Another Rainy Weekend Special

Four large trees decided to tip over and take down power lines in my neighborhood this past Sunday night. We were plunged into cold and darkness. My street was not alone. Tens of thousands of houses in New Hampshire were in the dark. Lucky us, our power was restored mid-afternoon on Tuesday. Thousands across the state, some a mile or two down the road, have not been so lucky.

After a few days delay, work has resumed on the kitchen. The latest addition to the team is here to paint. Welcome Coleen. Bill, the electrician, is also here whittling down his punch list. If all goes as scheduled (no more power outages please), the kitchen will be all but done tomorrow.

Thank goodness. After an unseasonable warm fall, it looks like the weather has turned cold and dreary – typical November. Just before seven this morning, I went outside for my daily walk around Pleasant Lake. You could not see your hand in front of your face. It was that foggy. I guess it’s another comfort food weekend. It’s probably safe to assume that it is just one in a long string of comfort food weekends.

Why not invite a friend or neighbor without power to dinner this weekend? Need some suggestions … how about:

Get out your roasting pan. Main course, starter or hors d’oeuvres, you can never have too many roasted veggies. For an elegantly hearty start to your party, try my Butternut Squash Crostini with Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction. Or keep it simple and let your guests help themselves with my Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus.

When you are ready to head to the table, toss up a great salad with fall flavors. Roasted mushrooms are a delicious addition to tossed greens. See for yourself with my Mixed Greens with Roasted Mushrooms.

Now for the main course. How about a Roast Chicken. (Think of it as a Thanksgiving dry run.) Serve the chicken with my Savory Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions.

For dessert, there is nothing like a creamy pud. What could be more New England than Maple Mousse with Apple Compote .

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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

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Comfort Food for a Rainy Weekend Special

Yesterday was an absolutely miserable day and  more of the same is in the forecast. Well, we could pout, stamp our feet and whatever other petulant stuff you like to do. Or, we could have a go at some comfort food.

My kitchen is almost done and it is definitely usable. Last night, I was in an inventing mood. I was in a fusion mood and mixed it up with an interesting new dish. At least, I thought it was interesting. To start, Caribbean black beans met chorizo and cuddled up for a while. Then, I added a few shrimp. If you like, you could think of it as Caribbean Jambalaya. Staying with the Caribbean-Cajun fusion theme, I served it on top of a dollop of Sweet Potato Polenta. Just to continue the mix up, I added a little chipotle and cheddar to the polenta for a whiff of Tex-Mex. It was delicious, if I do say so myself. Happily, my guests agreed.

So, if you were ever wondering, the answer is yes. I do treat family and friends as guinea pigs when inventing new recipes. I also invite them to photo shoots. As soon as dinner is snapped for prosperity, the meal can begin. Unfortunately, my camera’s battery was dead so you’ll have to wait for pictures of my Caribbean-Cajun-Tex-Mex fusion.

With heavy rain headed to the northeast, I think this is going to be a good weekend to cook up some warm and cozy comfort food. Think soup or chili, pasta or stew. If you are more baker than cook, go for a great pie, coffee cake or cookies.

Whether you are sweet or savory, cook hearty with love and a dash of spice. Here are some suggestions:

For the cooks –

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Bake

Mediterranean Meatballs with Couscous

Hearty Black Bean Soup

Harira (Middle Eastern Soup with Chicken, Chick-Peas and Lentils)

Coq au Vin (French Chicken Stew)

Carbonnade á la Flamande (Beer Braised Beef & Onions)

For the bakers –

Apple-Oatmeal Cookies

Zucchini Muffins

Ginger Scones

Rustic Apple Croustade

Have a great weekend in the kitchen 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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

Looking Forward to a Sunny Weekend Special

How do you know the drought that plagued New Hampshire for a couple of years is over? Well, look outside. If it’s not raining now, it was raining yesterday and might just rain again tomorrow. In any case, the garden is lovely and green.

I’ve got an interesting story to finish up this weekend but I’m still looking forward to some outside time this weekend. And, of course, what could be better than a cookout at the end of a beautiful summer day. Here are a few ideas:

Start with a delicious app. The corn at the farmstand is not quite local but it was picked this morning and delicious. Sounds like its a good time to try my Corn Cakes or my Grilled Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa.

For a salad, I’m just loving grilled greens this summer. I tried grilled romaine for the first time about ten years ago. I was hooked. You must give my Grilled Romaine Salad.

