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US East Coasters!!

We lost power Saturday when a car hit a pole so I was glad I had pre-cooked a small pot roast and just needed to make gravy and re-heat some leftover rice and winter squash. We have plenty in the freezer but yesterday I picked up a chicken to roast in the wood stove oven if we lose power. We have both a wood furnace and an antique cook stove and plenty of wood. I roasted the Thanksgiving turkey in the wood stove last November! Company was very glad dinner went on as scheduled and our house was warm. We also have a portable generator but only run it to keep the fridge and freezer cold and water pump going. We can use the microwave and have a few outlets it powers. I made roasted apple yeast bread last night. Will probably make soup today just because it's fun to use the "free" heat from the cookstove and it makes the kitchen smell nice. My husband won't bother to plow our driveway until the storm is over. We live in a rural area so we are always prepared.

Jan 27, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

bags of marshmallows

color me retro but I love the fruit and marshmallow salad that some people refer to as ambrosia. Maybe I should make some because I just found the bag of marshmallows I bought to make salted peanut chews but misplaced and bought a second. I now have 1 1/2 bags of mini marshmallows.

Jan 23, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

I need party food ideas for 50 people, including kids

We just had a potluck party. I think people tend to bring what they like to eat and, yes, there was a little forest of crock pots in my kitchen:
chili (don't forget the shredded cheese)
pre-made/cooked bbq ribs (but are probably expensive and I thought too messy)
crockpot lasagna
baked beans
spiral ham
a pasta with ground beef and cream sauce
scalloped potatoes
broccoli salad
(note this was a mostly male event so veggies/salads were not popular)
homemade rolls
kielbasa in crockpot (not sure what kind of sauce is used) over rice
garlic bread

appetizers:
salsa and corn chips
daughter-in-law made sausage bites that were a sausage mixture in pre-baked wonton cups (they disappeared quickly)

dessert:
homemade cookies
salted nut chews (not popular)
gluten free cream cheese brownies (made by the gluten free wife)

It was a big treat for kids to have soda but some parents don't allow. I had small cartons of chocolate milk that they loved.

If people have to eat standing up or with plates on their laps, keep the food easy to eat.

Jan 23, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Fermented Napa cabbage (酸白菜, sour cabbage) – sharing how to make it at home and some basic recipes

I just bought Fermented Vegetables because I bought a Perfect Pickler gadget last summer and have enjoyed fermenting different things. Your ideas for using sour cabbage look tasty but I agree salt might be needed. I'm going to check my book because I'd like to try a recipe for a smaller amount of cabbage. The gadget fits on any wide mouth jar and I have a 1/2 gallon one I can use.

Jan 22, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking
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Lunch in Dover NH area?

thanks, njpm. The pasta company looks worth a visit even if we don't eat there. Our road trip might be delayed a month (goal is to visit the winter farmers market at the Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford). Saturday's weather looks a little to iffy.

I need to visit Portsmouth more often. The menu at Street looks terrific. Would love to try their banh mi sandwiches and about a dozen other things on the menu.

Jan 22, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Too much Zucchini - help

The Zuni Café zucchini pickles are good and don't need canning, just keep in the fridge.

There are numerous recipes for zucchini. My favorite baked good is probably zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Zucchini currant pancakes are almost like carrot cake. If you have fresh oregano, zucchini gratin is wonderful (helps to have a mandolin, too). Also agree with tempura. A good stir fry sauce for zucchini and just add some sliced onion and julienned carrot for additional taste and interest.

Jan 21, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Lunch in Dover NH area?

I'm not familiar with this area at all but hope to drive over to the Wentworth Greenhouses Jan 24 for the Seacoast winter market. If I were on my own I would graze the market but I'm with a friend who will expect a sit down lunch. Looking for a local place with good sandwiches, soups and/or salads. She can't eat spicy food and dislikes Mexican.

Jan 19, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Party sides and nibbles--hot and bored!

I just made a mincemeat cookie using mincemeat from a jar.
One of our favorites is a combination of flour, rice krispies, oatmeal, etc. from an old commu ity cookbook.
Molasses cookies are good but take extra work making balls amd rolling in sugar.
Haven't made chocolate crinkle cookies in ages.
tried to make thumbprint cookies with a lemon curd filling but wasn,t happy with the shortbread base. my friend used to make a very yummy jam filled cookie. But it's a lot of work. Bottom is circle. Jam plopped on, topped with second cutout cookie but using a donut cutter so the center is open.

