Thursday, January 21, 2021

Meal No. 2762: Basic Pad Thai with Shrimp

Friday night was the first time I've fixed anything with shrimp in almost two years, and it turns out I was repeating the dish (but not the recipe) I'd last made with it! In the bowls was a stripped-down shrimp pad thai, a bit oversauced and therefore a bit more pungent than pleasant. I still ate it up but this was not one of my better offerings.

Recipe Based on:

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Crossing that Thin Line into Hope

It caught me off-guard today to experience such profound relief that I live in a nation now being led by Joseph R. Biden, Jr. There were even unabashed weepy moments, I'll confess, occurring through the afternoon, that were an acknowledgement of how much fear and stress I've felt for our nation and for our world. We still have such a long way to go, and a lot of pain left to endure, but it's nice to again feel hopeful.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Meal No. 2761: Pan-Seared Chicken Tenders Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

Since I still had some salad on hand to use up, I reached for the sous vide to cook up more frozen/prepped/spiced chicken tenders that I finished up in the cast iron skillet. It was a freshened approach, though, when I tried a new recipe for a creamy avocado ranch dressing that turned out pretty perfect. It might even have rivaled the much-loved creamy Caesar, without actually achieving supremacy, that is.

"Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing," by Traci Antonovich of 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Meal No. 2760: Chocolate Eggnog Waffles

A hint of the just-past Christmas season still lingered at the Roediger House, along with the last of a store-bought carton of eggnog. I used it last Wednesday to try a new recipe that I'm unlikly to repeat: chocolate eggnog waffles.

That might have been better, but also might have been overwhelming, if I'd added the recommended hot chocolate sauce or whipped cream, but then I remembered I had some eggnog custard sauce still lurking in the fridge, and finished 'em off with a dose of that.

"Chocolate Eggnog Waffles," from Jamie Lothridge of [Published 13 November 2016]

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Meal No. 2759: Sous Vide Cheeseburgers

I appreciate the simplicity of some meals that is enhanced by having my Joule sous vide immersion circulator. It means that last Tuesday I could pull out a couple of frozen prepped-and-sealed burgers to toss into the water bath, to cook for two hours at 143°F. As they neared the end of that time, I had buttered the buns to toast in the cast iron skillet and spread my homemade thousand island dressing on them. Finally, those burgers were finished in the cast iron skillet in duck fat and butter, with a slice of cheese added to each. More good eating at the Roediger House that night!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Meal No. 2758: Pan-Seared Chicken Tenders over Caesar Salad

Monday's meal was a return to the sous vide set-up so that I could put to use one of the prepped vacuum-sealed bags of chicken tenders from a recent bulk Costco purchase. Then, with a cast iron skillet sear of the cooked tenders to finish them up, I diced them to put atop Caesar salads. Because they began from a frozen state, I let them cook in the immersion circulator for about two hours at 143°F. If that temp seems low, keep in mind that the "165°F" temp is the target when that's the end of the cooking process; in sous vide cooking, safety is secured by holding the meat at the lower temperature for a longer period of time. That's how you get such tender flavorful results without risk of over-cooking or drying out.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Egg Nog Pound Cake + Egg Nog Custard

Even though we've moved past the holidays and into the opening days of the new year, I wasn't quite ready to leave behind my accumulated eggnog-focused recipes that I'd gathered a small collection of. The effort last Saturday evening was to try a new recipe for egg nog pound cake. Alas, it didn't turn out so well.

I thought I was going to dig the accompanying egg nog custard, which at first appeared to be much more along the lines of egg nog pudding. Then it was just soupy, and useless. So: the print-out of this ignoble recipe has been shredded and tossed. I'll have to hunt down something that works better for me.

"Egg Nog Pound Cake," from Kaylynn Zoe of [Published 11 December 2013]

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Meal No. 2757: Baby Back Pork Ribs

This past Saturday's evening meal featured baby back pork ribs, and only baby back pork ribs. I was content to consume seven all on my own.

