dfrostnh's Profile

Title Last Reply

Cookbooks vs. Online recipes . Which do you prefer ?

I belong to a cooking forum that discusses "what's for dinner" so I tend to print out recommended recipes. Sometimes the link is to an interesting blog which tempts me to look at and print other recipes. In the meantime, I keep adding to my cookbook collection via used bookstores and sales. Recently bought the original Moosewood cookbook for $1.

about 16 hours ago
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Easy picnic side dish or appetizer that travels well?

Three bean salad.
salsa and corn chips
I have done a Winter Salad with Lemon Poppyseed dressing by waiting until I get to location to buy salad ingredients (romaine, apples, pears, cashews, dried cranberries and shredded swiss cheese). You could use purchased dressing but I've mixed my own at the last minute in a shaker jar, transporting the ingredients already measured and in separate containers. I take the cutting board, knife, etc with me. But the salad ingredients are safe to store in a cooler with ice packs.

Jul 24, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Pizza with pesto

I recently made pizza with beet pesto (contained walnuts) topped with kale and mozzarella cheese. The recipe also called for goat cheese but didn't have any.

Jul 23, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Cornish, NH

We stayed at the Norwich Inn earlier this year. Although the DR is elegant, people dress very casually. They also have a beer pub. Across the street, Carpenter and Main is also good and, again, you don't have to dress up.
Friday thru Sunday, The Tucker Box in White River Junction is open late and is very casual http://www.tuckerboxvermont.com/

Jul 23, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Raspberry Vinegar

I used a recipe with sugar but there are recipes on the internet that use rice vinegar or white balsamic vinegar which I think are milder vinegars. After the vinegar is finished, you could add sugar at that point if you think it needs it. I find raspberries to be tart so I like using sugar. 6% is strong. It's what I've read as "cleaning strength" although it is safe for food use.

Jul 22, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Young families

My old standby served too often during those years was American chop suey. Is there another adult in your household who can help with the cooking duties? I find the easiest meal is handing something to my husband to grill. We have family dinners once a week when our son and his family come over. I know it is hard to cook while listening to an excited 8 yo tell you about something they've done while the 3 yo starts opening drawers because he needs to pick out his own plastic fork and spoon. Back in the day, I also used to rely on store roasted chickens. Perhaps some weekend cooking that provides good tasting leftovers would help. Beef stew in winter. Pulled pork in the slow cooker. Some salads can take a few days of refrigeration such as three bean, broccoli and raisins. Youngest seem to prefer plain vegetables. It takes a while to fix fresh green beans but zucchini slices up quickly and so does broccoli. Good luck!

Jul 21, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Visiting Cheese Farms in Vermont

I don't have a specific farm to recommend. Some of the gift shops like Vermont Country store have food samples to try. I think it was the one in Quechee that had a great variety of Cabot cheeses. Maybe you will get lucky. Last spring during sap season we visited a small NH farm on an OLLI class (education program for people over 50). Milk added value products were their second highest percentage of income after maple syrup. They only had a few cows and milked once a day but it was pretty obvious, their cows were happy cows. Very friendly around people. Loved attention. I think the cheese story begins with the way cows are raised so I hope you get a chance to meet some happy cows. There are several excellent farmers markets in VT so I suggest added them to your stops. Norwich and Brattleboro are on Saturdays. Also Montpelier. And, of course, cheese is also made from goat and sheep milk. The vendors usually offer samples.

Make-ahead meals for two weeks (vegetarian and meat-eating)

Go through your list of favorite salads that can stand up for a few days in the fridge i.e. southwestern corn, bean, quinoa or broccoli with dried cranberries. For him, grilled or roasted chicken that can be re-heated or eaten cold. Would he grill meat or fish or himself while you cooked veggies? Sometimes, if you plan ahead, food prep time can give you a chance to decompress from a long day. I love an orzo rice pilaf that contains sautéed celery,carrots and onions with chopped zucchini or sugar snap peas thrown in during last few minute. Takes time to cook but re-heats easily and can spend some time in the fridge.