Jan 08, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Making Sauerkraut in Stainless... Possible?

Be careful about using plastic trash bags for food. Some are treated with insecticides. I think the package will say so.

Jan 07, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Party sides and nibbles--hot and bored!

I agree with non-leafy salads esp if they are something you can make ahead. Broccoli slaw is a good suggestion. I've had a good southwestern black bean and corn salad, it might be a Penzey's recipe a friend had. We also like the broccoli salad made with red onion, Craisins, and cheese. Three bean salad is usually popular. I would also do a fruit salad or have wedges of melon, pineapple and grapes on a platter.

I bet a good cookie would make a good dessert to go with the lemon squares. If you aren't positive the squares will show up there is lemon pudding cake and chocolate pudding cake that can be served with whipped cream. My recipes come from a circa 1970 Better Homes and Garden cookbook.

Jan 07, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

new cook wanting to just get out there I guess.

I agree with greygarious that it might be helpful to have a sheet pan so the oven can be unloaded more easily.

I think food is exciting and I certainly understand your dislike of industrial standards. I highly recommend a good farmers market where you can look for new vegetable varieties and perhaps find some kindred spirits. In 2014 I took 2 baking classes at King Arthur Flour and I'm very happy I can drive there in about 1 1/2 hours and there is a wonderful farmers market in Norwich VT if the class is on a Saturday. I also went to a cooking class demonstration at Stonewall Kitchen in Kittery ME with friends. It was a full meal, rapid pace chef demonstration. Assistants finished cooking and also served each course.

You might enjoy cooking blogs and getting email newsletters from your favorite. Or like pages on facebook. It has been fun for me to see facbook posts by the author of Banh Mi book.

I grew up in a meat and potatoes never any casseroles house. I think my mother got demoralized and started to dislike cooking. I never had a parsnip until I met my future in-laws who had a large vegetable garden.

This year I have been experimenting with fermentation. It's easy with a little inexpensive gadget (mine is The Perfect Pickler). You don't have to make a whole crock full of sauerkraut, you can make just a jar of it. My favorite so far seems to be the salsa starter.

Best wishes for an interesting and flavorful 2015.

Jan 01, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

In your seasonal culinary garden, what do you grow EVERY year?

DonShirer, I can't seem to grow Cilantro in spring because it bolts very early. But, since I am a lazy, messy gardener, the bolted plants formed seed which fell on the ground and, lo and behold, a very nice late season crop of cilantro (mice like it, too). I still have some in the high tunnel and since the plants go dormant with less than 10 hours of daylight, it seems to be holding.

Hakurei turnips seem to be holding decently since our December has been very mild. Met my goal of a garden salad for Christmas: carrots from storage, hakurei turnip, and from the high tunnel: spinach, arugula, Chinese cabbage and scrawny romaine.

We have some great farmers markets so I like to visit to discover new to me veggies. In October got a small winter squash I think was either Autumn Crown or Long Island cheese. The ones I saw later at a different market were all identified as Long island Cheese which I can find in the seed catalogs IF I look under pumpkin!

Last year found a nearby gardening group where someone volunteered to organize a Fedco seed order. Nice to have an extra discount due to size of group order. Seed orders are due mid-January for the group order. Warning, I think sugarsnap seed was in short supply last year.

Dec 28, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

In your seasonal culinary garden, what do you grow EVERY year?

wow, that's a challenge. Do you leave the garbage cans of water on the trailer so water flows by gravity? I used to water a tiny flower patch at the crossroad in town and watered that way.

I had good luck with 4th of July tomato this year. It's small but produced early and all season. Stupice was early but production was very small. But, perhaps your nights are cool enough for blossom drop?

I also let local farmers grow corn because the raccoons are smarter than we are.

Dec 26, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

In your seasonal culinary garden, what do you grow EVERY year?

I envy people who have their own citrus trees but I hear our apples are better than southern grown. Parsnips spend the winter in the garden and are dug in the spring as soon as the ground thaws. Chard sweetens up after it gets cold. I think there are advantages to different climates. Not sure anyone has the best of all worlds.

Dec 26, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

Roasted pork. We have pounds leftover.

You can make a pork chop suey. You just skip frying the pork and let it warm up with the cooked vegetables (onions and celery) before adding bean sprouts.

