A feast from your garden

Television chef Mary Ann Esposito presents new cookbook

Chef and University of New Hampshire graduate Mary Ann Esposito isn’t just the host of the longest-running television cooking show in America — she’s also the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, each meant to tie into her series in some way. Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook!, her latest book, scheduled for a Nov. 15 release, continues that theme by focusing on the home vegetable garden, with easy-to-follow planting advice and more than 100 recipes.

Following an exclusive book launch event at The Music Hall Lounge in Portsmouth on release day, Esposito will hold signings and Q&A sessions at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter on Thursday, Nov. 17, and at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord on Friday, Nov. 18. She’s also scheduled to hold a signing at Tuscan Market in Salem on Saturday, Dec. 10 — there, she’ll be accompanied by Tuscan Brands wine director Joseph Comforti for a special wine tasting.

Esposito is the host of the PBS series Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, which debuted in 1989. Its 30th season — the first to be filmed in front of a live audience, at Tuscan Village’s Scuola Culinaria — recently wrapped up production and is currently airing.

Her 13th book overall, Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook! took Esposito about two years to write, dating back to the early months of the pandemic when Ciao Italia had to suspend production.

“I wanted it to be a dual-purpose book,” she said. “It’s not only a cookbook with all of these wonderful vegetables, but it’s also a simple primer gardening book for anybody who wants to start a garden. But you absolutely do not have to have a garden in order to use this book.”

Esposito divides the book into two sections. The first focuses on cool-weather crops of an early spring garden, such as lettuce, peas, radishes and spinach; that’s followed by a section devoted to summer garden vegetables, from tomatoes and eggplant to peppers, zucchini and others that need heat. Recipes incorporating vegetables in all kinds of traditional Italian dishes are also featured.

“The tomato is the king of the garden, so obviously I have lots of tomato recipes … including, of course, eggplant Parmesan with fresh tomatoes,” Esposito said. “There’s a wonderful recipe for my mother’s upside-down stuffed peppers … and then there’s my Nonna Galasso’s simple tomato sauce. … One of the other recipes I really like is the giardiniera, which translates to pickled vegetables. Any vegetable like carrots, green beans and broccoli will work for pickling.” Recipes, she said, cover every category from antipasti, soups and salads to garden vegetables and herbs added as ingredients in meats, fish, pastas, casseroles and even some desserts.

“I have a raspberry thyme tart using fresh thyme from the garden that’s really good,” she said. “There’s also a cake that is made with the leaves of the rose geranium plant, minced and put into the batter. There are whole leaves that line the pan first before you put the batter in, so that when you turn the cake out you’ve got this beautiful-looking cake embedded with those leaves.”

Esposito said she likes to treat each book signing and Q&A session as though she is having a conversation at someone’s kitchen table. During the Nov. 18 event at Gibson’s Bookstore, she said, her husband Guy — who is also Ciao Italia’s head gardener — will join her.

“Everything I know about vegetable gardening, I learned from him, so he’ll be coming along to probably answer some questions that I might not be able to answer,” she said.

Meet Mary Ann Esposito
Mary Ann Esposito presents Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook! Visit ciaoitalia.com.

• Thurs., Nov. 17, 7 p.m.: Water Street Bookstore, 125 Water St., Exeter (visit waterstreetbooks.com or call 778-9731)
• Fri., Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m.: Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord (visit gibsonsbookstore.com or call 224-0562)
• Sat., Dec. 10, 11 a.m.: Tuscan Market at Tuscan Village, 9 Via Toscana, Salem (event will also include a wine tasting with Tuscan Market wine director Joe Comforti; visit tuscanbrands.com or call 912-5467)

Three-squash soup with orzo
Courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito; taken from her book Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook! (makes 1 ½ quarts)

bowl of squash soup surrounded by varieties of whole squash
Photo by John W. Hession.

1 2-pound spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeded and cut in half again
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large leeks (white part only), cut in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch to ½-inch moons (about 2 cups)
2 cups large-diced zucchini
2 cups large-diced butternut squash
4 cups tomato juice
1 cup hot water
3½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
¾ cup orzo, ditalini or other small soup pasta
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, minced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the spaghetti squash quarters cut-side down in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour in about ¼ inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the squash is very soft (about 30 minutes). When it’s cool enough to handle, scoop the pulp from the shells and transfer it to a food processor or blender. Puree the squash (in batches if necessary) until smooth — there should be about 1½ cups of puree. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use (it can be prepared a day or two ahead if needed). While the squash is baking, melt the butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the leeks, cover and cook for three minutes, stirring a few times. Add the zucchini and butternut squash and stir to evenly mix the vegetables. Cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are cooked through but still retain their shape (about 12 minutes). Stir in the tomato juice, hot water, pureed squash and two teaspoons of the salt. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, stir in the remaining 1½ teaspoons of salt and the orzo, and cook until the orzo is al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain well, then stir the orzo into the soup. Stir in the basil and serve. (Note: spaghetti squash can be cooked in a microwave oven on high power for five to six minutes per pound. Be sure to pierce the rind before microwaving).

Featured photo: Mary Ann Esposito. Photo by John W. Hession..

The Weekly Dish 22/11/17

News from the local food scene

Giving thanks: Depending on when you’re reading this, there may still be time to place your takeout order (or make a dine-in reservation) for Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24. Check out our listings of restaurants and function halls across southern New Hampshire accepting reservations now for everything from special holiday dinners and specials to all-you-can-eat buffets, in addition to eateries, markets and bakeries taking orders for everything you need for your holiday feast. Some businesses are continuing to accept takeout orders for Thanksgiving as of Nov. 17, while other venues are planning special events — St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (1160 Bridge St., Manchester), for instance, will hold its third annual bake sale and live auction on Saturday, Nov. 19, featuring several homemade Greek pastries available for sale. The dine-in and takeout listings for Thanksgiving respectively begin on pages 22 and 23 of the Hippo’s Nov. 10 issue — go to issuu.com/hippopress to read and download the e-edition for free.

For the wine lover: Join the YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown (116 Goffstown Back Road) for its weekly Holiday Food & Arts Market, which kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will continue every Saturday through Dec. 17. Each event in the series features a different menu of lunch items and baked goods, along with a unique selection of themed crafts, all to benefit the Y’s Center for Older Adults. This weekend’s market will feature all kinds of wine lovers’ decor and accessories, in addition to a variety of comfort foods. See the event page on Facebook @yallardcenter for more details.

Say cheese, raise a glass: The bi-weekly Cheese & Corks tastings at Local Baskit (10 Ferry St., Suite 120A, Concord) continue on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Featuring Kristy Ammann of Dole & Bailey — formerly the owner of Butter’s Fine Food & Wine in Concord — and Ambra Kash of Crush Wine & Spirits, the series includes “a series of wine and cheese chats to prepare you for holiday entertaining or cozy winter nights,” according to the event flier. The Nov. 30 tasting will cover New Hampshire-made cheeses to be paired with wines from around the world, while the Dec. 14 event will feature sparkling wines and creamy cheeses. Admission is free. Visit localbaskit.com.

