with food, there’s always something new

Archive for November 2008


I decided to feng shui my house and thought getting rid of clutter could enhance the chi. Then I watched one of those home improvement programs and found out the real problem.  I needed to fiip my kitchen.

Mark Bittman posted a Thanksgiving recipe on his blog, but his readers weren’t interested in turkey. They wanted to know how a professional food writer could cook in such a bad kitchen.

My kitchen is much worse. Bittman whines about bumping his shins on the dishwasher. I’m the only dishwasher and I’d kill for a garbage disposal. I’ve no counter space and one tiny cupboard.  I won’t even bother describing the wallpaper

My stove is a “vintage” Hardwick with a double oven. The burners are scary, but the bottom oven heats accurately and evenly. The top oven is too hard to keep in working order so I use it to store my Lodge frying pans..

My kitchen, like Mark Bittman’s, has a big window with a great view. I’d love to have a fancy kitchen, but don’t need one to cook well.

What I need is a better work flow, so I switched furniture. Out of the kitchen came a shelf and a small, drop-leaf table. In came the big, bulky dining room table which now functions as counter and prep space.

The worst space waster in my kitchen?

The microwave

On the off chance that I have to use it, it’s now in a side room.

What’s the one appliance I’d love to have? 

A hand-washing station

It blows my mind that people spend thousands of dollars on granite counter tops, then skip a hand washing station.

What’s wrong with home-improvement/kitchen design hustlers? How did they miss suckering homeowners into shelling out another five grand?


Written by Susan Gillie

November 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Posted in bloggage

Barney the Turkey Boy

What is it about Thanksgiving? Why does a nation that eats out of cans go all out for an artificially created festival day?

When people ask me how they should prepare their Thanksgivng meal, I tell them, “keep the main meal simple and traditional. If you want to get creative, take it out on the appetizers or deserts.”

There’s a great saying, “take my advice, I’m not using it.” That’s me at Thanksgving. I’ve used flip cards, diagrammed the groaning table, and in my prime, set up separate, draped and tiered tables for all the bounty. I’ve marinated, brined and roasted at low heat and high heat. Every trendy, off-the-wall stuffing the food-entertainment industry cynically puts out just before the fourth Thursday of November, I’ve made.

This year, though, I decided to keep it simple.  Following Kim Severson’s The Pilgrim’s Didn’t Brine, I went old school. No salt-soaking, no deep-frying. I used only garlic, thyme and fresh sage in the compound butter. Checking my ’70’s edition of Joy of Cooking, I decided to cook the bird at 300ºF for 15 minutes per pound.

When I picked up my turkey on Tuesday, there was an instant connection. Barney was beautiful. He had shape and curves. His skin glowed. He deserved proper cooking.

Even though I roasted him in my kitchen, we were eating at my sister’s house south of Bloomington. We transported Barney, along with mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, Wrapped first in aluminum foil, we placed him on a platter nestled in a cardboard box, then stuffed towels between him and the box. When we arrived at my sister’s, he went into the oven for five minutes. 

My fear was he’d cool down, dry out and lose flavor, but the boy was succulent and juicy.

And the dark meat? Poultry mousse. Even my mother, who doesn’t like dark meat, loved the custardy meat from the drumstick.

Dinner was a success. My sister made the salads, the side dishes and deserts. Simple really is better. There were no mishaps, no drama or exhaustion from overcommittment to elaborate food, just the comfort and companionship of family.

Barney and I almost missed each other. Not a fan of turkey, I’ve threaten to buck tradtion and roast a chicken. Then I wrote an article about holiday entertaining and recommended Gunthorp Farm’s turkey to readers. Waffling, at the last minute I ordered my turkey online from Goose the Market.

As good as Barney was on Thanksgiving, he’s even better as leftovers. Platter meat was bagged and given to family for sandwiches. I smoked the wings which I’ll use to flavor slow-cooked curly endive. The roasted carcass became stock for a big batch of white chili.

The best part of Barney? His wonderful skin, which I used to make cracklings and sprinkled them on salad. Crunch and turkey flavor and a hint of fattiness, nothing is better.

Barney didn’t change my mind about Thanksgiving–I’ll always like Christmas better–but he made me appreciate how delicious real turkeys are.