Now on to the main course … how about … Grilled Pork Tenderloin? A great dish, to turn to it when you have a group over. A big group? No problem just double or triple the recipe. Add a tasty and good for you, make ahead Wheat Berry Salad.

Now for something sweet. Local raspberries are at the farmstand so maybe you’d like to whip up a batch of Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato and garnish liberally with raspberries. No? How about Cherry Cobbler? (With a scoop of Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato? … or your favorite vanilla ice cream?)

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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

This Is Spring? Weekend Special

I’m doing my sun dance and thinking positive thoughts for the weekend. It looks like the first weekend of spring may be a dreary bust. Ugh!

If nothing else, you can celebrate the celestial change of seasons with delicious a transitional feast. With one foot still in winter, do your best to shove the other into spring. Your friends will be delighted … especially if they’ve been sitting home watching an icy rain all day. Here are some winter-meets-spring suggestions!

Forget simple cheese and crackers, give my Crostini with Fig, Stilton and Walnuts a try. Or step it up another notch with my Roasted Shrimp with Tarragon Aioli or Artichoke Leaves with Shrimp.

Sit down to a salad. Perhaps you’d like to toss up my Fennel & Feta Salad or Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad.

For the main course, how about pasta with grilled veggies? My Ravioli with Saffron Cream, Grilled Asparagus & Mushrooms will help you forget the cold … at least for a minute or two.

For dessert? My go-to almost-spring dessert is a bright and tasty Lemon Tart. If you don’t feel like baking, you might like my Fresh Berries with Creamy Lime Custard.

Have a great weekend! 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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

Get Your Green On & Irish Lamb Stew

So … Friday is Saint Patrick’s Day. The Irish and those that wish they were Irish will celebrate the day. It began as a religious feast day for Ireland’s patron saint. It has evolved into a celebration of all things Irish with parades, dancing, festive foods and a whole lot of green.

Unless you live in Ireland, you’ll still need to report to work as usual. However, the timing isn’t half-bad. It’s nice to know you can sleep in the next morning if you drink one too many green beers. Although my memory is a little hazy, I seem to remember Saint Paddy’s Day pub crawls when I was in college. It’s been a while.

Now, if you aren’t into crawling or you town has few if any pubs, how should you celebrate?

First and foremost, you must wear green. It’s not a problem for me. I like green; I drive a green car and have for years. If you’re not exactly partial to this verdant hue, start digging through your closet. There must be a green sweater or turtleneck in there somewhere. If you can’t find a thing, take a trip to a dollar store and pick up a green bandana. It will have to do.

Now that you’ve got your green on, you should march in a parade. If you like tradition, the first Saint Paddy’s parade took place in 1762. The only problem for those of us in the wilds of New Hampshire, the closest parade is in Manchester. Even then, it’s not until the 26th. There is a parade in South Boston this Sunday. If you can’t wait or want to stay closer to home, make your own parade. With any luck, the weather will be nice. Take a stroll up and down Main Street and show your colors. If you’d like, paint a little green shamrock on each check. Just remember, shamrocks have three leaves not four.

During your stroll, you could search for leprechauns. Then again, leprechaun hunts might be one of those silly things you do after drinking too much green beer. Anyway, I’m not sure I’d really recommend it. The odds of finding a leprechaun and his pot of gold must be what? About even with winning the lottery? Particularly this year! It’s been a blustery month, it wouldn’t surprise me if the little fellows got swept up and blown back to the Emerald Isle.

Next, enjoy an Irish feast. All across the United States, especially in New England, people will be boiling up corned beef and cabbage. However, if you think it is an Irish tradition, you’d be wrong. Historically, you’d be more likely to find pork or lamb than beef on an Irish table. The Irish are famous for their stew. Why not stir up a pot?

End the evening with a jig. It doesn’t matter if you know what you are doing. The point is to have some fun. Find some fiddle music and kick up your heels. Don’t be shy; no one expects you to go all Riverdance. Let go, embrace the music and enjoy the laughter.

Éirinn go Brách, have fun and bon appétit!

Irish Lamb Stew
The epitome of comfort food, a traditional Irish stew is the perfect meal on a blustery March day. Enjoy!
Serves 6
2-3 ounces slab or thick cut bacon, chopped
Flour for dusting the lamb
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
About 2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon or to taste dried chili flakes
4-6 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup Guinness or other dark beer
3 cups chicken stock
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 pound new potatoes
5-6 stalks celery cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 leeks, cut in 1-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon in a heavy casserole over medium-low heat until crisp and brown. Remove the bacon and reserve.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Lightly dust the lamb cubes with the seasoned flour. Brown the lamb in the bacon fat over medium-high heat a few minutes per side. Remove the lamb and add it to the reserved bacon.