Get brewing: Tickets are available now for the fourth annual New Hampshire Craft Brew Conference & Tradeshow, to be held at the Executive Court Banquet Facility (1199 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester) on Monday, Jan. 23, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Presented by the New Hampshire Brewers Association, the event is jam-packed full of educational seminars, networking opportunities and an expansive tradeshow for all those who are passionate about joining the craft brewing industry. It’s also designed to be relevant to everyone working at breweries or in the hospitality industry, whether it’s in brewing, sales, front of the house operations, suppliers or marketing. A continental breakfast and luncheon, as well as light refreshments and a “Hoppy” Hour celebration with several local beers on tap, are available to all attendees. See nhbrewers.org to learn more.

On The Job – Diane Kolifrath

Bike tour coordinator

Diane Kolifrath is the owner of Great American Bike Tours, a bike touring company based in Raymond.

Explain your job and what it entails.

My company curates and runs incredible cycling vacations throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. I plan all of the routes and logistics for our super-fun bike tours, and with the assistance of my office manager, I arrange and coordinate all of the lodging [and] build in fun events like side trips, happy hours, dinner socials and more. During a tour, my team and I provide full rider support by cycling along with the group as tour guides. We also provide a SAG — support and gear — van, which offers fresh water and snacks to riders and holds a pretty well-stocked ‘bike shop.’

How long have you had this job?

Seven years.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I’d spent the first 20 years of my career working in IT, climbing the ladder to settle into a mid-level management role, and while I liked the work, I felt like the 24/7 demands of the industry were robbing me of a fuller, happier life. In July of 2015, I was enthralled in the delight of cycling the Petit Train du Nord bike trail in the Canadian Laurentides when I was truly struck by an aha moment; I’d had enough of the IT rat race, and I was going to create a job where I could cycle all summer and ski all winter. In September of 2015, I started my cycle touring business.

What kind of education or training did you need?

There really isn’t any formal education or training for my industry. I do rely heavily on my ability to plan and coordinate complex logistics.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Cycling clothing and team branded shirts during the day, casual duds in the evening, with branded shirts required at all group socials and events.

How has your job changed over the course of the pandemic?

Since my cycle touring company falls into the ‘travel and tourism’ industry, we were hit pretty hard by the pandemic. Like so many other businesses, we came to a grinding halt during Covid, which nearly put us out of business. But during Covid, a cycling renaissance occurred. Suddenly everyone was discovering the joy of cycling, and bike shops could not even meet the demand for those looking to buy bikes.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

Not to go into IT. The technology changes so quickly that trying to keep your skills current is nearly overwhelming.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

I wish folks knew how much unseen work goes into the development of our tours before they are added to our offerings. In addition to the logistical planning, which can take months, I go out to each destination with one or two team members, and we ride and evaluate every inch of the tour. We make copious notes of trail conditions and of cyclist facilities like restrooms, cafes and points of interest nearby that enhance the tours by serving up samples of the local color and history of the area.

What was the first job you ever had?

My first job was working as a customer service rep and junior commercial artist at Shawsheen Printing in Lawrence, Mass.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
The Stand by Stephen King
Favorite movie: Not sure.
Favorite music: Indie and coffee shop stuff
Favorite food: Italian, particularly chicken saltimbocca
Favorite thing about NH: Our gorgeous outdoors. So much diversity — lakes, rivers, ocean, mountains, valleys. I’m here for good.

Featured photo: Diane Kolifrath. Courtesy photo.

Kiddie Pool 22/11/17

Family fun for the weekend

Pancakes, hamsters & more book fun

Early childhood education author Nancy Lessard Downing will be at The Toadstool Bookshop (375 Amherst St. in Nashua; toadbooks.com, 673-1734 ) to discuss and read some of her books on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10 a.m. Downing will discuss her book series Learning Fun, which teaches parents how to introduce shapes, colors, the alphabet and basic sign language, and read her book Whitey Comes Home For Christmas, based on a true story of a Grand Pyrenees dog from New England who went on an adventure across his community.

• Fans of Lady Pancake, Sir French Toast and their nemesis turned friend Baron Von Waffle will want to check out the Mega Storytime Event featuring children’s authors Josh Funk and Kari Allen on on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 11 a.m. atGibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord; gibsonsbookstore.com, 224-0562). Funk will present his newest adventure of the refrigerator pals in The Great Caper Caper, which involves “a Las Veggies heist” according to the website. Allen will bring her latest book, Maddie and Mabel Take the Lead, the second book featuring the adventures of “best sisters” Maddie and Mabel.

• The Bookery (844 Elm St., Manchester) is hosting a rodent-themed storytime and craft on Saturday, Nov. 19, starting at 11:30 a.m. featuring the book Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates, a book by Cheryl B. Klein about two hamsters with very different personalities crammed into one cage together. After the story, kids will learn to make their own paper hamsters. The event is free, but Bookery requests people sign up for the event via Eventbrite (see the website for a link).

Turkey season

• Join the Merrimack Parks and Recreation department on Saturday, Nov. 19, for the 6th annual turkey scavenger hunt atWasserman Park (116 Naticook Road) at 10 a.m. Turkey cutouts will be hidden throughout Merrimack and clues will be provided at the start of the hunt. The first three participants who find the most cutouts and unscramble the puzzle on them will win a 17-pound turkey. Registration is free and can be completed at merrimackparksandrec.org.

• The Manchester City Library (405 Pine St. in Manchester; manchester.lib.nh.us) is hosting a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Family Party on Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. The drop-in event will have a Peanuts-themed trivia game, as well as activities, snacks and crafts based around the animated film. The trivia game will be at 4:15 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m. This event does not require registration.

Museum fun

• The Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road in Londonderry; aviationmuseumofnh.org, 669-4820) is hosting a limited time exhibit featuring the creations of model maker Dick Zoerb from Nashua. The exhibit, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 27, has several different aircrafts, world-famous monuments and more all made to scale by Zoerb. Admission cost $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, seniors, veterans and active military, and children under age 6 are free. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

• Join the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St. in Dover; childrens-museum.org) on Wednesday, Nov. 23, for a special turkey tie-dye craft from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and 2:30 to 3 p.m. as part of the Wacky Art Wednesday events. The craft is included with admission to the museum. Admission costs $12.50 for adults and children older than one year old, $10.50 for adults ages 65 and older. Admission is free for children under a year old and for members. Visit childrens-museum.org to purchase tickets in advance.

Get outdoors!

