Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Kids on the Block

This summer, the Roediger House got to expand its family just a bit, when some of the new Master Teacher Fellow graduate students in Wake Forest University's education program managed to find their way here. Thanks to the introduction by Bradley Phillis, MA.Ed.'07, of his brother Ben to the RoHo, who then brought along a couple more members of his cohort (Emily and Chris), there have been quite a few fun and festive nights this summer. Glad these kids are around for the coming year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Miranda Is Now Dakota

Last week, I blogged about the pictures of Cyprus's offspring that Erin from AARF had sent to me. Those are some mighty adorable puppies that Cyprus gave birth to, back before she was adopted into the Roediger House.

Adoptions sometimes don't work out, for one reason or another, and one of those pups (who had been named Miranda) was returned to AARF. She sports a new name now: Dakota. Erin says she's going to foster Dakota herself and get an idea about what she's like and her personality and such, so that later a good adoption match can be made.

In the meantime, while I have no interest whatsoever in bringing a second dog into the Roediger House, I can't help but hope and wish that someone I know will be the one to ultimately adopt this precious pup.

Any takers out there?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Meal No. 347: Chicken, Mushroom, & Rice Casserole

With a few days of work in Virginia scheduled this coming week, I prepped a simple casserole dish early Sunday afternoon for a late afternoon baking and eating. Not much to this casserole: you throw just about all the ingredients together and then toss it into a baking dish and give it a good half hour in the oven.

After cooking, it gets about five more minutes with a layer of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Then, serve it up! It helped me hit the road ready and rarin' last night on my way up to Shenandoah County.

Recipe from The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever, by Beatrice Ojakangas [2008], p. 164.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene

No small number of thoughtful friends and loved ones have inquired about how things fared in Winston-Salem during this weekend's Hurricane Irene event. And the answer is: pretty well. Nothing like what the folks on the coast and up the eastern seaboard have had to contend with.

There were some gusty winds, but only a few, and there was the briefest period of rain.

By last night, the passing storm left us with a very pleasant evening and nice late summer breezes, perfect for walking the dog or sitting on the upstairs porch.

And Sunday morning dawned clear and blue-skied and beautiful. It got a little warm this afternoon but this was a perfect summer day.

A nice one for morning coffee on the front porch, I'd say.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Meal No. 346: Stir Fry Cashew Beef with Peppers

I mentioned in a recent post that I had been to look at a house on Summit Street that I have long coveted. It's one of those ginormous monstrosities that'd be ridiculous to own, overwhelming to fix up, and a nightmare to try to pay for. But it would also have some huge payoffs and would resolve for me some of the things that I'm less happy with about the Roediger House.

But what it wouldn't give me is the kitchen that I now have here.

I love stepping into the kitchen to sit by the fireside and have morning coffee and think ahead to the evening's meal. I read through recipe magazines and cookbooks and research the latest specials at the Harris Teeter and make a shopping list and think about a dessert. Often, that's after a night of expected (or unexpected!) guests that I'm glad to have over, and we will have spent a lot of the evening in--you guessed it--the kitchen. I'll be able to think back on the good memories of that previous evening while I rinse out the bottles for recycling or clear the crumbs from a late-night snack or dessert.

And of course I truly enjoy making meals, pulling things together after some afternoon prep time, reaching for spices and utensils and condiments all close-by and comfortably placed in cabinets and drawers.

Tonight was no exception.

While many of my stir-fry meals go all official with specific Asian condiments and such, and I use a wok and make sure it's lubed with peanut oil, tonight's dinner was a family-friendly quick-prep cashew beef with peppers. Alongside, I had whole steamed green beans. The flavor was right on the money and it all went well with a Great Lakes Eliot Ness and the first episode of the third season of True Blood.

"Classic Cashew Beef," from Sherri Melotik [WI]. Taste of Home, June & July 2011, p. 43.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Meal No. 345: Stuffed Cheeseburgers

Friday night, breezes kicking up with the approach of Hurricane Irene along the North Carolina coast, and a baseball double-header bringing tons of people to downtown Winston-Salem. Just begs for a bit of grilling, and I was ready to delve into a new concoction.

