Jolene’s Blog

Jan. 30, 2014

Wow — you guys are the best.

photo (13)You know who you are. You go to my website and read my stuff. You share links and drive traffic to the site and help me show that there’s interest in local food. You put up with the problems of a new site and let me know when things aren’t working. Lots of you — knowing that it’s just me here at the EatDrinkIndy desk with no IT department to call — have offered advice in the fight against hackers and spam. You pitched in with detailed instruction this morning when a line of bad code made pages disappear, and you spent your own valuable time to fix it for me.

It was a frustrating day, but a good one. Because losing the site and then getting it back again made me feel incredibly grateful, both for the opportunity to be writing about local food here and for the fact that so many people are out there helping me make this work.

 

Jan. 25, 2014

It’s been a busy week here at EatDrinkIndy.com. Lots happening, and even more going on next week. Assuming that we’re not all frozen by the below-zero temperatures on Monday, I’ll be part of a panel discussion on  gender and professional cooking, along with Thom England of Ivy Tech, Erin Till of Neal Brown Hospitality Group, Kathy Jones of Iozzo’s and Junonia Fish Market and Regina Mehallick of R bistro. That takes place at 2:30 p.m. at The Platform, in the West Wing of the Indianapolis City Market. It’s free and open to the public, so bundle up and join us!

Today, I interviewed Cleveland chef Steve Schimoler, owner of Crop Bistro & Bar, following his demo at the Indianapolis Home Show. That will likely end up as a post for another day, because what I had been looking forward to most today was actually getting into the kitchen myself. If you’ve been following along on Facebook, you know that since it was going to be a cold, snowy weekend, I was going to try a couple of new recipes. I decided that bread pudding and mac and cheese were the dishes du jour, so I found a couple of promising recipes and tried them out.

Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese

But I have to say that I was disappointed in both.

Now, it’s not that they weren’t plenty good. In fact, I had two servings of the mac and cheese and a generous portion of bread pudding — complete with a rum sauce. But here’s the thing: they just weren’t as fabulous as I was hoping for.

I tried a recipe called The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Ever, which is certainly a name that will get your expectations up. It sounded good and looked great, and honestly, it tasted just fine. But I think it’s the white sauce base that this and so many other recipes start with. Martha Stewart’s and Ina Garton’s mac and cheese recipes start this way, and, I don’t know, I think it’s a textural problem. And I’m perfectly willing to take the blame; I’m sure it’s a technical flaw on my part, but when I make this type of mac and cheese, it tastes to me like a white sauce with cheese (which is what it is), rather than a melty cheese sauce.

I’d be interested to talk with Katy Williams about her mac and cheese recipe; I liked her Facebook comment: “I learned to make it from a lovely lady from Charleston. Simple and delicious and no white sauce to dumb down the cheese.” Maybe that’s my problem; the white sauce is dumbing down the cheese.

Chocolate chip bread pudding

Chocolate chip bread pudding

As for the bread pudding, there were several issues. I’ve made bread pudding plenty of times; it’s one of my favorite desserts. And I know that using the right kind of bread is important. I usually use challah, but I grabbed an Italian loaf at the store, since that’s what they had. And then in trying a recipe from Epicurious.com (which is usually my go-to recipe site), I halved it, which could have resulted in too much bread and not enough egg/milk mixture. And the custard needed to be richer; I think it needed some heavy cream. Finally, I know better than to use chocolate chips, because chips used in chocolate chip cookies — which is what I had on hand — are made to hold their shape. So rather than getting all melty, the chocolate chips just sat there.

Chocolate chip bread puddingwith cinnamon rum sauce

Chocolate chip bread puddingwith cinnamon rum sauce

Now, again, I’m not saying it wasn’t good; I don’t think anyone would turn it down it you offered them a bite (especially topped with the rum sauce the recipe called for). But It wasn’t my favorite. I’d like it to be richer and more custardy, and I’d completely ditch the chocolate chips next time. I’ve made a chocolate bread pudding with Traders Point Creamery chocolate milk, and that one rocks (I think I might have added cherries too).

So I remain in search of the best bread pudding and macaroni and cheese recipes. If you have any suggestions, please, send them along.

 

 

 

 

Jan. 19, 2014

It’s amazing how much a functioning computer can lift your spirits. If, like me, your work life revolves around communicating via the written word, it becomes incredibly frustrating not be able to communicate.

