Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meal No. 602: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

"Coronation Sauce for Chicken," from 400 Sauces, by Catherine Atkinson, Christine France, and Maggie Mayhew. Hermes House (2006, 2008), p. 155.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Meal No. 600: Pseudo-Patty-Melts

Making the long drive home from the northern-most county in Virginia and having no idea what I wanted to make for dinner, I had high hopes that the Lowe's Foods in Walkertown would give me something to work with. No such luck. I ended up with a package of ground sirloin and decided last weekend's patty melts were already a great candidate for repeating. Double layer of thin burgers, plus caramelized onions, and homemade burger sauce. No loaf bread this time, but there were hamburger buns in the cabinet. No Swiss cheese, so I substituted sharp cheddar. All in all, it was still mighty good.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm Feeding Everybody...

Yes, as if there's not enough to do, and as if I do not spend crazily on birdseed, I am also regularly and conscientiously cutting up extra and old bread and putting it out on my platform feeder for my feathered friends...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Perfect September Mornings

I really do love the month of September, and there have been some mighty fine mornings to enjoy coffee out on the front porch. Now that I've climbed aboard the Insta•Gram train, I'm finding new ways and even flimsier reasons to document my world.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Salem Cemetery Search

With the burst of excitement I felt when I decided I was ready to learn more about the Roediger family, I quickly recognized a critical stumbling block in not knowing for certain what their birth and death dates were. I could glean a little information on this from the public/non-paid information available on, and that helped get me started. When I learned on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago that both George and Laura Roediger were laid to rest in the Salem Cemetery, I decided (foolishly) to head out there and just see if I could stumble upon their graves by walking around.

It's a big cemetery. It was a needle in a haystack. And no, I did not find their graves. But it was lovely out there under beautiful late afternoon skies.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bloom'n Again Azaleas Show Their Stuff

When I bought the azaleas to plant along the south property line, in the narrow strip between the driveway and the fence, I was seduced by the prospect of twice-a-year blooms. That's the promise of the Bloom'n Again azaleas I purchased, and by mid-September, they'd begun to prove themselves worthy of the name.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Meal No. 599: Kung Pao Chicken Stir-Fry

Most of my wok stir-fry dishes of late have tended toward the beef tenderloin. It makes sense, because I usually cut off the narrow tip when I'm doing Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce, and that's left me a steady supply to use when I've been in the mood for a homemade Asian-inspired meal.

Last night, I switched back over to the kung pao-style of stir-fry chicken, with yellow bell pepper, asparagus, and scallions. I think this might be the best it's ever been, actually.

"Kung Pao [Chicken]" (p. 80) with Szechwan Marinade (p. 28) and Spicy Peanut Stir-Fry Sauce (p. 27). In Wok Fast, by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. Ten Speed Press (Berkeley/Toronto), 2002.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Meal No. 598: Patty Melts

I drove eight hours last night with only one stop for gas, to get home at a reasonable time following my week in Florida to observe a Level II Project CRISS training. Fortunately, there was some ground beef in the fridge, and spotting a few Steak-N-Shake restaurants along the route gave me the idea for last evening's supper.

I made an approximation of a patty melt, based on how Steak-N-Shake makes their Frisco Melt. I got my burger patties as flat as I could and cooked 'em in the skillet. I buttered and toasted both sides of my potato sandwich bread. I caramelized some onion. I made classic burger sauce. I topped each patty with Swiss and American cheeses. I ate until I was stuffed.

Classic Burger Sauce
from Cook's Illustrated, July-August 2008, p. 11.

4 T mayonnaise
2 T ketchup
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cardinals and Sunflowers

The cast-offs from the bird feeders around the outside of the kitchen bay occasionally sprout up into, at most, medium-sized sunflowers. What I like about this picture in particular was the quizzical expression offered by the nearby cardinal when I snapped this shot, which was actually taken sometime last summer.

I do have one sturdy-looking sunflower coming up this fall, near that same feeder. This is a picture I took of it in mid-September, and it shows a healthy-looking bee taking full advantage of his sole claim to the property at his feet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"That's a Nice-Ass House."

A few months back, while enjoying a pleasant evening sitting up on the upstairs porch and staring out at the city skyline, maybe tossing back a beer or two and enjoying conversation with RoHo regulars, the sound of voices from passerby drifted up to me.

What I heard distinctly, though, from the young people walking on the sidewalk below, was: "That's a nice-ass house."

That's a compliment I'll gladly accept on behalf of this marvelous old Roediger House.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bitten by the History Bug

At the end of August, a postcard announcing the upcoming reunion of classes at Lenoir-Rhyne College arrived here, addressed to "Annie G. Roediger '71." This got me a little curious, because by my best estimation, that was quite a late graduation date for the woman I had always assumed was one of the daughters of George and Laura Roediger. 1971? Really? She'd've been, like, around 70 years old!

And this got me started on a quest to finally nail down some additional information about the Roediger Family, who built this house in 1905 and who lived here at least up to 1991. My info on them was limited...a few tidbits that were included in brief summaries about this house but which I'd never gotten around to investigating further.

