Monday, April 30, 2012

Meal No. 490: Coriander & Ginger-Crusted Tuna

Headed out of town this afternoon for three days of work in Virginia, but I also wanted to work in a good meal before I left.

This was a grilled tuna with a coriander and ground ginger spice rub. What went with it was a very interesting avocado sauce that did not sound like my kind of thing, but I tried it anyway. Because it also had fresh grated ginger and wasabi paste, it made this whole meal take on an almost sushi-roll flavor, and I loved it.

I also tried out a simple risotto sidedish that was really good and not nearly plentiful enough. I even had beets, as well, which I've never done at home.

So another meal with all three components being brand-new elements in the RoHo kitchen...

"Coriander & Ginger-Crusted Tuna," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 93, June 2012, p. 14-15.

"Pecorino Risotto," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 93, June 2012, p. 27.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meal 489: Soy-Marinated Chinese Pork Tenderloin

Tonight I changed things up just a bit and put on the dinner table three recipes that I'd never made before. The main feature was a grilled pork tenderloin that was first given time to rest in a Chinese-inspired marinade of ginger, mirin, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar. The marinade is subsequently boiled and served as a sauce for the meal, which proved to be a stroke of genius.

The starch in the evening meal was a hash brown potatoes O'Brien casserole, thanks to a recipe shared by Donna Whitley-Smith of Page County, VA. At first I thought it was going to be way too much food but the guests loved it so much we managed to put quite a hurtin' on it.

The third item that was a new thing for me was Lomi tomatoes, gently tossed and hand-rubbed in a mixture of sweet onion, chives, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

"Soy-Marinated Chinese Pork Tenderloin,"" from Cuisine at Home, Issue 93, June 2012, p. 34-35.

"Lomi Tomatoes,"" from Cuisine at Home, Issue 93, June 2012, p. 15.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meal No. 488: Beef, Peppers, and Onion Stir-Fry

A cool and rather dreary day in Winston-Salem, and I did not get outside to do the yardwork that I'd hoped for. I did, however, manage to make another great batch of cinnamon sticky rolls. Dinner was a return to a favorite genre of food that I haven't done in a while: stir-fry in the wok. Served over brown rice with just enough spice...delicious.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Meal No. 487: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

A while back, I tried out a James Beard recipe called Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.

As noted in the blog post at the time, it was a disaster. I've been wanting to give it another shot sometime, especially now that I've got the right cookware to help me make this. Tonight was a dinner party for 10 folks, so it seemed like a good reason to dust it off and tackle it once more.

I'm glad I did. This was an incredibly tasty meal, and no, the garlic was not overpowering. I think we all liked having the squeezable, spreadable roasted garlic to schmear on our baguette slices, too.

"Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic," from James Beard. Published in One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking, by Molly O'Neill. Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 350.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Delurk Art Gallery Closing Reception

I signed on to provide snacks and goodies for this evening's art installation closing reception at the new Delurk Gallery in downtown Winston-Salem. The homemade stuff included lemon snowball cookies and the always super-dooper monster chip cookies.

Lemon Snowball Cookies, from King Arthur Flour online.

Monster Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies, by Judy Mabrey of Myrtle Beach, SC. In Taste of Home, October/November 2001, p. 64.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meal No. 486: 'Bama Chicken

Some people call this poppy seed chicken, but when my sister set me up with a new recipe notebook years ago, she gave me this one under the name "Bama Chicken." That's what sticks with me. And the meal sticks to your ribs pretty well, too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Full Life, with Hotels Mixed In

On a recent spring evening, after a four-plus-hour drive to wherever I was working that week, I lugged my gear down a long hallway and keyed into another anonymous hotel room. For some reason, on this occasion, I found myself pausing on the threshold before entering.

For a moment, there was something akin to a pang—not necessarily of regret, but of something—it interrupted my usual purposeful stride and acceptance of the routine of this line of work.

And it was almost immediately supplanted by a recognition that this is actually a very fine life. Sure, I'm on the road a few days each week, and I'm constantly packing and unpacking suitcases. But people give me a chance to do work I love, and just about everywhere I go, I am working with very fine people of whom I've grown quite fond.