• The New Hampshire Audubon’s Massabesic Center (26 Audubon Way in Auburn; 668-2045, nhaudubon.org) will hold a birding walk Saturday, Nov. 19, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. The informal birding walk explores the trails with local birder Joe Mahoney, according to the website, and all ages and skill levels of birders are welcome. Registration (which is required in advance) costs $10.

• On Monday, Nov. 21, Beaver Brook Association (117 Ridge Road in Hollis; beaverbrook.org, 465-7787) will hold a free Forest Tales hour of outside storytime with kids (and their adults, but not their pets) at 10 a.m. No registration is required for the event, which meets at Maple Hill Farm, according to the website. Lindsay Shaklee, a Beaver Brook educator and master storyteller, will spin the yarns.

If you can’t make it to Monday’s event but want to check out the trails and nature of Beaver Brook, check out the “Trail Maps and Guides” section of their website for a look at the different trails including accessible trails.

Treasure Hunt 22/11/17

Hi there, Donna.

My name is Jessica, and I happened to catch your section in the Hippo.

My father-in-law, who is in his mid 70s, gave me some of these treasures. From what I understand, some belonged to his mother, grandmother, along with his great-grandmother.

Some of the cases alone are fantastic.

I’m not sure if these things are of any monetary value, but they are treasures, no matter. I hope you enjoy looking at them and I would be interested in any input or feedback you may have on them.


Dear Jess,

Nice lot of Victorian jewelry. Your father-in-law passed you some nice family pieces.

Jess, most of the items in the photos you sent are not gold (the pins, earrings and watch fob). The two rings in the jeweler’s boxes I would say are either 10kt or 14kt. They would be marked inside the bands.

Even though the pins would be gold filled (gold over metal) they still have value for being from the Victorian era (mid to late 1800s). They also look to be in good condition and that helps for values.

The Puss in Boots watch fob (holder) is also gold filled.

Jess, as far as values go, I would think all the pins are in the $40+ range each. Earring set $25. Two gold rings would depend on stones and gold level. So you should bring them to a jeweler to get an accurate value.

The watch fob would be in the $70 range.

I hope this was helpful, Jess, and thanks for sharing your treasures.

Note: Even the Victorian jewelry store boxes have value to jewelry collectors as well.

Consider bringing some nature inside this winter

How to make a wildlife terrarium from your backyard

When I was in the third or fourth grade, way back in the 1950s, I decided I wanted to grow something indoors in the winter months. My mom grew African violets, but I had little interest in them. I wanted to bring inside some wild plants that I could tend and watch grow. So, with help from my mom, I built a terrarium. It was a huge success.

My terrarium was simple: I used a wide-mouth one-gallon jar lying on its side to contain mosses and other small plants I found in our woods. I delighted in seeing moisture build up on the top of the jar, which was shut with a lid, and “rain” on my plants.

I decided recently to see if I could re-create my terrarium and perhaps even improve on it. I found an old gallon jar for the purpose, but also found something easier to work with, given that my hands are so much larger now. Gardener’s Supply (gardeners.com) sells something they call a “Deep Root Seed Starting System.” It consists of a heavy-duty base tray roughly 15 by 9 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep. It comes with an 8-inch-tall heavy-duty clear plastic cover. An old aquarium fitted with an improvised cover could be even better — bigger and deeper.

I went out to my nearby woods to gather the plants. But first I went to a little stream with a large tin can and scooped up small pebbles and rough sand. I got enough to put an inch or so of it in the bottom of my terrarium. This is to catch water and keep the soil well-drained.

I put the gravel in the base tray, and then covered it with a piece of screen I cut from an old window screen. The screen helps to keep soil from washing down into the gravel and wicking water up to the root zone of my plants. Most plants do not want soggy soil.

On top of the gravel I put down good soil I collected in the forest where I found my plants. Forest soil is full of fine roots, so digging up some soil requires a good tool. I used my CobraHead Weeder, which has a single tine that digs through roots easily, loosening the soil to allow me to harvest soil and plants. I put about 2 inches of rich, dark soil on top of the gravel, mounding it so it is deepest in the middle and slopes toward the sides.

I brought a long, low basket to bring home plants collected in the woods. First I got some mosses as they are great in a terrarium. They require little and transplant easily. You can literally just pick them up off the ground. I collected sphagnum moss, which seems to grow everywhere in the woods, often on dead logs. Another moss, one that grows in a tidy, tight pincushion shape, was also easy to collect, though I haven’t learned its name yet.

I noticed foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia) growing here and there in the woods, and collected a small plant and installed it in my terrarium. It has maple leaf-shaped leaves and lovely flowers that come in spring on pointed spikes. It will be fun to see if mine will bloom “in captivity” or not. It is commonly propagated and sold in plant nurseries.

Ferns are lovely but most are too large to go in a terrarium. But I did find one small fern to include, as yet unnamed. Most ferns have yellowed and died back by now but this one had not, so I assume it will stay green all winter.

Although not common in most woodlands I walk through, I saw plenty of wintergreen (Gaultheria spp.) and brought plants home for the terrarium. It is a low groundcover that has red berries that persist all fall and winter, as apparently birds are not fond of them. Its roots run, so it can spread quickly in moist, rich, acidic locations.

Lastly, I collected ground pine — which is not a pine at all but is common in the woods. It is a club moss with the scientific name Lycopodium dendroideum. Like ferns, club mosses reproduce by spores, not seeds. Its roots run long distances and can be a nice addition to a woodland garden. It is evergreen and has even been used in wreaths in the past.

When collecting plants for a terrarium it is important to harvest responsibly. Never harvest all the plants in a clump, and do not collect plants unless you see them commonly. If you are not on your own land, ask permission from the landowner before collecting anything.

Try to get as much root with a plant or small clump of plants as possible. I went around each plant with my CobraHead Weeder, loosening the soil enough so that I could get my fingers under it. Then I tried to determine what kind of roots a plant had, and follow each one out, loosening it before lifting the plant.

If you have city water with fluoride or any other added chemicals, do not water your plants with it. Instead, catch rain water or melt snow. Because a terrarium is a closed environment, you will not need to add water often.

My plants should look good all winter. They do not need bright sunlight as they do fine in shade in the wild, but a little morning or late afternoon sun will be good. It will be fun to see what they do as the winter progresses.

Featured photo: An inch or more of gravel should be at the bottom of the terrarium. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

The Art Roundup 22/11/17

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

Friends in art: Artists Denise Green and Terri St. Laurent will present a two-woman show at the Upton Chandler House Museum (10 W. Main St. in Warner) this weekend, Friday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 20, called “50 Years of Friendship and Art, according to a press release. St. Laurent specializes in photography, watercolors and acrylics and Green works in watercolors and will also show pieces with pastels and acrylics, the release said. The show will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. See warnerhistorical.org.

