Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meal No. 616: Thai Basil Chicken

On this Halloween morning, I got my day started with a tall cup of hot coffee and a reasonably short time in line for early voting at the Forsyth County Government Center.

I also need to catch up on a blog post for a meal: this past Monday night, it was a new recipe for Thai basil chicken with coconut rice. Turned out pretty good, to my tastes.

"Thai Basil Chicken with Coconut Rice," in Weeknight Menus by Cuisine at Home Magazine (2006), p. 20-21.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Party 2012 Goodies

I tried to have on hand a variety of goodies for this past Sunday night's annual Roediger House Halloween Party. Some things were purchased, like the shrimp and cocktail sauce or the cashews or the wasabi almonds or the Trader Joe's peanut butter-filled pretzels. There were also several different cheeses, like this layered one (placed proudly on a cutting/serving board that was a kind gift from Donna Whitley-Smith):

And then I also made some things:

Cinnamon Chip-Oatmeal Cookie: Hot and Fresh

Cinnamon Chip-Oatmeal Cookies

Homemade Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts

Homemade Pimento Cheese

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Meal No. 615: Coffee-Glazed Grilled Lamb Chops

A Jamaican-inspired dinner last night, where the shoulder lamb chops ended up on the grill with a great little glaze that imparted flavor but did not overpower: strong-brewed coffee, apple cider vinegar, molasses, allspice, garlic, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and a splash of dark rum. Verdict: yum.

It was served with garden peas and a parmesan polenta.

"Coffee-Glazed Lamb Chops," from Cuisine at Home, April 2008, Issue 68, p. 22-23.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meal No. 614: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

It's nice having company for the weekend, and it means there's a good excuse for a pile of out-of-the-ordinary pancakes. This is a second go at cinnamon roll pancakes, with some addition and modification using an alternative recipe shared with me by a friend and former UVA student, Kim Dorman.

"Cinnamon Roll Pancakes," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 89, October 2011, p. 42-43.

"Cinnamon Roll Pancakes," by RecipeGirl. Online at

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meal No. 613: Filipino Chicken Adobo

This is just an awesome and simple meal: Filipino chicken adobo over Basmati rice with broccoli spears. A fine ending to a good week of work, with today spent working in town with principals and coaches in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

"Introducing Chicken Adobo," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2012, p. 6-7.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leaky Chimney in the Van Gogh Room

Back in September, there was a burst of really heavy rain in a pretty intense storm, and it's one of those occasions where the wind blew just right and the amount of precipitation was sufficient, and it exposed a pretty healthy leak around the chimney flashing on the north side of the house.

That left quite a trail of water coming down from the ceiling above and in front of the fireplace in that guest room. I had previously noticed a good bit of daylight around the chimney on the south side of the house, and it's on my list for the general contractor, who seems to have forgotten that he left a number of things undone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Butter Toffee Crunchers / White Choc-Macadamia Nut Cookies

For the last movie night of the 2012 season, in the chill air of an October night, I figured I'd best have on hand some cookies. One batch I made was using a recipe that's new to me: Butter Toffee Crunchers. This is from King Arthur Flour.

They were generally well-received, but I was not impressed. I'll cut back the flour on a subsequent trial, if there is one, and I'd best watch the baking time more carefully: they were too crunchy, dry, and crumbly.

The other batch of cookies Sunday night was white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies, and since I'd made the batter earlier in the evening, I was able to offer them hot and fresh from the oven to the post-movie basketball players. They scarfed them down.

Addendum: The morning after, I cooked the last of the cookie dough for these and had a couple for breakfast.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Night: Evil Dead 2

For the second time now, the outdoor movie night season has extended into October with a chilly evening showing. This past Sunday night, it was the horror-comedy classic Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.

It was ridiculous and nutty and a good time for the gathering of about 10 of us, and not nearly as cold as when we had The Shining on a 43-degree night in 2009!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meal No. 611: Grilled T-Bones and Fries

I'm not sure there's anything that could have been changed about today's weather to make it any more beautiful. Given that this great day will be capped off with one final movie night of the season, it seemed judicious to keep the evening's meal simple.

Hence, the grilled t-bones and a mess of fries on the side. This photo reveals one of the "secrets" I adopted a long time ago: letting butter melt on it while it rests after coming off the grill. The rest of the secret: a light coating of olive oil topped with kosher salt and cracked black pepper before the steaks go on the grill.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

WSSU Homecoming Parade 2012

Once again, a fun annual event has come to Fourth Street, and my proximity to Spring Street's intersection with that downtown thoroughfare puts me on a closed-off street. It also puts me in the spectator's seat looking out the kitchen eating nook/bay windows to see the set-up and prep and activity.

Today it's the Homecoming Parade for Winston-Salem State University, and it is a picture-perfect day for it. The weather could not be more perfect, the sun any brighter, the temps almost just right with enough nip in the air for it to feel like football weather.

I also had a much better attitude about it this year than I did back in 2010...but that earlier snippy blog post was because of the larger issue of how little notice residents were receiving when there were street closures.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meal No. 610: Bourbon-Glazed Grilled Salmon

Seriously. I think I've come awfully close to figuring out grilled salmon filets.

This evening, I enjoyed a huge slab-o-salmon along with red quinoa and baby Brussels sprouts...and delicious cold Bell's Best Brown Ale, which is back for the season.

I played with the sweet bourbon glaze recipe a bit, cutting back on the bourbon and then cooking the marinade so that I could use it for an additional sauce both on the salmon and on the quinoa.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meal No. 609: Bowties Carbonara

Almost six hours to drive home this afternoon from Fairfax, VA, following a day working with administrators and other instructional leaders at the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center, and I reached for simplicity again.

Good simplicity, though.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fresh Fall Day

Here's an updated shot of the house and front yard, from this past weekend:

I've also got my first election season yard sign up, for a local district court judicial candidate named Andrew Keever:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Black Knight Butterfly Bush

So far, I am singularly unimpressed with Spring Hill Nursery, a mail order outfit with a very user-friendly website and decent prices and a great online selection. But they end up canceling too much of what you order, or they make you think you'll get it in April or May and then don't ship it until October.

That's how I ended up temporarily putting my most recently shipped items (ordered back in April, mind you!) into a tupperware tub because I was home such a brief period of time last weekend, and there was the box with live plants in it.

In addition to the Black Knight Butterfly Bush, there are three Brilliant Miniature Hollyhocks. These four plants I put into soil and placed on the kitchen table until I could get back to town and figure out where and how I'd plant them. One other butterfly bush also came, and I went ahead and got it into the ground because it will grow only to a small size and it was easier to think about where I'd like it to be.

Yesterday, I brought my tools up from the cellar, pumped up the neglected tire on the wheelbarrow, threw the tarp off my pile of topsoil, and mixed up some of my mulch. The Black Knight Butterfly Bush is now safely in the ground, I hope in time to get a good purchase before the cold, cold weather comes. The hollyhocks will just have to do their best, taking the spaces where this summer I had three pansy plants.

I'm definitely out of shape again and out of practice. That dark red clay you see in the wheelbarrow was hard, hard-packed, and it broke my back making even that modest hole. Yowzer.