Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Extra Goodies from Thanksgiving Week

Last week, my cooking was not limited to the Thanksgiving meal or the other nightly dinners. I also delved into more sweet things, like this blackberry buttermilk cake:

I fear the stated cooking time was excessive, because it managed to dry it out. But the flavor was still good. I wanted this to be on hand since people were in and out and it would be good to have breakfast-y bread/cake or a simple afternoon snack or a dessert on hand if something else didn't get put together.

One deliberate dessert that did get made, and which was served with the Thanksgiving Eve meal of New Year's Day meatballs, was old fashioned banana pudding. I haven't made this in forever, in part because several of the Roediger House regulars claim to turn their noses up at this fine little concoction.

But the reviews were reasonable rave, and I'm glad to have the lingering taste of this treat to fondly recall now that I'm back on the road and working after my extended vacation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meal No. 396: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Tarragon & Citrus

Last night, I wasn't freakishly hungry, and I'd had a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers for a too-hearty lunch earlier in the day, and I needed to also hit the road to Richmond County, NC (where I'm working a few days).

Salmon just sounded good. I turned back to the latest issue of Food & Wine, where just last week I pulled out another slow-roasted salmon recipe. For my Monday night departure meal, I chose its companion recipe: slow-roasted salmon with tarragon and citrus.

To switch things up, I steamed some broccolini and pulled out the last of some leftovers from the last few meals: mashed potatoes with madeira and bleu cheese sauce, and a small lonely remaining piece of stuffing.

"Slow-Roasted Salmon with Tamarind, Ginger, and Chipotle," from Food & Wine, December 2011, p. 72.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meal No. 395: Grilled Pork Ribs

For what may have been the last nice day of the fall, it seemed right to do a bit of grilling. I reached for the second time for a recipe from a summer issue of Food & Wine, and for last night's dinner, it was Country-Style Pork Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. Yessiree.

This time around, I think I really got the hickory wood chips smoking up right, because that flavor really came through. I also like the glazing I got from brushing on the barbecue sauce at the end of the cook time.

Joining these tasty ribs on the plate was another batch of the Grown-Up Mac-N-Cheese from Ina Garten and a smattering of green beans.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meal No. 394: Pipetizer Casserole for Guests

The fun visits haven't ended yet.

I took Tim Schwarz back to the airport so he could head home to New Orleans early Saturday afternoon, and then I got to welcome Alison Pomeroy Edwards (WFU Class of 2006) right after that. She dropped off her husband Josh and some other Wake Forest chums at the Wake Forest-Vanderbilt football game, and then she came to the Roediger House for some good ol' teacher talkin'. It was good to see her and we had a delightful afternoon catching up.

I wasn't sure what their plans were, but I wanted to get some time to catch up with Josh and Alison together, so I tossed out the idea of them staying for dinner before heading home to Durham. Ah, but they had two more friends in tow, so I made a quick adjustment and served them up the simple meal of pipetizer casserole, with green beans on the side.

It seemed to satisfy the appetites, because there was a 100% rate of return for seconds. That sort of thing makes a cook happy, y'know.

"Pipetizer Casserole" is an adaptation of "Tailgate Casserole," from The Big Book of Casseroles, by Maryana Vollstedt. San Francisco: Chronicle Books (2000), p. 120.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Meal No. 393: Garlic & Rosemary-Crusted Roasted Racks of New Zealand Lamb

Added into the celebrations of Thanksgiving this week has been the special treat of a visit from former Wake Forest University grad student Tim Schwarz, who came in this past Tuesday from New Orleans. Tim is a good guest because one of the attractions for him of visiting here is he likes the time to just hang out or read or head out to traipse around downtown exploring what's changed since he was last here.

And he enjoys food and helps knock out those pesky leftovers.

Last night, returning early from Thanksgiving with his own family, Bradley Phillis joined us. He and Tim went through the WFU program together, were neighbors during that year, and have continued keeping up with one another for talks about teaching and education and all such things. I figured I'd better give these boys a good supper. Bradley's brother Ben, currently a Master Teacher Fellow in social studies education at Wake, was also in attendance.

