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Lunch on the way to Boston

Once you leave the Hanover/Lebanon area, there isn't a lot of choices off I89. The one time we went to Yama, I liked it. If you take exit 7 and turn south toward Contoocook, there is the School House Café. It's a breakfast and lunch place but I think it's open until 3. Very busy at lunch time but you can do take-out for picnic table if weather is good. Small, but good food and they have all day breakfast.

If you take exit 2, Clinton St, Concord you can follow directions to In A Pinch Café which has great homemade soups, good sandwiches, salads and daily specials. From there it would be easiest to go directly to I93. If You continue into downtown Concord there are quite a few options but not a lot of parking spaces at lunch time for Main Street local places. Avoid if July 18-20 since Main Street will be closed off for Market Days. If you go to the end of I89 and drive directly across the intersection you will be on Hall Street. Haven't been to Sandwich Depot in a long time but they have good subs. If you continue on Hall Street, you come out almost at I93. Just turn right and stay in right lane.

A busy place but fairly quick is the King Arthur Flour café in Norwich VT. I think you have to detour to I91 but it's close. They have a great menu/take-out with both inside and outside seating and if you bake, it's a fabulous store to shop. It's 5 miles north of junction I89/I91. I would also highly recommend lunch at the Norwich Inn which is everything you would envision for a New England country inn. Check menu and schedule. I don't think they are open on Mondays.

Jul 16, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

New York to Laconia - what's not to miss? Lobster Rolls?

Inland lobster rolls are frequently vacuum packed lobster but can still be done well. You might also look for fried clams. In the Lake Winnipesaukee we've had good luck with Red Hill Dairy (tiny take-out place) in Moultonborough. Many supermarkets will steam fresh lobsters for you. You save the mess and smell at home but you do have to pay state meals tax.

Blueberry PYO has just started. Don't know whether you get great blueberries in LA. There are quite a few places in the greater Concord area.

You are probably going to go thru Concord either coming up I93 or I91 to Brattleboro VT then Keene NH to Concord. There is a place in Hillsborough NH called the High Tide, counter service only, large screened porch.

Get a map for the ice cream trail, cheese trail, wine trail etc from NH Dept of Agriculture. In Concord both Arnie's on Loudon Rd and Granite State Candy on Warren street make their own. Also in downtown Concord, I think the Whoopie Pies at Crust and Crumb Bakery (across from State House) are unique and not your run-of-the mill whoopie pie that you can buy at gas stations and convenience stores (i.e. Steve's but if you can find them, Wicked Whoopie Pies are better). There's some pretty good fried clams at Beefside and they make good cole slaw too which is getting scarce (good cole slaw, that is). But if you want something healthier, In A Pinch has some great sandwiches, soups and salads. See their website to find out what kind of soup they have that day. OK lobster roll.

Continuing north: I93 exit 17 to Richardson's Farm Stand. They also make their own ice cream. I wasn't crazy about the strawberry rhubarb but their gingersnap is pretty good. Also liked their mango which I was surprised to find in NH. My husband always orders their Peanut Butter Cup ice cream because they use real Reeses. Sue also makes The Best Pies. I like her strawberry rhubarb but husband prefers either apple or blueberry. Quite easy to pick up pie a la mode at this place. You can take the back roads but you're better off returning to I93 or at least Rt 3. In Northfield you can get off the highway for The Dipsy Doodle which has pretty good lobster rolls, fried clams, etc. Tiny place, few indoor tables, mostly outside picnic tables. Their onion rings are pretty good, too. For inland lobster rolls, the Dipsy Doodle gets our vote.

Jul 14, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Butternut squash

I have used squash instead of sweet potato in Massaman curry but I like to microwave the squash a bit to make sure it is well cooked. Winter squash can keep for awhile. If it's cool enough, sometimes a couple of months. We store our garden grown winter squash in the cellar. You might be able to keep it long enough for weather to get cooler. But, for use in a dessert, it will be fine to microwave it then mash.

Jul 12, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

HELP!! Extremely picky eaters, out of dinner options!!

Simple grilled chicken: put boneless chicken in a bowl with EVOO then salt and pepper. I like to add another seasoning so recently used Penzey's Northwoods. Grill. If you want to add your favorite barbecue sauce, wait until the chicken is almost done so the sauce doesn't burn.

Ham steak: make a paste of mustard and brown sugar to smear over the ham. Either grill or bake in the oven.

Get a good basic cookbook like Better Home & Gardens (it has a red plaid cover) for lots of things you can do with hamburger i.e. meatloaf and meatballs. You might be able to borrow cookbooks from the library or visit websites like epicurious.com that use a rating system to find popular recipes.

