Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meal No. 435: Steak, At Last!

Man-o-man, have I been really hankering for a steak. And I keep not getting around to grilling any to satisfy this craving. My one recent close call/attempt was totally mucked up by heavy winds and an unexpected rain shower.

But you should have seen how glorious the weather was today. Imagine: it's January 31 and the temps got up into the upper 60s, with great sunshine. That's why I had to hit the Bethabara Park Greenway Trail with Cyprus today, to take advantage of this while I could. And it's also why I put aside my original plans for tonight's dinner in favor of grilling a porterhouse steak, setting up the deep fat fryer for shoestring fries, and foil-packet grilling some young Vidalia onions with rosemary, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar.

I think I'm about to explode. It was a lot of food, and it was awesome.

I found myself driving down to Richmond County, where I'm working the rest of this week, with a simultaneously satisfied and discomfited belly.

As if you needed that info right now.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal No. 434: Pork Medallions with Dijon Mushroom Cream Sauce

I just wanted to get a crew together for a meal, because it seemed like I hadn't managed to put together a full table of guests in a while. And some of my faithful favorites were willing to oblige me.

On this particular Monday evening, we all feasted on some delicious pan-seared pork medallions covered in a creamy dijon mustard sauce, with company mashed potatoes and the traditional Campbell's Kitchens green bean casserole. Oh, and some fresh-made bread, to boot.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meal No. 433: Country Ham Breakfast

I know you people out there. And you know yourselves. You know sometimes you just have to have breakfast for dinner. One of my favorites from growing up: country ham, rice with butter on it, and biscuits with Welch's grape jelly. And two large glasses of cold Vitamin D milk to wash it all down.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Meal No. 432: Crunchpitas

It was easy fixin' for a Saturday night after I'd worked all week and then taught all day, before driving about 3.5 hours home: taco seasoned ground beef on skillet-seared corn tortillas with a slice of cheese on them, along with fresh tomato, onion, and sour cream. I ate four and it was way too much food.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cyprus Goes for the New Bowls

All indications are that Cyprus is happy with the fancy new Carolina Blue Roediger House food and water bowls.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Recycling Carts Arrive

The City of Winston-Salem is changing its recycling system, and instead of those green buckets you have to schlep to the curb each week, in April it will move to an automated pick-up system using large rollcarts.

I'll be ready for this change. The bright blue cart was delivered last week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spiced Pecan & Gorgonzola Salad

Looks like I forgot to toss up a picture of the fancied-up salad I served with one of my meals last week. You can view and print the recipe by clicking this link.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Roediger House Stoneware Arrives

Something that careful watchers might have noticed in a few pictures here and there on the blog is that the Roediger House has its own set of coffee mugs. I got bitten by the bug to have these several years ago when I stayed at a bed-and-breakfast in Florida, while doing some work in Alachua County, and the coffee was served in mugs that had a nice line-art drawing of the house.

An unnecessary extravagance? Sure. But living in a house that's cool enough to put on a mug? I understand the required course of action.

Of late, I've felt like I needed to update the collection a bit. I also appreciate how easy it was to work with the supplier, Sunset Hill Stoneware.

So here's a sampling of the new arrivals...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meal No. 431: Chicken Stir-Fry with Peppers & Onions

After glancing through Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking, I decided to try a stir-fry dish with chicken, onions, and peppers. I brought home some naan from the Harris-Teeter to heat up and I piled it high on top of some rice from the rice cooker. It was a horrendously late meal, but boy-howdy, the flavors were great.

Stir-Fried Chicken with Peppers and Onions, from Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking, 2001, p. 102.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meal No. 430: Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs

With the incredibly moderate temps of this unusual January, I've felt the call of the grill. Tonight, I tossed some marinated country-style pork ribs onto it. On the dinner plate, they were given a healthy dump of fresh-made horseradish barbecue sauce. Alongside I had grown-up mac-n-cheese and baby lima beans.