Well, I’ve had my phone, of course, but even though I am constantly texting and posting on Facebook and Twitter from my phone, there are serious limitations to writing much beyond quick emails or 140-character posts. And even though I have the WordPress app for EatDrinkIndy, it’s tough to post photos and videos via the phone, at least for me.

So when my new laptop arrived Thursday, I was so, so happy. Until, of course, I wasn’t. After just a couple of days, I encountered problems, problems that hadn’t come up in any of the reviews I read of my new Dell XPS12.

dell xps 12

I love all the stuff I can do with my phone – I really like the better video options with the iphone 5—and I was enjoying getting the hang of working with my new laptop (even though it’s taking time to figure out Windows 8). But when something suddenly doesn’t work – like, oh, say, the laptop’s touch screen or cursor – or when I couldn’t even get Office to download, well, I was ready to throw it across the room. (Just fyi, if you want to frustrate a writer, just take away her word processing program.)

All of which is a long way of saying that I had a meltdown this morning, a seriously frustrated I-can’t-work meltdown of epic proportions. Now, I’m not a particularly patient person under the best of circumstances, and I don’t like not being able to figure something out. So when you add those character flaws to the frustrations of dealing with a slow or non-functioning computer – one that wouldn’t even let me scroll down a screen, for heaven’s sake – well, I just couldn’t take it.

Happily, I did not throw the XPS12 across the room. I was ready to pack the thing up and ship it back to Dell when, eventually, the diagnostic troubleshooting program must have kicked in. I think it must have updated and restarted itself like five times. And now, at least for the moment, the touch screen works, the cursor is responsive and the processing speed has been restored. I still can’t get the time changed to Eastern – clearly, I have a computer that supports the Central Time Coalition and doesn’t want anything to do with Daylight Saving Time – but that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll get that figured out eventually.

I’m just happy to be able to get back to work on the website.

Jan. 15, 2014

Still waiting on the new laptop, since I missed the delivery today while picking up after school. By 10 minutes. Sigh.

Jan. 15, 2014

What happens when a chocolatier takes the day off to play with a new recipe, and a food writer and an aspiring videographer show up to play along — and they bring Sriracha?

Julie Bolejack

Julie Bolejack

My son and I discovered that the classic rooster sauce goes well with pecans and lime, and we helped create  a terrific new treat dubbed Rooster Brittle.

I know it may sound like an unusual new product for Julie Bolejack, whose Chocolate for the Spirit focuses on super-premium chocolates and toffees, but I think she has a real hit on her hands.

As for me, I zested limes, chopped pecans and got to see the creative process from a chocolatier’s perspective.

But what does it taste like? Imagine a deliciously buttery brittle loaded with pecans — and then add the bright flavor of lime and just enough of a kick from Sriracha. It’s a great combination.

Jan. 10, 2014

“Bring Sriracha.”

That’s a fun thing to hear when you’re headed to a chocolatier’s studio!

I’m going to Julie Bolejack’s Chocolate for the Spirit workshop today. We’re going to experiment a bit and maybe create something new. I’m looking forward to seeing the creative process — and seeing what she does with the Sriracha!

We’re also shooting video, so I’ll get that posted as soon as possible.

Jan. 9, 2014
I think a person could take over the world with an iPhone and wifi — I know for sure that you can launch a website with one, because since I’ve been without a laptop lately (had to give it back to The Star, of course) I’ve had to rely on my phone to post to the new site.

I got a new phone before I gave the old one back, so I’ve stayed connected, thankfully. But I’m still waiting on a new laptop to arrive. Dell assures me it will be soon, and I sure hope so; love the WordPress app but I’m just not as handy on the phone as I am with a real keyboard and screen in front of me.

I guess world domination will have to wait!

Jan. 8, 2014
Well, here we go, kids. Hang on, because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

But that’s okay. Really. It’ll be fun.

Since leaving The Star recently, I’ve launched into covering the Indianapolis food scene on my own website, EatDrinkIndy.com. I’ve worked on it in fits and starts for well over a year now — in fact, its existence is what I got fired over — but now I’ll be focusing on the website and EatDrinkIndy full time.

