Welcome September Weekend Special

After a bunch of soggy days, I’m ready for a little sun. It looks like the weekend will cooperate. That’s not the case for our friends to the south facing Florence. To you, I send my best wishes for a safe weekend. Please don’t be heroes – get out of there. Go someplace safe; come here if you like.

Rain or sun, what will you be cooking this weekend? How about you invite friends in for the best of the harvest and a little spice?

Okay, lets start with… Summer Rolls. They definitely are one of my favorite summer appetizers. If you are short on time, whip up a batch of my Peanut Sesame Dipping Sauce and serve it with fresh veggies.

Now to the table … for a refreshing salad, give my Spicy Cucumber & Radish Salad or Vietnamese Salad a try.

For your main course … the season is so short, you’ll want to get your fill of delicious local corn! How about you stir up a pot of my Spicy Shrimp, Corn and Coconut Soup. It’s delicious.

There’s always room for dessert … is it too late for local blueberries?
How about a Blueberry Pie or Almost Nana Nye’s Blueberry Cake. No – well … chocolate is always in season. You’ll love my Chocolate Panna Cotta.

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

 

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

What’s up with you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Advertisements

Namaste & Spicy Shrimp, Corn and Coconut Soup

I’m guessing that most all of my family, friends and acquaintances know about my daily walk around Pleasant Lake. A whole lot of other people probably know about it too. Not only do I mention these daily walks in this column from time to time but more than a few vehicles pass me as I make my way around. Take for instance, the school bus, all those plumbers vans and more than a couple trucks of trucks. As they pass me, I wave and the drivers usually wave back.

What you probably don’t know is that I also take a yoga class. It’s not a daily thing. Although for a little while, I was doing a couple of sun salutations every morning. However, it’s been quite a while since I gave a morning salute. These days, I pretend I don’t have time. Truth be told, I just haven’t made it a priority.

Once a week, I do make it a priority to throw on my yoga pants, grab my mat and get ready to stretch, bend and glide through an hour. Well, two of those things are sort-of but not really true. I did not go to the yoga pant store or even online. Instead, I found a pair of leggings tucked away in the shampoo and vitamin aisle at the supermarket. They’re mostly cotton and very comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I went back and bought some more. Once the weather turns cool, they are my hanging-out-at-home pants of choice. The other not quite true thing is, well, I don’t really glide. I can more or less hold my own with the bending and stretching but, try as I might, I tend to lurch more than glide.

If you’ve been thinking that you might like to take up yoga, there are lots of good reasons. Some are much too technical for me for me to explain let alone believe. So, here’s what I can say about my practice:

Yoga helps with balance … anyone who lives anywhere with an icy, snowy winter knows that balance is important. I suppose, the older I get, the more important good balance is. Plus, it’s fun to show off and stand on one leg in front of non-yogi friends.

Yoga helps me stay limber … my mom was a wonderful person and I love her dearly. However, arthritis is part of her legacy. (Running took its toll as well.) Yoga is great for deep stretching and bending and working all the little kinks out.

Yoga helps me build strength … with all the walking (and before that running), I have very strong legs. However, a number of smart people have been telling me for years that I need to develop better upper body strength. Yoga does that for me. Along with my arms and shoulders, it helps build my core muscles. Increasing core strength has been wonderful for the arthritis in my back.

Yoga helps me find peace and focus … to-do lists, telephones, texts, email, social media – they are all there, all the time. Together, they tag team to successfully distract and sometimes distress. However, for one hour each week, I can relax and focus on bending, stretching and, yes, lurching from one move to the next. Any noise in my head is stilled while I focus on that little spot on the floor, stand on one leg and find peace.

If you search for them, you can find one hundred reasons to take up yoga. From regulating your adrenal gland to weight loss. Like I already mentioned, some, make that most, of those reasons are too technical for me for me to explain let alone believe.

Namaste and bon appétit!

Spicy Shrimp, Corn and Coconut Soup
The local harvest is at its peak. It’s time to fire up the grill and make delicious magic with some of my favorite vegetables. Enjoy!
Serves 8

6-8 ears yellow or bicolor corn
Olive oil
About 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
About 12 ounces red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Sea salt to taste
2 quarts shrimp, vegetable or chicken broth or a mix
3 cups (2 15-ounce cans) unsweetened coconut milk
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Garnish: cilantro leaves, unsweetened toasted coconut flakes and/or chopped toasted peanuts

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Use the back of a dinner knife to scrape the cobs and release the milky juices into another bowl. Set aside.

