Thursday, January 31, 2013

Meal No. 676: Glazed Meat Loaf

A bit soon to repeat this meal?

It's never to soon to eat the good stuff.

"Glazed Meat Loaf," by Kris Widican. In Cook's Illustrated, February/March 2009, p. 8-9.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meal No. 675: Not So Cajun Chicken

Let's give it up to my college roommate Jimmy Randolph as the key to last night's dinner. As I've described before in past blog entries, Jimmy and I met up at Crowley's in Raleigh a few years ago to share a meal together and got into a conversation about one of their delicious signature dishes. We tried to figure out what gave the sauce in Crowley's Not So Cajun chicken its unique blend of flavors (and it turns out we were sort of on the wrong track). Next thing I knew, Jimmy had tracked down and tried out a comparable recipe, as published in a South Carolina newspaper (but no longer available there, best I can tell).

You can download and print out the recipe by following this link, though. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meal No. 674: Grilled Pork Ribs

Last night was another good night for grilling, and the choice was "Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce." It comes from Chef Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q restaurants (one's in Alabama, and the other is here in North Carolina). I've used this recipe for the spice rub and for grilling pork ribs before, but I think this may be only the second time I've made the recommended apple-bourbon barbecue sauce.

In addition to baby lima beans, the other side dish is one of my oldest recipes in my "I like to cook" collection, started around 2001: sweet onion corn bake. I wish I pulled that one out more often, because it's always so tasty.

"Country-Style Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce," by Chris Lilly. Published in Food & Wine, June 2011, p. 88, 90.

"Sweet Onion Corn Bake," by Jeanette Travis of Fort Worth, TX. Published in Taste of Home, April/May 2003, p. 37-38.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Meal No. 673: Grilled Lamb Chops

The dinner last night was fixed early—some folks were coming over for an early-evening hang. And I was scheduled to drive in the early evening up to Roanoke for a day with administrators there today. Alas, more winter weather swooped in and so the decision was made on Sunday afternoon to postpone my time.

But all that happened after the dinner prep wheels were set in motion, and so the crew who gathered sat down for a 5 pm dinner, which is virtually unheard of in the Roediger House. It was all too good.

The lamb chops (which continue to be on a good special at the Harris Teeter) were grilled, as per the custom here, but I did a different prep for them that involved a dijon and maple marinade. They definitely passed muster with us. I also tried out yet another recipe for mac and cheese, this time opting for one that claims you don't have to boil the macaroni first. I jazzed it up just a touch with ground mustard and nutmeg and cayenne pepper, and I mixed in some goat cheese to go along with the white sharp cheddar. I also really liked the recipe's call for panko, parsley, and minced garlic to give it a good crunchy topping.

"Maple-Glazed Lamb Chops," by Gilda Lester [Wilmington, NC]. In Southern Living, December 2004, p. 162.

"No-Boil Mac and Cheese," in Bon Appétit, January 2013, p. 30.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some Putrid Pig

The plan last night was to have a few folks over, fix some version of pork tenderloin, and watch Avengers in 3D on the fancy television upstairs. Alas, the package of Smithfield pork tenderloin that I bought at Harris Teeter last week (with a "Sell By" date of February 05, 2013) pumped out a terrible rotting smell as soon as I cut into it. It was so bad that it actually turned me queasy. I sent the crew out to Foothills for dinner and I laid down with Cyprus for about an hour to recover. It was the darnedest thing.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday's Freezing Rain Event

As a road-warrior traveling consultant, I am of course at the mercy of winter weather and school delays and closings. This week, while I was in Frederick County, VA, what was predicted to be a light dusting of snow on Wednesday night actually created enough snow to close schools Thursday. With the bitter temperatures we've had with this current cold snap (high temps barely in the low 20s), that snow was still problematic enough that school was called off Friday as well.

For me, the problem was getting home Friday: a winter weather warning for freezing rain and sleet had been issued for Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas, starting at 10 am. If I'd had to work on Friday in Winchester, I'm not sure I'd have made it home Friday afternoon/evening. Thank goodness school was called off (of course, I don't get paid when I don't work) but I was back in Winston-Salem by 10:30 am yesterday. (Local news reported between 25 and 30 accidents in the vicinity last evening.)

By early Friday afternoon, I had a great fire going and was enjoying stretching my legs out in front of it, in my old man's chair.

