Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meal No. 691: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

I have plenty more reasons than just this to be grateful for Donna Whitley-Smith, but she definitely did me a solid when sharing the recipe magazine that tonight's recipe came out of. This meal is making a repeat appearance already because it's incredibly delicious but it's also pretty straightforward to make.

"Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts," in Everyday Food, Issue 97, November 2012, p. 22.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meal No. 690: Biscuits-N-Gravy

Out of town since Sunday and two presentations to do tomorrow at the North Carolina Council for the Social Studies Conference...for which I am not yet comfortably prepared.

Dinner had to be easy: biscuits-n-gravy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Supporting Local Businesses: Hill's Alterations

Living downtown is awesome and has many advantages. Not only are there plenty of restaurants and bars and entertainment venues within walking distance of the house, there are a few hearty downtown businesses that it's worth supporting.

Over the last year or so, I've accumulated nearly a dozen articles of clothing that need mending or alteration, and I finally noticed the sign for Hill's Alterations as I walked Cyprus along Fourth Street.

The trick, though, is getting my stuff up there and back given how much I'm on the road. After months of having the bag of items sitting near the front door, I walked up to Hill's last November but found they were closed the rest of that week. I made it back up there in late January and got to drop the bag off.

Of course it turns out that when I was home on a Monday to go and collect them, this is the sign that was on the door:

I'm glad they're there to serve me, except when they're not there to serve me. With few weekdays in town this winter and spring, my tendency to procrastinate, and a business that seems to shutter for brief periods, this became a comically-complicated endeavor.

Once I picked up my stuff last week, though, I was pleased that I'd gotten Hill's to do the work.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Borrowing a Bit of Water

Office Condominiums at 4th & Spring Streets
(The Roediger House is visible, at the left end of them.)

Over the last year, when there's work to be done in relation to the office condominiums next door, I've been asked to allow workmen to plug their extension cords into my outside power outlet, or for access to my water spigot. I've been fine with's not something I'm all that worried about. Neighbors help each other out.

Not so long ago, in a blog post, I mentioned someone hooking up to my power outlet without first asking me. I'm less irritated by it now that I know who it is: RG Builders, who've been doing some things for my attorney, whose offices are in that row.

Back in mid-February, those guys asked to hook their hoses up one Sunday so they could power-wash the building. I told 'em I'd settle up with my attorney for the cost later. When I mentioned it to him, he sounded frustrated, because they were just supposed to clean the gutters.

When the fellow pictured below used the back of my attorney's office the following Sunday to relieve himself (in broad daylight!), I was unable to resist the temptation to notify him that his office had been "pressure-washed" again.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Il Barone's Limoncello Tiramisu

Just over two years ago, I went to all the trouble involved with making tiramisu. I was reminded when I ate it that's it's not all that great a dessert to me; I'm just not that into it. It was interesting to try my hand at it and I was glad I gave it a shot.

Well, for whatever reason, I decided to give in to the appealing sound of a lemonized version of it, based on a Newport Beach, CA, restaurant called Il Barone. This was the cooling, soothing light dessert to cap off Saturday night's pot of chili to go along with the Game of Thrones party.

"Culinary SOS: Il Barone's Limoncello Tiramisu," by Noelle Carter of the Los Angeles Times. Published November 3, 2011.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Meal No. 689: Chili and Game of Thrones

Within the last couple of years, I read all five of the novels published thus far in George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series. HBO has brought it to life and it brought about a three-Sunday-set of Game of Thrones watching parties last spring.

This past week the DVDs of the second season of this show were released.

Sounds like an excuse to have a gathering of fans, and Saturday night I put on a big pot of chili and we gathered together to get through the first half of these latest episodes. I think the chili was about the best I've ever made it, too. It probably didn't need all that extra cheese I put on there, but it sure didn't hurt it.

"Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans," from Cook's Illustrated, Number Sixty-One [March-April 2003], p. 10-11.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Meal No. 688: Miso-Glazed Salmon

File under "quick recipes," and easy to throw together after making the 4½-hour drive home from Frederick County, Virginia: this is yet again the miso-glazed salmon recipe that helps me cook a speedy meal that also isn't so gosh-awful heavy or greasy. Quinoa and baby lima beans rounded out this plate of goodness.

"Miso-Glazed Salmon Steaks," in Bon Appétit, May 2011, p. 58.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Something's Happening Behind the House!

When I first bought the Roediger House, the lot that my property backs up to was part of the Modern Chevrolet dealership. (I think "used cars" were directly behind my house.)