Lightly coat a soup kettle with olive oil and heat on medium. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno, sprinkle with cumin and coriander and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the potato pieces and corn juices, season with salt, toss to combine and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer the soup for about 8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. If you like, remove from the heat and use a potato masher or fork to lightly smash the potatoes.

Raise the heat and return the soup to a boil, add the shrimp and corn, season with salt and stir to combine. When the soup returns to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through and pink.

Add the lime juice and zest and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with cilantro, coconut flakes and/or peanuts and serve.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Hoisin Pork Ribs
Two Years Ago – Curried Carrot Soup
Three Years Ago – Warm Gorgonzola with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts
Four Years Ago – Baked Haddock with Fresh Tomatoes & Herbs
Five Years Ago – Pumpkin-Ginger Muffins
Six Years Ago – Roast Pork with Apples & Onions
Seven Years Ago – Lemon Roasted Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Eight Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Soup
Nine Years Ago – Rustic Apple Tart
Ten Years Ago – Oktoberfest Sausages & Sauerkraut

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

How do you keep fit? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Another Hip Hip Hooray Holiday Weekend Special

As I mentioned last week, a midweek holiday can be a bit awkward. Do the celebrations start the weekend before the Fourth of July? Or do you start on the Fourth and keep celebrating through the weekend? The best solution is to take the entire week and do it proud.

With all this warm weather, a picnic or cookout is a happy holiday must. Need some help with your menu? Not to worry, I have a few suggestions …

For a light and bright appetizer, your friends will love my Rosemary Cashews and
Tapenade with crispy slices of cucumber and red bell pepper.

Now, gather around the picnic table and enjoy my Vietnamese Salad. Next, try my Grilled Shrimp (this time without the peanut sauce) and Szechuan Noodle Salad.

As long as the local strawberries are in season, you’ll want to head to the PYO for dessert. What could be more festive than a Berry Flag Cake or Strawberry & White Chocolate Fool. Parfaits.

Have a wonderful summer and holiday. Bon appétit!

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

What’s up with you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Celebrate Democracy & Vietnamese Salad

This Fourth of July, let’s embrace and celebrate our democratic republic – the Great American Experiment. Back on July the 4th 1776, the founding fathers declared independence from a tyrannical, and some say mad, King George. At the time, they could only hope that the experiment would last. From day one, it’s been far from perfect and always evolving. Sometimes the nation takes a step forward. Take for instance, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Sometimes, it takes a step backwards. Consider McCarthyism and the Red Scare in the 1950s.

In spite of the ups and downs, our democracy has held. Our deep belief in equality, that all people are created equal has been central to our success. We cherish the fundamental rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These beliefs are at the very core of our national identity. It is what continues to make us patriots 242 years after the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.

The United States was founded by immigrants. From the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, to the laborers who built the railroads and programmers who created Silicon Valley, the United States has always been a proud melting pot of diversity. Eight of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were not born in the United States. They were farmers, lawyers and doctors who crossed an ocean in search of a new life. We are a nation that has grown and prospered with each new generation of immigrants. Some came for adventure but most were in pursuit of a better, safer life.

I lived in Switzerland for seventeen years. It was an interesting experience for many reasons. For one, I was an immigrant, a foreigner, a legal alien coming from a nation of immigrants. With dozens of United Nations agencies and just as many multinational companies, Geneva is a wonderfully diverse city. At work and at play, people from vastly different cultures come together. On street corners, in restaurants, in the supermarket, people of every nationality and race speak a multitude of languages. Like communities across the U.S., this cultural melting pot made the town all the richer.

One summer, I was the assistant coach for a tee-ball team of five-year-olds. A few were Swiss but the vast majority were immigrants, just like their coaches. Many, but not all, were Americans. I’m guessing their parents signed them up to maintain a link back to their homeland. For the others, it was a chance to try something new. Overall, they were just a jumble of kids who wanted to have fun. While I have no proof or statistics, I’d hazard to guess that their talent was as varied as any tee-ball team you’d find in the U.S. Given the superb (?!?) coaching they received, I’m sure they had more fun than the average U.S. tee-ball team.

