Mud Season Weekend Special

Raining, snowing or a clear blue sky, I like to cook dishes from sunny climates during mud season. Think cheery recipes from the Caribbean, Asia and the Mediterranean. Friends and family will love the change. Here are a few suggestions to help you through a muddy weekend:

Let’s start with a few dips inspired by the Mediterranean. You love my Artichoke Pesto, and Baba Ganoush and Feta-Walnut Spread. Pita chips and some fresh veggies will make great dippers. Want to add a nibble or two? Try one or both of my favorites – Roasted Almonds or Spicy Olives.

Heading to the table, make the switch to south Asia with a flavorful soup. Either my Curried Carrot Soup or Curried Eggplant Soup would be a terrific choice.

Now, on to the main event. Serve up a little spice with my Vindaloo Chicken. Complete the dinner with spoonfuls of Roasted Cauliflower and basmati rice.

For dessert, think strawberries. They’re on sale at my local supermarket. Simply delicious, you will love my Strawberries with Yogurt Cream. That said, if you can find some rhubarb, you must try my Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup.

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.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! © Susan W. Nye, 2018

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Surviving Mud Season & Vindaloo Chicken

A week ago Monday, the day dawned with about six inches of cement-like snow in the yard. Only the day before, cheery crocuses were blooming and an inch of two of daffodils had broken ground. It was a bit disheartening to say the least and I wasn’t alone in my dismay.

Everyone had a joke. Mother Nature forgot to tell Father Time it was spring. It’s not the 15th of April, it’s 106th of January. After all, if we don’t laugh we might cry. The snow did raise a few hopes. Would it put a damper on next month’s black flies? (Unfortunately no, a hard frost in May will do that but not snow in April.)

I don’t know why these April storms surprise us. Perhaps we are in denial and only pretend to be surprised. After a few decades away, I admit I more or less had forgotten about New Hampshire’s snowy Aprils. However, my return to reality was swift and sure. The last one hundred or so miles of my journey home were in a snowstorm – it was  April 22.

Let’s face it; we live in a land known for its many seasons. In late October or early November, almost-winter begins. It is followed by winter. Winter is a great time for those of us who like to ski or snowshoe. Unfortunately, around the time the lifts close, still-winter or mud season begins. Spring, for all intents and purposes, is nonexistent.

Okay, I will grudgingly admit it. Sometime in late May or early June, we are not-so-blessed with a few days of black fly infested spring. Finally, there is a wonderful burst of summer, followed by a glorious fall. As lovely as these two mini seasons are, they are just that – mini. Together they barely make up a third of the year.

When it comes to surviving mud season, here’s what I got. It ain’t much but it’s about the best I can offer:

Defy all logic and smile. Smile, even if your car gets stuck in the slush or you loose a sneaker in the mud. It’s hard to be unhappy when you are smiling. If you don’t believe me, try it. Still not convinced? Well, then leaf through a pile of old Scientific Americans; the proof is in there somewhere.

Buy a ridiculously colorful raincoat and an even brighter pair of wellies (also known as rain boots.) It’s okay if they don’t match. Both will keep you dry and make you laugh. It’s hard to be unhappy when you are laughing. (See above for proof.)

If you can, get out of town, if only for a weekend or a day. You don’t need to go all the way to the Bahamas or Hawaii for a change. Spend some time in the city – any city will do. When was the last time you visited a museum? It’s been a while hasn’t it? How about shopping and lunch in a smart café? Indulge a bit; you deserve it.

Happy mud season and bon appétit!

Vindaloo Chicken
When New Hampshire turns muddy, I have a yearning for dishes from warmer climates. Curry is one of my favorites. Enjoy!
Serves 6-8

6-8 bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil
6-8 tablespoons Vindaloo Paste*
1 large onion, chopped
4-6 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups (14-15 ounce can) unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup or more chicken stock
1 pound baby spinach
1 1/2-2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup chopped cashews, toasted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Starting skin-side down, sear the chicken for about 2 minutes per each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve.

Put the Vindaloo Paste in the pan and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent. Add the bay leaf, stir in the white wine and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

Return the chicken to the pan with any juices and wiggle the pieces down into the vegetables.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked-through and nicely browned. Check the pan after about 30 minutes and add more chicken stock if necessary.

While the chicken braises, cook the rice according to package directions.

Remove the chicken from the pan, arrange in a deep serving platter and cover to keep warm.

