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.

Print-friendly version  of this recipe.

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

Advertisements

Gather Your Roses & Quinoa & Lentil Pilaf with Roasted Broccolini

Our family has always enjoyed a bit of pandemonium on Christmas Eve. This year was no different. The girlies, aka my nieces, came over around four. We cooked together, chatted, laughed and got caught up. In spite of sharing a bottle of prosecco, no one lost a finger. For me, it was a special time; one I look forward to every year. After a few hours, the rest of the family arrived. The noise and hub bub increased, wine was poured, hors d’oeuvres were passed and, eventually, dinner was served.

It was over dinner that Emily, at least I think it was Emily – it could have been Kaela, introduced us to a new game. Well, not exactly a game, it’s a cross between an icebreaker (something we definitely don’t need) and a moment for reflection (something we could all use.) Perhaps you’ve heard of it – Roses, Thorns and Buds.

One by one, we went around the table. We each shared a Rose, a highlight of the past year. We shared a Thorn, a challenge or difficulty from the last twelve months. Finally, we shared the Buds – something we’re looking forward to in 2019. With twenty-somethings, a nonagenarian and everything in between, our joys, sorrows and hopes are nothing if not diverse.

Our family’s Roses included a college graduation. There is nothing like a rite of passage to mark a year as special. But for some of us, the year’s Rose was nothing more – and nothing less – than being together. Talking, laughing, walking, cooking – everyday, ordinary stuff made special by being together. As for the Thorns, they were far from everyday and indeed painful. 2018 brought a distressing assortment of illness and death.

At least some of the Buds were not hard to guess. One of the girlies is heading to South America for an epic bicycle trip. Another will soon be on her way to Ireland for a semester abroad. Our most senior member can’t wait to fly south for the winter. As for me, I look forward to getting my ankle back in shape. (The break is healed but the hard work towards full mobility is still in my future.)

As we head into the new year, it occurs to me that regular reflection on the good, the painful and the good-to-come is not a bad thing. Perhaps, we should all consider gathering our Roses, Thorns and Buds not once a year but with some regularity. After all, looking back over a full year can be a bit daunting. Embracing simple joys throughout the year, both experienced and anticipated, may give us strength during difficult times.

I’m pretty sure I can’t handle a daily round of Roses, Thorns and Buds. However, once a week might work. Perhaps, it could be a New Year’s resolution. Before you shout NO due to the logistics of a weekly family dinner, please realize – you don’t need to gather one and all. These reflections can be just as meaningful when done with an audience of one, perhaps more so.

I’m guessing these weekly bests, worsts and expectations will rarely be monumental. The beauty of these observations is in the wonder and appreciation of the everyday. For those of us with family and friends scattered around the globe, a Rose might be a newsy email from afar. A Thorn would be a cold rain that thwarts a day on the ski slopes. As for a Bud, how about making plans to once again see Mary Poppins on the silver screen.

Wishing you only the best in 2019 and bon appétit!

Quinoa & Lentil Pilaf with Roasted Broccolini
For a healthy New Year, try adding more whole grains, legumes and greens to your diet. It’s a delicious way to a fit new you. Enjoy!

Serves 8

Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 cups lentils
3-4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
About 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock or broth
1 1/2 cups quinoa
About 2 pounds broccolini or broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Pick through the lentils and remove any stones. Put the lentils in a fine mesh sieve, rinse well with cold water and drain.

Lightly coat a saucepan with olive oil and heat over medium, add the onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes more. Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaf and 6 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring once or twice, for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve, rinse well with cold water and drain. Add the quinoa to the lentils and raise the heat to return a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and, adding more stock if necessary, cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils and quinoa are tender.

While the lentils and quinoa simmer, put the broccolini on 1-2 large rimmed baking sheet(s), drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread the broccolini in a single layer and roast at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Give the broccolini a toss and spread again in a single layer, sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes. Remove the broccolini from the oven, sprinkle with the zest of 1 lemon, drizzle with the juice of 1/2 lemon and toss to combine.

