Wow. Just wow. By combining recipes I had on hand for lamb chops, I ended up with a freakin' amazing plate of food tonight.
One recipe involved a mustard, oil, and herb marinade for the chops; the other gave me some direction about properly grilling them and then topping them with a very, very nice herb aioli. Together, it was fantastic.
The broccoli last night was so good that I repeated it this evening, but I corrected the missing ingredient to now include chipotle hot sauce, instead of my ancho paste-and-sriracha substitution of last night.
The recent discovery of a great recipe for potato salad seemed a fine fit for this evening's grilled meal, too, so even though I just had it on Saturday, I made it again.
I even did a loaf in the bread machine, which I just don't seem to do all that often any more.
And the meal wrapped up with some basic easy chocolate éclair cake, which all around the table enjoyed but which Amy gave the happiest munch-face to.
Operating with complete uncertainty about what to fix tonight, and finding my visit to Harris Teeter of little to no help in coming to a decision, this is what I ended up with. Sort of an invented meal, with modifications to some recent recipe finds. It was basic but it was also flavorful and unique.
"Garlic Linguine," in Cuisine at Home, April 2007, p. 33.
"Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter and Queso Fresco," in Food & Wine, June 2012, p. 107.
Uh oh. Spaghetti never happens here, and then it happens twice in a few days. But I had an uncertain but likely large group coming for dinner before we all headed out for a night of birthday drinking for two of the folks. I hadn't made baked spaghetti in quite a while, and it seemed to go just right.
I also got a freezer of home made frostie chocolate ice cream going, too.
A few years ago, some of the crew who work at 6th & Vine lamented the fact that the Roediger House Thanksgiving leaves out folks who are normally with their families on that day. Plus, we all agreed that the traditional Thanksgiving meal is too good to only have once (at Thanksgiving) or twice (at Christmas) a year. We started doing Thanksgiving on the Half-Year, which falls conveniently on Memorial Day weekend.
Sunday night was the occasion for this year's gathering, made up mostly of people who would not be seen here for the usual November feast, and it was a delightful night with some delicious food.
"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).
Summertime calls for certain kinds of cooking, and sometimes I respond to that call. With a friend from Virginia coming in for Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to (1) work in the yard as much of the day as possible and (2) get a decent summer-type supper on the table. The recipe for a spice rub and grilling country-style pork ribs, that comes from Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q restaurant, was right on. I added to it the barbecue rib sauce from Emeril Lagasse, which is a tangy horseradish-based accompaniment. And I also had another go at mushy eggy potato salad, which was yet again delicious.
This tasty pile of vittles was a great prelude to the first movie night of 2012 (made all the more sweet by the fact that 2011 had NO movie nights at all). The weather was picture-perfect for a small gathering of good friends to take in the classic Marx Brothers film, A Night at the Opera.
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q's Recipe for Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs, from Food & Wine, June 2011, p. 88, 90.
Tonight's meal just goes to show that one can put in an entire day in the yard and still come in and whip up a decent enough meal. Gosh, I don't know how long it's been since I made spaghetti and meat sauce, and dinner showed me I'd best put this back into rotation. It was delicious. For an 11 o'clock-at-night supper.
Tonight's feature was a return to darned good recipe for bone-in blade-cut pork chops in a slow braise: Smothered Pork Chops. It includes a very nice onion-thyme gravy that sometimes I get more right than others. Accompaniments for this meal: mashed potatoes and layered green bean casserole (another really good recipe courtesy of my sister in Indiana).
For the second night in a row, I wanted biscuits, and I tried another different recipe for 'em. I'd like to have gotten more heft out of them but the flavor was good.
And Crate & Barrel had better be darned glad that this handle popped off when I was picking the dirty casserole dish up out of the sink, rather than when I was taking it as a hot-cooked side dish out of the oven:
"Smothered Pork Chops" (p. 22-23) and "Cream Cheese Biscuits" (p. 10-11), Cook's Country, April/May 2011. [View and print a pdf of the recipe by clicking on this link.]
Yesterday the wildlife of the yard was particularly hungry. The quantity in the feeders dropped quickly as the weekend progressed, and when I got up Sunday morning, I found that there was a whole crowd of various creatures under the big feeder that I can see from my old man's chair in front of the fireplace. The last couple of days, I've noticed that the usual yard count of squirrels has increased from my one regular guy (nicknamed "Rocky") to four squirrels.
And while it may not be obvious from the picture above what all the creatures are, let me show you a close-up of a newcomer:
Cyprus has for weeks and weeks been absolutely nuts about the heatpump units and the broken-up end of the rear retaining wall. I guess now I know it's not just because she was on the trail of moles, voles, or shrews. My wall, and more so the crumbling wall of the neighboring property behind me, has become an inviting rat dwelling.
Oh: did I mention that there are at least two rats?
Fortunately, today was the time for my quarterly pest control treatment, and the technician has placed bait and baited traps out in strategic locations in and around the retaining wall. I hope I do not have a rat problem much longer, and I especially do not want to still have a rat problem once the weather turns cold again.
Two nights in a row: meals inspired by past travels to New Orleans. Regular blog readers know the fondness of the Roediger House for tonight's featured entree: the glorious, unmistakable, unforgettable peanut butter bacon burger.
And yes: everything about it was handcrafted (well, not the buns): homemade burger sauce, home-ground beef, homemade peanut butter, fresh-fried bacon, provolone cheese, and buttered/toasted sesame buns.
This was the remaining bite after only a few minutes, because it was that good. And I was too full to finish it all.
Every single one of you, right now, needs to go and download these two recipes (see links at the bottom of this post).
You may not think or know at present that you are destined to make amazing shrimp po'boys at home, but you can and you will.
Maybe, though, my absence from New Orleans for a year now has skewed my tastes and memories. Nonetheless, I found tonight's dinner to be a mighty fine reckoning of the authentic tastes of a classic po'boy, as introduced to me with useful tutoring by Tim Schwarz. What was missing was the true New Orleans-style French roll, and that's a definite drawback.
The seasoning and breading for the fried shrimp were spot on. But to me, that rémoulade was just stunning. It was perfect for these po'boys but I will also want to use it with crab cakes one of these days, and who knows what else.
This evening's meal was a win. And a New Orleans-inspired meal is not complete without a good supply of Abita beer. Check:
My nearly singular focus during the good weather days of this week has been yardwork and landscaping. So when I realized my original idea for tonight's dinner lacked a key ingredient, rather than run to the grocery I decided while showering off today's grime to back up and punt.
So, hello breakfast for dinner: bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese grits, and a new item for me: popovers.
Removing sod from the front yard to create planting areas for new shrubs and such was breaking my back, so I went and bought a tiller:
The only bush at the front of the house that I'd not removed years ago was this one:
It is gone now, after a bitter struggle with the stump(s) and roots:
Without quite having a plan for where to put it, I was attracted to a Red Eye Althea when I was shopping for plants, and today I went ahead and planted it beside the new patio pad at the back kitchen door:
I have taken a mess of monkey grass from the edge of the parking area behind the movie screen and relocated it at a right angle to where it was, in order to better control the drainage and washing that was occurring.
That picture above also shows another task completed, a new raised planter:
Finally, I don't know about you all, but I love a chipmunk, without having any idea if those rascals are a problem or nuisance. I've never seen one around the house or in the neighbors' yards, until this afternoon. I'd be delighted to have him take up residence in the yard, frankly.