I've been glad to find that rack of lamb is back in the meat case at Sam's Club.

So our special Friday night gathering was a terrific feast that still sets a holiday mood but gives us all a break from the usual Thanksgiving fare and its attendant leftovers.

In this picture above, that's four luscious racks resting with a paste of rosemary, garlic, and olive oil.

I think the fellas were particularly pleased with the Madeira and Bleu d'Auvergne Cantorel sauce that paired nicely both with the lamb and with the mashed potatoes. I also made a whole new batch of the layered green bean casserole (same dish as I made for Thursday's Thanksgiving meal) because (1) it was so good, and (2) Tim ate all the leftovers of it that I'd been looking forward to.

It was good to see the guys enjoying a visit with one another again. All-in-all, it was a fine Friday night at the Roediger House.

You know, when I bought this place, I envisioned it as a comfortable space for my students. Even though I've left Wake Forest far behind, I sure do like that this aspect has had staying power.

"Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb," Food & Wine, April 2011, p. 148.

"Madeira & Stilton Sauce," from More Than Gourmet recipe collection online.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Meal No. 392: Thanksgiving 2011

As noted in yesterday's blog post, Thanksgiving is a two-day celebration. I guess it is my favorite of all the holidays, really. It is one of those occasions when I realize how very, very fortunate I am to live the life I do and to get to be in this terrific house. Among the things I love the most are when the RoHo can play host to a food-centered gathering of good people...Thanksgiving is ideal for that.

The morning began with mimosas and fresh-baked cream cheese banana bread with a citrus glaze, piping hot and fresh from the oven.

I much prefer zucchini bread myself, but I had seen this recipe in some issue of Southern Living a while back and it seemed worth a try. I've made it now; I doubt I'll need to make it again.

With people just kind of hanging out, I also figured I'd better have something snackable on hand as the afternoon wore on, and appetites kicked up and required suppressing. That was where my homemade pimento cheese came in. I also had a shrimp tray, that was perfect for the 4 o'clock munchies. I put aside the cocktail sauce and broke out the seafood sauce that my cousin Betsy made and kindly shared when she and her husband Jim came for dinner not so long ago. That's good stuff!

Thanksgiving Bounty 2011
At the Roediger House, Thanksgiving is a night-time meal, usually served around 7 pm. Over the last several years, this gathering has been as large as 18 and required multiple tables and even using the North parlour for seating.

Last night was delightfully intimate, with eight awesome souls partaking. I enjoyed my time in the kitchen, whipping up the dishes that we would use to stuff ourselves silly. And it does end up being almost too much for the plate.

What you might be able to pick out of the picture above is the following, starting at the bottom and working clockwise: roasted beef tenderloin in wine sauce, turkey breast, corn pudding, layered green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing. Nestled in the middle are Brussels sprouts and bacon, brought by dinner guests Amy and Alston.

After dinner, I had to lie down on the floor in front of the wetbar because of the food coma. People leaned down to tell me goodbye on their way out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Meal No. 391: New Year's Day Meatballs

Last night, the night before Thanksgiving Day 2011, was the official start of how the Roediger House celebrates this fall holiday. Why limit ourselves just to the huge meal on Thursday when the party can last two days?

It has become the tradition to have a night of drinking and karaoke upstairs in the TV room, which gives some folks a chance to lay down some hard-core singing and to spark laughter all 'round.

But the karaoke is for everybody else; I spend that time down in the kitchen working up some food and such. I interrupted the frivolity upstairs with a dinner bell, and on the table last night was a plate of what we in the Jones family call "New Year's Day Meatballs." This is in honor of the first time we had it, over a long-ago holiday at home in Buies Creek, when my sister Allison served it up to us.

This meal has made a couple of appearances at the RoHo; the first time I ever made it was for  Meal No. 79.

Very little remained for leftovers...I think only two meatballs remained. Since I knew there would be a lot more food coming with tonight's Thanksgiving meal, I sent a doggy bag home with friends Molly and Andrew.