We microwave "baked" potatoes. Some vegetables only need a few minutes of steaming. I think if you plan out your menus and have all ingredients on hand, it won't take long to put dinner on the table. Make up some pesto and hummus when you have time. Even a sandwich (hummus, sprouts, etc) and fresh fruit would be good.

Jul 18, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Brunswick/Bath/Harpswell, ME: What's Good?

It's always fun to visit the Brunswick farmers market. We usually get some pastry. Strawberries might still be around and they are great on vanilla yogurt. We went to the one on Fridays.

You can spend a lot of time driving around the Harpswells. I liked the view and lobster at Cundy Harbor. Dolphin Marine was good but I won't order a lobster quesadilla again. We order mostly seafood.

We stayed in Bath 2 years ago. At the time there was a good food truck across the street from New Meadows River cottages.

Jul 11, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Food adventure trip to Maine coast

Just back from the Deer Isle area but we stayed at Brooklin Inn in Brooklin ME. Take a close look at map, Deere Isle/Stonington are an island with few restaurants. Most are advertised. We had a good meal with ocean view at the Cockatoo Restaurant in Deer Isle. It's on a dirt road and I was told not to follow gps. If you follow signs you'll be fine. I had scallops baked with crabmeat stuffing and potatoes seasoned with Portugese seasoning. Scallops were perfect, sweet and tender. Potato seasoning wasn't strong so they were almost like hash browns. Husband went for traditional fried clam dinner but clams were tough. Not sure if this was a cooking problem or not. They did not seem overdone. Wish I had tried one of the Portugese recipes. Prices seemed reasonable for the area. If you are going on a boat trip, there's a small grocery store near Isle Au Haut dock in Stonington which makes sandwiches to order and opens at 4am.

Choosing Brooklin was default due to delay in making 4th of July reservations. It is about 45 minutes from Brooklin to Stonington. We had intended to go to parade and then the lobster lunch put on by Masons. The lunch was pretty good ($20) for lobster, salad, corn on the cob, and piece of cake (your choice). Surprisingly there aren't any lobster shacks around although quite a few places to get fresh lobster. There were two drive in restaurants that looked popular. If you like picnicking, Sandy Beach in Stonington is a sweet little beach with a shady/pine area. If we had had more time we probably would have bought sandwiches etc and gone there. Just read a book and look at the water.

We ate one night at the Brooklin Inn where we were staying. It looked popular. I had two appetizers: mussels in Dijon sauce and beet salad. Liked both. Husband had simple burger and fries. They do white tablecloth restaurant and also pub fare. We ate in the restaurant. I liked their breakfasts which were included in the room rate: poached eggs on English muffins, blueberry pancakes and French toast with strawberries (different each morning). Coffee, granola, and orange juice also came with breakfast. They pride themselves on using local or organic products. We had to take 2nd choice room for first night and then first choice for 3 nights. We would not do the shared bath again. Keep in mind this is an older building with lots of charm and wonderful hosts but might not have all the amenities you might want.

Further north from Deere Isle, is the Fishing Net drive in (Blue Hill) where we ate two nights. Liked lobster roll, crabmeat roll. Loved the batter used on clams. Scallops were a bit overdone/tough. Onion rings were mediocre. Good but not great.

Check local corner stores for lunch options since we also got sandwiches at the Brooklin store since we had to bring a lunch on the boat trip. We carry some picnic supplies with us. There's a local ice cream that is quite good but sold in 8oz containers so we used our own plastic dishes etc to share a container. Tried: Salted Caramel and Italian Chocolate Cherry. Both very good. I think the brand is Ice Cream Lady.

Compared to other areas in Maine, there was quite a lack of restaurants but it is also a lot less crowded. Between Portland and Deer Isle, I would recommend having a lobster shack lunch. I think Waterman's Beach near Rockland is about 2 hours from Portland. We had one lunch at the Riverside Café in downtown Ellsworth. I thought the tossed salad was poor (iceberg lettuce etc) and the salmon pinwheels mediocre but husband loved his fried haddock sandwich with excellent cole slaw and fries. It's a local place on the main thorough fare. Seemed to be where locals ate.