Pork tenderloin: cut in chunks. Marinate in your favorite marinade (bottled Italian dressing is ok) and grill.

I found a good easy recipe for Asian peanut sauce to go on grilled chicken or chicken satay.

There are some different things you can do with potatoes such as adding cheese. Good luck. Guess it's a good thing you both are picky eaters.

Jul 10, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking
1

Inexpensive-to-midrange lunch spots in Portland, ME's Old Port district?

and MDI ice cream for a sampler bowl for dessert!

Jul 08, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Best Food Cities in Northern NE?

Portsmouth is a great suggestion. The shorter boat trips like the harbor or inland rivers have a lot of narration. There's the science center at Odiorne Point. Maybe allow some time at Hampton Beach or Water Country? After all, you could pack a great picnic to take to Water Country and have a restaurant meal in the evening.

Is your tween too old for the Montshire Museum in Norwich VT? I recently spent a weekend in Norwich. King Arthur Flour is a great place to shop especially if you bake. The Norwich Inn and the restaurant right across the street have very good menus (Norwich Inn has a brew pub). The farmers market on Saturday is great (go there for breakfast). Hanover and Dartmouth are just a mile away. You can also visit Simon Pearce, Quechee gorge and Woodstock. Should be a great swimming hole someplace.

Manchester NH and Burlington VT are also great suggestions. Is tween too old for SEE science center? The lego block reproduction of the old millyards was more fascinating than I expected. Hippo Free Press has a website where you can look up activities and events. (also covers Portsmouth). If you want to consider kayaking there are rental places in the Concord NH area with shuttle service to a great stretch of Merrimack River. You could put together a great picnic from a place like In A Pinch Café or visit Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner etc.

Jul 08, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

NYC to Portland, ME

Petey's remains our favorite because my husband doesn't want to try anyplace else. They are very busy so go when you think it might be an off time. I don't think you can beat Bite Into Maine food truck for 5 different kinds of lobster rolls for location. Bring some bag chairs, pick a spot looking out onto Casco Bay. They also sell Maine Roots soda which is very good. The food truck parks in Fort Williams Park in South Portland. Get good directions, beautiful place with Portland Light.

Jul 07, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Curbside Cafe, Main St, Skowhegan, Maine (DDD worthy)

I think you should try phoning. Remember, it's actually in Madison. And then report back.

Jul 01, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Favorite gardening forum?

I liked Gardenweb. The New England forum is fairly active. Activity depends on the participants. Vegetables and Harvest are also pretty active. Some posters have organized plant swaps. I've attended a spring one for about 5 years now. Nice to meet other gardeners IRL.

I also visit a forum that is now restricted to existing members. Only a handful of people post but they do so pretty frequently.

Jun 30, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

Salad ideas for the Fourth of July

Scattered Sushi Rice Salad was a big hit with my family last week. It's a Molly Katzen recipe. Slightly on the sweet side.
http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/r...

Jun 29, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Norwich VT trip report

Dave B, the class was an excellent experience. One member of the group had taken a class on her own last year (flat bread) and thought a shared cooking experience would be a great meet and greet for a bunch who have been exchanging recipes and what's for dinner on a travel forum (non-travel topics forum was closed to new registrations over a year ago). Since it only took 8 to have a private class, we picked a date and made arrangements with King Arthur Flour. We chose a Friday and tapas.

The classroom is perfect with roomy work stations. Our instructor was very thorough and professional and worked with an assistant to keep us supplied with ingredients and helped check our progress. We made two versions of empanadas (same dough) and a blitz puff pastry. Fillings and other ingredients had been made ahead for us (i.e. roasted red pepper). We were given basic measuring instruction which many people do wrong. It was only recently while visiting the KA website that I learned my drag and pack against the side of the flour canister was causing me to add too much flour to a recipe. We also learned the technique for incorporating butter and lard into the recipe. The puff pastry required a different kind of kneading technique.

We had a very busy three hours. The instructor was either teaching and demoing or we were working. A monster oven and monster fridge make it possible for many different baking sheets to get processed in a timely manner. We put our own doughs into the fridge but the assistant handled the oven and delivered finished things to each student.

I think we had 12 in the class with maybe 4 empty seats (back row). There is a large mirror over the instruction table so those of us in first row didn't have to go up to watch but we did have to go up to feel the dough. One person had difficulty walking due to foot surgery. We had tall chairs on wheels but we really had to stand for most of it.

