Gifts of Hoosier farm products at Eel River

Holiday shoppers hoping to keep things local and healthy can find a number of great gift possibilities at Eel River Marketing. The Clay City, Ind.-based producer of soy-based skin-care products, candles and textiles also offers a range of flavorful natural meats, including "Olde World Summer Sausage," a blend of angus beef and pork. Their Java Soy coffees provide 5 grams of soy protein and 2.2 mg of soy isoflavones per 8-ounce serving, with half the caffeine. Flavors range from Breakfast Blend to Caramel Cream. For more information, visit their online farm market at or call 812-939-2423.

Candlelight evening

Make your reservation for the sixth annual "A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street." This elegant dinner and progressive tour of historic homes on the Old Northside of Indianapolis, including the Indianapolis Propylaeum, Yellow Rose Inn and the Harrison Home, will take place on Thursday, Dec. 29, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $75 per person or $70 for members. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 317-631-1888.

Specials planned at Bella Vita

Don't miss out on a whole week's worth of regularly scheduled events at Bella Vita Ristorante. Mondays mark "Kid's Night Out" featuring a kid-friendly buffet complete with a sundae bar. "Two for Tuesdays" offers a choice of two seafood-themed entrées with a martini or glass of wine for just $19.95. Get 15 percent off any bottle of wine on "Wine & Dine Wednesdays" while you enjoy Gregg Bacon live on sax. Thursdays means "Ladies' Night" also with live music from Ribs 'n' Bones and special $5 martinis. Live music continues on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday completes the week with a breakfast buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. A special "full brunch" is included with yet more jazz every first Sunday of the month. Bella Vita is located waterside at 11699 Fall Creek Road. For more information, or to make your reservation, call 317-598-9011 or visit

Fall lunch menu at R Bistro

As if you needed a reason to go back to R Bistro, their fall menu now offers some of the most interesting lunch specialties featuring local and seasonal ingredients that you'll find all over town. Salads include a flatiron steak salad with Korean spicing for $12.25, as well as "fall leaves" tossed with roasted beets, apples, walnuts and blue cheese "croutons" for $9.95. Panini range from a classic Cuban for $12.25 to one with eggplant, zucchini and hot pepper relish for $10.25. Vegetarians can also sink their teeth into a pot pie with puff pastry for $10.95. A classic penne Puttanesca with oil-cured tuna is $11.25. Familiar desserts such as sticky toffee pudding ($5.50) and buttermilk pie ($4.95) complete the menu. R Bistro is located at 888 Massachusetts Ave. Call 317-432-0312 for reservations.

80 years of Adrian Orchard

Southsiders have long known that one of the best sources for apples, apple cider, pumpkins, tomatoes, jams, jellies and other old-fashioned farm market products is Adrian Orchards. On Dec. 3, the orchard will celebrate its 80th anniversary with sneak peeks at holiday baskets and special tastings. Located at 500 W. Epler Ave., the orchard is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. In honor of their 80 years, here's a recipe that makes great use of Adrian Orchards' apples and sweet, dark cider. Just save some for drinking, too!

Cider Braised Pork with Sautéed Apples

3 tblsp. unsalted butter

8 shallots, peeled, root ends intact

16 garlic cloves, peeled

3 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. ground ginger

.5 tsp. ground allspice

3 cups apple cider

3-4 pound pork loin roast

2 tart apples, cored and sliced

.5 cup heavy cream

1 tblsp. Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, sauté shallots and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until lightly browned. Remove to small roasting pan. Season pork with salt and pepper. In same skillet, brown pork on all sides. Remove to roasting pan. Bring apple cider and spices to boil in the skillet. Pour over pork in roasting pan. Cover roasting pan tightly with parchment paper and bake in 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Remove parchment. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork reads 160 degrees F. Remove pork to a serving platter to rest. In a small sauté pan, melt remaining butter. Sauté apples until just becoming soft. Strain roasting juices and pour one cup over apples in sauté pan. Reduce liquid until slightly syrupy. Add cream and mustard and stir, being careful not to break up apples. When sauce is thick but not dry, pour over sliced pork on serving platter. Garnish with shallots and garlic. - TK

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