Return the skillet to the stove and place over medium-high heat. Add the spinach in handfuls, toss to coat with sauce and cook, stirring, until all the spinach has wilted, 2-3 minutes.

Spoon the vegetables and sauce around and over the chicken, sprinkle with cashews and serve with basmati rice.

* You can find Vindaloo Paste in specialty stores, online and in some larger supermarkets … or you can make your own.

Vindaloo Paste
Makes about 1 cup

1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2-4 or to taste fresh bird’s eye chilies, chopped
1 cup loosely pack fresh cilantro
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
About 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Put the spices and seeds in a small food processor and pulse to combine and grind the seeds.

Add the garlic, ginger, chilies and cilantro and pulse to chop and combine. Add the crushed tomatoes and process to combine.

Add the vegetable oil and process until the mixture forms a smooth paste.

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One Year Ago – I Love Lime Pie
Two Years Ago – Quinoa Salad
Three Years Ago – Latkes
Four Years Ago – Cheddar-Sage Biscuits
Five Years Ago – Peanut-y Chocolate Chip Cookies
Six Years Ago – Espresso Brownies
Seven Years Ago – Lemon Scones
Eight Years Ago – Shrimp with Jicama Slaw
Nine Years Ago – Pork Mole
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

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

What Happened to the Sun? Weekend Special

It’s been a dreary few days. Rain intermittently interrupts the drizzle but refuses to clear the gray skies. I’m doing my best to think positive thoughts for the weekend. I’m doing my best to remember that I’ll be sitting on a beach before I know it. You will too!

For now, take it inside and enjoy an evening with friends. Here are a few ideas to brighten a dull weekend!

Pour a glass of wine and share a platter of scrumptious treats. Start with some fresh vegetables and artisanal crackers and add some Artichoke Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Complete the picture with a wedge of your favorite cheese.

Sit down to something different. How about individual Roasted Beet Tatin with Goat Cheese & Walnuts. Quite elegant and tasty too!

For the main course, something with asparagus sounds wonderful. It’s too early for local stalks but it makes me think of spring. My Coq au Vin au Printemps and Ravioli with Saffron Cream, Grilled Asparagus & Mushrooms are delicious one-dish suppers.

For dessert? My seasonal favorites include I Love Lime Pie and Maple Crème Brûlée.

What have you? Any special plans for this dull and dreary weekend?

Bon appétit!.

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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

April Doldrums & Moroccan Baked Cod

snowy_adirondack_chair_01You know what they say about New England; if you don’t like the weather, well, wait a few minutes. Where else can you enjoy four seasons in just a couple of days? April is particularly good at showing off unpredictable and changeable weather. It is also good at mud and sand.

You’d think that after a record-breaking mild winter, we wouldn’t have to cope with mud season. No such luck. Sand is everywhere, on the roads, in the driveway and coating the front yard. The backyard, on the other hand, is a soggy bog.

As far as I can figure, there are only two ways to deal with mud season. First, find some joy in the murk or second, get the heck out of northern New England. Since I’m not in the position to buy you all plane tickets, I’ll offer a few words of encouragement for finding some fun and thinking positive.

Start your day with a cup of very good coffee. April showers may bring May flowers but in the meantime gray skies can make you feel tired. The caffeine will give you a nice little jolt as will the delicious aroma and taste.

Dress in your favorite color or take it up a notch. Instead of yoga pants, wear those slimming jeans and your favorite sweater to the supermarket. Out to dinner? Trade in the slimming jeans for that great skirt you never wear. Looking fabulous might give you just the lift you need about now.

While you’re at it, maybe you’d like to try a new haircut or style. An updated look will make you feel gorgeous and confident. Unfortunately, with this one, you could find yourself on the wrong side of a double edged sword. If you hate the new do, then you will feel even more sullen and peevish than before.

Clean out a closet. Some people suggest a good spring cleaning from top to bottom will cheer you up. If cleaning is your thing, then go at it. If not, cleaning just one closet can be incredible satisfying. You can always tackle another closet tomorrow. Before you know it, you might have the whole house done.

Forget your cold weather favorites, move on and cook up some new recipes. Yes, we all like (make that love) a classi, even a not-so-classic, boeuf bourguignon or New England fish chowder but it’s time to put some spring in your menus. Perking up your menu with fresh herbs and lemon.

By all means, get out of the house. You can’t spend the entire month cooking and cleaning. Go for a long drive to some place interesting. Visit a museum or take in a show. Discover a terrific diner or a hole-in-the wall bakery with fantastic scones. Just make sure you wipe your feet before going back into the house.