"Savory Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs," by Ray Lampe. In Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook (St. Martin's Griffin) and published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Grown-Up Mac-N-Cheese," by Ina Garten.

"Barbecue Sauce," by Emeril Lagasse. Accompaniment to Emeril's "Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs" recipe, from the Food Network online.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Another Kitchen Gadget

Here's a carry-over from the September trip to the southwestern U.S.: the stops I made at the In-N-Out Burger joints permitted a gander or two at their wall-mounted super-easy french fry cutters. I decided I had to have one, because (1) I do not like trying to slice these to the right sizes by hand and (2) I'm OCD enough that the sheer beauty of the uniformity of cut fries tickles me innards.

Having an oversupply of storage space has enormous drawbacks, maybe.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lifestar 911 Wall Repaired

The retaining wall that was damaged by a reversing / backing-up ambulance at the neighboring Lifestar 911 service back on Christmas Eve has now been repaired. They did a pretty good job on it, seems to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meal No. 429: Pork Medallions in a Ginger-Shiitake Sauce

I can't help it; this recipe is always too delicious. So once again, the regular menu item (sometimes featuring pork, sometimes featuring tuna) of the marvelous ginger-soy-shiitake mushroom cream sauce has made it onto the table at the Roediger House.

It was a special occasion. My cousin Marilyn (whose all-too-young husband just recently passed away) was the honored dinner guest and I needed to make sure I fixed up a meal worthy of her visit.

I think it passed muster. Although the sweet sugary supple persuasion found in the after-dinner key lime frozen custard might have swayed her, too.

"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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meal No. 428: Lamb Köfte with Yogurt Sauce and Muhammara

The dish picture above is from a recipe that is only making its second appearance on the menu log of the Roediger House, having originally shown up back in June 2010 as Meal No. 106. I'll defer to the description found in that previous blog entry and not repeat it all here.

What I will say, though, is that this is just amazingly delicious. All the flavors meld together in a symphony of terrific taste. The muhammara, a Syrian red pepper spread (pictured above as it was simmering and reducing), goes so well with the carmelized onions, the tangy tahini yogurt sauce, and the delightfully spiced lamb meatballs. And in the meantime, I've isolated its source (for a while, I would cut out recipes but never make note of where I got them; I'm trying to do better about that). See below, with a link to an online copy of it.

"Lamb Köfte with Yogurt Sauce and Muhammara," in Bon Appétit, January 2010.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Meal No. 427: Thai Cashew Noodles with Spicy Scallops

Stepped out in a different direction for a one-dish meal: spicy scallops on Thai cashew noodles with peppers and carrots.

I even made some cashew butter in order to use it in this recipe.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Chili Cook-Off

The annual tradition of a January chili gathering continues. It is one of the fine carry-overs from the types of events I used to do for the social studies group when I was running that program in the Department of Education at Wake Forest University. Now, it still gets to include a few of the alumni (and even current participants) in that masters program, but the bulk of the attendees are part of the 6th & Vine family in one way or another.

My contributions to this year's gathering included my standard Six-Hour Chili, using a recipe that showed up in a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago (and which is also found online). In addition, I decided to pull out a pretty spicy and slightly different take on chili that I tried out only once before, probably back in the winter of 2005-06: "Texas Red" chili con carne. Whereas the Williams-Sonoma has browned ground beef as its main ingredient, the Texas Red features chunks of beef from a couple of chuck roasts.

This constitutes Meal No. 426 in the count of meals since the new kitchen was completed back in the late spring of 2009.

Twenty folks were here, which also netted three additional chilis: Spicy Chorizo Chocolate Chili, Super Spicy HER Chili, and 15-Bean Chili with Ham and Chicken.

Desserts included a Whole Foods layer cake that one of the guests brought; a big freezer of homemade key lime frozen custard, based on the recipe from Donna Whitley-Smith's mother; and for late-night remainders, butter rum toffee cookies straight out of the oven.

