A Soggy Weekend Special

PL_Snow_01More snow, sleet, rain and fog in the forecast for Saturday. Cheer up! Technically, it’s spring and Sunday promises sunshine. (Let’s hope that whoever is in charge delivers.) A gray Saturday is a great excuse to hang out in the kitchen.

Invite your beset buds over to share the results. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Think warm and sunny when it comes to appetizers. Start the evening with one of my favorites, Baba Ganoush or Caponata. Serve either with warm pita.

To the table for a salad! Roasted vegetables go great with greens. Give my Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad or just as delicious Mixed Greens with Warm Roasted Squash.

Moving on, how about Harira, cozy Middle Eastern soup with chicken, chickpeas and lentils. Too spicy? then try a New England favorite – Lobster-Corn Chowder. Yes, lobster is a bit pricey these days. Maybe everyone’s favorite, Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach, would be a better bet,

I’ve got the perfect dessert for this weather. Since it’s mud season, what could be better than New Hampshire Mud Pie. Want another option? How about Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart?

Have a great evening and bon appétit!

What are your plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2015

Spring Has Sprung?!? & New Hampshire Mud Pie

mud_seasonAccording to the calendar, spring has sprung. For anyone living in New Hampshire, spring is a somewhat relative term. You’ve heard the saying – March comes in like a lion and goes out like lamb. Well, not here. As far as I can figure, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lion. If you want, you can change that last part to out like raging rhinoceros/. With snow on the first day of spring, the weather is hardly lamb-like.

Some people refer to this time of year as mud season. I usually think of it as still winter and not in a good way. The good kind of winter is jolly with skiing, skating, après festivities and general all-round frivolity. The bad kind of winter is the fed-up kind with ugly piles of dirty snow on the side of the road. Mud and sand are everywhere. Dirt roads are nothing but muck, trapping cars in their sticky mire. Paved roads are no better. An abundance of frost heaves and potholes turn them into roller coasters.

When it snows, instead of light and fluffy, a nasty mix of snow, sleet and rain falls from the sky. Alternating rain and frigid temperatures turn the mountain into an ice-skating rink one day and slush puddle the next. Then again, a lot of people are past caring. When the first gently falling flakes came down in December, they waxed poetic and then grabbed their skis, snowshoes or sled. Now they’re fed up and don’t mind telling you. What they once called magical is now are just a pain in the you know what.

Of course, it’s not all bad news. Whether you are in desperate need of a break or not, there’s a pretty good chance you gave the last of your pennies to the snowplow guy. A spa day seems out of the question until you get stuck on the shortcut you always take to the ski hill. You are utterly bereft until it hits you. Just below your spinning wheels is a seemingly endless supply of mud! Forget a simple facial, there’s enough for everyone in the state to enjoy a full body mud wrap. And it’s organic!

And that’s not all. At least once, possibly twice or three times, we’ll have that delightful combination of sunshine and warmish temperatures. Those are the days when a morning on the slopes is sheer delight. Instead of hard packed powder (generally known as ice to the rest of the world), the snow is soft and granular. Even better, you can put aside your Michelin man getup and sport your favorite Norwegian or fisherman’s knit sweater. The one your mom got for Christmas in 1952 and you borrowed twenty-five years later. Has it really been that long since you’ve not returned it?

Slush_Cup_Ragged_01Even if you don’t like to ski, you can go to the mountain and hangout. There will be lots of music and end of season festivities. A favorite is watching skiers and snowboarders attempt to skim across an ice-cold pond of slush. Some even make it.

Sound like too much frivolity; how about a peaceful walk around the lake? The road around Pleasant Lake may have its share of cracks and craters but its dry and the woods are abuzz with wild turkeys and other feathered friends. After a winter of arctic temperatures and hurricane-force winds, it’s good to be outside.

Enjoy mud season, after all the black flies will be here sooner than you think! Bon appétit!

