Watermelon Sherbet

There are two issues that need to be addressed right off the bat:

(1) Watermelon really, really seems like it should be spelled with two Ls. It’s just weird. Similarly, sherbet only has one R. (If you listen to a British person pronounce it, they do say “shuh-bet,” though it turns out that they aren’t talking about the same thing; their “sherbet” is flavored sugar powder, the type you find in Pixie Stix.) Every one of us grew up saying “Sher-Bert” and I’m willing to fight anyone who tries to correct me.

(2) How do you pick a decent watermelon? Ideally, you buy it at a farm stand and ask the person on the other side of the table to pick one for you. But if you are on your own in the produce department of a supermarket, look for one that has a dramatic pale spot on one side, where it lay on the dirt as it was growing. The sun never got to that spot, so it never greened up. Also, look for wide stripes, hopefully with two fingers-width between them. After that, just buy a lot of melons until you figure out which ones taste good to you.

Watermelon Sherbet
(See? Now that you’ve noticed it, doesn’t that just seem wrong?)

  • 1 quart (32 ounces, 950 ml) watermelon juice – from about half a medium-sized watermelon (see below)
  • a pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about three limes’ worth)

Cut your melon in half and scoop out just over a quart of flesh with an ice cream scoop. This is another case where a kitchen scale will be useful. Put your blender jar on the scale, tare (zero) it out, then transfer 35 ounces, or 1,000 grams, into the jar.

Blend the watermelon, slowly at first, then more vigorously, until it is completely liquified. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer, and you will be left with about a quart of juice.

Return the juice to the blender, and add the other ingredients. Blend it thoroughly a second time, then put it in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour the sherbet base into a sealed plastic bag, and freeze it solid, and send it on another trip through your blender or food processor.

Churn the sherbet base in your ice cream machine, according to manufacturer’s instructions, then when it has reached soft-serve consistency transfer it to freezing containers — 1-pint, plastic takeout containers are great for this. Freeze for a couple of hours to firm up.

The sherbet is a bit of a revelation. It has a mellow, not-too-sweet watermelon flavor. The limes — which, let’s face it, will enhance any other fruit — brighten it up and make it taste exceptionally refreshing.

t he should have.

Featured Photo: Photo by John Fladd.

Rock ’n’ roll on a bun

New burger place downtown

A frustrating afternoon as a broke musician was a turning point for Ian Tufts, the creator and owner of BAD BRGR in Manchester.

“I had a fast food shake melt into the floorboard of my truck once,” he said. “I couldn’t get it out for the life of me.”

The lesson? Fresh, high-quality ingredients are really important. If you can’t dissolve it with cleaning fluids, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Or, in the case of BAD BRGR, serving it.

Tufts, a long-term passionate musician and burger fan, described the food and atmosphere at BAD BRGR as something that would appeal to someone like his younger self: “Burgers, fries, shakes, and rock ’n’ roll! I love being on the creative front; there’s a certain magic that comes from it.” This is a spirit that encapsulates burgers as much as music, he said.

This struck home to him during this month’s Taco Tour, when his restaurant had barely opened officially yet.

“We had live music playing the whole time, and non-stop service for four hours straight,” Tufts recalled. It was exactly the vibe he was looking to create. “We’ve got a young staff,” he said, “and keeping it cool and working together was great. We had people telling us that we had the smoothest service.”

BAD BRGR’s Manchester location is its second one, launched on the success of the first BAD BRGR, in Hampton Beach, which he opened three years ago. “This is 2.0,” Tufts said, adding that plans are in the works for additional locations.

BAD BRGR’s menu only offers seven or eight types of burgers.

“We like to keep it simple,” Tufts said. “Too many options paralyzes people. It takes away from the specialness. We’re always shooting for clean, specific flavors. To me, they’re like stars; I don’t want to muddy them up. I’ve always been a burger guy — a broke-musician-burger-guy — so I took notes of all my favorite burgers and combined the high points.”

What he ended up with was a type of burger sometimes described as a “smash-burger” — where the burger patty has been pressed thin onto the griddle at the start of cooking to give it a seared crust. This was something he didn’t even know was a thing.

“I’d never heard of smash-burgers,” he said, “but I started with what kind of burger I wanted, reverse-engineered it and ended up in the same place.”

The buns are grilled in butter, but after that BAD BRGR’s Build Your Own option lets customers decide exactly how their burger ends up.