The instructor's puff pastry dough failed because it was standing so long the butter in it got too warm. We think she did this on purpose so we would see the difference. They were quick to correct each student if their dough or technique wasn't right. Since two of us shared making one recipe of puff pastry and then split it in two before refrigerating prior to final rolling, we were surprised that the final result was different. My dough puffed up nicely and hers didn't. We decided I had worked quickly while she tarried allowing her dough to get too warm. Really interesting to be able to compare that way.

We had a different instructor than the person who took a class last year but she rated all very highly. I went into this thinking it was a special treat but not a necessity. I'm not a great baker but I've experimented. Now I think a class like this is very helpful to someone trying to learn. I noticed one person who reviewed the KA puff pastry recipe on their website thought it was awful - just a pie dough. Well, our recipe was only slightly different and it was definitely a quick puff pastry with completely different character than the empanada dough. I bet the reviewer over-kneaded and let the dough get too warm. The butter will actually leach out.

I definitely recommend the instructor Karen O and her helper, Robin. I also plan to take another class. The entire group wants a repeat get together.

Jun 28, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England
3

Portland, Maine daytrip with kids

For Williams Park is a great place for a picnic but might be breezy this Saturday. Bite Into Maine food truck parks there. They have lobster rolls, great local soda. If you bring bag chairs and a blanket you can easily find a spot with a great view of Casco Bay. Don't remember what else they have.
I haven't been to the Portland market but will guess you can easily find local yogurt and fresh strawberries. Bring some picnic supplies (plastic bowls and spoons etc) for an easy dessert. Sugarsnap peas are ripe in my NH garden so suspect you might find some and those are a good snack for the 3 yo. Our grandchildren have been enjoying cheese and crackers. You might keep things really simple. Bring along some crackers. Buy some cheeses at the market.

Jun 27, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England
1

Norwich VT trip report

I already described the great Saturday farmers market in Norwich. Worth a drive.
A group of us gathered to take a private class at King Arthur Flour. You only need 8 to have a private class. I picked up one person at the Manchester Airport and gave her the scenic tour from Concord to Warner, stopping at School House Café in Warner/Davisville. Small but charming and everything is made from scratch. I chose a veggie wrap with a side of macaroni salad. I think this is a real test of good food because most macaroni sides are awful. I had had their cole slaw which is delicately flavored with fresh dill and knew that was good so had to try another. My friend also had a sandwich and potato salad which she liked very much.

We had dinner reservations at the Norwich Inn where we were staying. Very good dinner. I think everyone was happy with their meal and the service. I chose duck breast since it's something I rarely have. I did not care for the grilled frisee that came with it but that's a matter of taste. The fingerling potatoes were nice. Since we were staying there, I enjoyed breakfast, too. One morning eggs - heurvos style (sp) and the second morning a California eggs benedict with avocado. For overnight guests, there is free coffee and baked muffins in the morning and a lovely living room where you can enjoy them.

Lunch the next day was at King Arthur Café where we planned to meet before our 2pm class. The café was very busy. You order at one place and get a buzzer when your order is ready for pickup. No table service. Unfortunately I had a trainee on the cash register when I ordered and she needed help. I got the wrong beverage but didn't bother complaining. Most of the tables were taken so we were glad the weather was gorgeous and chose to eat outdoors at patio tables. I got the pork meatballs banh mi which was very tasty and very messy. Get a fork. This was very different to the banh mi sandwiches I get at Saigon Asia market on weekends when I can. After class, we had tons of tapas pastries to eat so some of us got salads to go and just ate and talked outdoors again. I got a pre-packaged kale salad that was very good.

That was dinner. We gathered back at the Norwich Inn for wine and talk.

Saturday morning breakfast at the Inn but we should have just had coffee and a muffin and then eaten our way thru the farmers market. Next we went to St Gaudens where there does not seem to be any restaurants. Tried to find the gas station Chinese restaurant which we had passed on Friday when I took a wrong turn out of downtown Hanover but of course, couldn't find it again. No one in the car wanted to eat at a chain restaurant so we ignored rumbling stomachs and I headed to White River Junction.

We lucked out! The Tuckerbox looked good and turned out to be a Turkish restaurant, counter service only. If I'd been smart, I would have studied the menu first before ordering because I had no idea what a lot of things were. I decided to order a sausage and cheese wrapped in phyllo and deep fried plus Salad Istanbul. The sausage was yummy. The salad was beautifully composed: marinated onion rings, carrots, greens, etc but I didn't think there was enough dressing. It was very light, maybe mostly lemon juice.

Back in Norwich we wandered over to the park soon after 5pm for the solstice celebration by Revels North. This was a family event with a lot for kids to do and looked like many families were enjoying picnic suppers.