I joke about superb coaching because I was one of the worst softball players to darken the doors of my middle and high schools. However, I figured out one thing and passed it on to my five-year-old charges. Keep your eye on the ball, hold the bat tight and swing. Ignore the noise from the crowd. Don’t worry if that cute little Belgian girl likes you. Stop thinking about ice cream after the game. Keep your eye on the ball and you will hit it every time. Like magic, they did.

This 4th of July and every day, keep your eye on our shared American values. Hold tight to the belief in equality for all people. Don’t allow the country’s high standards for liberty, justice and opportunity falter. These beliefs are at the very core of our national identity.

Have a wonderful Independence Day and summer. Bon appétit!

Vietnamese Salad
A refreshing salad is perfect on a hot summer night. Serve this one with your favorite grilled fish or chicken. Enjoy!
Serves 8

4 heads baby bok choy, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
About 5 ounces arugula
3-6 radishes, finely chopped
1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 carrot, cut into curls (use a vegetable peeler)
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, cut in julienne
Garnish: 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Put the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl and toss to combine.

To serve: toss the salad with just enough Vietnamese Vinaigrette to lightly coat. Transfer the salad to a large, deep serving platter or individual plates and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Vietnamese Vinaigrette
Makes 1 cup

Grated zest and juice of 2 limes
2 cloves garlic
1-inch piece fresh ginger
1-inch chunk red onion
1-2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon or to taste chili sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup or to taste extra virgin olive
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Put the lime zest and juice in a blender or small food processor, add the garlic, ginger, onion, honey and chili sauce, season with salt and pepper and process to chop the vegetables and combine. Add the vinegar, fish sauce and soy sauce and process until smooth.

Add the olive and sesame oils and process until well-combined. Transfer to a clean, glass jar. Let the vinaigrette sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator to combine the flavors. Give the vinaigrette a good shake before using.

Store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Tomato & Burrata Salad with Grilled Bread
Two Years Ago – Grilled Shrimp & Vegetable Salad
Three Years Ago – Fresh Berries with Creamy Lime Custard
Four Years Ago – Grilled Tomato Crostini
Five Years Ago – Strawberries with Yogurt Cream
Six Years Ago – Watermelon & Feta Salad
Seven Years Ago – Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Basil Aioli
Eight Years Ago – Mediterranean Shrimp
Nine Years Ago – Grilled Hoisin Pork

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

What’s your summer travel story? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Back on Cook’s Corner – Hint of Asia Barbecue Sauce

If you’ve missed me on television … well, yes, it’s been awhile. I’m back today on local ABC affiliate WMUR.


Just in time for your Fourth of July celebration, I’m stirring up a delicious new barbecue sauce. Give it a try at your holiday cookout!

You can find my recipe for Hint of Asia here or watch the video here!

Is It the Holiday Weekend Yet Special?

The Fourth of July falls on Wednesday this year. A midweek holiday is a bit awkward. Do the celebrations start the weekend before or continue through the weekend after? Better you celebrate both!

This weekend and next, invite friends over for a happy holiday cookout. Fly a flag, roll out the grill and have a delicious weekend. Need some help with your menu? Not to worry, I have a few suggestions …

For a light and bright appetizer, you can’t beat my favorite Shrimp & Cucumber Bites or Crostini with Cucumber, Radish & Feta.Want something more exotic? How about Baba Ganoush with pita chips and fresh veggies.

Now for the main course … get the grill going and enjoy my Grilled Vietnamese Beef or A Hint of Asia Barbecued Chicken or Hoisin Pork Ribs. Complete your main course with my fabulous Asian Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Asian Slaw.

As for dessert, it’s strawberry season. What could be better? For easy, you must try my Strawberries in Cointreau. If you want to get a little fancy try my Creamy Yogurt Tart with Fresh Strawberries.

Have a wonderful summer and holiday. Bon appétit!

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

What’s up with you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018

Forget the Necktie & Grilled Vietnamese Beef

You’ve got five days to get it together, so, don’t blow it. And by it, I mean Father’s Day. If you are suddenly caught unawares, don’t worry you are not alone. Father’s Day is probably the most overlooked or just plain forgotten holiday in the whole panoply of fêtes, festivals and celebrations. Mom gets brunch, cards and flowers. If we remember, Dad gets another necktie.

