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10 Jul 17:36

King Dough -- Revisit

by Erin in Indy
One of the last places I went to eat before the shutdown was King Dough and it was one of the first that was requested by the fam when we decided to venture out (and I mean to sit outside and eat somewhere). So at King Dough, they are basically offering their food as carry out (don’t worry you can get drinks too) and then you can sit and eat it at their outdoor tables. So they aren’t really serving it to you, but they put it in a box and they do give you some disposable plates etc. to use. 

We got a bottle of wine to share (you can only get whole bottles FYI) and the kids all got some drinks. We had to wait a bit to get a table in the shade but got one just before our food was ready. We had the meatball starter ($14), a Stinky Pete pizza with an egg on top ($18.25), a burger and fries ($13), and a baby margarita pizza ($8.5), also with an egg on top. 

I was happy to see that from my first visit till now, things here are consistently good. The crust is what makes the pizza so yummy I think and even though this one didn’t have quite as much of the “stink factor” that the first one I had did, it still tasted great.  My only knock on both pizzas were neither egg was cooked quite enough, leaving a bit of gelatinous white. The burger is a surprise hit for a pizza place, and I think it ends up being one of the better burgers in town. They serve a 5-ounce smash burger with American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and secret sauce on a sesame seed bun. I like that the bread is not too much for the burger and it is just a super tasty, and again, consistently solidly good (this is probably the 3rd time ordering a burger). Well worth ordering, even at a pizza place.

And I didn’t mention the meatballs, but they have become a perennial order as well—and for a person who is generally not a meatball lover, they are very good. Really tender and great with the fresh marinara and ricotta. 

All in all, a good relatively safe (as far as distancing and cleanliness goes) option if you really need to get out of the house and get some food. Honestly, if I lived closer, I’d be getting carry out a lot from them. Too bad they don’t have a location further north. 

Also, please keep sharing your favorite safe, outdoor places to eat...this is about as far as I am going right now---not quite ready for inside seating,

King Dough
452 N. Highland Ave
Indy 46202

09 Jul 19:31

Dill Pickles

by Jeanine Donofrio

The first time I tried this dill pickle recipe, I wondered why on earth I’d spent so many years buying pickles at the grocery store. Sure, store bought pickles can be tasty, but these little guys take dill pickles to a whole new level. They’re super easy to make (the refrigerator does most of the work for you!), and they taste awesome. They’re crisp, tangy, and refreshing, with an addictive garlic-dill flavor. Most often, I eat them as a snack right out of the fridge, but they’re delicious on sandwiches and veggie burgers too. If you like dill pickles, you’re […]

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09 Jul 19:28

Carl Reiner, Perfect

by Steve Martin
The director and funnyman taught Steve Martin about film and comedy, but it’s Reiner’s advice on a completely different subject that he cherishes.
17 Jun 15:41

Make a Compound Butter, and Use It on Your Next Meal

by Melissa Clark
Add herbs and some alliums to a stick of butter for a lot of flavor.
17 Jun 15:33

Best Egg Salad

by Jeanine Donofrio

If you have hard boiled eggs leftover from celebrating Easter or Passover, make this egg salad recipe! If you don’t, make it anyway. In my opinion, it’s what a classic egg salad recipe really wants to be. It still has a rich, creamy texture and tangy flavor, but it’s fresher and more complex. It uses far less mayo than a traditional egg salad, and it gets bright, briny flavor from capers, lemon juice, and plenty of Dijon mustard. A pinch of celery seed, a dash of turmeric, and a handful of fresh herbs tie it all together. Stuffed into a […]

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17 Jun 15:32

Homemade Tortillas

by Jeanine Donofrio

When we lived in Austin, I fell in love with the homemade tortillas at Central Market. They were so fresh that when you bought them, the heat from the just-cooked tortillas would fog up the bag. It took everything I had to resist opening it up and eating one on the spot! I loved every kind of tortillas Central Market sold – flour, corn, and even multigrain – but their mitad & mitad were my favorite by far. Made with corn and wheat flour, they were the best of both worlds, with all the flexibility of flour tortillas and a […]

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17 Jun 15:31

Italian Chopped Salad

by Jeanine Donofrio

Who else loves chopped salad? I’m a huge fan of all salads, but chopped salad has to be one of my favorites. Because the ingredients are, well, chopped, you can get a little bit of everything in each bite, so it’s extra-flavorful and fun to eat! Speaking of fun, this chopped salad recipe comes from my friend Gaby’s new book What’s Gaby Cooking: Eat What You Want. If you’re not already familiar with Gaby’s blog and Instagram, you absolutely should be. Her recipes aren’t entirely vegetarian, but her California-style cooking is always packed with fresh produce. Her new book is […]

