Friday, January 7, 2011


As I prepared to write this month’s column, I stopped to think about how I try to make every bite count while cooking here at Adair Country Inn & Restaurant. While making sure to properly season and properly prepare and cook each item of food are important steps, it is really much, much more than that. Also involved is making sure to get the best quality and freshest foods you can buy and correctly storing and handling them.

I then thought about how I go about researching and planning our Dine Around the World menus. I spend time searching on the internet for authentic dishes and food items for each country we “travel” to. The internet has made making every bite count much more accessible. From sites that present culinary traditions and national dishes to shopping sites that allow anyone to purchase just about any ingredient in usable amounts for reasonable prices, the internet has been a very important tool to make sure that our travels are as authentic as possible. It is no longer necessary to just use what is available to somewhat recreate a national dish from a far off country. We are able to research and order the special ingredients that are the difference between the finished dish being a close approximation to it being just like the way the dish is served in the country of origin. It is very satisfying to hear a guest say “We lived there for 2 years and that dish is exactly the way it tasted over there”.

While we do have a very nice Asian market in Littleton, there is very little else nearby when it comes to procuring specialty ingredients. A perfect example is when I was preparing the dishes for our Guatemala dinner, a few of the recipes called for annatto paste, guajillo and pasilla peppers. All the recipes gave alternate ingredients, but those would have made the dishes less authentic. As we strive to make every bite count, authenticity is the goal. I searched on the internet for sources of these ingredients and was able to have them delivered to the Inn. Again, they were delivered in quantities that did not cost too much or such that I will need to use them in every other dish to get rid of them.

So, when you go to prepare you next meal- whether it is a traditional Thanksgiving meal or a special ethnic meal, use all the tools available to you- fresh food, proper seasonings and research on the proper ingredients and preparation. This will help you to fully enjoy the meal knowing that you have made every bite count.

Here is the recipe for our Apple-Cranberry crisp, which was our most popular dessert this past fall foliage season. Fresh local ingredients prepared simply to bring out the full flavors of the fruits. This is a great dessert for your Thanksgiving table.

-butter a 9x9 baking pan
-preheat oven to 350
-serves 6

for topping:
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces butter, cold, cut into pieces
1/2 cup oats (not instant oatmeal)

for filling:
5 apples- mixture of Granny Smith and Macintosh
6 ounces cranberries
¼ cup and 2 Tbsp sugar

To make topping:
Chop walnuts to medium fine pieces, set aside
in processor, put brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt into bowl and
process until sugar is no longer lumpy.
Put butter onto mix, process until mixture resembles coarse meal.
add oats and walnuts, process just too combine
(mixture can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated).

To make the filling:
Peel, core and quarter the apples. can use peeling machine or peel by hand.
Put apples, cranberries and sugar into mixing bowl and combine thoroughly.
Put fruit mixture into prepared pan. Put walnut topping and spread evenly.
Bake 40-50 minutes until fruit is bubbly and topping is nicely browned.
Serve warm with ice cream.

— 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.

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