If we had been coming up the coast I might have tried to have lunch at Just Barbs in Stockton Spring to see if it is as good as it was years ago.

Good ideas/recipes for ground beef

What we call "Chinese Pie" is a layer of sautéed ground beef (I like to add some chopped onion and garlic. Put in deep casserole dish. Top with one or two cans of corn then a layer of mashed potatoes. Bake at 350F for 30 or 45 minutes.

I recently made zucchini noodles with ground pork so beef could be subbed. Hopefully my garden zucchini plants will survive the striped cucumber beetle attack.

Jul 01, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Best Lobster in Northern New England

With the availability of lobsters steamed at the grocery store, we are going out less. In fact, had home cooked lobster just last Saturday. We like the lobster rolls at Petey's in Rye NH. But we frequently do a summer vacation in Maine and Waterman's Beach might be our favorite place. We are going further north this year so I might have a new report soon. We loved Newicks on Dover Point back in the 60s and 70s but did not care for their Concord NH location.

Jul 01, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Bread dough kneading -- too much or not enough?

How are you measuring flour? At King Arthur Flour classes they stress importance of proper measuring. I was using too much flour because I scooped and packed against side of canister. You should forst fliff up flour then scoop into a measuring cup so it's slightly heaped. Push excess off with straight edged utensil. I think you might be using too mich flour. it should be smooth.

Jun 28, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Upper Valley (VT/NH) on a Sunday evening

You could have gone to the Tucker Box in White River Junction! For the past two years I have done a weekend in Norwich with friends who travel in for a baking class at King Arthur. The Norwich Inn is lovely. Food is also good across the street at Carpenter and Main. I only spent one night this year so only ate at the Inn. The Norwich Inn website's menu looks like it has a couple of vegetarian sandwiches and entrees plus some fish.

Jun 23, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Why am I such a bad baker?

I have been trying some recipes at King Arthur Flour's website. People have reviewed them so you can tell which ones might not be the best. Plus, if you have a problem you can call their hot line. I have taken several classes there and the first thing the instructor does is show people how to properly measure flour if you don't weigh it. I was doing it wrong since I was packing in the flour. First, fluff up your flour. Scoop the flour into a measuring cup until it is piled up. Take a flat blade and push off the excess.

On the yeast bread recipes I had trouble with the surface drying out when I used a long rise pizza dough recipe. Instructor told me to use plastic wrap to cover, not a towel. What a difference.

I have also used epicurious.com recipes where people rate the recipes and I read the comments ahead of time.

I use unsalted butter.

Most of my cookie and quick bread recipes come from either circa 1970 Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (the red plaid cover) or Betty Crocker cookbook from the same era.

I have started mixing my dry ingredients with a whisk to make sure things like baking soda and baking powder are well mixed in. I really like my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

Jun 21, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Keene Fresh Salad Company

For some reason, I've ended up in this part of the state several times this year already. I met friends for lunch at Luca's a couple of weeks ago. Love their menu and it's such a nice atmosphere. But yesterday I needed a sandwich lunch while going on the garden tour. Something I could eat in the car. I decided on Keene Fresh Salad Company, specifically the warm portabella sandwich with chicken and basil pecan pesto on their own focaccia bread. It was a great sandwich but a little drippy. I made a big mistake with a bottle of ice tea already purchased from a gas station because they have several beverages that probably would have been a lot better. I might need to go back to try their sangria. While waiting for my sandwich, I stood at the counter and tasted all their pesto samples. All were terrific. Some of the trip advisor complaints are very unfriendly owner but I found the person at the counter to be very friendly and helpful. He recommended the focaccia bread for the sandwich and I'm glad he did. There are tables but this is a very casual place, possibly doing more take-out business than eat in. If I had planned to eat there, I would have sat at one of the outdoor tables. The street is shady and Keene seems to have a lively downtown.

Jun 21, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Where is the Best Lobster in Ogunquit Maine plus other must eat places?

