Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meal No. 288: Thanksgiving on the Half-Year

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and for the second year in a row, this served as an appropriate occasion to have Thanksgiving on the Half-Year. Since 2006, Thanksgiving for friends has been an important event on the annual calendar, and last year, some of us in that crowd decided that once a year was not enough for that overwhelming feast. Also, because of family or travel obligations, some folks were not able to be here for the November event. And I have to confess that I like putting together pretty much the whole meal, but the traditional Thanksgiving celebration here at the Roediger House is when everybody will bring a great dish. Nothing wrong with that at all, and it's a great help! But there are long-time favorite dishes that it means I don't get to prepare in November.

With a crowd of nine people around the nicely-arranged table (thanks to Everett Kline!), we stuffed ourselves silly. The meal would not have been possible without all the assistance and contributions of David Wald (especially keeping the prep items washed and ready and making sure that package of turkey gravy came out right, not to mention joining me in making the delicious chocolate pie we had for dessert). Everett was right there, too, and carved the turkey breast, which I kind of hate doing!

There has to be turkey, of course, and this one was juicy and tender and full of flavor. I also like having some beef tenderloin in wine sauce, and it was also spot-on.

And then there are the traditional side items I love, like corn pudding:

And layered green bean casserole, a recipe that my sister passed on to me a long time ago:

Oven space has been freed up since I came across a tasty recipe for sweet potato casserole that's done in a slow cooker:

Roediger House regulars Amy and Alston brought Brussels sprouts and bacon:

...and Amy led the way through the buffet serving line:

There is nothing about the meal I would change, except more room in my belly:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fruit & Coffee Cake

One good influence that visiting friends Everett and David have had on me this weekend: starting the day with some good fresh fruit, instead of just skipping food altogether and waiting until dinnertime.

They do a better job of setting a fitting table than I do.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meal No. 287: The Brunch Meal

On this Sunday morning, the Roediger House meal of the day is what I simply call "The Brunch Meal." With fresh fruit on the side, it's composed of Bundt coffee cake, make-ahead scrambled eggs, and creamy cheese grits.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meal No. 286: Chicken Tikka Masala

While friends Everett and David are hanging out here this weekend, I'm reaching for some delicious but dependable recipes that I thought might please the palates 'round the table. For the Saturday evening meal, we've gone from North Carolina barbecue to Indian: chicken tikka masala with roasted cumin-coriander cauliflower.

Prelude to the dinner: spiced pecan and blue cheese salad with a sweet and sour vinaigrette.

Chicken Tikka Masala and Roasted Cauliflower: Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 85, February 2011.

Spiced Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad [click here for printable recipe] inspired by the local Ryan's Steaks, Chops, and Seafood restaurant on Coliseum drive, and adapted from Southern Living recipes for the spiced pecans (thanks to Jimmy Randolph for tracking that down for me) and for the vinaigrette.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Meal No. 285: Pulled Pork Barbecue

Today marks the start of a long Memorial Day weekend visit from terrific friends Everett Kline and David Wald, who've driven down from Princeton, NJ. And what better way to welcome them to North Carolina than to offer up a hearty serving of pulled pork barbecue and blue cheese coleslaw. I realize I just fixed this same recipe at the front end of the week, but it's some good stuff, yo! It was well worth doing all over again.

Dessert afterwards was Vietnamese coffee ice cream, but I was so intent on eating it I forgot to photograph it. Here's what it looked like on a previous making....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cyprus Moves In

I grew up in a household with no pets. But I have regularly, frequently, and persistently loved the pets of other people. I think I have long been the guy that hardly pays attention to whatever conversation we're having because I'm busy petting or rubbing the cat or dog in whatever residence I might be hanging out in.

Perhaps the dreadful guilty feeling I had about the recent feral cat unpleasantness led me to reconsider my long-standing opposition to having a pet of my own. And I also began to wrap my mind around the possibility of a dog when it looked like some dear friends were going to have one who needed a home, and I found myself quite ready to offer the Roediger House as that home.

Anyway, meet the new resident of the Roediger House.

Her name is Cyprus and she is a rescue dog, obtained from the Winston-Salem Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation. Not sure about her breed mix. The best guess is that she's between one and two years old. She had puppies the day after being abandoned at the shelter but they have been weaned off and distributed elsewhere. She is house-trained, crate-trained, and responsive already to some basic commands.

Tonight, Erin at AARF (who has also been Cyprus's foster mom) was willing to let Cyprus be picked up, rather than having to wait until the usual adoption fair held every Saturday.

Cyprus is already settling in, and I think she's marvelous.

Here are a few other pictures that Erin had sent me when it was the in-between time: in between meeting (and falling in love with) Cyprus at the last adoption fair and when the adoption was completed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Meal No. 284: Balsamic-Braised Chicken over Swiss Chard and Polenta

Last night was a slow-cooker meal, which made handling all the activity of this week a bit easier. This tasty creation involves chicken thighs that are flavored up with a balsamic glaze and slow-cooked to a terrific end. The Swiss chard gets mixed in after the cooking is completed, and I served it over polenta with some of the revisited blue cheese coleslaw from the BBQ meal a couple of days ago.

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution, 2011, p. 92.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tree Removal: Completed

Ken's Tree Service returned today and finished up the removal of the trees that I had slated for demolition. This included the rotting red maple in the front yard, two trees that were leaning precariously over my neighbors to the south, and all the trash trees that were growing on the back retaining wall.