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

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meal No. 390: Chicken & Wild Mushrooms in Puff Pastry

Last night I stepped into new territory again, this time using a recipe from the folks at More Than Gourmet, who have some great stocks and sauces and demi-glace products. What I ended up preparing was chicken and wild mushrooms (oyster, baby bella, maitake) in a rich white wine cream sauce, served in fresh-baked puff pastry shells. Fresh steamed broccoli florets sat alongside, and a Red Seal Ale washed it all down.

Recipe from More Than Gourmet online.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meal No. 389: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Tamarind, Ginger, and Chipotle

From the newest copy of Food & Wine comes a recipe for slow-roasted salmon, definitely Asian-infused, definitely moist and tender and flavorful. I'd bought some tamarind quite a while back because of some other recipe that I never got around to making, and that may be why I went ahead and gave this a try. I also found a pretty fine slab of salmon when I was at Sam's Club yesterday and there were several mouths to feed at dinner last night.

Quinoa and fordhook lima beans and several cold bottles of beer, together with this delicious preparation for salmon: it was a good Monday night at the Roediger House.

"Slow-Roasted Salmon with Tamarind, Ginger, and Chipotle," from Food & Wine, December 2011, p. 72, 74.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meal No. 388: Challah French Toast

Most of the time, I'm a one-meal-a-day person. If I eat anything mid-day, it's snacky or it's leftovers. But to start off this week of Thanksgiving vacation, I really wanted to try a recipe for French toast that I'd had on hand for a while. That meant I took the unusual step of making breakfast.

I came across this recipe in the catalogue for King Arthur Flour. It's a pretty awesome way to do French toast so that you get a good rich flavor both from the egg-y goop and from the bread itself, since it recommends that you use Challah. Topped with confectioners sugar and some pure maple syrup, and tall glasses of cold milk on the side, this French toast will definitely be making repeat appearances in the Roediger House.

"French Toast," from King Arthur Flour online.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meal No. 387: Bulgogi Burger Sliders

Burgers. There are just times that a good hamburger hits the spot like nothing else does. And they can be simple and quick and easy and satisfying.

And then, sometimes, you just get a hankering to make 'em something else, something different, something out of the ordinary. A surprise for the palate, perhaps. So instead of the quick and easy and simple approach tonight, instead I decided to tackle something called bulgogi burger sliders on homemade brioche buns with balsamic-soy caramelized onions and a kimchee aioli.

Considerably more effort was required than the normal run-of-the-mill (meal?) burger night.

For instance, in the picture above you can see that I made the buns for these burgers. These are brioche slider buns, and while they were very tasty, there is still a long way to go for me in working with yeast breads and dough. I just need more practice. Lots of it.

And yes: it's hard to beat some good caramelized onions, and these had the extra flavor that comes from glazing julienned red onions in a balsamic-soy concoction.

To get this meal right, I also did not just grab a chub of ground beef at the grocery store. On the contrary! I took advantage of the current sale on ribeye steaks and bought those. I cubed them, chilled them in the freezer a while, and tossed them (in two batches) into the food processor, with a bit of garlic salt and onion powder for good measure. It's the same process I use for peanut butter bacon burgers, except I used ribeye steaks instead of a combination of sirloin tip and boneless beef shortribs.

Tonight's dinner for a gathering of four was stumbled upon online, under an article that touted 10 different ways to do burgers. This one is Korean-inspired or Korean-influenced, and it involved at least two trips to the Asia Grocery just south of downtown. That's because I am not that familiar with kimchee, but I do now know that even in a tightly-closed jar, it'll odor up a refrigerator.

The Korean kimchee was part of the aioli for the burgers. The burgers were topped with slices of smoked gouda and the soy-balsamic caramelized red onions.

The meal passed muster with the fellas and I reckon this recipe is a keeper.

"Brioche Buns," from Cuisine at Home, June 2011, Issue 87, p. 18-20.

"Bite-Size Bulgogi Burgers," by Debbie Lee. Printed in Seoultown Kitchen. Found online at

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'll Miss You, Summer

Oh, summer. You bring me great sights like a goldfinch actually perching on the bird feeder that sits in plain view of my old man's chair by the fireside.

And then you give way to the harsh cold of winter, and my little beautiful friend disappears for a while.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meal No. 386: Standing Beef Rib Roast

I think I've got my appetite back now.

