Friday, December 3, 2010

Enjoy Summer Down Under with the Cuisine of Australia

Adair Country Inn & Restaurant “travels” to Australia on Thursday, December 2, as part of our Dine Around the World evenings. To put it into perspective, we recently had some guests stay here at the Inn who traveled more than halfway around the world to get to Bethlehem. Australia really is the land down under, 13-14 time zones away and in the Southern hemisphere. While we are preparing for winter, the Aussie summer is just about to begin. We will celebrate the Australian summer by serving shrimp on the barbie (Australian for barbecue!) and grilled lamb sausages.

Australian cuisine is very conflicted. Relying on the many traditional, conservative dishes dating back to the early English settlers, Australians never really developed a national cuisine. With a surge of immigration in the 1980s — many from Asian countries — many chefs started to incorporate Asian foods and cooking techniques into their menus. Recently, there has been much more interest in searching out indigenous foods and recipes. These factors have led to an exciting variety of foods and dishes being newly discovered by Australians. Kangaroo, long not much favored as a food, has become very popular with many new Australian chefs as a true Australian ingredient.

Perhaps the biggest stride that Australia has made has been in their production of world-class wines. While there are no native Australian wine grapes, many major varietals have been introduced to the country. Australia has become one of the premier producers of Shiraz in the entire world, and Penfolds Grange is considered by many to be the greatest red wine in the world.

While Australia does not have a long culinary history, it has certainly had great success in recent years due to immigration and a desire to show off the country’s local foods. Our Dine Around the World menu touches on both aspects of Australia’s culinary history. We will offer some traditional early English classics like lamb, meat pies and Pavlova, along with some newly rediscovered native foods such as kangaroo and barramundi (a freshwater fish) — all paired with some world-class Australian wines.

Ending the Meal on a Sweet Note

A trip down under is not complete without a serving of Pavlova, a meringue cake that has a light and delicate crisp crust and a soft sweet marshmallow center. This lovely dessert is typically served with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit.

4 large egg whites:
1 cup superfine (castor) sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh fruit — kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, or other fruit of your choice.

Pavlova: Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7-inch circle on the paper.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, fold in.

Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)
The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.

Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip the cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the sugar and vanilla and then mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.
Serves 6 to 8.

— Orlo Coots is Head Chef at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. Enjoy his cooking Thursdays through Mondays by making a reservation at 603-444-2600. Orlo can be reached at for questions about this recipe or any other food-related questions. Remember — whether cooking for one or for a crowd, make every bite count.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Travel to Guatemala

By Head Chef Orlo Coots

Adair Country Inn & Restaurant “traveled” to Guatemala on Thursday October 28, 2010 as part of our Dine Around the World event. While I was working in the various restaurants in and around Boston, I had the opportunity to work with people from all over the globe. Many of these people came from Central and South America. As cooks, they brought with them the recipes from their homes and integrated them into the restaurants. Some were served to the staff during staff meal; others were placed on menus or served as nightly specials. Many of the ingredients used were still at the time foreign to most American born chefs and diners. Some of the most intriguing meals were the ones cooked by the Guatemalans I worked with.

With a culinary history starting with the Maya and then heavily influenced by Spanish and other nations, Guatemalan food is rich and exotic, with many layers of flavors throughout the dishes. Due to long braising with several additions of spices and pastes, the finished foods are wonderfully balanced with all of the flavors coming through. As with many Central American nations, corn and black beans play a large role in the culinary traditions of Guatemala.

The Guatemalan cooks I worked with were the first people who introduced me to tomatillos, black beans, plantains and yucca. To some degrees, these foods have become somewhat common here in the States, but 20 years ago, they were still rather unusual and exotic. Having sampled the ingredients and dishes at he restaurant, I asked for the recipes. Of course, most of them were old family methods of cooking and the cooks did not have written recipes. It was “add this much of this and this many of that” type of cooking, which quite often is the best way to learn how to cook different foods. From these early lessons, I learned how to use some of these once strange ingredients and I was able to replicate some of the original dishes they showed me.

One dish that stands out is Hilachas, beef simmered with tomatoes and tomatillos. This is a rather simple dish to prepare, but with many layers of flavors due to the steps involved in the process and the flavorful variety of ingredients. This dish is very representative of the many influences of Guatemalan cuisine. When served with the traditional sides of tortillas, rice and plantains, you have an authentic Guatemalan meal full of history and flavor.