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17 Jun 15:30

Homemade Granola Bars

by Jeanine Donofrio

A few weeks ago, I started craving the granola bars I ate as a kid. They had a chewy texture, a sweet, oat-y flavor, and pockets of mini chocolate chips. These days, I don’t keep packaged snacks around the house, but I always have old fashioned oats, nuts, and seeds in my pantry. I might not have had the exact granola bars I was craving on hand, but I could make homemade granola bars that’d be even better! Fast forward to now, and I’ve made this granola bar recipe more times than I can count. It’s a breeze to make, […]

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17 Jun 15:27

Homemade Hamburger Buns

by Jeanine Donofrio

Three months ago, if someone had told me that Jack and I would start making homemade hamburger buns every week, I would have laughed. To me, hamburger buns seemed like something that only professional bakers could make. But since Jack’s been baking up a storm lately, the idea of homemade hamburger buns started to seem less and less crazy. If we could make bagels and bread, why not hamburger buns too? After testing and re-testing this recipe, I’m happy to report that homemade hamburger buns are surprisingly easy to make! They require under 30 minutes of hands-on work, and they’re […]

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17 Jun 15:24

Homemade Pita Bread

by Jeanine Donofrio

This homemade pita bread recipe comes from my friend Molly Yeh’s Short Stack Yogurt cookbook. It’s been on my list to try since the book was first released two years ago, but for one reason or another, I never made it until this spring. When I finally did, what Jack and I thought would be a fun, one-time cooking project turned into a full-on pita bread obsession. We started putting extra yogurt on the grocery list just so we could make it! If you’re thinking, “Wait. Yogurt? In pita bread?”, you’re not crazy. It’s not a typical pita bread recipe […]

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17 Jun 15:22

Caprese Sandwich

by Jeanine Donofrio

Sometimes, the best things in life are the simplest, and this Caprese sandwich recipe is here to prove it. It’s super easy to make, but it’s still insanely delicious, thanks to juicy, sweet tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella cheese. Layer them between slices of freshly baked focaccia, and you have a mouthwatering lunch. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might already know that the combination of basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella was what first got me excited about cooking with seasonal ingredients. Jack and I were on a trip to Italy, and we ate Caprese salad […]

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15 Jun 17:57


by Rachel Schultz

When I am meal planning, any dish that has lots of fresh ingredients has to be made during the beginning of the week. If we’re having a salad, it’s probably Monday. And if I want a salad on Friday, that is just too bad for me. So something like this sweet potato salad is perfect because I love that all the ingredients keep well throughout the week leading up to grocery day. (I’m looking at you avocado, basil, and bananas.) This is a nutritious salad type meal you can still make on the furthest day from when you got groceries or produce.

To make it an entree, I make it with some chicken breasts marinated in some kind of balsamic dressing and then grilled.

I love the unique ingredient mix too. Lemon juice is maybe unexpected but once you taste the whole combination you’re like wow this is good. It is not like anything else in our weeknight dinner rotation AND I LIKE VARIETY.

Serves six

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
30 ounces chickpeas
15 ounces black beans
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle sweet potato with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange on a lined baking sheet and roast 30 minutes.

Toss together roasted sweet potatoes with chickpeas, black beans, red onion, lemon juice, garlic powder, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flake, and sesame seeds.

Author: Rachel Schultz
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 30 ounces chickpeas
  • 15 ounces black beans
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drizzle sweet potato with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Arrange on a lined baking sheet and roast 30 minutes.
  3. Toss together roasted sweet potatoes with chickpeas, black beans, red onion, lemon juice, garlic powder, parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, red pepper flake, and sesame seeds.

Adapted from Elemental Custard

11 Jun 18:45

How To Make Classic, Flavor-Packed Macaroni Salad

by Patty Catalano
This fresh, vibrant salad deserves to be in your summer rotation. READ MORE...
11 Jun 18:41

Our 12 Absolute Best Zucchini Recipes

by Kelli Foster
I'm starting with double chocolate zucchini breakfast cookies. You? READ MORE...
22 Apr 18:36


by Elysia Moccia

Normally in spring, my home is an ever revolving door for our friends come game time. (This year is one to remember for being different in that way!) Having easy, make ahead appetizers, with simple assembly make feeding our hungry game viewers one of the easiest things to check off my hosting list. The most recent fan favorite was these pork wontons that I top with a mango jalapeno salsa. Everything can be made hours ahead, and all that is needed is a few minutes of assembly.

I like to plate ten or twelve wontons at a time and everything keeps well to assemble more as the night goes on. These are a nice change of pace to the traditional spread. Whether you consider yourself a sports fan or not, most of us will gladly jump on the bandwagon of college basketball come march or football in the fall.