I've got a YouTube video uploaded, to streamline the collection of pictures I took that day:


Front: AFTER

Rear Wall: BEFORE

Rear Wall: AFTER

Side Yard: BEFORE

Side Yard: AFTER

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meal No. 283: Pork Barbecue & Blue Cheese Cole Slaw

The Roediger House was the site of a birthday and graduation gathering, and it seemed like a good time to break out the indoor pulled pork barbecue recipe. I also made some of that famous blue cheese coleslaw to go with it, and threw in baked beans for good measure.

There are certainly much easier recipes to follow to get a delicious chocolate eclair cake, but I found myself tempted by the fancied up-everything-from-scratch (sort of) version touted by Cook's Country magazine. I'd say it is a definite winner. It made a chocolate eclair cake of a different stripe and it will from time to time be well worth the extra trouble.

This evening was supposed to be a chance to bring in the fifth season of the Roediger House movie nights, but the threats of thunderstorms were too great and too likely, so instead it was a porch-party night. Which was every bit as good, if not better. A late night, and lots of beer bottles to recycle, but I think folks had themselves quite a good time.

Indoor Pulled Pork Barbecue, in Cook's Illustrated, No. 102, January-February 2010, p. 6-7.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw, from Ina Garten:http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/blue-cheese-cole-slaw-recipe/index.html

"Creamy Chocolate Éclair Cake," from Cook's Country, June/July 2011, p. 25.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Late-Night Visitor to the North Parlour

Just about 20 minutes ago, I was headed from the kitchen area to the bedroom to grab an Advil. But I had a surprise waiting for me when I got to the entry hallway, which the master bedroom opens onto. Skirting along the wall was an adorable but unwelcome baby possum. He dashed into the north parlour. I followed him and made sure I got the doors closed. He got up under the love seat in there, which is what I was trying to get a photograph of in the shot above. I didn't take a lot of time with set-up, because I felt sure I had all the time in the world to figure out how to catch him and what to do about him. And I thought I'd have some really fun pictures of this creature to put up here on the blog.

What I didn't anticipate was how smart he'd be. There is a hole in the floor, probably from back when there was a radiator in front of the side window, that leads down into the crawl space under the two front parlour rooms. Maybe that's also how he'd gotten in...I never have thought enough about it being a breach in my home security. Now, though, I've got it blocked over with steel wool until I can get around to getting a plain brass plate to put over the top of it.

Several times over the last week, I had seen what I assume is the mama skirting late-night along the rear retaining wall, at the back of the back yard. And just this evening, I set out the Havahart® trap again, with my intention being to catch the possum and take it out of town somewhere to drop off. I'll keep you faithful blog readers posted as to the success of these efforts.

But now I'm a bit worried: there are babies, maybe under my crawlspace, and I do not want to take their mother away from them.

Meal No. 282: Country-Style Pork Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Tonight's grill specialty was made using a recipe from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, with locations in Decatur, AL, and in humble Monroe, NC. I got ahold of country-style Boston Butt pork ribs that were thick and meaty (and on sale at the Harris Teeter, which is how I like it). They've got a great spice rub on them and they were cooked on the grill with some hickory wood chips smoking, just to up the flavor a bit.

Here's a shot of them after they got the rub-down but before I put them on the Weber.

After they were done, they showed themselves to be worthy of repeated appearances here at the Roediger House. They were delicious. And the apple-bourbon barbecue sauce, which tasted a bit too apple-y to me when it was stewing on the stove, proved to be both a tasty basting for the grilling meat, and also a lip-smacking sauce to spoon over the cooked ribs at the dinner table.

Recipe from Food & Wine, June 2011, p. 88, 90.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Meal No. 281: Fried Shrimp & Hushpuppies

I had some relatively fresh grease from making french fries last week, and so I decided tonight was good for making fried shrimp and hushpuppies.

There you have it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Meal No. 280: Pancakes

After a day of errands and cleaning, and an evening catching the premiere of the Bradley Phillis-authored "The Other Minos" play performed by students at Atkins High School, it was a late-night simple meal of pancakes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tree Removal: Part I

After years of knowing it was needed but not ever quite getting around to it, I finally am doing something about the problem trees on the property of the Roediger House.

Yesterday, Ken's Tree Service came to get started on this project. It was a pretty cloudy and overcast day, so the pictures are not as great as I'd like. They got the rotting front tree and the two side trees stripped back, and most of the trash trees growing on the back wall. Next week, they'll bring in a crane to get the trunks lifted out and finish up the remaining trees on the back wall.

They managed to get a lot done.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Meal No. 279: Chicken Tikka Masala

Last night was the opportunity to have a celebratory dinner, and the menu featured chicken tikka masala and curmin-coriander roasted cauliflower.

The reason for the celebration? Benjamin Phillis, brother of former Wake Forest grad student Bradley (a Roediger House regular), has come to Winston-Salem following his graduation from UNC, and he is beginning the Master Teacher Fellow program at Wake Forest that I used to direct.

It's one of the only things to come along that actually made me feel a slight twinge of regret at taking my leave of Wake Forest. It would have been great to have Ben in a graduate group.

The fellows enjoyed dinner, and we followed it with a stop at Wolfie's Custard and then an evening with a larger group assembled by Bradley, taking in the season's final performance of the Winston-Salem Symphony.

Another nice thing about downtown: walking there and back.