I vote for Merriland Farm in Wells for breakfast. We never would have found the place but it was part of a package deal we bought.

Jun 20, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Food adventure trip to Maine coast

We are going to Stonington for 4th of July for a few days. Staying in Brooklin but this is our first time staying in the area. Have only visited on a day trip before. Does not seem to be a lot of dining options but hope to do a report after our visit.

It's only a bit longer to go I295 to Rt 1 (we get off in Brunswick) to Deer Isle. Given that the total trip is only about 3 hours, it depends on what kind of lunch you would like. We would probably head to Waterman's for lobster, a detour we like to make (past Owl's Head). Maybe stretch your legs with a walk to the lighthouse. But if you want a general lunch menu, I would be tempted to stop at Just Barb's in Stockton Springs to see if it's as good as we remember. Recent trip advisor comments aren't good but others still give good marks.

Jun 16, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

How has your cooking evolved with age?

1970 - Started my cooking life with the red plaid Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It's still my go to for a few recipes but those were the days of canned cream soup recipes. Recipes using fresh herbs were almost unheard of. I started growing herbs and haunted used book stores. This was before interest in herbs became commonplace. A couple of my herb books were self-published by the authors or a local herb society.

The availability of both recipes and ingredients has improved tremendously over the years. Locally, farmers markets have become very popular and one of the best places to find something new, whether it be a new variety of winter squash or a foraged wild edible (saw nettles this year).

Now that I have my own vegetable garden, the seasonal bounty forces me to be more inventive. I have finally discovered yeast baking. Heck, when I was young I don't think we had ever seen a zucchini. My taste buds have also evolved. I never liked artificial sweeteners but now I also have a low tolerance for a lot of chemicals. We are very lucky to live near the coast so I can buy fresh "dry" scallops. I will not buy cut up fresh fruit because it may be adulterated with preservatives.

Jun 14, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Lake Region NH best options??

a new Holy Grail restaurant has opened in Laconia. I've heard raves about the original. Waiting to hear about the new one. I would like to go back to Canoe for their fried calamari with Asian dipping sauce. Hope to eat at Corner House in Center Sandwich this summer, it's been years. We usually make a pilgrimage to the tiny Red Hill Dairy take out place (Moultonboro?) for lobster rolls and onion rings.

Jun 12, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

July 4 is coming up

We decided to delay the 4th of July cookout one week so we could spend the 4th in Maine celebrating lobsters. The group is considering having a pro come in to barbecue ribs and chicken. We usually do a pot luck and I usually make some baked beans and a salad of some sort. Last year for snacking I served garlic scape hummus. I just took a King Arthur class about baking flatbreads so I'm think of a 2 or 3 flatbreads and whatever goes well for a spread. A friend brought smoked trout pate and onion jam for the flatbread. At our Memorial Day get together, someone's girlfriend made incredible chocolate whoopie pies with peanut butter filling and chocolate cupcakes topped with a scoop of coconut filling then dipped in chocolate. Hope she comes again!

Jun 09, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Do you believe in being a food snob?

I've had a couple of classes at King Arthur Flour. The instructors explain the science of how flour/gluten works and stress the importance of proper measuring esp flour (do NOT pack it into a measuring cup). But, at the last class when the dough was too wet, the instructor made corrections and talked about when you can add more flour and when you can't. So, I agree baking is a science but also agree that you can do some fiddling with a recipe if you understand the science.

Dog friendly dining in Portland area

We enjoyed the lobster rolls from Bite Into Maine food truck that parks at Fort Williams Park in South Portland. Dogs are allowed in the park. You might want to bring a bag chair so you can pick a good spot to enjoy the wonderful view but there are picnic tables. Their facebook page says the food truck will be back again Jun 12. http://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trail...