Remove the lentils and quinoa from the heat, add the chopped parsley, drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and toss to combine.

Spoon the lentils and quinoa into a deep serving platter or individual shallow bowls, top with broccolini, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Print-friendly version of this recipe.

One Year Ago – Sweet Potato Polenta
Two Years Ago – Spicy Shrimp Chowder
Three Years Ago – Dhal (Lentils) with Roasted Cauliflower
Four Years Ago – Spiced Chai
Five Years Ago – Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad
Six Years Ago – Old Fashioned Pot Roast
Seven Years Ago – Pasta from the Pantry
Eight Years Ago – Tartiflette – An Alpine Casserole with Cheese & Potatoes
Nine Years Ago – Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach
Ten Years Ago – Curried Chicken and Lentil Soup

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

Set the Scene for a Positive 2018 & Sweet Potato Polenta

Happy New Year everyone. It’s been a tumultuous few years. Does anybody think that will change in the foreseeable future? No? I didn’t think so. I don’t either. Alright then, is there anything we can do beyond a seat belt for the proverbial bumpy ride? Since I’m thinking figuratively, that seat belt could come in a couple of different styles. Setting the scene for a wonderful 2018 could be as simple as …

Be kind. You don’t need to get all caught up in some elaborate scheme to change someone’s life. Although it would certainly be kind and then some, no one expects you to build a new house for a neighbor in need or buy a bus for the local orphanage. Being kind can be as simple as holding the door for someone at the post office, smiling at a stranger in the supermarket or buying coffee for the next in line … particularly if the next in line is wearing scrubs.

As powerful as they are simple, small acts of kindness can stave off an inclination towards absentminded selfishness. They might even blunt the horror of craven greed. Okay, that might be reaching. Perhaps I saw too many Hallmark movies this holiday season. In any case, small gestures of kindness can go a long way during this cold and dark time of year.

Don’t forget, it’s not enough to be kind to others, be kind to you too. If you’re having trouble getting out of bed on a Saturday morning, stay there. Your body needs the rest. Your brain needs the rest. The world will not flounder and fold if you turn off your phone for one day. Find some soup in the freezer, curl up with a blanket and take a day. You deserve it.

Tell the truth. False impressions, half-truths, whole lies, and fake news, it could be my imagination but honesty and integrity seems to have taken a backseat. Maybe they have lost their seats altogether. From truthful hyperbole to pants on fire, we seem to find reality distorted at almost every turn. Just sorting through it all is exhausting.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all (I know I am), just know – not a one of us needs to join the fray. Remember when your mom told you she didn’t care if everyone was doing IT. It didn’t matter what IT was. As far as she was concerned you should not dye your hair purple, skip school or smoke pot. If you’d told her everyone lied, she still would have insisted you tell the truth.

So, even if it feels like lying liars and flaming pants surround you, you can do it. You can be honest. It’s just that easy and just that hard. No, the dog didn’t eat that report – I ran out of time and will finish it by the end of the week.

Embrace gratitude. Stuck in a bubble of subzero temperatures, grateful might not be the first word to come to mind these days. It’s okay to go off on a little rant and stamp your feet. Both might help you stay warm. However, envy towards those friends in Florida could swallow you up. Don’t let it. Instead, be grateful for your four walls, warm coat and cap. Oh, and mittens, don’t forget your mittens.

Let gratitude lift you up. Enjoy the warm sun through the window and snow for the skiers. Marvel at the clear sky and stars at night. Be happy for your sense of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste, they bring you everything the world has to offer. Most of all, give thanks for family, friends and the love they share with you.

Have a wonder-filled 2018 and bon appétit!

Sweet Potato Polenta
We could all use a cozy dish to warm up to this January. Sweet Potato Polenta is delicious with everything from braised short ribs to Creole shrimp. Enjoy!
Serves 8

1 large sweet potato
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and cut in small pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon or to taste chipotle in adobo purée* (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup instant polenta
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
2-3 tablespoons butter

Put the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Prick the sweet potato several times with a knife, place it on the baking sheet and in the oven. Bake at 375 degrees until soft, 1-1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes.

