Looking Forward to a Sunny Weekend Special

How do you know the drought that plagued New Hampshire for a couple of years is over? Well, look outside. If it’s not raining now, it was raining yesterday and might just rain again tomorrow. In any case, the garden is lovely and green.

I’ve got an interesting story to finish up this weekend but I’m still looking forward to some outside time this weekend. And, of course, what could be better than a cookout at the end of a beautiful summer day. Here are a few ideas:

Start with a delicious app. The corn at the farmstand is not quite local but it was picked this morning and delicious. Sounds like its a good time to try my Corn Cakes or my Grilled Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa.

For a salad, I’m just loving grilled greens this summer. I tried grilled romaine for the first time about ten years ago. I was hooked. You must give my Grilled Romaine Salad.

Now on to the main course … how about … Grilled Pork Tenderloin? A great dish, to turn to it when you have a group over. A big group? No problem just double or triple the recipe. Add a tasty and good for you, make ahead Wheat Berry Salad.

Now for something sweet. Local raspberries are at the farmstand so maybe you’d like to whip up a batch of Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato and garnish liberally with raspberries. No? How about Cherry Cobbler? (With a scoop of Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato? … or your favorite vanilla ice cream?)

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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

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

Steamy Weekend Special

So, you say, this is summer in New Hampshire. Yes, indeed. A little steam, a little heat and maybe a roll of thunder in the evening. As long as I can get to the beach a couple of nights a week, I’m okay with it. How about you?

Pack up the picnic basket, buy a bag of charcoal and head to the water. It’s a good weekend to spend an evening or three on the beach. Here are a few ideas for that picnic basket:

Start with a great dip, some fresh veggies and pita chips. Maybe you’d like to try my Roasted Red Pepper Dip or Baba Ganoush? (That said there is nothing like a ripe, red tomato – fresh off the vine. You will love my Fresh Tomato Crostini.

For the main course … how about … Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol? For a taste of Asia, throw some boneless chicken thighs in my Hoisin Marinade and grill to perfection. Add a couple of salads – my Grilled Zucchini & Feta Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette and Lemon-Herb Quinoa Salad would be perfect.

Now for something sweet. You could take a walk and look for ice cream or bring along a batch of my Peanut-y Chocolate Chip Cookies or Cheesecake Brownies.

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

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

Long Summer Holiday Weekend Special

Well, hip hip hooray! With the Fourth of July on Tuesday, we have an extra-long weekend coming up! Get ready to dodge a few thunderstorms, enjoy a little sunshine and cook up some delicious fun. Here are a few ideas:

An all-American cookout is the default celebration for Independence Day. You’ll probably want to start with a few tasty appetizers. How about:

 

Bruschetta with Grilled Vegetables & Gorgonzola

Crostini with Red Pepper Tzatziki & Greek Salad

Summer Rolls

Baba Ganoush

There are lots of choices when it comes to the main course. Now, will it be fish or fowl, a fabulous steak or …:

Grilled Steak with Rosemary-Balsamic Glaze

Grilled Lamb with Fresh Mint

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Red Hot Barbequed Chicken

Southwest Turkey Burgers

Not Your Ordinary Burger

Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Herb Quinoa Salad

Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol

Grilled Swordfish with Tequila-Lime Butter

Now, what to serve with it? Or bring along to that potluck:

Grilled Potato Salad

Orzo Salad with Lemony Pesto & Grilled Tomatoes

Grilled Balsamic Vegetables

Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado

And since you don’t have to grill everything and the first local tomatoes are ready for eating …Heirloom Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction

Of course, you’ll want to end on a sweet and patriotic note. Think red, white and blue with:

Berry Flag Cake

Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes

Creamy Yogurt Tart with Fresh Strawberries (you’ll have to add a few blueberries to the mix!)

Happy summer – 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. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

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

School’s Out! & Southwest Turkey Burgers

I don’t know about you but every June when the weather turns warm, I can’t get Alice Cooper out of my head. He follows me around the lake on my morning walks. I hear him when I’m emptying the dishwasher or doing laundry. He’s might even turn up on the radio. In case you don’t remember, the aptly timed School’s Out hit the airwaves in June of 1972 and played incessantly. True or not, School’s Out seemed to be playing every time I got into the car with my friend Martha. Her mother, or maybe it was her father, had a sporty little Mercury Cougar and Martha loved to drive it.

All over the country, schools are closing for the summer. Some this week, a few, like our very own Kearsarge Regional, have already said good bye to pencils, books and teachers’ dirty looks. So let the summer celebrations begin!