I've also made a pork stew with a creamy gravy. You just don't cook it as long as you would a regular stew. Use whatever vegetables you like.

Dec 26, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking
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santa brought me at deep-fryer

One large Vidalia onion was enough for 4 beer batter onion rings. I use a tempura recipe (includes baking powder) because my husband likes a puffy batter than sticks. I like having a temperature control and small fryer (mine is actually a multi-purpose cooker). We love tempura so next week I plan to do thin wedges of kabocha winter squash. Carrots and green beans are good, too.

I filter the used oil thru a coffee filter and pour into a bottle to save for next time.

I hope to try a recipe for rice paper egg rolls. I went to King Arthur Flour for a class where we deep fried some things using a wonderful induction counter top burner. We did egg rolls after making our own wrapper using a hand cranked pasta machine.

Dec 26, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

In your seasonal culinary garden, what do you grow EVERY year?

Our high tunnel is a wood framed "green house" covered with 6mil greenhouse plastic. Johnny's Seeds has a variety of supplies. The original high tunnels were framed with bent conduit but my husband decided we might have trouble with snow load if we didn't have a peaked roof. It was also easier and cheaper for him to use wood. The sides can be rolled up which is absolutely necessary in summer. It's plenty tall enough to stand up in but low tunnels can be used to protect a small area. I use a low tunnel which does have bent plastic tubing for a frame to protect a late planting of bush beans from a light fall frost. Eliot Coleman has written two books about using high and low tunnels and other season extending techniques to grow vegetables year round in Maine. Market farmers in our area are using this technology to have longer growing seasons. Some use supplemental heat during part of the winter.

What is very strange is that since there's only thin plastic, it gets as cold inside the tunnel as outside at night but when the sun is hot, it can get quite warm even in winter so the ground inside doesn't freeze. I should be able to have spinach all winter. I'm working on getting other fresh greens during cold weather although maybe not all winter. Some varieties of lettuce are more cold hardy than others. There is info about this on Johnny's website and in their seed catalog.

A yard pump in a hand operated device to bring water to my vegetable garden. Our driveway is next to the house so I had hoses draped across the driveway all the time. The water line is buried below frost line. When I pull up on the pump handle, it opens the water line. When it is closed, the water drops down below frost line so it can be used all winter. Some farmers use this in their barns for fresh water for their animals. The proper name might by yard hydrant. Ours was in the barn when we moved here but they are less than $100. Water line and cost to dig trench would be additional. Even if I didn't have a high tunnel, I would want a yard hydrant. My garden is about 100 feet from the house and required dragging a lot of hose around. Now my water supply is right next to the garden.

Dec 25, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

In your seasonal culinary garden, what do you grow EVERY year?

NH, zone 5 but we're in a low area so our first fall frost is mid September. I love the adventure of find plants and seeds, maybe swapping with a friend, and visiting farmers markets to see what they are growing. I have as much sun and space as I want but I'm trying to keep the veggie garden to a reasonable size for two people occasionally feeding others. I went from Buttercup squash to kabochua (Confection is my favorite) but discovered Long Island Cheese pumpkin at the farmers market this fall.

Started growing potatoes last year. Love the sampler packs you can get from Moose's Tubers/Fedco. Fingerlings last year. Storage potatoes this year.

Eventually I might do a better job figuring out season extending techniques. My husband built a small high tunnel with a yard pump. I've had good luck with spinach but this year small rodents discovered my garden so I had a lot of damage. Set out mouse traps! I've neglected my garden recently but have my fingers crossed that we'll have a fresh salad for Christmas. I still have kale outside, spinach in the high tunnel, hakurei turnips, and maybe arugala and kohlrabi (if the rodents haven't feasted on the rest of the kohlrabi).

I agree. It's a science project. I am mystified why New England veggie growers limited their season. Really happy that market farmers are doing a great job with high tunnels and love the winter markets.

Dec 24, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

addition to cold green bean salad...

I love red onion and leftover green beans but I usually use a ketchup based French dressing with celery seed. Sometimes I add shopped tomatoes. With a lemon-garlic vinaigrette, I might consider adding fine shreds of carrot or thin quarter rounds of hakurei turnip. Should add some crunch but not much flavor.

Dec 22, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

looking for baccala in lowell/nashua

I saw large pieces at Whole Foods in Nashua today.

