Tuesday, October 21, 2014
     

Food

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
This Sept. 29, 2014 photo shows orange zest pudding with dark chocolate shavings in Concord, N.H. Orange zest, the thin outer skin of an orange, has fragrant and flavorful oils that can add sweetness to dishes. (AP Photo/MatthewMead)

When it comes to sweets, I have a surprising trick up my sleeve. And the best part about it? It probably won't cost you a penny because most likely you already have it, but throw it in the trash.

I'm talking about orange zest, the thin outer skin of an orange. I don't mean the white part, called the pith. That's bitter. The zest is just the paper-thin layer of colored skin, which has tons of fragrant and flavorful oils.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
This Sept. 8, 2014 photo shows salted caramel pumpkin buns in Concord, N.H. The bun combines two classics, pumpkin pie and a cinnamon bun, which is topped with a homemade caramel sauce. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

A pumpkin pie. Rolled up in a cinnamon bun. Do we have your attention yet?

That's right ... We took our autumn baking to a delicious new level by combining two classics, then topping them with an intensely good homemade caramel sauce spiked with flaked sea salt for added oomph and contrast to all that sweetness.

When slicing the log of dough into individual buns, a serrated knife works well. You also can use unflavored, unwaxed dental floss (or heavy thread).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
This June 9, 2014 photo shows Dijon tomato and sweet onion pie in Concord, N.H. The Tomato Pie is a classic Southern dish made in summer when the tomato plants are heavy with ripe fruit. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Tomato Pie is a classic Southern dish made in late summer when the tomato plants are heavy with ripe fruit, but everyone has had their fill of tomato sandwiches and salads. It is essentially a pie shell filled with fresh sliced tomatoes and sweet onions, topped with mixture of shredded cheese and served with a sprinkle of fresh basil.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
This June 9, 2014 photo shows easy overnight ham and cheese casserole in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Those first few weeks when the kids head back to school can be among the most hectic for families.

The lazy days of summer quickly give way to crazy schedules, homework and after-school activities. And don't forget somehow managing to slip dinner into the middle of all that.

This is why a do-ahead dinner can be a lifesaver as families get accustomed to their new routines.

So we created this easy, kid-friendly ham and cheese casserole that can be prepped and refrigerated the night before, then just popped in the oven the next evening.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
This July 21, 2014 photo shows tangy tomato-eggplant crostini in Concord, N.H. Salting and draining the eggplants and tomatoes removes excess water, which not only makes for a meatier texture, it also concentrates the flavors. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Want to get the most out of your late summer tomatoes and eggplants? Try the simple two-step prep we use for these easy crostini.

We start by salting and draining the eggplants and tomatoes.

This removes excess water, which not only makes for a meatier texture, it also concentrates the flavors.

After the draining, the vegetables are roasted, which caramelizes their natural sugars, further deepening the flavors. The result is incredibly rich and naturally sweet.

The whole thing gets tied together with a sweet-tangy balsamic glaze and bit of salty Parmesan.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
This July 21, 2014 photo shows grilled chicken paillard with peach and arugula salad in Concord, N.H. Chicken paillard serves as an alternative summer dish that is light, refreshing and substantial. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Labor Day, summer's last hurrah, is a feast day. And mostly Tell the truth! we tend to overdo it. Ribs, steaks, burgers and hot dogs? Check, check, check and check!

Vegetables and other light fare? Not so much. The standard routine amounts to the summer version of Thanksgiving, except that after the meal everyone collapses onto the lawn rather than a couch.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The 27th annual Times News Cookbook and Recipe Contest is underway!

This year, after serious consideration, we decided to move the annual contest to the fall in order to focus on the fun and food that surround the holidays and take advantage of the great recipes our local cooks stir up over this festive season.

Recipes will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 5 and the cookbook will be included in the Nov. 6 issue of the Times News.

Every entrant will receive a special gift. The winners in each category will win some terrific prizes, as will the grand prize winner.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
This June 30, 2014 photo shows spicy sweet tomato jam grilled cheese in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Slice 'em and salt 'em.

That's really all a seasonally delicious tomato needs. Though if you really want to gussy it up, you could add a bit of pepper, a splash of olive oil, maybe a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar.

Just enough of each to highlight the sweetly acidic flavor of the juicy tomato flesh.

Still, summer tends to bring an abundance of tomatoes, and after a while we find ourselves hankering for something with a little more oomph. And a salad just isn't cutting it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
This June 30, 2014 photo shows cheesy zucchini salsa in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Zucchini bread is fine and all, but when you're staring down a mountain of summer abundance, how much of it can you really eat?

Convinced we could find more – and more creative – ways to use up a bounty of zucchini, we decided to explore out-of-the-box ideas for summer's most notorious love-hate vegetable. The result? Some delicious ideas that will have you if not embracing then at least better tolerating your zucchini.

10 Fresh ways with zucchini

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Grilled Jerk Chicken Breast with Watermelon Salsa. Jerk refers both to a unique blend of seasonings and to a method of slow cooking.

It's barbecue season, and chicken is the ideal candidate to get you grilling.

Why? Chicken is light, it easily picks up the marinade of your choice, and it cooks quickly. But this recipe is not for your everyday grilled chicken. This is spicy Jamaican-style jerk chicken.

"Jerk" refers both to a unique blend of seasonings and to a method of slow cooking. It is said to have been invented by Jamaica's Maroons, slaves who escaped from Spanish-owned plantations when the British took over and established free communities in Jamaica's mountainous interior.