New Hampshire Mud Pie
A very easy dessert, Mud Pie is a favorite at my house. What about yours? Enjoy!
Serves 12-16

Cookie Crust
9 ounces chocolate wafers or Oreo cookies (about 2 cups crumbs)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamonmud_pie_06
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Put the cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt and pulse to combine.

Put the cookie crumbs in a bowl, drizzle with the melted butter and toss to combine. Put the buttery crumbs in the springform pan and firmly press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and about 1-2 inches up the sides of the pan.

Bake the crust until set, about 7 minutes. Cool completely.

Ice Cream Filling
2 quarts ice cream or gelato, your favorite flavor(s)
Your favorite add-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, crushed candies and cookies

Put the ice cream in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to soften.

Scoop 1 quart of ice cream into the springform pan and spread it evenly over the cookie crust. Sprinkle liberally with chocolate chips, nuts, coconut and/or crushed candies and cookies and gently press into the ice cream.

Repeat with the second quart of ice cream and more toppings. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight.

I recommend coffee and vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreo cookies and Heath bars.

Chocolate Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
14 ounces dark chocolate* or a mix of dark and milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, salt and orange juice in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and, swirling the pan occasionally, boil until it is a deep amber color, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cream, the mixture will bubble, and whisk until smooth. Heat over low heat until the cream is hot but not boiling. Whisk in the espresso powder and Grand Marnier.

Turn off the heat, add the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes to melt. Whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk again until smooth and combined.

Serve warm. If making ahead, warm the chocolate sauce in a heavy saucepan over very low heat or in a double boiler over simmering water.

* Forget chocolate chips for this recipe. Having lived in Switzerland for almost two decades, I always use Swiss chocolate for this sauce. It melts beautifully and is worth the extra expense.

To servemud_pie_02
Move the Mud Pie to the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving. Gently release the collar on the springform pan.

Decoratively drizzle individual plates with chocolate sauce (pretend you are the pastry chef in an elegant restaurant).

Slice the pie and place each slice on a plate on top of the chocolate sauce. If you insist, you can drizzle each slice with more chocolate sauce.

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One Year Ago – White Beans Provençal with Bacon & Baby Kale
Two Years Ago – Moroccan Spiced Grilled Lamb with Roasted Eggplant Salsa
Three Years Ago – Linguine with Shrimp, Artichokes Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives
Four Years Ago – Roast Chicken
Five Years Ago – Roasted Asparagus with Walnuts
Six Years Ago – Roasted Eggplant with Peperonata
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will survive Mud Season? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Weekend Special – First Day of Spring

Daffodils_VaseSnow, sleet and rain may be in the forecast but Friday is the first day of spring! So let out a big yahoo and celebrate the vernal equinox. Whether you get together for a belated Saint Paddy’s feast or skip the corned beef and cabbage, have a great evening. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Start the evening with a warm and cheesy bite. Treat your guests to a tasty Tartelettes au Fromage avec Saucisse et Poireaux (tiny tarts with gruyere, sausage and leeks) or Savory Galette with Spinach, Mushrooms & Manchego. Both are delicious.

Now to the table! Lure your friends away from the fireplace with a beautiful salad. Try my colorful Rainbow Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette or just as colorful Mixed Reds & Greens Salad with Roasted Garlic & Shallot Vinaigrette.

Moving on, how about Lamb Shanks for a nod to Saint Paddy. The shanks are braised in Guinness with lots of root veggies. Serve them with Not-Really-Irish and Not-Really-French Potato Gratin.

Unless you’d prefer beef. Try my or Braised Short Ribs. Complete the dinner with Roasted Cauliflower and the Not-Really-Irish and Not-Really-French spuds.

Something sweet will hit the spot. It’s maple season so what could be better than Maple-Nut Sundaes. Whip up a batch of Maple Sauce – you’ll be so glad you did. If you want something a little fancy then try my Maple Mousse. On the other hand, who can resist Apple Crisp.

Have a great evening and bon appétit!

What are your plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2015

How to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day & Not-Really-Irish and Not-Really-French Potato Gratin

Guinness_01For those of us in northern New England, Saint Patrick’s Day is a bright spot in a long winter. It is an excellent excuse for merriment or brooding reflection. How will you spend the day? Are you a merrymaker, a brooder or something in between? Just in case you have not figured out how to spend the day, here are a few suggestions.

Put on a green sweater and go on a pub-crawl. It’s probably been years, even decades, since you have enjoyed this collegiate tradition. At my college in northern New York, there were nineteen, yes nineteen, pub stops in the small town so the crawl took several hours. I’m again living in a college town but it has less than a handful of pubs. Still, if you don’t walk it like you did at twenty-one, draw straws for a designated driver.

Sip Irish whiskey and read Yeats. If a pub-crawl is not your style maybe you’d like to hunker down in front of the fire. Settle into your coziest armchair with a book and a tot. If you have no real need for solitude, organize a poetry reading with likeminded tot-ters.

Go on a road trip and love a parade. You’ve already missed the parade in South Boston; it was Sunday. If you hurry, you might make it to New York in time to march. Don’t forget your fisherman knit sweater and comfortable shoes.

Dance a gig. Put on your dancing shoes and have at it. Don’t know the steps? Intimidated by the Irish step dancers’ fancy footwork? Stop worrying and just wing it! After a few green beers, no one will know the difference.

Listen to music. If you insist that dancing is not your thing, you can still enjoy Irish music. Rummage around and find that collection of traditional Irish music. Hopefully, it’s not old enough to be on cassette tape. Otherwise, try a marathon of U2 hits.

???????????????????????????????Build a Leprechaun Trap. If there is a child in your house or you can borrow one from next door, build a Leprechaun Trap. Legend has it that if you catch one, he’s obligated to take you to his pot of gold.

Bake up some green goodies. Yes, we can all go a bit coo-coo with green on Saint Patrick’s Day. What the heck, throw a little food coloring into the cupcake frosting and have some fun. Although far from an even swap for his gold, share your treats with the leprechaun you captured. Alternatively, they will create a sweet ending to the about to be mentioned party.

Boil up some beef and cabbage. This one is for diehard Irish-Americans. Although it’s been a while, I’ve tried a boiled dinner and am not in a hurry to have another. Besides, it’s not really Irish. Yes, the quintessential Saint Patrick’s Day dinner is a New York invention. Irish immigrants favored potatoes and pork but switched to the cheaper cabbage and corned beef in their new home. Alternatively, you can whip up an Irish stew or braise some short ribs or lamb shanks in Guinness. Saint Paddy’s Day is a wonderful excuse for a party.

May the luck of the Irish be with you and bon appétit!

Not-Really-Irish and Not-Really-French Potato Gratin
Okay, I’ve taken some liberties here. I like to think of this recipe as the baby born from an Irish Colcannon and a French Gratin. (Hopefully,) you’ll find it a delicious alternative to both. Enjoy!
Serves 8

3 or more tablespoons butter
4-6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1-2 leeks, chopped
1/2-1 onion, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2-3 pounds red skinned potatoes, peeled (optional) and cut in large chunks
1-1 1/2 cups sour cream or crème fraîche
About 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large baking dish with 2 tablespoons butter.

Cook the bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain.

Drain most of the bacon fat from the skillet, leaving just enough to lightly coat the pan. Add the leek and onion, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Stir in the thyme and nutmeg and remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot and add enough cold, salted water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the potatoes to a rapid boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart.

Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add the bacon and vegetables (and more butter if you like) and toss to combine. Add the sour cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again. If you like, give the potatoes a rough smash with a potato masher.

Transfer half of the potatoes to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with the remaining potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Can be made ahead to this point, cool to room temperature, cover and store in the refrigerator. Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator about an hour before you want to bake them.

Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until the potatoes are piping hot and the top is golden.