BBQ in Southern NH

Just had my first experience with Big Kahuna Catering from Merrimack NH. They did a pig roast for a friend's birthday party. http://www.bigkahunascatering.com/
The pork was very good with your choice of three barbecue sauces. It was beautifully presented on a table with fresh fruit along the front. We also had veggie kabobs, a pasta salad and a tasty rice. When I asked, I was told the rice was cooked with coconut oil and seasoned with fresh basil and cilantro. The party was held at a campground rec area. We ate at the campground picnic tables. The Kahuna staff kept circulating to dispose of used plates, etc. I've been to pig roasts before that served very good meat, but this was the best. The extra service was professional. The sauces were fantastic (but watch out for the hot spicy one).

Jun 07, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

recipe for oversized zucchini

I am shocked nobody has mentioned coring then grating the flesh to make all sorts of baked things such as zucchini whoopie pies and zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Zucchini bread was only the beginning of the great grated zucchini bake-off. And you need a lot of it if you want to make zucchini relish.

Jun 03, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Public clambakes in Portland, ME and other regional dishes?

Funny, in our area the bean suppers are held during the summer. They used to be weekly with maybe one supper a month during the winter.

Another regional food I spotted today was a Bar Harbor canned product: Indian Pudding. This used to be an inexpensive family pudding (bascially cornmeal, milk and molasses) which used to be available at the now defunct Howard Johnson restaurants and is still available at Boston's Durgin Park. I rarely see it on restaurant menus anymore but some ice cream shops have it as an ice cream flavor which is pretty good. Unfortunately, some consider it a flavor for fall.

Jun 02, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

How to use up a bunch of aleppo pepper and 'salemme' pepper

There's a yogurt marinade for chicken breasts that uses Aleppo pepper.

Jun 02, 2015
dfrostnh in Home Cooking

Public clambakes in Portland, ME and other regional dishes?

As bobbert posted, the food you are looking for is served daily at a lot of restaurants. It is fairly common to find a church, grange or other fundraising supper but they aren't well advertised. They are usually on a Saturday. Once we happened on a lobster benefit for a local volunteer fire dept. The lobster came with your choice of crabs or mussels. Homemade pie cost extra. I wouldn't say it tasted any better than some of the lobster shacks but it was a fun experience. Good homemade pies are getting harder and harder to find. We went to a chicken bbq in Bath during their Heritage Days which was pretty good and very well attended. The local church ladies sell slices of pie from a tent at the craft fair (Heritage Days coincide with 4th of July). We have a trip booked to the Stonington area and have read that the Masons are having a lobster lunch but you have to pre-buy tickets and I haven't figured out how to do that.

You might try reading local newspapers on-line or just keeping an eye out for signs posted on the lawn of a local church. Ham and bean suppers are more frequent in our area. I agree with hunting down Whoopie pies which are a fun dessert. The strawberry rhubarb pie season has just started but I'm not sure if that's available in your area. Brown bread has just about disappeared (steamed in cans) and homemade baked beans taste better than store bought canned. I think another place to check out would be farmers markets. Brunswick has a great one. The larger markets tend to have people selling some unusual products. You probably also need to buy some maple syrup but preferably some from NH or Maine. I have not been to the Portland farmers market but understand it is very good. I saw pickled fiddleheads (ferns) and chokeberry jelly at the Norwich VT farmers market. I thought the pickled fiddleheads were good. The fresh fiddlehead season is over.

Jun 02, 2015
dfrostnh in Northern New England

Gluten-free flours

I don't search out gluten free but am lucky enough to live close enough to Norwich VT to shop at King Arthur Flour and to take an occasional class. The recent class was on Italian flat breads so I had to buy their Italian flour and, after reading the catalog, the French flour, as well. The instructor gave a lot of information about how gluten behaves and we also learned a kneading technique for wet doughs and how to properly measure flour so we don't end up with dry results. You might want to explore the King Arthur Flour website. I like the way you can shop for products and at the bottom of a product's web page there will be a list of recipes that use that product.

May 31, 2015
dfrostnh in Special Diets

The Great Banh Mi Search

jbuttitta, I agree on the baguette. I had a banh mi in a mid-western city that came on a roll that was quite sweet. I don't even think it went with the filling. I was greatly disappointed. What recipe do you use?