Written by Susan Gillie

November 30, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Posted in food as love


While everyone is fussing about sweet potato souffle, the biggest news since the last tornado/flood/ruinous weather just hit the Midwest.

Murray Cheese, venerable New York/Greenich village, best-in-the world-cheese shop, is partnering with Krogers.

This week, the first store in Kenwood Towne Place Kroger store in Cincinnati, Ohio introduced the Murray cheese department. More stores will follow.

So, how long until Murray’s reaches Indy?

Written by Susan Gillie

November 23, 2008 at 4:28 am

Posted in bloggage

oh really?

Susan Guyett’s column in today’s Star brings happy news. A former Fountain Square favorite is opening shop on the eastside.

The problem? The headline and, oh yes, the copy.

November 5, 2008

Boner Center gets eatery

By Susan Guyett
There’s another reason for making your way to East 10th Street these days besides looking for treasures at Audrey’s Place.
Restaurateur Jeff Reuter opened a new eatery inside the John H. Boner Community Center in late September. J.S. Reutz Café, 2236 E. 10th St., is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m.If the name rings a bell, you might recall that Reuter co-owned Joe Reuzar’s Deli on Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square. It served great sandwiches and a variety of popular hot entrees, but closed in November 2004.
Anyone who has missed the twice-cooked mashed potatoes they used to order at the old place or liked his meatloaf more than their own mother’s, will be happy to know both dishes can sometimes be found on the menu at the new place.
Some of Reuter’s most popular sandwich creations also are served at the new restaurant, including his Reuben and turkey melt. 


Did somebody get carried away with spellcheck? Even though it’s late Sunday evening, Star staff haven’t corrected the typos.

Not to worry, in this era of citizen journalists, a reader caught on::

I’ve heard there are some magnificient erections to be admired down at the BonerCommunityCenter.

 Wonder how much longer it’s going to be up (pun intended)?

The good news? It’ll boost restaurant trafflic.

Written by Susan Gillie

November 17, 2008 at 12:06 am

Posted in bloggage

It’s official, no artificial

Written by Susan Gillie

November 15, 2008 at 11:29 pm

Posted in bloggage

Getting ready for turkey day

Our national sport of over-indulging from late November until Superbowl Sunday is about to begin. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away.

Don’t Want to Cook?

You’re over extended, you’ve stretched multi-tasking beyond its limits. Or, you’re too bored or too lazy to cook-and you’re still financially solvent-then head out to a restaurant.

Ted’s Montana Grill is waiting for you. They’re serving a traditional turkey meal ($13.99 per person), along with steaks, burgers and bison. As they say, “There’ll be something for everyone at Ted’s this Thanksgiving.”

Cooking Lessons

Feeling overwhelmed with all the Thanksgiving recipes? The internet’s supposed to make life faster and easier, but the sheer volume of crapola can make a cook’s life complicated.

Who knew cranberry sauce could be so involved? How many bunches of fresh herbs does it take to brine a turkey?

Well, thank your lucky stars you live in Indianapolis. Now you can meet real people, doing real cooking. Adobe Grill is offering cooking lessons, just in time for the holiday season.

Have some fun learning how to prepare a special Adobo Grill Thanksgiving menu during the restaurant’s cooking class at Adobo Grill, 110 East Washington St., at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, November 20.

Attendees will learn how to make Adobo marinated turkey, with classic mole poblano, chorizo-corn bread stuffing, chipotle sweet potato mash and fresh corn esquites.

Additionally, Adobo Grill will give out recipes and a shopping list so attendees can cook up their own Adobo-style Thanksgiving dishes at home.

Walk away from the computer, ditch the recipes and Saveur magazine and have fun at Adobo. Besides, you’ll end up knowing how to make turkey mole. The cost of the class? $24.99 per person.

Last Day

Tomorrow (Saturday, November 15) is the last day to order Gunthorp Farms Heritage Turkeys from Goose the Market. Make me proud, Hoosiers, and support an independent, Indiana farm family.

While you’re ordering your bird, check Chris Eley’s turkey brining video. Do we have a star in our midst?

Live on the east/south side of Indy and want to buy your bird closer to home?  Kevin and Anthony at Edibles are offering Gunthrop Farms turkey. Also, they’ll have a stash of Pumpkin Gelato for sale.




