Savory, sips and sweets

Taste of the Region returns to Derry

EVENT UPDATE:
Just after going to press on Tuesday, July 14th, Taste of the Region organizers announced that they have made the event virtual. For updated details, visit http://derry-chamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/taste-of-the-region-gone-virtual-11796

More than two dozen local restaurants, breweries and other businesses will be vying for your vote during the annual Taste of the Region. After its initial cancellation in April, the festival will return to Derry’s Tupelo Music Hall on Tuesday, July 21.
Normally held inside the venue, the Taste of the Region is moving outdoors this year to accommodate social distancing regulations.
“Exhibitors will be set up in the parking lot similar to guests at a show at the Tupelo, so people can pass by in both directions without being too close to each other,” said Ashley Haseltine, president of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event.
Whenever possible, all foods will be packaged individually grab-and-go style, while beverages will be offered in single-use sample cups. Each sample falls under one of three categories — “savory,” “sips” or “sweets” — and vendors can opt to participate in one, two or all three. “‘Savory’ is more of an entree-type food option,” Haseltine said. “‘Sips’ can be any beverage, alcoholic or non-alcoholic … and then ‘sweets’ is any type of dessert. It’s always a great variety. … The fun thing with this event is that sometimes restaurants bring something that people didn’t even realize they offered, and then for the breweries it’s usually whatever kind of specialty brew they have at the moment.”
If you’ve attended the event in the past, you’ll see some returning vendors and a few new faces. Kiss the Cook Macaroni & Cheese, a Derry-based business offering homemade macaroni and cheese; The Nutrition Corner, a Derry shop offering protein smoothies and teas that opened late last year; and the Daydreaming Brewing Co. of Derry, which was launched earlier this year by Andy Day and Alana Wentworth of Cask & Vine, are all among this year’s newcomers.
Casa Java Cafe of Derry, which has participated in the event previously, will be returning this year, offering multiple flavors of crepes. They’ll have their warm cinnamon apple crepe, their fruity Nutella crepe with strawberry banana, and their house Casa Java crepe with blackberry and arequipe (Colombian caramel sauce).
The Grind Rail Trail Cafe, also of Derry, will be serving a savory option and an entry into the “sips” category, most likely a cold brew or other coffee offering. Rig A’ Tony’s Italian Takeout, another returning participant, has in the past featured a display of desserts like whoopie pies and coconut macaroons.
All exhibitors and tasters are asked to wear a mask or face-covering while in the event area in the parking lot. Instead of stopping in front of each booth to try their samples, Haseltine said, everyone is asked to use one of two designated tents with tables to sit down and eat at. Members of Servpro of Derry and Londonderry, one of the event’s sponsors, will be regularly sanitizing tables and chairs throughout the evening.
Each taster will be given a paper ballot on which to write their votes for each category. Haseltine said winners will be announced on social media within a week.

Taste of the Region
When:
Tuesday, July 21, 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Tupelo Music Hall parking lot, 10 A St., Derry
Cost: $35 admittance per person (includes full access to food and drink tastings; purchasing tickets in advance is encouraged, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Kyle B. Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund)
Visit: gdlchamber.org

Participating food and beverage vendors
• 603 Brewery (Londonderry, 603brewery.com)
• Amphora Restaurant (Derry, amphoranh.com)
• Aroma Joe’s Cafe (Derry, aromajoes.com)
• Casa Java Cafe (Derry, casajavacafe.com)
• Clam Haven (Derry, clamhaven.com)
• Daydreaming Brewing Co. (Derry, daydreaming.beer)
• Doire Distilling (Derry, doiredistilling.com)
• Fody’s Tavern (Derry, fodystavern.com)
• From the Barrel (Derry, drinkftb.com)
• Gabi’s Smoke Shack (Londonderry, gabissmokeshack.com)
• The Grind Rail Trail Cafe (Derry, thegrindnh.com)
• Halligan Tavern (Derry, thehalligantavern.com)
• Kiss the Cook Macaroni & Cheese (Derry, kissthecookllc.com)
• Long Blue Cat Brewing Co. (Londonderry, longbluecat.com)
• Moonlight Meadery (Londonderry, moonlightmeadery.com)
• The Nutrition Corner (Derry, thenutritioncorner.business.site)
• Pasta Loft Restaurant (East Hampstead, pastalofthampstead.com)
• Pipe Dream Brewing (Londonderry, pipedreambrewingnh.com)
• Prime Source Foods (Londonderry, primesourcefoods.biz)
• The Red Arrow Diner (Londonderry, redarrowdiner.com)
• The Residence at Salem Woods (lcbseniorliving.com)
• Rig A’ Tony’s Italian Takeout (Derry, find them on Facebook)
• Rockingham Brewing Co. (Derry, rockinghambrewing.com)
• Talia’s Eatery (Londonderry, taliaseatery.com)
• Troy’s Fresh Kitchen & Juice Bar (Londonderry, troysfreshkitchen.com)
• Zorvino Vineyards (Sandown, zorvino.com)

