Fighting the Flies Weekend Special

Well, isn’t that just like New Hampshire? In case you haven’t heard, it snowed on Mother’s Day. Yes, snow in May on Mother’s Day. Now, here it is a few days later and we’re having a heat wave and fighting the black flies. I thought maybe the snow would do them in. It didn’t.

If you haven’t dusted off the grill and rolled it out of the garage and onto terrace or deck, then all I can ask is, “why not?” Get to it! The summer weather is about to give way to spring but you can still get grilling this weekend. You will need to swat a few flies but it will be worth it.

Start with a glass of wine and a delicious Pissaladière. Served warm or at room temperature, you can bake it in advance or prep in advance and pop it in the oven as soon as your friends arrive.

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On to the main course! Why not take your wine and Pissaladière outside, watch the sun go down and grill up some shrimp? They are quick and easy and everyone likes them. Grilled shrimp will be delicious with … Tarragon Aioli. I like to serve the shrimp with Grilled Balsamic Vegetables … especially asparagus.

Unless, you’d like to take your dinner international! From your French appetizer move on to a Mexican main dish with my Grilled Shrimp Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol – a spicy peanut sauce. Serve the shrimp with steamed rice and Grilled Zucchini. Or go down under and try my Piri Piri Shrimp in Lettuce Wraps.

For dessert? Is it possible the first of the rhubarb has come up? It might be time to try a batch of Ginger Shortcakes with Rhubarb Compote? No, then you can’t go wrong with a Lemon 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

What to Celebrate Weekend Special?

So we’ve got a couple of thing going on this weekend. First and foremost, today is Cinco de Mayo. It’s raining again, so a sunny Mexican-inspired meal sounds pretty good about now. If you don’t have time to fiesta tonight, then you can always celebrate the Kentucky Derby tomorrow.

Here are a few ideas for your Cinco de Mayo feast!

For starters, how about the Middle East meets Tex-Mex with a tasty Chipotle Sweet Potato & White Bean Hummus? Or try my Corncakes with a dab of Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

Move to the table and a simple salad. My Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad is delicious. Now for the main course. My grill is still on porch so I’m good to go with Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol and a side of Grilled Zucchini, Onions and Peppers and a spoonful of steamed rice.

And for dessert … as far as I know my I Love Lime Pie has nothing to do with Mexico. However, it is delicious. That’s a good enough reason for me. How about you? Feliz Cinco de Mayo y ¡buen apetito!

=o=

Now, what about Derby Day?

Celebrate the Derby with fun and festive cocktails! It’s not a Derby without Mint Juleps:

Kentucky Mint Julep
Serves 1

1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint

Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Now the question, what to nibble while you watch the sport of kings?

How about a make-your-own crostini bar? Grill up some bread, add some breadsticks and artisanal crackers and let your friends mix and match. To build your crostini bar, start with a Duo of Pestos Artichoke and Sundried Tomato and add a small bowl of Tapenade. Grilled Vegetables are lovely on crostini. Asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, onions and peppers … any and all are delicious. While you’re at it, throw a few Shrimp on the Grill.

Alright, what’s next, hmmm … how about Chicken Liver Pâté and Smoked Salmon Mousse. Of course, you’ll want some cheese … a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a log of goat cheese and maybe another wedge, this one Stilton or Gorgonzola. Be sure to include something sweet, maybe some honey or Fig Jam and add some nuts. Walnuts and pine nuts are always a good choice.

Top off the evening with something sweet: In keeping with the make-your-own-theme, how about a sundae bar? A few quarts of your favorite ice cream or gelato and some delicious sauces, Chocolate, Caramel and Maple, one, the other or all three, work for me. Some fresh berries would be nice too!

Stay dry, have a great weekend and bon appétit!

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. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

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, 2014

Cinco de Mayo & Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol

May 5th, better known as Cinco de Mayo, is this coming Friday. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Celebrated from coast to coast with tequila shots and tacos, it is an excellent excuse for a party. Perhaps you’ve been thinking that it would fun to have a totally authentic Cinco de Mayo celebration. You know, skip the queso dip and Macarena in favor of real Mexican flavors and dance steps. I get it. You want to a party like they do down in sunny Mexico.

Alright then, here’s what you do … nothing. Yup, that’s right. Absolutely nothing.

Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Mexico. Widely mistaken for Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an early victory in the Franco-Mexican War. The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862. The resulting victory was more than fifty years after Mexico declared its independence from Spain. In case you’ve forgotten, Mexico was a colony of Spain not France.

So indeed, our enthusiastic celebrations of Cinco de Mayo are somewhat akin to the Swiss celebrating the American victory against the British in the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh. In case you’re wondering, they don’t. I know where Plattsburgh is but I doubt that too many of my Swiss friends do. I also know where Puebla is. Not because I’m a geography or history whizz but because I looked it up on a map a few minutes ago.

Regardless of whatever convoluted calculations or interpretations you might try to make, Cinco de Mayo adds up to being a mostly American holiday. I suppose that’s makes sense. After all, we are a nation of immigrants and many of our holidays reflect that. The Chinese New Year celebrates our ties with China. Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day. Oktoberfest has found its way from Munich to Muncie and several other U.S. cities.

Now the question arises – how to celebrate? Well, you could find one of those 100-foot margarita bars, the kind that serves fruity cocktails in glasses the size of fish bowls. Alternatively, you could expand your horizons and spend the day learning something about Mexico. Listen to Mexican music, study Mexican artists, investigate true Mexican cuisine or get a better understanding of how our two economies can and do work together.

