Another Memorial Day Weekend Special

In my neighborhood, Memorial Day Weekend is a busy few days. A lot of the houses up and down my street belong to summer people. They bide their time. They are only here when days are warm and the sun shines. A few come up to ski in winter but they are still summer people.

This weekend they will all be around to sweep the cottage, put the boat in the water and maybe, just maybe, take a swim in the ice cold lake.

Mixed with all the hustle and bustle will be a ton of good cheer. Who doesn’t love to be in New Hampshire? … even if the black flies are as thick as thieves. Anyway, if you play your cards right you may get invited to a cookout. So, get out your favorite recipes, make a list, head to the supermarket and be ready for fun.

Here are a few dishes you can bring along to that neighborhood potluck this holiday weekend:

How about a tasty appetizer?
For something a little different, may I suggest … Chickpea Salsa or Crostini with Cucumber, Radish & Feta or Lettuce Cups with Stir-fried Chicken & Vegetables?

Maybe you’d rather bring a salad or a side dish … with asparagus of course.
You can’t lose with my Grilled Asparagus with Lemony Tarragon Butter Sauce (it’s delicious at room temperature) or Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado or Asparagus Salad with Reduced Balsamic Vinaigrette.

No, then, I guess you’d rather bring a sweet treat:
Rhubarb is in season, so, why not try my Ginger Shortcakes with Rhubarb Compote or Rhubarb Crumb Cake? Want something patriotic for Memorial Day … how about Berry Flag Cake? When all else underwhelms you, bring a batch of the world’s best brownies … Espresso Brownies.

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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Weekend Special – Time for a Potluck

fruit_nuts_herbs_01Are you overdue for a festive dinner with friends. Have you been putting it off because you just can’t find the time to cook dinner for a mob of people. Don’t worry about it. Organize a potluck. Or talk your friend into doing it, the one who’s such a good organizer.

Make it easy. Pick a theme, something easy. No need to show off. Don’t choose something obscure like Thai-Latvian fusion or with hard to find (at least in New Hampshire) ingredients from Ethiopia Uzbekistan. You can wax lyrical and invite everyone to an evening in the Italian countryside or a feast of French Farmhouse cuisine. These themes are vague enough to allow creativity and specific enough to avoid Asian-Tex-Mex-Mediterranean Fusion. Send out an email, pick up the phone or send an evite. (Evite can be particularly handy – your guests can rsvp and share what they’ll be bringing all at the same time.)

And now suggestions …

To start: For a small bite with a bit of Italian flair, try Gorgonzola & Walnut Shortbread with Savory Fig Jam or Savory Parmesan Shortbread with Tomato Jam. A bowl of Spicy Olives will certainly be welcome.

If flirting with French cuisine make more sense, then how about Roasted Shrimp with Tarragon Aioli, some lovely Pâté or Tapenade? Either way, a small bowl of warm Rosemary Cashews will always be welcome.

Moving on … Everyone likes chicken. Perhaps you’ll try Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs or Chicken Niçoise. Serve the chicken with Roasted Cauliflower or Broccoli Puree and Lemon Roasted Potatoes or Israeli Couscous. Or all of the above.

Unless you’re doing the Italian thing. Then go for a delicious and hearty Butternut Squash Lasagna or or Chicken Parm with Spaghetti Marinara.

A salad, maybe two, is always a good idea. For a nod to Italy, try Roasted Cauliflower, Radicchio & Arugula Salad or Mixed Greens Salad with Gorgonzola & Walnuts. You’ll taste a hint of France in Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese Salad
or Mixed Greens with Roasted Grapes, Olives & Feta.

To top it all off … hmmm?  For a potluck with a French accent, bake a Rustic Apple Croustade or whip up some smooth and creamy Chocolate Mousse. Or go with Maple Mousse, it is in season!

Again, if you want to bring some Italian flair to the party, try my Chocolate Panna Cotta or Panna Cotta with Strawberries. And while it may not be Italian, my Chocolate-Orange Tart is delicious.

