Friday, November 30, 2012

The Fire Chronicles: Number 7

Following the absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving weekend (and I wouldn't have minded it being a bit warmer, but it's best not to complain about temps in the low and mid-60s), we got us a pretty sharp cold snap. When I got up this past Monday morning, it was a very crisp and unkind 23°F.

Ah, but what a great opportunity for building a fire! Last winter was so very mild, I didn't even have a fire. The last time I got to have one was back in March 2011.

One of the items on my to-do list for a while now (since early winter of 2010, really) has been to get a firewood rack and a firewood cover. Oh, and some firewood. Ever since the wood-burning fireplace was completed in the new kitchen area, during the 2008-2009 renovation project, I have subsisted off of bundles bought at Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse.

And it's not been that many bundles, because up till now I've only had six fires.

Thanks to the good services of Chris's Tree Service, though, I now have a well-stocked firewood rack. With no where to go last Monday, and my only plan being to enjoy the chance to be at home, I lit the set of logs (that I'd placed last Christmas but never used) and sat back and enjoyed.

It also occurred to me that this was Cyprus's first fire in the RoHo.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meal No. 638: Grilled Country Style Pork Ribs

Grilling of fresh pork but recycling of leftover sides. That's how the RoHo is rolling on this Thursday eve.

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q's Recipe for Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs, from Food & Wine, June 2011, p. 88, 90.

"Stuffed Potatoes: Good/Better/Best," in Cuisine at Home, December 2006, p. 23-24. [Recipe Clipping]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meal No. 637: Steak au Poivre

New York Strip steaks on sale at the Harris Teeter in Kernersville as I made my way home from Newport News, so tonight's meal as I came in off the road was fancy-sounding but simple-doing: steak au poivre, with over-salted broccoli crowns and mashed potatoes. I need to remember to make a roux or use some cornstarch to thicken the sauce, which is really tasty but came out much too thin to please me.

I will say this, though: the steak was perfectly cooked and tasted just the way it's supposed to. The sauce was only a means to bump up the flavor, but the beef did not require adornment.

"Steak au Poivre," by Dawn Yanagihara. In Cook's Illustrated, September & October 2001, p. 8-9.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fun Foods Around Thanksgiving

Last week, there was more to the celebration of Thanksgiving than just the Thanksgiving meal. On Wednesday night, the annual karaoke fun proceeded as per usual, and in addition to the pot of chili I made, there were also some other snackables and goodies.

Prosciutto Roll-Ups

Goat Cheese, Currants, Pine Nuts, Green Leaf Lettuce, Prosciutto
[Idea for these from Brendan Shanley]

Homemade Pimento Cheese

15-Minute Peanut Butter Fudge
Following the Thanksgiving weekend but before I hit the road for work this week, I also threw together a quick batch of Butter Toffee cookies. The recipe came from the King Arthur catalog but I cannot find it in this same form on their website now. That seems to happen with their recipes from time to time: what gets published and what's archived on their website do not always match up cleanly.

Butter Toffee Cookies

"South Carolina-Style Pimento Cheese." Recipe worked out by me, based on Sharon's Palmetto Pimento Cheese.

"15-Minute Peanut Butter Fudge," in the article "Simplifying Fudge" by David Pazmiño. In Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2007, p. 22-23.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meal No. 636: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

I had a heaping crew of fun folks here for dinner tonight and I wanted something warm and comfortable for this chilly (but chillin') November Monday. Another recipe that jumped out at me from Everyday Food that had just been thoughtfully sent to me was for braised chicken with Brussels sprouts.

The verdict: I'm not sure I ever want to cook chicken any other way. I'm not sure I ever want to make Brussels sprouts any other way. This was awesomely delicious. Also alongside, stuffed twice-baked potatoes. Lots of clean plates by the end of dinner.

"Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts," in Everyday Food, November 2012, p. 22. Recipe magazine shared with me by Donna Whitley-Smith.