Spend some time outdoors. Fresh air and exercise is a great way to fight off the doldrums. Dust off your bicycle and explore the Rail Trail or a new back road. The lake is too cold for swimming but you can go for a walk or maybe get out the kayak.

If that sounds too strenuous, laughter yoga might suit you. Yes, it’s been scientifically proven; laughter is a wonderful medicine. It will reduce stress as well as the doldrums. If you can’t find a laughter yoga class, start or join a ha ha club. How does it work? Simple, come together in a group, look each other in the eye and laugh.

Happy April and bon appétit!

Moroccan Baked Cod
When the sky is drab and gray, it’s time for a dash of spice and taste of lemon, herbs and exotic sunshine! Enjoy!
Serves 8

4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil
2 1/2-3 pounds cod filets
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 onion, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and then in thin wedges
About 1/2 cup pitted and quartered green and/or black olives
1/4 cup dry white wine

Make the herb salsa: Put the herbs, garlic, shallot, lemon zest and juice of 1/2 lemon in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil to taste, 2-4 tablespoons. Reserve.

Can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking dish.

Sprinkle the fish with about 3/4 teaspoon each cumin and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the onions and olives.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet, add the onion, sprinkle with the remaining cumin and paprika, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat, add the olives and white wine and toss to combine. Evenly spread the onion and olives in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Arrange the fish in a single layer on top of the onion and olives and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice. Bake the fish at 400 degrees until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t overcook.

Transfer the cod to a serving platter or individual plates, top with olives and onions and serve with a spoonful of the herb salsa.

Why are there two kinds of olive oil in this recipe? Extra virgin is the highest quality and priciest of the olive oils. It also tastes wonderful. However, it’s delicate flavor is lost when heat is applied. So, use save yourself some money and use olive oil for cooking and extra virgin for salsas, vinaigrettes and drizzling on finished dishes.

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One Year Ago – Artichoke Pesto
Two Years Ago – Quinoa with Sweet Potato & Spinach
Three Years Ago – Runners’ Chicken with
Four Years Ago – Bananas Foster
Five Years Ago – Tapenade
Six Year Ago – Lavender Infused White Chocolate Crème
Seven Years Ago – Lemon Tart

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

How do you stay cheery during the dull days of April? Or, maybe you live in a place where spring is filled with sunshine, daffodils and butterflies! Feel free to share!

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

Spring in the Land of Mud & Artichoke Pesto

end_ski_season_01It’s over. The ski season that is and I am bereft. It’s Mud Season but don’t bother moping. It won’t do any good. We’re stuck with it; sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally. We might as well do what we can to enjoy it. Okay, I get it; I should probably change that to endure it.

So what can we do to both grin and bear mud season?

Go to the movies. It’s the cheapest vacation going. For ten bucks or less, you can spend a couple hours in London, Vienna, India or even a galaxy far, far from here. To soften the return to reality, go for dinner afterwards. Something from a warmer, sunnier clime, maybe Thai or Mexican.

Do the biannual closet migration. Instead of waiting until Halloween, run the parkas, ski pants, hats and gloves through the wash. Weed out the ratty-tatty turtlenecks from the pack and put them in the rag bin. (You’ll need them when it comes time to wash all the mud and salt off your car.) Get those heavy sweaters into plastic bins and up into the attic. It’s time to get out the t-shirts, capris and pastel flats. (You might want to keep a pair of jeans and boots handy for the inevitable spring snowstorm.)

Get your running shoes and bicycle out. Unless you really like mud, most trails are too sticky for a hike. Living in a college town, I am already starting to see herds of young runners. The cyclists are never far behind. If you are out and about, you will want to beware of potholes. A few are deep enough to swallow a Mini Cooper.

Go to the library or dust off that pile of books you got for Christmas. Especially on rainy days, there’s nothing better than a good book. And let’s face it, that rhyme about April showers is based on fact not myth.

Put on your decorating hat. In the fall, you are too busy hiking and having fun. In the winter, you are too busy skiing and having fun. In the summer, you are too busy having fun at the beach. Mud Season is the perfect time to paint your bedroom or sew some pillows for the family room. Get your Martha on and go for it.

flower_flip-flopsCan’t wait for May flowers. Keep channeling Martha and get creative. Decorate a wreath with dried or silk blooms or spruce up a pair of flip-flops with fabric flowers and ribbon. While you’re at it, start seedlings in a sunny window. Better yet, get out of the house and take a flower-arranging workshop. What could be more Martha than that?