When cool enough to handle but still warm, halve the sweet potato and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the cream cheese and sour cream and season with chipotle, salt and pepper. Use a masher to smash the potato and combine the ingredients.

The sweet potato can be prepped in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before adding to the polenta.

Meanwhile, bring the milk, broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a heavy saucepan. Stirring constantly, slowly add the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the polenta starts to thicken, 2-3 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, cheese and butter and continue to stir until the cheese and butter have melted, 2-3 minutes more. If the polenta seems too thick, add some more broth or milk. Serve immediately.

* To make chipotle puree – take a can of chipotle in adobo and toss the peppers and the adobo sauce in a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator. Use as needed.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Spicy Shrimp Chowder
Two Years Ago – Dhal (Lentils) with Roasted Cauliflower
Three Years Ago – Spiced Chai
Four Years Ago – Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad
Five Years Ago – Old Fashioned Pot Roast
Six Years Ago – Pasta from the Pantry
Seven Years Ago – Tartiflette – An Alpine Casserole with Cheese & Potatoes
Eight Years Ago – Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach
Nine Years Ago – Curried Chicken and Lentil Soup

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

What are your thoughts on the new year? Feel free to share!

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

Holiday Special – New Year’s Day Brunch

Some would say it’s too cold to ski or ice skate. If you agree, why not invite family and friends in for an impromptu brunch? That said, it’s been a long week and, maybe just maybe, you’re getting to a little tired of cooking (say it ain’t so). If that’s the case, make it a potluck.

Here are few dishes to help you get motivated:

If it’s quiche you want, try my almost traditional Quiche. If you prefer some variation of brunch’s favorite cheese and egg pie, turn to my Spinach Ricotta Pie or Tarte à l’Oignon (Onion Tart).

Unless you’d prefer a pancake. How about my Tostadas with Avocado Crema & Black Bean Salsa or Zucchini Pancakes with a dab of Tapenade. If you haven’t had enough smoked salmon or Gravlax, then try my Savory Blinis or Latkes with a dab of sour cream, a sliver of salmon and a bit of caviar. Then again, you can trade the pancakes for a toasted bagel with that lox.

A baked good or two is nice touch. For savory, try my Irish Soda Bread or Cheesy Pumpkin-Sage Biscuits. Want something sweet? How about Cranberry Coffee Cake or Gingerbread Muffins.

Brew some coffee, whip up a batch of Mimosas or Mango Sparklers and have a lovely brunch.

Happy New Year and bon appétit!

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

How will you celebrate the New Year? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

What Cooking on New Year’s Eve?

There are lots of  ways to welcome in the New Year.

Some will celebrate with a raucous buffet or potluck and others with an elegant sit down dinner. I’ll be off to a low-key gathering with tapas and champagne. As long as there is a fire in the fireplace, it sounds good to me. The cold was brutal today – I don’t think the temperature broke zero. (For my Swiss friends that’s 0°F or -18°C.) More cold is promised for at least a week.

Tapas for New Year’s Eve

Whether you are doing it all or you need to bring a dish to a tapas potluck … here are my suggestions:
Roasted Shrimp with Rémoulade Sauce or Roasted Shrimp with Tarragon Aioli
Spanakopita Triangles or Greek Stuffed Mushrooms or … Savory Galette with Spinach, Mushrooms & Manchego
Butternut Squash Tartlets or Butternut Squash Crostini with Goat Cheese & Balsamic Reduction
Crostini with Fig, Stilton and Walnuts or Crostini with Beef Tenderloin & Stilton or Mushroom Crostini

Fill out the menu with a beautiful platter or two. Try smoked salmon with all the fixings or Gravlax with Tarragon-Caper Mustard Sauce and some a delicious artisanal cheese and charcuterie board.