Hilachas-Cooked and shredded beef with tomatoes and tomatillos 6 to 8 servings
• Beef, flank or skirt steak, cubed -- 2 pounds
• Water -- 5 cups
• Oil -- 2-3 tablespoons
• Onion, chopped -- 1
• Chopped tomatoes -- 1 cup
• Chopped tomatillos -- 1 cup
• Guajillo chiles, warmed over a flame, deseeded and chopped -- 2-3
• Salt and pepper -- to season
• Potatoes, peeled and chopped -- 1 pound
• Carrots, peeled and chopped -- 2-3
• Shredded corn tortillas -- 1/2 cup
• Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch

Place the beef, water and a big pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Remove the beef to a bowl, reserving the broth, and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the beef with your fingers and set aside.
While the beef is simmering, place the onion, tomatoes, tomatillos and chiles in a food processor or blender and puree, adding a little water if necessary.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add the onion-tomato puree and simmer until the puree is cooked down and darkens somewhat in color, about 10 minutes. Do not burn.
Add the shredded beef and about 3 cups of the broth to the onion-tomato puree and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes, onions and a little more broth or water if necessary. Simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Stir in the shredded tortillas to thicken the sauce. Then stir in the chopped cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve hot with corn tortillas or rice.

•If the sauce has thickened enough while simmering, no thickener may be necessary.
•Add 2 teaspoon achiote seasoning to the onion-tomato puree for added flavor. Bricks of achiote seasoning can be found at many Latin markets.
•The potatoes and carrots can be eliminated if you like.
•Canned tomatoes and tomatillos work just fine in this recipe.
•Two cups of chopped tomatoes can be used if you would like to eliminate the tomatillos.
•If you can't find guajillo chiles, use anchos or pasillas. Or substitute with 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Orlo Coots is Head Chef at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. Enjoy his cooking Thursday through Monday. (603) 444-2600. Orlo can be reached at for any questions about this recipe or any other food-related questions you may have. Remember- whether cooking for 1 or for a crowd, make every bite count.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Celebrate Oktoberfest!

By Head Chef,Orlo Coots.

On Thursday, September 30, “Dine Around the World” with Adair Country Inn & Restaurant as we travel to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest with a special three-course German menu. Oktoberfest has become one of the world’s great festivals and is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Due to several interruptions, though, this is the 177th time it has been held.

Oktoberfest began in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. In a rare occurrence, the general public was invited and over 40,000 Bavarians attended the festivities in front of the city gates of Munich. Through the years, the event has evolved into the largest festival in the world, featuring amusement rides, an agricultural fair held every three years, parades, concerts, costume and riflemen’s processions and, of course, the famous Oktoberfest beer tents sponsored by many of Germany’s top breweries. There is also an endless stream of hearty and satisfying German foods.

Oktoberfest celebrations are held throughout the world during September and October. Bratwursts, schnitzel, strudel, Black Forest cake, pretzels, cabbage and sauerkraut are just a few of the German specialties that are served and eaten by German food and beer lovers during the events. They are all washed down with seasonal Oktoberfest lager beers, brewed especially for the celebration. The traditional style guidelines describe an amber-gold lager, robust at 5.2 to 6 percent alcohol by volume, lagered for at least a month, with pronounced malt flavors from Vienna malts, usually accented by the German noble hops such as Hallertau and Tettnang. An Oktoberfest lager is brewed very much like the reddish-amber Marzen beer that was served at the Crown Prince's wedding in 1810.

For our Oktoberfest celebration at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant, we will present a traditional menu of bratwurst or potato pancakes, schnitzel or chicken paprikash accompanied with spaetzle and braised cabbage, and, for dessert, German Black Forest chocolate cake. I have been researching and testing recipes and will prepare everything from scratch for an authentic German flavor. To keep the celebration proper, plenty of Oktoberfest lager will be poured.