In the coming weeks and months, I'll be offering blog posts to fill in these missing pieces as I find them. I can warn you that, after just a few treks to the Main Branch of the Forsyth County Library (which is a mere block-and-a-half from the house), my interest is expanding beyond the house and Roediger Family. I'm also intrigued about various former neighbors to this property...some of the things that came and went while this house remained right here where it is.

All this, just because of that silly postcard, addressed to a woman who's been dead for over 20 years.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Hazard of Hushpuppies

Better do some knocking on wood, because I'm about to remark about how relatively lucky or fortunate I feel: given all the cooking I do and time I spend in the kitchen, I should count my lucky stars that I have remained mostly injury-free. Except for how the cold weather makes my hands crack like crazy, I think I've had one knife mishap. Oh, and there was the hot-fork-lip-searing event when I was making roux for mac-n-cheese.

So I just took it in stride when I was frying up some hushpuppies for Meal No. 458, and a dollop of hot frying oil jumped up on my finger while I was dropping the mix into the fryer. It stung but I kept on going. There were, after all, people waiting for their dinner, and I needed to keep my hustle in top-gain form.

By the end of the day it was a big blister and, a couple of days later, thanks to reaching into my Levi's for keys and such, it was just raw meat.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Summer Snackables and Goodies

[Here is a leftover blog entry from back in the summer that I never got around to posting.]

One of the items I returned home with, following the sibling gathering to begin sorting out my mother's estate, was her handy egg carrier. Several of us wanted it but I managed to walk away with it. Here's the first use of it, filled with delicious creamy stuffed eggs, following the recipe that was given to me by Charlottesville friend Barbara Huneycutt:

Since my sister Allison has given me a hard time about that egg carrier, I bought a couple more of them and mailed one to her. I think she was pleased to get it, because she immediately posted this picture to Facebook:

Some friends from Roanoke recently needed an overnight stay here, thanks to a late-night flight into the Greensboro airport. I threw together a Bundt coffee cake to help us get through the morning after:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meal No. 597: Grilled T-Bone Steak

I think this was more of a porterhouse steak, but Lowe's had labeled it a T-Bone and they'd also priced it at over half off on this week's specials. Since I leave tomorrow for a 9-hour drive to Alachua County, Florida, the thought of having minimal clean-up and easy prep were huge selling points. I realize I just had steaks a few meals ago, and it was even last night's meal in Athens, TN. But what's not to love about a great piece of beef on the platter?!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend Away

I took this picture earlier today when I was out walking Cyprus on the campus of Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, TN. A couple of cool things about this:

The new president at TWC is the husband of long-time friend (and former supervisor) Cindy Coulson. Cindy was my boss when I was a masters student at Wake Forest, and for years when she and her husband Harley Knowles lived in Winchester, VA, I was a highly regular visitor. For the four years prior to Harley assuming the Presidency of Tennessee Wesleyan, they lived in Freeport, ME, which was also an awesome place to visit. I have a number of recipes from Cindy, and those meals have figured prominently in the Roediger House dinners over the years. Here are a few:

The other cool thing was this: TWC is one of those colleges that still has the quaint feature of a President's house right on campus. That means that during the quiet days of a fall semester weekend, I was able to stroll the campus with Cyprus without a leash. It was fun to find out how close she would stay to me and how responsive she would be when I called her, stopped her, and so on. She did awesomely. I'm pretty proud of her. Even when she dashed after squirrels, rabbits, and a large cat, she still stopped when I called and waited for me to catch up.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Meal No. 596: Pipetizer Casserole

Last night's dinner was a Roediger House special casserole, lovingly named Pipetizer Casserole in honor of long-time friend Jon Piper (who, along with his wife Karissa, originally pointed out this house to me and told me to buy it, which I did).

This was not my original plan for the evening, though. Yesterday was my birthday, which I like to be a low-key affair anyway. For the last two or three years, what's helped me to make the day special was to get in my kitchen and try to whip up a monstrous meal for some of my good friends here in town. This year, though, with too much going on and knowing that I'd be starting out very early Friday morning for a trip to Tennessee, I was hoping to have a quiet but nice dinner out at the fancy new restaurant that is practically my neighbor on Spring Street. The place is called Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen, and Bar, which is one of the sights outside my kitchen bay windows.

Alas, guests who were not invited and who had been discouraged from coming needed a place to stay this is a couple that is in great distress, and I've known them a very long time. So the last couple of nights have had to be devoted to other people's needs. I scrapped my birthday dinner plans and put together instead this very fine and filling meal, adding feta-stuffed peppers on the side. It was all pretty good. Just not the image of how I'd hoped to (1) spend my last night at home for a while, or (2) celebrate my birthday.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Meal No. 595: Easy Swiss Chicken Breasts

Last night I reached for one of my old recipes, shared by my dear friend Cindy Coulson (who I'll get to see in Tennessee this weekend). It's one she made back in the days when she and her husband Harley lived in Winchester, VA, a place I regularly visited with another good friend (Lynne Sponaugle, as she was known then) when I was at UVA.

