indieats

with food, there’s always something new

Thank you, Alice

Tonight, Alice Waters shared her passion with me, my friend Ruth Holladay and 598 other guests.

Famed restauranteur and food activist, Alice Waters, came to Indianapolis and spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She shared her thoughts, joys and long, illustrious experience with the audience.

Ever the “teacup personality” described by David Kamp in The United States of Argula, she started out languid. Very, very slow.

I arched my back and sunk into the seat.

“We have to listen to this for a whole hour?

Then I saw them, the boots. Alice Waters was wearing cowboy boots, or rather, cowgirl boots.

I got it. Part of her is sing-songey-little-girlish dressed in drapey clothes. But her feet, clad in “no b/s” boots, tell us she has an iron-clad will.

Two words I’ll take away from this night. Seduction and compromise. That’s what Alice Waters told her audience. When people, or the system, wander in a direction you know is wrong, seduce them with food and kindness and love. Her advice to cullinary students-don’t compromise. Thirty years ago options were limited, now there are choices.

Thank you Alice. And thanks to the IMA, donors and IVY Tech culinary students for making this such a memorable night.

Speaking of shoes, Renee Wilmeth of our favorite Indy foodblog, FeedMeDrinkMe, had on the best pair of pumps I’ve seen in a long time. They were so good, I thought they might be vintage. But no, they were brand new.

Written by Susan Gillie

December 2, 2008 at 11:09 pm

December is

exotic fruit month.

Center for Disease Control

Think Kumquats, Sapote, Ugli fruits, Pepino melon, Cherimoya.

Written by Susan Gillie

December 2, 2008 at 4:46 am

Posted in food as absurd

Organizing

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

No?

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.

indystar.com

November 5, 2008

Boner Center gets eatery

By Susan Guyett
susan.guyett@indystar.com
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