Food Fare

Orleans farmhouse is venue for Ivy Tech culinary courses

By Lynn Schwartzberg
October 12, 2011

I received a call this summer from Susie Graham, director at the Center for Lifelong Learning at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. She asked me to join her in Orleans at a historic farmhouse for a cooking class.

How could I resist? It was a beautiful summer day just begging to be enjoyed in rural southern Indiana.

During our drive to Orleans, Susie filled me in on how a lovely Orleans farmhouse became the site for a series of classes as a part of the Center for Lifelong Learning. The classes cover all sorts of topics: cooking, painting, crafting and entertaining.

A few years ago, Susie received a phone call from Judith Burton, who owns the Burton-Kimble Farms. A charming woman with knowledge and life experience that boggles the mind, Judith wondered if hosting some classes at her home might be a fun idea. Susie met with Burton and immediately saw the potential for the site for hosting a wide range of classes, as well as becoming quick friends with Judith.

The Ivy Tech continuing education program in Bloomington is quite unique. Developed originally for Senior Learning in 2006, the programming now includes learners of all ages and encompasses topics in the arts, business, history, cooking and personal development.

The class I attended was all about cooking from the farmers’ market. Orleans has a popular farmers’ market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon. More than 50 vendors sell a wide range of produce, as well as prepared foods.

Teaching the cooking classes at the Burton-Kimble Farms are Debbie Unger and Jackie Easterday. Unger is known for her creative talents with food, especially her beautiful petit fours. She is also a costume designer and loves old homes.

Jackie Easterday earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Purdue University. She has been a nutrition educator through the Purdue Extension Service and teaches as well. Jackie loves to entertain and designs inventive and creative menus.

The class members formed in the large kitchen of the restored farmhouse. Judith Burton warmly welcomed the attendees to her home and introduced the cooking instructors. Debbie and Jackie took right off, making several dishes from a large packet of recipes that each class member received.

We were served a refreshing chilled cucumber soup and some pico de gallo right away, while the pair continued to demonstrate recipes, just in case we were hungry. Debbie shared lots of helpful cooking tips and hints. Her cooking style is very pure, using in seasonal ingredients whenever possible.

Classes at the Burton-Kimble are very casual with lots of chatter from the class attendees. Debbie and Jackie were able to answer everyone’s questions, and we all came away from the class with a little more culinary knowledge.

One of the most interesting dishes the team made was a green tomato cobbler. The dish was served for dessert and reminded many of us of a rhubarb cobbler. We thoroughly enjoyed a zucchini and yellow squash tart and some fresh corn cakes as well. I have included the recipes for you to try at home.

This fall, the Burton-Kimble Farms will host a classes on cupcakes, cookies and cobblers, one on holiday cooking and a Warm and Hearty Country Dinner. Classes are in the evening and include hearty tastes of all dishes prepared in class. Several other classes are scheduled at the farm as well, from knitting to costume making.

The drive to Orleans is lovely this time of year, with the beautiful hills of southern Indiana showing off their colors. Even if you just stop at the farmers’ market or grab a bite at the Maple Street Restaurant, enjoy a taste of a community that embraces the seasons.

About the classes

Information about classes can be found at

Registration can be made online, by phone at 812-330-6041 or at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, 122 S. Walnut St., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or at the main Ivy Tech Community College campus at 200 Daniels Way.

Cool as Cucumber Soup

1 pound cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup fat free yogurt

1 green onion, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill

Chopped green onion and snipped dill for garnish

In a colander set over a bowl, toss cucumbers with salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Squeeze and pat dry. Place cucumbers, yogurt, onion and garlic in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Stir in dill. Serve immediately in chilled bowls garnished with chopped green onion and dill.

Serves seven.

Fresh Corn Cakes

4 ears fresh corn

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 large egg, beaten

3/4 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 cup sour cream with chives

Cook corn in boiling water for one minute and drain. Cut kernels off cobs. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and cayenne. In a separate, bowl whisk egg, buttermilk and butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir in scallions and corn. In a heated, well seasoned iron skillet lightly coated with oil, place heaping tablespoons of batter. Brown a flip as you would pancakes. Serve with sour cream.

Green Tomato Cobbler

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

2 cups sugar, divided

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

4 cups chopped green tomatoes

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place butter in a 11-by-7-inch baking dish; place in oven until butter melts. Remove dish from oven and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter in baking dish. Do not stir.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3/4 cup sugar, green tomatoes and lemon juice to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over batter. Do not stir.

In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle over green tomato mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler with ice cream.

All recipes from Debbie Unger and Jackie Easterday.

Debbie Unger, left, and Jackie Easterday work on creating a dish during an Ivy Tech Center for Lifelong Learning class at Burton-Kimble Farm in Orleans. Susie Graham | Courtesy photo

The farmhouse at Burton-Kimble Farm in Orleans is the site for various classes.

Copyright: 2011

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.