While it is not required, guests on September 30 should feel free to dress in suspenders and Lederhosen for the men and a dirndl, the traditional folk costume of Bavaria, for the women. We look forward to welcoming you to this celebration of German food, beer and fun. Prosit!
During Oktoberfest, plenty of pretzels are served, such as this Homemade Soft German Pretzel:

1 package of active dry yeast (1-1/2 tsp)
1 cup warm water
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 TB of salad oil
1 TB of sugar
6 TB of baking soda in 6 cups water
Coarse salt (kosher salt works great)

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the oil, and sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes to make a smooth batter. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny (about 5 minutes) adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough, turn out onto a floured board, and divide into 12 pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball by gently kneading. Then roll each into a smooth rope about 18 inches long, and twist into a pretzel shape. Place slightly apart on a greased baking sheet, turning loose ends underneath. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft free area until puffy (about 25 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a 3-quart stainless steel or enameled pan (not aluminum) bring soda water to a boil; adjust water to keep water boiling gently. With a slotted spatula, lower 1 pretzel at a time into pan. Let simmer for 10 seconds on each side, then lift from water, drain briefly on spatula, and return to re-greased baking sheet. Let dry briefly, then sprinkle with coarse salt and let stand, uncovered, until all have simmered.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to racks; serve warm with medium hot mustard. Or let cool completely, wrap airtight, and freeze. To reheat, place frozen on ungreased baking sheets and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until hot. Makes 1 dozen pretzels.

— Orlo Coots is Head Chef at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. Enjoy his cooking by making a reservation at 603-444-2600. Orlo can be reached at for questions about this recipe or any other food-related questions. Remember — whether cooking for one or for a crowd, make every bite count.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Garden renewal project benefits Adair and Littleton Garden Club

BETHLEHEM — Beautiful gardens don’t happen by chance. They take thoughtful planning and regular maintenance, including the digging and dividing of perennials on a regular basis to ensure strong healthy plants with lush blooms.

This year, the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant and the Littleton Garden Club have teamed up to renew the Inn’s gardens. The project has a two-fold goal: helping to restore the gardens, which were created in 1927 by the Olmstead brothers, famous for designing Central Park in New York City and many other public and private gardens across the country, and acting as a fundraising project for the Garden Club, which will sell some of the divided perennials at their annual sale on September 25 at the Community House in Littleton, and use others of the plants in the many municipal gardens they maintain in the community.

“The Adair gardens need a lot of time and attention,” says innkeeper Ilja Chapman, “and I was looking for a group to help restore them.” She found that group in the Littleton Garden Club, an organization now in its 76th year, whose mission includes the beautification of Littleton and promoting environmental awareness. The almost two-dozen Garden Club members plant and care for 23 public gardens in the Littleton community, and provide outreach through garden programs with children and the elderly.

The lovely gardens and grounds at the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant were laid out in 1927 when the house was built as a wedding gift from Frank Hogan, a famous Washington, D.C. lawyer, to his only daughter, Dorothy Adair Guider. Over the years the gardens were maintained and added to by Mrs. Guider, a member of both the Littleton Garden Club and the White Mountain Garden Club, who died in 1991. The Inn is now owned by Betsy and Nick Young and managed by innkeepers Ilja and Brad Chapman.

On September 9, members of the Garden Club began what everyone hopes will be a multi-year project, digging and dividing the many perennials that border the Inn’s patio. Among the finds were phlox, bee balm, Siberian iris and peony.
“These plants are unique,” says Betsy Fraser, the incoming president of the Garden Club. “They are old-fashioned, not hybrids, and are quite desirable. Some of the peonies may be original to the garden.”

Sue Sorlucco, president of the Garden Club and a Master Gardener, agrees. She noted that the peonies, especially, have exceptionally large and sturdy roots and could, indeed, date from 1927. Peonies are known to be long-lived, some surviving 100 years or more.

The patio just off the Inn’s living room was chosen for the first year’s project. In good weather, meals are often served here and guests can relax and contemplate the far views of the mountains or the long sweep of lawns and the many gardens that are closer by.

On the day of the “dig” the patio was a flurry of activity. Spading forks, shovels and knives helped to make quick work of the digging, dividing and replanting that was taking place. Ilja, worried that all of the seeming disorder wouldn’t pay off, was quickly reassured by the gardeners that, “You always have to make a mess before you see results!”

Tammy Thompson, who oversees the gardens two days a week for Ilja, worked alongside the Garden Club members, offering her observations as caretaker of the gardens. Although she “can’t keep up with the gardens,” on a part-time basis because of her other duties at the Inn, she feels peaceful when working in them. “I always feel she’s (Mrs. Guider) watching me.”

The work of the Garden Club members didn’t end when they picked up their tools and loaded their cars with the perennials they received in exchange for dividing the plants. Some of the perennials will be planted in the many gardens that the Garden Club tends in Littleton. “It’s really nice to know that these historic plants will have a new life in some of the Club’s municipal gardens!” says Betsy Fraser.
The remainder will be potted up and offered for sale on September 25 on the Community House lawn during the Littleton Art Show. Along with the Adair plants, the Garden Club will be selling daffodil bulbs, candles, and garden gloves.