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One Year Ago – Zucchini Pancakes
Two Years Ago – Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Three Years Ago – Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Four Years Ago – Grilled Strip Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce
Five Years Ago – Linguine with Sundried Tomato Pesto & Roasted Eggplant
Six Years Ago – Fettuccine with Classic Bolognese Sauce
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you celebrate Saint Paddy’s Day? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

Weekend Special – Time for a Potluck

fruit_nuts_herbs_01Are you overdue for a festive dinner with friends. Have you been putting it off because you just can’t find the time to cook dinner for a mob of people. Don’t worry about it. Organize a potluck. Or talk your friend into doing it, the one who’s such a good organizer.

Make it easy. Pick a theme, something easy. No need to show off. Don’t choose something obscure like Thai-Latvian fusion or with hard to find (at least in New Hampshire) ingredients from Ethiopia Uzbekistan. You can wax lyrical and invite everyone to an evening in the Italian countryside or a feast of French Farmhouse cuisine. These themes are vague enough to allow creativity and specific enough to avoid Asian-Tex-Mex-Mediterranean Fusion. Send out an email, pick up the phone or send an evite. (Evite can be particularly handy – your guests can rsvp and share what they’ll be bringing all at the same time.)

And now suggestions …

To start: For a small bite with a bit of Italian flair, try Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam or Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam. A bowl of Spicy Olives will certainly be welcome.

If flirting with French cuisine make more sense, then how about Roasted Shrimp with Tarragon Aioli, some lovely Pâté or Tapenade? Either way, a small bowl of warm Rosemary Cashews will always be welcome.

Moving on … Everyone likes chicken. Perhaps you’ll try Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs or Chicken Niçoise. Serve the chicken with Roasted Cauliflower or Broccoli Puree and Lemon Roasted Potatoes or Israeli Couscous. Or all of the above.

Unless you’re doing the Italian thing. Then go for a delicious and hearty Butternut Squash Lasagna or or Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Marinara.

A salad, maybe two, is always a good idea. For a nod to Italy, try Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad or Mixed Greens Salad with Gorgonzola & Walnuts. You’ll taste a hint of France in Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese Salad
or Mixed Greens with Roasted Grapes, Olives & Feta.

To top it all off … hmmm?  For a potluck with a French accent, bake a Rustic Apple Croustade or whip up some smooth and creamy Chocolate Mousse. Or go with Maple Mousse, it is in season!

Again, if you want to bring some Italian flair to the party, try my Chocolate Panna Cotta or Panna Cotta with Strawberries. And while it may not be Italian, my Chocolate-Orange Tart is delicious.

Have a great party and bon appétit!

What are your plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2015

More Girls’ Night Out & Rainbow Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette

table_set_for_dinner_02March is perfect for a potluck and a Girls’ Night Out. After all, it’s Women’s History Month. Can you think of a better excuse to get together with friends and create a little history of your own? Last week I gave a few tips for a Girls’ Night Out Potluck. “Okay for the host,” you say, “but what about the potluckers who join in the fun? How about some advice for the guests?” All right then, here goes!

Follow your host’s lead. I admit it; I’m of those. A host who tries to bring a little order to the potluck clutter and chaos. It’s not that I don’t understand your frustration. I hear you when you extoll the deliciousness of your recently perfected Korean short ribs recipe. In spite of my empathy for you and your ribs, I’m declaring a theme and it’s not a Korean banquet.

When your host declares a soup and salad night (or tapas or an Italian feast or …), can you, should you ignore the theme? Remember, you love your friend, even if she is a certifiable control freak. Go with flow; toss a salad, roast some shrimp or whip up your world-renown brownies. Instead of the usual potluck hodgepodge, you may very well enjoy one of the best dinners of your life! And by the way, I’m free for ribs on Friday!