Complete your day with a Mexican-inspired celebration. Skip the taco chain restaurants for a more authentic experience. I’m not sure if you can find real Mexican food this far north but you can always try. Many of us dream that one of those absolutely wonderful Mom and Pop-type Mexican restaurant will miraculously appear close to home. So far, it hasn’t happened but one can always hope.

For now, invite a few friends over and try your hand at some Mexican-inspired dishes. Dinner outside in early May in New Hampshire is probably pushing it but cocktails on the porch might work. Set your table with a brightly colored cloth and flowers and think warm and sunny thoughts.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo y ¡buen apetito!

Oh, and by the way, Mexican Independence Day – it’s on September 16.

Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol
Appetizer or main course, shrimp with spicy peanut sauce will make a delicious addition to your Cinco de Mayo feast. This smooth peanut sauce is also good with chicken. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Olive oil
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 onion, chopped
4 or more (to taste) dried arbol (also called bird’s beak) chiles, stemmed
1/2 teaspoon allspice
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock or broth
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime or to taste

Lightly coat a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium. Add the onion, peanuts and chiles, season with allspice, salt and pepper and sauté until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté until the onion is soft and the garlic is fragrant, 2-3 minutes more.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Let the salsa cool for about 15 minutes, transfer to a blender and process until very smooth. Cool to room temperature, stir in the lime juice and serve.

The salsa can be prepared in advance, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Grilled Shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
About 2 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes (optional)

Put the olive oil in a bowl, add the garlic, lime zest and juice and whisk to combine. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

Heat the grill to medium-high. Place the shrimp directly on the grill or thread them onto the soaked skewers. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until just opaque, 2-4 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol.

The shrimp can be grilled in advance, covered and stored in the refrigerator.

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One Year Ago – Puffy Apple Pancake

Two Years Ago – Tostadas with Avocado Crema & Black Bean Salsa
Three Years Ago – Cheddar-Sage Biscuits
Four Years Ago – Lemon-Lime Squares
Five Years Ago – Tarte à l’Oignon (Onion Tart)
Six Years Ago – Honeyed Apricots with Creamy Yogurt
Seven Years Ago – Black & White Brownies
Eight Years Ago – Rhubarb Muffins

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

What about you? How will you celebrate Cinco de Mayo and our southern neighbor on Friday? Feel free to share!

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

It’s Not Fall Yet Weekend Special

Pleasant Lake cloudsIt’s not fall yet! If you can; say this phrase in a somewhat squeaky English accent, à la Monty Python. Think Holy Grail and the plague when you say it. And then, get on the phone or email and contact your best buds for some weekend fun.

No matter how you spend the day, plan for some quality grilling time for the evening. Here are some suggestions for a Not Fall Yet cookout:

Start with a delicious appetizer. Okay, maybe two … Unfortunately, they need a week to marinate in the vinegar and spice – otherwise, I’d recommend my Dilly Beans. They won’t be ready for a week or two but please, do yourself a favor, make up a big batch to enjoy next weekend and throughout the fall. For this weekend, how about some savory, cheesy shortbread. It’s the perfect time to try my Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam and/or Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam.

Next, how about a great salad … I can’t get enough corn or tomatoes these days. How about you? If you agree, give my Corn, Tomato & Arugula Salad or Heirloom Tomato Salad with Grilled Corn, Cucumber & Feta a try.

And for the main course … Grilled seafood sounds delicious. Think Grilled Salmon, Scallops or Shrimp with Lemon-Herb Quinoa Salad.

And finally, for dessert … chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate … You can’t go wrong with my Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes. Unless you’d rather go nuts with my Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart. Or finally, for the quick and easiest dessert ever, enjoy my Pot de Crème.

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

Labor Day Weekend Special

misty_morning_pleasant_lake_04Labor Day Weekend and the local veggies are divine! Make sure you build plenty of green, yellow and red … not to mention purple and orange … into your weekend cookouts. Get out the grill and go fancy or plain with a great steak or burger, delicious fish or wonderful fowl. That’s fowl not foul.

It’s starting to get chilly here in New Hampshire, so don’t forget your sweater. A pair of jeans is probably a better option than that cute, little sundress. If you haven’t had a chance to use the fire pit, well, this is the weekend. The moon will be nothing more than a sliver, all the better to see the stars.

Here are some suggestions to mix, match and enjoy a delicious end of summer cookout:

Start with a great dip, maybe two …

Fresh Tomato Crostini
or
Baba Ganoush
or
Grilled Caponata
or
Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus

Enjoy a great salad …

Summer Salad with Green Beans, Blueberries & Goat Cheese<
or
Heirloom Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction
or
Caesar Salad with Parmesan Croutons

And for the main course …

Grilled Filets Mignons with Salsa Verde
or
Grilled Lamb
or
Maple-Bourbon Pork Ribs
or
Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper SalsaChimichurri or Tequila-Lime Butter
or
Tandoori Chicken

Now, what about sides? …

Fresh Corn with Sriracha Aioli
or
Grilled Balsamic Vegetables
or
Crunchy Quinoa Salad
or
Grilled Potato Salad

Last but not least – a sweet little sompin’ sompin’ …

Blueberry Grunt
or
\Flourless Chocolate Cake
or
Fresh Berries with Creamy Lime Custard

Have a wonderful long weekend and bon appétit!

How will you celebrate the holiday 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

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