Reduce the heat to medium. If necessary, add a little butter or olive oil to the bacon fat, add the onion, sprinkle with dried chili flakes and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more.

Put the lamb and bacon back into the stew pot. Add the carrot, beer and chicken stock and season with the herbs, salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, celery and leeks, return the pot to the oven and continue cooking, covered, until the vegetables and lamb are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the stew seems dry, add more beer and/or stock.

Ladle into shallow bowls and serve.

Can be made ahead, cooled to room temperature and refrigerated overnight. Reheat in a 350 degree oven until bubbling.

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One Year Ago – Roasted Parsnips with Rosemary
Two Years Ago – Not-Really-Irish and Not-Really-French Potato Gratin
Three Years Ago – Zucchini Pancakes
Four Years Ago – Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Five Three Years Ago – Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Six Years Ago – Grilled Strip Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce
Seven Years Ago – Linguine with Sundried Tomato Pesto & Roasted Eggplant
Eight Years Ago – Fettuccine with Classic Bolognese Sauce
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What about you? Now that the seasons are changing, how will you spend time outside? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2017

More Winter Weekend Special

Sun on Tuesday, raining on Wednesday, blustery winds on Thursday and polar express weekend – it’s a typical almost spring week in New Hampshire. It seems that every time I get a free morning to ski – either it’s blistering cold or the wind is blowing an arctic gale. It’s making me cranky!

What to do? Last weekend I spent some time in the kitchen experimenting with shrimp curry and making black bean soup.

With frostbiting temperature, I guess I’ll be back in the kitchen this weekend. What about you? Would you like to come over for a kitchen party? No one ever accused my kitchen of being spacious so maybe a potluck is a better idea? Maybe you’ll host your own. Host or guest, here are a few suggestions:

Appetizers to bring along or make together! Dip into some Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus while you flip Savory Blinis and then top with smoked salmon and caviar or whip up some Homemade Bratwurst Bites with Horseradish Mustard.

Salads to toss! Roasted veggies are a great addition to winter salads. Roast the vegetables and make the vinaigrette in advance. A helpful friend is sure to step forward to put it all together. Choose from my Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad, Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese Salad or Mixed Greens with Roasted Mushrooms.

Bring on the casseroles! Definitely make ahead, a casserole bubbling in the oven will cut down on the kitchen chaos. My Poverty Casserole gets high marks from hungry skiers. Maybe you’ll go with a classic like Decadent Mac & Cheese or Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach (or maybe … Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna).

When in doubt, ask your favorite baker to bring dessert. You might suggest a simply delicious Carrot Cake, an over the top Chocolate-Espresso Cheesecake or a fabulous Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart.

Have a great weekend! 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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

Time to Ski – It’s a Long Weekend Special

skiing_w_best_friendWe can all take in a deep breath and let it out slowly. We can all welcome the long Presidents’ Day Weekend. The forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds; not perfect but we’ll take it. Strap on those snowshoes or skis and enjoy some outdoor fun.

Afterwards, come in out of the cold for a cozy dinner with some of your favorite people. Here are a few suggestions:

Start the evening with a tasty crostini. Try my Mushroom Crostini or Sweet Potato & Goat Cheese Crostini. Or let everyone serve themselves with a bowl of Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus and warm pita.

When it’s time to move over to the table, enjoy a winter salad. Skip the tasteless tomatoes and enjoy my flavor-filled Lemony Kale & Radicchio Salad, Mixed Reds & Greens Salad or Mixed Greens Salad with Gorgonzola & Walnuts.

For the main event think stew, a braise and or your favorite chili. autumn_vegetable_chili_02
My current favorite is the very delicious Pumpkin Chili with Turkey & Black Beans. If it seems like a good time to go vegetarian, try my Creamy Polenta with Mushroom & Kale Ragù. (I suppose you might want to skip the kale salad if you go with this option!) Or enjoy something a bit more exotic with Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives & Preserved Lemon.

Stay cozy through dessert. For a quick and easy apple dessert, try my Rustic Apple Tart. Or delight your guests with absolutely wonderful Ginger Crème Brûlée.

Have a great weekend! Bon appétit!

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

How are you spending the long holiday weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017