Concord News

Cho's show

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 08/30/2012 - 00:00
Concord Comedian's pointed standup slated for Cap Center

Outspoken and outrageous, comedian-activist Margaret Cho will perform at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord for the first time Sept. 30. Her "Mother" tour started this month and will continue throughout the country and in the U.K.

In a phone interview, Cho said that the "best part is now. In the beginning (of the tour), you can do anything. anything. . . . (It's) always in motion, always in progress."

Unlike a play in which the lines are fixed, her act is constantly evolving.

She's keeping busy offstage, too. Cho has been shooting for an internet-based reality show, In Transition, and recently hosted "Keep the Promise," a rally urging the U.S. to uphold the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief.

Cho's TV career is flourishing; she plays Teri Lee, the legal assistant to Jane Bingum, the attorney and main character of Drop-Dead Diva on Lifetime.

Categories: Concord News

FX orders 90 episodes of Sheen's new sitcom

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 08/30/2012 - 00:00

FX is ordering 90 more episodes of Anger Management, Charlie Sheen's TV comeback vehicle after being fired from Two and a Half Men.

The unusually large order reflects the original agreement that FX made for the sitcom that stars Sheen as a therapist.

As part of the deal, FX set a ratings target for eight of the first 10 episodes of Anger Management. The show reached the threshold, earning an automatic 90-episode order, the channel said.

The round figure of 100 episodes is the benchmark for series syndication, and that's the future for episodes that have shown first on FX, said producer Debmar-Mercury, a Lionsgate subsidiary.

Anger Management will go into syndication in September 2014, the company said Wednesday. It's a model that Debmar-Mercury used with the Ice Cube sitcom Are We There Yet? and on Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Meet the Browns.

Categories: Concord News

Eat your greens

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/29/2012 - 00:00
Reissue of Mark Bittman's 1995 'Leafy Greens' can help you go beyond the lettuce Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Food-Mark Bittman

Not so long ago, the admonishment to "Eat your greens!" generally focused on lettuce, maybe spinach. And that's about as adventurous as it got.

Today, it's hard to flip through food magazines or watch television shows without seeing someone sauteing chard, roasting kale, wilting mustard greens or swooning over watercress. You even can get collards and kale washed, chopped and bagged at big box stores and niche grocers, like Trader Joe's.

It's a change for the better, says New York Times food and opinion columnist Mark Bittman. And it's happening because more people are listening to messages about what is good for them to eat.

Categories: Concord News

Classic lobster pie

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/29/2012 - 00:00

The simple and butterific version of this dish has been served at the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine, for the past quarter-century or so. Here, we made the shopping list a bit easier on your wallet by adding a bit of moist, grated vegetable to the lobster filling. And we cut back on the butter.

If you buy lobster that has been freshly steamed at the store, the preparation is clean and simple; if you choose to boil your own, you'll need the meat from two 1¼-pound lobsters.

The green tomalley augments the lobster flavor here, but it can be omitted.

If you're not pressed for time, the dish can be assembled, covered and refrigerated up to 8 hours in advance. Allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour before baking.

Ritzy Lobster Pies

Meat from 2 1¼-pound cooked lobsters

1 teaspoon lobster tomalley (optional)

2 lemons

1 medium yellow squash or zucchini

Categories: Concord News

Sweet end of summer dish

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/29/2012 - 00:00
Grated carrots and dates combine in a delicious salad sweetened with honey

When Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish new year - rolls around, sugar, and specifically honey, often is on the menu. It's a kind of edible prayer, a hopeful way of attracting sweet things to one's life in the year to come.

That's why this salad is based on a sweet vegetable - the carrot - and flavored with honey and dates. But you don't have to celebrate Rosh Hashanah to love this recipe. Refreshing and simple to prepare, it's a great and healthy end-of-summer treat no matter what your faith.

Technique-wise, I borrowed a trick I learned for beets: I grate them.

For years, I hated beets. To me, they tasted like dirt. And the little devils start out hard as rocks, so hard you have to boil them for an hour before you can even think about cutting into them.

One day it occurred to me that I might be able to make beets more user-friendly by running them through the grating disk of a food processor.

Categories: Concord News

'Apparition' muddled from beyond the void

Concord Monitor Living - Mon, 08/27/2012 - 00:00

Kelly, the heroine of The Apparition, seems pretty happy with her boyfriend, Ben. He's handsome, thoughtful and good around the house, which happens to be a new Spanish-style tract mansion in an almost entirely unoccupied development in the Southern California desert. Life seems stellar for the young couple, who wisely chose to rent rather than buy.

But you know how guys are with their little secrets. It turns out that Ben has never told Kelly about Lydia, the college girlfriend who got away. That is, literally got away - she was sucked into the nameless void during a high-tech seance conducted by Ben, Lydia and their pompous friend Patrick, who looks eerily like Draco Malfoy.

Categories: Concord News

Time to sparty

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Fast facials and group sessions become part of travel plans

Parties at the spa, treatments for stressed and time-pressed consumers, cross-cultural traditions, and a whole lot of purple - from lavender-scented treatments to mauve nail polish - are some of the trends and services that were shown off at the annual International Spa Association meeting held Aug. 16 in New York. Here are some details:

SPA-RTY: Rejuvenation at the spa need not be a solitary pursuit. "A trend we've been seeing is private events called 'spa-rtys' getting booked in the spa space - for weddings, corporate events, etc.," said Lauren Clifford, a spokeswoman for the Regent Palms Turks and Caicos, which has a 26,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor facility at the Caribbean island resort.

Categories: Concord News

Maine lobsters aboard!

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00

A second cruise line has agreed to buy lobsters from local suppliers when one of its ships visits Maine in September and October, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said Wednesday.

Celebrity Cruises has agreed to purchase about 3,800 pounds of lobster when the Celebrity Summit visits Bar Harbor and Portland, Pingree said. The 965-foot ship carries more than 2,000 passengers.

Officials said last week that Holland America Line agreed to purchase locally caught lobsters for its cruise ships when they visit Bar Harbor several times this season.

Categories: Concord News

School House Cafe a homemade treat

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Warner restaurant a pleasant outing

Anyone who thinks the American Dream is no longer achievable should visit the School House Cafe in Warner, where sisters Caleen Fisher and Kathy Skinner-Shifrin are making the dream come true.

The sisters share a history of working in the food industry, and this month, they celebrated one year since they opened their own restaurant.

The parking lot is usually full, the tables are usually full, the public enjoys outstanding meals at very fair prices. The food is all fresh - the dishes homemade, baked goods are homemade, soups are homemade. Their chicken salad is something special, and the corn beef hash is the best I've ever had - equal, I'd say, to my own.

Categories: Concord News

Smoke Shack's Inferno

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Boscawen Ghost peppers and jalapenos lead to food challenge failure Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Tim vs. the Inferno Burger Tim vs. the Inferno Burger

I've made some bad decisions in my life. Celebrating my love of taffy minutes after costly dental work, taunting a 6-foot-4 meaty-fisted bouncer, letting the glassy-eyed older brother of a friend "cut" my hair with rusty shears. Michael Dukakis. But this one tops them all. This time I may have gone too far. I've just finished my first mouthful of the Inferno Challenge burger, and I can't feel my face.

It didn't take much for me to accept this dare. There's a place out in Boscawen that'll put your picture on the wall if you finish a super-spicy, 1-pound burger in 20 minutes. So here I am at the Smoke Shack Southern Barbecue restaurant ("Where the Swine is Fine") with my two kids, hoping they don't see me burst into flames.

Categories: Concord News

The good, the bad and the extremely ugly

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Invite the right sort of bugs to the party

This has been a crazy buggy year for us. I lost all my winter squash thanks to the combined efforts of the squash vine borers and squash bugs. I can usually count on the mighty Japanese pumpkin Tetsukabuto to survive and thrive, giving us more squash than we can easily consume over the winter but this year none.

The tried and true Waltham Butternut, which is usually a prolific provider, also has succumbed to the onslaught of bugs. The earliest planting of summer squashes are gone and the second planting is starting to kick into production. It is only a matter of time till the squash bugs migrate over to that side of the garden and start their attack.

Categories: Concord News

Find new life for old iPads in dock

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Convert it to an entertainment hub

Here are three things you can do with an old iPad: pass it along to a family member, sell it on eBay or convert it into a great-sounding portable entertainment system - by spending more than it may have originally cost.

Bang & Olufsen portrays its $549 BeoPlay A3 as an easy solution for those times when you want bigger, better sound from your iPad than the tiny, tinny speaker Apple builds in. As far as "easy" goes, the A3 is pretty much a failure: It's a royal pain to dock and undock your tablet.

But the company's marketers may not quite understand their own product. Its real killer app turns out to be as a permanent home for that unused iPad, turning it into a wireless mini entertainment-and-information center you can take with you from room to room.

Categories: Concord News

Computer geek hubby can't say 'no'

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Baggage Check

Q: My husband spends all of his free time taking care of other people's computer problems. He enjoys doing it but also has trouble saying no.

Since people know he is a computer geek, they don't think twice before asking him to spend time on something that can take up a whole Saturday afternoon.

I am pregnant with our first child and am wondering if I am going to have to draw this boundary for him.

A: How does he view this? If he knows he needs to say "no" more but has trouble doing it, that's much easier than if he thinks everything is peachy keen.

Discuss this with him before the baby comes, because there will be no lack of other lifestyle changes to deal with at that point. Practice by having the two of you completely block off some weekends for baby preparation, preferably with him turning people down respectfully but firmly.

Categories: Concord News

Hip-hop's subtle extremist

Concord Monitor Living - Sun, 08/26/2012 - 00:00
Rapper Oddisee all about the music

During the early days of the rapper Oddisee's career, he took pride in being an idealistic underground lyricist and producer. He was a self-described hip-hop extremist. If it wasn't strictly, purely, solely about the music, it wasn't for him.

Good for art, not quite as good for business. To really form a connection with listeners, he needed to give them more than just expertly crafted songs; there had to be a lifestyle and a story to go along with them.

That's when Oddisee, who was born Amir Mohamed and grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, decided to open up a little more. He didn't invent a persona; he simply adopted a new philosophy. "Don't fabricate what you are. Simply put a magnifying glass to what you are and blow it up for everyone to see," he said on a recent Saturday afternoon outside a local coffee shop. "And that's when everything changed for me."

Categories: Concord News

Monks tackle science

Concord Monitor Living - Sat, 08/25/2012 - 00:00
India Dalai Lama nudges his followers to higher learning

The shouts of more than a dozen Tibetan monks echo through the small classroom. Fingers are pointed. Voices collide. When an important point is made, the men smack their hands together and stomp the floor, their robes billowing around them.

It's the way Tibetan Buddhist scholars have traded ideas for centuries. Among them, the debate-as-shouting match is a discipline and a joy.

But this is something different.

Evolutionary theory is mentioned - loudly. One monk invokes Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Another shouts about the subatomic nature of neutrinos.

In an educational complex perched on the edge of a small river valley in India, in a place where the Himalayan foothills descend into the Indian plains, a group of about 65 Tibetan monks and nuns are working with American scientists to tie their ancient culture to the modern world.

Categories: Concord News

All about clay

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 08/23/2012 - 00:00
Concord Exhibit Embraces playful ceramics Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Megan Bogonovich Rider clay Christine Merriman Raging Samurai (detail) raku tiles Ronnie Gould Rabbit raku

Once the kiln is closed, it's Anything Can Happen day. A color the artist thought was blue can take an aqua turn. A crack can form, severing arms from their bodies. Or a piece the artist spent days, weeks, months perfecting may simply explode.

