Butler Winery

Wine production in Indiana has been on the rise for the last few decades, but did you know it has its origins in the early 19th century? Settlers from Switzerland, in the territory that would become the state of Indiana, were the first to successfully grow grapes and make wine commercially in the United States. Wine was being made in many areas of the country, with varying degrees of success, but the Swiss settlers along the Ohio River in Indiana were the first to make a commercial success of it. On the latest episode of the Indiana Home Cooks podcast, Susie Butler, of Butler Winery told me all about it, and how from those proud hard-scrabble origins, wine making and grape growing finally made a comeback in the 1970’s, several decades after the end of prohibition. It has certainly been an uphill climb.

(Hear the Indiana Home Cooks podcast by clicking the orange button above.)

Those Swiss settlers started out in the southeast of Indiana, in what became Switzerland County, and the town of Vevay. More information on the wineries of that region is here.

To learn more about wine making in Indiana, including its history, check out the “Through The Grapevine” series put together by Purdue’s Wine Grape Team in the College of Agriculture. The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail website has all kinds of information on the wines and wineries, history, and events of this unique viticultural area.

Cheers!

 

Goods For Cooks

It’s a comfort knowing that some things will always be there when we need them. Be it family, a friend, a house, a vacation spot, your hometown, a favorite food lovingly prepared for you. Life can take us in many directions and many miles from where we started, but when we come home we feel comfort in the familiar.

Those who cook and eat in Bloomington, Indiana, have a place like that–Goods For Cooks, the shop on the square that has supplied cooking and kitchen wares for over four decades. A handful of owners have minded the store, each giving it their own personal touch during their tenure. The newest owner, Sam Eibling, took over last fall and is busy putting her own stamp on Goods.

On the latest episode of the Indiana Home Cooks podcast (LISTEN at the link above, or on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, or Stitcher), I visited Goods For Cooks and talked with Sam about this new venture that she and her brother as co-owner have embarked upon. While Sam is excited to update and add new products to the assortment at Goods For Cooks, she is also committed to maintaining the familiar selection and the reliable service Goods has always been known for. She considers her ownership of the store as stewardship–maintaining and strengthening a Bloomington institution to thrive for decades to come.

Learn more about Goods For Cooks at goodsforcooks.com. They’re also on Facebook and Instagram. The store is located on the square in downtown Bloomington, 115 North College Avenue.

Catching Up With Katy

How does Apollo Ohno make his way into the latest episode of the Indiana Home Cooks podcast? Listen and find out.

My good friend Katy Eberle stopped by earlier this month so we could catch up on some of our latest food and cooking adventures. Besides Apollo, we discussed my recent trip to New Orleans, and how beignets have been a part of my life for 23 years. We shared a couple of recipes–Katy’s Cauliflower Pizza and my Mixed Berry Compote. And we considered one chef’s advice for stepping outside your comfort zone when it comes to home cooking.

Here are the recipes, plus a few pictures of the process…

Susan’s Mixed Berry Compote

  • 6 oz. frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 C. Water
  • 1/3 C. Granulated sugar
  • 2 C. frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • Wedge of lemon

Put 6 oz. of frozen raspberries in saucepan. Add water and sugar, and put on low heat on IMG_4766the stove. As berries begin to thaw, turn up to medium heat. Bring up to a simmer and let mixture cook until berries break down and juice thickens a bit. This takes about 10 minutes. Carefully add the rest of the mixed berries, stir, and return to LOW heat. Cook just long enough to thaw the berries. Turn off heat, add a squeeze of lemon and stir. Serve warm on pancakes or waffles. Let cool and store in a glass jar or plastic container in refrigerator. Will keep 2-3 weeks. Can also be served cold with plain yogurt.

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Cooking down the raspberries & sugar
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Frozen mixed berries added
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It’s done!