Watch the ice-out. It has already started on Pleasant Lake. On quiet mornings, you can hear the gurgle of water under the thinning ice. Pools and ribbons of open water are starting to appear. Before you know it, you’ll be out in your kayak.

Celebrate with a party. It’s the ultimate way to defy the mud and gloom. Whether you are the host or a guest, there is nothing like party to cheer you up. Take the initiative to bring friends together for a festive evening. Go all out with multiple courses and extravagant ingredients or share the effort with a potluck. Experiment with new recipes or stick with the tried and true. Whatever you do, your friends will thank you. Profusely. We’re all in this mud season together.

This too shall pass. Bon appétit!

Artichoke Pesto
This versatile pesto is great on crostini for a quick appetizer. Serve it with grilled chicken or fish or toss it with pasta for dinner. Enjoy!
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Artichoke_Olive_Pesto_01Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons capers, well drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8-10 ounces oil-packed artichoke hearts, well drained and roughly chopped
8-12 large brine-cured green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 ounces (about 1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or a mix of Parm and Pecorino Romano

Heat a little olive oil in a small skillet, add the onion and anchovy paste and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more. Cool to room temperature.

Put the onion and garlic in a food processor, add the lemon zest and juice, parsley, walnuts and capers, season with salt and pepper and process until finely chopped. Add the artichokes and olives and pulse to chop and combine. With the machine running, add enough olive oil to reach your desired consistency and process until well combined.

Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

For crostini: spread on toasted baguette slices, serve at room temperature or warm in a 350-dgree oven for about 5 minutes.

For pasta: cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving a little of the pasta water before draining. Return the pasta to the pot, add enough pesto to generously coat and toss. If the pasta seems dry, add a little pasta water and toss again.

For grilled chicken or fish: top each serving with a dollop of room temperature pesto or let everyone help themselves.

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One Year Ago – Quinoa with Sweet Potato & Spinach
Two Years Ago – Runners’ Chicken with
Three Years Ago – Bananas Foster
Four Years Ago – Tapenade
Five Year Ago – Lavender Infused White Chocolate Crème
Six Years Ago – Lemon Tart
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will you survive Mud Season? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

A Soggy Weekend Special

PL_Snow_01More snow, sleet, rain and fog in the forecast for Saturday. Cheer up! Technically, it’s spring and Sunday promises sunshine. (Let’s hope that whoever is in charge delivers.) A gray Saturday is a great excuse to hang out in the kitchen.

Invite your beset buds over to share the results. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Think warm and sunny when it comes to appetizers. Start the evening with one of my favorites, Baba Ganoush or Caponata. Serve either with warm pita.

To the table for a salad! Roasted vegetables go great with greens. Give my Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad or just as delicious Mixed Greens with Warm Roasted Squash.

Moving on, how about Harira, cozy Middle Eastern soup with chicken, chickpeas and lentils. Too spicy? then try a New England favorite – Lobster-Corn Chowder. Yes, lobster is a bit pricey these days. Maybe everyone’s favorite, Four Cheese Lasagna Bolognese with Spinach, would be a better bet,

I’ve got the perfect dessert for this weather. Since it’s mud season, what could be better than New Hampshire Mud Pie. Want another option? How about Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart?

Have a great evening and bon appétit!

What are your plans 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

Spring Has Sprung?!? & New Hampshire Mud Pie

mud_seasonAccording to the calendar, spring has sprung. For anyone living in New Hampshire, spring is a somewhat relative term. You’ve heard the saying – March comes in like a lion and goes out like lamb. Well, not here. As far as I can figure, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lion. If you want, you can change that last part to out like raging rhinoceros/. With snow on the first day of spring, the weather is hardly lamb-like.

Some people refer to this time of year as mud season. I usually think of it as still winter and not in a good way. The good kind of winter is jolly with skiing, skating, après festivities and general all-round frivolity. The bad kind of winter is the fed-up kind with ugly piles of dirty snow on the side of the road. Mud and sand are everywhere. Dirt roads are nothing but muck, trapping cars in their sticky mire. Paved roads are no better. An abundance of frost heaves and potholes turn them into roller coasters.

