Diners familiar with the veggie-centric style of Duos indy co-owner Becky Hostetter know that this trailblazer can pull a multitude of flavors out of the simplest ingredients. No surprise that she shines brightest in the summer, even when it comes to just waxing poetic about one of its most underrated crops. “There is nothing tastier than a well-grown summer cucumber,” says Hostetter. “I prefer the English type, or those cute little precious Persian ones, because the traditional variety tends to have tough skin.”
From crisp, subtle, and floral, to complex, aggressive, and aromatic, fresh herbs can excite and amplify your favorite cocktail. How best to use those botanicals is another matter. Before grabbing shears and muddling a garden into a shaker, allow Michael Gray, account manager of an RNDC beverage distributor and former GM of Plat 99 at The Alexander hotel, to be your spirit guide. Understanding source materials for your base alcohol—sugar cane for rum or cereal grain for whiskey—is the starting point for crafting a cocktail. Once the base is established, at-home bartenders can begin experimenting with flavor combinations and extracting aromas. The key is finding balance.
Rook chef Carlos Salazar, a native of the Philippines, applies his playful takes on traditional Asian recipes at the Fletcher Place restaurant that elevates dishes like wild-mushroom bibimbap and brisket ramen to high cuisine. Here, he gives A classic fall starch a fun, street-food makeover—served, of course, on skewers.
“The nice thing about fall is that the vegetables are a little bit harder and more firm,” Carlos Salazar says. Butternut squash, pumpkin, and even those last lingering zucchinis that no one at the office will take all do well when cooked backyard- barbecue style. Remove the seeds, slice, season, and sear each side on a hot grill. “If you can’t hold your hand over it for a few seconds, you know your grill is ready,” Salazar says.
Nothing says fall like the smell of cinnamon, vanilla, and buttery piecrust wafting through the house. Whether your windowsill is lined with fruited, savory, or custard pies, the real trick is in knowing the right way to top each variety once you crack the crust code, it’s as easy as— well, you know.
Former biology teacher Halle Haste lives on 25 acres in Roachdale, west of Indianapolis, where she grows her own produce, preserves it for the winter, hunts and butchers, keeps bees, and scratch-cooks nearly everything her family of four eats at home. Oh, she also helps run the family business, Haste Woodworking. She’s the kind of woman you just want to follow around to learn her Jedi ways. Ready are you?