"How to Make Great Ribs in the Oven," by Emma Christensen. From The Kitchn. [Published 01 July 2017]

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Meal No. 2756: Lamb and Mushroom Meat Loaf

We were under the impression that the first snow event of this winter was to intrude upon us as last week wrapped up, but Friday was not much of a snow day. Some beautiful big flakes in the morning didn't even stick on the typical surfaces, and when more snow appeared later, it all amounted to a dusting at best. In between the bouts of wintry disappointment, I set to work in the kitchen so as to serve an early afternoon meal featuring lamb and mushroom meat loaf, spiced roasted sweet potatoes, and seasoned green beens. It proved to be a scrumptious filling meal.

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf," in Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, by Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC (2011), p. 150.

"Roasted Sweet Potatoes," from Chelsea Lords of [Published 04 March 2019]

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Meal No. 2755: Deviled Beef Short Ribs

Last Thursday night I got to bring back a favorite special meal: deviled beef short ribs with a spicy mustard and panko crust. It seems so rare that I can find decent beef ribs but there was a perfect package of four (with a hefty price tag as well) that could not be resisted on my shopping excursion day. I also made roasted potatoes with creole spice and some buttered garden peas. It was just all fantastic.

"Deviled Beef Short Ribs," by Jeremy Sauer. In Cook's Country, April/May 2014, p. 12-13.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Meal No. 2754: Peruvian-Spiced Chicken Thighs During the Insurrection

Wednesday, January 6, 2021. It seems like so long ago, but last Tuesday was a long evening into a very late night with a shortage of sleep, watching and following along with the two run-off election contests for the U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, with the results determining control of that body for the first two years of the Joe Biden administration. One race had been called and the other looked promising when I turned in, and it was great to get up Wednesday morning to learn that, amazingly, there were two close but solid victories, eventually shown to be outside the margin for automatic recounts. For me and mine, we can not be rid of the stain and stench of the Trump era fast enough and, had the Senate remained in Republican hands, the obstruction of the Biden agenda, even being able to pick his own cabinet, and certainly to make the kinds of judicial appointments that I would want to see, would all be in jeopardy. A promising morning brimming with hope had dawned.

And then in a chilling, shocking, and ultimately completely predictable unfolding of events, the rest of the day was consumed with the clear fomenting by the President of the United States of insurrection and sedition, playing out in violent and deadly fashion by the motliest assortment of lunatic fringe, also known as the base of the current Republican Party. 

But since it was a bunch of white folks doing it, they all sauntered lazily out of the defiled Capitol Building, the seat of the people's legislature of this great republic, undetained and unrestrained, free to then violate the City's curfew for the next few hours.

We now know that five people died that day. I guess blue lives matter until they don't, but as long as you call yourself a "patriot," and have the permission of your President...  We also know this was still followed by the doomed but still destructive effort by ambitious and unprincipled and anti-democratic members of Congress to reject electors from states lost by the GOP. You know, states where lots of African-Americans live and vote.

By late afternoon, still glued to the news coverage, I whipped up a simple dinner of Peruvian-spiced chicken thighs, along with quinoa and roasted broccoli florets, and watched it all, knowing that even this—THIS—would not be enough to bring an end to Trumpism and its utterly remorseless enablers and apologists. But at least we're closer to the end of Trump.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Grilled Pound Cake with Mascarpone, Blackberries, and Skillet Syrup

Last Tuesday night, the reward for a simple supper of salad was a new dessert experiment made possible by the abundance of sour cream pound cake still sitting on the counter. The special treat was griddled pound cake slices with a mascarpone-and-walnut filling, topped with a sweet skillet syrup and blackberries.

"Grilled Pound Cake with Mascarpone," from Robert Atallah, Jr. Published in Food Network Magazine, April 2011, p. 140.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Meal No. 2753: Roasted Salmon on Caesar-Topped Power Greens

It was a second night of salad in a row last Tuesday night, but it was a return to the regular comfort of roasted salmon on a bed of power greens, overdressed with more delicious homemade Caesar dressing. Given the dessert I had planned to follow it, I'm glad it was lighter fare.