For a while, the little building on this lot (that I stare at the back of from my kitchen sink window) was the leasing office for the new condos and townhouses that were built where Modern Chevrolet once was.

Then, for a couple of years, it was the headquarters for LifeStar911, a private ambulance service. They've been gone for not quite a year.

This past week, after this long period of vacancy, I noticed that the security lights were back up and running (and spilling mercilessly over onto my lot). Earlier this week, before I'd left for my trip to West Virginia and Virginia, I saw that a lot of mysterious activity is now happening there. I'll be most intrigued to find out if this is something temporary, or if something big is going in there. Can't really tell just yet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Accidental Intersection

The noise that, at first, made me think some boxes somewhere in the house might have tipped over turned out to be the sound and feel of a collision at the intersection just up from the house. This is where North Spring Street crosses the much-busier Fourth Street. I've once witnessed an accident occur there, and then I've come across the aftermath of two or three others. All-in-all, though, I'd say that's a wonderfully low number for the nearly 10 years that I've lived here.

This collision occurred over the Christmas holidays.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Power Thief

Who is this guy, and why did he think there was no problem in plugging his extension cord into my exterior outlet so that he could work on the drainage pipes for the office next door? I was especially not happy that, instead of coming around the house to unplug his extension cord, he just stood on the other side of the fence and jerked on it till it dislodged.

That's just not very cool.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meal No. 687: Chicken Salad Sandwich for the Road

I was facing a 5-plus-hour drive this afternoon but needed to get a meal in before I hit the road. I'd bought (on a whim) a rotisserie chicken yesterday at the Harris Teeter, so I put it into play with a batch of chicken salad. It made for a fine and tasty sandwich and will be my one meal for the day.

I mean, I could run across the street from my hotel to the Sheetz and get an M-T-O sandwich, but that just sounds really terrible right now.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Meal No. 685: Two-By-Two Soup

When I left DC yesterday afternoon, it was warm and sunny and my car registered 63 degrees. I had my window down as I worked my way out to I-495 so I could get clear of the Metro area before the traffic became too maddening (I was foiled, though). Then, it turned bitterly cold for the weekend, with snow flurries throughout today and a forecast even more chilly for Sunday. I started a fire early in the morning and kept it going all day, almost till bedtime. And the right call for dinner just seemed to be my cousin Betsy Pierce's recipe for 2 x 2 soup. It might have tasted even better, being served in a Roediger House bowl from Sunset Hill Stoneware.

"2 x 2 Soup," from various sources.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meal No. 684: Country Ham Biscuits

After a 6½-hour drive home from two days of work in Washington, DC, I had little inclination to put much effort into this evening's dinner. I just wanted to put some food on the table, without a lot of rigamarole, and then enjoy sitting and eating it.

With a tall cold glass of milk and a bit of grape jelly, I got a belly-full of this Southern-style sustenance.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cookie-Making Binge Continues

More cookies this past week, like the white-chocolate macadamia nut version below...

"Premier White Chocolate and Macadamia Pieces Cookies," from Hershey's Mauna Loa. Found online at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Roasted Banana Ice Cream

With an oversupply of bananas on hand over the December holiday, I decided to put a few of them to work as the key ingredients in roasted banana ice cream. Yes: this involves slicing the ripe bananas, dusting them with brown sugar, and roasting them for about 40 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Combined with the other usual ingredients for ice cream, chilled for a day or so, and then run through the countertop ice cream maker, the result was pretty awesome. And I don't even like banana ice cream that much.

"Roasted Banana Ice Cream," by David Lebovitz. In The Perfect Scoop, Ten Speed Press (Berkeley/Toronto),  2007, p. 72.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Geo. Roediger: Proprietor

My understanding from the bits and pieces of history of this wonderful old house was that George Roediger owned a saloon on East Third Street, called The Dreamland. That's only half-true. He did own a saloon on East Third, but it wasn't called The Dreamland. Turns out The Dreamland was a motion picture house he had for just one year; it was located on North Liberty Street.

That's what I've been able to piece together from reviewing the City Directories in the North Carolina Room of the Forsyth County Library.

Another source of historical data that I spent time studying back in August is a website called I have searched it as thoroughly as I can stand, thinking that somewhere along the way, some random picture of the house would be in there. No such luck.

I did make an interesting discovery, though, and it pertains to that saloon of George Roediger's.  A picture that I'd looked at quite a few times is this one, of an unidentified man standing on a city street sometime around 1905-1908.

