Memorial Day Weekend Special

They’ll be three or four deep at the deli counter at the supermarket. The long line of trucks and SUVs with trailers and boats will create what passes for a traffic jam in Elkins. A constant stream of walkers and runners will pass my house. What’s with all the hustle and bustle? Oh, that’s right; it is Memorial Day Weekend in New Hampshire. The summer people are back.

Memorial Day Weekend is always a busy time with lots to do to get ready for summer. With a mixed bag of rain, clouds and sun, you’ll need to juggle indoor and outdoor chores. When all that prep work is done, reward yourself, family and friends with a delicious dinner.

Relax with a glass of wine and dip into my Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus and a few Rosemary Cashews.

Get out the grill for the main course. I’ll be grilling lamb this weekend. What about you? Maybe you’d like to try my Grilled Lamb Chops with Lemon-Mint Yogurt Sauce. Lamb not your thing? How about Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa. Lemony Green Rice will be delicious with either. Complete your dinner with a tasty Asparagus Salad with Reduced Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Time for a sweet. You will find both strawberries and rhubarb in the market. If you have not tried my Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup – please do! Or save the Rhubarb for Muffins and try my Strawberry Shortcake with Cardamom Cream. Feel free to add a few blueberries for a patriot dessert of red, white and blue.

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

Advertisements

How to Spend Memorial Day Weekend & Lemony Green Rice

It started as a day to honor Civil War soldiers. Memorial Day is now a day of remembrance for all of the men and women who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces. There will be parades and memorial services throughout the state. Bearing flowers and flags, many will visit and spruce up the graves of loved ones.

Memorial Day Weekend is also the unofficial start of summer in places warmer than New Hampshire. After a few notable fits and starts, our summer generally waits until Flag Day or the Fourth of July to get going. However, that doesn’t keep the hordes of summer people from coming north for the weekend. They’ll battle the black flies, create long lines at the supermarket and sweep out their cottages. I know because for many years I was one of those flatlanders.

Local or seasonal, not everyone has an enthusiasm for sweeping so here are a few alternatives for the weekend:

Run a race. You can find road races and trail runs throughout the weekend. The 5K over in Wilmot is named for our least favorite spring visitors, the notoriously despicable black flies. If running is too much for your knees, don’t worry, most fun runs welcome walkers.

Climb a mountain. If you’d rather climb a mountain than run up a hill, New Hampshire is full of choices. Stay close to home and enjoy the view of Pleasant Lake from atop Mount Kearsarge or take on the challenge of any one of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers.

Go on an adventure. Explore something, anything, as long as it is a bit wild, weird or wacky. If you’ve never tried white water rafting – now is a good time to fix that. Then again, you might be thinking of a road trip. I suggest a pilgrimage to the world’s largest ball of twine or pistachio. Rafting is close at hand but you will have plan ahead for a big adventure. Four different twine balls claim to be the largest and they are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Missouri. Perhaps you’d like to see all four. The giant pistachio has no rivals and is in New Mexico. However, correct me if I’m wrong but New Mexico sounds like a perfect winter road trip!

Visit a museum. Keeping with the theme of wild, weird or wacky, I might suggest the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals like Big Foot and mermaids. Once you see the Yeti hair samples and a replica of P.T. Barnum‘s FeeJee Mermaid, you can go get a lobster or head over to L.L. Beans. Alternatively, you might want to skip Maine and head to Massachusetts for the Museum of Bad Art. There are three locations to choose from and each fills its walls with “Art too bad to be ignored.”

Shop ‘til you drop at a sidewalk sale. Like most long weekends, there will be a ton of sales out there. In addition, New Hampshire has more than its fair share of outlet malls making it a shopping paradise. The what-to-buy-when experts are recommending mattresses, refrigerators and kayaks for the Memorial Day Weekend. Since I am in the market for a new refrigerator, I might have to succumb.

Decisions, decisions, decisions – drive thousands of miles to see a giant ball of twine, spend a day looking at refrigerators or …

Have a wonderful weekend and bon appétit!

Lemony Green Rice
Warm or at room temperature, a great side dish for a summery potluck – Lemony Green Rice goes well with grilled chicken, seafood and veggies. Enjoy!
Serves 6-8

1 1/2 cups rice, preferably basmati
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons butter
1-2 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (1/2-3/4 cup each)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Put 5-6 cups of salted water in a large pot and bring to boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce the heat and let the rice cook at a low boil until just tender, about 15 minutes.

