Ways to Show – I Love You & Grilled Carrots with Green Tahini Sauce

Love isn’t easy. Romantic love, familial love, dear friendships – they all take effort and time. Love of a spouse or a sibling, love of a parent, cousin or friend, it doesn’t matter. Things can get messy, and sometimes, even ugly. Yes, indeed, like it or not relationships are not effortless hugs and kisses, long chats and giggles. A good relationship takes work, sometimes a lot of work, sometimes one-sided work – but it can be absolutely, positively worth it.

Great as love is, it won’t mend all that’s wrong with the world. It won’t erase the niggling insecurities we all have. Love won’t miraculously give you or anyone else world class soccer skills. Love isn’t the key to winning a Pulitzer. Love can’t guarantee a better job or a raise. It can’t straighten hair or get rid of pimples. However, it can help everyone feel better, stronger and … well … loved.

Perhaps you’re not good with words or not particularly demonstrative. If you have trouble expressing your feelings …

… here are a few things you can SAY to show your love –

Did you eat?
What can I do for you?
Come sit; tell me what you’ve been up to.
What would you like to do today?
I love the new haircut.
Let me get that for you.
It’s supposed to rain today, don’t forget your umbrella.
Please, wear bright/florescent/reflective clothing when you go out on your walk.
Be safe.
You are smart.
You are beautiful.
You are amazing
Thank you.
I love you.

… and a few things you can DO to show your love –

Smile when they walk in the room.
Laugh at their jokes.
Ask their advice.
Cook them a special meal. Invite them to cook with you and share a favorite recipe.
Put your dishes in the dishwasher. Put their dishes in the dishwasher.
Get over it. Whatever pissed you off; it’s not worth it.
Call for no reason except to say hello.
Spend time with them.
Join them at their favorite game or activity.
Give a book you know they’ll love.
Give flowers.
Give a heartfelt hug.
Give your undivided attention.
Listen, really listen.

This summer, this year, this millennium, let the people you love know it.

Love is too good to keep it a secret. Bon appétit!

Grilled Carrots with Green Tahini Sauce
Tender, new carrots fresh from local farms are incredible when grilled. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish, serve them plain or with my Moroccan tahini inspired sauce. Enjoy them with people you love!
Serve 8

Green Tahini Sauce (recipe follows)
1 1/2 – 2 pounds carrots
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Make the Green Tahini Sauce. Preheat the grill to medium hot.

Toss the carrots with enough olive oil to lightly coat and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the carrots on the grill and cook for 5 minutes. If using a gas grill, reduce the heat to low and turn the carrots. If using a charcoal grill, turn and move the carrots to the cool side of the grill. Grill for an additional 5 minutes or until tender.

Transfer the carrots to a serving platter or individual plates and serve warm or at room temperature with Green Tahini Sauce.

Green Tahini Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 scallions, chopped, white and light green parts separated from the dark green
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon or to taste sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves

Put the garlic, white and light green scallion and spices in a small food processor, add the lime juice and zest and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and pulse to combine and finely chop.

Add the tahini, olive oil, herbs and remaining scallion and process until smooth. If necessary, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, and process until smooth and creamy. Let the sauce sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator to combine the flavors.

Serve at room temperature. Cover and store extra sauce in the refrigerator.

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One Year Ago – Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil
Two Years Ago – Grilled Romaine Salad
Three Years Ago – Fresh Tomato Crostini
Four Years Ago – Blueberry Crostata
Five Years Ago – Orzo Salad with Lemony Pesto & Grilled Tomatoes
Six Years Ago – Watermelon & Cucumber Salsa
Seven Years Ago – Grilled Chicken Salad Provencal
Eight Years Ago – Lobster with Corn, Tomato & Arugula Salad
Nine Years Ago – Greek Green Beans
Ten Years Ago – Blueberry Pie
Eleven Years Ago – Grilled Lamb

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

What are you grilling this week? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019

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The ABC’s of Resolution & Roasted Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

It’s been a week since the clock struck twelve and pushed us into 2019. I suppose that means it’s past time to think about resolutions. It’s always a bit of a bother. You promise yourself to take on some herculean task. All the while, you know you probably won’t see it through.