This evening, the experimental meal involved stuffed cheeseburgers, and they turned out really good, albeit rather sizable.

Baked beans, barbecue kettle chips, and cold beer did the rest of the job tonight.

"Family-Friendly Stuffed Cheeseburgers," by Alethea Osborne (Florence, KY). In Taste of Home, June & July 2011, p. 80.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meal No. 344: Chicken Tikka Masala

Amy Williamson and her roommate Alston were among those who noticed that they had not been given a shot at the Roediger House's chicken tikka masala, but it's a wrong that was righted tonight.

In pretty good fashion, I think.

The evening began with glasses of mango lassi, just to set the mood right. Then, I served up tonight's main feature, over Basmati rice, and with coriander-cumin-roasted cauliflower.

There was still some lemon supreme cheesecake to finish us all off, too.

"Indian Chicken Curry (Tikka Masala)," from Cuisine at Home, Issue 85/February 2011, p. 14-15.

"Roasted Cauliflower," from Cuisine at Home, Issue 85/February 2011, p. 15.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meal No. 343: Grilled Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops

Regular blog readers know of my propensity to return quickly to a just-made recipe if it really strikes my fancy. That was the case with Meal No. 336 earlier in the month.

With five folks having supper here tonight, and the value pack of pork chops there for the taking at the Harris Teeter, that made it an easy call for tonight's menu. Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops cooked on a hot grill came out just right, and the special spiced-up barbecue sauce made all the flavors hum.

I was also willing to so quickly repeat the butter-drenched boiled potatoes like those I fixed last Friday night for another dinner party.

Since it was a later dinner, I went ahead and made spicy garlic shrimp as an appetizer. I used slightly larger shrimp than usual, and I did have a harder time peeling them, but we scarfed them down right quick.

And for dessert, lemon supreme cheesecake:

"Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops," from Food & Wine, June 2011, p. 88.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Doggie Downsides

There is much to love about the new dog, Cyprus, who is a terrific dog and the kind of addition to life in the Roediger House that it was easy to fall in love with.

But let's not kid ourselves: there are some notable downsides to having a dog. Sure, because I do like to play fetch and tug-of-war with her, I've gotten my hands repeatedly abused, because I'll manage to get nicked by one of her teeth and so on. Right now there's an unsightly blood spot on my thumbnail, gradually working its way down as the nail grows, from one of those nights where I knocked my thumb against her lunging mouth and it led to bleeding above and under the nail.

This week, I'm getting sort of a triple whammy, though.

First of all, apparently she's gotten into some poison ivy, because I picked up a bad case of it within 24 hours of getting home last week from my work in Virginia. And I've not been into or around it, but I'm sure on her walks she's managed to nose around in it. And it's getting worse and worse, I'm afraid, which makes me think I'm getting repeatedly exposed to whatever traces remain in her fur.

Second, when I was walking her earlier today, just before departing for a meeting up in Surry County, I pulled out my cell phone to check the time to see when we'd have to head back so I could shower and dress. Just as I was returning it to my holster, Cyprus jerked me as she bolted for something, and my Motorola Droid did a huge bounce on the sidewalk. The touchscreen is now shattered, and I'm not eligible for a new phone until the end of September.

Finally, were it not for doing a walk with Cyprus through the West End neighborhood, I would never have known that a house I've always loved and coveted was on the market. This is the John Coleman house, a huge place that has a lot to like about it, and following that walk with Cyprus I contacted the listing agent to show it to me.

That could turn out to be one very expensive walking of the dog.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meal No. 342: Moravian Chicken Pie

Haven't had this since early January, and my belly was calling for it to be served up again. This here is Moravian Chicken Pie, following a recipe in the Grace Moravian Church (Mount Airy, NC) Cooking with Grace cookbook.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jeepers Creepers Sleepers!

What I saw outside the window yesterday morning after it started to get light took me back to what this neighborhood was like when I first bought the Roediger House. There was a guy sleeping in the empty gravel lot beside the house. Not the usual thing any more. Not sure that he was homeless, but I do think he was drunk. He got up right after I snapped this shot through the kitchen eating nook/bay window, and I felt like a voyeur anyway.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cyprus's Kids Are All Right

This is the post that's designed to melt your heart. Foster angel and incredibly dedicated volunteer Erin from Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation was kind enough to send along pictures of Cyprus's three offspring, who were born the day after Cyprus was abandoned to AARF.

First, Cyprus with her three pups:

Next, a shot of the three pups all up on one another sleeping their little puppy sleep:

Here are two shots of Carrie:

And two shots of Miranda:

And two shots of Samantha:

This is Samantha again, but at about 3.5 months, just before she was adopted:

They look pretty wonderful, which is no surprise, since Cyprus is pretty darned wonderful.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Meal No. 341: Beer-Baked Irish Beef

My trial 10 days ago of an Irish pot roast was acceptable but not great. So I gave it another try tonight, using a different recipe. This one was on the money and earned kind commentary from the folks around the table.

I'm not sure, but this might be my first time of buying a package of "stew beef" for a recipe. This was a reason for a quick run into Sam's Club earlier in the day (again, thank goodness for city livin'). The interesting ingredients, to me, are the allspice and the bottle of Guinness Extra Stout that go into it.

I also decided it was high time I tried to make mooshy potatoes swimming in oodles of butter, just like we'd get at Ron's Barn in Coats on a Friday or Saturday night. I came mighty close, I think.

I was trying to choose between making more cathead biscuits or Granny Wilson's honey cornbread recipe (kindly shared by good friend Linda Dunlap); the intended serving time made me choose the faster of the two...cornbread.

Although there was a slight delay when the bag of cornmeal got away from me and crashed to the floor:

There was also delicious dessert, courtesy of Jen Martin and Jen Cora, using Martinique's grandmother's recipe for strawberry pie:

I think Jen Cora's expression here captures how happy that pie made all of us:

"Beer-Baked Irish Beef," from The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas, 2008, p. 218.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another Fit & Finish Issue (Powder Room)

When my general contractor, Peter R. LaRoque of Mocksville, NC, first installed the powder room toilet, he had such a hard time getting the toilet seat to secure that he ended up breaking the ceramic toilet itself. He replaced it, but I think there's always been something about the very cheap toilet seat he decided to put on it.

It has needed tightening about once a week, and not just a little tightening. A lot.

So when I finished using it earlier today and noticed that the top cover lid was off-kilter again, I pushed on it to line it up before I intended to reach underneath and screw down the plastic bolts another time. But that little push resulted in a snapping sound, and darned if the plastic rod in the back of the seat didn't snap right off.

This toilet seat has been an issue since the original installation of the toilet, so let's see who ends up being responsible for it. Bet it's me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

That Girl Can Sleep

Oh, that sweet Cyprus. That girl can sleep. Like, right after a walk on one of these hot, hot days of summer: she'll walk in, maybe slurp some water, and then you can hear the crash as she falls over on her side.

And she's not interested in being disturbed while she's getting that rest.

It's not common for her to crash over on her back but she was intent on squeezing in close to me while I was doing some work by the fireside one day recently.

This is also not common but when she's tired, she's tired. Even if it was in the middle of playing fetch.

Out like a light, with the ball still nestled firmly in her jaws.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It Got Chocolate-y Up in Here

For last week's attempt at something that could resemble "Irish Night," which probably had very little Irish about it except for the Guinness, there were some desserts that I did not get around to posting.

First off, a Kahlua cake:

Why Kahlua cake? Because I liked the idea of doing something with Bailey's Irish Cream but didn't have a handy dessert. And it's an easy jump to go from Irish Cream to Kahlua, especially if you've got coffee on your mind.

Also, I dug out the recipe for Guinness Milk Chocolate ice cream from David Leibovitz's The Perfect Scoop. Now, that was some good tasting chocolate ice cream with a whole different taste sensation. It worked and was another easy ice cream to create.

Third dessert item: Ben Phillis made his famous peanut butter sandwiches, which are an incredibly tasty homemade version of what, for me, is my favorite Girl Scout cookie: the Do-Si-Dos.

And, as you'll see on this sample of one of the dessert plates just before it was greedily consumed, there was also chocolate chess pie, courtesy of Emily Satterfield.