Early Nutcracker: Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater presents its annual production of The NutcrackerFriday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-8855). Shows are Friday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19, at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, at noon and 4:30 p.m. Tickets cost $46 for adults, $25 for kids ages 6 to 12 and $30 for seniors and veterans.

Fra-gee-lay: The curtain rises on the Seacoast Repertory Theatre’s production of the comedy musical A Christmas Story — The Musical this Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rep’s theater, 125 Bow St. in Portsmouth (seacoastrep.org). The show runs this weekend at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19; 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 and Sunday, Nov. 20, and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. The show will run through Friday, Dec. 23. Tickets cost $27 through $54 (plus fees).

In the arts at Saint Anselm: The Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center at Saint Anselm College (100 Saint Anselm Drive in Manchester; anselm.edu/arts/chapel-art-center) will host a lecture by Naomi H. Slipp called “Re/Framing the View: Environmental Allusions in 19-Century American Landscape Painting,on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the center will open a new exhibit “Dilecta: Reflecting on a Permanent Collection, Part II: Origins and Flourishes. The exhibit will be on display through Feb. 10. The gallery is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On stage at Saint Anselm: The Anselmian Abbey Players will present The Diviners, a play set in 1930s Indiana about a boy with the power of divining (finding water), Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. at the Dana Center (100 Saint Anselm Drive in Manchester; tickets.anselm.edu). Tickets cost $14.

Next weekend, the Methuen Ballet Ensemble will present The Nutcracker at the Dana Center on Saturday, Nov. 26, at noon and 4 p.m. Tickets cost $35.

Extra helping of spookiness: The Hillsborough Community Center will present The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, an all-ages-appropriate take on the Washington Irving classic, Friday, Nov. 18, through Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Hillsboro-Deering Middle School (6 Hillcat Drive in Hillsborough). Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 15 and under. See hccnh.org/play for tickets.

Add art to your soup: If the cooler weather has you making more slurpable meals, check out the League of NH Craftsmen Meredith Fine Craft Gallery (279 DW Highway in Meredith; 279-7920; nhcrafts.org/meredith), where this month the show is “Soups On!” The exhibit features handmade soup bowls in all shapes and sizes made by several artists, with proceeds from the sale of the bowls going to the Belknap House in Laconia, according to a press release. The show will run through the end of November and the gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Add some music to your holiday events: The NH Philharmonic is promoting its members, working as solo musicians or as ensembles, for events during the holidays and yearound. Find pricing and other info at nhphil.org/phil-for-hire.

Craft fairs

Get in some fairs before Thanksgiving. Send information about upcoming craft fairs to adiaz@hippopress.com.

St. Patrick Church (34 Amherst St. in Milford) will hold a craft fair Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to handmade crafts, the event will include a penny sale, raffles, a bake sale and food concessions, according to an email.

Lil Iguana (liliguanausa.org/craft-fair/) will hold its annual craft fair at Nashua High School North (8 Titan Way) on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free and the event features more than 100 crafters, vendors and area businesses as well as raffles, according to the website.

Thorton’s Ferry School (134 Camp Sargent Road in Merrimack; 889-1577) will hold its annual holiday craft fair with more than 80 crafters and vendors on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a raffle room and silent auction, concession cafe, bake sale, photos with Santa and a St. Joseph Hospital Elf Clinic, according to pttf-events.com.

Deerfield’s Holiday Craft Fair will take place Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Deerfield Community Church (15 Church St.) and feature more than 25 crafters and vendors as well as gift basket raffles, a snack bar and a white elephant room, according to an email.

• Trinity Episcopal Church (200 High St. in Hampton; 926-5688, trinityhampton.org) will hold its Holly Berry Fair today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m

• The First Parish Church (47 E. Derry Road in Derry; 434-0628) will hold its annual Sugar Plum Fair Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to crafters, find raffle baskets, a cookie walk and pecan and cinnamon rolls for sale, according to fpc-ucc.org

• The 43rd annual Bow PTO Craft Fair will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bow High School (55 Falcon Way). Admission costs $2.

The Portsmouth Holiday Arts Tour will take place at seven Portsmouth studios featuring 15 artists on Saturday, Nov. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Find the map at portsmouthartstour.com. The works will include paper, clay, glass, metal, jewelry, painting and more, according to a press release.

Thanksgiving Showdown




What makes up the perfect Thanksgiving feast? Is it traditional roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gelatinous canned cranberry sauce? But what if you don’t like turkey (or don’t eat meat altogether)? Pumpkin pie is delicious (agrees not everybody) but are there more crowd-pleasing options?

We asked local livestock farmers, butchers, restaurateurs, chefs and bakers to debate some of the key components of the standard Thanksgiving feast and provide tips and recipes into their idea of the best Thanksgiving dishes.

The main event

Turkey or non-turkey — what’s your pleasure?

By Matt Ingersoll


Turkey is the pièce de résistance of the Thanksgiving feast for many — after all, there are so many different ways to prepare the bird, from the traditional method of oven-roasting to simple grilling, spatchcocking, smoking and even deep-frying. The type of turkey you are using, whether it’s a broad-breasted bird or a heritage breed, also plays into how you prepare it.

Karina Allayne of Greetwist Acres in New Boston usually fills orders for both types of turkey. She said broad-breasted turkeys are more likely what you’ll find at the grocery store or major commercial outlet, and are bred to produce much larger breasts — thus, a bird with more meat.

“Broad-breasted [turkeys] are very popular because they clean up really nice … [and] the skin is all white and pretty-looking,” Allayne said. “So, a person might say, ‘You know what, I love broad-breasted because we get a lot of meat on it,’ and that’s what they’re into. … The heritage breeds, those are more closely related to the wild ancestors. There’s not as much meat, [but] a lot of people also feel that heritage … has more flavor, which I agree. Also, there may be an issue in terms of [people saying] ‘Do I want to eat a bird that was only being produced to get fat and die within a year or two’s time,’ because broad-breasted do not usually live past the age of 2.”

When it comes to cooking turkey, Allayne said she now prefers to throw hers on the grill for Thanksgiving after previously preparing it in her home kitchen oven.

“We popped it in the grill one year and it was the best-tasting turkey I’ve ever had, and so from that point on I always grill my turkey,” she said. “[We] cook it somewhere between 350 and 400 [degrees] and then basically it just becomes its own little oven outside.”

Shelley Morley of Mt. Dearborn Farm in Weare similarly likes to grill her turkey, noting that it saves precious oven space in her kitchen for any accompanying side dishes. Last Thanksgiving, she decided to try spatchcocking her turkey, which proved to be, as she said, a “game changer.”

“[Spatchcocking is] when you remove the spine and then flatten the bird, so it cooks more evenly,” she said. “I didn’t even know about spatchcocking until two or three years ago and, of course, with Thanksgiving you always want everything to be perfect. … So last year, there were only five of us, and so I said, ‘Why don’t I try something different,’ when the stakes weren’t as high. I’m going to do it again this year because it just came out so well.”

