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

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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

Burger Time – Summer Weekend Special

Summertime is burger time. If you don’t have any special plans this weekend, why not roll out the grill and flip some burgers? Backyard or beach, gather friends and family together, I can’t think of anything better with this beautiful weather. Here are a few suggestions …

Keep the appetizers easy with chips or veggies and dips. The first corn is at the farmstand. It’s not NH native but it’s still pretty good. Toss a few charred kernels into my Grilled Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa and dig in. Alternatively, you might enjoy fresh veggies and chips with Baba Ganoush.

For the main course … bring on the burgers. Beef eaters will love my Not Your Ordinary Burger with goat cheese and sundried tomato aioli. If you like a little spice with your burger, add a slice of cheddar and a dollop of my Roasted Tomato-Chipotle Ketchup. If you prefer a delicious turkey burger then give my Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese & Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli or Southwest Turkey Burgers with Cheddar & Chipotle Aioli or my Turkey Burgers with Greek Salsa.

Don’t forget the salads. To stay with the grilling theme, treat yourself and your friends to my Grilled Romaine Salad or Grilled Zucchini Salad. You might also like to add a platter of Heirloom Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction. It wouldn’t be a summer cookout without potato salad. Try my Grilled Potato Salad or Dijon Potato Salad.

Brownies are the perfect cookout dessert. I have two great suggestions for you – Triple Threat Brownies or Cheesecake Browines. Want more? Well, then, bring on the s’mores.

Have a wonderful weekend. Bon appétit!

p.s. It’s too late for this weekend but don’t forget to put up some pickles. If you mix up a batch of my Spicy Refrigerator Pickles this weekend, they’ll be ready for your next cookout.

p.p.s. It’s too early for local green beans in New Hampshire but they’ll be here soon. Be sure to put up a few jars of my favorite Dilly Beans.

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

Back on Cook’s Corner – Grilled Shrimp Tacos

width=It’s summertime and the grilling is easy. I’m back on Cook’s Corner to demonstrate one of my favorite summer dishes.

You’ll fall in love with my Grilled Shrimp Tacos. With fresh tomatoes, charred corn and a fabulous salsa verde, they take Taco Tuesday to a whole new level. These tacos are fresh and light – the perfect dinner on a hot summer night.

Jump In – The Water’s Fine Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese & Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli

I am nothing if not lucky. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, I’m absolutely, utterly and totally lucky. Growing up, my sister, brother and I had all sorts of wonderful opportunities. In the summer, we spent two weeks impatiently waiting for a ride to the town beach, two weeks at camp and a month on the Cape. Between the town beach and camp, we learned to swim. While they are now long gone, at least for a while, Mom had the certificates to prove it.

Whether at camp or the town beach, swimming lessons were serious business. For one thing, our instructors wore uniforms – red Speedos with a special lifeguard patch. Regardless of the weather, classes were held first thing in the morning. In addition to the red Speedos, these tyrants sported a whistle and did not hesitate to blow it. Every morning, they’d bark orders and toot the whistle as they put us through our drills: crawl, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and sidestroke.

All those swimming lessons were endured for one reason and one reason only – to pass the raft test. Without a doubt, passing the raft test was an important rite of passage. By important, I mean it was right up there with birth, death and marriage. Although, at seven or eight, I’m not sure we paid much attention to these milestones. In any case, swimming to the raft was certainly more important than a first haircut or high school diploma. Swimming to the raft meant that you were one of the big kids.

The town beach had two rafts. Both required a swimming test. The first was more than difficult. The second was almost beyond endurance. However, it was worth the struggle. As we all know, there is not a little kid alive who doesn’t vie for the privileges of older siblings and neighbors. In the scheme of life, earning a driver’s license is perhaps the only challenge on par with (and possibly more significant than) passing the raft test. That said; a three-point turn on a hill is nothing compared to the hundreds of laps required to exit the baby area and join the big kids on that elusive raft. Okay, so maybe it was only eight or twelve laps but it seemed like hundreds.

For a long time, I thought everyone knew how to swim. When you grow up in New England, in spite of our short summers, swimming is part of life. From the ice-cold ocean to a somewhat tepid pond, opportunities abound. As added insurance, our school district mandated swimming lessons for all sixth graders. Once a week, we hopped on a bus and headed to a pool for swimming lessons. No kid was going slip through the cracks.