Instead of highfalutin goals, let’s take a run through the alphabet and see what we come up with. It has to be easier than climbing Kilimanjaro or winning a Pulitzer prize.

Appreciate all that’s good in your world. A little gratitude will brighten a dark day.
Be present to those around you. Put the d#$%m phone down.
Celebrate achievements – both yours and others. Sharing success is a great motivator.
Dare to be your best self. You might be surprised at how wonderful you are.
Energize and make things happen. Life will be better for one and all.
Foster courage in yourself and in others. It’s not easy being brave.
Generate enthusiasm for fabulous, new projects and ideas.
Heal the wounds that weigh you down. Forgiveness leads to freedom.
Imagine something wonderful and make it happen.
Jettison deadweight. Whether you empty a closet or ban negativity – it’s all good.
Know your value and make things happen for yourself and those you love.
Live with integrity. Your actions will inspire everyone around you.
Motivate yourself.If you don’t feel it; fake it. Inspiration will soon follow.
Negotiate more. Let diverse options and opinions combine together for the best outcome.
Object vigorously to injustice. Don’t stand silent in the face of deceit and cruelty.
Play more and take the time to enjoy life. You only go around once.
Quarrel less but stand your ground when it really matters. Only you know when it really matters.
Reach out. Whether you’re looking for help or to help, everyone benefits.
Smile more. You and everyone around you will feel better for it.
Try new things. Get out of that rut and enjoy a new friend, game, book or recipe.
Unite because, grade school flashcards aside, one plus one is almost always greater than two.
Visit some of those places you’ve been meaning to see. Expand your horizons for personal growth.
Walk every day. You knew this one was coming.
XeroxTM and multiply good thoughts and deeds.
Yell like hell and howl at the moon. Don’t be afraid to let loose and enjoy.
Zip through the everyday and routine. Leave plenty of time for the more interesting bits.

Wishing you only the best in 2019 and bon appétit!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette
I love salads twelve months of the year. During our long, cold New Hampshire winters, roasted vegetables pair beautifully with greens. Enjoy!
Serves 8

About 1 1/2 cup (14-15 ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and well drained
Tahini Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
About 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in bite size pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon or to taste sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoon tahini
About 8 ounces arugula or mixed greens
1/2-1 small head radicchio, cored and cut in thin ribbons
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2-3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Put the chickpeas in a bowl, add enough Tahini Vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss to combine. Set aside. If prepping ahead, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Put the spices in a large bowl and whisk to combine, add the olive oil, vinegar and sriracha and whisk again. Add the squash and toss to coat.

Put the squash on a sheet pan in a single layer and roast at 425 degrees until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and transfer to a bowl, add the tahini and gently toss to coat.

Put the arugula, radicchio and scallions in a bowl and toss to combine. Add enough Tahini Vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss again.

To serve: transfer the leafy salad to a deep serving platter or individual plates, top with squash and sprinkle with chickpeas and sesame seeds.

Tahini Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cloves garlic
1-inch chunk red onion
1/2 teaspoon or to taste sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons water

Put the garlic, onion, spices, lime juice and zest and vinegar in a small food processor and pulse to combine and finely chop. Add the tahini and olive oil and process until smooth. A tablespoon at a time, add the water and process until smooth and creamy.

Let the vinaigrette sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator to combine the flavors. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Cover and store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator.

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One Year Ago – Roasted Shrimp & Andouille Sausage
Two Years Ago – Tortellini en Brodo con Spinaci
Three Years Ago – Spanish Stuffed Mushrooms
Four Years Ago – White Bean Soup with Sweet Potato and Wilted Greens
Five Years Ago – Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Six Years Ago – Mixed Greens Salad with Gorgonzola & Walnuts
Seven Years Ago – Spanakopita Triangles
Eight Years Ago – Braised Red Cabbage
Nine Years Ago – Apple Bread Pudding
Ten Years Ago – Root ‘n’ Tooty Good ‘n’ Fruity Oatmeal Cookies

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

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019

The Final Days of Summer & Citrus & Spice Grilled Chicken

I’m one of those people. Sound intriguing – sorry, it’s not. I’m the kind of person who arrives at the supermarket at the exact same time as the rest of humanity. The parking lot is always full. It’s not just that the aisles are crowded with shoppers and their carts. No, that would be too easy. During my shopping excursions, traffic is further stalled by employees frantically restocking shelves. It doesn’t end there. No, the checkouts lines are always miles long.