Based on "Easy Lemon Caesar Salad Dressing," by Kim of

Friday, January 8, 2021

Meal No. 2752: Garden Salad with Thousand Island Dressing

January's first Monday meal was a low-key affair and definitely on the light side: a simple garden salad with homemade thousand island dressing. Well-dressed and with a generous shake of roasted sunflower seeds, it suited the mood and the appetite that night.

Adapted from "Thousand Island Dressing," from Graybert on

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Sour Cream Pound Cake

For about 18 years, I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time working with teachers and administrators in Frederick County, Virginia, which allowed me to travel up there quite a number of times each year, often for several days or up to a week at the time. Part of the joy of that, at least until they up and moved to Maine, was to stay with dear friends Cindy and Harley, who I first met during my masters program at Wake Forest University in the late 1980s. Visits were often timed to include a weekend stayover, so at least one year (when I went back and tallied) we found I actually spent 30 nights at their place. Anyway: one of Cindy's in-laws asked her to track down some McCormick Vanilla Butter & Nut flavor because it was needed in a delicious pound cake recipe. I joined the search for it, finding it easily in our good southern grocery stores back home in North Carolina, but I also dug out that recipe from McCormick's website.

They've renamed that product, now: it's "Cake Batter Flavor," so that's what's listed in the ingredients. (If you click on the link below and go look at their recipe, you might see [as of this writing] that the instructions, however, still refer to vanilla, butter, and nut flavoring!)

All that's to say: it hit me sort of out of the blue last Sunday night to make a loaf of it, and I do believe it was the best it's ever been. 

So very good, in fact, that I turned around and made a second loaf on Monday afternoon.

"Sour Cream Pound Cake," from McCormick. Found online and on the Vanilla Butter & Nut flavoring's packaging box.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Meal No. 2751: Creamy Chicken Marsala

On January 3rd, the supper occurred at about 3 pm, which is early, but I hadn't made this recipe in six years and a day (02 January 2015!), so in that sense it was late. I was a happy eater, though, to return to this delicious bowl of goodness in the form of creamy chicken marsala, accented lightly with a smattering of blue cheese, served over nice, light angel hair pasta. I hope I'll keep this one closer at hand as a good go-to.

Based on "Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola," by Jill Anderson (Sleepy Eye, MN). In Taste of Home, February/March 2012, p. 34-35.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Meal No. 2750: New Year's Day Meatballs

Somehow I've let a whole year go without making New Year's Day meatballs...they last appeared on the Roediger House menu for New Year's Day 2020. Lordy, we had no idea what we were in for! Anyway, I guess all the lack of entertaining is partially to blame, because it's great for special occasions and for feeding a tableful of folks. I could not imagine any other dinner this past Friday when we welcomed the first day of 2021. I made homemade mashed potatoes and seasoned green beans to go with it, and it was a fine meal for a first Friday.

"New Year's Day Meatballs," from Carol Fultz and shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (2001).

Monday, January 4, 2021

Eggnog Fudge / Eggnog Eclair Cake

Several years ago I snagged a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website for Eggnog Fudge, and I'm glad I printed it out when I did. It took me until this past week to make it for the first time, and boy howdy is it ever delicious. It proved to be yet another treat that I could not keep away from, so after making it Monday night and leaving it to set up, I started distributing as much of it as I could on Tuesday for the neighbors up and down Spring Street. In preparation for this blog post, I went in search of the King Arthur webpage to link back to in case anyone else wanted to try it...but it's yet another of their recipes that has been "disappeared" from their website. (That also happened with the butter toffee cookies recipe!) Another blogger has it posted, though, so I'm using that link below.

On New Year's Eve, after supper clean-up, it was early enough in the evening to venture back to the kitchen to see what other mischief I might get into. This led me to a recipe I'd recently snagged, as part of my eggnog treats quest: eggnog eclair cake. You know, sort of a riff on the pudding-graham cracker-chocolate topping eclair cake that is so ridiculously good...? It was a fun idea but I don't see it ever being any sort of serious rival for the original eclair cake.

