More Muggies Weekend Special

The muggies just won’t quit. Looking forward to the weekend it’s going to be more humidity, heat and a few thunderstorms for good measure. Unless you decide to pack I in and spend the weekend in the movie theater, I’ve got a few suggestions for dinner.

First invite some of your favorite people over … then serve up something simply cool and delicious …

Start with something simple. Sip a glass of prosecco and nibble Roasted Almonds and cool cucumber slices with Tapenade.

Keep it cool and light with salad for dinner. It’s summer’s answer to the one dish supper. I’d like to suggest my Moroccan Grilled Chicken & Carrots with Chickpea-Quinoa Salad.

Dessert – keep it simply cool as well. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are ripe for the picking. Throw a handful on a scoop of ice cream. If you’d like to try something just a bit more special, serve the berries with a spoonful of my Creamy Lime Custard

Stay cool and 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.

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

Muggy Summer Weekend Special

As soon as I start to think that this slog of muggy weather is about to end … it rains again. Then the sun comes out for a few minutes and hot steam billows off the pavement. Without whole-house air conditioning, I’ve got a few window units and fans working overtime. I can’t wait for a break in the weather – the noise is deafening.

When it comes to cooking this weekend, keep it cool. Between the muggies and rain, it will be a shorts and flip-flops type of weekend. But what the heck, invite your friends over, park yourselves on the porch and take it easy.

Start with a dip or two and chips. If you love salsa, give my Grilled Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa a try. Alternatively, my Feta Walnut Spread is delicious with fresh veggies. If you want to wow your guests, whip up a batch of my Gazpacho Shots.

When it comes to dinner, salads are summer’s answer to the one-pot supper. You and your friends will love my Lemon-Tarragon Lobster Salad, Grilled Shrimp & Vegetable Salad with Salsa Verde or Grilled Chicken Salad Provencal. If you like, round out your meal with a spoonful of New Potato Salad Dijon, Couscous with Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts or Wheat Berry Salad.

Local blueberries are ripe for picking and at the farmstand. As long as you do it early, you should be okay baking my dad’s favorite Blueberry Pie or a tasty Blueberry-Ginger Cobbler. If you can’t stand the thought of turning on the oven, try my Blueberry Soup with Mascarpone Cream.

Can’t deal with company on a steamy night? I can’t say that I blame you. Give yourself a break. Send a text to friends and family to see who else might like the evening off and make a reservation at your favorite local restaurant.

Or relax at home with a quiet dinner on the porch. Start with my Summer Salad with Green Beans, Blueberries & Goat Cheese and then enjoy my Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil. Dessert? It’s been a while since I made up a batch of Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato. Now might be a good time!

Have a wonderful 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.

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

Jump In – The Water’s Fine Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese & Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli

I am nothing if not lucky. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, I’m absolutely, utterly and totally lucky. Growing up, my sister, brother and I had all sorts of wonderful opportunities. In the summer, we spent two weeks impatiently waiting for a ride to the town beach, two weeks at camp and a month on the Cape. Between the town beach and camp, we learned to swim. While they are now long gone, at least for a while, Mom had the certificates to prove it.

Whether at camp or the town beach, swimming lessons were serious business. For one thing, our instructors wore uniforms – red Speedos with a special lifeguard patch. Regardless of the weather, classes were held first thing in the morning. In addition to the red Speedos, these tyrants sported a whistle and did not hesitate to blow it. Every morning, they’d bark orders and toot the whistle as they put us through our drills: crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and sidestroke.

All those swimming lessons were endured for one reason and one reason only – to pass the raft test. Without a doubt, passing the raft test was an important rite of passage. By important, I mean it was right up there with birth, death and marriage. Although, at seven or eight, I’m not sure we paid much attention to these milestones. In any case, swimming to the raft was certainly more important than a first haircut or high school diploma. Swimming to the raft meant that you were one of the big kids.

The town beach had two rafts. Both required a swimming test. The first was more than difficult. The second was almost beyond endurance. However, it was worth the struggle. As we all know, there is not a little kid alive who doesn’t vie for the privileges of older siblings and neighbors. In the scheme of life, earning a driver’s license is perhaps the only challenge on par with (and possibly more significant than) passing the raft test. That said; a three-point turn on a hill is nothing compared to the hundreds of laps required to exit the baby area and join the big kids on that elusive raft. Okay, so maybe it was only eight or twelve laps but it seemed like hundreds.

For a long time, I thought everyone knew how to swim. When you grow up in New England, in spite of our short summers, swimming is part of life. From the ice-cold ocean to a somewhat tepid pond, opportunities abound. As added insurance, our school district mandated swimming lessons for all sixth graders. Once a week, we hopped on a bus and headed to a pool for swimming lessons. No kid was going slip through the cracks.

Eventually, life took me outside of my familiar New England boundaries. On my quest for adventure, my horizons expanded and I met all sorts of wonderful people. Imagine my surprise to learn that a good many of them could barely swim a stroke. Meeting these non-swimmers reminded me of the charmed existence I lived as a child.

When you’re young, swimming is all about the joy of diving under the lines that keep your little brother and his friends safe in shallow water. It’s the wonderful sense of freedom from swimming away from the crowded beach. It’s the feeling of strength and accomplishment as you climb out of the cool lake and on the raft. It’s the fun and silliness when that cute boy throws you back in.

News stories of a dozen young boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave is a powerful reminder of my fabulously lucky life. So, to those Speedo-clad tyrants, their whistles and drills, I say thank you. My crawl may be weak but I can do a decent breaststroke for about a mile, maybe more.

Enjoy the water, stay safe and have a wonderful summer. Bon appétit!

Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese & Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli
A taste of Provençal sunshine – hot off the grill. Enjoy!
Serves 8

2 – 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces goat cheese, sliced
8 burger buns

Make the Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot.

Divide the turkey into 8 pieces and gently pat into patties, brush both sides with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the turkey burgers on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue grilling for 2 minutes. Top each burger with sliced goat cheese and grill for 1 minute more.

Place the buns on the grill, turning once, and toast for 1 minute or less. Pop each turkey burger onto a bun, add a dollop of Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli and serve.

Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli
Makes about 1 cup

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup prepared mayonnaise
1/3 cup tapenade (recipe follows)

Put the garlic, rosemary and lemon juice into the bowl of a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped and combined. Add the mayonnaise and tapenade and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes about 1 cup

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes or to taste
About 8 ounces dry pack, oil cured black olives, pitted

Throw everything except the olives into the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until well chopped and combined. About a quarter at a time, add the olives and process until smooth. You may need to add a little more olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or more to combine the flavors.

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One Year Ago – Blueberry Bread Pudding
Two Years Ago – Crunchy Quinoa Salad
Three Years Ago – Cheesecake Brownies
Four Years Ago – Grilled Swordfish with Tequila-Lime Butter
Five Years Ago – Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa
Sic Years Ago – Grilled Red Potatoes with Lemon-Garlic-Herb Oil
Seven Years Ago – Tandoori Chicken
Eight Years Ago – Blueberry Muffins
Nine Years Ago – Peanut Butter Brownies

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

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

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

Enjoy the Summer Weekend Special

This weekend, a lot of people will be packing up and heading home after a week’s vacation. Isn’t it nice when a long weekend grows into a week!?! Isn’t it even nicer when you live in paradise?

Before you head back to the city or the burbs, be sure to indulge in one last cookout. Here are a few ideas!

Kick things off with a lovely rosé or craft beer and a few of your favorite appetizers. When I lived in Switzerland, rosé was always my summer wine of choice. In the past few years, New Hampshire’s State Liquor Stores have started to carry some decent Provencal rosés.

Anyway, on to appetizers! Start with a dip or two. Both my Baba Ganoush and Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus are delicious. Serve them with fresh veggies and pita chips.

Next, enjoy my latest favorite salad. The fresh, local tomatoes are wonderful and I can’t get enough Tomato & Burrata Salad with Grilled Bread.

For the main course, how about Grilled Chicken with Shallots & New Potatoes.

For dessert … stay cool with Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato. Since the season is short, smother it with fresh, local strawberries.

Happy summer – 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

Labor Day Weekend & Fresh Corn with Spicy Cilantro-Mint Aioli

Fall_Early_Morning_Pleasant_Lake_03If you live here, the dawning of September is nothing to fear. Labor Day will come and go but the suns will still shine and Pleasant Lake will stay put. The Summer People are not so lucky. If they haven’t already, they will soon be fighting bumper-to-bumper traffic on the drive south to cities and suburbia.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I was one of those Summer People. Late on Labor Day afternoon, kids, dogs and turtles crammed into the station wagon with a small mountain of duffle bags. Reluctantly, we headed back to suburbia. I think my mother hated the end of summer migration even more than we three kids did. If it weren’t for Dad’s business, she would have moved to New Hampshire in a heartbeat. Instead, she bravely made sure that everything was packed, closed down the house and herded us into the car. Heaving a dramatic sigh, she proclaimed to any and all, “I am bereft,” and backed out the driveway.

So what’s in store for the Summer People this Labor Day Weekend?

If there is no justice, and there isn’t, they will be busy washing one last load of sheet and towels, storing beach toys and stowing paddleboards and kayaks under the deck. Business at the supermarket and farm stand will be brisk. Townies and Summer People alike will be stocking up for holiday cookouts. Activity at the boat launch will be nonstop. Fancy speedboats, fine looking sailboats and humble dinghies will be strapped onto trailers and hoisted out of the water. Rafts and docks will be dragged onto beaches.

However, Labor Day Weekend is not just about cleaning up and buttoning down. It is also the weekend for a last hurrah. It could be one last sail or one last waterski before hauling the boat out of the water. Maybe it’s a final hike (or finally a hike) up Kearsarge, a run around the lake or a bike ride to nowhere and back.

All of it, both the chores and the fun, is topped off with a festive cookout or two. That’s the thing about Labor Day Weekend. It’s both bitter and sweet. While there are tons of end-of-summer tasks to do, Summer People always do their best to balance the drudgery with fun and games.

However, if live here like me, you can focus on fun all weekend. There will be plenty of time to wash, fluff and fold that last load of beach towels. It will eventually turn cold or rainy or both. It always does. But, if we’re lucky, we can count on at least a month of warmish weather and sunshine.

September is a lovely in-between month; not really summer and not quite fall. The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts above average temperatures and below average rainfall this year. While we’d like this drought to end, it is good news for outdoor activities. Only the bravest will continue their early morning swim. The rest of us are content to row or kayak, hike or bike and enjoy the golden sunshine. While it may be a bit chilly for dinner al fresco, we can still enjoy a lunchtime picnic or an evening cocktail on the deck.

Here’s to the magic of September and bon appétit!

Corn with Sriracha Aioli
Corn_w_Sriracha_Aioli_01When it comes to corn, I’ve always been a purist – butter and a little salt. Then I tried it with spicy aioli. Now, I’m hooked. Whether the corn is steamed or grilled, it is a delicious combination. Enjoy!

1 ear corn per person
Sriracha Aioli
Sea salt (optional)

To steam the corn: fill a large pot with a few inches of water, add a steam basket and the corn, cover and bring the water to a boil. Steam the corn for 4-6 minutes or until tender crisp.

To grill the corn: preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high. Lightly coat the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the corn on the grill and cook on high heat for about 3 minutes per side.

To serve: invite everyone to grab an ear and pass the Sriracha Aioli and sea salt.

Sriracha Aioli
Not just for corn, this aioli is wonderful on a burger. It makes a delicious dip for French fries, fresh veggies or shrimp.
Makes about 2 cups

2-3 cloves garlic, choppedCorn_w_Sriracha_Aioli_08
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons or to taste sriracha or your favorite hot chili sauce
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt to taste
1 cup or to taste mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped mint

Put the garlic, olive oil, ketchup, lime juice and sriracha in a small food processor, season with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and process until well combined and smooth.

Add the mayonnaise and process until well combined. Add the lime zest and herbs and pulse a few times to combine. Cover and chill for an hour or more to combine the flavors.

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One Year Ago – Romaine with Grilled Corn, Tomato & Avocado
Two Years Ago – Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam
Three Years Ago – Chocolate-Orange Tart
Four Years Ago – Chicken Liver Pâté
Five Years Ago – Blueberry Crisp
Six Years Ago – Death by Chocolate Sauce
Seven Years Ago – Lemon Cupcakes
Eight Years Ago – Couscous with Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts

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

What do you love about late summer? Feel free to share.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2016

Late August Weekend Special

Pleasant_Lake_SneakersIt might be late August but summer is still with us. The evenings have been lovely, a little chilly but lovely. There’s plenty of time to enjoy an easy evening outside with friends, family and a little grillin’.

Dig out your jeans from the bottom of the drawer, find your most comfortable sweater and have a great evening on the porch. Put the music on, your feet up and relax. Here are a few suggestions for a delicious late summer dinner outside:

Start with a glass of wine and a great appetizer. With local corn and tomatoes at their peak, you’ll love my Grilled Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa. If you are feeling the need for a little variety, add a platter of Fresh Tomato Crostini. (I can’t get enough fresh, local tomatoes – what about you?)

Now, what about dinner? I’m thinking a taste of Asia sounds good. How about marinating some boneless chicken breasts in my Spicy Hoisin Marinade and grilling to perfection. Add a spoonful of  Slaw and some Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Save room for something sweet because my Berry Peachy Crisp is something special. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a bowl of ripe peaches  on your counter, it’s too late. Don’t sorry, put a six or ten peaches in a brown, paper bag and make the crisp in a few days. For this weekend, try my Blueberry Clafouti instead.

My brother John photobombing the Berry Peachy Crisp.

Have a wonderful weekend 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, 2016

I Love August Weekend Special

Harvest_MoonI love August. The heavy heat and steamy humidity slip away. You might need a sweater first thing in the morning and again after dinner but the days are warm and dry – just heavenly. It’s the perfect weather for a hike up Mount Kearsarge or a bike ride to nowhere and back again.

Even if you do need a sweater, you can still enjoy an evening cookout. You won’t want to miss the moon rise. It’s a full moon tonight and the weekend promises clear skies.

Here are a few suggestions for a delicious late summer dinner in the moonlight:

Relax and enjoy the sunset and a glass of wine. You can’t beat my Rosemary Cashews for a tasty nibble. Add some crispy veggies and a bowl of Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip.

swordfish_olive_caper_salsa_01When you’re ready for dinner – how about swordfish on the grill? My Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa is a great choice. Add some Israeli Couscous and a great salad. The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye and the tomatoes are phenomenal so you must give my Heirloom Tomato Salad with Grilled Corn, Cucumber & Feta a taste.

blueberries_02It’s August and anything blueberry is a New England tradition. You can pick your own at a local farm or pick up a couple of pints at the farmers’ market for a fabulous dessert. Go old school with Bluebree Grunt or a bit more updated with Blueberry Crostata. While you’re at it, how about a batch of Blueberry Muffins for Sunday morning.

Have a wonderful weekend 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, 2016