In the kitchen with Doug Loranger

Doug Loranger of Nashua is the owner of Ranger’s BBQ (rangers-bbq.com, find them on Facebook @rangersbbq17), a food trailer specializing in a variety of styles of barbecue, including North Carolina-style pulled pork and slow cooked Memphis-style ribs. He also offers smoked brisket, pulled chicken and several sides, like homemade macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, cornbread and his smoked baked beans with bacon, which won first place in last year’s New Hampshire Bacon & Beer Festival. A Nashua native, Loranger lived in Texas for more than a decade, working in capital equipment sales, before returning to New Hampshire. After cooking barbecue for a Super Bowl party in 2017, Loranger said the feedback was so positive that it prompted him to begin seeking out potential trailers the following day. Currently you can find Ranger’s BBQ at 324 Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua (near the Tyngsboro, Mass., state line) most Saturdays or Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless Loranger is catering for a private event that weekend. Follow him on social media for the most up-to-date information.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
A big spatula to get the brisket out of the smoker easily. I have some custom spatulas from Humphrey’s Smokers out of Maine.

What would you have for your last meal?
Probably a good rib-eye or duck breast.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
Giant of Siam [in Nashua]. I just love how fresh their food is, and their service is excellent.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from your trailer?
Aaron Franklin, because I’d like his take on my food. He owns Franklin Barbecue down in Austin, Texas. People wait in line for hours to eat at his place. They come from all over the world just to have his barbecue, so it would be neat to get a little bit of feedback from him.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?
My ribs. Both the ribs and the brisket tend to sell out very fast.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
I don’t know that this is a recent trend, but New England is getting more ethnically diverse in its foods. It’s nice to see more … diverse [options] than when I was growing up.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
Prime rib, or duck.

Homemade macaroni and cheese
From the kitchen of Doug Loranger of Ranger’s BBQ in Nashua

1 pound macaroni or pasta of choice
½ cup (or one stick) butter
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons pepper
1 quart milk
1 quart shredded cheese of choice (Loranger likes to use a mix of provolone, cheddar, mozzarella and sometimes Gouda)

Melt the butter and mix in the flour to make a roux. Slowly add the milk so it gets warm as you add it. Mix in the salt and pepper. Add the cheese and stir until the mixture achieves a creamy consistency. Boil the pasta to al dente and add the mix to it.

The Weekly Dish 20/07/16

Common Man Roadside opens in Manchester: A new Common Man Roadside Market and Deli opened at 1805 S. Willow St. in Manchester on July 13. The combination takeout restaurant and convenience store features an open kitchen concept, offering fresh baked goods daily, as well as pizzas, deli and grilled sandwiches, homemade soups, burgers and salads. There is also a barista bar with fresh coffees and a walk-in cooler with domestic and local craft beers. Irving fuel pumps are outside as well. The Common Man Roadside is part of the Granite State Hospitality family, which also opens similar markets in Hooksett and Plymouth. The new Manchester location is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit thecmanroadside.com or call 210-2801.

Flights for the navigator: A new website designed to help local breweries in New Hampshire connect with craft beer lovers during the pandemic recently went live, according to a press release. DraughtPick.com strives to give visitors the most up-to-date and easily accessible information on their favorite breweries in the state, as well as details on new breweries and beers as they become available. New users who create a free login account with their email address and a password are prompted to fill out a short profile page, which includes a figure for “brewery distance,” or the number of miles within their location where craft breweries are located. They can then access a search page, with the ability to filter by type, location, events (including virtual) and those that offer delivery, curbside pickup or outdoor seating. Visit draughtpick.com.

Kettles and candies: Manchester’s Van Otis Chocolates now has its own line of candied popcorn products, after the company recently purchased Hutchinson’s Candy, according to a press release. Known as Evangeline’s Popcorn, the brand is named after Van Otis founder Evangeline Hasiotis, featuring original caramel corn, maple caramel corn and seaside kettle corn with cane sugar. All of the flavors are gluten-free and non-GMO, made in small batches by hand at Van Otis’s factory. They come in either 5-ounce or 8-ounce bags, and you can get them at the shop (341 Elm St., Manchester) or order them online at vanotis.com/evangelines-popcorn.

Eats by the slopes: A new eatery opened at the base of the McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way, Manchester) on July 1. The Hill Bar & Grille features a menu of appetizers, salads, burgers and entrees, along with opportunities to play games like cornhole, horseshoes or giant Jenga out on the lawn in front of the lodge, as well as fire pits and live light music. Only outdoor seating with table service for food and drinks is available this summer. No reservations are required. To view the menu, visit mcintyreskiarea.com/the-hill-bar-and-grille.

The Weekly Dish 20/07/09

Outdoor tastes: Get your tickets now for a special socially distanced version of the annual Taste of the Region event, happening on Tuesday, July 21, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Normally held inside the Tupelo Music Hall, this year’s festival will take place outdoors in the parking lot of the venue, at 10 A St. in Derry. More than 35 food and beverage vendors from Derry, Londonderry and other surrounding cities and towns will be on hand, competing for their best options in three separate categories — Savory, Sips and Sweets. The event is organized by the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. According to Chamber President Ashley Haseltine, exhibitors and tables will be set up with safe social distance measures, and designated areas will be set up for attendees to take their samples to enjoy. Regular cleaning services will be provided throughout the evening by ServPro Derry/Londonderry. The cost is $35 per person — purchasing your tickets in advance and wearing a mask during the event are encouraged. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kyle B. Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund. Visit gdlchamber.org.

The Packie finds a new home: On June 30, local craft beer store The Packie relocated from South Willow Street to a new space at 581 Second St. in Manchester, in the Second Street Shoppes plaza, owner Jon Pinches confirmed. Since April, The Packie has been open for pickup and delivery only, and it continues to operate that way in the new location until further notice. In addition to more added space for inventory, Pinches said, a walk-in cooler is being planned for the new store space when it reopens to full capacity. The store is currently open Tuesday through Sunday, from 1 to 6 p.m., with ordering available online. Deliveries are made within a 10-mile radius of the store, with a $2 fee included (a minimum of 12 cans or bottles is required). Visit thepackienh.com.

Angela’s gets a new owner: Angela’s Pasta & Cheese Shop on Chestnut Street in Manchester, known for its specialty food items like pastas, cheeses, wines and prepared to-go meals, has a new owner at the helm. Manchester native Steven Freeman, who was a regular customer of the shop for more than two decades, purchased it on June 15. Freeman told the Hippo he plans to expand the shop’s food offerings to include more made-to-order pizzas, paninis and Italian sandwiches, and to add Italian sodas and provide more catering and delivery services. Angela’s is currently open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit angelaspastaandcheese.com.

Local culinary scholarship: Nashua-based spice company Mola Foods is offering a $500 scholarship for culinary students, according to owner and founder Jeannette Bryant. Online applications are available now for those who qualify, and will be accepted through Aug. 31. Bryant said she wanted to start a scholarship for culinary students who may need help paying for student loans but don’t secure high-paying jobs right away in the restaurant industry. She founded Mola Foods, which features a product line of internationally inspired seasonings, spice blends, sauces and marinades, in 2016. In late 2019 she opened a mini retail store in her office space at 15 Tanguay Ave. in Nashua. Visit molafoods.com.

In the kitchen with Ed Ellis & Kim Ricard

Ed “Monkey” Ellis of Candia and Kim Ricard of Concord are the owners and founders of Monkey Time Bakery (177 Deerfield Road, Candia, 483-0220, find them on Facebook), a gift shop and homestead bakery offering a variety of specialty treats by order, like lemon bars, cinnamon rolls and carrot cakes. Originally from Newark, Delaware, Ellis has been in the Granite State for a decade. The bakery is housed in the front of his Candia home, in the former space of a general store. Requests for special orders are accepted through Monkey Time Bakery’s Facebook page, with pickups by appointment.

What is your must-have kitchen item?
EE: I just got a Bosch Universal Plus mixer that is phenomenal.
KR: My KitchenAid stand mixer. It makes cooking from scratch fast and easy.

What would you have for your last meal?
EE: Lasagna.
KR: Chicken Parmesan, fettuccine alfredo style.

What is your favorite local restaurant?
EE: In Candia, Cello’s [Farmhouse Italian] or Town Cabin [Deli & Pub]. I also like Tuckaway [Tavern & Butchery] in Raymond and Umami [Farm Fresh Cafe] in Northwood.
KR: The [Franklin] Oyster House in Portsmouth, Umami [Farm Fresh Cafe] in Northwood and Cello’s [Farmhouse Italian] in Candia.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from your bakery?
EE: Puddles the Clown [entertainer and singer Mike Geier] of Puddles Pity Party.
KR: Rachael Ray.

What is your personal favorite thing that you’ve ever baked?
EE: I really like apple dumplings. They are easy and the reward you get with the flavors is phenomenal.
KR: That is a tough one. I would say Texas sheet cake or carrot cake. I love chocolate and the frosting on the Texas sheet cake is divine.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
KR: Gourmet burgers.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
EE: Steak tips, either on the grill or broiled.
KR: Pizza, hands down, with [the] crust and sauce made from scratch.

Classic peanut butter cookies
From the kitchen of Ed “Monkey” Ellis and Kim Ricard of Monkey Time Bakery in Candia

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter, any kind
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat egg and add to butter mixture. Mix in vanilla extract. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Grease a cookie sheet with butter or line with parchment paper. Roll dough into balls, about a tablespoon each, and place on the cookie sheet. You should be able to get a dozen cookies onto one cookie sheet. With a fork that’s been dipped in flour, gently press on the cookies and make a crisscross pattern. Bake cookies for eight to 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool.