While the rice bubbles, lightly coat a skillet with olive oil, add 1 tablespoon butter and heat on medium. Add the white parts of the scallions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Drain the rice, return it to the pot, add the scallions and garlic, lemon zest and juice and a little more butter if you like, stir to combine and cover. Let the rice sit off the heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the herbs and scallion greens and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Crostini with Red Pepper Tzatziki & Greek Salad
Two Years Ago – Ginger Shortcakes with Rhubarb Compote
Three Years Ago – Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Four Years Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Five Years Ago – Asparagus Crostini with Sundried Tomato Pesto & Goat Cheese
Six Years Ago – Wheat Berry Salad
Seven Years Ago – Not Your Ordinary Burger
Eight Years Ago – Strawberry Rhubarb Soup
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What about you? How will you spend the long holiday weekend? Feel free to share!

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

Memorial Day Weekend and Time for a Cookout Special

Memorial Day Weekend! Time to roll the grill out of the garage for the first cookout of the summer! Get your friends and family together for some old fashioned fun and good food.

Start with a dip or two and let your guests wander, meet and greet. You can pick something up at the grocery store or take it up a notch with my Caponata or Baba Ganoush or both! Serve the dips with pita chips or crostini and fresh veggies.

grilling_asparagus_02What’s next? What will you throw on the grill? Fish, fowl, a steak or a burger? Take your pick from my Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa, Red Hot Barbequed ChickenGrilled Rib Eye with Compound Butter or Not Your Ordinary Burger. Complete the main course with a couple of salads. Think green and give my Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado a try. A tasty pasta salad is always welcome. Try my Orzo Salad with Lemony Pesto & Grilled Tomatoes or Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables.

chocolate_peanut_butter_tart_04Top it all off with a delicious dessert. If you have not had enough rhubarb yet, it’s still in season and delicious in my Rhubarb Crisp. Alternatively, what could be more American on this Memorial Day Weekend than my Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart.

Have a great weekend) and bon appétit!

How will you celebrate the Memorial Day 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

First Cookout of the Season & Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado

Covered_bridge_flagHere, there and more or less everywhere, Memorial Day has been declared the unofficial start of summer. The pressure is on to throw the first cookout of the season. That said; planning a Memorial Day anything could be dicey business in New Hampshire. I don’t think it has ever snowed on Memorial Day but I could be wrong. Let’s hope for sunshine with a smattering of laughter and a whiff of fragrant smoke from barbeque and burgers on the grill.

You can help make it happen. Do your sun dance, make a few phone calls and roll the grill out of the garage. It’s been awhile so here are a few helpful hints for a great cookout.

Three letters: ICE. No one likes warm beer or lemonade, so, on a (hopefully) warm evening, you can never have enough ice. Load up a cooler or oversized tub with lots of ice and your favorite beverages.

About those drinks. If it’s a long afternoon-into-evening kind of party, it’s can’t be all cocktails, wine and beer. Make sure you have plenty of water, lemonade and soft drinks to keep everyone hydrated and safe on the road. Consider serving shandies as the party’s signature drink. A fifty-fifty mix of beer and lemonade or ginger beer, a shandy is a refreshing choice. When it comes to logistics, avoid a logjam by separating the drink area from the food table.

Wonderful food. From the appetizers to dessert and everything in between, focus on great ingredients and delicious recipes. When you go to all that trouble, keep everything fresh and safe. Don’t let dinner sit in the hot sun for hours. Leave everything in the refrigerator until you are more or less ready to cook and serve.

Unless you have a ginormous grill and very patient friends, save that piece of blazing real estate for the main event. Grilled veggies, tossed into a salad or arranged on a platter, will make a delicious addition to the meal. However, get them on and off the grill before your guests arrive.

You can’t be everywhere at once. It’s okay to outsource the grillwork. Just make sure you choose wisely. Beware of the hyper attentive cook. You know the type. He (or she but usually he) will poke, prod and push dinner all over the grill until it is dried out and overcooked. On the other end of the spectrum, avoid your easily distracted friend. Before the chicken is ready to turn, he (or she, it could be either) will wander off for a game of touch football or join an emergency run to the store for more ice.

Keep it casual. One of the many reasons that everyone loves a cookout is the easy, breezy, wear-your-bare-feet attitude. If for some strange reason, you are tempted to take it up a notch – don’t. Remember high heels and grass doesn’t mix. Leave the preppy blazers and designer dresses to Gatsby. This is New Hampshire not the Hamptons.

