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Chefs' specials


812 explores the kitchens of four Southern Indiana Chefs.


812's search for the perfect summer recipe led us to the Southern Indiana kitchens of Lucien Gregor, Daniel Orr, David Tallent and Elizabeth Manning George. Praised by their customers and peers, they share a love for food and a commitment to local ingredients. And they offer four signature dishes that you can make at home.

Lucien Gregor, chef and owner of ChickiePoo's, has been crafting Madison's freshest ingredients for patrons from near and far since he opened his family-oriented restaurant less than two years ago. In fact, his daughter Isabella chose the name Chickiepoo's. The boutique restaurant, with less than a dozen tables and some blankets and toys tucked away in the corner, has an at-home dining atmosphere. Chickiepoo's is only open Thursday through Saturday, which allows Chef Gregor and his wife Phoebe, and co-owner, to spend time with their family, as well as to personally serve every person who walks through their door. The motto at Chickiepoo's is "Eat. Here. Now." Chef Gregor explains this is not simply a catchy slogan. "It means, when you're here, interact with what's in front of you. Be present in your body, and appreciate what you have." Gregor says he doesn't like to eat food that comes off a truck or out of a box. "I like to eat things that are made from scratch, by hand," he says. Not only does Chickepoo's serve the freshest food available, Gregor advocates eating whatever is in season or available in the area. "Slow food is more than just food," Gregor says. "It's a way of striving for what will bring us joy and happiness."

Address: 209 West Main Street, Madison, IN 47250

Email reservations ONLY: chickiepoos@gmail.com

Hours: Thu-Sat, 12:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m

Daniel Orr's fresh and local cooking has come a long way. All around the world in fact. Orr is the chef and owner of FARMbloomington, a restaurant-bar-market on Bloomington's Kirkwood Avenue, the main drag connecting the Southern Indiana town to Indiana University. FARMbloomington is the masterpiece of the award-winning, cookbook-writing, food-obsessed chef. As the child of two food-loving parents and the recipient of early cooking awards, Orr's culinary success is no surprise. It is ironic however, to note that as a boy, Orr disliked his grandma's "dumb soup," because of too many vegetables. Today, Orr's recipes revolve around fresh greens and herbs. In fact, vegetables commonly peek from the pocket of his smock. That way the flavorful greens are never far away. "I forge a lot, which means I go out in the woods and pick wild mushrooms that I use in my cooking," Orr says. "We also utilize wild leeks, dandelions, chives and rosemary." For a meal that transports you to kitchens in France and Belgium, 3-star fine dining in NYC or a resort in the Caribbean island of Anguila, Chef Orr's FARMbloomington tops the list.

Address: 108 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47408

Telephone: 812-323-0002

Hours: Tue-Sat, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m, Sun. 10 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Check website -- www.farm-bloomington.com -- for specific meal times.

Chef Dave Tallent met his wife Kristen, also a chef, 13 years ago while working at Upland Brewery. Though the pair still live and cook in Bloomington, they do so at their very own eatery, Restaurant Tallent. The Walnut Street restaurant is not only an upscale, trendy place to eat, but its owner is co-founder of the Bloomington Slow Food chapter. Tallent focuses on harmonizing organic ingredients and traditional cooking methods. "Our country ham is from Kentucky. Sometimes I get rabbit from Indiana or Ohio. My pork comes from four different places around the state," he says. "We try to get as much locally as we possibly can." A tattoo of a pig on his inner right arm reveals one of his favorite ingredients. Though Tallent studied criminal justice and history at Indiana University, he learned more in kitchens around Bloomington than he did in school. " This is more than something I do to make money," Tallent says. "Some people may not even notice the difference between this and a McDonald's hamburger, but it's important to me. Everything I cook comes from my heart, and that helps me sleep at night. "

Address: 208 North Walnut Bloomington IN 47404

Telephone: 812-330-9801

Hours: Mon-Sat, 5 p.m.- 10 p.m.