Then, when each work week wraps up, there is an amazing house and life to return to in Winston-Salem. The weekend will offer rest or relaxation and quiet, or it might see a house playing host to any of a variety of events, or there might be a brood of unexpected guests. Perhaps some attraction in Winston-Salem's thriving downtown will draw my attention, a movie at a/perture or a performance at the Stevens Center, or a show at Ziggy's or the Millenium Center.

When I'm home, of course, it's unlikely that I'll head out for a meal, since that's what I want to be doing for myself in that fine kitchen, but there's no small number of bars and one or two good places to shoot some pool.

If I weren't walking most weeks into some hotel room somewhere, I don't think I'd get all that good stuff waiting for me back home in the Roediger House.

Oh, and let's be honest: not all destinations are cookie-cutter hotel rooms. Sometimes I get to spend a night or two in a cool place like the historic Linden Row Inn in Richmond. Last time there, it was this gracious and lovely two-room suite:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cyprus and Cass Hang Out

Recently, good friend Amy Williamson got to slip away for about a week to enjoy a cruise with her mom and sister. So her pup Cass came and stayed at the Roediger House. He and Cyprus were happy companions, enjoying a range of friendly activities, including keeping a close eye on the squirrels outside under the bird feeder.

Cass is a sweet, fun, and funny little guy. When Amy first dropped him off, I guess I didn't realize that the chew strips that she'd brought were (1) inside his open crate, and (2) open. That cute rascal went and brought them out one-by-one and arranged them like he was setting the table or something. Pretty adorable:

Speaking of Cyprus, I do believe I have managed to let that sweet girl get fat.

I can also tell you that she found the new pile of topsoil to be quite a mystery. Plus, it blocks off access to the back corner of the lot, where she regularly patrolled for varmints and rodents.

As long as I'm talking about Cyprus, let me add that that girl can always tell when I'm packing my bags to leave for a few days of work, and she does not like it. This is the sort of look that she'll give me as she rests on her palate in the bedroom while maintaining a canine equivalent of a sad scowl:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Milestone-Marking Fun Fête at the RoHo

Roediger House regular BPhil marked the end of his student teaching duties as of this past Friday. The celebration of the occasion took place that very night with a great crowd of about 20 on hand to join him in marking the moment.

The beginning of the evening was the roasted beef tenderloin meal. (The picture above shows Ben and his sweet love Robin just as we were all about to sit down for dinner.)

And since the weather was very much on our side, most of the night involved excellent upstairs porch time for the gathered crew.

I'd post more pictures, but Mama Phillis also reads the blog. (Hello, Susan!)

I tried to do my part and have on hand a bit of snackable stuff, including pimento cheese and white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies:

Several people crashed overnight, so Saturday morning I dusted off a recipe for Sybil Pope's sour cream coffee cake, that I've not ever made in the RoHo, I don't think. It was pretty darned good.

It was almost completely gone before I managed to snap a shot of it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Meal No. 485: Pesto-Base Feta Pizza

I'll confess to being pretty exhausted from the week, between travels at the front end, yardwork near the end, and a late-night RoHo party on Friday night. My body is on the achy side, 'cause I'm old. And I managed to walk around pretty foggy and groggy in the head much of today.

Still, it was an excellent Saturday at the Roediger House.

Landscape/Yard Update.  I am now up to 13 holes dug for azaleas. Behind them, along the fence for the south property line, I've got three big holes dug for rhododendron bushes. A couple of those holes broke my back, with all the roots I had to dig and cut through! Today I also got the grass cut (that's the fourth time already this spring) and put out fertilizer.

It was unusual for me to not even feel like going to the grocery store, given how much I enjoy going to the grocery store. This evening, I just stayed in and made a thick hand-tossed pizza crust and crowned it with pesto, feta, swiss, monterey jack, and mozzarella cheeses. Then I took it upstairs and enjoyed Terminator 2: Judgment Day on Blu-ray on the big plasma screen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Meal No. 484: Roasted Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce

If you're keeping track, you know that this week opened with almost this exact same meal. What can I say? It's a party night of celebrations at the Roediger House tonight, and this was the specially requested meal.

"Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce" (p. 296) and "Spicy Horseradish Sauce" (p. 295) from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Compiled and Edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Oxmoor Press (2006).

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meal No. 483: Hamburger Supreme

By special request of Ben Phillis, a regular of the Roediger House, this Thursday evening's meal was a long-time Jones family favorite: hamburger supreme, with an abundance of corn to go with it.

"Hamburger Supreme," from the late Mrs. John T. (Glynn) Johnson of Buies Creek, North Carolina, via Janice Jones Bodenhamer.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Meal No. 482: Miso-Glazed Salmon Steaks

Look: I just feel better about myself if I can drive in from a couple of days of working out of town and not resort to some shabby meal for the evening's repast. I got back to Winston-Salem just after 4:30 and swung by the Harris Teeter. It pleased me to find salmons steaks available, and I knew I still had miso on hand. Say hello to miso-glazed salmon steaks, with Israeli couscous and Brussels sprouts.

And I guess I made the Brussels sprouts extra hot because the steam coming off of them would not quit.

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sticky Buns: Round 4

From past experience, I know that I need to give myself a few days around tax time in order to sit down and get all my files and records and receipts and such file things that have accumulated in piles all tally up expenses and go through my mileage record book and all that nightmare sleigh-load of stuff. I cajoled myself about the fanciful notion of getting my taxes all done in one day by promising that I'd make another batch of sticky bun cinnamon rolls on Sunday if by some miracle, I managed to finish everything on Saturday.

I finished everything late Saturday night.

Hello again, sticky buns: you're awfully pretty.

There were, without a doubt, the best batch yet. I went back to my sister and brother-in-law's recipe for this batch, and it was the right move.

I also used my good (and slightly expensive) Irish butter for the filling and for the cream cheese icing.

If you're keeping track of the times that the Roediger House kitchen has pumped out home-made sticky buns, here's the run-down to date:

May 18, 2010
March 21, 2012
April 3, 2012
April 15, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meal No. 481: Roasted Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce

Good goshamighty, I love this meal...even though I had to make my dinner guests come for a 5 o'clock serving of it, since by 8 pm I needed to be on the road to spend a couple of days working in a school district on the South Carolina border. It was just terrifically super excellent good, and made all the better by the especially good creamy horseradish sauce that accompanied it.

"Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce" (p. 296) and "Spicy Horseradish Sauce" (p. 295), from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Compiled and Edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Oxmoor Press (2006).

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones Family favorite.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tax Day: Digging Down, or Digging Out?

Even though it's Sunday, let's go ahead and talk about this as being "Tax Day." Never mind that, officially, taxes don't have to be mailed until Tuesday (thank you, District of Columbia, for Emancipation Day!). And let me also go ahead and crow about the fact that, remarkably, I managed to do my taxes yesterday, a whole day early. That includes federal, North Carolina, and Virginia taxes.

How, then, did I spend this Sunday? I made more sticky buns, which I'll blog about sometime in the coming week while I'm on the road. It also registered with me that it was on this date one year ago that I cut the grass for the first time of the 2011 season. I'd like to note, though, that with the early arrival of spring in 2012, I've already cut the grass three times (and it could stand a fourth right now).

The key thing about this Sunday was made possible because of that first important step of having a load of topsoil delivered. It means I felt inspired, at last, to get out in the yard and start digging some holes.

I'm starting off easy, where I'm unlikely to make a mess of things yet. There's a narrow strip of property between the retaining wall of the driveway entrance and the south property line (and fence), which is lined with some reasonably young maple trees. (If you're looking at the house from the front, this is to your far left.) It is well-shaded with sparse grass and a bit of moss growing. Seems to me it's perfect for a whole crowd of azalea bushes. And maybe a couple of rhododendron?