Keep it comfortable. At some point in the evening, some or all of your guests will be ready to pull up a chair. Make sure you have plenty to go around. It’s okay to ask a friend or two to bring a few spares. In addition, don’t forget it’s only the end of May. It can get downright chilly as soon as the sun goes down. Be prepared to move inside.

Don’t forget the tunes. From the classic to the latest hits, create a playlist of summery tunes on one of the internet radio stations and blast it into the backyard. Of course, the Beach Boys are a must as well as Alice Cooper wailing School’s Out. The rest is up to you.

Have a great weekend with family and friends. Bon appétit!

Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado  Mixed Greens_Grilled_Asparagus_Cucumber_Avocado_02
nderful combination of flavors and textures for your next cookout, smoky grilled asparagus meets crunchy cucumbers and creamy avocado. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Sherry-Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 1/2-2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed
4-8 scallions
Olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
About 8 ounces arugula or mixed baby greens
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
About 1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

Make the vinaigrette (recipe follows).

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Put the asparagus and scallions in a large dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Arrange the asparagus and scallions on the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes. Do not overcook, the asparagus should be tender-crisp. Remove from the grill, drizzle with lemon juice and cool to room temperature. If you like, chop the asparagus and scallions.

Put the greens in a bowl, add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine. Transfer the greens to a platter or individual plates. Put the cucumber in the bowl, add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine. Arrange the asparagus, avocado, cucumber and scallions on top of the greens and serve.

Sherry-Citrus Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil

Put the vinegar, citrus juices, mustard, shallot and garlic in a blender, season with salt and pepper and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly add olive oil to taste and continue processing until well combined.

Let the vinaigrette sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator before serving.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Grilled Balsamic Vegetables
Two Years Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Three Years Ago – Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Four Years Ago – Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Five Years Ago – Feta Walnut Spread
Six Years Ago – Bruschetta with Grilled Vegetables & Gorgonzola
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you spend the long Memorial Day Weekend? Feel free to share. Let’s start a conversation.

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

Back on WMUR: Cook’s Corner – Time for a Cookout

flag_banner_01It’s been on again-off again sunny and cloudy but I’m doing my sun dance! Memorial Day is a great day for a cookout.

I’m whipping up a colorful slaw today on Cook’s Corner …. I hope you’ll give my Crunchy Slaw with Cilantro, Mint & Peanuts a try! If you’re not sure what else to serve – give my Memorial Day Cookout Menu a read. I hope it gives you a few good ideas!

In case you missed it …. Watch the Video!


Enjoy the day 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

Memorial Day Weekend Special – Time for a Cookout

Covered_bridge_flagHow will you spend Memorial Day? A trip to the beach? A hike in the mountains? A garden marathon of planting, pruning and weeding? A fun and friendly 5K? (The Black Fly Blitz is a local favorite.) However, you spend the day; a cookout is a good way to end it. Delight everyone with festive feast or organize your friends for a fabulous potluck.

Here are a few ideas!

To nibble while you meet, greet, mix and mingle. Well, how about Artichoke Leaves with Shrimp? Or maybe some White Bean Hummus or Feta-Walnut Spread with fresh veggies and pita chips some.

On to the main event! You can throw some burgers and dog on the grill or take it up a notch with some delicious Barbecue Chicken or Spicy Grilled Chicken. Of course you’ll need a few sides … Grilled Balsamic Vegetables will be great. Make sure you grill some asparagus – it’s in season! if you are thinking traditional, a slaw should be on the menu. But make it special with my Jicama Slaw or Crunchy Slaw with Cilantro, Mint & Peanuts. Speaking of traditional, how about a great potato salad. Not sure which is my favorite, New Potato Salad Dijon or New Potato Salad with Gorgonzola. Unless you’d prefer Couscous with Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts (a favorite with kids) or Wheat Berry Salad (a great, healthy alternative).

A sweet finish … Especially for the kids, S’mores are always a good idea! Stock up on graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. You might like to add a few alternatives, maybe some Espresso Brownies, Lemon-Lime Bars or Carrot Cupcakes.

Enjoy the long 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

Kick Off the Summer with a Cookout & Grilled Balsamic Vegetables

flag_01For many, Memorial Day is the de facto start of summer. It doesn’t matter that school is still in session, the black flies are still buzzing and summer solstice is still a few weeks away. From sea to shining sea, Memorial Day will be celebrated with that all-American, summer tradition: the cookout.