Non-turkey meat alternatives

cooked chicken cut up on red dinner platter on dinner table
Thanksgiving chicken. Photo courtesy of Karina Allayne of Greentwist Acres in New Boston.

What if you don’t like turkey, or you simply just don’t have the sizable crowd coming over this year to help you finish such a large bird? Both Allayne and Morley will often find themselves selling chickens to customers for Thanksgiving, and Allayne even also sells duck.

“It might just be two people that are getting together, and it’s really hard to find a turkey that is small enough for two people,” Allayne said, “so they’ll order maybe a large roasting chicken. … I do actually sell quite a bit of duck, too, because people want something small, but special.”

As duck meat tends to be fattier, Allayne said it ought to be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. Duck fat can also be rendered for use in cooking potatoes, she added.

Rob Darling of Concord Beef & Seafood, a premium butcher and fish market on South Main Street, said that while they do regularly sell farm-fresh turkeys around Thanksgiving, he does also end up selling a small amount of spiral-cut hams, as well as prime rib or tenderloin roasts.

“I mean, a roast is a 45-minute to an hour cook, so it’s a lot more manageable [than a turkey],” Darling said. “Beef also has a lot more flavor than turkey, in my opinion, whereas I feel like turkey is pretty much the tradition for Thanksgiving, which is why people have it.”

If you’re cooking a roast, Darling recommends using a meat thermometer to ensure it comes out perfect. For beef specifically, he likes to season with rosemary and garlic powder, in addition to some salt and pepper, to allow the flavor to come through in the meat.

“Beef is actually a lot easier to cook than, say, a pork roast, or even turkey, just because it’s not as lean,” he said. “If you’re cooking something so lean and you overcook it, it’s going to be dry.”

As the shop also does tailor most of its focus to appetizers, Darling said Thanksgiving is also one of the more popular holidays for items like shrimp cocktail, bacon-wrapped scallops and bacon-wrapped tenderloin bites, in addition to some cheeses and meats for platters.

“I think people are just looking for something they can put out and not have to think about. They know it’s going to be good and that people are going to like it,” he said.

Even fresh fish is a viable main course option for some. Elisha Ewing of Liberty Fish, a Peterborough-based business delivering fresh seafood to farm stands and farmers markets in parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, said Thanksgiving is a very busy time for her.

She said salmon in particular, as well as haddock, cod and halibut, is among the more popular alternatives to the main turkey dish. Her scallops also prove to be a highly requested appetizer.

“I do think that the majority of my customers probably have turkey as at least one of their main dishes, but I will get orders … from people who are looking for an alternative protein, and so they’ll reach out and order fish,” Ewing said. “I also have folks that will say, ‘Hey, I’ve got friends or family that are going to extend their visit, and I’m really just needing to stock up to do meal prep for the extended holiday weekend.’ … I think some people are basically just maxed out on turkey come Saturday, and they want something else.”

Working with an importer and exporter down in Boston, Ewing always obtains her fish fresh — never frozen. Locally, you can find Liberty Fish at Trombly Gardens in Milford, where Ewing makes weekly deliveries every Wednesday and where pickups are from 2 to 6 p.m. Visit libertyfish.net to join Ewing’s weekly email notification group and order your fresh catch.

A vegan Thanksgiving

Of course, if you simply just don’t eat meat, then you’re likely in store for a whole different kind of main course Thanksgiving option. But, as local vegan and plant-based chefs suggest, that doesn’t mean your holiday feast has to be any less delicious.

takeout containers filled with roasted vegetables
Celery root roast. Photo courtesy of Madeline Rossi of The Green Beautiful vegan cafe in Manchester.

Madeline Rossi and Olivia Lenox of The Green Beautiful vegan cafe in Manchester recently hosted their second annual “gentle Thanksgiving” dinner, a plant-based feast and fundraiser for the New Hampshire Animal Rights League. The couple, who also run New Roots Meals — a plant-based meal prep company — has dabbled in all kinds of unique options over the last few years. Some can even work as “mock turkey” alternatives with similar palates to that of a bird.

“In terms of more of a mock turkey, we’ve done a thing in the past called celeriac. It’s basically just the root of a celery plant,” Rossi said. “They get big and round, and it’s very cool because I’ve done it where it’s sort of in a similar thing that you cook a turkey in, kind of like a stock, and I put it in the oven … and baste it every 30 minutes like you would with a turkey. … It comes out really well and slices really easily. The texture is pretty meaty, but also soft.”

She said the celery root is fairly easy to find — they can be found in most local grocery stores and specialty markets, as she noted that it’s in season during the cooler months.

“The thing is, if you don’t know what it is, you would just walk right past it in the grocery store,” she said. “It’s huge and gnarly and doesn’t look edible, but it very much is.”

Carrie Burt of Joyfull Eats, a plant-based meal company based at Deep Meadow Variety in Exeter, has made a lentil loaf, as well as a chickpea-based “chick-un” loaf that’s also meant to mimic the flavor profiles of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Both options, she said, are available to pre-order on her website (joyfulleatsnh.com) through Sunday, Nov. 20.

Other great options, Rossi said, include a white lasagna that’s made with tofu and vegan cheese.

“I feel like doing a white lasagna instead of [with] a red sauce kind of pairs even better with the flavors of Thanksgiving, like stuffing and gravy and green beans and all that stuff,” she said.

“Chick-un” loaf (vegan chickpea-based loaf)
Courtesy of Carrie Burt of Joyfull Eats in Exeter

1 cup onions, diced
½ cup celery, diced
½ cup carrots, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped up
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
½ cup to 1 cup gluten-free oats
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (can substitute for tamari or coconut aminos)
1 Tablespoon sunflower butter
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal (mixed with 2 Tablespoons water)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic with an oil or broth, until the onions are translucent. Add the chopped cranberries to the pan, mix and let rest. Using a food processor, pulse the beans and oats until crumbly. Add in the rest of the ingredients, including the sauteed mixture, and pulse until fully combined. If needed, add in some extra broth or water if the mixture is too dry — the texture should be a little sticky and it should hold together. Place into a greased loaf pan (or form a loaf on a sheet pan), cover with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. If you’d like to glaze it, remove the foil after 20 minutes and cover with ketchup or barbecue sauce, then cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Let the loaf partly cool before serving.

Celery root roast
Courtesy of Madeline Rossi of The Green Beautiful vegan cafe in Manchester

1 celery root, cleaned
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
8 garlic cloves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cups vegetable broth
Olive oil

For the spice rub:
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon thyme
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rinse all the dirt off the celery root and clean with the rough side of a sponge. Use a fork to perforate the root, making tiny holes all over to ensure the basting liquid can fully seep in while roasting. Fill the bottom of a deep pan with the chopped vegetables and the vegetable broth. Pour the olive oil all over the celery root, enough to coat, and rub with the spice blend. Place in the pan in the oven for three to four hours, or until cooked through. Baste with the vegetable broth every 30 minutes while the celery root roasts for a deeper flavor. Once fully cooked, slice the celery root into ¼-inch rounds and serve with your favorite sides.