My favorite part of the whole experience is that it’s a solid excuse to have favorite game day snacks.

Pulled Pork Wontons with Mango Jalapeño Salsa
Serves 36 wontons

36 wonton wrappers
2 pounds boneless pork ribs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup bbq sauce, more if desired
1 mango, minced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced
2 jalapeños, divided
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon honey

Drizzle olive oil to cover the bottom of the slow cooker. Place boneless pork ribs, onion, 4 smashed garlic cloves, liquid smoke, 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper into slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours. Once pork is fork tender and falling apart, shred pork and mix in bbq sauce, adding more if desired.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut corners off of wonton wrappers. Press cut wontons into muffin tins sprayed with cooking oil, making sure wontons are gently pressed along the sides and bottom. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled you can keep them in sealed container until ready to assemble. This can be done the day ahead, if desired.

Mix mango, red onion, red bell pepper, 1 minced jalapeño, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, honey, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cover and refrigerate one hour to allow salsa to marinate. The longer it sits the better it gets!

To assemble place bbq pork into bottom of baked wonton cup. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of mango salsa onto pork wonton and garnish with sliced jalapeño.

Author: Rachel Schultz
  • 36 wonton wrappers
  • 2 pounds boneless pork ribs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ cup bbq sauce, more if desired
  • 1 mango, minced
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, divided
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Drizzle olive oil to cover the bottom of the slow cooker. Place boneless pork ribs, onion, 4 smashed garlic cloves, liquid smoke, ¾ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper into slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours. Once pork is fork tender and falling apart, shred pork and mix in bbq sauce, adding more if desired.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Cut corners off of wonton wrappers. Press cut wontons into muffin tins sprayed with cooking oil, making sure wontons are gently pressed along the sides and bottom. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled you can keep them in sealed container until ready to assemble. This can be done the day ahead, if desired.
  4. Mix mango, red onion, red bell pepper, 1 minced jalapeño, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, honey, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cover and refrigerate one hour to allow salsa to marinate. The longer it sits the better it gets!
  5. To assemble place bbq pork into bottom of baked wonton cup. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of mango salsa onto pork wonton and garnish with sliced jalapeño.

16 Apr 15:17

Lemon Burst Crinkle Cookies

by Emma Chapman

Here’s something you should know about me: I am lemon obsessed. Truly! I drink a cup of ginger tea with turmeric and lemon every morning, followed up with a HUGE glass of water that I squeeze the rest of that tea lemon into. So it’s probably no surprise that as I’ve been in the mood to experiment in the kitchen, I baked these lemon burst crinkle cookies. Simple, sweet, and absolutely bursting with flavor.

I always know when I have a winner when my husband tries a new cookie recipe and gives me a thumbs up. Ha. These lemon burst crinkle cookies are thumbs up-from-the-husband approved. 🙂

You make the dough and then chill it for an hour (up to overnight), so these are fun to make ahead if you already know you’ll be in the mood for cookies tomorrow.

I also love the process of dividing up the dough, rolling into balls, and then rolling in a small bowl of powdered sugar. It’s like a fun little Play-Doh project before baking a batch of cookies. So this could be a fun one to do with kiddos too.

These are soft on the inside with a little crinkle crunch on the outside. If you like lemon even half as much as me, give these a try! Happy baking, Emma

Lemon Burst Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 lemon (zest and 2 tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, oil, and eggs. Use a box grater to zest as much of the lemon peel as you can, and then reserve 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (or as much as you can). Stir the zest and juice into the bowl.

  2. Then, stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt until a dough ball forms. Cover and chill for at least one hour or overnight.

  3. Divide into 12 balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes until the edges just begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

You can use olive oil or other oils you may have on hand. Just keep in mind if you use an oil with a heavy taste or color, it may slightly change the final color and taste of your cookies. These cookies will naturally turn out yellow mostly from the egg yolks and lemon zest, but if you want to bump up the yellow color more you can add a little food dye to the wet ingredients (before stirring in the flour, baking powder, and salt).

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
14 Apr 12:04

Root & Bone

by Erin in Indy

Whenever there’s a new restaurant that highlights fried chicken on the menu,  you know I gotta try it. Made a reservation with the fam and headed over. This is apparently a third location of a restaurant started by Top Chef winners—the first two locations being in Miami and NYC.  The menu touts itself as “honest southern food.”

We started with some “Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits” ($7). You get an attractive cutting board with two biscuits on it, honey chicken jus, sea salt and benne seeds (which are like artisanal sesame seeds as far as I could tell). I liked the biscuits—they have a crispy exterior and soft interior, but I did not care for the honey chicken jus—it was just too much like drinking sweet buillion. Give me some soft salty butter any day—or do what I did and eat them with the pimento cheese from the next dish. (They also have fried chicken biscuits as appetizers which might be a better option, but I did not try them).