Thanks to a pretty good sale at the Harris Teeter this week, I snagged a 5-pound ribeye roast for a decent price and decided to have a Friday night dinner party. That gave me a chance to serve up this delicious meat with some mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas.

And since I'm not really a huge fan of gravy per se (I do like sauces though), I seldom if ever make it. Tonight was my first time of making it from scratch using the drippings from the pan. I'm glad I did.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meal No. 385: Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup

I love getting tomato soup, or tomato-basil soup, or tomato bisque, whenever I'm eating out. When I was in my doc program at the University of Virginia, I was especially frequent in stopping off at Café Europa for a big bowl of their version, with a portion of a French baguette to go with it. That was perfect when I didn't want a big meal.

That's how I was feeling tonight, on this really chilly November day. I got home from working with Richmond County Schools around 1 pm today, and that left me plenty of time to consider something for tonight appropriate to my appetite and to the weather. I've been a bit on the stressed side the last couple of weeks, and it throws off my appetite, so I've been taking it easy at mealtime (or skipping altogether...last night I just had a chocolate shake for dinner).

In my "Soups & Stews" folder, there are four different recipes for making a homemade tomato soup, and I decided it was time to try one of them out. I selected the version recommended by Cook's Illustrated, because I know I can generally trust them. It was also not overly involved or too time-consuming.

It was amazing. I tried to consume a second bowl of it but had to stop about half-way through because I couldn't fit any more into my body. The effort was valiant, though.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lime Cheesecake Pie

With Monday night's dinner, I followed a recipe ripped out of either the Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks grocery check-out recipe magazine, or its companion from Betty Crocker.

This was a very light and airy dessert that was sweetly delicious and understated.

I think I'd just as soon make one of my key lime pies, though.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meal No. 384: Oatmeal

My appetite was off today, and it's also a day I have to get a lot done because I'm traveling to Richmond County, NC, for the rest of the week. I've also been hankering for oatmeal, especially since I found that Monica's version of it is no longer on the Sunday brunch menu at 6th & Vine.

So that was tonight's dinner, with a piece of toast and a tall cold glass of milk. Actually, two tall cold glasses of milk.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meal No. 383: Eastern NC Barbecue

As often happens on Monday nights, it was a casual dinner party at the Roediger House tonight. I had picked up a pork shoulder/Boston Butt when it was on sale last week and I knew it needed to get cooked before I left town for this week's work in Richmond County, NC.

So I reached for a slow-cooker version of vinegar-based Eastern North Carolina barbecue, even though it meant setting my alarm and getting up just before 6 am today.

(I always think I'll find a way to take a nap during the day, and it pretty much never happens.)

When they were in town last weekend, my good friends Evelyn and Janelle from Gainesville, FL, had recommended Ina Garten's recipe for Grown-Up Mac-N-Cheese, and so I also tried it out tonight. Turns out the recommendation was a good one, because this mac-n-cheese is hard to beat.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meal No. 382: Miso-Glazed Salmon

It was time tonight to watch the other half of Series 6 of the BBC's Doctor Who. With the first half of the season, there was a grand chili party for the DVD release and it was a fun time. But these episodes could not wait for the assemblage of a crew to take it in. That was the evening's entertainment to go with dinner.

And dinner was pretty nice overall. I baked a huge slab of salmon after giving it a miso-based glazing. I'm still trying to get the cooking time right whenever I decide to cook salmon in the oven, and I thought it came out a little dry.

Fresh steamed broccoli florets and toasted Israeli couscous helped make it a meal.

"Miso-Glazed Salmon Steaks," from Bon Appétit, May 2011, p. 58.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Meal No. 381: Mini Crab Cakes with Easy Hollandaise

The May 2011 issue of Bon Appétite had a nice and easy recipe for making Hollandaise sauce using the blender. I figured I'd give it a go, and I followed their recommendation to also grab their recipe for mini crab cakes from their website.

Turns out this was a very rewarding course of action. Dinner was awesome. It also gave me a chance, finally, to break the seal on my original Perry Mason television series DVDs, and I watched the very first episode from 1957 while smacking my lips to this tasty meal.