Have a great party 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

Thanksgiving Potluck & Radicchio, Fennel, and Arugula Salad

Turkey_02So what’s your plan this Thanksgiving? Will you spend days in the kitchen preparing the perfect feast? Maybe, you’ll be wined and dined by Mom or Nana … or a friend whose cooking rivals the best restaurant in town. Then again, Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that just cries out for a potluck. Here are a couple of thoughts for potluck guests and hosts:

Some host like to wing it. They don’t make suggestions and they don’t take notes. I can’t be certain but I think they secretly hope that everyone will bring dessert. Others try to choreograph a fairly even distribution of appetizers, sides and sweets. If you’re a guest, defer to your hosts when choosing what to bring. After all, they’re the ones who’ll be cooking the turkey and running the vacuum cleaner around the house.

That said, it’s okay to negotiate a little. If sweet potatoes covered with mini marshmallows are not in your repertoire, offer to make your infamous Pumpkin Cheesecake or Decadent Cheesy Potatoes.

Don’t grumble if your cousin already called first dibs on the cheesecake and your sister-in-law beat you to the spuds. Yes, even if they are using your recipes! Consider it a compliment. Be gracious and offer to make a delicious soup, salad or apple pie.

If you are hopeless in the kitchen, fess up and offer to bring a couple of bottles of wine, a flower arrangement or a loaf of bread from your favorite bakery. Your friends and family will be thankful.

The devil is in the details. If you are in charge of salad, bring the tongs and vinaigrette. Of course, your host will forgive you if you forget. However, she has enough to juggle without having to track down extra utensils and olive oil at the last minute. Same goes for ice cream for the pie.

And keep the last minute, finishing (or not so finishing) touches to a minimum. In other words, don’t arrive with bags of greens to wash or desserts to flambé. And definitely don’t bring a bushel of raw, unpeeled, unwashed potatoes along with your most winsome but bumbling expression if you’re in charge of the spuds.

Don’t assume there will be plenty of oven space for you to roast your veggies or bake your pie. For hot dishes, my favorite trick is to cover my serving dish, wrap it in an old (but clean) beach towel or two and then throw it all in a cooler. Between the towels and the cooler, your dish will be well insulated and stay warm for about an hour.

If you’re hosting the potluck, do consider at least a modicum of planning. Yes, I know it can be fun and funny to throw caution to the wind and let everyone bring whatever strikes their fancy. Even if you love, love, love them, are you sure you want masses upon masses of sweet potatoes? Or half a dozen pumpkin pies?

On the other hand, there is planning and then there is planning. If you are one of those meticulous perfectionists, you might want to do all the cooking yourself. Let’s face it, just because your neighbor promises to bring apple pie doesn’t mean she’ll actually get to the bakery before they run out. Expect a few surprises. Heck, blueberry might not be traditional for Thanksgiving but it’s still delicious.

Have fun and be thankful for good food and a great day with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving and bon appétit!

Radicchio, Fennel, and Arugula Salad
Want to lend your host a hand this Thanksgiving? Why not offer to bring a light and bright salad? Enjoy!radicchio_fennel_arugula_02
Serves 8

About 12 ounces radicchio, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
8 ounces frisée salad or arugula or 2-3 endives, cut in bite size pieces
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
About 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
About 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted
About 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
2-3 ounces Manchego cheese

Put the radicchio, fennel, frisée, scallions and parsley in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add enough vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss. Arrange the salad on a serving platter or individual plates.

Use a sharp vegetable peeler to make thin shaving of Manchego. Sprinkle the salad with Manchego shaving, hazelnuts and cranberries

Orange-Sherry Vinaigrette
Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
2-3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste

Put the orange juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic and shallot in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Gradually add olive oil to taste and whisk until smooth. Cover and let the vinaigrette sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to several days in the refrigerator.

Bring to room temperature and whisk again before serving.

Cover and store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator.

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One Year Ago – Roasted Mushrooms, Leeks, Shallots & Pearl Onions
Two Years Ago – Turkey Noodle Soup with Spinach
Three Years Ago – Curried Thai Soup with Turkey, Vegetables & Noodles
Four Year Ago – Roast Turkey with Mom’s Stuffing & Giblet Gravy
Five Years Ago – Penne Gratin with Leftover Turkey
Six Years Ago – Leftover Turkey Stir-fry
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your favorite dish to bring to a potluck? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2014