Dinner was at Carpenter and Main right across the street from the Norwich Inn. Walking distance was easy and good since much alcohol was enjoyed. My drink was the Sailor's Special which feature some rums and some orange flavored liquors. Slightly tart/bitter but good. I was impressed that some who lived on the Cape enjoyed plates of oysters. I did not expect great oysters so far inland. This restaurant offers a lot of tapas but the servings are quite small - nice so you can try a variety but too small for much sharing. I ordered some barbecued pork belly sliders (2), tea smoked chicken lettuce rolls with hoisin sauce (three leaves DIY plate of ingredients), and golden beet salad. The only complaints I heard was the chicken in the evening special chicken tagine was a little dry. Taste avocado fries for the first time, interesting and tasty. Also thought the cod cake was good. Definitely a great place for a group of friends to sit, eat, talk and drink.

Next morning very early departure for an early flight so after leaving my friend off, I had breakfast at the Airport Diner. Adequate and cheap but not where I would go for a good breakfast.

Jun 27, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England
2

Best farmer's markets/ farm stands?

I haven't been to Concord's summer market in ages but hope to go this weekend. Alison Laddman who owns Crust and Crumb Bakery got started with a table at the markets. Her bakery is within walking distance of the market just across the street from State House. I love her whoopie pies and I don't recall seeing them at the markets. Her bread is wonderful.

I liked Tilton's winter market a lot but if I just needed a few things, Hopkinton and Warner are fine but not worth a special trip. Special trip means I had friends who drove 2 hours to get to the Tilton Winter Market and thought it was worth it.

Jun 27, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Trip report - Overnight in Portsmouth, NH

Petey's is our favorite seacoast lobster roll and fried clam place right now but I'd love to try some place else. I thought their fries were great with good flavor and just enough crispness. We split a lobster bun and I don't remember it being bland but I do remember it was more mayonnaise than I like. We expect seacoast lobster salad to be freshly picked and not vacuum packed lobster and to have more flavor than steamed lobster from the supermarket that you take home to make your own lobster rolls.

Thanks for the heads up on Vida Cantina. We've been reluctant to eat at Mexican restaurants without really understanding the menu plus too many places with blah rice and dreary re-fried beans.

Jun 25, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Back Deck Herbs

You need to buy these plants pretty soon unless you have a really good nursery that keeps plants going. It's getting to "end of season" here in NH for plant sales and the herbs are looking very pot bound. I would hesitate on parsley which is a biennial grown as an annual. You might considering buying seeds for this. Bascially it depends on the nursery but I really hate seeing annual plants priced the same as perennial. You also have time to grow basil from seed. At some nurseries you might still be able to get a less expensive 6-pack of annual herbs. I like to use fish emulsion fertilizer when I transplant but it can attract animals. A friend stopped using hers when it attracted a bear. We live in a rural area with all those animals and don't usually have a problem except with a brazen chipmunk who ate all my ground cherries.

Jun 24, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

Best farmer's markets/ farm stands?

Updating this report. Went to the Norwich farmers market 6/21/14 (Saturday) and thought it was terrific. What a gathering place (live music and friendly people). There are a couple of prepared food vendors, craftspeople, and all the vendors you would expect Except I didn't find any honey! Did get a strawberry/rhubarb/mint popsicle though. Got some cheeses. Was impressed to see early summer squash and some nice size beets. Suspect some of the farmers might be using some heat in their high tunnels. Nice selection of plants, too.

Jun 22, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Great Maine cooking class / food "experience"?

We went to the Common Ground Fair last year. Plan on at least a day and get motel/hotel reservations early. We stayed in Lincolnville. Unity is pretty rural. There are hourly choices of demonstrations/lectures. I thought the one on local food was fascinating. The keynote speaker was the author of the book on Fermenting. We also went to a class on wild mushrooms. Wonderful farmers market and different vendors. Great prepared food choices.

I thought the foodie tour of the Old Port area of Portland was pretty good although not as good as the two I have taken in Boston.

Suggest you get a list of farmers markets, wineries, etc from the Maine Department of Agriculture. One day we visited the wineries in Rockland (Breakwater?) and two inland for tastings. (We have visited Cellar Door Winery in Lincolnville several times.) There are several in the Camden area. We accidentally found Morse's Deli so stopped there, too.

The farmers markets can be an experience. We like the one in Brunswick on Friday and Saturdays in Bath. Get some local yogurt and fresh berries, etc for a picnic on top of Mt Battie or a shady spot on Pemaquid Point.

There are classes at Stonewall Kitchens but I have not attended any.

Jun 22, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Portsmouth and area report (and $4.99 lobster roll!)