The fried green tomato “BLTs” ($11) were probably the most disappointing dish of the evening for me. These were little stacks of fried green pickled tomato, a pig dollop of pimento cheese, tomato jam, and then a slice of pork belly bacon and some greens on top. The best part was the pimento cheese aspect of it as I mentioned. I enjoyed just eating it with the biscuits. The fried green tomato part didn’t really stay in the crust, I didn’t really care for the tomato jam (too sweet for me) and the bacon was so fatty it was hard to eat. This one would be a skip for me, although I would enjoy it if they sold a side of the pimento cheese. It was tasty.

At this point, we hadn’t loved anything, and were a little nervous. We ordered a bunch of things to share—of course as mentioned, we ordered a half portion of fried chicken ($19). When it came, based solely on appearances, I wasn’t sure, but it was really quite good. It’s not a thick breading, but it had nice flavor and the meat was exceptionally tender. They say it’s brined in sweet tea—didn’t taste tea per se, but it was very tender. Even the breast. 
We also ordered the shrimp and grits ($23). So this was an interesting and very tasty take on shrimp and grits. There was a nice pile of very creamy grits topped with just cooked shrimp (certainly nowhere near overcooked). There were pickled onions, some sweet corn, andouille sausage and beer jus on top.  Oh yeah and some soft broiled cherry tomatoes. I tell yeah, there was a lot of stuff going on, but it was good stuff. The tomatoes were the only part I wasn’t sure about, but mixed together with the other stuff, they added nice acid.

We also got the cast iron seared trout ($26). It was local red trout with a corn johnny cake, charred lemon, asparagus, and gribiche sauce—which is a sauce made with parsley, Dijon and boiled egg. I didn’t get a lot of the sauce on my bite (it was a little swish on the side of the plate), but the fish was cooked just perfectly and was well-seasoned. The johnny cake was kind of charred—I am assuming it wasn’t meant to be black. The rest of the plate was good.

Luckily, we had also ordered some sides anyway—the star of the two that we ordered was the gooey corn spoon bread ($8). So it was like a super soft corn bread—almost more like corn pudding topped with a huge dollop of cheddar and buttermilk cream. This was a table favorite for sure. The buckwheat cheddar waffles ($6), which sounded interesting, were a little less successful. They were two small very soft buckwheat waffles that had melted cheese on them and were served with bourbon maple syrup. This came across as a dessert with cheese on it. I expected the waffles to be less sweet than they were and then when you added the syrup, it really felt like dessert. Or breakfast. In fact, they feature these waffles in a dessert, which is probably a better way to eat them.

I liked the interior, and it was packed on a Sunday night, so I know some of you have been. What was your experience? 

Root & Bone
4601 N. College Ave
Indy 46205

26 Mar 03:37

Coronavirus Hits, and Finally Everyone Is Watching The Wire

by Yohana Desta
HBO says viewership of the acclaimed drama has skyrocketed in the last week.
09 Mar 17:35

Oakley's -- Revisit

by Erin in Indy

Hey guys, just a reminder—don’t forget about Oakley’s. It is still a great option for a nice dinner out with a lot of different flavors for everyone. I know it’s outlasted so many places, and that everyone loves the hot new thing, but this place is still solid.

We met my sister and her husband over there the other day to save them a few miles (they live west). They seated us in the chef’s table, which was fun, but you definitely need to want to be in the action. I will start with saying I love the professionalism of the staff and their prompt service and knowledge of the menu items. 

My sister and hubby started with the classic shrimp corndogs ($2.75 each). They really enjoyed them. I have had them many times before but wanted to try something else. I rarely pass up deviled eggs so we had the red chile tamale deviled eggs ($5.75) and the prime rib dumplings ($13.75). Both items were very, very good. I liked the bit of heat in them with the corn, lime and cilantro flavor—there was also some smoked chicken on top making them a little more filling than most. There was a little crispy corn crisp as well—like I said, these are much more than most deviled eggs—a lot going on, but lots of great tastes. 

Hubby was oohing and awwing over the dumplings and they were also really good. Again, much more to them than your typical dumpling. They were full of steak, spinach and leeks, and sitting on poblano crème fraiche. Oh yeah, and topped with sweet corn pico de gallo, cotija cheese and with crispy bits of tortilla on top—again some great Mexican-type flavors and great combination of textures as well as flavors.  There are always a lot of flavor combos going on in Oakley’s dishes—sometimes it is almost overwhelming to try and figure out what’s what, but everything almost always tastes good.