When it snows, instead of light and fluffy, a nasty mix of snow, sleet and rain falls from the sky. Alternating rain and frigid temperatures turn the mountain into an ice-skating rink one day and slush puddle the next. Then again, a lot of people are past caring. When the first gently falling flakes came down in December, they waxed poetic and then grabbed their skis, snowshoes or sled. Now they’re fed up and don’t mind telling you. What they once called magical is now are just a pain in the you know what.

Of course, it’s not all bad news. Whether you are in desperate need of a break or not, there’s a pretty good chance you gave the last of your pennies to the snowplow guy. A spa day seems out of the question until you get stuck on the shortcut you always take to the ski hill. You are utterly bereft until it hits you. Just below your spinning wheels is a seemingly endless supply of mud! Forget a simple facial, there’s enough for everyone in the state to enjoy a full body mud wrap. And it’s organic!

And that’s not all. At least once, possibly twice or three times, we’ll have that delightful combination of sunshine and warmish temperatures. Those are the days when a morning on the slopes is sheer delight. Instead of hard packed powder (generally known as ice to the rest of the world), the snow is soft and granular. Even better, you can put aside your Michelin man getup and sport your favorite Norwegian or fisherman’s knit sweater. The one your mom got for Christmas in 1952 and you borrowed twenty-five years later. Has it really been that long since you’ve not returned it?

Slush_Cup_Ragged_01Even if you don’t like to ski, you can go to the mountain and hangout. There will be lots of music and end of season festivities. A favorite is watching skiers and snowboarders attempt to skim across an ice-cold pond of slush. Some even make it.

Sound like too much frivolity; how about a peaceful walk around the lake? The road around Pleasant Lake may have its share of cracks and craters but its dry and the woods are abuzz with wild turkeys and other feathered friends. After a winter of arctic temperatures and hurricane-force winds, it’s good to be outside.

Enjoy mud season, after all the black flies will be here sooner than you think! Bon appétit!

New Hampshire Mud Pie
A very easy dessert, Mud Pie is a favorite at my house. What about yours? Enjoy!
Serves 12-16

Cookie Crust
9 ounces chocolate wafers or Oreo cookies (about 2 cups crumbs)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamonmud_pie_06
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Put the cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt and pulse to combine.

Put the cookie crumbs in a bowl, drizzle with the melted butter and toss to combine. Put the buttery crumbs in the springform pan and firmly press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and about 1-2 inches up the sides of the pan.

Bake the crust until set, about 7 minutes. Cool completely.

Ice Cream Filling
2 quarts ice cream or gelato, your favorite flavor(s)
Your favorite add-ins: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, crushed candies and cookies

Put the ice cream in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes to soften.

Scoop 1 quart of ice cream into the springform pan and spread it evenly over the cookie crust. Sprinkle liberally with chocolate chips, nuts, coconut and/or crushed candies and cookies and gently press into the ice cream.

Repeat with the second quart of ice cream and more toppings. Cover and freeze for several hours or overnight.

I recommend coffee and vanilla ice cream with crushed Oreo cookies and Heath bars.

Chocolate Sauce
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
14 ounces dark chocolate* or a mix of dark and milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the sugar, salt and orange juice in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and, swirling the pan occasionally, boil until it is a deep amber color, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cream, the mixture will bubble, and whisk until smooth. Heat over low heat until the cream is hot but not boiling. Whisk in the espresso powder and Grand Marnier.

Turn off the heat, add the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes to melt. Whisk until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk again until smooth and combined.

Serve warm. If making ahead, warm the chocolate sauce in a heavy saucepan over very low heat or in a double boiler over simmering water.

* Forget chocolate chips for this recipe. Having lived in Switzerland for almost two decades, I always use Swiss chocolate for this sauce. It melts beautifully and is worth the extra expense.

To servemud_pie_02
Move the Mud Pie to the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving. Gently release the collar on the springform pan.

Decoratively drizzle individual plates with chocolate sauce (pretend you are the pastry chef in an elegant restaurant).

Slice the pie and place each slice on a plate on top of the chocolate sauce. If you insist, you can drizzle each slice with more chocolate sauce.

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One Year Ago – White Beans Provençal with Bacon & Baby Kale
Two Years Ago – Moroccan Spiced Grilled Lamb with Roasted Eggplant Salsa
Three Years Ago – Linguine with Shrimp, Artichokes Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives
Four Years Ago – Roast Chicken
Five Years Ago – Roasted Asparagus with Walnuts
Six Years Ago – Roasted Eggplant with Peperonata
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How will survive Mud Season? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.