"Eggnog Fudge," originally posted on the King Arthur Flour website. Recipe has been posted online by Natalie of Bees Knees Recipes. [Published 17 December 2014]

"Eggnog Eclair Cake," from Jamie Lothridge of [Published 22 December 2020]

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Meal No. 2749: Sous Vide Chicken Salad Sandwiches

The New Year's Eve dinner: chicken salad sandwiches. Once again, I'm glad I depended upon the sous vide split chicken breast approach recommended by Serious Eats. It comes out moist and tender and flavorful, so it was quickly consumed, with great satisfaction.

Adapted from "The Best Classic Chicken Salad Recipe," from J. Kenji López-Alt, Chief Culinary Consultant of [Published 03 June 2015 / Updated 17 April 2020]

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Meal No. 2748: Roasted Salmon Caesar Salad

The Wednesday supper, once more, with feeling: roasted salmon on a salad with homemade Caesar dressing. Roasted sunflower seeds provided a little extra crunch and texture, and the whole thing suited the appetites that night.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Meal No. 2747: Tuna Steaks with Agrodolce Sauce

With a glorious Cold Moon (the final full moon of 2020) rising over the city of Winston-Salem last Tuesday night, the supper was a resurgence of a dish that I hadn't made since 2014: grilled tuna steaks with agrodolce sauce. I also roasted a big pan of Brussels sprouts and served it all with a tasty batch of quinoa. I like the onion-balsamic topping of the agrodolce sauce with tuna, although the recipe I based this on originally specified salmon (which is how the sauce last showed up here back in 2017). 

"Salmon with Agrodolce Sauce," from Gourmet, April 2008. Saved recipe clipping. Recipe can also be found on the Je Mange le Ville blog.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Meal No. 2746: Mini Meatloaves

The Monday after Christmas allowed me to try yet another new recipe for the main dish, and it was ready by 2 o'clock in the afternoon, just like us old folks like it. Hot out of the oven came some tasty mini meatloaves (meat loaves?) that were joined on the melamine platter by spiced roasted sweet potatoes and hoisin-roasted whole green beans. I reckon I was extra hungry since the previous day was just a salad with chicken on it...

"Mini Meatloaves," by Tonya Swope on

"Roasted Sweet Potatoes," from Chelsea Lords of [Published 04 March 2019]

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Meal No. 2745: Sous Vide Chicken Tenders on Caesar Salad

This past Saturday, feeling like I'd partaken a bit much of Christmas goodies, required some act of that I could still dive face-first into one of the few remaining squares of eggnog tres leches cake. The perfect avenue to sweet salvation ran through a salad bowl, so I dug some prepped chicken tenders from their vacuum-sealed safety at the bottom of the freezer and gave them a couple of hours in a 143°F sous vide bath. 

With a mix of olive oil and a couple of pats of butter, I pan-seared them in the cast iron skillet and sliced them into bite-sized pieces to go atop an Italian salad with homemade creamy Caesar dressing (plus roasted sunflower seeds). Oh, a fine day-after-Christmas salad it was!

Based on "Easy Lemon Caesar Salad Dressing," by Kim Hardesty of

"How to Sous Vide Chicken Breast Tenders," from Jenna Passaro of [Published 07 April 2020]

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Meal No. 2744: Pork Medallions in a Dijon Mushroom Cream Sauce

On Christmas Eve last Thursday, it was a fine night to play a bit with a long-time favorite of the house: pork medallions in a dijon mushroom cream sauce. I upped the shallots and sautéed the mushrooms an extra step, with Madeira wine to bump and shift the flavor a bit. It seems like it's been quite a while since I made the regular Jones household casserole known as company mashed potatoes, plus there was roasted garlic-parmesan asparagus spears to boot. With it being a rainy and dreary night outside, and a misty-eyed evening for watching the holiday favorite, The Family Stone inside, it was a quiet and comfortable holiday eve.