Like the next dish, which is a perennial favorite of mine. The “Toad in the hole” ($13.75) is a variation of your classic cook an egg in the hole in the toast. So this version has got your egg cooked in the hole of a piece of Brioche, but it is also topped with artichokes, prosciutto, roasted pepper and olive relish, arugula, candied walnuts, Brie, mushroom truffle and red pepper coulis. Whew! That’s a lot of stuff. And you know, you pretty much can’t even see the egg, but man is it tasty. It’s one of my favorite things at Oakley’s. You can kind of get a different flavor profile with each bite if you want to by dipping in the various sauces. But you get at least a little of the eggy bread in most bites, and that’s always a good thing.

Hubby ordered one of his regular Oakley’s favorites for dinner—the pasta with a crushed tomato sauce, roasted garlic ricotta and pancetta ($19.75). And as always, he added the chicken and artichoke meatballs (+$6.75). This is a great pasta dish that has been on the menu for a long time for good reason. I like the extra acid of the artichokes and tomatoes and the artichokes seem to help keep the meatballs moist.

I ordered a special ($35.75) that was also really good—it was a seared tile fish filet that was topped with all kinds of things—there was carrot puree, small pasta, some aioli, roasted veggies and lots of other stuff that I have forgotten. There were olives and other acidic bite that I really liked. Again, a ton of things going on, but the fish itself was really light and  tender.

My sister had scallops ($15.75) and my brother in law the short rib ($32.75). I didn’t really try theirs so I can’t really speak to them, but they seemed to like everything they had a lot. And as always, they were beautiful.

We had a couple of desserts—the Dan’s chocolate bar ($9.75) and the special ($9.50), which was an olive oil cake with berries and a wonderful homemade raspberry sorbet. I wasn’t expecting to like the olive oil cake as much as I did, and I really liked it. Honestly, the chocolate bar is a little dense for me—extremely rich and thick. It typically comes with coconut ice cream, which neither hubby nor I really like so we substituted the roasted banana yogurt from another dish which was really good and interesting. The bar is served with some chocolate ganache, cherries jubilee, and dehydrated chocolate mousse. I did like the variation in textures—I just couldn’t eat more than a bite or two. Also, side note: Oakley's has one of the best dessert wine menus in town.

All in all, for a special night out, this is a great place to remember. There’s a lot going on in pretty much every dish, but it’s fun to try all the various flavor combinations. And the main ingredient is pretty much always prepared exactly perfectly. And it’s nice to be cared for by a professional staff who is not at all snooty. I do sort of wish the menu changed slightly more than it does, but on the other hand, I have certain favorites that I love as well. 

What are your favorite items at Oakley’s?

Oakley’s Bistro
1464 W 86th St
Indianapolis, IN 46260
(317) 824-1231

04 Mar 18:45

Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Is a Green New Deal Fantasy

by Kate Aronoff

Between a seemingly endless election season, potential global pandemic, and looming climate catastrophe, these are stressful times. If you’ve wandered onto the internet seeking an easy hit of serotonin sometime in the last year, you may be one of the between three and five million viewers each week who tunes into Gourmet Makes. The flagship offering from legacy food magazine Bon Appétit’s phenomenally successful YouTube channel, the show sees professionally trained pastry chef Claire Saffitz reconstruct familiar snacks—Almond Joys, Pringles, Skittles—with quality ingredients.

The formula for each episode is the same: Saffitz introduces the challenge, samples and dissects the snack du jour, reads off a lengthy ingredient list, and then spends what is usually several painstaking days recreating it from scratch. You can judge how laborious a food is by how long the video is—the longest, Gourmet Jelly Bellies, stretches to 48 minutes. Along the way, an exasperated Saffitz seeks out troubleshooting advice and emotional support from fellow professional chefs on the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen staff, many of whom have become celebrities in their own right, with their own similarly unscripted, imperfect, personality-driven shows.

It’s delightful.

A wholesome Instagram account called Meme Appetit has sprung up and attracted 272,000 followers. There is fan fiction. The kind of online adoration viewers heap on Saffitz might be rivaled only by that paid to the Baby Yoda character from The Mandalorian—in both cases, Tweeters say they would die for them. The test kitchen chefs’ personal lives aren’t emphasized in the series, though there was rampant buzz about the ring that appeared on Saffitz’s finger last fall. The food isn’t entirely the point, either; most of the recipes on Gourmet Makes, especially, are too complicated by half for novice home chefs to make at home. So what makes Gourmet Makes and the Bon Appétit YouTube channel’s other shows such a hit?