Come prepared. We’ve all heard the ancient saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. Don’t be one of them. If at all possible, your dish should be ready to serve when you arrive. And by ready, I mean on a serving platter with utensils. Your host has enough to do without hauling out the stepladder and pawing through the upper reaches of her cupboards for another platter. And it’s definitely not okay to arrive straight from the market with a bag of fresh veggies to wash, spin, chop and toss.

If you are going to need oven or stove space, call in advance. Or try my favorite trick. When you pull your casserole out of the oven or chili off the stove, wrap the dish in one, maybe two, old (but clean!) beach towels. Slide the whole thing into a cooler and it should stay piping hot for at least an hour.

We’re all busy and it’s okay. A Girls’ Night Out potluck is a wonderful opportunity to take a break and relax. That said, everyone will understand if you have to work late. Just don’t volunteer to bring an appetizer. Your fabulous artichoke dip is not so fabulous for dessert. Come when you can, we do want to see you but, if you know you will be late, sign-up for cupcakes.

And what if you need to leave early? Again, we get it; your babysitter has a Spanish test and must be home by 8:00. We’ll be delighted to see you, even for a short time. Bring an appetizer, grab a glass of wine and stay as long as you can.

“Ha!” you bark. You only wish it was about arriving late or leaving early. We all have days, weeks, months, when there’s no time to cook. Not even one, little dish for a potluck. Instead of turning down the invitation or showing up with a half-empty bottle of ketchup, be clever. Beautiful dishes don’t have to be complicated or homemade. Hint: a beautiful box of artisanal chocolates will be the hit of the party. Another hint: tired looking baby carrots with dried out hummus will not.

Have a fun. It’s been a cold and snowy winter. Although it’s not over yet, we’ve changed the clocks and temperatures are creeping upward. Give a good stretch and a big yawn and kiss the weeks of hibernation goodbye. It’s time to spend an evening with old friends, new friends and soon-to-be friends.

Bon appétit!

Rainbow Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette
A salad is always welcome at a potluck. This one has an interesting combination of bitter greens, salty feta and olives, sweet cherries and crunchy peppers, cucumber and almonds. Enjoy!
Serves 12Rainbow_Salad_Olive_Vinaigrette_01

5 ounces baby arugula
1 small head radicchio, cut in ribbons
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 European cucumber, peeled and chopped
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
Black Olive Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
4 ounces feta, crumbled
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup dried cherries

Combine the arugula, radicchio, bell pepper, cucumber and scallions in a large bowl and toss to combine.

If you are bringing the salad to a potluck, put the feta, almonds and cherries in separate containers or plastic bags.

Just before serving: add enough Black Olive Vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss. Sprinkle with feta, almonds and dried cherries and serve.

Black Olive Vinaigrette
12-15 black oil cured Greek olives, pitted
1 clove garlic
About 1-inch chunk red onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup or to taste extra virgin olive oil

Put the olives, garlic, onion, mustard, anchovy paste and vinegar in a mini food processor, season with pepper and pulse to combine and finely chop. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth.

Cover and store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator.

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One Year Ago – Potato & Cheddar Soup
Two Years Ago – Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Three Years Ago – Guinness Lamb Shanks
Four Years Ago – Strip Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce
Five Years Ago – White Bean Dip
Six Years Ago – Warm Chocolate Pudding
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

Do you have any special plans for Women’s History Month? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

Girls’ Night Out & Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Bonnie_Candy_Susie_Laura_02When was the last time you invited your girlfriends over or suggested a night out on the town? What with all the snow and cold, it’s probably been a while. Like bears and groundhogs, we tend to hibernate when the wind blows and the mercury plummets. With all those layers of scarves, hats, mittens, heavy coats and sweaters, we’re exhausted before we even get out the door.

Whether you believe it or not, spring is just a couple of weeks away. Yes, spring. All right, not the kind they have in more temperate climes. Don’t go expecting a bunch of daffodils to pop up anytime soon. The snowbanks in front of my house are still at least seven feet tall. That said, the sun is higher in the sky. While we can’t seem to shake the arctic express, a little sunshine makes the day seem warmer (even when it isn’t).