“People like what they like,” Tufts said, but added that overwhelmingly, the most popular burger they serve is the eponymous BAD BRGR. It was conceived as the perfect messy, post-gig burger for hungry, tired musicians. “It’s our meanest, late-night burger,” he said. “It’s liquidy-cheddary, with jalapeños. It’s our most popular, our namesake.” To get around the inconsistency of fresh jalapeños in New Hampshire, they use pickled ones, which adds a vinegar-y bite to cut through the liquid cheddar.

Tuft’s favorite burger, though, is the Belle, which comes with peaches and bacon. “I used to make this for friends, and they were always blown away,” he said.

And, of course, the shakes, which BAD BRGR calls milk slushes, are all-natural. “We won’t serve any plastic shakes here,” Tufts said.

BAD BRGR
1015 Elm St., Manchester
606-8806
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight

The Bennington Rhubarb Festival

Where everything is about rhubarb

At the Bennington Rhubarb festival: “We’re ‘All Rhubarb, All the Time’,” said Festival coordinator Molly Eppig. You should expect to eat, drink, and be immersed completely by rhubarb. Every event at the festival is rhubarb-themed.

Eppig said this is partially because of rhubarb’s community-themed social history.

“One of its nicknames is the Neighbor Plant. Going back to Colonial days, [if] you’d move into a new place, the neighbors would give you rhubarb. You might show up with just the clothes on your back, and the neighbors would say, ‘Let me give you some rhubarb to grow in your own garden.’”

But why a rhubarb festival?

“In 2013 my neighbor and I took it upon ourselves to start a festival for two reasons,” Eppig said. One reason was that Bennington didn’t have a festival at the time, and the other was to raise money for the town library’s Building Fund. “Looking at other festivals in towns around us, we noticed that they tended to be later in the summer — and that meant rhubarb. It’s [ready to pick] before the strawberries; it’s before the blueberries.”

The people in charge of The Festival, including Eppig, have put a great deal of thought into the different ways in which rhubarb can be celebrated, and over the years the number of events has grown, all with rhubarb as a priority.

“The very first Rhubarb Festival we ever held [in 2013] was basically a bake table, and we’ve grown from there,” said Eppig. The Bake Table continues to be the most popular attraction at the Festival.

“I’ve had people call me at seven in the morning and ask me if there will be pie to buy,” Eppig said, then answered rhetorically, with forced patience, “Yeeess.” This is the area where local bakers have really let their imaginations take flight. There are rhubarb pies for sale, of course, but bars as well, and coffee cakes, muffins and more.

The most prestigious event, though, is the pie contest.

“I can’t go a spring without making [rhubarb] pie,” Eppig said. “Everyone loves pie; I can’t imagine what kind of person wouldn’t.”

There is also a Rhubarb General Store at the Festival, where different rhubarb products are sold: fresh rhubarb stalks, jams, jellies and rhubarb crowns, “if no neighbor has given you any rhubarb to plant in your own garden,” Epping said. There is also a Drink Your Rhubarb tent in the afternoon, where people can buy or sample rhubarb-orange juice, rhubarb soda, rhubarb beer and rhubarb wine.

“That’s always an eye-opener,” said Eppig. “People are so surprised that such good wine can be made from rhubarb.” There is a rhubarb wine contest the preceding day with entries from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts. “As far as I know, we have the only rhubarb wine contest anywhere,” Eping said.

A crowd favorite is a traditional “Hollering” contest. “Hollering is an old New England farming tradition,” Eppig said. “In the old days, the men and the older sons would be out in the fields, and women needed to be able to call out to them.” There was a certain prestige in the day to being a strong hollerer. The Festival has divisions for husband-hollering and wife-hollering, but Eppig says the children’s division is far and away the most popular — “Apparently, we have some very loud children.”

Bennington Rhubarb Festival
When: Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Sawyer Memorial Park, 148 Route 202, Bennington
Admission: free, with free parking.
Schedule of events: townofbennington.com/rhubarb-festival

The Weekly Dish 24/05/30

News from the local food scene

Herbal infusions class: The Cozy Tea Cart (104A Route 13, Brookline, 249-9111, thecozyteacart.com) will hold a class on herbal infusions on Thursday, May 30, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Participants will learn the difference between herbal infusions and tea, the health benefits of herbals, and the historical significance of healing herbs. They will also learn which parts of the plants to use, how to create their own blends, and how to properly prepare herbal infusions. Throughout the class they will sample four different herbal blends. The cost is $30 per person.