Have a Greek food weekend

Your guide to finding Greek festival favorites

Nearly all of this year’s Greek food festivals in the state have been canceled or postponed — but that doesn’t mean you can’t embark on a Greek food adventure of your own. Offering everything from savory dishes like pastichio and lamb shanks to sweet treats like baklava and loukoumades, several local Greek eateries talk about what they do best and what you can look forward to the next time you visit.

Pastichio

Known as a “Greek lasagna,” pastichio — sometimes also spelled pastitsio — is a baked pasta casserole dish with a creamy white béchamel sauce and meat, most commonly ground beef. Ioanis Kourtis, whose father and uncle together run Athens Restaurant in Manchester, said it’s available as a big, hearty serving on the eatery’s house specialties menu. It’s one of several dishes the two brothers prepare daily.

You’ll see different variations of pasta or meat. Peter Tsoupelis of Amphora Restaurant in Derry said he gets his macaroni imported directly from Greece to make the pastichio, which is often available out of the eatery’s refrigerated take-and-bake case. In Greece, because ground beef is not as readily available as in the United States, according to Tsoupelis, pastichio can instead be made with pork, lamb or even goat.

“The way we make it at Amphora, we use ground Angus beef, which is the way my father taught me how to make it,” he said, “but if there was going to be meat in my yiayia’s kitchen, it was going to be either pork or goat. We didn’t have ground beef or lamb often.”

At The Windmill Restaurant in Concord, pastichio is one of several rotating weekly specials prepared by Sofia Smirnioudis. She also has a hand in making the dish for the annual Taste of Greece festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Concord, normally held in September.

“I like to use a big [pasta] … like a ziti,” she said. “I do pasta on the bottom, then a red meat-based sauce in the middle, and creamy cheese sauce on the top.”

Gyros

Pronounced “YEE-rohs,” gyros are popular street food dishes all over Greece, consisting of meat, vegetables and tzatziki sauce wrapped or stuffed in pita. At The Gyro Spot in downtown Manchester you can order all kinds of gyros, from pork, chicken or a mix of lamb and beef, to vegetarian or vegan versions with mixed greens.

“It’s kind of like the perfect hand-held meal. It’s got everything from your carbs to your proteins and veggies, wrapped up together,” Gyro Spot owner Alex Lambroulis said. “Most gyro shops in Greece will have a counter right outside the window in the summertime.”

The meats used for all gyros at the restaurant are hand-cut and marinated before being stacked as a döner kebab, or on a vertical rotisserie. The cone-shaped stack of meat is then layered with fat on the top and sliced into thin shavings when ready to be stuffed in a gyro.

Down in Nashua, Main Street Gyro offers more than a half dozen types of gyros daily, including the traditional pork but also chicken, lamb and bifteki, or a mix of pork and beef. Those are also stuffed with meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie.

“We make all our sauces in house as well, so we have tzatziki, and also kopanisti, which has roasted red bell peppers, feta cheese, olive oil, hot pepper flakes and Tabasco, so it’s a good spicy spread,” owner Basil Tourlitis said.

The traditional pork gyro is not only one of The Gyro Spot’s biggest sellers, but it’s the most common filling you’ll find in Greece, according to Lambroulis.

“We make our own tzatziki with Greek yogurt, garlic and cucumber, and then it comes with onions, tomatoes and our hand-cut fries,” he said. “Now, you might find different regional variations on the sauces, like tzatziki, ketchup and mustard, [but] everywhere you go [in Greece], they put fries in it.”

The eatery’s chicken gyro features a spicy mayonnaise known as its signature “G sauce.” Other less traditional options at The Gyro Spot include gyros reimagined as loaded french fries or burritos with rice.

Spanakopita

Also known as “spinach pie,” this popular pastry dish features layers of spinach and feta cheese stuffed inside phyllo dough, often also with scallions or onions, Tsoupelis said. Its phyllo pastry cousins include “tiropita” — with cheese and egg — and “kreatopita” — with meat, usually beef or pork. Variations on spanakopita might include the types of cheeses or vegetables used, or even the portion sizes. Main Street Gyro, Tourlitis said, makes its own spanakopita with spinach, feta cheese, dill, salt and pepper.

“Some people use leeks, [or] some use a majority of egg and feta,” Kourtis said. “My uncle makes it fresh with phyllo dough, spinach, feta, eggs and spices, and he butters the dough, so it’s very rich and delicious. … Spinach is the most universal.”

In some Greek households, according to Tsoupelis, it can be customary to bake an entire pan of spanakopita at a time, with large square-sized servings.

“My aunt lived in a small house outside of Athens, and she’d make a big pan of it,” he said. “It was almost like having a cake at the house for when somebody would come over. It might last 15 minutes or it might last a day and a half.”

But at Amphora, Tsoupelis said he likes to roll his spanakopita into individual 3-by-3-inch triangles and cook them to order, serving them more as intimate appetizers.

Spanakopita is also available homemade year-round at Chrysanthi’s Restaurant in Brookline, manager Amanda Pelletier said, as large pieces per serving.

Moussaka

Like the pastichio, moussaka commonly has ground meat and béchamel, only it’s baked in layers of eggplant, potatoes, or sometimes zucchini instead of pasta. Also known as an eggplant- or potato-based casserole, it’s another dish that Smirnioudis will often bake as a special at The Windmill Restaurant and for Holy Trinity Church’s Taste of Greece festival. In fact, she said she’ll use the same type of béchamel sauce used in the pastichio.

It’s also a frequent special at Chrysanthi’s, especially during the colder months, Pelletier said. Their version features layers of sliced potato and roasted eggplant with seasoned ground beef.

Amphora makes it with ground Angus beef, but Tsoupelis said he’s seen it with just about any other type of meat, especially lamb, pork or goat.

Souvlaki

Souvlaki features skewered meats and occasionally vegetables that can be consumed either as side dishes or as full meals over rice or with pita bread and tzatziki.

“[An order] comes with six pieces of lamb per skewer, and you get a Greek pita, tzatziki sauce, salad and hummus with that,” Pelletier said of the souvlaki offered at Chrysanthi’s.

Tourlitis said both pork and chicken souvlaki are options as dinners or sides at Main Street Gyro. A souvlaki dinner will include two skewers of meat, served with a side salad, hand-cut fries or rice pilaf and warm pita bread.

Souvlaki Pizza & Subs in Manchester, in addition to offering marinated pork souvlaki as a dinner with salad, rice or fries, prepares souvlaki as grinders on Syrian bread or as meats for salads. Pork and chicken souvlaki are also available at Salona Bar & Grill in Manchester, according to manager Maria Kostakis.

Even though pork is more traditional, Smirnioudis of The Windmill Restaurant said chicken tends to be the more popular meat for souvlaki. When it’s served as a special, the dish features chicken cut into cubes and cooked with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Lamb shanks

Hand-cut marinated lamb is one of the biggest draws at many of the state’s Greek food festivals, whether it comes fresh off the skewer or in a gyro. At Amphora, you can get lamb shanks, or roasted leg of lamb, one of the eatery’s many Greek specialties. Each order comes with a side of lemon-oregano potatoes.

“We braise the lamb slowly until [the meat falls] off the bone, and then we … [make] a very rich sauce from all the drippings of the lamb that gives it a very nice flavor,” Tsoupelis said.

Lamb shanks are prepared similarly at Athens Restaurant in Manchester and are, according to Kourtis, a special item made at the request of customers. The meat is baked on the bone in a tomato sauce and spices, and served with a side like rice or vegetables.

At Chrysanthi’s, lamb shanks are on the menu during the fall and winter. They’re slow-roasted for 12 hours in a homemade sauce before they’re served over vegetables and rice, according to Pelletier.

Dolmathes

Featuring meat or vegetables with assorted spices, dolmathes are often sold as an a la carte item at Greek festivals, or sometimes as part of meals. They’re most commonly rolled and stuffed inside of individual grape leaves, but Tsoupelis said you might see regional variations of dolmathes that use larger cabbage leaves.

“We do them vegetarian style with the grape leaves, so they’re small. They’re the size of your hand,” he said. “We put them on our antipasto salad or on the side. It has seasoned white rice, lemon juice and mint.”

Salona Bar & Grill, according to Kostakis, offers the stuffed grape leaves with beef, while at Athens Restaurant, Kourtis said, the dolmathes can be made in both variations of leaves. You get three stuffed grape leaves and two stuffed cabbage leaves per order, from the appetizer menu, with either lemon or tomato sauce. The dolmathes are also incorporated on the eatery’s house specialties menu, coming with rice or potato or as part of a combo special with roast lamb, chicken or meatballs.

“It’s ground beef, spices, lemon and rice, and the lemon sauce is really thick. They’re very popular,” he said.

Baklava

Perhaps one of the most recognizable staples at Greek festivals and restaurants, baklava is a dessert featuring layers of phyllo dough, honey or syrup and chopped nuts, most commonly walnuts or almonds. Variations can include pistachios or hazelnuts, or a simple syrup made with sugar and water, or lemon juice, instead of honey.

Youla Winarta of Youlove Bakery, a homestead business based in Nashua, said even though the word “baklava” has roots in the Turkish language, the word “phyllo” comes from the Greek word meaning “leaf.” Indeed, baklava is often characterized by the leaf-like texture of the dough.

The phyllo dough can be either made or pre-bought at a supermarket or wholesale grocery store. Church members who make their own baklava for the festivals will use large cooking pans, because the baklava is easier to roll in larger quantities.

JajaBelle’s in Nashua doesn’t use honey in its homemade baklava, but rather a house syrup, a homemade phyllo dough and tons of butter. In addition to offering it in the case at the cafe, owner Jessica dePontbriand sells it at the Nashua Farmers Market at City Hall Plaza on Sundays.

The Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester, according to manager Eric Zink, makes its own baklava, as well as a baklava ice cream, which features a vanilla base with cinnamon, honey, walnuts and baklava pieces.

In addition to offering a traditional baklava, Winarta makes a version with hazelnuts and a chocolate drizzle, or “chocolate rolls” with walnuts, almonds, chocolate and organic milk rolled in phyllo dough. All are available to order per eight pieces, for local pickups or shipping.

Loukoumades

Many Greek festivals in the state will have special stations for loukoumades made to order. More colloquially known as “Greek donuts” or “fried dough balls,” these bite-sized morsels are deep-fried before they are often drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon, sugar, or both.

You get eight loukoumades per order at The Gyro Spot, according to Lambroulis, which are made from an old family recipe. Regional variations of the dish might include a simple syrup in lieu of honey, or with chopped walnuts as a garnish.

“It’s a very loose dough, almost like a fluffy pancake batter,” he said, “and we just drop them into the fryer and then drizzle with honey, cinnamon and sugar or give it to you on the side. … I like to soak mine in honey.”

Greek cookies
Most Greek food festivals in New Hampshire have a wide selection of desserts, and while baklava is often the star, you’ve probably seen all kinds of cookies for sale too.

If you want to try Greek cookies you’d normally see at festivals this time of year, you can order them from Youla Winarta of the Nashua-based Youlove Bakery, who bakes them to order in a fully licensed commercial kitchen. She’s not currently at any farmers markets or public events, but offers her full product line for online ordering at youlovebakery.com/shop. One of the most traditional Greek cookies — and one of Winarta’s biggest sellers — is the melomakarona, or honey cookies with walnuts. Similar to melomakarona, she said, is finikia, with slight variations on the cooking method or toppings, from nuts to dates.

“I make them … with flour, olive oil, honey and then they have a lot of good flavors like orange zest and cinnamon cloves,” Winarta said. “It’s a cookie primarily prepared during Christmastime but one that everyone enjoys throughout the year now.”

She also makes kourabiedes and koulourakia. Kourabiedes are shortbread cookies also traditionally consumed around the holidays, covered with powdered sugar and baked with flour, butter, canola oil, eggs, baking powder, baking soda and natural flavors.

Koulourakia are butter cookies shaped in a twisted design and topped with sesame seeds.

“Those are traditionally prepared during Easter,” Winarta said. “They are very good with a cup of coffee or tea. … They are not really sweet and have a good crunchy taste to them.”

All of Winarta’s cookies are available for shipping or local pickups in the Nashua area.

Big flavors for sunny days

Wines for your summer feasts

Summer is officially upon us.

Mother Nature has proven herself to be merciless as she introduced summer with our first official heat wave. Covid-19 and social distancing have limited our socializing, but as our world begins to open, small intimate backyard barbecues can once again become a reality for you, your family and close friends. We have been kept inside for so long that a simple barbecue can seem like a banquet! To that end the following wines are worthy of consideration for that great meal to be enjoyed out of doors.

Nicholson Ranch 2012 Sonoma Estate Chardonnay (originally priced at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlets at $44.99, and reduced at the Price Busters shelving to $22.99) won 86 points by Virginie Boone of Wine Enthusiast, who describes it this way: “oak, ripe pear and caramel dance to the fore of this wine’s bouquet, followed by thick, textural layers of lingering vanilla cream. The oak remains pronounced throughout the glass, giving the wine a sweetness on the finish.” I agree with this assessment, but I would add the wine has a bit of a citric note to it, with a full mouth taste of apricot, or peach. This wine is indeed very creamy; a friend described it as “buttery.” The oak combined with the “cream” allows this wine to become an excellent dessert accompaniment to summer fruit: strawberries, apricots, peaches along with soft, young cheeses. A true delight.

According to their website, Nicholson Ranch is a small family-owned winery of 40 acres located between the Sonoma and Napa valleys with panoramic views of these valleys but also Carneros, situated just north of San Pablo Bay. The cool breezes from the Mayacamas mountain range, just to the north, combined with the cooling effects of the Bay, combine for ideal conditions for pinot noir and chardonnay vineyards, the plantings of Nicholson Ranch.

Hierogram 2016 Vineyard 8 Block N Old Vine Zinfandel (Lodi) (originally priced at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlets at $45.99, and reduced at the Price Busters shelving to $22.99) got 86 points from Jim Gordon of Wine Enthusiast, who wrote, “…full bodied and quite ripe in flavor, this wine has a smoky, grilled veggie aroma followed by a mix of savory and jammy notes.” This aptly describes this wine that has an incredibly high alcoholic content of 15 percent and that is dry, yet surprisingly not “hot” from the alcohol. The wine has a deep, deep purple color; it is floral and prune-like at the same time. It has notes of blackberries and dark chocolate to the tongue, with a very pleasant and long finish. The tannins are there, but subtle. It is ideally suited to a variety of grilled foods such as ribs and hamburgers or to pairing with a red-sauced pasta. And what you do not finish over the meal, you can walk over to the fire pit with and just kick back.

The wine comes from Lodi, in California’s Central Coast, halfway between San Francisco and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is a prime example of old-vine zinfandels: 100-year-old vines, with some dating back to 1888! Lodi has warm, sunny days and cool evenings, and is home not just to zinfandel but also a vast array of other red wines. Zinfandel has an interesting history. Originating in Croatia, it made its way to southern Italy where it was named Primitivo. It came to America in the first half of the 19th century and landed in California during the Gold Rush of 1849. These ancient vines, located near Sacramento, languished during Prohibition, and today produce exceptionally concentrated and complex wines. They are a treat!

So head out to your backyard this evening to a great meal, paired with a robust red, followed by a delightful white paired to a seasonal dessert. And don’t forget to continue to savor these rich flavors, seated by a small fire in the firepit. Enjoy our all-too-short summer to its fullest.

The Weekly Dish 20/06/25

Get your Greek food fix: Join St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church (500 W. Hollis St., Nashua) for a Greek pop-up drive-through event on Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Online or call-in ordering is available now for a limited menu of fresh Greek eats, including a meatball, dolmathes and spanakopita dinner plate, as well as a la carte items like baklava, cheese or spinach tiropita, three orders of dolmathes, three meatballs or spanakopita. Call-in orders are also accepted on either day of the event (no walk-ins). A larger menu of offerings is expected to be available at St. Philip’s annual Greek food festival, which has been rescheduled to Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3. To place your online order for the pop-up event, visit nashuagreekfestival.com.

Barbecue at LaBelle: LaBelle Winery (345 Route 101, Amherst) is hosting a community barbecue and music event on Friday, July 3, from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring a live performance by Robert Allwarden and sparklers given out to families. The menu for the evening will include artisan breads with Vermont butter, seasonal garden salad with The Winemaker’s Kitchen seyval blanc vinaigrette, corn on the cob, house-made potato chips, baked macaroni and cheese, barbecue chicken breast, hot dogs for kids and strawberry shortcake for dessert. A full cash bar will also be available. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Visit labellewineryevents.com.

Manchester farm stand: Intown’s Farm Stand, a smaller version of Intown Manchester’s summer farmers market, kicks off its summer season Thursday, June 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Victory Park (intersection of Concord and Chestnut streets in Manchester). Sara Beaudry, the executive director of Intown Manchester, told the Hippo the stand will feature members of Fresh Start Farms, a program of the Manchester-based Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, selling fresh vegetables, including ethnic crops like amaranth greens and African eggplant once they are in season. The farm stand replaces the Intown Farmer’s Market for the year will continue every Thursday through August. Visit intownmanchester.com or find them on Facebook @manchesterfood.

Puritan reopens for indoor dining: The Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester reopened its dining room and bar on June 17 for same-day reservations, according to a press release. Phone lines are open beginning at 10 a.m. each day, for people to make reservations between 4 and 8 p.m. that evening. In accordance with state guidelines, the dining room is operating at 50 percent capacity only, with parties seated at tables at least six feet apart. Parties of one or two can reserve seats at the bar. Walk-ins are currently not accepted. Same-day takeout orders are available beginning at 9 a.m., with drive-through pickups from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Call 669-6890 to make a reservation for indoor dining or call 623-3182 to place a takeout order.

In the kitchen with Jessica Kliskey

After a few years of making her own broths for family and friends and studying its benefits as a certified health coach, Jessica Kliskey of Stratham decided to turn it into a business in 2017. Hugs Broth (hugsbroth.com, find her on Facebook @hugsbonebroth) offers homemade chicken bone and vegetable broths, both of which Kliskey said use local organic ingredients and are great sources for boosting your immunity and improving gut health. The chicken bone broth is made with non-GMO pastured chicken bones, carrots, celery, onions, parsley and apple cider vinegar, while the vegetarian broth also has garlic, turmeric and nori — both are versatile, for use as soup bases or for cooking with quinoa or rice. Kliskey is also working on a fish bone broth she hopes will be available soon. She first made her broths at Umami Farm Fresh Cafe in Northwood, which her son Bobby co-founded, before moving her operations to a small commercial kitchen in Chester in 2019. In the past, Hugs Broth has appeared at the Salem and Exeter Farmers Markets, but Kliskey has temporarily stopped attending due to Covid-19. However, broths are currently available in 32-ounce containers for pickup at the Chester kitchen (84 Chester St.; email Kliskey directly at info@hugsbroth.com) or online through the Community Farmer’s Allegiance (cfaeats.com).