Say goodnight (before or after midnight) with a sweet treat:
Triple Chocolate Parfait in tiny dessert glasses, Pot de Crème (Chocolate Cream) or White Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin-Ginger Mousse or Maple Mousse with Apple Compote
Citrus & Spice Sugar Cookies or Almond Macarons with Chocolate-Raspberry Ganache or Root ‘n’ Tooty Good ‘n’ Fruity Oatmeal Cookies or Macadamia Nut Shortbread (or all of the above!)

=o=o=o=

A Festive Buffet or Potluck for New Year’s Eve

Start with a lovely salad:
Crunchy Salad with Apples & Grapes or Caesar Salad with Parmesan Croutons or Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad
Mixed Greens with Gorgonzola & Walnuts or Rainbow Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette or Radicchio, Fennel, and Arugula Salad

Unless you’re thinking something hearty like Quinoa Salad or Wheat Berry Salad – either or both be a great addition to the buffet table.

A heart soup or chili will be welcome on a brutally cold night:
Hearty Black Bean Soup or White Bean Soup with Sweet Potato and Wilted Greens
Cheddar Ale Soup or Potato & Cheddar Soup or Sausage, Kale & Potato Soup
Harira (Middle Eastern Soup with Chicken, Chick-Peas and Lentils) or Curried Chicken & Lentil Soup or French Lentil Soup with Chicken & Sausage
Nana Nye’s Prize-Winning Fish Chowder or Spicy Shrimp Chowder
Chili Con Carne or Red Bean Chili with Pork & Butternut Squash or my favorite Pumpkin Chili with Turkey & Black Beans

Now, for dessert? How about …
Applesauce Cake with Brown Butter Icing or Apple Bread Pudding  
Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes or Frosty the Snowman Cupcakes or
Gingerbread Cupcakes or Mini Chocolate-Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Cheesecake Brownies or Espresso Brownies or Triple Threat Brownies

=o=o=o=

And How About a Cozy but Elegant Dinner Party?

Pass Savory Blinis with Smoked Salmon & Caviar
Come to the table for Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad
Move on to Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Mushroom SauceTwice-Baked Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions …or… the simplicity of an almost one-dish wonder Braised Lamb with Artichokes & Mushrooms & Creamy Polenta

Something ligher? How about starting with Spanish Stuffed Mushrooms
Followed by a Fennel & Feta Salad
and then move on to Fish Stew Provençal with Whole Grain Pilaf and Grilled Ratatouille Stacks

Either way … try my White Chocolate & Cranberry Trifle for a grand finish.

However you spend it, have a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration and bon appétit!

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menusFor a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here! © Susan W. Nye, 2017

A Kinder New Year & Spicy Shrimp Chowder

New_Years_EveMost pundits agree that 2016 was not a great year. Some would go so far as to call it a horrible, no good, very bad year. Who can blame them? After all, it was the year when a national debate deteriorated into a discussion on the size of a candidate’s hands. It was the year a foreign power hacked the electoral process and the price of an Epipen increased by 500 percent. From terrorist attacks in Brussels, Orlando, Nice and Berlin to the civil war in Syria, the horrors seemed endless.

Now, many of those same pundits are forecasting continued calamity in 2017. Unfortunately, they could be right. Faced with certain ugliness, is there something, anything you or I can do?

I suppose we could all shrug, claim impotence in a harsh world and go about our business. Instead of sitting back, I’d like to take a page or two from my mother’s playbook. I’d like to resolve to make 2017 a kinder year and invite you to join me.

It’s possible that all mothers have super powers. I don’t know. I can only speak for mine and her super power was her kindness. Mom died in early December after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t know if I will succeed in emulating her kind spirit, but it seems fitting to try. Here’s how we can all help create a kinder 2017:

Choose optimism. My mother had a beautiful smile and she wore it often. It’s hard to feel angry or pessimistic when you’re smiling. Unless you are some kind of narcissist or psychopath, it’s even harder to be mean or selfish when you’re smiling.

Be thankful. In an age of unmitigated materialism, it is easy to fall prey to envy. It didn’t matter if her glass was half-empty or half-full; Mom didn’t compare her lot with anyone else’s. She embraced her life and enjoyed it to the fullest.