"So that's exciting ," said Concord sculptor Megan Bogonovich, who started her artistic life as a painter. "There's a different level of control you can have, because everything you make does end up going into a kiln, so things blow up and crack. . . . There's a nice amount of transformation in it too, there's surprises and things you don't know that are going to happen that end up happening." Plus it's tactile. It's up close and personal, more like play than work, she said.

Categories: Concord News

Masters united in camaraderie

Concord Monitor Living - Thu, 08/23/2012 - 00:00
Concord Furniture makers exhibit their best Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  "Flowers and Birds on a Mission" by Jeffrey Cooper

Quite often, John Cameron can look at a piece of furniture and tell in an instant who created it. A longtime member of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters and organizer of their annual exhibit, he understands the relationship between a craftsmen and his wood.

"I look at the pieces and I see the maker. You get so you know the people well enough and you know their style," said Cameron, who was helping set up the exhibit in the New Hampshire Historical Society's library this week.

As the furniture makers arrived one by one with their pieces and set them up around the room, it was evident what he meant. United by its stunning workmanship, the collection was as diverse an assemblage as you're likely to find: a Chippendale-style table in burnished mahogany, a 1930s inspired dry bar, a whimsical take on a Shaker-style chair, an ultra-modern

Categories: Concord News

peach medley

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/22/2012 - 00:00
A delicious variety of ways to whip up this bumper crop Embed multimedia (photos, galleries, audio, map):  Home Plate: Peaches Home Plate: Peaches Home Plate: Peaches

The hot weather in spring sent all our fruiting shrubs and trees into a panic of flower production. But no sooner did the entire orchard burst into bloom, than a week of hard frosts arrived. I didn't think the peach buds would make it through unscathed, but here we are in August with a bumper crop of peaches, so many that I've been giving them away by the bushel. Wish I could say the same for our northern kiwis, pears and apples, which are all looking pretty skimpy this year.

Categories: Concord News

Nothing like a well-dressed dog

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/22/2012 - 00:00
Fresh inspiration for robust combination

Plenty of people surely will disagree, but I firmly believe that underdressed hot dogs simply aren't worth the calories.

If all you're going to do to a hot dog is drizzle some ketchup, splurt some mustard and spoon some relish on it, it's not worth the effort to eat. I favor a well-dressed dog, a hot dog accompanied by robust and inspired toppings that transform this classic summer food into so much more.

As such, my preferred hot dogs tend to be on the overflowing and messy side. But that's why they are summer food, so you can eat them outside.

But just because they are overflowing and messy doesn't mean they shouldn't have a plan. I like to draw inspiration from other dishes when planning the toppings for a hot dog. An Indian curry, for example, is a fine starting point when selecting toppings. Same for Greek spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese pie), pizza and tacos.


Categories: Concord News

Middle Eastern spice the finishing touch

Concord Monitor Living - Wed, 08/22/2012 - 00:00

You'll want to choose large, firm tomatoes for this preparation, because they need to yield enough chopped flesh to add to the filling and because they will serve as edible vessels for the eggs. The stuffed tomatoes are seated on pita or flatbread because: It's a good way to use up those slightly stale pieces; the bread base helps keep the tomatoes upright, and it absorbs some of the tomato goodness; baking intensifies the tomato flavor.

A finishing touch of the earthy Middle Eastern spice blend za'atar makes the dish. You can find it at some larger grocery stores, such as Whole Foods Markets, in addition to Middle Eastern markets.

Serve with a fruit salad. Adapted from a recipe in The New Middle Eastern Vegetarian: Modern Recipes From Veggiestan, by Sally Butcher (Interlink, 2012).

3 whole-wheat pitas or 1 large flatbread

2 or 3 large tomatoes

2 medium cloves garlic

1 small onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

Categories: Concord News
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