By the way, if school vacation isn’t enough for you or doesn’t apply, the summer solstice is tomorrow. It is a fabulous excuse to celebrate. Steeped in folklore and superstition, the summer solstice brings out the best of our imaginations. From Stonehenge to the Scandinavian coast, we can pause and wonder at ancient customs and rites. With lots of extra hours of sunlight, there is certainly plenty of time to ponder. Whatever you do, please, don’t forget to do your sun dance. The last thing we want is rain or clouds on the longest day.

Whether you are celebrating the end of school, the longest day or both, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Take a road trip. You don’t need to go far or anywhere in particular. Open the car windows, roll down the top or open the sunroof, turn up the radio and imagine you’re sixteen again.

Visit the beach. Bring the dog and a tennis ball or find a stick and let her romp. Do it quickly. Once they officially open, most beaches do not allow dogs. Rebel that I am; I figure that as long as there is no lifeguard, the dogs can play. (But pu-leeze, lifeguard or no, pick up after your dog.)

Or leave the dog at home and go gallery hopping. Ramble through some of New England’s prettiest little towns and look for fine art and exquisite crafts and antiques. Whether you find an irresistible treasure or not, it will be a beautiful journey.

Find some live music. With warm weather, there are lots of possibilities, especially if you prefer your tunes outdoors. When in doubt, check out the nearest farmer’s market. We New Englanders seem like a little bluegrass or classic rock with their broccoli and carrots.

At the end of the day, bring the music and mesclun back home. For those of you who might be wondering, please note, that’s mesclun – a mix of assorted baby salad greens – and not mescaline, the hallucinogen found in peyote cacti.

End your celebrations with a long and lazy evening. It’s may not be the land of the midnight sun but the sun won’t set until just after 8:30. You will have plenty of time for a cookout, some singing and dancing. Light a lantern and a few candles and you can make merry until dawn.

Happy summer and bon appétit!

Turkey Burgers with Avocado and Southwest Aioli
Perfect on a warm summer evening – a taste of the sunny southwest hot off the grill. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Southwest Aioli (recipe follows)
2 – 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
About 4 ounces thinly sliced cheddar cheese (optional)
1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
1-2 tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
About 1/4 cup finely chopped pickled onion or onion
8 burger buns

Make the Southwest Aioli, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. If you are going to serve the burgers with pickled onion, pickle the onion.

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot.

Divide the turkey into 8 pieces and gently pat into patties. Don’t overwork the meat or your burgers will be tough. Brush both sides of the burgers with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the turkey burgers on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip, add a slice of cheddar if you like, and continue grilling until cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

Place the buns on the grill, turning once, and toast for about 30 seconds.

Pop each turkey burger onto a bun and top with avocado, tomato and onion, add a dollop of Southwest Aioli and serve.

Southwest Aioli
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup drained and roughly chopped oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons or to taste pureed chipotle in adobo*
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2-1 lime
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt to taste
About 3/4 cup or to taste mayonnaise

Put the sundried tomatoes, garlic, chipotle, mustard, lime juice and vinegar in a blender or small food processor, season with salt and process until well combined. Add the mayonnaise and process until smooth.

Cover and chill for an hour or more to combine the flavors. Cover and store leftover aioli in the refrigerator.

* Toss a can of chipotle peppers along with the adobo in a small food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a clean glass jar, store in the refrigerator and use as needed.

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One Year Ago – Cherry Cobbler
Two Years Ago – Heirloom Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction
Three Years Ago – Strawberry Shortcakes with Cardamom Cream
Four Years Ago – Strawberries with Yogurt Cream
Five Years Ago – Chocolate-Chocolate Sorbet
Six Years Ago – Caesar Salad with Parmesan Croutons
Seven Years Ago – The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich in the History of my Kitchen
Eight Years Ago – Asian Slaw

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

What about you? How will you celebrate the first days of summer vacation and the longest day? Feel free to share!

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

A Family Cookout Special

trill_gillian_lupin_summer_2012_04My niece is here from California with her two boys. Well, they’re men really but in my mother’s words they will always be bow-eys. To celebrate their visit, we’re getting together for a family cookout. Everyone will pitch in and it should be delicious.

If you’ve got a cookout or potluck this weekend, here are a few ideas:

Start with shrimp. It’s a bit of a tradition, started I guess by my mother’s father but my dad is happy to keep it going. You can give my Roasted Shrimp with Tarragon Aioli a try. Even grill the shrimp . Or buy them cooked and mix up some cocktail sauce with ketchup, horseradish and lime juice. My dad’s specialty! I’ll be whipping up a batch of my always in demand Rosemary Cashews.

Moving on to dinner, it sounds like we’ll be having burgers on the grill. How about you? You might like my Turkey Burgers with Greek Salsa or my very very delicious Not Your Ordinary Burger with goat cheese and sundried-tomato aioli.

Of course you’ll need a salad or two. How about New Potato Salad Dijon or Orzo Salad with Lemony Pesto & Grilled Tomatoes. And how about my Summer Salad with Green Beans, Blueberries & Goat Cheese? Is that too much goat cheese? Is there any such thing as too much goat cheese? Okay maybe a Caesar Salad would be simpler.

Now for dessert! My niece is making something with blueberries. Should I suggest she try my Blueberry Crostata? I’ll be pitching in with my Cheesecake Brownies.

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!Nye_Family_Cookout_02

What are you planning for the weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2015

Weber Knock-Off & Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa

grillSummer solstice, the longest day has come and gone. Fourth of July has been and done. We’ve suffered through the year’s first heat waves and survived more than our fair share of rain, rain and more rain. With temperatures in the eighties and nineties, sticky humidity and dramatic thundershowers, it is well and truly summer.

After a cold winter and a hectic spring, summer is a wonderful time to kick-back and relax. Dig out those flip flops or splurge on a fancy new pair, get some sunscreen and head to the beach. Perhaps you’ll test yourself. Are you still fit enough to swim to the Island or at least the raft? For a more leisurely lake tour, break out your kayak and drift by the loons. On those hot and hazy days, it’s best to fill a tote bag with books and enjoy a lazy afternoon snoozing and reading in the shade. Busy or relaxed, at the end of the day, it’s a time for stress free, no fuss picnic or cookout.

When I set up my first apartment it didn’t take long for me to assemble my list of culinary must-haves. A grill (along with a blender and fondue pot) was high on my list. My first grill was a hand-me-down hibachi. The good thing about a hibachi is it is indestructible. You can leave it out in the rain or kick it off a balcony or both. Heck, you can probably run it over with a steam roller. On the downside, the grill surface is so small it can barely handle a couple of burgers let alone a cookout for a crowd. For anyone who likes to entertain, it is no surprise that these tiny grills disappeared along with disco balls and fondue pots. But who knows, fondue keeps bouncing back, maybe the hibachi will make a comeback as well.

My second grill was a Weber knock-off. The grill was still pretty small and a bit rickety. However, the price was right so who was I to complain. I was living in Switzerland and that grill brought a little slice of Americana to Avenue de l’Ermitage. The knock-off played a starring role in many wonderful summer evenings. It was called into action for parties large and small; feeding as many as fifty people in a single night.

Tragedy struck when my father, visiting from the States, backed into the little grill with his rental car. We picked it up and wrestled it back into shape. Well, at least sort of. Good old Dad promised a replacement but got on a plane before making good on his pledge. Thrifty New Englander, I continued to use the injured grill for a couple more years. In spite of its wobbles, many splendid meals and evenings were enjoyed.

Eventually the rickety faux-Weber’s legs gave out. No amount of coaxing could convince it to straighten up and cook right. Sadly, the grill was retired to the curb on recycling day. A larger, shiny, new knock-off soon took its place. Not much sturdier than the first, I eventually switched to a gas grill. When I moved back to the States, the gas grill refused to emigrate. Luckily, some friends agreed to adopt it.

Once I made it back to Pleasant Lake, Dad ran out of excuses and had to make good on his promise. His housewarming gift was, you guessed it, a new grill. Although I’m busier than ever, I still try to find time for cookouts with family and friends.

I wish you a wonderful summer and lots of good grilling. Bon appétit!

Susan Nye writes, cooks and lives in New London. Visit her website at http://www.susannye.com to learn about her Eat Well – Do Good project. For cooking tips and more, you can check Susan out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/swnye or watch her cook at http://www.youtube.com/susannye. © Susan W. Nye, 2013

Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa
swordfish_olive_caper_salsa_01Delicious addition to your summer grilling repertoire. Enjoy!
Serves 8

1/2 cup pitted and roughly chopped olives – black oil-cured or a mix of your favorites
2 cloves garlic, minced
1scallion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash or to taste hot pepper sauce
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 pounds swordfish

Put the olives, garlic, scallion, capers, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, juice of 1/2 lemon, the pepper sauce and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.olive_caper_salsa_02

Preheat the grill to high heat.

Drizzle the swordfish with a little olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the fish for about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from the grill and set on a large serving platter. Let the fish rest for about 5 minutes.

Cut the swordfish into thick slices and serve with olive and caper salsa.