Connect with people. My mother was a wonderful audience. She listened and laughed with you, cried with you, applauded your victories and commiserated over any setback. Instead of telling you what to do, Mom helped you discover your next, best steps.

Avoid judgments. Mom was full of opinions but was rarely judgmental. When it came to the people she loved, her opinions were overwhelmingly positive. As for strangers, young or old, from near or far, she approached them with an open mind and a warm heart.

Be yourself. Never domineering or condescending, Mom exuded strength and confidence. She encouraged her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to be exactly who they were. She marveled and took pride in the fact that each of us was so different; each our own person. She gave each of us unconditional love and inspired us to be our own best self.

Maya Angelou could have been speaking about Mom when she said,

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Through her kindness, my mother made people feel wonderful. Family, friends and even perfect strangers, she listened to our stories and laughed at our jokes. She encouraged and praised. She filled us with optimism and made our lives better.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and kinder new year. Bon appétit!

Spicy Shrimp Chowder
Although Mom was an unenthusiastic cook, she loved a good meal and an evening around the table with family and friends. Enjoy!
Serves 6

Olive oil
About 8 ounces sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1-2 carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon (or to taste) chipotle chilies in adobo, mashed to a paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
5-6 cups broth – preferably a 50/50 mix of shrimp and vegetable or shrimp and chicken
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
About 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Grate zest and juice of 1 lime
Garnish: fresh chopped cilantro or chives

Heat a little olive oil in a soup kettle over medium heat. Add the sweet potato, onion, celery and carrot and sauté until the onion starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotle, season with cumin, salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes more.

Raise the heat to medium-high, stir in the sherry and cook, stirring frequently until the sherry has reduced by about two-thirds. Stir in the broth and coconut milk, add the herbs and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove the chowder from the heat and cool to room temperature. Being careful to avoid the bay leaf and thyme twigs, remove about 2 cups of vegetables with a little broth and puree in a blender or food processor. Stir the puree back into the chowder and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to mix and meld the flavors.

To serve: bring the chowder to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, add the shrimp, corn and bell pepper and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Stir in the lime zest and juice, ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro or chives.

Print-friendly version of this post.

One Year Ago – Dhal (Lentils) with Roasted Cauliflower
Two Years Ago – Spiced Chai
Three Years Ago – Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad
Four Years Ago – Old Fashioned Pot Roast
Five Years Ago – Pasta from the Pantry
Six Years Ago – Tartiflette – An Alpine Casserole with Cheese & Potatoes
Seven Years Ago – Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach
Eight Years Ago – Curried Chicken and Lentil Soup

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

What about you? 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, 2017

Weekend Special – Staying Resolute

books_coffeeAfter the hustle and bustle of holidays, are you ready for a deep breath and a cup of tea on the couch? Perhaps taking better care of yourself is on your list of resolutions. If it isn’t, maybe you’d like to consider it.

Taking care of you means a good night’s sleep, exercise to stay fit and de-stress and a healthy diet. It also means having fun with family and friends.

Here are few dishes to help you entertain and keep your resolutions.

Start with light and bright veggies. Think dips with Caponata, Roasted Red Pepper Dip or Tapenade.

At the table or by the fire, start the main event with cozy cup of soup. For a bit of spice, try my Curried Eggplant Soup or Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup.

cauliflower_04Next, you can continue to go vegetarian or add some healthy chicken or fish. Keeping it spicy, you’ll love my Dhal (Lentils) with Roasted Cauliflower. It’s good as a main course with a spoonful of brown basmati rice and Stir-fried Leafy Greens.

Not sure about an all veggie diner? How about some adding some of my Roasted Salmon (skip the Beurre Blanc this time) or Roast a Chicken. Either one will be delicious with the lentils, cauliflower and greens.

Now, do you blow it all on dessert or stay strong. How about a compromise with fresh fruit and a decadent Chocolate Truffle. After all, chocolate is an antioxidant!

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

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

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2016