With videos running for nearly an hour, the Test Kitchen rejects the made-for-social approach of other viral cooking videos like those on BuzzFeed’s Tasty channel, which foist disembodied hands assembling Six Easy Weeknight Dinners (or some such) onto unsuspecting Facebook scrollers. It’s a far cry, too, from Food Network favorites Paula Dean and Ina Garten flawlessly preparing signature dishes in idyllic country kitchens—and further still from Gordon Ramsey shouting at underlings. The Test Kitchen’s closest cousin is chef Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, the bestselling cookbook turned four-part Netflix series. Nosrat—sunny and masterful—travels the world exploring the titular, constitutive elements of good food, visiting olive orchards in the Mediterranean and centuries-old soy sauce brewers in Japan. Writer Malcolm Harris at Eater argued in 2018 that Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’s particular joy derived from “its vision of unalienated labor” and its willfully inefficient display of “virtuosity performed for its own sake.”

The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen offers a similar thrill. Unlike the settings of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, the action in the Test Kitchen revolves almost entirely around co-workers in a workplace, where chefs test recipes that will wind up online or in the magazine. The seemingly nonhierarchical, supportive atmosphere on its YouTube channel contrasts starkly with the greater American food industry, whose labor troubles stretch from farm to table. Food workers all along continent-spanning supply chains are among the economy’s most precarious workers. Farmers face debilitating debt in an increasingly centralized industry. Farmworkers are barely scraping by. Many dish-washers live in fear of deportation. And servers at fast-food joints and hip coffee shops alike subsist on a meager tipped minimum wage that’s been frozen at $2.13 since 1991. Sexual harassment is rampant, and job insecurity, domineering managers, and punishingly long hours—not to mention the tyranny of grouchy Yelp reviewers—make food-and-beverage-related jobs some of the toughest around for employees’ mental health. According to the Restaurant Opportunities Center, roughly nine out of 10 restaurant workers lack paid sick leave and employer-provided health care. Two-thirds report they’ve gone to work sick. So far this primary season, servers have donated inordinately to Bernie Sanders, who has made Medicare for All a centerpiece of his campaign.

In a world of Soylent-fueled productivity and meals scarfed down at desks, there’s some novel pleasure in watching people do something they like, with people they like, for as long as it takes. Brad can ferment popcorn and ginger beer to his heart’s content. Amiel Stanek can walk through 59 ways to cook an egg. Drinks editor Alex Delaney brings a friend along to sample cheesesteaks and breakfast tacos and work through the whole menu at some of New York’s best restaurants, at what appears to be a leisurely pace. Contrast all that with what writer Jia Tolentino describes as the salad chain Sweetgreen’s “marvel of optimization”:

[A] line of 40 people—a texting, shuffling, eyes-down snake—can be processed in 10 minutes, as customer after customer orders a kale caesar with chicken without even looking at the other, darker-skinned, hairnet-wearing line of people who are busy adding chicken to kale caesars as if it were their purpose in life to do so and their customers’ purpose in life to send emails for 16 hours a day with a brief break to snort down a bowl of nutrients that ward off the unhealthfulness of urban professional living.

The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen is no socialist utopia, of course. And there’s nothing especially revolutionary about mainstream foodie culture. Most Bon Appétit YouTube stars balance video appearances with writing and editorial work for the magazine, and it’s hard to imagine every dynamic in the Test Kitchen is as saccharine as it looks on camera: They’re workers, too, whose labor is intended to fuel profits for Condé Nast. Instagram-worthy Bon Appétit merchandise—“The Iconic Claire Shirt” or a $150 apron, for instance—cashes in on YouTube gold. Even so, the Test Kitchen brings a vision of how things might be different.

While cooking content frequently presents a go-slow, even noncapitalist approach to food prep—think The Pioneer Woman, River Cottage, etc.—the locus tends to be some domestic, small-c conservative oasis. Gourmet Makes adopts a different premise: admiring the merits of our favorite megacorporation-produced junk foods, then setting out to discover how deindustrializing the production with skill and teamwork could make them even better—just for the hell of it. To watch Gourmet Makes or It’s Alive—Brad Leone’s fermentation show—feels a bit like hanging out with someone playing hooky from their “real” job, even though it’s exactly the opposite. However much branding goes into Bon Appétit Test Kitchen shows, the reasons so many people love them are the reasons so many people hate capitalism and how it’s twisted our relationships to food and one another.

Fast food—from monoculture to McDonald’s to $15 Manhattan fast-casual grain bowls—is as bad for the planet as it is for our psyches. Agricultural production currently accounts for 8.4 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, driven largely by factory farms that pump out food as unhealthy as it is carbon intensive. In recognition of food’s considerable carbon footprint, the Test Kitchen at the start of this year resolved to make itself more sustainable, ensuring 30 percent of new recipes are plant-based, and to cut down on food waste, among eight other laudable measures.

