What to Celebrate Weekend Special?

So we’ve got a couple of thing going on this weekend. First and foremost, today is Cinco de Mayo. It’s raining again, so a sunny Mexican-inspired meal sounds pretty good about now. If you don’t have time to fiesta tonight, then you can always celebrate the Kentucky Derby tomorrow.

Here are a few ideas for your Cinco de Mayo feast!

For starters, how about the Middle East meets Tex-Mex with a tasty Chipotle Sweet Potato & White Bean Hummus? Or try my Corncakes with a dab of Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

Move to the table and a simple salad. My Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad is delicious. Now for the main course. My grill is still on porch so I’m good to go with Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol and a side of Grilled Zucchini, Onions and Peppers and a spoonful of steamed rice.

And for dessert … as far as I know my I Love Lime Pie has nothing to do with Mexico. However, it is delicious. That’s a good enough reason for me. How about you? Feliz Cinco de Mayo y ¡buen apetito!

=o=

Now, what about Derby Day?

Celebrate the Derby with fun and festive cocktails! It’s not a Derby without Mint Juleps:

Kentucky Mint Julep
Serves 1

1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint

Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Now the question, what to nibble while you watch the sport of kings?

How about a make-your-own crostini bar? Grill up some bread, add some breadsticks and artisanal crackers and let your friends mix and match. To build your crostini bar, start with a Duo of Pestos Artichoke and Sundried Tomato and add a small bowl of Tapenade. Grilled Vegetables are lovely on crostini. Asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, onions and peppers … any and all are delicious. While you’re at it, throw a few Shrimp on the Grill.

Alright, what’s next, hmmm … how about Chicken Liver Pâté and Smoked Salmon Mousse. Of course, you’ll want some cheese … a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a log of goat cheese and maybe another wedge, this one Stilton or Gorgonzola. Be sure to include something sweet, maybe some honey or Fig Jam and add some nuts. Walnuts and pine nuts are always a good choice.

Top off the evening with something sweet: In keeping with the make-your-own-theme, how about a sundae bar? A few quarts of your favorite ice cream or gelato and some delicious sauces, Chocolate, Caramel and Maple, one, the other or all three, work for me. Some fresh berries would be nice too!

Stay dry, have a great weekend and bon appétit!

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. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

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, 2014

Running for the Roses Weekend Special, Mint Juleps & More

roses_02The Kentucky Derby is this weekend. Whether you are a horseracing fan or not, the Derby is as good an excuse as any to celebrate spring. Particularly if you love hats! First, a timing detail … coverage of the Derby and hats will be on-going from late afternoon. The race runs at 6:24. Nicknamed the fastest two minutes in sport, don’t be late.

Before, during and after the race, enjoy Mint Juleps and some delicious savory and sweet treats. You might want to start with a platter or two. A plate of beautiful cheeses is always welcome. Add some fresh fruit (strawberries are abundant and cheap in my local supermarket.), slices of dried sausage or prosciutto and a few nuts. And/or let your friends help themselves to fresh vegetables and pita chips with White Bean Hummus or Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip.

Now, what to pass? How about mini-Latkes with a dab of sour cream, a sliver of smoked salmon and a bit of caviar. Some shrimp would be delicious. For a bit of a change, try them Roasting the Shrimp and serve them with Tarragon Aioli. For beef lovers you can’t go wrong with Crostini with Beef Tenderloin & Stilton. Two more traditional favorites, Tartelettes au Fromage avec Saucisse et Poireaux (Cheese Tartlets with Sausage & Leeks) and Greek Stuffed Mushrooms are also great choices.

Finish the evening (and send the signal that it’s time to go home) with something sweet. Lemon-Lime Squares are a spring-y choice. Then again, have you ever meet a Brownie you didn’t like? If the weather stays dry, wow your guests with Almond Macarons with Chocolate-Raspberry Ganache. Wet or dry, my Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes are as delicious as they are beautiful. Can you ever have too much chocolate?

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Serves 1

1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint

Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

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

© Susan W. Nye, 2015

Kentucky Derby Weekend Special

roses_02It’s time to get ready for The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. Grab your hat on – it’s Kentucky Derby Weekend!

If you need a little help with your Derby Party menu, here are a few suggestions:

Celebrate the Derby with fun and festive cocktails! Horse racing is considered the sport of kings. So feel free to go all out with Savory Blinis with Smoked Salmon & Caviar. Unless you’d prefer one or the other of Zucchini Pancakes with Tapenade and/or Crostini with Asparagus & Goat Cheese. Or try all three, they’re delicious.

It’s not a Derby without Mint Juleps:

Kentucky Mint Julep
Serves 1

1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint

Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

When the dust has settled and roses awarded, gather around the table for a wonderful dinner: Let the jockeys and their fabulous, brightly colored silks inspire you with a Red & Green Salad to start. Next enjoy a southern-style main course with Creole Shrimp and some Cheddar-Sage Biscuits.

Top off your feast with something sweet: How about Bananas Foster or a homey Apple Bread Pudding with Bourbon-Caramel Crème Anglaise.

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

Will you be watching the Derby? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

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, 2014

Busy Spring Weekend Special

forsythiaIt’s going to be a busy weekend! First, there is The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, otherwise known as The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. And Sunday is Cinco de Mayo. Sounds like a great excuse for a party or two!

If you need a little help, here are a few suggestions for the weekend:

Celebrate the Derby with fun and festive cocktails! Think spring and whip up some crostini with two of my favorite spring veggies … Artichoke and/or Asparagus. Add a few Roasted Shrimp with Tarragon Aioli. Don’t forget to put out a few fabulous cheeses, some Tapenade with a few fresh veggies and some Roasted Almonds. And it’s not a Derby without Mint Juleps.

Kentucky Mint Julep
Serves 1

1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint

Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Unless, you’d prefer a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta: Start your dinner margaritas and a tasty appetizer. Try my Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa or maybe my Avocado, Black Bean and Tomato Tostaditas . And if your day is crazy, keep it simple with some chips, Salsa and Guacamole. Don’t forget the Margaritas!

Frozen Mango Margaritas
Serves 6

1/2 lime
Kosher salt
1 cup golden tequila
Juice of 2-3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
Juice of 2 orange (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup Triple Sec
2-3 cups frozen chopped mango
Lime wedges

Rub the outside rims of six glasses with lime and dip each glass lightly into a plate of kosher salt.

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, Triple Sec in a blender. Add the mango,1 cup at a time, and puree until smooth.

Pour the margaritas into the prepared glasses, garnish each with a lime wedge and serve.

Onto the main course: How about a delicious Pork Mole. It’s great for a crowd. Serve the pork with steamed rice and Roasted Beans. Then again, Tequila Shrimp sounds pretty good. Or get out the grill for Spicy Chicken. Either will be delicious with Jicama Slaw.

Top off your feast with something sweet: I think something lemony would be nice. How about lemon Tart, Cheesecake or Mousse?

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

Will you be watching the Derby? Celebrating Cinco de Mayo? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

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, 2013