Books and berries: The Friends of the Library of Windham will present their 38th annual Strawberry Festival and Book Fair on Saturday, June 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Windham High School (64 London Bridge Road, Windham). Homemade strawberry shortcake will be served, and the festival will have live music, raffles, local vendors, games and more. Visit flowwindham.org.

Gate City gustation: The Taste of Downtown Nashua, presented by Great American Downtown, returns to the Gate City on Wednesday, June 5, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. More than 30 restaurants, shops and other local businesses will have temporary food service set up inside their establishments, where samples will be served to ticket holders. Tickets start at $39.99 per person and include access to samples from all of the event’s participating vendors. Visit downtownnashua.org/taste.

Bicycle Thief

The first time I had my bicycle stolen was in the Army, when a platoonmate of mine with a drug problem “borrowed” most of my stuff while I was in the field — including my bike — and thoughtfully stored it for me at a pawn shop just off-base. Later, after my effects had been retrieved, he made a big deal of telling everyone what a gentleman I was. I think he was happy I didn’t punch him in my face, but you’d think I was David Niven.

A year or so later, now out of the Army, I rode the same bike to the dining hall of the school I was enrolled in and popped in to grab some breakfast, only to find that I’d forgotten about the switch to Daylight Savings Time and had missed breakfast. I came out to discover that I’d also forgotten to lock my bike up, and it had taken the opportunity to start a new life with somebody else. I indulged in some non-Nivenish language.

The third time I had a bike stolen, I did not forget to lock it up, and only the front wheel was taken. I wasn’t sure why, until I considered the possibility that perhaps someone had stolen the thief’s front wheel, to replace the one that a third person in this train of wheel abduction had taken from them, etc., stretching back to sometime in the ’70s when somebody broke their front wheel by absentmindedly driving into an open manhole or something. I tried unsuccessfully to display some David Niven-like aplomb, but did decide to end the chain of front-wheel abscondtion.

All of which has nothing much to do with anything, except that this week’s cocktail is a classic take on a Negroni called a Bicycle Thief.

Bicycle Thief

  • 1 ounce gin – Wiggly Bridge is a good choice
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1½ ounce unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • club soda to top
  • an orange slice for garnish

Combine the gin, Campari, juices and simple syrup over ice in a cocktail shaker.

Ask your digital assistant to play “Tale of Brave Ulysses” by Cream. Granted, this song is neither Italian nor bicycle-themed. It is, however, slightly psychedelic and dreamy. It tells a story of being in a situation beyond your control, where everything is delightful and nobody would think of stealing your bike. The rhythm of this song isn’t particularly conducive to shaking a cocktail, but it evokes the right mood for imagining yourself as the protagonist of a really good story.

Regardless of what Cream tells you, shake your cocktail thoroughly, until the ice just starts to break up.

Pour the drink, ice and all, into a tall glass. A Collins glass would work well for this, but personal experience has shown me that the Foghorn Leghorn promotional glass I rescued from a flea market last summer works equally well.

Top with club soda. How much is a personal judgment call. You might have had a day that calls for extra bubbles and a lighter hand on the “Full Speed Ahead” lever. You might just want something a little less frivolous. It’s up to you.

Stir it gently, and garnish with an orange slice. It might be tempting to slice the wheel of orange halfway through and slip it over the edge of your glass — and that’s fine! a classic! — but you might want to roll it and shove it into the interior of your glass instead. It will make even a Foghorn Leghorn glass look slightly fancy.

The reason you can get away with a whimsical glass is because a Bicycle Thief is a fully mature, confident drink. It’s not intense and “I will have my revenge for my stolen bicycle”-y, but coolly sophisticated, in a “Should we have Carlos bring the boat around?” vein. Campari and grapefruit share a bitterness that gets a backbone from the gin. The lemon and syrup are fruity enough to blunt the bitterness, but still leave it at an adult level.

I don’t know if David Niven ever drank this, but he should have.

Featured Photo: Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Andy Day

Andy Day, Chef and owner of Cask & Vine (1 E. Broadway in Derry, 965-3454, caskandvine.com)

Andy Day is the co-owner of Cask & Vine along with his wife, Alana. Cask & Vine is a craft beer bar they opened in 2013. Day is also a brewer and owner of Daydreaming Brewing Co. in historic downtown Derry. For more than 14 years he has taken a vested interest in promoting New Hampshire’s craft brewers through collaborations, beer-centric events, and cross-promotions. Day has recently taken on a young apprentice at Cask & Vine, sharing the knowledge and experience of food and cooking learned over the last several years.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

Tongs, quickly followed by a simple clean kitchen rag. Watching and learning from the chef that opened our restaurant, I found it fascinating how versatile a pair of tongs is from pulling pans to plating food … when I don’t have them it’s painful.