"'Texas Red' Chili Con Carne," by Diane Unger-Mahoney. In Cook's Country, June/July 2005, p. 10-11.

"Six-Hour Chili," from Williams-Sonoma online.

"Butter Toffee Cookies," originally from King Arthur Flour.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meal No. 425: Baked Spaghetti

When I go to the local favorite K & W Cafeteria, I'm always hopeful that their baked spaghetti is on the serving line. It's different, but to my tastes, it's always good. Several years ago, thanks to my good friend Cindy Coulson's extensive collection of cookbooks, I came across a fine recipe that's not anywhere near an imitation of the K & W version, but it was also always really good. And it was particularly handy for when I had a lot of people over. I used to serve it as the first meal for my Wake Forest students, for instance.

The latest issue of the Food Network Magazine (ironically, in this case, titled "The Light Issue") had competing recipes for baked spaghetti from Paula Deen and her son Bobby. Of course I went with Paula's  because you know it's going to be packed with some flavor. And it was. But man-o-man, did it sit heavy in my stomach the rest of the evening!

Or maybe that was because of the very tasty, very tart, very creamy Tangy Lemon Frozen Yogurt that I made for dessert. It's another David Lebovitz concoction, and I came across it in an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Paula Deen's Baked Spaghetti, in The Food Network Magazine, January/February 2012, p. 53.

Tangy Lemon Frozen Yogurt, by David Lebovitz, published in the Los Angeles Times.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cyprus's Tormentors Today

I couldn't understand what had Cyprus so agitated and entranced earlier today, so I finally set down my laptop (I'm underwater with some work that's taking way too much time to complete) and had a look-see for myself.

You'll need to look closely, or perhaps click on the picture to get the larger version of it, but there in the middle of this shot is a cat, perched on the corner of the wall at the back of my lot. I have bird feeders nearby, so you can imagine what his/her interest is.

She liked to drive Cyprus crazy, and yes: they just sat there and stared at each other for quite a while.

Cyprus also goes nuts (!) over the yard squirrels, and I guess my Vaseline has worn off on the base of the kitchen window tray feeder, because it got taken over again. And Cyprus did not like that much either.

Of course, I'm just glad to see that she's feeling much better.

She had her 6-month vet check-up earlier in the week, and I don't know if it was the de-wormer or the liver treats they gave her, or a combination, but she tossed her cookies twice in the house (just small amounts) and then really hurled twice when we went out for a walk that afternoon. She was feeling puny for a while.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Meal No. 424: Oven-Baked Turkey Drumsticks

It's always a good evening when Amy Williamson comes over to visit, and Cyprus enjoyed the chance to play with her pup Cass, too. It's also hard to get her over for dinner because she works a heckuva lot of nights at 6th & Vine.

It was a casual evening at the Roediger House, and I started off with a second go of prosciutto roll-ups, having bulked up the quantity of currants and pine nuts in it this time 'round.

They helped tide us over until I got the full meal prepped and cooked, which for tonight was oven-baked turkey drumsticks.

These cook on a bed of onions, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic. The flavors were pretty good, and I kept it simple with some Stovetop stuffing and sweet white corn. Nice ciabatta rolls also hit the spot.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Meal No. 423: Steak & Fries? No!!

The plan for Meal No. 423, because the weather was not bad and I'd been wanting to do some grilling, was steak and fries. But either I misread the forecast or it was terribly wrong, because after I'd fired up the grill and taken the deep fat fryer and set it up on its outdoor table beside the back door, a cold blowing rain came up and ruined everything.

So I had to back up and punt, and that meant relying on my lazy Ray meal of carbonara. It wasn't steak, but it was damn good.

"Pasta Carbonara," a recipe shared by Monie Lawrence of Raleigh, NC.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meal No. 422: Oregano Chicken Stir Fry

Tonight the menu for the 422nd meal in the new kitchen of the Roediger House included a meal that has only once before been made here: oregano chicken stir fry. The last time it made an appearance was for Meal No. 73, nearly two years ago.