Fire No. 9

Fire No. 9

Once the sleet and freezing rain finished their run, the driveway/parking lot put on a good show for what effect all this had: it was a sheet of ice. Not a thick one, but with ice, it doesn't take much.

Cyprus found it all pretty intriguing. Then again, her short memory and/or her exuberance to chase a squirrel made her forget to take care on the steps leading out to the parking area...she wiped out pretty hard when she made a mid-morning dash out to go terrorize creatures lurking near the feeders in the backyard.

With the temperatures still in the mid-20s, I was more than happy to get another fire going to start my Saturday morning.

Fire No. 10

Friday, January 25, 2013

Meal No. 672: Chicken with Mushroom Wine Sauce

Two snow days in a row up in Frederick County, VA, defined the end of my week of work on the road. As soon as I received notice that their schools were closed again today, I threw all my belongings into my bag, checked out of the Sleep Inn in Winchester, and was on the road just before 6 am.

The rush home was due to the imminent weather event promised for Winston-Salem and thereabouts (I'll blog about that tomorrow), and I was already plenty worried about how I'd get home if I'd worked a full day today.

Anyway, with only a few scattered flurries and a touch of sleet along the route, I got home by 10:30 am this morning. Cyprus was a happy girl, for sure. I swung by the grocery store for those few items that might be needed should the weather shut down the city (and yes, that truly included milk and bread: I was out of both!).

I already had in the fridge a small package of chicken thighs, though, a plan put in place before I left last Monday, assuming I'd be getting in late evening Friday night. That formed the basis of this evening's meal, which I wanted to be simple but tasty. It was both.

To go with it, inspired by a pesto orzo side dish at the Woodstock Café Thursday night with Ebbie Linaburg and Donna Whitley-Smith, I returned to this creamy orzo risotto but substituted goat cheese for the blue cheese. The whole green beans that rounded out the plate didn't actually add very much to it, unfortunately.

"Chicken with Mushroom Sauce," from

"Creamy Orzo Risotto with Blue Cheese and Pine Nuts," by Natalie MacLean. Recipe found online at

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cyprus Tormented by an Interloping Possum

One evening last week, when Cyprus was out in the backyard for an evening pitstop, she went a little crazy. It took a minute to realize what had her stirred up, but it quickly revealed itself: a possum was passing through on the back retaining wall.

It was quite a chore to wrestle Cyprus away from trying to get up on that wall to get that possum, and I had to physically lift her up and toss her back into the house. She was not going to be dissuaded from going after this unwelcome yard visitor.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stunning Dog on a Gorgeous Day

After having had some snow to finish out last week, after terrible rainy cold dreary days in succession, the drastic warm-up and perfect weather of this past Sunday and Monday were almost too good to be believed. I was tied up too much of the day Sunday working on chili and desserts and prep for Sunday night's chili gathering, but I did take Cyprus for a good walk. While she and I were outside, I managed to capture this especially regal shot of her with the house looming in the background under a glorious blue sky.

And on Monday, as I drove away from Winston-Salem to head up to Moorefield, West Virginia, I did so with my window down. The day's sunshine was brilliant, the skies an unbelievable blue, and everything perfectly aligned to celebrate both the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Saturday Morning Coffee & A Roaring Fire

After the snowy weather and cold temps of the past week, it just felt right to have a fire this past Saturday morning to go along with the usual cups of coffee by the fireside. It was just the thing to take the chill off.

Fire No. 8

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 Chili Cook-Off

The annual January gathering at the Roediger House centers on chili: pots of various concoctions that somehow fall into the chili family, brought by those who wanted to cook some up and enjoyed by everybody whether a maker-of-chili or not. It's a calm and casual evening of friends fellowshipping, stuffing ourselves silly, praising and parsing the startling and the subtle variations, and somewhere along the way someone bringing up the dreaded gastrointestinal eventualities. Yes, indeed: the annual RoHo chili cook-off is definitely a gas.

Vegetarian Chili

Six-Hour Chili

A sampling of Amy Williamson's chili,
with Granny Wilson's honey-wheat cornbread in the background

Additional pots of chili were brought by Brad Phillis & Lauren Wilson and by Amy Williamson. There was a great sampling of good eats!

"Six-Hour Chili," from Williams-Sonoma.

"Vegetarian Chili," from All About Vegetarian Cooking. By the editors of Joy of Cooking: Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. New York: Scribner (2000), p. 82-83. Cookbook was a gift from former student Alison Pomeroy.