Eventually, life took me outside of my familiar New England boundaries. On my quest for adventure, my horizons expanded and I met all sorts of wonderful people. Imagine my surprise to learn that a good many of them could barely swim a stroke. Meeting these non-swimmers reminded me of the charmed existence I lived as a child.

When you’re young, swimming is all about the joy of diving under the lines that keep your little brother and his friends safe in shallow water. It’s the wonderful sense of freedom from swimming away from the crowded beach. It’s the feeling of strength and accomplishment as you climb out of the cool lake and on the raft. It’s the fun and silliness when that cute boy throws you back in.

News stories of a dozen young boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave is a powerful reminder of my fabulously lucky life. So, to those Speedo-clad tyrants, their whistles and drills, I say thank you. My crawl may be weak but I can do a decent breaststroke for about a mile, maybe more.

Enjoy the water, stay safe and have a wonderful summer. Bon appétit!

Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese & Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli
A taste of Provençal sunshine – hot off the grill. Enjoy!
Serves 8

2 – 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces goat cheese, sliced
8 burger buns

Make the Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot.

Divide the turkey into 8 pieces and gently pat into patties, brush both sides with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the turkey burgers on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue grilling for 2 minutes. Top each burger with sliced goat cheese and grill for 1 minute more.

Place the buns on the grill, turning once, and toast for 1 minute or less. Pop each turkey burger onto a bun, add a dollop of Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli and serve.

Rosemary-Tapenade Aioli
Makes about 1 cup

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup prepared mayonnaise
1/3 cup tapenade (recipe follows)

Put the garlic, rosemary and lemon juice into the bowl of a small food processor and pulse until finely chopped and combined. Add the mayonnaise and tapenade and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tapenade
Makes about 1 cup

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes or to taste
About 8 ounces dry pack, oil cured black olives, pitted

Throw everything except the olives into the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until well chopped and combined. About a quarter at a time, add the olives and process until smooth. You may need to add a little more olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or more to combine the flavors.

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One Year Ago – Blueberry Bread Pudding
Two Years Ago – Crunchy Quinoa Salad
Three Years Ago – Cheesecake Brownies
Four Years Ago – Grilled Swordfish with Tequila-Lime Butter
Five Years Ago – Grilled Swordfish with Olive & Caper Salsa
Sic Years Ago – Grilled Red Potatoes with Lemon-Garlic-Herb Oil
Seven Years Ago – Tandoori Chicken
Eight Years Ago – Blueberry Muffins
Nine Years Ago – Peanut Butter Brownies

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

What’s your summer beach story? Feel free to share!

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

Another Hip Hip Hooray Holiday Weekend Special

As I mentioned last week, a midweek holiday can be a bit awkward. Do the celebrations start the weekend before the Fourth of July? Or do you start on the Fourth and keep celebrating through the weekend? The best solution is to take the entire week and do it proud.

With all this warm weather, a picnic or cookout is a happy holiday must. Need some help with your menu? Not to worry, I have a few suggestions …

For a light and bright appetizer, your friends will love my Rosemary Cashews and
Tapenade with crispy slices of cucumber and red bell pepper.

Now, gather around the picnic table and enjoy my Vietnamese Salad. Next, try my Grilled Shrimp (this time without the peanut sauce) and Szechuan Noodle Salad.

As long as the local strawberries are in season, you’ll want to head to the PYO for dessert. What could be more festive than a Berry Flag Cake or Strawberry & White Chocolate Fool. Parfaits.

Have a wonderful summer and holiday. 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

Is It the Holiday Weekend Yet Special?

The Fourth of July falls on Wednesday this year. A midweek holiday is a bit awkward. Do the celebrations start the weekend before or continue through the weekend after? Better you celebrate both!

This weekend and next, invite friends over for a happy holiday cookout. Fly a flag, roll out the grill and have a delicious weekend. Need some help with your menu? Not to worry, I have a few suggestions …

For a light and bright appetizer, you can’t beat my favorite Shrimp & Cucumber Bites or Crostini with Cucumber, Radish & Feta.Want something more exotic? How about Baba Ganoush with pita chips and fresh veggies.

Now for the main course … get the grill going and enjoy my Grilled Vietnamese Beef or A Hint of Asia Barbecued Chicken or Hoisin Pork Ribs. Complete your main course with my fabulous Asian Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Asian Slaw.

As for dessert, it’s strawberry season. What could be better? For easy, you must try my Strawberries in Cointreau. If you want to get a little fancy try my Creamy Yogurt Tart with Fresh Strawberries.

Have a wonderful summer and holiday. 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