Imagine my surprise last Thursday morning. First, I found a parking space close to the store. Next, the aisles were smooth sailing. Finally, each checkout line had one, maybe two people in it and no one’s cart was filled to overflowing. I was in and out in minutes. That’s when I realized, the summer people or at least a good many of them have up and left. It was a sign.

I headed to the farmstand, again, no lines. As I drove home, I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of the first red leaves. I reassured myself that a few trees always turn early. As I unpacked my groceries, I planned a pleasant evening on the porch. Fast forward several hours, with silverware in hand and ready to set the table, I realized with dismay that it was too chilly to eat outside.

The signs continue to pile up. The dawn’s early light is getting later and later while sunset comes too soon. I suddenly find I need a long sleeve shirt on my early morning walk. Like it or not, summer is singing its last swan song.

As for the summer people, even with shorter days and cooler mornings, I’m sure most of them would rather be here than wherever they are. Who wouldn’t – but I guess they don’t have a choice. After weeks of silence, school bells are starting to ring. The first yellow buses have been spotted. Practice fields are filling up in the afternoon.

With the days flying by, it’s time for one last celebration of summer. Back-to-school shopping can wait. You know everything will be on sale Columbus Day weekend, right? For now, I can’t think of anything better than playing and relaxing outside. To help you get started, here’s more than a day’s worth of ideas –

How about you …

… start the morning with yoga and a sun salutation.
… visit a farmers market.
… pick blueberries.
… take a hike.
… go on a long bike ride.
… sit on a beach.
… read a book.
… swim.
… waterski.
… paddle a SUP or sail a boat.
… sit some more, wait until dark and skinny dip.
… cook dinner over a campfire.
… make s’mores
… raise your glass and toast the moon.
… sleep under the stars.

Happy Labor Day and bon appétit!

Citrus & Spice Grilled Chicken
Take your grilled chicken to the next level with citrus, spice and fresh herbs. Enjoy!
Serves 8

4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
1-2 tablespoons or to taste harissa or sriracha
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lime
About 2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs
Garnish: Citrus Salsa Verde

Put the garlic, onion, harissa, cumin, cinnamon and cloves in a small food processor, season with salt and pepper, add the olive oil and pulse until the garlic and onion are finely chopped. Add the orange and lime zests and juices and process until smooth.

Slather both sides of the chicken with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and several hours if you can.

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook about 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned and cooked through.

Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes and serve with a generous drizzle of Citrus Salsa Verde.

Citrus Salsa Verde
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2-1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup mint leaves
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Put the garlic and jalapeno in a small food processor, season with salt and pepper, add the olive oil and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the cilantro, mint, orange and lime zest and juice and process until smooth.

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One Year Ago – Cheesy Polenta with Fresh Corn
Two Years Ago – Fresh Corn with Sriracha Aioli
Three Years Ago – Romaine with Grilled Corn, Tomato & Avocado
Four Years Ago – Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam
Five Years Ago – Chocolate-Orange Tart
Six Years Ago – Chicken Liver Pâté
Seven Years Ago – Blueberry Crisp
Eight Years Ago – Death by Chocolate Sauce
Nine Years Ago – Lemon Cupcakes
Ten 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’s on your final days of summer bucket list? Feel free to share!

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

Choose Kindness & Grilled Moroccan Chicken with Chickpea Salsa

Sunday was Mother’s Day. I admit, I was a little glum on the run up to Sunday. It was the second Mother’s Day without my mom. However, thinking of Mom and all her gifts is a good way to get out of any funk. It’s also a great reminder to choose kindness. No matter what was going on, my mother always chose kindness.