What would you have for your last meal?

Grilled rib-eye with a blue cheese butter, rosemary Parmesan truffle-sauteed fingerlings and sauteed asparagus and mushrooms. Probably a slice of New York-style cheesecake for dessert. It’s all pretty simple stuff, and that’s what I love about it.

What is your favorite local eatery?

That’s tough, but I’d have to say Amphora Restaurant.The dishes are always so well-prepared and flavorful — not to mention there are usually a handful of specials that often include lamb, and I love someone else doing the work of preparing lamb, and doing it well.

Who is a celebrity you would like to see eating your food?

Patrick Stewart. I think he’d be a great person to sit at a table with, or just listen to feedback.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

The Falafel sandwich. It includes heirloom tomatoes, bib lettuce, green goddess dressing, house pickles, and we make the falafel old-school, with fresh herbs. It’s a simple sandwich that has a lot going on.

What is the biggest food trend you see in New Hampshire right now?

Scaling back. It’s been weird in the restaurant world for a while, and everyone seems to be trying to deliver the most bang for your dollar, or doubling down on fresh, local at a higher price. Two very different approaches.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Pizza.It’s one of those things that you can just open up the cabinets and fridge and throw any number of ingredients on to create different flavors every time. It’s one of the things the kids always want me to cook when they visit, so that might have something to do with it.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms
From Andy Day

1 pound sweet sausage (no casing)
1 pound cream cheese
2 dozen medium mushrooms, stems removed
6 pieces garlic
truffle oil (garnish)

Cook sausage in oven at 350°F for 30 minutes, making sure nothing is left pink.
Cook garlic in oven separate from sausage but for the same amount of time.
Drain sausage fat, allow to cool, and combine with garlic and cream cheese in a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.
Stuff mushrooms with filling and place in oven at 350°F for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and sausage is browning. Plate and top with truffle oil.

Featured Photo: Andy Day, Chef and owner of Cask & Vine. Courtesy photo.

All the bacon

Also beer and barbecue at annual fest

Jeremy Garrett has a four-word mantra that would stop almost anybody in their tracks: “The Most Bacon Ever.”

Garrett is the Director of the New Hampshire Bacon and Beer Festival (nhbaconbeer.com) and he is excited about serving unlimited samples of bacon, beer and barbecue to Festival-goers on Saturday, June 1, at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack.

“I haven’t done the numbers,” he said, “but I’m pretty certain this is the largest sampling event in New Hampshire. There will be 18 companies giving out 25+ different bacon samples, more than 60 breweries, and tents with barbecue teams. We like to say that if you leave hungry it’s your fault.”

This is the eighth year for the Festival, which raises money for the High Hopes Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides life-enhancing equipment, assistance and opportunities to New Hampshire children living with chronic health conditions. Over the past three years, the Bacon and Beer Festival has raised more than $150,000 for High Hopes.

When Festival-goers enter the event, they are given a 4-ounce sampling glass and two tickets, one to give to the vendor with their favorite bacon, and another to give to the maker of their favorite barbecue. Garrett said that there are serious bragging rights that go with winning the People’s Choice Award for best barbecue.

“The barbecue teams take it very seriously. Last year there was a Dancing Guy; if you gave him a ticket, he’d do a dance for you,” Garrett said.

On entering the Festival, a bacon-and-beer-enthusiast will be faced with a “plethora of tents,” each with a line in front of it.

“You go through the lines,” Garrett said. “You get whatever samples you want; you go get in the next line, you try that, go get in the next line, and keep on doing that until you’re full.” Because of the large number of vendors, none of the lines end up being very long, he said. “Even if we have 2,000 people there, nobody will be in line for more than three or four minutes.”

So what is an absolute can’t-miss item?

“There’s nothing that you can afford to miss,” Garrett said. Any food you can imagine with bacon will be represented, as well as a few you might never have thought about.