Written by Susan Gillie

November 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Posted in bloggage

Sorry, no comment

If you’re registered on this site and can’t comment, my apologies.

This blog is temporarily under construction. Spambots have taken over, and I’m trying to figure out how to stop them. Your comments are valued, though. Just email me (susan@

Written by Susan Gillie

November 14, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Posted in bloggage

Buy a little something

The biggest roadblock to blogging right now?

The economy. My eyeballs are suction-cupped to the screen whenever I read Planet Money. Credit default swaps, stock injection options, libor, it all boils down to greed, arrogance and ruin. What’s not to love about this tale of human weakness?

The take away is buy a little something. 

I did my duty, and bought a little something. That little something is a Nikon digital SLR camera. It felt like an impulse buy, but I’ve put aside money for some time.

The other litte something I bought was this,

an asian pear from Goose the Market. My first, feeble attempt at food porn.

I hope-if you’re employed or enjoy a steady source of income–that you’ll buy a little something.

Indianapolis is experiencing a renaissance of new, independently-owned shops, restaurants, tearooms, cafes and markets. Let’s support them during these special times.

Written by Susan Gillie

November 13, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Posted in food as adventure

November is

National Turkey month, of course.

Did you know the second week of November is National Split Pea Week?

Dried split peas provide folate, fiber, iron, and protein, as well as being low in fat. Unlike cooking other legumes, it’s not necesarry to soak them before cooking with them. It’s easy to make a hot and hearty meal in a hurryUNL Extension in Lancaster County.

And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a U.S.A. Dry Pea and Lentil Council.

Written by Susan Gillie

November 6, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Where Have You Been?

I admit it. I’ve been lax about this blog. There are a million reasons.

This summer was too wonderful–perfect weather, phenomenal produce. Sunshine lured me away from the keyboard. What more can anyone say about tomatoes? All you have to do is slice them, sprinkle on a little salt, a little sugar and indulge.

Summer turned into fall, which turned into an Indian Summer and I’m still eating tomatoes. Not perfect Indiana August tomatoes, but wonderful, fresh-from-the-garden, sit-on-the-porch-steps and let-the-juice-dribble tomatoes.

I’d like to tell you that I’ve ignored this site because I was caught up with the presidential campaign, but I wasn’t. Early on I cast my vote for Obama and figured he’d have a clear-cut victory, which he did.  I’m happy he won, but my hunch is he’ll hike down the same path as Jimmy Carter. Hope I’m wrong, but the guy has a streak of Puritanism in him. 

Maybe you saw me on Chanel 8, being interviewed about the election.

Walking toward Oceanaire for lunch with my friend Cheryl, the only o’s on my mind were oysters. The reporter blocked my way, asking me if I thought Hilliary’s speech at the Democratic convention would sway her supporters to join the cause. I’d didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth which was I don’t watch TV and had no idea what she said. Instead I said “naah, the speech didn’t really matter. I’m an Obama fan and so is everyone else I know.”

Clearly he profiled me: late-50’s, white, affluent (I scrub up well), educated woman. Hah! The best part of the interview was the shocked look on his face when I turned out to be just a working person and not some crazed, embittered feminist.

Enough of partisan politics, what’s taking up a chunk of my time is the money crisis we’re in.

Economics was never a favorite subject of mine. In college I sat listening to supply-and-demand, when the prof would say something about human behavior. I’d be startled out of my day-dreaming and think, “does he know anything about people? If so, he’d know that what he just said was crap.” One time I asked an econ professor if he really believed what he was saying. First he looked sheepish, then he looked guilty, then he pulled himself together and said, “Maybe.”

This crazy, global, world-class, byzantine mess we’re in, I’m addicted to it. It’s like a tornado running alongside the house, so close, it makes the windows rattle. Planet Money is my go-to-source, replacing food blogs as daily reads.

Even though I now know what the TED spread is, I’m a foodie at heart. Here’s my Ted Spread–4 oz. of cream cheese whipped, with half a container of Country Mouse, City Mouse Nyona Lake Jezebel. In keeping with tight economic times, make your own bread and slather it with spread.

And as Contry Mouse City Mouse owners, Katy and Erin, say,

“Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.” Aesop

Written by Susan Gillie

November 6, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Posted in food as fun