"Granny Wilson's Cornbread," a recipe shared with me by Linda B. Dunlap.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Meal No. 670: Grilled Bone-In Ribeyes with Fingerling Potatoes

Although it was cold outside, it was also clear and the air was still. So I decided to go ahead and grill the bone-in ribeyes that I'd bought on Thursday, in anticipation of possibly losing power with our brief winter storm that night.

Alongside, a first for me: roasted fingerling potatoes. Also, not a first: sugar snap peas. It was all good.

"Roasted Fingerling Potatoes," from Martha Stewart online.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Day!

I was scheduled today to be working over in Summerfield, north of Greensboro, to do the second day of training with the second cohort of the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy. Alas, there was a winter event in the region yesterday evening, so it was a snow day!

Last night, while the snow was still falling (Winston-Salem only got about an inch and a half, and it was a pretty wet snow following several days of cold dreary rain), I snapped a few shots of the house and the vicinity of the 4th and Spring Streets intersection:

Today, with this unanticipated day off, I thought I'd make a special treat: New Orleans beignets, using a recipe I'd not tried before:

I fixed Vietnamese coffee to go along with it. This is only my second try at beignets and I'm pretty sure I liked the previous one much better (which was back in the days of the old kitchen, actually).

"New Orleans Beignets," in Cook's Country, February/March 2013, p. 6-7.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meal No. 668: Chicken, Peppers, & Mushrooms Stir-Fry

Tonight's delicious meal: chicken, peppers, and mushrooms, stir-fried in the wok with Szechwan marinade and spicy peanut sauce:

Normally, I make this with something green in it (asparagus, most of the time), but I didn't have any of that on hand this evening.

Based on a recipe for "Kung Pow Pork," found in Wok Fast by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison, p. 80, 82. "Szechwan Marinade," p. 28; "Spicy Peanut Sauce," p. 27.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meal No. 667: Glazed Meat Loaf

This was just wonderfully delicious. And all the better with mashed potatoes and green beans.

"Glazed Meat Loaf," by Kris Widican. In Cook's Illustrated, February/March 2009, p. 8-9.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Meal No. 666: Deviled Drumsticks

This is Meal Number 666, which begged for a theme, given that diabolical number. So on this evening, I put together a completely tongue-in-cheek excuse for festivity with aptly-named dishes to go with it. The guests wore red and black and talked me out of my nudist theme idea, whereby The Devil Wears Nada.

Had I thought of it sooner, I might have made Lucifer and Limas Beans instead of Purgatory Peas. And one of the dinner companions suggested that it was all served on Pontius Plates. Ha ha!

"Citrus Beet Salad with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing," from Oh She

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

"Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping," from Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook,  (Oxmoor House, 2006), p. 234-235.

"Granny Wilson's Honey Wheat Cornbread," a recipe shared with me by Linda Dunlap.

"Creamy Stuffed Eggs," a recipe shared with me by Barbara Huneycutt of Crozet, VA.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Meal No. 664: Chicken Tikka Masala

It's been a while since I made chicken tikka masala, and it just sounded right for tonight. It's made in the slow-cooker but faster than many slow-cooker meals: it cooks about three hours.

Served over basmati rice and accompanied by cumin-coriander roasted cauliflower, it was darned delicious. (I did realize too late that I grabbed a can of tomato sauce instead of a second can of crushed tomato, so this had a bit of an Italian influence to it. Still good, though.)

Beforehand, an appetizer of sorts: mango lassis.

[This picture from a previous occasion.]
Since the tikka masala had a bit of spice to it, I guess it worked out well that I'd made some key lime frozen yogurt earlier in the day. It was an excellent dessert for this kind of meal.

"Chicken Tikka Masala," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 85, February 2011, p. 14-15.

"Roasted Cauliflower," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 85, February 2011, p. 15.

"Mango Lassi," by Jamie Oliver. Online from The Food Network.

"Key Lime Frozen Yogurt," Southern Living, February 2006 (clipping/lost page number).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Virginia Beach Liquid Loot

My good week of work in Virginia Beach these last few days also included an extra bonus: finding beverages that are not available around here. I got Pepsi Throwback (on sale, even) and some Stewart's Key Lime Soda. I'm set for a while. At least until I next head to Virginia Beach to work.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chocolate Eclair Cake

I think I served this the night that I tried to recreate the Raleigh Rathskeller's Mojack City chicken over angel hair pasta...chocolate eclair cake: