In the Kitchen with Carmel Shea

Carmel Shea of Londonderry is the owner of O’Shea’s Caife & Tae (44 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 540-2971,, a health-focused eatery and coffee shop that opened in 2018. O’Shea’s offers fair trade coffees, teas and espresso drinks, pastries and breakfast sandwiches, and bagels with homemade butters and whipped cream cheeses. The lunch menu features sandwiches, salads, smoothies and mroe. Shea co-owned The Grind Rail Trail Cafe in Derry before opening O’Shea’s. The cafe is currently open for takeout.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

The mixer. We do a lot of whipped creams and cream cheeses with it. We just started doing a whipped coffee.

What would you have for your last meal?

Filet mignon, mashed potatoes, green beans and a nice cabernet.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

I am a huge fan of the Copper Door [in Bedford and Salem].

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from O’Shea’s?

Ellen DeGeneres. I just love her and I can totally imagine her coming in here.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

The oatmeal latte. It’s espresso with oat milk, brown sugar and cinnamon. It just has this really warm, comforting flavor.

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

People supporting local. … I think it’s been amped up even more now.

What is your favorite thing to make at home?

You can’t beat a nice batch of warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven.

O’Shea’s homemade peanut butter
Courtesy of Carmel Shea of O’Shea’s Caife & Tae in Londonderry
3 cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts
3 ounces vegetable oil
2 ounces simple syrup
Place all ingredients in a food processor on high for two minutes or until smooth.

Whisked away

New food truck debuts in Loudon

A new food truck rolled into Loudon last week, and as its name and the whisks on its logo suggest, the Whisked Away Cafe wants to “whisk” you away to a different part of the world — or to Grandma’s house — each week with an ever-changing menu of specials that includes creative takes on wraps, sandwiches, burgers, salads, kid-friendly eats and more.

Sisters Korrie Garland and Crystal Hopkins run the truck with their mother, Louise Cloutier. They began offering lunch service on June 2 at a dirt turnaround road on Route 106 in Loudon, steps away from Cascade Campground. You can now find them there every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where a few dining tables are set up out front.

Fifteen years ago the three women also operated the Bonne Femmes restaurant in downtown Pembroke, a spot that was known in town for its breakfasts, sandwiches and soups. Years after she and Hopkins both had kids of their own, Garland said, they became interested in the freedom a food truck would give them to create different recipes. They ended up finding and purchasing the truck last November.

Prior to starting a regular lunch service last week, the Whisked Away Cafe sold homemade holiday pies late last year and dinners for local delivery in the Pembroke area in March.

“We were doing the deliveries … just to kind of help out the people that didn’t want to or couldn’t leave their homes, so that picked up some steam,” Garland said.

Now, Whisked Away Cafe’s menu features a variety of sandwiches, chicken or steak fajita sandwiches, chicken or seafood salad, and grilled cheese sandwiches called “toasties,” with flavors like jalapeno chicken popper, chicken cordon bleu and Buffalo chicken. There are also breaded chicken fingers, steak fingers, hand-cut french fries and beef, pork or veggie empanadas.

Hopkins said she, her sister and her mother wanted to create a section of the menu that was fun and accessible for kids too. The children’s menu features options like homemade macaroni and cheese and a grilled peanut butter and Fluff sandwich, plus an “octodog” and a “redneck sushi,” both of which come with chips.

“[An octodog] is a hot dog that we slice up so when it cooks it curls up and it looks like a little octopus with legs,” she said. “The redneck sushi is just a slice of ham with cream cheese and a pickle in the middle, so when you roll it up and slice it, it looks like little rolls of sushi.”

Garland said they’ve had several pages of ideas for what will be on their specials menu. They began their first week by featuring a special of pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce and coleslaw on grilled ciabatta, with either fries or pasta salad as a side.

“Our idea was that we’re ‘whisking’ you away to Mexico, or to your grandma’s house, or to college with a ramen noodle dish,” she said.

For now, Garland said, the trio is sticking with the Tuesday through Thursday schedule. But eventually, she said, they may appear on additional days on the weekends, as well as at events at C-R Helicopters in Nashua, which Cloutier owns with her husband.

Whisked Away Cafe food truck
485 Route 106 South, Loudon
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More info: Find them on Facebook @whiskedawayfoodtruck

Treasure Hunt 6/11/2020

Dear Donna,
Can you possibly tell me what this is and what it was for? It is solid wood and 3.5 inches. I recently found this in a barn and thought it was interesting.