"Stuffed Potatoes: Good/Better/Best," in Cuisine at Home, December 2006, p. 23-24. [Recipe Clipping]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Meal No. 635: Crab Cakes over Baked Bull's Eye Eggs

With a mind devoid of any useful ideas for dinner tonight, and running a bit short on time, I stumbled across a recipe in a cooking magazine that I'd just received from Donna Whitley-Smith of Luray, VA. One recipe in particular grabbed my attention and I decided to give it a try: baked bull's-eye eggs. Since it was the evening (and, for me, main) meal of the day, I upped the ante by using these baked egg-in-toasts as a base for simple crab cakes, topped with an even simpler hollandaise sauce. Turned out pretty good, and darned filling, at that.

"Crab Cakes," a recipe shared by David Wald and attributed to The Gourmet Cookbook.

"Baked Bull's-Eye Eggs," in Everyday Food,  November 2012, p. 42-43. Magazine shared with me by Donna Whitley-Smith.

"Blender Hollandaise," by Eric Ripert. In Bon Appétit, May 2011, p. 39.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Leaves and Leftovers

It is a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend thus far, with sunny bright cloudless days and an agenda empty of obligations. There is a fridge full of some of the goodies of Thursday's big meal, plus lots of other things to snack on.

I put yesterday's great weather to use by breaking out the leaf blower and rakes and made reasonably short work of clearing the yard and the parking lot of Fall's manna. After catching Life of Pi in 3D at The Grand Theatre, dinner was a big plate of leftovers.

It was a nice day at the Roediger House.

Monday Morning Update: Looks like I got the leaves raked and piled just in time for the City to come through and remove them...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Meal No. 634: Thanksgiving 2012

It was a smaller gathering this year: only seven of us around the table. But it was still a great night and the food was well-received.

Shrimp Bisque

Beef Tenderloin Roast in Wine Sauce

Clockwise from R: Beef Tenderloin, Green Bean Casserole, Dressing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Turkey with Gravy

Chocolate Cake, brought by Crissy Rea-Bain

"Shrimp Bisque," in Bon Appétit, June 2011, p. 114.

"Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast," Betty Crocker: Holiday Entrées, Sides, Brunches, & More, November 2001, p. 22-23.

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

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," from my sister Allison in Rossville, Indiana.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Meal No. 633: Quiche & Zucchini Bread

Since there were overnight guests, I figured I'd better get something on the table for a late breakfast or brunch. I also wanted to be sure it was mindful of the needs of the vegetarians.

The simple menu: zucchini bread (using Laura Thomas's recipe) and asparagus and feta quiche. The bread should have baked a bit longer but the quiche tasted pretty fantastic.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Meal No. 632: Six-Hour Chili for Karaoke

The annual tradition at the Roediger House the night before Thanksgiving is to have a bunch of folks over, give 'em some foodstuffs and munchables, and make 'em sing Wii karaoke. There were plenty of good sports on hand tonight, and part of their reward for playing along was a heaping bowl of Williams-Sonoma's recipe for "Six-Hour Chili" from the Crock-Pot.

"Six-Hour Chili," from Williams-Sonoma. Recipe can be found online.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meal No. 631: Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs

It's a bit soon to be repeating this meal, but with Tim Schwarz here and wanting to hit on some of the good recent dishes of late, I figured it would be a good call. And it was.

There's so much good flavor that comes first from the crab-boil style cooking of the pork ribs, and then the sauce is used to caramelize a tasty outer coating under the broiler. More sauce makes for lip-smacking eating.

I have pretty mixed feelings about the mac and cheese casserole this time around. I've made it several times before, and tonight I went perhaps too far with my cheese modifications: goat gouda and feta, in place of mild cheddar. And I did not account for the saltiness of the feta so it was a bit overwhelming. And, somehow, still quite good.

There was dessert, as well: Vietnamese coffee ice cream, which I'd made early (early!) this morning. It was all the better because of the time it had to set up.

"Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs," by Emeril Lagasse. Found online at the Food Network.