Elizabeth Manning George's Stream Cliff Herb Farm in Commiskey attracts couples, old friends and even large bus groups to its quaint location between Louisville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. The historic farm was built in 1836 and raided during the Civil War, but the family restaurant did not open until 1995. Since that time, the dill and rosemary chicken salad, birdseed pasta salad and hummingbird cake have been perennial favorites. "When we're closed in the winter, that's when we decide how to change and update our menu," George says. Though George used to be more involved with the cooking, she now focuses on management. A local farmer provides the farm with produce like tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers and cantloupe. "All of the herbs and edible flowers that we garnish the dishes with are grown right here," George says. "We also use the wine, made at the farm, in the food that we cook." The restaurant schedules five candlelight dinners every year, and reservations often sell out fast. However, groups of fewer than eight are welcome for lunch Monday through Friday. If your perfect summer day involves strolling past hundreds of plants while birds chirp and fountains gently bubble, Stream Cliff Herb Farm could be your peaceful oasis.

Address: 8225 South County Road 90W, Commiskey, IN 47227

Telephone: 812-346-5859

Hours: Seasonal hours vary, check website -- www.streamclifffarm.com for details

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Chef Gregor's Peach Glazed Pork Spare Ribs with Green Beans and Jonny Cakes

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Pork Spare Ribs (bone In) 2 lbs

Peaches (fresh) 3 ea

Sugar, Cane 1/2 Cup

Water 1/2 Cup

Cardamon Pods 4 each

Ginger Syrup 1/4 Cup

Corn Meal 1 Cup

Flour, AP 1/4 Cup

Baking Powder 1/4 tsp.

Salt, Kosher pinch

Egg, Lg 1 ea.

Milk 1/2 Cup

Oil, Vegetable 1/8 Cup

Water 1 1/4 Cup (to batter consistency)

Fresh Green Beans

Directions

1. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. In another bowl mix eggs, milk, oil and water. Combine wet and dry mixture until mixed. Set in refrigerator for 1 hour.

2. Peel, seed and quarter peaches, Saute in hot saute pan until peaches start to carmelize. Add Sugar, water Cardamon and Ginger syrup. Cook until sugar forms syrup and starts to turn light carmel color. Remove from heat. Puree Mixture. Set to side.

3. Snap ends off of green beans. In large pot of well salted boiling water, cook beans for 1 1/2 minutes and then shock in iced salted water. Remove from water and set aside.

4. Heat large cast iron pan to smoking, add Pork spare ribs and brown on one side, turn meat over and season with fresh ground pepper and kosher salt. Turn down heat and allow pork to cook, approximately 3 minutes. Lightly cover with peach glaze and place meat under broiler until sauce bubbles and lightly browns. Allow meat to rest.

5. Heat large cast seasoned cast iron pan. Place large spoon size amount of jonny cake matter in pan. Cook until bubbles appear and then flip.

6. Saute Green beans in small amount of grape seed oil. Season with fresh ground pepper and kosher salt.

Place two jonny cakes on plate, cut pork in 1/2 and place on cakes. Place bean on other side of plate. Drip a little peach glaze around plate. Garnish with micro-greens.

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Chef Orr's FARMfamous garlic chili cheese fries

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp garlic, freshly chopped

2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

\0xBC cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped

2 medium (or 1 large) Idaho potato (Russet Burbank)

Directions:

Peel and soak at least 8 hours, then and soak 8 hours. Use pure peanut oil for frying. Fry first at 325 degrees until limp, 2-3 minutes. Chill until neede on cookie sheets. At time of serving, fry a second time at 375 degrees until crisp and brown.

Take fries fresh and hot from the oil and drain well. Add remaining ingredients and toss well to coat the fries evenly and melt the cheese. Add additional salt if needed. Serve straightaway with dipping sauce of choice.

Salt and black pepper to taste.

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Elizabeth Manning George's Blackberry Cobbler

Serves 6-8

Pie crust ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 sticks cold butter (cut into 1/2 inch chunks)

2-3 TBS ice cold water

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds of frozen blackberries

2 1/2 cup sugar

6 TBS cornstarch

1/2 stick butter

1 cup water

Mix first 4 ingredients in food processor until crumbly. Slowly add water until you've used enough to hold the dough together. Put dough in flat rounds, wrap with plastic and chill one hour. Next roll dough out to crust size.

Double this recipe for crust on top and bottom.

Grease baking dish and lay pie crust in bottom. Spread frozen blackberries over crust. Mix sugar, cornstarch, butter and water together in medium saucepan. Bring mixture over blackberries and top with crust. Sprinkle top crust with sugar before baking. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350 for approximately 30 minutes or until filling bubbles.