Sunday, July 22, 2018

Meal No. 2168: Mixed Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

It was another fine day of yard work yesterday, with more progress on low-profile tasks and projects, in spite of a return of some unpleasant humidity. I'd had a filling enough lunch of leftover quesadillas and hunger was minimal at suppertime, so I was content with another bowl of mixed berry spinach salad with some of the remaining delicious and tangy raspberry vinaigrette. I've still got some of those really tasty cinnamon-vanilla spiced pecans, to boot!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Meal No. 2167: Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

When longtime and dear friend Jen Martin came last night to hang out, I thought we might do nicely with a warm and filling treat of chicken and cheese quesadillas. And we were not disappointed!

I might add: I've tried thus far to be somewhat philosophical about my first-time efforts growing tomatoes. I've sure made plenty of mistakes and missteps and have made notes for myself about how to do better in the Summer of 2019. But when I had checked a ripening Better Boy on Thursday evening, and again on Friday morning and mid-day, certain that it would be just right to serve up with the quesadillas last evening, I 'bout burst a vein in the side of my head to find that sometime during the afternoon some critter had gotten to it and chewed into it a bit.

I am now on a fateful mission to eradicate the squirrel problem plaguing my tomato harvest, and I'll be limited in the details of the operation so as not to invite scorn or derision from the more tender readers of the blog. This determined embrace of borderless malice is being fueled right now by the discovery this morning of a deeply-hidden wonderfully full and ripe beefeater tomato, which engendered a feeling of delicious excitement in me, until I picked it and felt the backside of it:

Since this tomato was so big, I just cut off that chewed part and found the rest of it to be quite delicious when eating leftovers at lunchtime today:

Preparation and cooking based on "Quesadillas for a Crowd," by Morgan Bolling. In Cook's Country, August/September 2015, p. 18.

"Fajita Seasoning Mix," from Adapted from "Fajita Seasoning Mix Recipe" on

Friday, July 20, 2018

Meal No. 2166: Chicken Salad Melts on English Muffins

I got a little inventive last night for the Thursday evening supper. I'm not sure that it's all that remarkable to whip up a batch of chicken salad unlike one's previous versions...I suppose I'm in good company when it comes to tinkering and fiddling with the right combination. I seldom measure and generally just put it all together until the taste is right. Still, I was a little more attentive to what I was adding and how much of it, and the final result was just excellent sitting atop a huge sliced homegrown beefeater tomato on a toasted English muffin and crowned with a slab of cheese. More tomato and sliced apples on the side made this a refreshing summer evening dinner.

Speaking of tomatoes: it was frustrating to yet again find a nearly-ripe tomato on the vine had been nibbled at:

Also of note from yesterday: I answered the phone about mid-day and was asked if this was the Roediger House. After I confirmed that it was, I had to entertain a complaint from the very nice caller that the Roediger House website wasn't working properly and could I please tell her our Saturday and Sunday hours for house tours. I had to apologize that the house was not what she was imagining, since it was simply a private home, but I almost offered to have her come by anyway, just because it's a cool old place.

I understand the confusion, though! When I designed this simple website, I put short-named links in the title bar, and the first one definitely says "Tour." I really hate that the site has broken links, though, and someday I really will get around to updating it all.

"Chicken Salad Melt," a Roediger House original recipe.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Meal No. 2165: Plank-Grilled Slab of Atlantic Salmon

Wednesday night at the Roediger House, with dinner for four: plank-grilled salmon with a spice rub, with a chilled rosemary dijon cream sauce. Also: roasted garlic-parmesan asparagus, Jamaican coconut sweet rice, and a mixed berry salad with cinnamon vanilla-glazed walnuts and homemade raspberry vinaigrette.

It all made for really nice lunch leftovers the next day, outside, when I took a break from yardwork:

"Cedar Planked Salmon with Spice Rub," by Olha7397 on

Additional Guidance on plank-grilling the salmon from "Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon Pepper and Horseradish-Chive Sauce," by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell. From, Issue 111.

Chilled Rosemary Dijon Cream Sauce, from "Poached Salmon," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 216.

"Jamaican Coconut Sweet Rice," by Michaela of An Affair from the Heart.

Ideas and Guidance on Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Asparagus from:

"Raspberry Vinaigrette," from Robyn Stone of [Published 13 March 2014]

"Cinnamon Vanilla Glazed Walnuts," from McCormick.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meal No. 2164: Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs

A dinner can still be quite good even if there's not all that much to it, as was the case last night: baked garlic chicken thighs with spinach cooked on the bottom of the dish.

Y'know, it's been dry as a bone and hot here these last several weeks. There has been no appreciable rain to hit us in downtown Winston-Salem in forever. It seems to me that 95% of the forecasts for some chance of showers or storms have amounted to nil. Take yesterday afternoon: there was this dramatic foreshadowing tweet from WXII:

The sky around the house even darkened sufficiently to make it all seem believable:

The rain we got, though, was equivalent to about one-and-a-half sneezes.

"Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs," from Sooz Cooks and published on Genius Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Meal No. 2163: Caesar Salad with Grilled Filet

I put in a very full day working in the yard yesterday and only had a small bit of hunger at dinner time. A Caesar salad topped with grilled filet and some sliced hard-boiled egg was just right for the evening.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meal No. 2162: Filet Mignon Melt Sandwich

On my last excursion to the Harris Teeter, I spied a small pack of somewhat thin beef tenderloin steaks that were priced mighty low. I grabbed them thinking they'd be good, grilled, and atop a spinach salad. When it came time to make dinner last night, I instead made a filet mignon melt sandwich with caramelized Korean barbecue onions and a garlic aioli to boot. It was quite something!

"Filet Mignon Melt Sandwich," a Roediger House original recipe.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Meal No. 2161: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

By special request last night, I made juicy burgers on the grill, covered amply with cheese. I served them on toasted brioche buns, to boot! But for myself, I just had a salad:

It was a gorgeous night for another installment of a Roediger House reading party, held in the light summer evening breezes to be found on the second story porch:

As the evening wore into night, I can tell you that Sumner found it quite relaxing:

"Grilled Juicy Burgers," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks recipe magazine.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Meal No. 2160: Planked Pork Tenderloin with Asian-Style Barbecue Sauce

For the Friday night meal at the Roediger House, I once again soaked a cedar plank and fired up the grill. This time it allowed me to serve up a pork tenderloin with a delicious Asian-style barbecue sauce (which was also used as the marinade for the meat). I tried two other new things: a roasted broccoli gratin, and yet another different Caesar dressing for a salad. An old stand-by was creamy stuffed eggs. Everything came out pretty great.

"Planked Pork Tenderloin," by Courtney Rappe. From Fire & Smoke (recipe originally included on insert with package of cedar planks). [Published 04 December 2017]

"Caesar Salad," by Sue Li and Chris Morocco. In Bon App├ętit, May 2013, p. 42.

"Blissed-Out Crispy Cheesy Broccoli Gratin," by Raquel Pelzel, Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless, November 2017.

"Creamy Stuffed Eggs," a recipe shared with me by Barbara Huneycutt of Crozet, VA.

Guidance for Hard-Boiled Eggs from "Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs," by Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead [Published April 2016]; and from "Instant Pot Recipes Everyone Should Know," by Alina Bradford from c| [Published 17 May 2018]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Meal No. 2159: Mixed Berry Salad with Plank-Grilled Salmon

It was a bit over the top last night when I decided to make a mixed berry salad with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette and toasted pecans, along with spiced plank-grilled salmon. But whoo-whee!

"Cedar Planked Salmon with Spice Rub," by Olha7397 on

Additional Guidance on plank-grilling the salmon from "Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon Pepper and Horseradish-Chive Sauce," by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell. From, Issue 111.

"Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette," by Mira of

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Meal No. 2158: Roasted Salmon

I'm working on healthier meals, in a general sort of way, and last night was a fine example of how good that can actually be: roasted salmon with roasted parmesan asparagus and some tossed salad. I really wouldn't mind having that again tonight!

Lunch yesterday, though, wasn't nearly as healthy and represented a failure on my part to maintain my resolve after losing all this weight:

But I'll claw back some credit since, a couple days before, I made this my lunch:

I'm still heavy-handed on the dressing but I acknowledge that weakness.

Ideas and Guidance on Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Asparagus from:

Chilled Rosemary Dijon Cream Sauce, from "Poached Salmon," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 216.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Meal No. 2157: Pa Arley's Tacos

It's been a while since I made open tacos, the way Pa Arley makes 'em (except I baked instead of frying the tortillas). That was the warm and satisfying supper at the Roediger House last night. It was extra good with another home-grown tomato!

"Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Meal No. 2156: French Onion Hamburger Steaks

When delightful neighbors Alaina and Deborah were up for supper and a visit this past Sunday night, I tried out a new recipe on them: French onion hamburger steaks with a mushroom gravy, along with roasted baby Dutch potatoes and a simple salad. It was, as always, good seeing these great women.

"French Onion Hamburger Steaks with Potatoes and Gravy," from Cook's Country, August/September 2018 (center recipe cards).

Monday, July 9, 2018

Meal No. 2155: Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Sandwiches

The mid-day meal this past Sunday was a riff on a popular fast-food breakfast biscuit: bacon, egg, and cheese. I'd not tried this before, and it's not like it's all that complicated, but I still was pretty satisfied with how it all came out.

That was also quite a delicious home-grown beefsteak tomato along with it!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

A Sundry Mix of Yard Matters

It was my plan to limit myself to, say, a once-a-month update on yard happenings, but things got a tad busy as June rolled into July, so here are a few items that I like trying to keep track of via blog entries...

It's time for the front daylilies and the Cranberry Crush rose mallow hibiscus to strut their stuff:

I'm glad that Donna Whitley-Smith turned me on to oakleaf hydrangeas:

Speaking of Donna, I need to find out if she has any insights on a little mystery that's negatively impacting my fresh tomato production, because some sort of small creature seems to be feasting on them just as they are ripening:

I've been so busy with yard projects thus far this summer that I had to call in a reorder on mulch:

Near the mulch pile, but without my camera in hand to document it, I also spotted a Northern flicker woodpecker in the yard for the first time. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what it was.

And, last but not least for this proud papa, Sumner scored his fourth squirrel kill this past Thursday:

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Meal No. 2154: Baked Mongolian Chicken

Gern tried to be playful at the plate photo moment.

It's been over a month since the Roediger House got to enjoy the company of the dedicated regulars: Mookie, Kristen, Amy, and Gern. It was a terrific time together over Friday night dinner, which consisted of baked Mongolian chicken, Basmati rice, and garlic-butter steamed broccoli. There was pool playing upstairs, tunes to jam to, and a good linger following dinner as we all still sat 'round the table.

"Baked Mongolian Chicken," from Catalina of Sweet and Savory Meals.

"Garlic-Butter Broccoli," by Jane Kirby and Leslie Pendleton. In Real Simple, April 2004.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Dramatic Paring of the Bradford Pear

Morning of 03 March 2018

I was doing more yard stuff last Tuesday afternoon and my attention was pulled to the part of the front yard known as the "grove" (because it has an enormous Bradford pear tree and two surviving cherry trees that never could really compete with the pear). I'd heard a loud cracking sound, and on closer inspection I saw that, at the top of the main trunk where the huge center branches split off, fissures had formed. I came inside to look up the local tree expert, David Lusk, and before I even got back outside, two huge branches had broken off and landed on the AT&T cable in front of the house.

Because it was on the main cable line strung between two poles along the street, I thought AT&T might want to be in on this, but their Customer Service doesn't seem to understand a call like that. I think they thought it was a limb on the telephone line going to my house.

I even spoke directly to a lineman from a crew that had just been working that morning on that very cable, but I still never saw them. So I sent word to Ken Olsen Jr. of Ken's Tree Service, who did such a great job back in 2011 removing all the trash trees from the back of the property, plus some other trees that needed to come down.

He and his fast-working and thorough crew were here this morning and in just over an hour topped that Bradford pear in hopes that I'll still get quite a few more years of enjoyment from it, once it branches out again. He also touched up the cherry trees.

It sure is a dramatic change, and I'm going to really miss that full shade I was getting from that overgrown pear tree. I bet my rhododendrons will also miss that shade.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Meal No. 2153: Chicken, Bacon, & Caramelized Onion Sandwiches

I thought I'd throw together a sort-of-invented dinner tonight, with grilled seasoned chicken breasts serving as the workhorse, topped with caramelized onions, white sharp cheddar cheese, and pesto mayo, sitting also on bacon within a knot roll (I didn't have the roll, though).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Meal No. 2152: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Last night was another light Caesar salad meal, this time topped with delicious roasted garlic-seasoned grilled chicken breast.

Helpful guidance for grilling chicken breasts came from: "How to Grill the Juiciest Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts," by Joshua Bousel of

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Meal No. 2151: Salmon Caesar Salad

After a long drive back home from Oklahoma, I kept it simple and light for the Monday night dinner last night: salmon over Caesar salad.

But the awesome thing? Starting off with the first tomato from my garden, and it was amazing.