All that's to say I spent my Sunday afternoon digging holes. Well, only three of them, because in the hard-packed red clay of the northwestern Piedmont of North Carolina, it was back-breaking work for an out-of-shape old man like me who seldom exerts himself. Since I'm putting these holes amongst trees, I also got to tangle with a lot of roots. None too large, though...just big enough to require me to strain and struggle but to emerge victorious.

This effort also clicks into place another project that has been on hold, waiting for me to start digging up the yard. I would like to place a firewood rack outside the back door off the kitchen eating nook/bay, but the way the yard is graded, it is not level. And it slopes pretty steeply because of how the drainage needs to run. It needed to be built up. Now I've got a start on that, too. Then I can lay some paving stones, assemble the firewood rack, and (in advance of next winter) buy a good load of firewood.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meal No. 480: Deviled Drumsticks

This meal is turning out to be another one of the Roediger House favorites, given that it has shown up on the evening menu quite a few times now. It's just much better than fried chicken, while still giving you the sensation and flavors of that much-more-difficult meal.

And like any good southern sort-of-fried chicken, it calls out for mac-n-cheese, which tonight was made following the recipe from Ina Garten for the "grown-up" version.

"Deviled Chicken Drumsticks," by Ian Knauer. In Gourmet, August 2008.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Meal No. 479: Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola

Even though I drove in this afternoon from Virginia, on this particular Friday night I did not have to limit myself to some simple repeated dish to put on the dinner table.

Although I should acknowledge it was a repeated dish...albeit one that I'd only made once before. Tonight I managed to really bulk up/cream up the sauce, and it completely covered the chicken breast. But who's complaining?

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

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fixin' to Pretty Up the Yard

The yard has been in pretty desperate need of landscaping ever since I bought the house back in 2003. In the beginning, I thought I'd do it myself. Then, when I realized that my travels and the huge needs for maintaining and fixing up a house like this were a terrible stumbling block to accomplishing my grand plans, I figured I'd have to hire out the landscaping and its design.

Then I realized I was traveling way too much, and so I deliberately cut back, which (1) gives me a chance to be at home more and (2) curtails my income a bit. So I'm back to thinking I need to get my rear in gear and take on the challenge myself to get the yard in shape on and prettified a bit.

First step: getting a load of topsoil delivered. Check! I managed to get that done over the Easter holiday.

In the meantime, a bit of magic happened without my doing anything about it, because this lovely tulip emerged along the back wall and all too close to a tree.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From Christmas to Easter

Some people say you should de-decorate before the New Year. Some say the magic date is January 6 or whenever "Old Christmas" is.  As for me, I waited until Easter weekend to remove the Moravian Star, 'cause that's how I rolled in the Christian holidays of this winter and spring.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meal No. 478: Chicken and Asparagus Salad

Neither fancy nor complicated, because I'm hitting the road in about an hour and I can't get too wrapped up in making my departure dinner.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Meal No. 477: Tomato-Gorgonzola Pasta

After joining a crew of folks at the late afternoon showing of "The Hunger Games," I made an offer to feed everybody dinner. Without having made plans to do so. Without having gone to the grocery store. So that meant making pasta from staples on hand, as I am more prone to do when I'm coming in from a week of traveling.

Presenting the evening's dinner: pasta with tomato-gorgonzola sauce. With cold beer to wash down its occasionally unexpected spicy-ness.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Meal No. 476: Easter Sunday Brunchy Supper

Among the events that I have preserved since my days as a teacher educator at Wake Forest University is a springtime brunch at the Roediger House. What originally was one of the excuses to bring my social studies students together has now become something that brings good friends here to the house for food and fellowship. Sometimes I connect it to Palm Sunday; sometimes I schedule it for Easter Sunday.

It serves as an impetus for me to cook up what I think of as my "brunch meal." On the menu: spring frittata quiche and make-ahead crockpot scrambled eggs (from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks magazine, April 2001); creamy cheese grits (source unknown); zucchini bread (thanks to Laura Thomas for that one); bacon; and fresh fruit. The weather was nice enough this evening that we took our plates out on the front porch.

Dessert: a nice cream cheese fruit tart, the recipe for which came in the Baker's Catalog from King Arthur Flour Company.