Making the way the U.S. consumes food more sustainable, though, means more dramatic, high-level shifts in values and policy. No amount of preachy veganism will help cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius so long as a Big Mac is still the cheapest, fastest thing someone can grab between shifts at different minimum-wage jobs, served up by people who themselves are working for poverty wages. A sustainable food system isn’t just about sourcing or ingredients but making it possible to eat at a different pace and for more people to cook and grow food for themselves and not corporate bottom lines. A world where we can all spend four days making gourmet Sour Patch Kids is one where we can cook long dinners with friends and family without fear of deportation or stay up late playing music and drinking natural wine. It’s one where fresh, organic produce isn’t out of reach in working-class neighborhoods, holed up in Amazon-owned megastores, and where farmers can make a decent living and not be run out of business by industrial feeding operations that pollute their drinking water. Summer squash grown in soil that sequesters carbon (rather than eroding at between 10 and 100 times its natural rate) can be roasted to perfection at barbecues in sprawling, well-maintained public parks.

It’s the world proposals like the Green New Deal—a policy framework to transition the economy off fossil fuels—seek to bring about through regenerative agriculture, a federal green job guarantee, and beefed-up labor protections. As with other sectors of the economy that need to be brought in line with planetary limits, remaking the food system won’t mean much if it isn’t accompanied by equally ambitious changes in other sectors that help to transform and decarbonize consumption more generally. Altogether, these shifts can make life a lot more pleasant.

The original New Deal dealt with consumption and agriculture as well. Among Franklin Roosevelt’s first acts after taking office, in March 1933, was legalizing and taxing beverages with no more than 3.2 percent alcohol nationwide, which had been outlawed by Prohibition. The Twenty-First Amendment repealed Prohibition altogether that December. Doing so was as much a means to lift the nation’s spirits as to stimulate the economy, providing a boost to tavern owners and grain and grape growers. Local governments also saved money by not enforcing the ban on spirits. Because there were still moral misgivings about the role of alcohol in society, the New Deal invested generously in public leisure infrastructure like parks, playhouses, and hunting lodges, giving people some way to spend their time other than at the bar. Roosevelt “brain trust” member and Undersecretary of Agriculture Rexford Tugwell was especially bullish on America’s newly unleashed alcohol production, seeing it as central to what he called his fellow New Dealers’ “political dedication to the pursuit of happiness.”

“Wine and beer,” he said in a speech two months after the end of Prohibition, “are made from agricultural produce, and the consumption of American wine and beer cannot only serve the broader purposes of the New Deal in making for a calmer and happier type of existence, but will help the American farmer to find a better market for his produce.” He at one point proposed opening a model winery in Maryland under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture to serve as a state-of-the-art research facility for viticulture and enology. “I foresee a plethora of small local vintages, some good, some mediocre, some perfectly dreadful, out of which will arise in future some great names and great traditions of American wine,” Tugwell continued during the speech. “I anticipate a calmer and more leisurely type of civilization, in which there will be time for friendly conversation, philosophical speculation, gaiety, and substantial happiness. For today we have in our possession all the elements which are necessary to that more abundant life.”

That’s no less true today than it was in 1934. It’s a relative blip in the long scope of human civilization that our most basic needs have been left to the mercy of a few megacorporations. The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen hasn’t written a recipe for food justice. But it lets viewers indulge vicariously in the kinds of abundance and experimentation that, off camera, few kitchens and workplaces now enjoy.

04 Mar 18:19

‘You look great for your age’ – and other compliments to avoid

by Zoe Williams

Kristin Scott Thomas is fed up of having to say thank you when someone says she’s still got it. And there are plenty of other comments that are apt to backfire

Chris Matthews, one of the US’s best known news anchors, has summarily quit his job at MSNBC following complaints about his reported remarks to a female guest. They are quite something, when you see them all written down. “Why haven’t I fallen in love with you yet?”, the journalist Laura Bassett says he asked her in the makeup room. She wrote in GQ: “When I laughed nervously and said nothing, he followed up to the makeup artist. ‘Keep putting makeup on her, I’ll fall in love with her.’”

What is wrong with this “compliment”? It’s in the classic negging style, the quick one-two: one, clearly you are highly desirable, otherwise why would a man such as myself expect to have fallen for you? Two, there is room for improvement, quick, put some more makeup on, then my animal urges might overcome me. Negging objectification is the worst kind, containing that catastrophic hubris, “You, lady, will be so thrilled by my partial desire that you’ll be instantly looking for tips on how to increase it.”

