September 6, 2007


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50 years of fair
Animals, donuts compete at the Hillsborough County Fair
By Lisa Brown

The Hillsborough County fair in New Boston is a homespun treasure.

Exhibit halls full of homemade goods, fresh from kitchens around the area. People like The Andy Griffith Show’s Aunt Bea, proudly bringing in their homemade pickles to be judged.

The 50th annual Hillsborough County Agriculture Fair — full of animals, entertainment, food, rides and more — will run Sept. 7, 8 and 9, at the 4-H Youth Center, Route 13, New Boston (noon to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m on Sunday).

“It is very 4-H oriented; all of the animal shows other than the horse and ox pulling and skidding are put on by 4-H youth,” said Jolee Chase, 4-H program associate with UNH Cooperative Extension. “There will be youth who participate from Hillsborough and other invited counties throughout the state, from ages 5 to 18 years old.”

Throughout the fair grounds will be animal exhibits, including sheep, goats, dogs, rabbits, working steers, packing goats and dairy cattle. Spectator events include horse skidding, oxen pulling, horse pulling and stock farm tractor pulling contests.

As is tradition with county fairs, the Hillsborough County Fair offers festival-goers several opportunities to show and tell. Adults and children alike can participate in contests including baking and gardening. The rules for home grown vegetables read, “Many people can grow the ‘perfect’ tomato, cucumber or carrot, but not everyone can grow the required number for an exhibit — all of them uniform and of high quality.”

One of the biggest draws each year is the pumpkin growing contest.

“We have some very loyal pumpkin growers throughout Hillsborough County,” Chase said. “Last year’s pumpkin was over a thousand pounds.”

That’s a lot of pie, which is also a big crowd pleaser. This year’s pie baking contest is open to anyone in Hillsborough County who thinks they make the best apple pie. But here are rules. The pie must be homemade, no mixes, it must have two crusts, a top and bottom, and it must be accompanied by a recipe written on a clean 3” x 5” card. Chase said because there are so many pies to taste, the judges rotate each year.

“They get sick of tasting every single pie. They usually do pie one year and change to something else the next year,” Chase said. “By the time you get done, you are pretty sick of apple pie.”

While the apple pie baking contest allows contestants to follow their own tried and true recipes, the King Arthur Flour baking contest rules are rigid. The King Arthur Flour Company in Vermont oversees this event. King Arthur Flour must be used and the recipe, which is provided, must be followed exactly.

Adults this year will be making a Classic Cinnamon-Nut Coffee Ring while junior bakers will challenged to perfectly bake the best Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. When it comes to the King Arthur Flour Baking Contest, there is no wiggle room.

“You have to follow their recipe; they want to see how they [the baked goods] get the different taste,” Chase said. “It is a contest they have done for 10 or 12 years and everyone uses the exact same recipe and most of the time they all taste different.”

For bakers who prefer other flour brands, there are plenty of baking categories to enter, including a new category, the buttermilk doughnut contest. While bakers don’t have to use King Arthur Flour, they must all follow the exact same recipe for buttermilk donuts.

In the various contests during the three days, winners will receive awards and recognition. In some categories, winners can earn anywhere from 50 cents (second place award for flowering kale) to as much as $100, which will be awarded to the person who grows the largest pumpkin.

To participate in any of the contests, all entries, including baked goods and vegetables, must be delivered on Thursday, Sept. 6, the day before the fair opens to the public. Entries are to be taken to the French Building between 2 and 9 p.m. Judging will take place on Friday morning before the doors open to the public. The fair opens to the public on Friday at noon. Parking is free and no pets are allowed on the fairgrounds.

Classic Cinnamon-Nut Coffee Ring, one of the challenges in the Hillsborough County fair’s baking contests. Courtesy King Arthur Flour

50th annual Hillsborough County Agriculture Fair
When: Friday, Sept. 7, from 9 a.m. (noon for the public) to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 4-H Youth Center, Route 13 in New Boston.
Tickets: $8 for adults for one day, $20 for adults for all three days; $5 for children 6 to 12 for one day, $12 for children for three days; children under 6 get in free; $5 for one day and $12 for three days for seniors $63 and over.
More info: Call 641-6060 or go to

Baking tip: When you see a recipe that calls for 1 cup of flour it is equal to 4 1/4 ounces of flour. The King Arthur recipes include the weight of ingredients for more accuracy. According to Allison Furbish, media relations coordinator for King Arthur Flour, bakers should use the “fluff, sprinkle and sweep” method when it comes to measuring flour.
“You fluff up the flour in the bag, because in shipping it gets compressed, so you want to use a wooden spoon and fluff up the flour to aerate it,” Furbish said. “Using a dry measuring cup and a scoop, scoop the flour out of the bag and sprinkle it into the dry measuring cup until it is slightly overflowing, take a straight edge and sweep across the cup to level the flour.” Furbish said with this method you’ll get a more accurate cup of flour.

Buttermilk donuts
Entries must be home prepared, no mixes. Put your name on bottom of plate. Follow the recipe below. Enter 2 plain and 2 glazed donuts. This contest is for adults and teens over 14. There is a junior competition for kids under 14 with adult supervision for frying.

2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
5 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder plus 1 tsp. salt
1tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or shortening, melted oil for frying.

Combine the buttermilk, eggs and sugar. Set aside. Mix together dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir. Stir in the melted butter or shortening and knead until a soft dough forms.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4 inch thickness (roll thin for best results). Cut with a 2 1/2 inch or larger donut cutter.
In a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry the donuts on each side for approximately 1 minute or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip in a powdered sugar glaze while hot and decorate with nuts or candy sprinkles if desired.

3 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp margarine, softened (optional)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla, milk or water.

Combine the powdered sugar, margarine and vanilla in mixing bowl. Mix well and add just enough milk or water until glaze is the consistency you desire. ( A thinner consistency will produce a thin glaze on the doughnuts; a thicker consistency will be more like a frosting.)
First place wins a large canister and a rosette and second place wins a Hillsborough County Fair apron and rosette.

Classic Cinnamon-Nut Coffee Ring
From the adult category of the King Arthur Flour Baking Contest
Rule: King Arthur Flour must be used and recipe must be followed exactly in order to participate in this event

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8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
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03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
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03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch