Another Holiday Special – The Cocktail Party

Will you be celebrating the season with a festive cocktail party? If it’s been awhile since you entertained a crowd, this could be your year. December is a great time to entertain. After all, your house is decorated and spirits are high.

Not sure what to serve? Keep it simple with a few serve-yourself platters and a couple of one or two bite savories to pass. Here are a few ideas:

As for those platters –

Arrange a three or five beautiful cheeses on a cutting board. You’ll want to include a variety of textures and flavors. Combine a firm cheese like a beautiful aged cheddar, add a soft cheese like a triple-crème brie and don’t shy away from a fabulous blue cheese. Stilton is always a good choice or try my Warm Gorgonzola with Caramelized Onions & Walnuts. (You can prep it in advance.) Feel free to add a Spanish Manchego, a smoked Gouda or a log of goat cheese.

You can’t go wrong adding some prosciutto, pâté and artisanal sausage to your cheese board. Alternatively, you can create a separate charcuterie platter.

A seafood platter is a great idea. You can go crazy with oysters, shrimp and crab or keep it simple with gravlax or smoked salmon. Embellish the salmon with wedges of lemon, thinly sliced onion and capers. A little caviar or chopped egg would also be nice.

Finally, a vegetable platter with a wonderful dip or two is a good idea. Most of your guests will consider it dinner, so a few veggies will be appreciated. As for dips, can I suggest Roasted Beet & White Bean Hummus, Sun-dried Tomato Aioli and/or Spicy Red Pepper Aioli?

Now, what to pass?

Cook up a couple of one- or two-bite savories. (BTW – if you aren’t hosting but heading to a potluck, any one of these delightful little treats will be welcomed.) Could I suggest – Cheesy Spinach Tartlets, Spanish Stuffed Mushrooms and Roasted Shrimp with Rémoulade Sauce.

Don’t forget to scatter small bowls of Spicy Olives and my favorite Rosemary Cashews an strategic spots. At the very least, put one of both on the buffet table and on the bar.

Finally, finish the evening with a sweet treat. Who wouldn’t enjoy a Christmas cookie, brownie or mini cupcake or all three? Fill a tray with rows of Macadamia Snow Balls,  Gingerbread Cupcakes and Sweet Dream Bars. For a smooth and creamy treat, fill tiny dessert glasses (even a shot glass) with Chocolate Mousse or White Chocolate Mousse and topped with a raspberry.

Bon fête and bon appétit!

Want more? Try one of my seasonal menus or create your own with the help of my extensive recipe index.

What are your favorite recipes for cocktail party nibbles? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

© Susan W. Nye, 2018

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Cookie Time – Holiday Special

Have you finished – or even started – your holiday baking? If not, here are a few ideas!

Start with a twist on tradition! You’ll love the newest addition to my blog – Macadamia Snow Balls. Next, if you find sugar cookies a bit bland, then you must try my Citrus & Spice Sugar Cookies. For chocolaty delicious, how about baking up a batch of my Peppermint Bark Cookies? Want a more grownup cookie? My Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti are just the thing.

Shortbread is great for the holidays, so how about my Ginger Shortbread or Macadamia Nut Shortbread. For buttery deliciousness, you can’t beat my Snowy Pecan Balls.

Speaking of shortbread, you might like to add a few savory bites for cocktail hour.
Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam or Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam.

If you are feeling rushed (and who isn’t), Sweet Dream Bars are quick and easy. Chocolate lovers can’t miss with my Triple Threat BrowniesEspresso Brownies or Cheesecake Brownies.

Then there are lovely homemade chocolates and candies! One of  my favorites is Chocolate Almond Buttery Brittle. It is delicious but be careful, it is positively addictive. No less delicious, are my Chocolate Dipped Orange Caramels. For a luxurious treat, try my Chocolate Truffles. Christmas candies are a wonderful addition to your holiday buffet table and make great gifts.

If you are thinking of something sweet as a hostess gift or stocking stuffer, don’t forget my Death by Chocolate Sauce, luscious Maple Sauce or Caramel Sauce. Just be sure to make enough to keep a jar for yourself!

Enjoy everything the holiday season has to offer and bon appétit!

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

What sweet treats will you be making during the holidays? 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

Thank Goodness for Leftovers Special

If dinner was at your house yesterday, your refrigerator is probably overflowing with Thanksgiving leftovers. So – what are you going to do with all that food? Let’s start with turkey stock. If you didn’t do it already, then tomorrow morning is a good a time as any.

I’m guessing that after a few turkey sandwiches, you’ll start asking … what the heck do I do with all this turkey? While the stock simmers, you might also want to organize the rest of the leftovers. If you have room in the freezer, you won’t have to cook for a week, maybe two. Here are a few suggestions:

Of course there is everyone’s favorite … soup:


With noodles of course and in a variety of flavors to avoid boredom. Vegetables lovers will want to try my Turkey Noodle Soup with Spinach. If you like a little spice, then my My Favorite Spicy Chicken (or Turkey) Noodle Soup will be perfect. No? Then how about a taste of Asia with Curried Thai Soup with Noodles, Turkey & Vegetables ?

Just not feeling very soupy? How about:

Tossing up some turkey and veggies in a variety of different and interesting dishes. My latest suggestion is Spaghetti con Tacchino e Broccoli (Spaghetti with Turkey & Broccoli). However, Leftover Turkey Stir Fry and Black Friday Enchiladas (Turkey & Black Beans Enchiladas) are good choices too.

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If the cold weather has you thinking of casseroles, then how about Cheesy Gratin with Thanksgiving Leftovers, Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pasta Bake (swap out the chicken with leftover turkey) or Poverty Casserole (swap out the sausage with leftover turkey). On the other hand, Pumpkin Chili with Turkey & Black Beans (replace the ground turkey with bite sized pieces of leftover turkey) will be delicious on a snowy night.

If you love roasted vegetables, there’s a chance you made too many. Regardless of the mix – butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, beets or whatever … you can whirl them into soup – use my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe as a guide. Or pile them onto crostini and top with Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction. Try them in salad of Kale and Radicchio.

Any and all your roasted veggies will be delicious with Ravioli and Brown Butter, layered in Lasagna or stirred into Risotto.

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, 2018

What to Cook this Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving twelve short days away, it’s time to think about planning your feast. If you’ll be a guest and not a host, you might like to check in with your host. Some expect you to bring a dish. Others like to do more or less everything. I’m a little like that. From the Rosemary Cashews to the Pumpkin Cheesecake, I tend to do it all.

However, that’s going to be a bit tough this year. I broke my ankle in late October and am still hobbling around on crutches. My sister-in-law has volunteered to take over hosting duties. Of course, I will be happy to tote along a dish or two.

Last year, I compiled The Long List. With more than sixty fall recipes, it includes all my Thanksgiving-friendly dishes. While impressive, a list of more than sixty recipes can be daunting. So, I’ve paired it down to a two or three, maybe four, options for each course. Here goes –

Appetizers
If you want to get fancy, by all means bake up a batch of my Butternut Squash Tartlets. (By the way – this would be a nice option to bring along if you are not the host.) Add a super easy appetizer to the mix with my Smoked Salmon Mousse. Cheese lovers will love my Warm Brie with Cranberry Chutney.

Soup or Salad?
I generally go with one or the other. However, for a super special meal, you can have both. (For a continental twist, serve the salad between the main course and dessert.) For salads, consider Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese Salad or Kale & Radicchio Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash. My two favorite soups for Thanksgiving are Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Wild Mushroom Soup.

Turkey of course
You’ll never find a ham or leg of lamb on my Thanksgiving table. Instead, you can  rest assured that Roast Turkey with  Giblet Gravy will take center stage. In addition, either My Mom’s Stuffing or Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing will be in the bird.

The Sides
Then again, for some, the turkey is just an excuse to to bring on your favorite sides. I’m going to suggest you give my Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pearl Onions and/or Roasted Carrots with Pearl Onions a-go this year. For spuds, you might like my Decadent Cheesy Potatoes and/or Savory Smashed Sweet Potatoes. (For marshmallow fans, you will never find a marshmallow studded sweet potato casserole at my house. However, this savory dish is really wonderful.)

A Sweet Finish
My all time, make it once a year favorite Thanksgiving dessert is Pumpkin Cheesecake. When two desserts are in order, I add my Rustic Apple Croustade.
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For the curious, here is my 2017 menu.

Speaking of continental, if your family ts a bit more adventurous than mine – you might want to give my menu for A New Englander’s Thanksgiving on the Swiss French Border a try. This menu is typical of the Thanksgiving feasts I prepared when I lived in Switzerland for almost two decades.

Then again, if you are fan of all things Italian, you might want to experiment with my take on A Rustic Harvest Feast Italian Style.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and bon appétit!

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

What will you be cooking this Thanksgiving? 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

Another September Weekend Special

Fall is my favorite season and September is my favorite month. I’m partial to September because the temperatures are almost summerlike. More often than not, the summery temperatures come without oppressive humidity. It’s a great time for hiking and biking, relaxing on a beach, picking apples or baking a pie.

After all that hiking and biking or relaxing, it might be fun to cook up a Mediterranean feast. The key to this approach to dining is more than a few small courses. Think variety. Here are a few ideas:

Start with a relaxing glass of wine and couple of lovely dips for an easy antipasto. Try my Artichoke Pesto and Tapenade with fresh veggies and your favorite artisanal crackers. Add a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few Roasted Almonds.

At the table, start with a lovely pasta. Keep the portions small – this is your first, not the main course. Pasta with Grilled Zucchini, Tomatoes & Feta would make a lovely start to your dinner.

After a rainy week, it’s time to grill. You’ll love my Grilled Lamb with Fresh Mint. Serve the lamb with your favorite Grilled Balsamic Vegetables.

Now it’s time for salad. Yes, salad comes after the main course with a Mediterranean feast. May I suggest my Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad?

Finally for dessert, time to take advantage of apple season. Pick a peck or grab a bag at the farm stand and make a delicious Rustic Apple 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.

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

Welcome Fall Weekend Special

Saturday is the first day of autumn. Summer lovers will be a little mopey this weekend. Cheer them up with a welcome fall cookout. While you might end up eating dinner inside, you don’t need to put the grill away for another month or more. (Although not often, I grill throughout the winter.)

Here are a few ideas for a delicious end of summer cookout:

Before those beautiful local tomatoes are gone for the season … start with Fresh Tomato Crostini. They definitely taste like summer – even if there is a little nip in the air.

Now to the table … one of my favorite summer salads is sure to please. With the grill out you can’t do better than Grilled Romaine Salad.

For your main course … If you have never enjoyed my Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa, now is the perfect time. Serve the fish with a spoonful of Grilled Ratatouille.

There’s always room for dessert … late summer or early fall – it’s time for plums. It’s the perfect weekend for my Cardamom Plum Tort.

Have a great weekend. Bon appétit!

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

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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

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