Spatchcocked turkey. Photo courtesy of Shelley Morley of Mt. Dearborn Farm in Weare.

How to spatchcock a turkey
Instructions provided by Shelley Morley of Mt. Dearborn Farm in Weare

• Using kitchen shears, cut from the tailbone along both sides of the turkey’s spine to remove the backbone. (You can use the backbone to make gravy just as you would the neck and giblets.)
• Open up the turkey by pulling it apart where the backbone was removed.
• Turn the turkey over so that the breast is facing up and press down hard on the breast until you hear a crack or two and the turkey can lay flat.
• Place the turkey on a rack on top of a rimmed cooking sheet or broiler pan to catch the juices. You can place some chopped onions, carrots and celery into the pan to help keep the oven moist. They will also add some nice flavor to your gravy.
• Pat dry the skin to encourage extra crispiness. You can also rub the skin with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with sea salt, or season the turkey however you want.
• A 12- to -14-pound turkey roasted at 450 degrees cooks in about 90 minutes — or about seven minutes per pound.
• After the leg meat reaches a temperature of 165 degrees and the breast around 150 degrees, take the turkey out of the oven or off the grill, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Letting the meat rest allows the juices to settle into the meat. This time can also be spent making your gravy and doing any other last-minute meal preparations.

Getting saucy

Jarred cranberry sauce goes toe to toe against homemade

By Katelyn Sahagian


From gelatinous cylinders that hold their shape after slicing to relishes filled with citrus and spices, cranberry sauce can come in a wide variety.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce served in a bowl on festive background

For Kristen Chinosi of The Culinary Playground in Derry, the only option is homemade cranberry sauce.

“I’m homemade all the way,” Chinosi said. “You’re limited with the canned stuff.”

Chinosi said she loves that there’s a personalization that happens with homemade cranberry sauce. She said that there’s a magic behind being able to add different spices and citrus flavors, to personalize the sauce. Even having control over something as simple as the texture of the sauce can make all the difference.

Chinosi did admit that there is a nostalgic factor associated with the easy, can-shaped cranberry sauce. But in the end, there’s no comparison between that and the homemade — and personally customized — version of the condiment.

“It’s fun to see [the berries] pop open. … They do these little explosions,” Chinosi said. “Just cook them down with sugar and orange juice, then slowly add some warm spices, like cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger. It’ll smell like fall.”

While Amy LaBelle, owner and winemaker of LaBelle Winery, said she loves a good homemade cranberry sauce, she hopes people will think of her jarred cranberry jam as a viable alternative to people who don’t want to worry about cooking the jellied condiment.

“It’s a lot easier,” LaBelle said. “Just put it in a bowl and let it set up. But it’s still delicious because we still write the recipe.”

The jam, which is a homemade recipe featuring some of LaBelle’s cranberry wine and fresh spices, has many different uses besides as a side dish on the table. LaBelle’s favorite ways to enjoy it are either in a cranberry old-fashioned, with orange bitters and high-quality bourbon, or as the spread for a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich.

While LaBelle noted that her own sauce wouldn’t need any doctoring to get the spiced, sweet and savory flavor that tastes like fall, she also said that there are a number of good ways to spruce up any jarred or canned sauce.

“If you’re going to buy a can of whole cranberry sauce, you can absolutely take that and add to it some orange zest, orange juices and … definitely add just a tiny bit of clove, some nutmeg [and] cinnamon,” LaBelle said. “But that orange juice and orange zest are really going to be your best way to perk that up. Those, and my cranberry wine, of course.”

Cranberry Jam Bourbon Smash
Courtesy of LaBelle Winery in Amherst and Derry, labellewinery.com

3 ounces good quality bourbon
1½ ounces fresh orange juice
½ ounce cranberry juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon The Winemaker’s Kitchen cranberry wine jam
Dash of blood orange bitters

Place all ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake for 30 seconds. Pour with ice into a highball glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.

“Your” Cranberry Sauce
Courtesy of The Culinary Playground in Derry, culinary-playground.com (yields about two cups)

1 teaspoon orange zest
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from 1 large orange)
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, divided
½ cup water
¾ to 1 cup packed brown sugar

Optional add-ins:
Up to ½ teaspoon cinnamon and/or allspice
Up to ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger and/or cloves
Up to ½ cup toasted pecans and/or walnuts, chopped
Up to ½ cup dried apricots and/or dates, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple and/or D’Anjou pear, peeled, cored and chopped

Zest the orange to yield 1 teaspoon, then set aside. Cut the orange in half and juice it to yield ½ cup. Measure out ½ cup of cranberries and set aside. Add the remaining cranberries into a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add the water, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir occasionally as the mixture comes to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to medium-low. While stirring occasionally, continue to cook until the liquid has reduced and the cranberries have burst and thickened (about 10 more minutes). Decrease the heat to low and stir in ½ cup reserved cranberries and orange zest. Taste and add additional brown sugar if it’s too tart. Remove from the heat. If customizing your sauce, stir in those ingredients as well (except for any nuts). Transfer to a serving bowl and allow to cool and thicken. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours, or up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving. If using nuts, stir them in before serving.

Potato vs. potato

Traditional mashed takes on sweet potato

By Angie Sykeny


Mashed potatoes: the flavor conveyor

Everyone has their preferred Thanksgiving side dishes, but for Brandon Rainer, co-owner of The Potato Concept in Derry, there’s one dish that should make it onto every plate.

“Mashed potatoes. One hundred percent,” he said. “That’s the ultimate side dish. Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without it.”

Homemade Organic Mashed Potatoes with Gravy for Thanksgiving

And the simpler they are, the better; Rainer’s high praise for mashed potatoes, he said, comes from the dish’s unique ability to act as a “vessel” for the medley of flavors on your plate.

“You can take your fork, take a little bit of turkey, take a little bit of cranberry sauce, and take it in with your mashed potatoes,” said The Potato Concept co-owner Lauren Lefebvre. “You’re able to play with different textures and flavors on your plate and make different combinations, which is fun.”

Mashed potatoes can also serve as a “holder” on your plate for whatever you want to combine with the potatoes — and for the foods that you want to keep contained from the rest.

“My kids like to make what they call a ‘gravy pond,’ where they make a little space in their potatoes to hold their gravy,” Lefebvre said.

Be sure to leave a bite or two of mashed potatoes for last to soak up all the remnants of Thanksgiving goodness.

“It’s the perfect way to clear your plate,” Rainer said.