"Blender Hollandaise," by Eric Ripert, in Bon Appétite, May 2011, p. 39.

Mini Crab Cakes, by Bon Appétite's Betty Rosbottom and published April 2009.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Appearance of the White Wine Coffee Cake

I had a little phase of mania with desserts within the last few weeks. Here's another sampling of that wave of sugar use: the famous white wine coffee cake recipe that my mother got years ago from Barbara Taylor and Lib Tripp. Those ladies in Buies Creek were quite funny about buying the wine for this, but I'm glad that didn't stop them. The recipe was passed on to me over Labor Day weekend in 2001.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yet Another Playdate with Max

Cyprus has gotten rather fond of her visits with "cousin" Max, and it often starts out with a battle over whatever chew toy happens to be lying about. They are a funny pair when they are together.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Under the Wire

In order to have the chairs by the fireside, which is in the middle of the space between the kitchen proper and the kitchen table in the windowed bay, I had a floor plug installed for a lamp.

Cyprus often lays between those chairs and, for some reason, seems to like to position herself very close to the lamp cord and that plug. Makes me nervous, but I guess if she gets a shock at some point, she'll be a  little more cautious. On the occasion when I snapped this picture, she even used it to give her nose a special nesting spot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meal No. 380: Chicken Pan Pie

One more chance to cook something before leaving a bit too late to drive to Winchester, VA, for the week: Meal No. 380 was an old recipe that I've probably not made since the old kitchen, at best, and it might even have lain dormant since I was in my faculty apartment at Wake Forest University. It came from one of the cookbooks belonging to my friend Cindy Coulson, and in my handwritten copy of it, it is attributed to Norma Anderson.

This is "Easy Crust Chicken Pot Pie," which to me is an awful lot like the chicken pan pie that I often get on those rare occasions I go to the K & W Cafeteria here in Winston-Salem.

Must've been quite a long time since I made it, because I was definitely off a bit. Crust was too thick and the goop was rather runny. And while it's a easier to make than that fantastic cheddar crust chicken pot pie I made for Meal No. 368, I doubt it's going to show up on the Roediger House menu again any time soon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meal No. 379: Chicken Alfredo over Spaghetti

After a fun weekend of guests, and knowing I've got to hit the road tomorrow for a full week of tough work up in Virginia, there was nothing involved or fancy about the Sunday evening meal. Partially invented, and also relying on a standard recipe, tonight I seared up chicken breast tenders, with a bit of extra seasoning, and served them in a modified alfredo sauce over pasta. It was okay but not spectacular. I've got better ways to do a creamy pasta than this.

My quick run to the grocery store allowed me to spot some good-looking dinner rolls in the deli-bakery section, so I figured I'd let those go alongside. I do love bread, but this type of dinner roll is among my favorites.

I'm sure they're pretty bad for you, especially because I will not be shorting myself on the slabs of butter alongside.

Since dinner ran a little late, it's good there was still some pimento cheese in the fridge to snack on and tide me over.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meal No. 378: Pork Medallions with a Ginger-Shiitake Mushroom Cream Sauce

It is really such a short weekend having Evelyn and Janelle here, and my one chance to try to cook up a meal for them was tonight. To keep it simple enough so as not to pull me away from my time with them, but good enough to serve for guests, I turned to the faithful stand-by of pork medallions with a ginger-soy-shiitake mushroom cream sauce. The original recipe calls for this to be served with seared tuna but pork is every bit as good with it.

Also among the usual favorites making an appearance on the plates were seasoned green beans and company mashed potatoes. We had tasty chocolate fudge for dessert.

I guess it was well-received, because the ladies have asked for that recipe!

"Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce," from The Bon Appétit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, 2006, p. 398-399.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Great Guests from Gainesville

One of the benefits of my association with the professional development training program called Project CRISS has been to come to know some really terrific fellow trainers. Two of those made a weekend stop at the Roediger House today, as part of some travels they were doing to see friends and to vacation a bit. Pictured with me here are Evelyn and Janelle from Gainesville, Florida, who came in this evening and who will spend the weekend here. I'll try to make it a good time!