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One Year Ago – Grilled Red Potatoes with Lemon-Garlic-Herb Oil
Two Years Ago – Tandoori Chicken
Three Years Ago – Blueberry Muffins
Four Years Ago – Peanut Butter Brownies
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you spend the Fourth of July? Filled with activities or lolling about? Maybe a bit of both! Feel free to share. Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook as well as a day in the life photoblog! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2013

Hip Hip Hooray – It’s Independence Day & Grilled Scallop & Asparagus Salad

Fireworks_02The Fourth of July celebrates our country’s Declaration of Independence. Back in 1776 George Washington, John Hancock and a lot of other important people signed the declaration to break from tyrannical England and mad King George. Americans began celebrating the Fourth the very next year. The infant country celebrated with parades and band concerts. Politicians hobnobbed, gave speeches and made toasts at official dinners. The day was topped off with fireworks.

Not much has changed. Independence Day is still feted with parades, patriotic music and fireworks. It may not be an election year but you can still count on a few politicians to make the rounds, shaking hands and kissing babies. Family and friends gather for cook-outs and picnics. In addition and unlike our forefathers, we make it a long weekend. We don’t just celebrate the Fourth, our fun goes on for several days.

Pleasant Lake is my favorite place to spend the Fourth of July. I have celebrated in Boston with the Pops, huge crowds and thousands of pounds of fireworks. I have joined expatriates and locals in Geneva, Switzerland for the largest Independence Day party outside the US. Nothing but nothing compares to Independence Day celebrations on Pleasant Lake. What we may lack size and grandeur; we make up in enthusiasm.

On a hot day it can be tough to get even the most patriotic citizens off the beach and on to Main Street so lots of New Hampshire lakes host boat parades. Participation on Pleasant Lake varies from year to year. Sometimes there is a veritable armada of ships under sail, motor and paddle. The boats are covered with splendid decorations and their crews are decked out in colorful costumes. This year’s theme is Broadway Hits. So get out your Kinky Boots or Spidey suit and join the flotilla.

As a walker, I try not to miss the Run/Walk for the Lake. This annual event includes a 5K and 10K route. Benefiting both the Pleasant Lake Protective Association and the New London Fire Department, it is great fun and good exercise. Feel free to indulge in an extra s’more at the cookout on Saturday night. You can walk or run it off on Sunday morning.

Pleasant Lake is by far my favorite place to walk. There are a few hills along the route but with luck you’ll catch a breeze. Hopefully the loons will be on hand and lend you some encouragement with their distinctive call. In case you miss me; slow but steady, I’ll be bringing up the rear.

The fireworks on Pleasant Lake are the highlight of every Independence Day celebration. The evening starts with picnics and cookouts from one end of the lake to the other. As dusk falls, the crowd grows and anticipation mounts. Flares are lit all along the shore. Excited children dance about with sparklers while their anxious parents keep a watchful eye. And hold their breath. There are usually a few minor scrapes and tears but, knock wood, no trips to the emergency room.

Finally the fireworks explode in the night sky followed by a chorus of oooohs and aaaaahs. The evening ends with a spectacular grand finale. Sporting sunburned noses and an array of mosquito bites, we stumble home with empty coolers, sandy beach towels and sleepy grins.

Wishing you a red hot Fourth of July and bon appétit!

Grilled Scallop & Asparagus Salad
A bit more elegant than a hot dog or hamburger, try this delicious combination at your next cookout. Enjoy!
Serves 6
grilled_scallop_asparagus_salad_01
1 1/2 – 2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 – 2 pounds sea scallops
4-6 ounces mixed baby greens
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
6-8 Gaea or Castelvetrano olives, pitted and slivered
About 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
About 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat the grill to high heat.

Put the asparagus in a large baking dish or shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Pat the scallops dry and place them in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Place the asparagus on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender crisp. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with half of the lemon zest and juice and toss to combine.

Place the scallops on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest and juice and toss to combine.

Put the greens and scallions in a large bowl, add enough Vinaigrette Niçoise to lightly coat and toss to combine. Mound the greens on a large platter or individual plates, artfully top with warm asparagus and sprinkle with olives, feta and pecans. Top with warm scallops and serve immediately.

Vinaigrette Niçoise
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic
1 (about 1/8-inch thick) slice red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) hot pepper sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup (or to taste) extra virgin olive oil

Put the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, anchovy paste, garlic, onion, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in the blender. Season with salt and pepper and process until the garlic and onion are finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until thick and creamy.

Transfer the dressing to a storage container with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, give the container a vigorous shake to recombine the ingredients.

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One Year Ago – Watermelon & Feta Salad
Two Years Ago – Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Basil Aioli
Three Years Ago – Mediterranean Shrimp
Four Years Ago – Grilled Hoisin Pork
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you spend the Fourth of July? Filled with activities or lolling about? Maybe a bit of both! Feel free to share. Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook as well as a day in the life photoblog! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2013