Preparation tips

The first and most important step for making good mashed potatoes, Rainer said, is to use real potatoes, never boxed.

“That’s the biggest way where you can go wrong,” he said. “You have to have the real thing. Nothing else will substitute for it.”

If you’re boiling your potatoes, patience is key. Plan the rest of the meal so that you have a burner reserved for potatoes to give them the time that they need to cook thoroughly.

“A lot of times, people have a lot of different things they need to cook, and they get impatient and take the potatoes off as soon as they can slightly put a fork through them,” Lefebvre said, “but once they go to mash them, they find that the potatoes are still very much hard in the center.”

Mash as you might, there will still be chunky bits, so those few extra minutes on the stove are always worth it.

“They’re supposed to be creamy. Nobody likes to have to chew on their mashed potatoes,” Lefebvre said. “That can throw off the dish completely.”

Sweet potatoes: a dessert before dessert

Sweet potatoes are the better option if you’re looking to add a bit of variety to the traditional Thanksgiving lineup.

“Thanksgiving has a lot of savory items and a lot of salts, but there’s not a lot of sweet things you can add, aside from maybe cranberry sauce,” Lefebvre said, “but sweet potatoes bring that bit of sugar to diversify the flavor profiles on the table.”

You can bake sweet potatoes and serve them whole, bake them into sweet potato fries, or, for a custard-like treat, you can mash them.

“That by itself would be pretty indulgent,” Lefebvre said, “but, of course, you can always get fancier with it.”

Amp up the sweetness with toppings like brown sugar or marshmallows, or, if you want some additional flavor without the additional sugar, try spices, like cinnamon or nutmeg.

“It adds a bit more to the flavor profile of the sweet potato,” Lefebvre said.

Preparation tips

Sweet potatoes tend to be softer than the russet potatoes typically used for mashed potatoes, which means less prep time. The downside is their potential to get messy.

“If you’re baking them, and they start to pop and explode and leak everywhere, that [juice] will caramelize and burn quickly and create a mess in your oven and make for a kitchen nightmare,” Rainer said.

To prevent, or at least minimize, such a mess, simply poke some holes in the potatoes with a fork before putting them in the oven.

“Some people say you shouldn’t poke the potatoes, but after experimenting with many, many, many potatoes this year, we’ve found that, with sweet potatoes, the poking is necessary,” Rainer said.

Ginger sweet potato
Batch of five
Courtesy of The Potato Concept

5 sweet potatoes
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
15 gingersnap cookies
¼ cup maple syrup
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon salt

Get good quality sweet potatoes — ones between 1/2 and 3/4 pound work best. Stay away from ones where the skins and the ends of the potato aren’t fully intact. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While it’s coming to temp, poke each potato a few times with a fork. Put them directly on the oven’s wire rack. Make sure there’s a pan underneath to catch the drippings, which may start to leak out toward the end of the cooking process. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Take the potatoes out of the oven using tongs and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Set your oven to broil.
While they’re cooling, cut 1/2 cup of butter into smaller pieces and put them in a mixing bowl. Add a cup of brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Once the sweet potatoes have cooled slightly, slice them lengthwise and carefully scoop out the insides while doing your best to keep the skin intact. Add it to the mixing bowl. It should still be hot enough to easily melt the butter. Use a fork to hand blend the ingredients. Scoop the mixture back into the sweet potato skin.
Place the mini marshmallows on top of the potato and put them back in the oven on a sheet pan on the top rack. Keep a close eye on them as you’re just looking to brown the marshmallows, and it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. Once browned, remove from the oven.
Take 10 of your favorite variety of silver dollar sized gingersnap cookies and smash them into crumbs using a food processor or a hammer. Top the potatoes with the crumbs and save five cookies to put directly into the potato whole, as pictured. Then, take a teaspoon of maple syrup and drizzle on top.

Any way you slice it

Apple versus pumpkin — which pie takes the cake?

By Mya Blanchard


On the question of apple pie versus pumpkin pie, Christiana Lehman, owner of From Gracie’s Table in Brookline, is 100 percent Team Apple Pie.

3 small pies with brown sugar dusted crust on table
Courtesy of From Gracie’s Table.

“Pumpkin is gross,” Lehman said. “I make it because I know people eat it, but I do not even know what my own pumpkin pie tastes like because I do not like pumpkin pie.”

Local food blogger and chef instructor Liz Barbour, of The Creative Feast in Hollis, also picks apple.

“I personally like an apple pie better. … I like the texture of the apples, the different flavors of the apples and it’s a family favorite at our house,” she said.

On the other hand, Lisa Lucciano of The Cake Fairy in Hooksett doesn’t have such strong feelings.

“Personally I don’t [have a preference]” she said. “I like them both. … I probably would always choose pumpkin pie because it’s only made usually at Thanksgiving and Christmas … if I was only able to eat one I would eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.”

While pumpkin pie might not take the cake as the fan favorite, it’s generally easier to make than apple pie, as it requires fewer steps and less preparation.

“[Apple pie] does require more effort because you have to peel them, then you have to mix the stuff [in] the apples, then you put it in the crust and fix the crust and decorate the crust,” Lehman said. “But with pumpkin … you open a can, you mix in the spices … and you put it in the crust.”

Barbour simplifies the apple pie making process by skipping the step of peeling the apples.

“[With] a properly baked apple pie, the way you can tell if it’s baked enough … is when you look at your pie at the end of the baking, the filling should be bubbling up through the vent holes,” Barbour said, “and that way you know that the skins have broken down [and] the apples are softened.”

When choosing which apples to include in your pie, variety is the key.

“You’re going to be looking for apples … that are sweet, apples that are tart [and] apples that add texture,” Barbour said. “When you combine all of those, then you have a really nice flavor base as opposed to using just one type of apple.”

Apple pie also wins the category of versatility.

“I think you can be more creative with an apple pie. … The apple pie is absolutely more versatile,” Lucciano said.

No matter which pie you choose to serve at Thanksgiving, it’s important to make it with care.

“You have to make sure that it’s spiced just right, mixed just right and in proper ways too,” Lucciano said. “Baking is a science that people don’t realize. If there are directions on how to do things, follow them.”