Fun report, thanks! We went to Petey's in Rye where we shared a lobster roll with French fries plus an order of onion rings and clams. Too much food for two people. Don't normally like fries but their's are good. they won't sub onion rings like some places will. Would like to explore other clam shacks (used to go to Ice House in New Castle) but husband is stubborn about going to a place we know is good.

Jun 18, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Pickled Seasonal Vegetables: Home Cooking Dish of the Month for June 2014

I like the Zuni Café zucchini pickle recipe. This recipe is on the internet so I hope it's the one I use
http://www.food.com/recipe/zuni-caf-z...

Our family loves zucchini relish but my DIL is the one who makes it. I like to put it one ham and cheese sandwiches.

Jun 14, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Newbie alert! Balcony herb gardening in northern Colorado?

Use potting soil. You may wish to use an organic type of fertilizer since these are edible plants. Potting soil is usually good for weeks. I like fish emulsion or seaweed emulsion you mix with water as a liquid fertilizer.

1-2 It's a little late to start from seed. There are annuals such as basil which are very popular. Some grocery stores carry potted herb plants or get a 6-pack from a plant seller. (plants 2 or more)

3-4 I would choose parsley as my second annual. (plant 2 or more)

5. If you like Asian cooking, I would get a Thai basil. Siam Queen is good.

6. Sage is a perennial but it comes in variegated forms so I like to grow a colorful one in a pot. (Plain green sage overwinters fine in my garden.)

7. Rosemary is popular but likes it a bit drier than other herbs so I would put in in one of the upper spots. There are two major forms, an upright and a prostrate. I like the prostrate shape.

8. Thyme - there many varieties but choose one for flavor and skip the cute creeping varieties.

9. Lemon thyme is a different flavor and you can get a variegated one which would give you some color.

I am skipping dill and cilantro because they get too tall for a pot like that. Cilantro bolts easily so it can be frustrating.

Marjoram is an option for another annual. If you get oregano, be sure it is Greek oregano.

Savory is less popular and comes in an annual form (summer savory) and a perennial (winter savory).

These would be my choices. Have fun!

Jun 10, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

Can you please identify this?

agree with Sweet William. Should be a perennial.

Jun 10, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

Pasta Salad recipes

Thanks! Our daughter-in-law hates tomatoes so this pasta salad looks like she would like it. Hopefully she likes eggplant! Garden basil should be available pretty soon. Looking forward to trying this recipe.

May 25, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Fresh herbs--do you have them, how do you use them?

I forgot to mention that herb mustards can be very interesting. I had a recipe for a grainy tarragon mustard that was very good on roast beef sandwiches.

May 25, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking
1

Need appetizer to go with beer

This group doesn't coordinate. Drives me crazy. The guys know each other but most of the women don't. I find it interesting to see which guys actually bring something to the potluck (some do cook) and which ones just eat. And then there's the Christmas party one year when one guy brought Hello Kitty cupcakes.

May 24, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Fresh herbs--do you have them, how do you use them?

I just put a large amount of snipped chives in a pasta salad. I made a white bean puree (like hummus) with thyme. It has a topping of parsley and lovage. The lovage has a very strong celery taste. I you google each herb for recipes, you will find a lot. Make your own boursin cheese (I grow garlic too). Yes, add herbs near the end of cooking for things like soup. I had a buy a mandolin slicer so I could thinly slice potatoes and zucchini for a gratin with fresh oregano. Make herb salts! Dill self seeded in my veggie garden so I ended up with a small forest. I think it's equal parts sea salt and fresh herb pulverized in a blender. I thought the dillweed salt was nice on scrambled eggs. The salt preserves the dillweed. Also add fresh dill to turkey soup (Moosewood recipe for mock turkey soup). Enjoy your garden!

May 24, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Need appetizer to go with beer

The 7 layer dip is a favorite but I'm counting on some other wife/girlfriend to bring it. One time about 4 or 5 of us all brought it to the same party. I'm going to be disappointed if no one brings it.

May 22, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Need appetizer to go with beer

Might try jalapenos for 4th of July. We need some fire works! Thanks.

May 22, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Need appetizer to go with beer

Thanks for the cooking tips. I was wondering about pre-cooking which would work out much better and then I don't have to run the crockpot for so long. Primitive campground so will be using generator for electricity.

May 22, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Need appetizer to go with beer

LOL. The 4th of July event is also a camping event. Thanks for more good ideas. I could make Obatzda with chives from my garden! Also have a food processor so looks like we can have lots of good eats this summer. Last year was stressful so this year we want to have more fun. Thanks for all the suggestions!

May 21, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking