Updated 2012-04-28 02:07:15 ID=663:1

© 2012 The Romantic Table
©2012 The Romantic Table, Pickled Beets and Eggs 2012-04-11 14:29:54:326
©2012 The Romantic Table

Mamie's Pickled Beets and Eggs are SO good and easy to make and perfect for most holiday buffets and summertime barbecues and picnics.

April's Recipes: A Time for Transitioning and Gearing up for Spring and Summer


April for me, has always been a "transition month" food-wise. April has also always been one of my funkier months personally. (I would physically "hit bottom" for some reason in April, only to do a "re-set of my system" then get up and out, and back on track for the rest of the year!) It was also always a hard month for my family because the first Friday after Easter -usually at the beginning of April, was the day that we'd re-open our seasonal restaurant, "The Country Cousin," for the Summer through Early Fall. There were a lot of preparations to do and everyone had their responsibilities, expectations and desires.

It is now Spring and by month's end we will start to feel the warmth of the improved outdoor weather that leads us into the summer months of May and June. So April is the month I usually start craving and cooking a little lighter and tempting fare with the flavors and aromas of the delicious late Spring produce.

We've got some real "keepers" for you this month that you can enjoy right through the the fourth of July -if not for the whole year!

©2012 The Romantic Table, Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccolini and Yam 2012-04-11 14:38:35:327
©2012 The Romantic Table

Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccolini and Yam, with sauteed onion and garlic, white wine and a little chicken broth with rigatoni, what's not to love?
Our first recipe this month, is one that you can make almost year-round: Rigatoni with Chicken, Broccolini and Yam. Using filleted and cubed chicken thighs, lightly steamed Broccolini, parboiled and sauteed yams, sauteed onion and garlic, white wine and a little chicken broth with rigatoni, what's not to love? The flavor of the cubed yams is so delicious with the sauteed chicken cubes and Broccolini, the lighter more Spring-like version of broccoli, makes this as an appealing to look at entree' as it does to devour!

Our next recipe is one based on my grandmother's recipe: Mamie's Pickled Beets and Eggs. 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 is 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.

Moving on, since this is April, it's usually a hard time for my constitution, so I needed some mellow food to set my mind and body right. --You just can't beat this offering: Shrimp with Angel Hair and Saffron.

©2012 The Romantic Table, Shrimp with Angel Hair and Saffron 2012-04-11 14:41:26:328
©2012 The Romantic Table

Shrimp with Angel Hair and Saffron is a very mellow pasta dish. There is something very soothing about a trito -onion, carrot and celery, with 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 soothing 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!

The key to this recipe is a really good shrimp stock-reduction. To get an intense shrimp flavor, you really need to use preferably whole shrimp with heads (the Safeway-Vons grocery store chain has shrimp with heads-on for $4.99 per pound), or at least shrimp with shells. Shelling the shrimp takes a little effort (or you can train your husband to do this -men like playing with knives!), but the results are really worth it. If you are pressed for time, you can make the stock in advance, then quickly finish the pasta later when you are ready to serve.

Our fourth new recipe is Lamb Shanks Romantic Table Style. . These are so good and pretty straight-forward to make. Other than first flouring the lamb shanks prior to browning, this is easy to put together. Roasted in the oven with turnips, parsnips, carrots and onions then poured with a little white wine, the lamb shanks are then covered and roasted SLOWLY at 300 degrees for about two hours. Oh! My God! The heavenly aromas are unbelievable! While they're roasting, you can leisurely do your last minute clean-up before your guests arrive. These are a much lighter version of our other lamb shank recipe:Braised Lamb Shanks Osso Bucco style.

©2012 The Romantic Table, Lemon Custard Tart 2012-04-11 14:50:01:329
©2012 The Romantic Table

Lemon Custard Tart with a Shortbread Crust is a delicious but surprisingly very easy to put together recipe. And its taste is absolutely divine.
Our "Blast from the Past" recipe is perfect for this time of year when fresh lemons are at their zenith Lemon Custard Tart. This is the perfect delicious ending to an Early Spring dinner. When I think of Easter, the first dessert that comes to mind is a Lemon Meringue Pie. Lemon meringue pies can be tricky, so if you want the taste of a lemon meringue without the extra fuss, you should try making our recipe for a Lemon Custard Tart. It's so good and easy to throw together!

Though influenced by the French-method for tarts, the crust is strictly our concoction that evolved over years of making pies crusts-as well as shortbread desserts. The filling is almost magical by the way it comes together with lemon juice, lemon zest, a little sugar and eggs with no flour or cornstarch added for thickening. "Bang for preparation minutes" to put this together, it's a no-contest winner for a great dessert!

So I hope by now I've got your mind and appetites thinking about what you'd like to cook up this early Spring month for you and your family - and enjoy!




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A tip from Sue!

Beware cooking wine!

Never use a "so-called cooking wine" that's marketed specifically as a cooking wine for your sauce. Only use a wine that would not be objectionable to drink by itself. In lighter sauces a good one to use is a nice Fume' Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc. In stronger red sauces, use a decent red wine such as a Barolo, Zinfandel or Cabernet.