Dear Ellen,
What you found is called a bung. I have seen many in the tops of old milk cans. I think, though, that they were used also in barrels such as whiskey, bourbon, etc., tapered like yours to be pounded in to fit tight and secure and prevent leaking. You can almost make out the ring around it.

Not all bungs are wood; they can be rubber, wax, cork or, I am sure these days, a lot of other materials as well. Yours is most likely an older one and looks to be in great condition. The value is in the $10 range, as they are not that easy to find in good condition. This is not a huge financial treasure for you, but it sure will make a fun story to share.

Kiddie Pool 6/11/2020

Animal adventure

Sneak in a little learning during your walks through nature. The New Hampshire Fish and Game department have Wildlife of New Hampshire cards available on their website at The two-page color pdfs are on subjects such as “Wildlife of Young Forests,” “Backyard Wildlife of New Hampshire” and “Wildlife of Rivers and Streams” as well as cards for hawks, wild bees, frogs, dragonflies, different kinds of birds and more.

Join a circus

The Flying Gravity Circus based in Wilton will be offering an at-home program called “Circus in a Box” this summer. With two programs (one for ages 6 to 8 and one for 9 to 14) and three weeklong sessions, “Circus in a Box” delivers circus-related materials (such as a puppet stage for the younger group, juggling balls for the older group and clown noses to everybody) in a box and then offers five days of programming for kids to follow at home, according to the website. The cost is $100 and camps run the weeks of June 29, July 6 and July 13. See

Circus Smirkus, the Vermont-based youth circus that has traveled to New Hampshire in past summers, won’t be touring this summer but Smirkus fans can still get in some clowning. Circus Smirkus will present Smirk-O-Vision, an online presentation of six events. A season pass costs $90 or individual events (six are scheduled) cost $15 to $18, according to the website, which lists the shows including “Inside the Circus: Backstage at the HQ” (on Aug. 6 at 7 p.m.), which looks at how they put on the shows each year, and “Inside the Circus: Directors’ Commentary” (July 2 at 7 p.m.). The group is also offering Smirkus@Home programming on subjects including juggling, magic, clowning, contortion and more, with classes for kids as young as 5 and schedules that include one-day classes, weeklong classes or sessions with weekly classes. See

Bee prep

Netflix’s new documentary Spelling the Dream (see page 24 for a review) is all about kids (and their families) competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The movie is rated G and might be a good way to inspire kids who are “meh” about spelling but like competition, trophies and the idea of going on ESPN. And, if they catch the Bee bug (or if you are just looking for ways to get kids spelling practice), you can check out the official Scripps app Word Club. It has a paid component, of course, but it offers some free word lists that users can be quizzed on in a variety of ways. The app presents the phonetic spelling, audio of someone saying the word, definition, part of speech and other information similar to what you’d get in a bee.

Photo courtesy of

Be kind to clovers

How to have a better lawn

Let’s face it: Most of us do not have a lawn that looks like the grass on a major-league infield. And I, for one, don’t want one that does. Most professional ballfields are doctored weekly with chemicals: fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers, insecticides. They are cut very short, and look “perfect.” I want a lawn that is green but also full of diversity — clover, different kinds of grass, and (I can see some of you shuddering) even a few dandelions.
The turf grass industry decided long ago that clover is a weed. Why is that? Because the herbicides they promote to control weeds like dandelions and plantain also kill clover — but not grasses. But clover is not a weed. It is a nitrogen-fixing legume that actually adds nitrogen to the soil. It is a friend to your lawn — and your children, who delight in finding good luck with a rare four-leafed clover. Add Weed-n-Feed and the clover is gone.
So what can you do to have a better lawn when the heat of summer arrives? I talked to Paul Sachs of North Country Organics, an organic fertilizer company in Bradford, Vermont. Paul has written books about lawn care and soil biology, and really is a very knowledgeable lawn guy. He mentioned several things you can do. First among them: adjust your mower blades up high.
Sachs explained that cutting the lawn at 3 to 4 inches will help to shade the crown of the grass and keep it cooler, which is good. Hot weather stresses most grasses. Taller grass will also develop a deeper root system because the longer blades will produce more food to nurture the roots.
I don’t recommend that you bag the clippings when you mow the lawn. If you are tending your lawn organically (avoiding all chemicals), the clippings will break down, creating a thin layer of compost. Earthworms will turn that organic matter into the soil, too, like little rototillers. The chopped grass will serve to shade the soil a little, helping to reduce heat stress. The only time I collect the grass clippings is when we get a week or more of hot, rainy weather and I can’t or don’t mow. When there are big lumps of grass, it can smother the grass and turn it yellow, eventually killing it. Fresh grass clippings, added to a compost pile, will add lots of nitrogen and heat up the compost quickly, and help it to break down the carbon-based brown matter.
If you have bare spots in the lawn, now is the time to plant some grass seed. Do that as soon as you can, as the hot weather ahead will make it harder for a new lawn to establish itself. You want to get new grass established before annual crabgrass takes over. The best choice for that is a perennial rye grass, according to Paul Sachs. It germinates quickly, in five to seven days.
Start by loosening the soil in the bare spots with a short-tine garden rake. Scratch it back and forth to loosen the soil and to remove any rocks. Scatter a layer of seed, then use a lawn rake to work it into the loose soil. I turn the lawn rake upside down, so I can drag the back of the tines across the seed. This will cover most of the seed.
You can help your new planting by shaking out some straw over the area, providing a thin layer to shade the soil. It is important that the seed not dry out once it has begun to grow. So if the weather is hot and dry, check the soil every day, and water as needed.
Paul Sachs told me that if you have an irrigation system for your lawn, you can help your lawn by giving it a tenth of an inch of water every day at the heat of the day. That light watering evaporates, cooling the soil and your grass. It’s similar to what we do when we sweat to cool down. Then once a week, he said, give your lawn an inch of water for a deep watering — if we have not gotten that moisture from the sky.
Another way you can help your lawn to grow better and avoid heat stress is to add mycorrhizal fungi to your soil. These fungi work with plant roots in a symbiotic relationship — one in which both organisms benefit. According to Paul Sachs, these are best added at planting time when preparing the soil.
The mycorrhizal fungi coat plant roots and benefit from sugars produced and exuded by the roots. In turn the mycorrhizal fungi breakdown soil minerals and provide needed nutrients to the green plants in a form they can use. Not only grasses benefit from mycorrhizal fungi; most green plants do. Learn more at A number of commercial products are available to provide these beneficial organisms, and many are present without treatment.
One last thought: If we could purchase daffodils that would grow in the lawn and rebloom after mowing, we would pay big bucks for them, right? Especially if they would send out seeds and show up even where we have not planted them. But call them dandelions, and some people declare war. Me? I love those bright harbingers of spring and summer and don’t mind them in my lawn. A diverse lawn is a healthy lawn. I like to say, if it’s green and I can mow it, it’s a lawn!

The Art Roundup 6/11/2020

Virtual author events: Gibson’s Bookstore has two virtual author events coming up. On Thursday, June 11, at 6 p.m., Juliet Grames, author of The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, will join Erika Swyler, author of Light from Other Stars and The Book of Speculation. On Friday, June 12, authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows will present their new book My Calamity Jane. In this historical reimagining of 1876 America, characters from Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, including Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley and Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler, hunt werewolves. The events are free and will be streamed live via Zoom. Registration is required on the events’ respective pages at

Livestreamed classical music: The Manchester Community Music School’s Live Stream Concert series presents its final concert, “Sounds of the Oboe,” on Friday, June 12, at 7 p.m. The series features free online concerts performed by MCMS faculty members. “Sounds of the Oboe” will include oboe music performed by Kyoko Hida-Battaglia. Visit

Celebrate Juneteeth online: Humanities to Go Online presents “Juneteenth: A Historical Celebration of Black Liberation,” on Friday, June 12, at 5 p.m. The free live Zoom event will explore how Juneteenth has been celebrated in New Hampshire and why it is important now, more than ever, to continue to acknowledge and honor the holiday. Executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire JerriAnne Boggis will lead the program. Visit

Players’ opening night online: In April, the Peterborough Players announced the cancellation of their 2020 summer season. On Wednesday, June 17 (what would have been the opening night of their 87th season) the Players will post “The Players Backstage (from Home) Party,” a pre-recorded cocktail party and talkback during which Players actors, designers and others will gather on Zoom and answer pre-submitted questions from the public. The video will be posted at and accessible any time after 7:30 p.m. on the Players’ Facebook page and YouTube channel. Visit

Stay in the loop!

Get FREE weekly briefs on local food, music,

arts, and more across southern New Hampshire!