“We’d like this to be an ongoing project,” says Ilja. “We’re thrilled with what the Littleton Garden Club was able to accomplish and delighted that some of the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant’s plants will benefit the Garden Club as well as be shared with other gardeners.”

For information about the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant call 444-2600 or click on For information about the Littleton Garden Club, including membership opportunities, call Sue Sorlucco at 444-2061 or email her at

Saturday, September 11, 2010


By Head Chef Orlo Coots

Here in the North Country, except for the fall foliage, nothing says autumn more than a crisp fresh apple picked right from the tree. A perfect apple mirrors a perfect fall day — cool and crisp.

Apples are one of the easiest fruits to pick. The trees grow low to the ground with the riper apples on the outside of the trees. This enables the entire family to enjoy the fun of apple picking. With numerous pick-your-own orchards throughout the state, there is no reason not to have a supply of locally grown apples in your kitchen. New Hampshire’s climate is perfect for many apple types. While not every apple is perfect for all occasions, the variety available covers the range of uses — eating, cooking, baking, storing or cooking into sauce.

When you are picking apples, do not judge ripeness by color. Different varieties ripen to different colors. Check with the orchard to learn what is ripe and the best apples for your needs. Ripeness is calculated from the days since the trees flowered. The apple farmer calculates this very carefully and will tell you where the ripe trees are. It is just as important to him as it is to you to know which trees are ripe and which ones are not.

When picking, carefully place the apples into your basket to prevent bruising. Do not wash the apples until you are going to use them, as moisture will increase the chance of spoilage. Keep the apples cool in your basement or the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Many apples will last for weeks properly stored, but not all. Make sure to ask which ones store well.

There are many different varieties here in New Hampshire that are available to pick now or in the next couple of weeks:

Early McIntosh — good for eating and baking. Empire — high quality apple for many culinary uses. Gala — a sweet eating apple. Ida Red — excellent for all uses. Jersey Mac — good for eating and baking. Jonagold — good for salads as well as cooking and baking. July Red — a nice eating apple. Honeycrisp — a nice crisp eating apple. McIntosh — great for eating, pies and applesauce. Macoun — good sweet eating apple. Paula Red — good for eating and baking. Pippin — best for cooking and baking. Puritan — good for eating and baking. Quini — good for eating and baking. Redcort — a nice eating apple.

While this list is by no means totally comprehensive, it is a good guide to determine what you can pick locally in September. Go to your orchard, pick some beautiful local apples and eat, bake or make into applesauce and enjoy the true flavor of fall in the North Country.

Try this recipe for a flavorful applesauce.

The first step is to choose apples that are naturally sweet, like Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Winesap, McIntosh, Yellow Delicious, and Mutsu, and always use a mixture — never just one type. If buying your apples at an orchard, ask for “seconds," "culls" or "drops." These are smaller apples, sometimes odd shapes or with imperfect appearance. They are perfect for applesauce and cost one-third to one-half the price of the top grade apples. Ask at the counter for them as they may be kept out back.

Friday, August 27, 2010


By Head Chef Orlo Coots

Adair Country Inn & Restaurant “Dine Around the World” will take you to India on Thursday, August 26. Indian food — just the thought of it brings back two of my earliest culinary experiences. The first time I ever ate Indian food was at a new restaurant in my hometown. As soon as I walked in the front door, I was instantly enthralled with the smells coming from the kitchen. They were some of the most exotic and intoxicating aromas I had ever encountered. When the foods were brought to the table, they were beyond imagination: flavorful and spicy curries, amazing breads and aromatic basmati rice, all blended into a fantastic dining experience.

My second memorable experience with Indian food was the time my sister’s friend cooked us dinner at my sister’s house. She prepared the curry from scratch the way her grandmother had shown her. The house was full of the wonderful scents for hours. It was simple food, yet totally from the heart, which only enhanced the flavors. My only regret is that she would not allow me in the kitchen while she was making the curry, so I was left in the dark as to the preparation.

People have traveled the world over in search of the spices of India. Columbus was sent to find a new route to India when he “discovered” America. India’s foods and spices have been sought after and traded for centuries, and the foods have a varied, yet unique flavor. Like most countries, each region has certain foods and cooking techniques particular to that region. However, India also has distinct foods and cooking styles pertaining to religion and social class.

The most popular and famous food of India is curry. Each region — and household — has its unique method of blending the various spices to form one of the world’s great dishes. Once eaten, it is easy to see why so many have fallen in love with this dish. Typically between six and 20 ingredients are combined to make a curry, so it is certainly a dish that can be adapted to suit what is available to the home cook.

For a refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day, try a Mango Lassi, a yogurt drink made with mangoes.

Mango Lassi — Indian Mango Yogurt Drink — Serves Two
2 cups peeled and chopped mangoes
1 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons sugar (Adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves (Optional)
6 to 10 ice cubes (As needed)
Blend the mangoes, yogurt, and sugar into a puree.
Add chopped mint leaves.
Add the ice cubes.
You can adjust the thickness of the lassi.
Serve chilled.
For lassi it’s better if mangoes do not have any fibers. Using very ripe mangoes is best. The sugar can be adjusted to taste, depending on the taste of the mangoes and yogurt.
Replace the mint with rose water or a generous pinch of cardamom powder.


By Head Chef Orlo Coots

August- the dog days of summer means the height of the tomato season. This is the time when eating a tomato is one of the special joys in life. For 10 ½ months of the year, it is best to avoid most tomatoes. However, now that August is here, you should try to eat as many locally grown tomatoes as you can get your hands on- and make sure to can or freeze the rest to enjoy the flavors of summer even longer.

There is nothing that says summer as much as plucking a tomato off the vine, slicing it and eating it simply with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add some fresh mozzarella cheese, basil and olive oil and you have a wonderful meal bursting with the flavors of summer.

The 3 main types of tomatoes are plum, beef steak and cherry. There are dozens of varieties of beef steak and cherry. The beef steak tomatoes are the most seasonal of the 3 types. Edible plum and cherry varieties are available year round, but of course in summer they are at their peak. However, beef steak tomatoes should generally be avoided the rest of the year. They are picked green and color (but not really ripen) in their transport boxes.

But- in season they cannot be beat. They are versatile and can be used for just about any culinary application. The less you do to them, the better they are in summer. From simply seasoning with salt to making a tomato herb tart, the flavors are full and fresh. Try not to over work them in the summer. That can wait until later in the year when the fresh ones are flavorless and the best types to use are canned. Enjoy the summer product when the flavor is at its peak. For even better flavor, try to get a hold of some heirloom varieties for the fullest flavor of summer.
There are many great recipes for tomatoes and as long as you’re using fresh local summer tomatoes, you cannot go wrong. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh herbs and enjoy.

To keep some of the summer flavor for the rest of the year, try canning some summer tomatoes. If canning is not feasible, freezing is another alternative to enjoy some summer flavor throughout the year. While frozen tomatoes obviously will not be able to be sliced, they can be used in any preparation you would use canned tomatoes for and of course they do make a great sauce. To prepare the tomatoes for freezing, cut out the core and make an X on the other end. This makes peeling them later easier. Put them into zip-lock bags and freeze until ready to bring out the taste of summer.

Orlo Coots is Head Chef at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. Enjoy his cooking Thursday through Monday. (603) 444-2600. Orlo can be reached at for any questions about tomatoes or any other food-related questions you may have. Remember- whether cooking for 1 or for a crowd, make every bite count.


By Head Chef Orlo Coots.

The aroma of freshly baked bread- is there a better smell in a home? Baking bread is one of the easiest and most rewarding things a chef can do in the kitchen.

By choosing the correct recipe, you can turn out fantastic and consistent loaves very easily. Mixing and kneading the dough can be done by using a mixer or food processor, though doing the process by hand can be a soothing and relaxing exercise.

Bread baking consists of just a few ingredients to start with- flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter or oil and water. We will keep with the basics to start so that your first loaf is a success and will be the stepping-stone to future loaves.

The recipe provided here is a variation of the one I started with when I bought my own business 8 years ago. I have tweaked it a little and it is readily adaptable to other ingredients. When kneading is complete, the dough should be smooth, soft and supple.

A key to a good loaf is in the rise. I put it inside a turned off oven in the summer and near the wood stove in the winter when baking at home. It should take about 45 to 60 minutes to double in size. After shaping, return the loaves back to proof again for another 45 minutes. Make sure to remove from the oven before preheating.