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

"Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream," by David Lebovitz. In The Perfect Scoop. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (2007), p. 35.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meal No. 630: Coffee-Glazed Grilled Lamb Chops

Perhaps a bit soon to be repeating this dish, but if you could just smell the glaze that goes on these chops, you'd tell me to make this once a week. Seriously.

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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meal No. 629: Standing Rib Roast

I really do love a rib roast, and after being so very disappointed when I made one for my birthday meal a couple of years ago, I was a bit gun-shy. A great sale on them at Harris Teeter this week, and a house full of guests, led me to get a 5-pounder, and it was our dinner this evening.

A perfectly cooked and seasoned roast it was, with company mashed potatoes and the traditional green bean casserole developed by Campbell's Kitchen.

"Standing Rib Roast," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 235.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," shared with me by my sister Allison in Indiana. Recipe available in pdf format.

"Campbell's Classic Green Bean Casserole," from Campbell's Kitchen. Recipe available online.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

WFU Class of 2007 Mini-Reunion

Photo: Monica R. Winter via Facebook
Today, former WFU grad student and Roediger House regular Bradley Phillis married the love of his life, Lauren Wilson. This happy occasion brought to town some of his close friends from his days at Wake Forest, and it made me very happy for the RoHo to be their gathering spot for part of the weekend.

All of them who were around this weekend have been to the house since the renovation and addition work was completed, but in their student days, our gatherings usually took place in the front of the house, in the North Parlour. The kitchen area was where we spent most of our time this weekend, though, except for a bit of basketball time and an evening out drinking at Rec Billiards.

Bradley and Lauren took off for their Shenandoah Valley honeymoon, but WFU social studies alums Julie, Tim, and Trevor were here for dinner tonight. We even did a partial recreation of the Class of 2007 picture we took as they finished up their programs five years ago, on the night of our Dessert & Decaf gathering:

Bradley's brother Ben stood in for Bradley (Ben graduated from Wake Forest's social studies education masters program this past summer).

Meal No. 628: Brendan's Moroccan Bistro Chicken.
Dinner was courtesy of a recipe shared by a student I taught a lot longer ago than this crew: Brendan Shanley, who was a 7th grade student of mine in 1995-1996. It's sort of an invented meal of his and so I gave it an invented name: Brendan's Moroccan Bistro Chicken. It was served over Israeli couscous with pine nuts and parsley, baby lima beans, and huge sweet potatoes.

It was a great night and a lot of fun. And the recycling clean-up the next morning attested to how we greased the skids with some liquid lubrication:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Meal No. 627: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

The nearly 5-hour drive home from Winchester this evening put me back at home in time to change and unpack a couple of things, but then I headed over to the airport to pick up former grad student Tim Schwarz, who's coming to town for the Thanksgiving week. And for tomorrow's wedding of his fellow grad student from Wake Forest, Bradley Phillis.

To keep it simple and to save myself a trip to the grocery store, dinner was spaghetti and meat sauce at, oh, close to 11:30 pm, I'd say. It was good to our bellies.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Most Gorgeous November Sunday Ever

This past Sunday was glorious: temps in the low 70s, lots of bright sunshine, refreshing breezes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Post-Halloween Monster Chip Cookies

A usual feature of the annual Roediger House Halloween Party is a large platter piled high with a delicious form of chocolate chip cookie: monster chip cookies. The prep was done (with thanks for busting up the pecans going to Jeremy Craft) but there was a pile of cinnamon chip oatmeal cookies that had already been made, so I didn't get around to making these until last week. They are an incredible cookie, though.

"Monster Chip Cookies," by Judy Mabry [Myrtle Beach, SC]. Published in Taste of Home, October/November 2001.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meal No. 626: Malaysian Steak Skewers with Scallion Dipping Sauce

This was a helluva meal to make on the afternoon when I'm heading out of town, but it sure was worth it.

"Steak Skewers with Scallion Dipping Sauce," by Zakary Pelaccio. In Bon Appétit, July 2012, p. 90-91.