It's a simple one: chicken breasts with a slice of Swiss cheese on top, covered by a mix of cream of chicken soup and wine, and then topped with crushed stuffing mix and drizzled with melted butter. I made more stuffing and a pot of white shoepeg corn to go along with it. It all came out of the oven just at the moment David Caldwell called from the bus station to say he'd arrived in Winston-Salem, so instead of his having to walk, I was able to pick him up and serve him up a hot meal, which seemed desperately needed. There was even the good fortune of more of the homemade chocolate frostie ice cream waiting in the freezer, to top it all off.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Meal No. 594: Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

I continue to be a day off on my meal blogging: this was actually what I fixed last night. There has been a lot going on and I have had to keep things simple. To me, it's good just to have a homemade meal, rather than eating out or doing take-out, even when it's just biscuits and gravy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Meal No. 593: Ribeyes and French Fries

Deadly combination: ribeye steaks over half off at Lowe's Foods, and a picture-perfect September day. I returned to my grill and brought out the deep fat fryer, and all was well with the world last night.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal No. 592: Wacky Mac Pasta Alfredo

The meal earlier this Sunday evening (I'm posting this entry rather late into the night) was pasta alfredo using Wacky Mac vegetable pasta, for a little variety.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sabolciks for Dessert & Decaf

Over the years, some of the students who go through the teacher education program at Wake Forest not only become regular fixtures at the Roediger House...they also give me a chance to visit with their families when they come to Winston-Salem. Above is a photo (snagged from Facebook, frankly) of RoHo regulars Chris (center, gold shirt) and his girlfriend Emily (to his right). Last night, Chris brought his parents by for dessert and decaf, a visit, and a house tour. His dad is second from the left, and his mom is to his left, sitting happily between her two sons.

On the dessert menu: key lime pie.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Severe Front Brings Severe Change

This is the weather pattern that finally got me to take down the outdoor movie screen, and not a moment too soon. The way this blew through here this afternoon was quite a display from Mother Nature, although they had it much worse in Greensboro than we did here in Winston-Salem.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Meal No. 591: Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

Once again, salmon perfection. Tonight's plank-grilled version was basted with a Savory Spice Shop specialty: Park Hill Maple and Spice Mustard Rub. Pine nut and parsley quinoa and Brussels sprouts were excellent co-conspirators in this belly-filler.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meal No. 590: Grilled Shoulder Lamb Chops

If last night's meal was ho-hum, this evening it was far from it. How could a recipe this simple come out so frickin' delicious every time? Thanks to a long-term special on shoulder lamb chops at my local Harris Teeter, I was able to bring this meal to the dinner table again tonight. The chops get to marinate for about an hour in a mustard-and-herb mixture, and then they grill up to perfection.

Alongside, another go at the macaroni and cheese casserole, again with Gruyère and goat cheese. Some seasoned lima beans got lost in the punch of fantastic flavors but still held their own.

"Pan-Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops" from The Food Network Kitchens.

"Macaroni and Cheese Casserole," by Sarah Gabriel. In Cook's Country, June/July 2012, p. 17.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Meal No. 589: Beef & Broccoli over Biscuits

With a shortage of time and a lack of pep, I tried to create an altered and easier version of Savory Garlic Beef & Broccoli Turnovers, just serving it over biscuits. This was a ho-hum just-okay meal.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Post-Frivolity Exhaustion

In addition to yesterday's Labor Day Basketball Tourney, last night was also games night at the RoHo for some folks who wanted to stick around and make an evening of it.

I whipped up a pile of stuff for snackables, from southwestern dip to Route 11 dill wonder dip to pimento cheese. I also churned up a batch of chocolate frostie ice cream, shown here being sampled by the ever delightful Amy:

Cyprus is accustomed to being able to sleep about 20 hours a day. With yesterday's full calendar of people in and out, which kept her on edge and vigilant and curious all day long, and then late into last night with games and such, I guess that's what caused her to take to bed all day long today. I mean: I hardly saw her. She had to sleep it all off.

Recipe for Chocolate Frostie Ice Cream can be obtained from

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day 2012 Basketball Tourney

Now that I've got a basketball goal again, the Roediger House could finally host a ramshackle thrown-together casual basketball tourney for only the second time. And with this year's affair under our belt, we can safely say that we've had to do it in the rain every single time there's been one of these.

Anyway: with the weather creating enormous uncertainty, and after initially canceling it at the last minute, things cleared enough to still put some players on the court and some fans in the stands.

Some pictures, for those who couldn't be present:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Meal No. 587: Asian Pork Tenderloin

This is a dish I made just once before, but I had to do some serious tinkering with it in order to bring it back to the Roediger House table. This is Asian pork tenderloin, and since the original list of ingredients depended on a heavy dose of Chinese Five-Spice powder, I could not leave it intact. Those are flavors that I just don't care for.

So I substituted hot Madras curry powder and supplemented with some crushed fennel seeds (which I think I can do without the next time I made this). I also gave the pork about five extra minutes in the oven, and it all came out pretty darned good. The pan sauce is thin but it packs a punch of flavors.

I ripped this recipe from Cuisine at Home, Issue 60. Not sure about a date or page number, though, since it's just a clipping in a binder now.