Holiday Nostalgia Rides Again!
30 years after his death, Elvis is everywhere and earning more than he did while alive. Little Bobby Rey, however, can be hard to find outside collector’s shops. One place to get his “Rockin’ ‘J’ Bells,” plus other wonderful vintage Latin Christmas music (like “December Twenty 5,” by the Flashcats — a holiday version of “Mambo No. 5” made current by Lou Bega), is this CD: “Mambo Santa Mambo; Christmas from the Latin Lounge,” available at Amazon.com. Above: The New Hampshire Toy Factory in Center Barnstead is about as close to Santa’s toy factory as you will find in the Granite State. But it isn’t elves who build the tops and yo-yos and paddleball games. Bob and Paula Oberg (mostly Bob) hand-make their items and sell them at museums and gift shops. Call (603) 776-4545 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Above;Handcrafted European glass ornaments, like this one from Christopher Radko, can dress your tree in designs you remember from your childhood. It’s part of a whole retro Christmas line from Radko, including “Shiny Brite” with retro packaging. In New Hampshire, you can find them at Scontsas Fine Jewelry & Home in Nashua (www.scontsas.com) and Christmas Dove in Barrington (www.christmasdove.com). Susan Laughlin on Food Although she’s usually sampling the cuisine of others as the food editor of New Hampshire Magazine, Susan Laughlin is quite a cook herself. Along the way she’s picked up ideas for dishes from some of the best chefs in the state, but here she relates a recipe from her own holiday past. Fruitcake Redemption 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce, preferably homemade 1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup dark molasses 1/3 cup honey 1 package (14 ounces) mixed dried fruit 1 package (6 ounces) mixed cranberries and golden raisins 1 cup walnuts, toast then coarsely chop (about 1/2 pound) 1 cup pecans, toast then coarsely chop (about 1/2 pound) 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/2 teaspoon mace (optional) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves Walnut and pecan halves, for garnish 1/4 cup brandy, bourbon or rum 1. Heat the applesauce over moderate heat in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and stir until the butter is melted and the applesauce is bubbling (4 to 5 minutes). 2. Add the sugar, molasses and honey, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves (about 1 minute). Add the dried fruits and let the applesauce mixture cool to room temperature. 3. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Butter and flour 10 5" x 3" x 2" loaf pans. (If you use tinfoil pans you may want to line with parchment paper.) 4. Toast the nuts lightly (5 to 10 minutes) in the oven on a large sheet pan. 5. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, cloves and optional mace into a medium bowl. Add the nuts. Fold into the applesauce-fruit mixture until just blended. Quickly divide the batter among the pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula dipped in water. Press walnut and pecan halves into the tops to decorate. 6. Bake the fruitcakes for 60 to 70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for one hour. Unmold them onto a rack and let cool to room temperature. Brush the brandy, bourbon or rum all over the fruitcakes. Wrap tightly first in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Store in a cool, dry place for at least one week and up to three months.