“There are any number of sweet or savory dishes to sample,” he said. “One of the barbecue teams is serving bacon-wrapped jalapeños. There’s a smokehouse that has bacon-infused sausage, so it’s bacon and sausage! Together!” There will be bacon popcorn, maple-bacon marshmallows, bacon whoopie pies, bacon pizza, bacon fries, bacon macaroni and cheese, and even bacon chocolate chip cookies.

Beer-wise, there will be a lot of old favorites, Garrett said, “and this year there are 12 new breweries we’ve never had before. It’s a great chance to try something you normally wouldn’t. I always end up trying some sours or fruity drinks that I normally wouldn’t, but this gives me a chance to see if there’s anything I like.” Because people in line are only committing themselves to a bite of bacon or barbecue, or 4 ounces of beer at a time, Garrett says, nobody’s overly invested in any of the samples. “If you don’t like it,” he said, “go get back in line and try something else. That’s the beauty of this opportunity.”

An hour or two before the end of the festival, many of the vendors start to run out of bacon. That’s when the barbecue teams rotate in and provide attendees with a different flavor profile — pulled pork tacos, nachos and more. By that time, though, it is too late for some Festival-goers. “At the end of the day,” Garrett said, “we have people leaving at like 3:30 — and the event goes until 4:30 — and we’re like, ‘What are you doing?’ They’ll go, ‘I can not eat another bite; I’m done.’ In that case, OK — you’re allowed to leave.”

Bacon and Beer
8th annual New Hampshire Bacon and Beer Festival
When: Saturday, June 1, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Where: outdoor fields of Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 221 Daniel Webster Hwy. in Merrimack. Tickets: $60 each, or $120 each for VIP tickets, which allow early admittance and on-site parking. Tickets are available at the Festival’s website (nhbaconbeer.com). General admission tickets will be available at the gate for $80. Tickets for designated drivers will be $35 at the gate, while supplies last.
Live music will be provided by The Slakas (theslakas.com).
Free overflow parking across the street at Elbit Systems.
Event is 21+. No one under 21 years of age may enter the festival gates, including designated drivers, babies and toddlers.

The Weekly Dish 24/05/23

News from the local food scene

Charcuterie workshop: Learn how to assemble an elegant or artfully rustic meat and cheese board at Luna Bistro (254 N. Broadway, Salem, 458-2162, luna-bistro.com) on Thursday, May 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 through eventbrite.com.

Food truck festival: The Town of Northwood is sponsoring a food truck and vendor festival on Friday, May 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Route 4 Athletic Fields, 611 First NH Turnpike, in Northwood, featuring music by Matty and the Penders.

BBQ Pig Roast: Start your summer eating at Bentley’s Famous BBQ Pig Roast on Saturday, May 25, from noon to 6 p.m., hosted by the Biergarten at Anheuser-Busch (221 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 595-1202, budweisertours.com). Watch award-winning Pitmaster and owner of Bentley’s Famous BBQ Brandon Saldoni serve up barbecue. $25 ticket price includes pig roast and first beverage. $15 ticket is general admission with hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, fried dough, kettle corn and ice cream for purchase. Children 3 and under are free. Visit budweisertours.com/mmktours.

Sauerkraut workshop: Saturday, May 25, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., State Street Kitchen (205 N. State St., Concord, 491-3784, statestreetkitchenconcord.com) will teach you how to make sauerkraut with food historian and educator Sam Pike. The class is $45 per person through the Kitchen’s website for 1.5 hours of instruction and includes your own homemade jar of sauerkraut to take home.

Marzipan Rhubarb Ice Cream

Base:

  • ¾ cup (180 g) unsweetened almond butter
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons (180 g) granulated sugar
  • 2¾ cups (660 g) half & half, or even better, unsweetened almond milk, which would make this into a vegan sorbet and intensify the almond flavor
  • Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Rhubarb Compote:

  • 3-4 large stalks of rhubarb, cleaned
  • An equal amount, by weight, of sugar. (If you don’t weigh your ingredients, wait until you’ve chopped the rhubarb, then measure out an equal amount by volume.)
  • Juice of half a lemon

In a blender, combine all the ice cream base ingredients. Maybe add the almond butter last, so it doesn’t gum up the blades of your blender. Blend — slowly at first, then more vigorously — for several minutes. Put the blender jar in your refrigerator to chill for several hours or overnight. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the base into a zip-lock bag and lay it flat in your freezer to freeze solid.)

Cut each rhubarb stalk in half, length-wise, then chop it into small pieces. This is what chefs call a “fine dice.” I would feel a little self-conscious about using a snooty phrase like that, except for one thing. If my wife walks into the kitchen while I’m chopping rhubarb, I can ask her if she’s impressed by my fine dice. She usually just rolls her eyes.