Not exactly sure how it finally caught my eye, but how about checking out the building over this guy's left shoulder, at the right edge of the photograph? If you see what I belatedly saw, you can tell that this is likely to be the Twin City Beer Saloon. And just below that big name is the proprietor's name: Geo. Roediger. His business was located at 15 East Third Street, at the intersection of Third and Church Streets.

I was mighty tickled to realize I actually had a picture of this. After doing some more searching and researching, and also perusing a couple of local pictorial history books, I came across another photograph of the Roediger Saloon, although this was taken from the back/rear of it since the picture is really of the P. H. Hanes factory that was across the way from it:

Geo Roediger Saloon: at bottom, center of photograph
seen from the rear
If you click on the picture to get a larger version of it, you can read that name on it pretty well.

From looking at the city directories from the 1890s through about 1930, I know that George Roediger was a bar clerk before 1904 or 1905, and that he owned a saloon for only about three or four years. Why not any longer?

Because the stupid self-righteous temperance maniacs actually got prohibition passed in North Carolina in 1908.

In case you're wondering what's located at the site of George Roediger's old saloon, it's this:

The building shown here is the Winston Tower (the lower photograph was taken from the intersection of Main and Third Streets, looking toward the intersection of Church and Third Streets). It was built in 1966 and served as the headquarters for Wachovia Bank until 1995 (when Wachovia Center was completed as the new corporate tower for Wachovia).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Meal No. 682: Tequila Roast Chicken

Split chicken breasts on sale again (about a dollar each), and more untried recipes in Hot Chicken. Great excuse to have folks over again, and there was a general feeling of approval around the table where this new recipe is concerned.

I thought the tequila sauce might be a bit too spicy, but we agreed that it was just right. I'd say the corn was too salty, but the company mashed potatoes were nice to have on hand, after what seems like a lengthy absence.

"Tequila Roast Chicken," in Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sanderson's Hot Chicken. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1995, p. 81.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite. Recipe shared by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, Indiana.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Chimney Leaking

The silence from the general contractor for the renovation and addition project of 2008-2009 continues. So far, Peter R. "Pete" LaRoque of Mocksville, NC, has made no response to my recent inquiries, and the issues he has failed to address persist.

As I've said before: Claims to "stand behind" one's work mean you have to be willing to come stand in front of it.

In mid-January, there was nearly a week of rainy days, which also included some gusty and blustery winds. On the evening of January 17, I came into the kitchen and was greeted by a return of the leaking chimney. The last repair Pete attempted on the chimney flashing was back in March 2010, and this is the first time I'd seen any problems with it since then. Perhaps it's simply a break-down in whatever sealant was used?

I'll put it on the long list for the items that Mr. LaRoque still must address.

How do you like the new artwork hanging there, by the way?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mid-Winter Cookie-Baking

I've been busy making some batches of cookies lately:

Meal No. 673: White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut [dough]

Meal No. 673: White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookie

Meal No. 673: White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies [batch]

Meal No. 675: Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookie

Meal No. 679: White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Meal No. 679: White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies
[This batch is going to be shared in Page & Shenandoah Counties in Virginia]

"Premier White Chocolate and Macadamia Pieces Cookies," from Hershey's Mauna Loa. Found online at

"Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies," from Hershey's Kitchens.
  • PDF of the Roediger House Version can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Collateral Gift: Key Lime Pie

With this past Sunday's Super Bowl event, and the goodies I made, I ended up with an extra item coming out of my Sunday kitchen labors. Because the buffalo chicken got coated in whipped egg whites before getting dredged in the cornstarch mixture, I decided to use those yolks for key lime pie (which was tasty-good!).

Cyprus seems to know a good thing when she's near it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meal No. 679: Chicken Salad

This might be my best batch of chicken salad yet.

But I hope nobody's keeping track of how many days in a row I've now fixed chicken in some form or fashion.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII

The annual Super Bowl event brings an annual Super Bowl-watching event at 6th & Vine. While this year it was a smaller affair, with pizzas ordered and some store-bought chips and hummus, I still wanted to make something to take up there. This afternoon, that was New Year's Day Meatballs and boneless buffalo chicken bites, all made from scratch.

"New Year's Day Meatballs," from Carol Fultz and shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (2001).

"Boneless Buffalo Chicken," by Lynn Clark. In Cook's Country, February/March 2009, p. 25.