So, it’s time to step up to the plate and put on your organizing hat. Send an email. Make a few phone calls. Don’t take no for an answer. It’s time to get out and about again. It’s time for Girls’ Night Out.

If you and your friends are charter members of the te to Cook Club, then I suggest that you make reservations. It doesn’t matter whether you go five-star or diner style, the point is to see each other and have fun. Just be sure to pick a place that won’t rush you in and out in twenty minutes.

Perhaps your group is from that other school and loves all things culinary. A whole universe of fun is available to you. Of course, you could throw caution to the wind and hold a cooking party. Depending on how far you take it, a cooking party takes a little or a lot of planning. You can keep it simple and give everyone a turn stirring the risotto … or … go a little crazy and roll out dough for dozens and dozens of dumplings. Hmm, a potluck may be a better idea and less chaotic for the host.

Anyone who likes to cook, loves a potluck. Hey, it’s been a long, cold winter with lots of time to experiment in the kitchen and practice new recipes. I bet your friends can’t wait to show off their latest masterpieces. Before you start calling and emailing, here are a few tips:

Theme or not? Some people don’t mind, even hope for, a colossal mashup at their potluck. While surprises can be fun and funny, dinner can end up a hodgepodge. Think spanakopita meets kimchi and Boston baked beans. When you’re the host, feel free reign it in and declare a theme. How about Italian night or a seafood festival? Don’t want to dictate? Take charge of the main course and ask the girls to follow your lead. Your Thai curry or lobster mac & cheese will set the scene.

Plot the course. Some hosts don’t check to see who’s cooking what. You may be one of them. Perhaps you not-so-secretly hope that everyone will bring dessert. I’ve been there; it’s not pretty. Unless your tooth is really sweet, don’t hesitate to give the menu a guiding hand and ask a question or two. After all, there’s salad and then there is salad. While you’re assuming leafy greens, your friend is thinking hearty spuds. Delicious as it may be, her potato salad is not a great match for lasagna.

Forewarned is forearmed. Most guests limit their on-site preparation but it’s not a bad idea to find out who needs a spot in the oven or some last minute prep. Who knows, you may learn that your dear but ditzy friend is bringing a bag full of groceries so you can teach her how to make pot stickers. Postpone the dumpling lesson for another night and suggest she bring fresh fruit or a bottle of sake.

Be nothing if not flexible. Rest assured, with all those cooks and moving parts, something will go amiss. The salad maker will cancel at the last minute or the appetizers will arrive in time for dessert. It’s okay, pour another glass of wine and enjoy the company.

Have a fun night with the girls and bon appétit!

Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs
Everyone likes chicken and it pretty much goes with everything – the perfect dish for a potluck. Enjoy!
Serves 8Roasted_Lemon_Chicken_Thighs_01

8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 1/2-2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 lemons
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
8-12 ounces fresh (peeled and trimmed) or frozen pearl onions
8-12 garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled and left whole

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer in the oven for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the chicken with 1-1 1/2 teaspoons herbs and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, skin-side down in the hot roasting pan. Return the pan to the oven and roast the chicken at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the chicken roasts, put the juice of 1/2 lemon, the stock, wine, olive oil and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the onions and garlic, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon herbs, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Thinly slice 2 lemons and discard any seeds.

Turn the chicken, add the onions and garlic and scatter them around the pan. Scatter the lemon slices over the chicken and onions and return the pan to the oven. Continue roasting until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the onions and garlic are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes more.

Serve the chicken thighs with a spoonful of onions, garlic and lemon.

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One Year Ago – Panna Cotta with Strawberries
Two Years Ago – Decadent Mac & Cheese
Three Years Ago – Seared Scallops with Roasted Pepper Sauce
Four Years Ago – Creole Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
Five Years Ago – White Bean Dip
Six Years Ago – Warm Chocolate Pudding

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

When was the last time you got together for a Girls’ Night Out? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015