What exactly does that mean – choose kindness? That’s simple. It’s smiling and holding the door for someone. It’s saying you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong … and meaning it. It’s holding your tongue when you don’t have anything particularly nice to say. It’s telling someone why you think he’s awesome or she is amazing. It’s being generous with compliments and stingy with criticism. It’s a thousand little things that you can do to be kind to others.

Okay, but why bother? You may not realize it but kindness makes a difference. My mother loved children. If she found herself behind a young family in the supermarket line, she always took a minute to tell the children how smart or pretty or pretty terrific they were. A compliment will boost a child’s confidence and delight the parents. Same goes for a smile and friendly good morning to the clerk checking your groceries. It could help lift her out of a funk on a dreary day. Plus, it’s a twofer. Smiling will make you feel better too. Your smile could easily be your greatest gift to humanity.

A few years ago, I bumped into a friend in the supermarket. Yes, it happens often but this time was different. Like a lot of people from yoga class or friends of friends, we were friendly but not close. However, she was aware of the trials and chaos I had faced with the illnesses of both parents. Thankfully, my family had found its new normal. We had our ups and downs but were more or less chugging along.

On the other hand, her father had recently fallen ill. Her life was turned upside down. We talked for more than a half hour, right there in front the cold beer storage. More than her troubles, she shared what she had learned. This awful experience taught her to be less judgmental. She understood deeply why someone might look past her, scowl or, perhaps inadvertently, steal a parking spot.

Of course, some people are snobs; they look past most everyone. Others are cranky; they wear a scowl every day. Still others have that sense of entitlement; stealing parking spaces and cutting in line – it’s what they do. However, my friend learned firsthand what it meant to feel completely overwhelmed. She came to realize that a blank gaze or scowl might have nothing to do with snobbery, orneriness or entitlement. It could simply mean that that a person was deep in thought. She knew all too well that those thoughts could be overwhelming and frightening. When faced with the choice to ignore or judge the blank gazes and scowls, she chose to smile. She chose kindness.

I’m not sure that my mother chose kindness. I think she came naturally by it. Mom had the gift of assuming the best in everyone. Thanks to her, I’ve tried it. It works more often than not.

Leaving you with thoughts of kindness and bon appétit!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken with Chickpea Salsa
After a long winter, it’s time to get out the grill and try something new. Enjoy!
Serves 8

2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
3 cloves garlic, minced
About 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast

Put the spices in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the wine, lime juice, olive oil and garlic and whisk to combine. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Turing the chicken at least once, marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Arrange the chicken on the grill. Cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes per side or until it registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Remove from the grill, let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice the chicken and serve with spoonfuls of Chickpea Salsa.

Chickpea Salsa
Makes about 3 cups

3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon or to taste cayenne pepper
Sea salt to taste
1 1/2 cups (15 ounce can) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound (about 1 pint) cherry tomatoes (a mix of colors is nice), finely chopped
1/3-1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Put the tahini in a bowl, add the olive oil and lime juice and whisk to combine. A tablespoon at a time, add the water and whisk until smooth. Add the garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne and salt and whisk and until well combined. Add the chickpeas and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator to combine the flavors.

Add the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions and cilantro, toss to combine and serve.

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One Year Ago – Pissaladière
Two Years Ago – Tabbouleh
Three Years Ago – Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado
Four Years Ago – Grilled Balsamic Vegetables
Five Years Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Six Years Ago – Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Seven Years Ago – Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Eight Years Ago – Feta Walnut Spread
Nine 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 do you choose kindness? Feel free to share!

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

Two Kinds of Easter & Roasted Moroccan Carrots

While there could be more, it seems to me that there are two kinds of Easters. The first is the Madison Avenue Easter. To see this one, all you need do is open a glossy magazine. Almost any one will do. If you don’t subscribe or have a dentist appointment in the next week, go to the glossy magazines’ websites. A bevy of beautiful photographs awaits you.

A veritable rainbow of pastels adorns every page. Cherry blossoms and forsythia, tulips and daffodils remind us that Easter is synonymous with spring. Adorable children dressed in pink and yellow, white and pale blue hold hands and search for eggs on smooth green lawns. Turn the page and these same cherubs are petting sweet baby lambs, pink-nosed bunnies and fluffy yellow chicks. There are no tears and not a single grass stain. We can only ask, “Who are these children?”

