low-cal cookie recipe that we came up with while experimenting with Christmas desserts. Made of finely chopped walnuts, egg whites, a little sugar and vanilla extract, each bite is a crunchy mouthful treat.

Wine Country Cobbler (Schiacciata a l'uva)28. Wine Country Cobbler (Schiacciata a l'uva)
Known in Tuscany as Schiacciata a l'uva, this is a traditional cobbler made with a sweet biscuit dough bottom crust, a layer of Sangiovese wine grapes, then a top layer of sweet biscuit dough, then another layer of Sangiovese wine grapes, then lightly sprinkled with granulated sugar, and baked. Instead of the traditional shortening used in biscuit dough, we use a little of our local Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Zin-Full Pie29. Zin-Full Pie
If you are going to "Zin", then "Zin" magnificently with this Zin-Full Pie. It is made with ripe Zinfandel wine grapes and a butter based Pate Brisee crust. OK, maybe it is not exactly part of a Mediterranean diet, but if you have been good and following the diet, reward yourself occasionally!


Anaheim Chili Salsa1. Anaheim Chili Salsa
Anaheim Chili Salsa is our version of a traditional Mexican Pacific Coast salsa for seafood. Our recipe uses mild Anaheim peppers, a Jalapeno or two for a little heat, garlic, olive oil lime juice, fresh oregano and a bit of green onions. Lightly pureed together it's a stunning sauce that not only treats the eye but the palate as well. This salsa goes especially well with grilled seafood and Fish Tacos Romantic Table Style.

Basamella Sauce2. Basamella Sauce
Basamella Sauce is the foundation "White Sauce" of Central and Northern Italian Style Cooking. Sometimes spelled "Besciamella", another name for the sauce is Béchamel. Because basamella is the base upon which many other white sauces are made from, all serious cooks should have this sauce in their repertoire.

Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce3. Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce
This is a must-have Tomato sauce that's so easy to throw together and can be used in so many different ways. Use it for sauces over pastas, vegetables, or meats. Use it on pizza for a knock-out homemade taste. There are so many ways to use this! Ideally, it tastes best made from fresh ripe tomatoes, but if that's not possible, you can substitute two twenty-eight once cans of Crushed Tomatoes.

Basic Marinara Sauce4. Basic Marinara Sauce
This is a “must-have” sauce.—You can do so many things with it! –You can use it as a base for Cioppino, or add Italian sausages and serve over spaghetti.

Bolognese Ragu Romantic Table Style5. Bolognese Ragu Romantic Table Style
NO! Bolognese Ragu is NOT tomato sauce with hamburger meat! What Heresy! What an abomination! Any cook that could call "ground hamburger meat sauce" a Bolognese sauce should be run out of town!--Or at least barred from further cooking anything Italian in a kitchen! A true ragu usually begins by using a trito of aromatic vegetables such as diced onion, carrots and celery-parsley sauteed in Olive or Canola oil until softened and lightly translucent to become the basis to build the ragu. Then one adds the different meats and slowly simmers together.

Chili Chipotle Aioli6. Chili Chipotle Aioli
Chili Chipotle Aioli is not a true aioli, but actually more of a flavored mayonnaise --but who is quibbling this is a great sauce for anything grilled. The key ingredient is the chili chipotle. Chili Chipotle is a smoked pepper usually canned in adobo sauce. Combined with mayonnaise, fresh garlic and a little fresh lemon juice it creates the perfect topping for a Grilled Portobella Mushroom and Vegetable Sandwich.

Light Tomato Sauce7. Light Tomato Sauce
Our version of a Light Tomato Sauce is for those times when you want a simple but light sauce for pasta, vegetables or seafood that doesn't drown out the flavors of the foods underneath. When you're tired of heavy sauces--but want a touch of "tomatoes with character" this is the sauce to make! And it's a cinch to throw together! A side note, Frank Sinatra often requested a sauce like this on penne pasta when he'd return from a heavy traveling concert schedule and was tired of the heavy meals.

Orange Sauce8. Orange Sauce
Orange Sauce is a very easy to make sauce which will perk up any dish where a little orange pizazz is needed. The key is to use fresh orange juice, preferable fresh squeezed, and a good quality orange liqueur.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette  9. Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Pomegranate Vinaigrette is a very light fruity vinaigrette we like to use on grilled vegetables like Grilled Zucchini and Pom. We like to keep the vinaigrette very "soft" and slightly sweet, so we use fresh pomegranate juice, fennel seed, just a little white wine vinegar for acidity sparkle and a mild extra virgin olive oil like an Arbequina.

Toppings and Garnishes

Caramel Sauce1. Caramel Sauce
There is nothing like real Caramel sauce, once you had the real thing you will never want to go back to the industrial version you buy in the store.

Chantilly Cream2. Chantilly Cream
This is our adaption of Paul Prudhomme's Cajun dessert topping recipe. This is definitely NOT Mediterranean! But I included it in our recipes because it's so easy and a great way of topping off everything from Bread Pudding, Pumpkin Pie, fresh fruit, strawberry shortcake to chocolate mousse. And since normally the Mediterranean Diet is so healthy, once in a while it's ok to splurge a little.

Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce3. Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce
My Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce is so easy to make-providing you're organized, because you have to work fast on the stove-and you don't want spilled hot fudge on you-or the floor! (My first experience with hot fudge happened at the tender age of four when I reached up and pulled the hot fudge pan --and hot fudge-all over me, just as my mom turned her head. I think of that almost every time I get near hot fudge! Luckily there were no scars.) You can serve this hot fudge warmed on cold ice cream or chill it for various applications. --You could also use this for chocolate fondue-if you're so inclined.--Let your imagination soar!

English Cream4. English Cream
English Creme, Creme Anglaise to the French or Crema D'Inglese to the Italians is actually a soft custard. It is a wonderful counter point sauce to use with fruit and especially chocolate desserts. We like to use it with our Poached Pears in Red Wine Dessert. If you can find real free range eggs with dark yolks, the sauce is a beautiful golden color and accents the burgundy red of the pears.