Basic Bread Loaf
2 cups plus 1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 package (1 ½ teaspoons) Dried Yeast
1-tablespoon sugar
1-tablespoon salt
1-tablespoon oil
2 oz hot (110-115 degrees) water to activate yeast
6 oz hot (110-115 degrees) water

*Put yeast into a small bowl or cup, add 2 oz water. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. If it is not foamy, the yeast is not working properly.
*Put 2 cups flour, salt, sugar, oil and yeast into processor. Blend 30 seconds.
*Slowly add 4 oz of water, until dough comes together.
*Add last cup of flour, process while slowly adding last 2 oz water. Dough should come together and scrape sides of bowl. Knead in machine 1-2 minutes, until dough is soft and smooth.
*Lightly grease a mixing bowl, put dough into bowl and cover tightly with wrap.
*Place aside to proof until double in size.
*Punch dough to release air. Divide into two French bread –style loaves onto a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Spray with pan spray, allow to double again in size.
*Preheat oven to 350. Bake 20 minutes, spin pan end to end, bake 10 more minutes. Loaves should be nicely golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes, slice and enjoy each bite.

Orlo Coots is Head Chef at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. Enjoy his cooking by making a reservation at 603-444-2600. Orlo can be reached at for questions about this recipe or any other food-related questions. Remember — whether cooking for one or for a crowd, make every bite count.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Homecoming for the North Country Chamber Players

A Homecoming for the North Country Chamber Players
For Ronnie Bauch and Chris Finckel, two of the founding members of the North Country Chamber Players of Franconia, August 12 was like coming home. We had invited a string quartet of the Chamber Players to present an informal concert in the Inn’s living room for a small group of guests. It had been about 25 years ago that the Chamber Players had last played in the room and we were very excited to welcome them back.

Ronnie and Chris were well acquainted with Dorothy Adair Guider, the first owner of the house and one of the original trustees – as well as good friend -- to the renowned musical group in their early days.

“The Chamber Players have a very long and quite significant history with Adair and its original inhabitant, Dorothy Guider,” says Ronnie. “Dorothy was wonderful and generous to us, and we developed a close relationship over the years. We were indebted to her in many, many ways.”

During the early ‘80s, Dorothy was instrumental in arranging for the Chamber Players to tour the North Country, presenting programs to school children. Ronnie recalls that Dorothy offered her house as a home base during those days. “We’d arrive from New York City at 6:30 or 7 and head to the third floor,” says Ronnie. “As we passed the second floor we’d hear, ‘How do!’ (from Dorothy). The next day we’d be off to the far reaches of New Hampshire, a one room schoolhouse in Stark, to high schools in Berlin and Groveton.”

During the concert, Ronnie on violin, Chris on cello, and violist Ah Ling Neu and violinist Miki-Sophia Cloud offered selections from Mozart, Gershwin and Cole Porter for the two-dozen guests gathered in the living room on the comfortable chairs and sofas which had been pushed back to make room for the musicians in front of the fireplace.

Along with the music, Ronnie regaled the guests with stories about Dorothy and her relationship to the community and the Chamber Players. In 1927, Dorothy received the home as a wedding present from her father, Frank Hogan, an influential lawyer, and she lived there until her death in 1991. Having grown up in Washington, DC, she “knew everyone,” including every president from Wilson on.

Dorothy’s birthday was in late July, and “she was a Leo in every sense of the word,” says Ronnie. One of his fondest memories is of the several times he and other Chamber players would surprise her by sneaking into Adair through the back door just off the living room on the morning of her birthday, and setting up and playing some Mozart selections for her.

She was a childhood friend of Helen Hayes, the two having met at age six in ballet class, and Robbie recalls having tea with the women during one of his visits to Adair.

He also recalled Dorothy’s abilities as a community leader and mediator, which extended to her tenure as the president of Franconia College during some of its troubled years.

Several of the Gershwin and Cole Porter tunes played by the quartet during their visit had been played before in the very same living room. Ronnie says that Cole Porter, the grandson of the richest man in Indiana, who had a luxurious lifestyle, reminds him greatly of the kind of life Dorothy led during the ‘30s, traveling to Europe on ocean liners and eating at wonderful restaurants.

The Guider Steinway, which sat in a corner of the living room for 50 years and is signed by the Polish pianist Paderewski, now graces Alumni Hall in Haverhill. Upon Dorothy’s death it was bequeathed to the Chamber Players and keeps alive her memory and her connection to the musical group.

“We treasure Dorothy Adair Guider,” said Ilja during the Chamber Players’ visit. “We’re just very, very pleased to have the North Country Chamber Players here in this house again today.”

Warm wishes,
Ilja and Brad, Innkeepers