Turn the page again for the Easter feast. A mile long table is set to welcome a crowd of all ages in a beautiful garden. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins by the dozens admire the gorgeous spread. Overflowing platters are strategically placed up and down the table. Beautifully coifed women in sleeveless dresses, pastel of course, make last minute adjustments. Men in bright polo shirts stand around looking handsome. The children never cry and never spill juice on their sparkling outfits.

The second, the one I know very well, is the New Hampshire Easter. It is just as nice but nowhere near as gracious. The forsythia buds are closed up tight. Daffodils and tulips are buried under a foot or more of snow. The calendar may have proclaimed spring but a glance outside confirms that it’s winter in transition to mud season. The skiing has never been better.

Beautifully manicured or not, lawns are still covered with snow. Unless you don’t mind wallowing waist deep in it, you’ll need a pair of snowshoes to hide or find eggs. As for those pretty, pastel dresses and polo shirts, they’ll stay well hidden under parkas and snow pants. There will be no grass stains, but I don’t know about tears. There’s nothing like getting stuck in a snowbank to open the floodgates.

As for a petting zoo, wildlife abounds. There have been several bear sightings in the last few weeks. I saw a fisher-cat the other day. At least, I think it was a fisher-cat and not my neighbor’s barn cat. Raccoons are around but they only come out at night. On the other hand, squirrels are everywhere all the time. However, petting is not advised with any of these animals.

Now, what about a sumptuous picnic brunch or lunch in the garden? A long leisurely midday meal on the deck of a slope side café is a spring skiing classic and wonderful treat. That said; I’m not altogether convinced that lunch in a snowy backyard is a good idea. What with all that stamping down snow and dragging out the tables and chairs … hmmm. Maybe we should leave that photo opportunity to Madison Avenue.

Instead, how about we have dinner inside … after skiing, of course. If it’s not too cold, I have a well-weathered green fleece I can wear on the slopes. It’s faded enough to qualify as pastel.

Happy Easter and bon appétit!

Roasted Moroccan Carrots
Whether you serve your Easter dinner in the backyard or inside, these carrots are a great side dish for grilled or roast lamb. Enjoy!
Serves 8
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1/2-1 sweet onion, cut in half and then in thin wedges
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Put the carrots and onion in a large bowl, drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the spice mix and toss again. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on baking sheets and roast uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with garlic and toss to combine. Return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, combine the lemon zest and fresh herbs.

Transfer the vegetables to a serving bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the herbs and lemon zest and serve.

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One Year Ago – Maple Crème Brûlée
Two Years Ago – Mini Chocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Three Years Ago – Tiramisu
Four Years Ago – Grilled Lamb Chops with Lemon-Mint Yogurt Sauce
Five Years Ago – Confetti Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Six Years Ago – Magret de Canard Provencal
Seven Years Ago – Strawberry & White Chocolate Fool Parfaits
Eight Years Ago – Grilled Lamb & Lemon Roasted Potatoes
Nine Years Ago – Spicy Olives

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

Do you love the snow or are you so over it? Feel free to share!

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

A Typical Spring Weekend Special

rainy_day_pleasant_lakeI think I just heard a clap of thunder! Clouds, showers and sunshine … typical spring weather is in the forecast for the weekend. What to do? Head outside when you can and find a project for when you can’t.

Last weekend I tackled the workbench. The big stuff is done but there are at least a billion nails, screws, nuts and bolts to sort. Whether you are hiking or biking or finishing your spring-cleaning, end the day with delicious dinner with family and friends.

Here are a few suggestions!

Start the evening with a glass of wine and a tasty, savory treat. If you’ve never tried my Feta-Walnut Spread, please do. Or take it up a notch with my Zucchini Pancakes. No rush, relax and enjoy the company.

Now for the main course. How about a taste of the Mediterranean? Get grilling with Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Eggplant Salsa. Add a delicious bowl of Tabbouleh and a basket of warm pita bread.