Of course, I do still have my original movie theatre ticket stub from when I saw it at the theatre 15 years ago, as pulled from my Instagram feed...

Adapted from "Pork Medallions with Dijon Mushroom Sauce," by Frank Hollands of Moorhead, Minnesota. Bake-Off Contest 37 (1996). Published in Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks' A Taste of the BAKE-OFF Issue from March 2001, p. 40-41.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Sweet Treats for Christmas Week

Date Nut Balls, always a feature of the wide array of Christmas goodies in the Jones household when I was growing up, made their appearance at the Roediger House this holiday season. They aren't so much my thing, so perhaps it's better for me since they prove irresistible for those who like 'em.

Then, on the Monday night before Christmas, when I realized I had some buttermilk to use up, I reached for a recent addition to the recipe collection to make Farmhouse Buttermilk Cake with a praline-style glazed frosting. I misread the directions a bit and ended up overcooking the cake, but that didn't seem to stop me from over-partaking. I'll give that one another go sometime in the future.

When Christmas Eve was winding down on Thursday night, I was back to more sweet treat kitchen endeavors, this time to put together an eggnog tres leches cake. This is a dangerous choice for me, because I absolutely cannot stay away from this scrumptious goodness. It does not disappoint and it cannot be resisted.

"Farmhouse Buttermilk Cake," from King Arthur Baking Company.

"Eggnog Tres Leche Cake," from Michele at [Published 13 December 2015]

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Meal No. 2743: Moroccan Bistro Chicken

After letting it disappear for three-and-a-half years, and nearly 1,000 meals ago, I brought back a delicious Moroccan-spiced braised chicken recipe that was first served to me by a former 7th grade student when I caught up with him and his family over a Christmas holiday some years ago. Brendan and his wife now live in New Zealand so those Raleigh reunions are not the yearly Christmas event that they once were. We still touch base via email from time to time, and I suppose it was a recent exchange that brought this meal back to mind for me. That's what filled the bowls, with quinoa, last Tuesday evening. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Meal No. 2742: Grilled Pork Kebabs

It was a fine December night for grilling last Monday evening. It had been quite a while since I had used a pork tenderloin for grilled barbecue kebabs, which is a bit silly since it's really fairly simple and unfailingly delicious. The basic barbecue glaze finishes it off nicely but it all went down better for the additions on the plate of roasted spiced creamer potatoes and the regular green side of roasted broccoli.

Also, this morning greeted me with winter's first shock to my system:

"Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze," an online extra from Cook's Illustrated and based on "The Best Way to Grill Pork Tenderloin," Issue No. 134, May & June 2015, p. 6.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Meal No. 2741: Beef Chili with Beans

As the cold of winter begins to settle in as the standard course of things, it brings to mind the healing comfort of a steaming pot of beef chili with beans. Sunday night presented the perfect opportunity for the first batch since late summer, and so very good and rich and filling it proved to be.

"Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans," from Cook's Illustrated, Number Sixty-One [March-April 2003], p. 10-11.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Buttermilk Pie

So, I've been tooling through a 2013 issue of Cook's Country and finding several recipes that seemed worth trying. One of those was the recent creamy chicken noodle casserole. Another was the original recipe for chocolate sugar cookies (I made an adaptation of them). Yet another recipe that caught my eye was buttermilk pie, which I made last Friday evening and then served up for breakfast Saturday morning...and it was pretty amazing. This buttermilk pie recipe is a keeper, especially since I think it could actually stand up to your grandma's, which you have always thought was the best.

"Buttermilk Pie," by Cristin Walsh. In Cook's Country, April/May 2013, p. 8-9.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Meal No. 2740: Breakfast for Dinner

I'd grabbed breakfast sausage patties on the last grocery run and it was time to put them into a meal. Don't we all love breakfast for dinner anyway? So last Friday night, that's what it was, with fried eggs and my second attempt at breakfast potatoes, which were very delicious.

"Oven Roasted Breakfast Potatoes," from Amanda, who blogs at The Chunky Chef. [Published 24 February 2015]