I love Indianapolis and am so excited about all the things that are happening with local food. Covering it all will be a big job, but I’ve been gratified that so many of you have offered to help.

I’ll be spotlighting the chefs, restaurateurs, food artisans, mixologists, farmers and food fans that make this such an exciting time in Indianapolis, and I want to provide a forum to bring together all those voices together. And look for EatDrinkIndy events and classes at Indy’s Kitchen and at the demo kitchen in the Indianapolis City Market.

So keep checking back and see what’s up. And if you see me, please stop and say hello. Or drop me an email at joleneketzenberger@gmail.com.

Oct. 1, 2013

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s October — and I’m making Christmas cookies, trying to cook up a little inspiration to write about The Star’s holiday cookie contest.

Notice I didn’t say “baking” Christmas cookies. These silly little holly cookies, which won in the paper’s cookie contest a few years ago (quite the controversial decision, actually), might just do the trick. 20131001-091402.jpg

Well, and the red velvet peppermint brownies. Now I’ve got some inspiration going!

Sept. 29, 2013

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]vents like Sun King’s CANvitational canned craft beer fest yesterday make me happy. And not only because it was a beautiful day in downtown Indianapolis and a thousand people were milling around Georgia Street enjoying great craft beer.

It’s also because an event like that — one that brought craft brewers from across the country to Indianapolis — bodes well for future fests. I haven’t exactly made a secret of my wish for a big food and wine festival in Indy, and an event like CANvitational just makes the possibilities all the more apparent.

Georgia Street is a terrific venue, and I can see the potential for all sorts of food events that could take place there. As a matter of fact, I’ve been eyeing locations all over the city, thinking about what sort of food fest event would be perfect for the space.

Another great spot I just noticed this weekend is the plaza outside of The Alexander. With the fabulous art glass lights of Plat 99 in the background and those light-up strips in the walkway, it would be a dramatic location for a high-end tasting event — I’m thinking dessert and champagne.

Sept. 10, 2013

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] haven’t blogged in so long. The blogs we had at work weren’t real blogs, at least for me. They were more a place to post stories I didn’t have a place for, or the events or tidbits of news that were interesting, but that wouldn’t get in the paper. But I love personal columns, both to write and to read, so I’m happy to have this blog now.

I’ve missed talking to readers in a column, so we’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Like, today is my mom’s birthday. I wrote a couple of columns when she died, about food and family and recipes — particularly chicken and dumplings — and I got so much response from readers. I miss that. I miss sharing what’s happening in my life with all of you. Funny, I’m writing to you as if you were my readers at The Star. I know there’s no way most of you will ever find this blog, but it’d be great if you did, because I really enjoyed writing those columns.

Because you all are great. Really. I loved my readers; I loved talking to you in print every week (or in person at the grocery store or at Target, where I run into lots of you!). And I would’ve kept writing my column, but editors change, you know, and missions change, and a personal column on food and family just wasn’t what they wanted. But, you know, that’s what I want to write, and I’ve just decided to go ahead and do it. That’s kind of the motivation behind this whole website, actually. This is what I want to do, so I’m going to do it. I hope you like it. I think you will, especially when I really get it up and running the way I envision.

That takes time, though, so I hope you hang in there with me while I get EatDrinkIndy off the ground. It’s going to be lots of fun, and there’ll be lots of cool events coming down the road, so maybe we’ll get a chance to meet — someplace other than the grocery store!

But for right now, I just wanted to share that I’ve been thinking of my mom. She would have been 80 today, and I don’t think she would’ve been particularly happy to hit that milestone. But I do know that, instead of putting flowers on a grave where no one will enjoy them, she would much rather I send some flowers to one of the kids who just got a piece published in a scholarly journal. (And he’s not even out of college yet — couldn’t help bragging on him a little!)

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll think of my mom, send flowers to one of the kids and be happy that I’ve started this blog so we can keep in touch. Because Facebook and Twitter are nice and all (and I talk to a lot of you there, too), but sometimes, I just have a little more to say. Okay, a lot more to say.

So I’ll say it here.

 

Sept. 9, 2013

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]o…this is my new blog. Whaddya think about the site? I like its looks, and I’m happy to have a place to post what I want, when I want. A lot of you have heard me say (way too often, I know!) that there’s so much more I want to do. And now I have a place to do it.