Dec 19, 2014
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Faves to buy at King Arthur Flour - Wish List

I took a class last summer and since I knew ahead of time we would get a discount in the store, I made a list. Based on what I wanted to make I bought things like Harvest Grains and the long clay covered bread baker. I originally had to buy the mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups but now I buy the bagged mini Reese cups and chop them a little. If you look at the ingredients on their website, you can click to see what recipes they are used in. I've been focusing on bread and rolls. Bought boiled cider but haven't used it yet. Sourdough starter was on my shopping list but they were out of stock at the time. It seems the recipes I want to try require instant yeast so I bought a package of that.

Dec 17, 2014
dfrostnh in General Topics

Maine Meat (aka MEat) in Kittery, Maine

Thanks for the report. I think we need to do a road trip to Kittery.

Crock Pot Pork Belly Recipes?

I have cooked many pork roasts without adding any liquid. The meat exudes enough liquid. But I don't think you'll get crispy because the cover keeps a lot of moisture in the pot. You might try roasting it to crisp it up after it has almost finished cooking in the crock pot. If you leave the cover off the crock pot (done that cooking down tomato sauce), I don't think it will be hot enough for crisping.

Dec 10, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Cheese fondue- I want it to be perfect, not grainy

Haven't made fondue in years but actually went to a cooperative extension class on cheese. Just in case you don't know, Swiss doesn't melt and mix well by itself. It usually needs to be mixed at least half and half with another cheese.

Dec 06, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Are carrots DYED to cover up the dirt on their skins ?

I've never had this happen. We're eating carrots from our own garden right now but have bought inexpensive supermarket carrots for many years. Can you talk to produce manager where you bought them?

Dec 03, 2014
dfrostnh in General Topics

7 thoughts for next growing season

It is with smug satisfaction we had baked potatoes last night with some fresh swiss chard I scavenged from the garden. Perhaps if I had used a row cover, the chard would last longer. Lost some leaves to frost damage but what are left are wonderfully sweet. Winter seems to be coming early to NH this year. My husband dug the last of the carrots. Still have spinach, lettuce, Chinese cabbage and cilantro in the high tunnel. Garden isn't done yet! Not sure if I'll get the rest of the hakurei turnips pulled - they did terrific considering I didn't thin them enough. I'm really surprised New Englanders stopped gardening so early in the season when they still needed fresh food on the table.

Nov 26, 2014
dfrostnh in Gardening

Winter squash varieties? Best sub for butternut?

I don't think differences between some varieties of winter squash are subtle. Butternut is moister than buttercup (to me, butternut is too watery) and although buttercup and kabocha look very much alike, kabocha is much drier and sweeter. I think buying good squash is hard for a consumer. I'm a gardener so I grow a grey kabocha variety called Confection which is reliably sweet and dry. I have had good luck with a long neck butternut (easy to peel, good taste, and good keeper) variety from Baker Creek seeds but I do not care for the Waltham butternut variety.

Nov 23, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Winter squash varieties? Best sub for butternut?

We much prefer buttercup and kabocha type winter squashes. I substitute either for butternut or sweet potatoes. Carnival and Acorn don't have as much flavor so I just cook (microwave) and add butter. I add maple syrup and seasonings if the squash lacks flavor.

ButterCUP has a prominent light grey button on the bottom. Kabocha looks almost identical but does not have the button. I think the kabocha varieties are sweetest. I also think butternut squash tends to be watery but I don't think it makes a lot of difference is recipes.

Nov 21, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Are there good pickling cukes anywhere?

I bet you could mix green tomatoes and cukes - just look at recipes for chow chow, relish or antipastos. If you just want some pickles for home use (couple of jars), you might try a freezer pickle recipe or refrigerator pickle. I think they stay crunchier because they don't go thru the heat of processing. If you are looking to give food gifts, perhaps a good time to look a recipes for hot pepper jelly, chutney or relishes.

Nov 21, 2014
dfrostnh in Greater Boston Area

Thanksgiving for one - What would you make?

I might roast a turkey thigh so I could make a turkey sandwich in the evening with mayo and cranberry sauce on whole grain bread. With maybe ambrosia salad for dessert.

With the freshly roasted turkey thigh I would have delicate squash and stuffing, maybe some peas. Homemade rolls!

Nov 19, 2014
dfrostnh in Home Cooking
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