 

Katy’s Cauliflower Crust Pizza

For the crust:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp minced fresh oregano (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Have pizza toppings of your choice (sauce, cheese, meats, herbs, etc.) prepared and ready.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat paper with non-stick spray. In a food processor pulse cauliflower florets until the consistency of rice. Put riced cauliflower in large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Spoon and smooth mixture into two (8-inch) circles on prepared baking sheet. Bake until browned on bottom, about 20 minutes, then flip crusts over. Bake about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven, top with your pizza toppings of choice, return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. To brown the toppings, but under broiler for a few minutes (optional).

Makes 4 servings. Adapted from Weight Watchers.

 

Happy Birthday, New Orleans! Celebrating it’s tricentennial, 1718-2018.

 

Maple Syrup Time

We can sense winter giving way to spring, as the days grow longer, the sunshine feels warmer, and we enter a period of almost daily freezing and thawing of the air and the soil. People involved in producing maple syrup might consider this the fifth season of the year–maple sugaring season. It’s celebrated throughout Indiana at festivals and demonstrations, including the recent Parke County Maple Syrup Festival, the subject of the new episode of the Indiana Home Cooks here:

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The freezing and thawing this time of year, with temperatures below 32° at night, and above 40 during the day, cause the sugar maple tree to draw moisture up through its roots and to its entire height. For centuries we’ve understood that tapping into that sugar water does nothing to harm the tree and provides us with the raw product that becomes maple syrup.

The sugar water, or sap, once collected, is delivered to the sugar house where it’s boiled for hours until it becomes the golden sweet maple syrup most of us are familiar with. Don’t confuse real maple syrup with the commercial brands of “pancake syrup” that line the grocery store shelves. Those are basically corn syrup with maple flavoring added. And there is nothing wrong with pancake syrup. It is significantly cheaper than pure maple syrup. Find one you like and go for it. But now and then, it’s nice to splurge a little on the real thing.

That got me thinking, though. When I was grocery shopping for a family of four, and perusing the pancake syrups in their various iterations–“original,” “lite,” “sugar free,” store brands, national name brands–I remember thinking how expensive this one item seemed be. My typical purchase was a 24-ounce bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s Lite, which everyone in the house seemed to like. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for Mrs. B’s years ago, but a recent search of the item at my local Pay-Less (Kroger) Store found it for $3.89. A quick calculation converts that to 16 cents per ounce. And that was not the most expensive syrup on the shelf. Aunt Jemima’s Original Lite Syrup, 24 oz., rings up at $4.89 (20 cents/oz.). Standing in the aisle, you think to yourself, “Almost $5 for a bottle of syrup?!?!?”

When I at last signed up for a membership at Sam’s Club, I quit buying pancake syrup at the grocery store and bought it only at Sam’s. That was the best deal going–a 2-pack of 64-ounce jugs of Mrs. Butterworth’s Original (not “lite”) for $6.82. That’s only 5 cents per ounce. (Now, since the two kids have been in college, and out of the house, I still have one of those 64-oz. jugs, un-opened in the pantry, for going on two years…..)

As a shopper, the cost of pancake syrup is one of those rather maddening things, because of the wide variation in price across brands and stores. So out of curiosity I checked several brands and sizes across several stores to get an idea of the cost difference between pure maple syrup and “pancake syrup.”  Here is what I found–Syrup Comparison

Of course, maple syrup is more expensive, making it a once-in-awhile treat. And locally made maple syrup is really up there in price. Sam’s Club Member’s Mark Maple Syrup costs 31 cents per ounce. The local stuff I bought in Parke County was three times that price.

But I was paying for more than syrup. It’s also the experience, right?  It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to going again next year. Observing fresh maple syrup being made and seeing right where it comes from are worth something. And I certainly want the producers to keep tapping, boiling, and bottling!

Top: the big cooker, boiling the maple sugar water into syrup at Williams & Teague Sugar Camp. Left: David Worth settling down the foam that builds up as the syrup boils. A drop of vegetable oil is all it takes. Middle: The Sweetwater Sugar Camp. Right: Getting closer to becoming maple syrup.