“Oh my!” apple pie
From the kitchen of Christiana Lehman of From Gracie’s Table and Brookline’s Finest

2 pie crusts
8 apples
1 10-ounce container From Gracie’s Table “dry” apple pie mix (includes brown sugar, cane sugar, cornstarch, white flour, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt)
2 Tablespoons butter

Lay out the crust into the bottom of a pan. Peel and chop apples. Mix dry ingredients with apples and butter. Pour seasoned apples into the pie crust. Cover with the other pie crust and pinch the edges together. Make three small slits on the top to vent. Cook at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Pumpkin apple custard pie
Courtesy of Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord

8 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs, separated
½ cup white sugar
½ cup maple sugar (or light brown sugar)
½ cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups warm whole milk
2 9-inch unbaked pie crusts (can use graham cracker crusts)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make your favorite pie crust and place in two pie plates, or use store-purchased crusts. Peel, slice and core the apples. Line the inside of the bottom of the 9-inch pie crusts. Separate the eggs, yolks and whites, and beat the whites until stiff, then set aside for later. Mix the yolks with the pumpkin puree, then add the white and maple sugars, the maple syrup, the flour, the salt and the spices and mix well. Add the warm whole milk (not hot) and mix well. Gently fold in the egg whites. Divide the mixture in half and gently pour between the two pie plates. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, then give them a spin and reduce the heat to 350 degrees for about 30 minutes longer, until the custard is set and no longer loose.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

This Week 22/11/17

Big Events November 70, 2022 and beyond

Thursday Nov. 17

This week’s Art After Work at the Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; currier.org, 669-6144) will feature live music performed by Green Heron, the duo who describe themselves as stretching “across the entire folk landscape. Old-time, folk, bluegrass, country, Celtic and blues music are all represented,” according to greenheronmusic.com, where you can hear their music. The evening, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m., also includes free admission to the museum and 30-minute tours of the exhibits (“State of the Art 2020: Locate” at 5:30 p.m. with artist-in-residence Eriko Tsogo, followed by a workshop led by Tsogo, and then “Gee’s Bend Quilts” at 6:30 p.m.).

Friday, Nov. 18

Chef Robert Irvine, star of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible and other shows, will be in Concord and Nashua today at meet-and-greet bottle signings for his Irvine’s Vodka and Irvine’s Gin, according to a press release. Irvine will be at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet in Concord (11 Merchant’s Way) from noon to 2 p.m. and at the NH Liquor and Wine Outlet in Nashua (25 Coliseum Ave.) from 4 to 6 p.m., the press release said. Go to liquorandwineoutlets.com to reserve a spot (find the meet-and-greets under “events”).

Friday Nov. 18

See the classic Agatha Christie whodunitMurder on the Orient Express by the Community Players of Concord tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord). Follow Hercule Poirot as he tries to unravel the murder of a man found stabbed in his bed. Shows are also on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $18 for ages 17 and younger and ages 65+. Find an interview with the production’s Poirot, Jim Gocha, on page 15 of the Oct. 13 edition of The Hippo (find the e-edition at hippopress.com). See communityplayersofconcord.org.

Saturday, Nov. 19

The Concord Christmas Parade steps off today at 9:30 a.m. and runs from Hazen Drive to Loudon Road to Canterbury Road to Pembroke Road, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Saturday, Nov. 19

Kimball Jenkins (266 Main St. in Concord; kimballjenkins.com, 225-3932) will hold an opening reception for “Salon 2022,” an exhibition featuring small works in all media, today from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit runs through Sunday, Dec. 18.

Sunday, Nov. 20

Catch the final performance of the Peacock Players’ (14 Court St. in Nashua; 886-7000, peacockplayers.org) production of 9 to 5 The Musicaltoday at 2 p.m. The show also runs this weekend Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12 or $15 for children and seniors, $15 or $18 for adults (based on seat location), plus fees.

Saturday, Nov. 19

The Bektash Shriners Feztival of Trees begins today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Bektash Shrine Center (189 Pembroke Road in Concord). Admission costs $5 for ages 12 and over. Peruse the decorated trees and enter the raffle to win the tree (or trees) that you like best. Raffle tickets cost $5 for 25 (tickets can also be purchased online for an additional fee). The drawings are done on Sunday, Nov. 27, the end of the festival. The festival is open Sunday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 22, and Wednesday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m; Friday, Nov. 25, and Saturday, Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to bektashshriners.org.

Save the date! Satruday, Nov. 26
The New England Dance Ensemble will present its production of The Nutcrackeron Saturday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Nov. 27, with the NH Philharmonic as its pit orchestra.
The ballet will feature guest performers from the Philadelphia and Nashville ballets and take place at the Seifert Performing Arts Center at Salem High School (44 Geremonty Drive). The show starts at 4 p.m. each day. Tickets cost $40 to $55. See nede.org.

Featured photo. Bektash Shriners Feztival of Trees. Courtesy photo.

Quality of Life 22/11/17

Lending a helping car

In honor of Veterans Day, Progressive Insurance donated two vehicles to support the local veteran community during a special event at Liberty House in Manchester on Thursday, Nov. 10. According to a press release, one of the vehicles was donated to a local veteran, and the other was donated to Liberty House, a sober-living transitional housing community that serves homeless and struggling veterans and helps them to achieve independence and self-sufficiency.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Progressive Insurance has donated more than 900 vehicles to veterans and veteran communities throughout the U.S. since 2013 through its Keys to Progress vehicle giveaway program. This is the first time that the program has had recipients in New Hampshire.


Voters in Derry had to wait for up to over an hour to vote during the general election, NHPR reported. The town’s sole polling site at Calvary Bible Church on Hampstead Road was among the busiest in the state, with 18,000 registered voters assigned to it and a high turnout among them. Long wait times and traffic congestion, particularly during the before- and after-work surges, prompted the Attorney General to get involved in accordance with a New Hampshire statute which states that voters shouldn’t have to wait longer than 20 minutes to vote. The Attorney General is permitted to take actions such as garnering the assistance of local police to direct traffic and respond to any unruly behavior at the polling site. Derry had three polling locations before the town council decided to downsize during the pandemic, the article said.

QOL score: +1 for the high voter turnout, -2 for the long wait times

Comment: This is why QOL is always grateful for the kids selling baked goods at QOL’s voting site. Even if there’s a wait, there’s always a sticker and some cookies to look forward to — oh, and democracy, of course.

Career options for kids

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced an initiative to expand its pre-apprenticeship opportunities for Job Corps students as part of a nationwide effort to prepare students for Registered Apprenticeship programs. According to a press release, the initiative will allow New Hampshire Job Corps in Manchester, the state’s only Job Corps campus, to emphasize pre-apprenticeship programs in the high-growth industry sectors for which it offers career skills training, such as advanced manufacturing, construction, health care, homeland security and hospitality. The pre-apprenticeship programs will take most students approximately one year to complete. “Pre-apprenticeship programs prepare students with a set of skills and strategies needed to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship program or industry-relevant job,” Job Corps national director Rachel Torres said in the release. “With the general education, enhanced social skills and hands-on job training they receive, these students will have more career pathways from which to choose.”

QOL score: +1

Comment: The announcement coincided with National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 14 through Nov. 20, and aligns with the Biden Administration’s commitment to expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities to help build equitable pathways to the middle class and connections to living-wage jobs for the nation’s diverse workforce.

QOL score: 85

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 86

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at news@hippopress.com.

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