In the era of business casual, most men, spend their days in Dockers and button-down shirts. The pants are always navy blue. Although the shirts are always light blue, they generally come in a variety of strips, checks and plaids. If he’s retired, your dad has probably traded in his navy blue trousers for khaki and button-downs for golf shirts. Working or retired, most dads have not worn a necktie more than a handful of times since 1998. Of course, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. While politicians, talk show hosts, bankers and Wall Street wonders are the most obvious tie wearers, there could be others.

That’s not to say that a beautiful necktie is not appreciated. In fact, I’m proud to say, I gave my dad his favorite tie, pale yellow with light blue catboats. However, it was ages ago, 1998 or maybe 1997, and it wasn’t for Father’s Day. It was a Christmas gift. I can’t say for certain, but there is a good chance I neglected him that Father’s Day. (In my defense, I was living an ocean away.)

Anyway, about that favorite tie, it may be twenty years old but he still likes it enough to find an excuse to wear it once if not twice a year. I suspect that it would be near impossible to find one to replace it. Any new necktie would just join the pile he never wears but refuses to throw away. Most are boring navy blue with equally boring stripes. One has catboats but they sail across a dark, drab background.

All right then, if ties are out, what’s in?

How about socks? Think ridiculously bright colors, stars, stripes or polka dots. A beautiful pair of socks will add a little life to dad’s wardrobe. If he’s the conservative type, you might point to Bush 41. The former president has a spectacular collection of socks. My oldest niece gave Dad a couple of fun pairs for Christmas a few years ago. They are his party socks and he loves them.

Something to eat or drink? Here you have an endless list of possibilities from a bottle of dad’s favorite bourbon to a trio of intriguing hot sauces or mustards. If he can’t start the day without a great cup of Joe, then a pound of really good coffee sounds like a plan. Then again, you can help him get his grill on by signing him up for the steak of the month club.

Maybe you should give him the gift of time together? Instead of a book he’s already read or a shirt that doesn’t fit, plan an experience you can share together. Think about what your dad might like to do or see and make it happen. If he loves baseball, take him to Fenway. Fine wines – find a tasting and spend an evening sipping and spitting together. Wannabe chef – sign the two of you up for a cooking class. History buff – walk the Freedom Trail with him. You see, it’s not so hard.

Happy Father’s Day and bon appétit!

Grilled Vietnamese Beef
Give your favorite steak-and-potatoes man a taste of Asia this Father’s Day. Trying new things will keep dad young. Serve the beef with jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Serves 8
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5-6 limes
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 pounds tenderloin filets or sirloin steaks, trimmed
1-2 red onions, cut in half and then in 1/4-inch wedges
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces arugula
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves, cut in julienne

Make the marinade: put the garlic, juice and zest of 2 limes, soy sauce, fish sauce, olive oil and brown sugar in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

Put the beef in a large flat dish and the onion in a bowl. Add about 3/4 of the marinade to the beef and the remainder to the onions. Flip the beef to coat and toss the onions. Flipping and tossing once or twice, cover and refrigerate both for up to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be medium hot.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and shake off any excess. Place the steaks on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side for rare and 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board, let the beef rest for 5-10 minutes and then cut across the grain in thin slices.

While the beef rests, drain and transfer the onions to a grill basket. Grill, stirring from time to time, until tender-crisp, 4-6 minutes.

Put the juice of 1 lime and the extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the arugula, cilantro and mint and toss to combine.

Cut the remaining limes into wedges.

Transfer the greens to a large platter or individual plates, top with beef and onions, garnish with lime wedges and serve.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Grilled Steak with Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic & Rosemary-Balsamic Glaze
Two Years Ago – Grilled Potato Salad
Three Years Ago – Maple-Bourbon Pork Ribs
Four Years Ago – Gravlax with Tarragon-Caper Mustard Sauce
Five Years Ago – Salsa Verde
Six Years Ago – Crunchy Slaw with Cilantro, Mint & Peanuts
Seven Years Ago – New Potato Salad with Gorgonzola
Eight Years Ago – Spicy Hoisin Wings
Nine Years Ago – Grilled Steak & Potato Salad

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

How will you celebrate Father’s Day? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2018