Put the finely diced rhubarb in a bowl and then into your freezer — again, for several hours or overnight. The idea here is that ice crystals will form and poke holes in all the cell walls, making the rhubarb easier to cook down.

When the rhubarb has frozen completely, measure it or weigh it into a saucepan with an equal amount of sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it gives up its liquid and comes to a boil. Stir it thoroughly, to make certain that all the sugar has dissolved into solution, then remove from heat, and set aside. Stir in the lemon juice, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Set the rhubarb syrup aside for cocktails.

Stir your cold ice cream base, then pour it into your ice cream maker, and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, cut your frozen ice cream base into ice-cube-sized chunks, and break them down in your blender or food processor. You will end up with soft-serve-consistency ice cream, very similar to what you would get from an ice cream maker.

Spoon the ice cream into freezing containers, alternating layers with the rhubarb compote you just made. You’re looking for a ratio of about 60 percent ice cream to 40 percent rhubarb. Store in your freezer for several hours to harden up. You can buy cardboard ice cream containers online, but one-pint plastic takeout containers work well, too.

Everyone knows that rhubarb goes well with strawberries; the sweetness of the fruit plays off the tartness of the rhubarb. A little less well-known is that rhubarb is very good friends with almonds. Nobody else seems to agree with me on this, but I’ve always thought almonds in sweet applications taste like maraschino cherries, which plays off the rhubarb just as well. Because the subtler flavors of the rhubarb can be overwhelmed by the intensely marzipan flavor of the ice cream, it’s a good idea to put more than just a ripple of it in this ice cream.

You know in old movies and TV shows, when someone gets a big reaction out of a crowd? “The real murderer is in this courtroom right now!” — that sort of thing? The excited murmuring of the crowd in the background is called “rhubarbing.” In the old days, the extras would just repeat the word “rhubarb” to each other. If they just lip-synched, it looked weird on film, but if they actually spoke real sentences, it would distract viewers from what the main characters were trying to say.

I mention this because when you serve this ice cream at a dinner party or picnic — “And tonight’s ice cream is — RHUBARB!” — this is the reaction you will get from your guests.

Featured Photo: Marzipan Rhubarb Ice Cream. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Corey Fletcher

Corey Fletcher is the award-winning chef and owner of Revival Kitchen (11 Depot St., Concord, 715-5723, revivalkitchennh.com). Prior to Revival, Chef Fletcher was the executive chef at the Centennial Hotel and Granite Restaurant in Concord. Before Granite Restaurant, he worked at Colby Hill Inn and 55 Degrees. He is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A good sharp chef knife or tongs — either one is in my right hand for about one third of my day. They are an extension of my mind.

What would you have for your last meal?

A well-marbled and properly seasoned grilled New York strip steak, medium rare, loaded baked potato with bacon, sour cream, butter and chives, along with buttered blanched broccoli. It’s a classic dinner in my mind and is comfort food for me.

What is your favorite local eatery?

My house with my wife and daughter, as I don’t get too many dinners with them at home, but that’s not an ‘eatery.’ So I’d say Moritomo for sushi!

Who is a celebrity you would like to see eating your food?

Dan Barber — mostly because he is the pinnacle of locally sourced dining.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

Our menu changes seasonally and my preferences change with that, so right now it’s the fennel spice rubbed pork loin with lemon and olive oil-braised beans and Swiss chard, with black garlic puree, and a pea green radish salad. It sounds like a ‘heavy’ dish; however, the brightness of the lemon in the beans and the textures of the pea greens and radish is crisp and refreshing, making a good spring dish.

What is the biggest food trend you see in New Hampshire right now?

Supporting small/micro producers — from honey, baked goods, coffee roasters, restaurants, for example. Consumers continue to be selective about where their money is spent and they want to support people’s dreams and stories, rather than spending it at chains, etc.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Roasted chicken — my wife and daughter’s favorite, great for a relaxing Sunday.

Lemon Hummus
From Corey Fletcher

3 cups cooked chickpeas
3/4 cup tahini
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon salt
zest of 4 lemons
¼ cup garlic, minced

Puree all together; adjust with cold water.
Adjust seasoning as necessary.
Serve with your favorite crackers, naan or pita, or seasonal vegetables.

Featured Photo: Corey Fletcher. Courtesy photo.

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