Guest or host, before that first burger is flipped, there are a few things to consider …

What to wear? A cookout more or less screams casual which by definition is undefinable. You know that your posh friend, the one who always looks like she stepped out of the pages of Vogue, will wear a lovely, new sundress. Meanwhile, your cousin will arrive in raggedy shorts and his favorite Grateful Dead t-shirt. Thank goodness, he’s charming. As you stand in front of the closet, don’t forget that it’s a party. It’s okay to be festive and even take it up a notch or two.

What to bring? It’s always best to ask what you can bring before showing up with a big bowl of potato salad. Yes, we know your spuds are praised and adored in six counties but that doesn’t mean they’ll be welcome. No matter how delicious, that potato salad is hardly the perfect side dish for the authentic Korean barbeque that your host has painstakingly prepared.

What’s on the menu? Foodies ask about the menu because they love to talk about food. Picky eaters ask because they’re worried. They are afraid that the food will be weird or too spicy or too who-knows-what. If you’re fussy about food, a cookout is a great opportunity to try something new or different. Embrace the experience and enjoy the adventure!

Allergies are another story. Tell your host about your allergy so he or she can steer you away from the pasta salad with the pine nuts or make your burger without cheese. Nothing puts a damper on a party faster than a trip to the emergency room for anaphylactic shock.

And hosts? Are you a nervous wreck juggling vegetarians and carnivores, allergies and picky eaters? Just remember, you will never please all of the people all of the time. Put together a nice variety of delicious dishes, serve them buffet style and relax. Let everyone help themselves to what they like and pass on what they don’t. Who knows, that fussy friend might just find a new favorite.

Can I bring a friend? It never hurts to ask because more often than not, the answer will be yes. That said; your three kids with spouses plus the eleven grandchildren and your sister and brother-in-law from Cincinnati might be a few too many plus-ones. What about my dog? Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask but be prepared to make a quick exit if Fido even hints at misbehaving. In case you are wondering, pooping on the lawn, chasing the cat, tipping over the grill and stealing a steak, all definitely qualify as misbehaving.

What to do about the neighbors? Ah, do we invite them or not? Living next door, they’ll be hard pressed not to notice the mob of people milling around your backyard. Especially if the music is blaring and smoke is billowing. While you are not necessarily obligated to invite the neighbors, if it’s a big bash, it’s probably a good idea. After all, they are less likely to call the police about the noise if they help make it.

Have a great cookout and bon appétit!

Grilled Balsamic Vegetables 
Beautiful, fresh vegetables, grilled to perfection, will make a great addition to your cookout. Enjoy!

A selection of your favorite vegetables – try any of the following:

grilling_asparagus_02Asparagus, trimmed
Green beans, trimmed
Red and yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut in wedges
Thin carrots, trimmed, peeled and blanched
Small eggplants, sliced in about 1/2-inch thick rounds
Fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut in wedges
Large mushroom caps, trimmed
Red onion, sliced in about 1/2-inch thick rounds
Red skin potato, sliced in about 1/2-inch thick rounds
Radicchio, cut in wedges
Scallions, trimmed
Summer squash, sliced on the diagonal about 1/2-inch thick
Sweet potato, sliced in about 1/2-inch thick rounds
Cherry, grape and/or pear tomatoes
Zucchinis, sliced on the diagonal about 1/2-inch thick

Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Reduced Balsamic Vinegar (recipe follows)

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high.

Place the vegetables in a large bowl or roasting pan, drizzle with just enough equal parts olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Working in batches if necessary, place vegetables, on the grill and cook until tender-crisp and nicely caramelized, 1-3 minutes per side. You may want to use a grill basket for the tomatoes.

Remove the vegetables from grill and artfully arrange on a large platter, drizzle with Reduced Balsamic Vinegar and serve. If making ahead, cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.

Reduced Balsamic Vinegar
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the balsamic vinegar in a heavy saucepan, whisk in the honey and add the bay leaf and thyme. Bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vinegar is syrupy and has reduced to 2/3-3/4 cup.

Discard the bay leaf and thyme and pour the reduced vinegar through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cool the vinegar, add the mustard and extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Two Years Ago – Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Three Years Ago – Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Four Years Ago – Feta Walnut Spread
Five Years Ago – Bruschetta with Grilled Vegetables & Gorgonzola
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What are your plans for the Memorial Day Weekend? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014