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04 Mar 18:13

Giannis and Bucks are having a historic season and are criminally underrated

by Hunter Felt

Milwaukee have the NBA’s best record, best defense and, oh yeah, best player. Why aren’t more people considering them the favorite for the title?

The Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of a historic season. In fact, the Bucks are on pace to become one of just three 70-win teams in NBA history along with the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who won 73 regular-season games, and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who won 72. Yet you would be hard-pressed to find too many people comparing these Bucks with those historic teams. How have Milwaukee pulled this off and why have they flown under the radar?

A huge part of the reason for the Bucks’ success is that they have the reigning (and probable repeat) Most Valuable Player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. According to Player Efficiency Rating, which measures a player’s overall contribution, Antetokounmpo is on pace to have the best regular-season in NBA history. Terrifyingly, for opponents at least, he is still only 25.

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04 Mar 17:47

No-Knead Bread

by Jeanine Donofrio

If you’re curious about bread-making, no-knead bread is a fantastic place to start. This method was made famous by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York. It’s wildly popular, and for good reason. Unlike many bread recipes, it requires no special equipment or finicky ingredients, and it takes just a few minutes of hands-on prep. Still, thanks to a long, slow rise, the bread comes out perfect every time, with a gorgeous golden brown crust and chewy interior. I make a few tweaks to Jim’s recipe, swapping bread flour for all-purpose and amping up the flavor with […]

The post No-Knead Bread appeared first on Love and Lemons.

03 Mar 21:34

This $10 Wine from Aldi Just Won “Best Wine of 2020”

by Naomi Tomky
As if you needed another excuse to visit Aldi. READ MORE...
03 Mar 21:34

This Darth Vader Grill Is the Most Nerdy and Amazing Grill We’ve Ever Seen

by Isadora Baum
Seriously, just look at this thing.
03 Mar 21:34

Amazon Just Made It Even Easier (And Cheaper) to Shop for Pantry Essentials

by Sholeen Damarwala
Yup, even non-Prime members will want in on this BIG news! READ MORE...
03 Mar 21:26

The One Ingredient that Makes Fried Chicken So Much Crispier

by Meghan Splawn
You probably have it in your pantry.
03 Mar 21:25

Games Indiana’s GOP Plays…

by Sheila
Oh, Indiana! Ours is a state so gerrymandered that control of our legislature remains firmly in the hands of a Republican super-majority. To say that the lack of competition has given us state lawmakers who reflect the party’s ideological extremes would be an understatement. So what is the “World’s Worst Legislature” (h/t to the late […]
03 Mar 21:15

Overnight Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

by Emma Chapman

I have to admit, I am not always the best at eating breakfast. Sometimes it just feels like such a hassle during the week. Maybe this is a little bit my own fault, as I could wake up a little earlier. But what can I say, I like to hit the snooze most days and then I find myself deciding between taking time to put makeup on and feel put together or taking time to make breakfast. That’s one thing I love about this overnight baked banana bread oatmeal: You make it the night before then just pop it in the oven in the morning as you go about your morning routine, and before you know it, a warm delicious breakfast is ready.

What else do I love about this overnight baked banana bread oatmeal? Three things really:
-super easy to throw together
-simple, (mostly) wholesome ingredients
-it tastes like BANANA BREAD

Yes, that last one had to be in caps. It’s exciting! I LOVE banana bread but I also love that this is a little bit lighter and packed with a bit more (plant-based) protein, as well as fiber.

I like to make this in a standard pie pan, but you could also divide this among individual (oven safe) glass containers and bake individually as you needed throughout the week. But I don’t mind baking once and just warming this up as needed. Options!

My favorite part is the bottom layer of banana slices, as they get gooey and delicious as you cook them, making this baked oatmeal so, so good!

This will easily serve four but also if you serve something alongside it, like scrambled eggs or bacon, then it could serve more. But I’m going to put four on the recipe card below. And if bananas just aren’t your thing, might I recommend this overnight baked apple oatmeal I posted a while back that is very, very similar. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Overnight Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

  • 1 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted (cooled butter)
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, sugar, nuts, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, stir together the milk, egg, vanilla extract, and melted butter (cooled so it’s not piping hot). Then stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

  2. Slice one of the bananas into small rounds and cover the bottom of a pie pan (see photo from post). Take the other banana and cut in half lengthwise. Mash one half and add it to the batter. Take the other half and cut it in half, lengthwise, again and use this to decorate the top.
  3. Pour the batter over the sliced round pieces, then add the top banana pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

  4. Bake at 350°F for 28-30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup, cream, or nothing at all.

27 Feb 20:19

This Company Wants to Replace Your Garbage Disposal with a Smart Composter

by Olivia Harvey
Composting at home is about to get a lot easier (and a lot less stinkier). READ MORE...