After dinner, enjoy a little something sweet. Sip cozy mugs of Spiced Chai and nibble Almond Macarons with Chocolate-Raspberry Ganache or Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti.

Enjoy the weekend and bon appétit!

What are you up to this 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

Hop on your Bicycle & Tabbouleh

It must be spring; herds of cyclists have taken to the roads. Is herd the right word here? Perhaps flock or pack makes more sense. Flock because they fly by in their brightly colored spandex. Pack because of their tight formation as they careen down country roads. Whether you ride solo or are part of a team, gaggle or gang, it’s time to dust off your bicycle and take it on the road.

Even if they lack the romance and mystique of an easy riding Harley, bicycles gave us one of our first, intoxicating taste of freedom. Our bikes quickly took us out of shouting distance from Mom and Dad. We could cruise over to the schoolyard to swing on the swings, down to Longfellow Pond or nowhere in particular. By far, the best part was coasting down Jackson Road in joyful no-hands, no-feet abandon.

Perhaps you know, perhaps you don’t but May is National Bicycle Month. I can’t think of a better time to slip into some spandex and hit the road. If you are more the mountain bike type, hit an old logging road or rail trail. Chances are good that you’ll capture at least a bit of the heady freedom you felt at ten. Not convinced? Here are a few excellent reasons to hop on a bike!

It’s good for your heart and your head. Cycling improves stamina, strength and endurance. Watching your weight? Nothing like a spin on your bike to help keep the pounds under control. Exercise is also good for reducing stress. You’ve probably heard of the runner’s high, well, it works with biking too.

Not just for stress reduction, aerobic exercise is good for clearing your head and problem solving. Whether it is the change of scenery or the flow of oxygen to your noggin, cycling will help you think creatively and find answers. Want proof? Albert Einstein claimed he came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bicycle.

By the way, if you are a regular runner or walker, it’s not a bad idea to switch it up from time to time. An added inducement, the black flies are thick as thieves these days. You definitely can’t outwalk them (I have a few bites to prove it) and it’s hard to outrun them. However, you can probably outride them.

You’ll save money. Whether you use your bicycle to commute to work or for your daily trip to the post office, you’ll save at the pump and on your car’s daily wear and tear.

Not just good for your wallet, biking is good for the planet. Thirty percent of greenhouse emissions in the US are motor vehicle related.

Besides, you’ll be amazed at what you miss whizzing around in a car. A bike slows you down and let’s you check out the scenery. Spring daffodils, a family of loons and much more awaits you. Biking provides a more intimate view of the world.

Shopaholics will be delighted. Whether you favor the outrageously colorful or something cool and subdued, a slinky, new wardrobe is calling. (If the thought of spandex terrifies you, it’s okay to wear a pair of old shorts or snap a rubber band around the bottom of your khakis.) Even if you forgo those zippy bike shorts, the shops may still beckon. What better way to show off the fit, new you than a new outfit (maybe two)?

Have fun and bon appétit!

TabboulehTabbouleh_02
A delicious addition to your next cookout or picnic, this healthy salad will taste even better after a nice bike ride. Enjoy!
Serves 8

1/4 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts separated from the dark green
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size
1 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

Put the bulgur in a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup boiling water to cover the bulgur plus about an inch, cover the bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. If necessary, drain well through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out any excess water.

While the bulgur soaks, put the white and light green parts of the scallions, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl, season with cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and toss to combine.

Add the bulgar to scallions and garlic and tossing frequently, cool to room temperature. Add the fresh herbs, dark green part of the scallions and juice of 1/2 lemon to the tabbouleh and toss again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to combine the flavors.

Prep the tomatoes and cucumbers and put them in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with a little olive oil and remaining lemon juice and toss to combine. Add the tomatoes and cucumbers to the bulgur and toss again.

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One Year Ago – Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado
Two Years Ago – Grilled Balsamic Vegetables
Three Years Ago – New Potato Salad Dijon
Four Years Ago – Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Vegetables
Five Years Ago – Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Six Years Ago – Feta Walnut Spread
Seven 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 do you stay fit in warm weather? Feel free to share.

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