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A large pot.

What would you have for your last meal?

It would probably be fried scallops and french fries. I love fresh seafood in any fashion.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Popovers [on the Square] in Portsmouth. I push their business a lot.

What celebrity would you like to see trying one of your products?

Keeping it local, I would say [television host] Tom Bergeron. Or [singer-songwriter] Judy Collins. Tom would be more fun, but I would learn a lot more from Judy. She’s got a lot of wisdom and I love that.

What is your favorite thing to make with one of your broths?

I love adding it into my homemade baked beans, but honestly, I also just love to warm it up and sip it.

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

Food truck food is very trendy. Everybody seems to love them.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

I love just a big breakfast with pancakes, bacon, eggs, things like that.

Summer quinoa salad
Courtesy of Jessica Kliskey of Hugs Broth (hugsbroth.com)

1 cup of quinoa per two cups mix of broth and water
Vegetables or herbs of choice (such as chopped up cucumbers, red onion, tomato or parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste, or spices of choice
Rinse, drain and cook the quinoa, using one cup per two cups of liquid broth and water. Toss in your favorite vegetables and spices, or chicken or fish as an added protein.

Irish flair

Flanagan’s Southender opens in Concord

As a kid growing up in Concord’s South End, Dave Banzhoff can remember frequenting the former Ordway’s Market across the street from his childhood home. Decades later, Banzhoff is back in his hometown as chef of a new grab-and-go and takeout eatery — housed in the very same building as Ordway’s all those years ago.

Flanagan’s Southender Deli & Market, which opened on June 18, gets its name from co-owners and brothers Ian and Tynan Flanagan, childhood friends of Banzhoff’s who were also regulars at Ordway’s. The pair recruited him to return to his old stomping grounds once they found out the property was for sale. At the time, Banzhoff was living in Florida working as a cook at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, but it didn’t take much convincing for him to return.

“My wife and I are both New Hampshire locals, and we were actually looking to come back home anyway,” he said. “I had worked at the Omni Mount Washington Resort for seven years [as a cook], and I had learned a lot there.”

For the last 11 years, the popular spot at the intersection of South Street and Iron Works Road was known as Cimo’s South End Deli. The Flanagan brothers took over the space on June 1 from former owner John Cimokoski, according to Banzhoff. Since then, the trio has spent the last several weeks remodeling and working on an all new menu.

“When it was Ordway’s it was more of a neighborhood deli and market, and over the years it’s kind of turned into a convenience store,” Banzhoff said. “So we’re moving away from that and going back to fresh, homemade food, grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, pizzas, things like that. … It’s a fresher, more modern take on the deli and market.”

Breakfast is available from 6 to 11 a.m. each day, featuring items like sandwiches, burritos, a pizza with an egg scramble and crumbled bacon, and baked goods like homemade muffins. They also carry a selection of doughnuts from Brothers Donuts of Franklin.

The lunch menu includes more than a dozen hot and cold sandwiches You can stick with a traditional option and get a chicken Parmigiana, an Italian sandwich or a steak and cheese, or you can build your own sandwich, choosing a meat (turkey, ham or roast beef), a cheese (American, Swiss, provolone or cheddar) and assorted toppings and extras. Banzhoff said two or three specials a day on sandwiches, soups and chowders will be featured.

There are also pizzas available by the slice or as whole pies, as well as some fried foods, like french fries, onion rings and chicken fingers.

Salads include larger, entree-sized options such as Caesar, Greek and caprese, and smaller, grab-and-go selections like mixed fruit salad, coleslaw, broccoli salad and macaroni salad.

“We’re going to try to do some stuff that people can take home and grill like steaks, kebabs and marinated chicken,” Banzhoff said. “We definitely also want to tap into grab-and-go entrees … where people can take something home, heat it up and feed a family of four. That’s something that we’ve never had here before.”

On the market side of the business, Banzhoff said there is a greater selection of local products than there was before, from craft beers to items like candies and maple syrup.

While Flanagan’s Southender is a takeout business, a few picnic tables have been added outside. About seven to 10 flavors of ice cream are available out of a stationary trailer on the property.

Boxed lunches, which include a sandwich, chips, a drink and a house baked cookie, can be ordered for groups of five or more.

“A big thing that we’re going to keep doing from Cimo’s is … supporting the local sports teams, so we do boxed lunches for all the middle school and high school sports teams from Bow and Concord,” Banzhoff said. “We all have strong ties to this neighborhood … and that was something that we wanted to keep doing for the community.”

Flanagan’s Southender Deli & Market
Where:
250 South St., Concord
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (hours are according to the website and are subject to change)
More info: Visit flanagansouthender.com, find them on Facebook and Instagram, or call 856-8020

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