The Indiana Maple Syrup Association has more information about syrup producers and events in the state. The American Maple Museum, in Croghan, NY, has a fun slide show about the history of maple syrup in America here.

700 going on 1,000

Since launching the Indiana Home Cooks Podcast five months ago, I’ve had over 700 “listens,” and I thank each and every one of you for taking some time to check out my little show. Seeing it surpass the 700 mark, I’ve been wondering, how soon till we reach 1,000? So I’m putting together a push to reach 1,000 “listens” for the podcast.

If you’ve not tuned in yet, it’s very simple. Click here for Apple Podcasts, or here for Stitcher, whichever podcast player you prefer. There you will see the complete list of shows and you can listen to them all, or just the ones that interest you. If you subscribe to the podcast, you’ll get the latest episodes as they are posted. Right now that’s about every 10 days, give or take. There is no cost to subscribe.

If you like what you hear, share it with your friends, on your Facebook page, or on other social media. This blog has sharing buttons at the bottom of each post. Feel free to share it  with someone who might like Indiana Home Cooks.

Finally, if you have suggestions or ideas for future shows, let me know. You can reply on my Facebook page, Twitter, or send me an email: susanmintert@gmail.com.

Thank you again for your support of Indiana Home Cooks. I hope to hear from you with your feedback, and I’ll keep looking for new stories of food and drink in the Hoosier State to share with you.

The Farm at Prophetstown State Park

The Farm at Prophetstown State Park, outside Battle Ground, Indiana, offers a glimpse into what life was like on an Indiana farm in the 1920’s–from the garden to the barnyard to the wood-burning cookstove in the kitchen. On “The Farm” episode of Indiana Home Cooks, Lauren Reed, the education and events coordinator at The Farm, tells us all about her labor of love. (Here is the episode on Stitcher.)

The time period featured at The Farm, the 1920’s, was a period of transition for farming and for homemaking. The era of mechanization was just beginning–tractors replacing horses, washing machines replacing the washboard, to name a couple examples. The historic Gibson House at The Farm still features a wood burning cookstove in the kitchen. On the icy morning I met Lauren, the stove was not cooperating with her efforts to start a fire to take the chill out of the air. One reminder that life a hundred years ago had its challenges!

In addition to her educational duties, Lauren is also a professional chef who creates special dinners at The Farm using ingredients grown on site. Her experience in the restaurant business goes back to her college days at Indiana State.  She keeps her chef skills honed working special VIP events (as in, the Super Bowl!) with a large event catering business. She talks about her experience at this year’s Super Bowl. She also shared some pictures from the VIP tailgate party she cooked….

In the upper left image, Lauren is on the right. Guy Fieri is keeping a low profile in camo. What an experience for a girl from Rossville, Indiana! Thanks, Lauren, for giving us a peek.

Food Finders

For low income individuals and families, here in my part of Indiana and in every community, it’s a struggle to put good nutritious food on the table every day. From time to time on the Indiana Home Cooks podcast, we like to feature individuals and organizations doing the real work of helping those in need. On the “Food Finders” episode of Indiana Home Cooks, available here…and here, we highlight the work of Food Finders Food Bank, in Lafayette, Indiana.

I had heard of Food Finders for many years since moving to West Lafayette. But I never really understood what the organization did, other than collect donations of food and then distribute it to those in need in the community. Yes, that’s at the heart of what Food Finders does but it’s service to low income individuals and families goes way beyond that, and across a sixteen county region!

On the show we hear from Katy Bender, president and CEO of Food Finders, explain how the organization has expanded it’s services beyond the distribution of food to helping low income individuals and families make their food dollars go further, and much more. We hear from a nutrition education specialist with Purdue Extension, Barb Bunnell, on some of the ways she teaches low income clients to get maximum nutrition by using their “SNAP” vouchers (formerly called food stamps) and the food handouts at local food pantries.

To learn more about Food Finders, visit their website, food-finders.org.

To hear more ways the people of the Lafayette community are helping those most in need, specifically the homeless, check out the Feeding the Hungry episode of the Indiana Home Cooks podcast.