Friday, May 31, 2013

Critters of the Early Spring

Editor's Note: I will not be surprised if this particular blog entry requires some corrective feedback from my good friend and college roommate Jimmy Randolph. I'm going to talk about critters, and I plan to do so fully uninformed.

I don't recall seeing a lot of ladybugs around here, but I recall all too well what a spring problem they were for my friends Cindy and Harley when they lived in Winchester. They'd be hatching and swarming and clinging to the windows and dozens would manage to get into their house.

Several times this spring, these hatchings have occurred here at the Roediger House, so I thought I'd grab a couple of pictures of them:

I hear from the science folks that this is the time for the Eastern Brood of Septendecennial cicadas to emerge. When I pulled the tarp off the old topsoil pile this year, I uncovered this rascal, squirmy and very much alive, and which looked to me like a cicada that ought to still be burrowed, not out in the daylight:

I was also surprised when I pulled that dirtpile tarp off to find this young snake under it, and my reaction (with shovel in hand) was absolutely instinctive:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

Here's one of those "leftover" or "catch-up" blog posts...this dessert was made and served way back in late April when I first made Chicken on a Throne.

This here is a pan of dulce de leche cheesecake bars. They are easy and straight-forward, with the only trick being to track down store-bought dulce de leche. Fortunately, I found it again not long ago when I was checking out the offerings in a Kroger in Roanoke, Virginia.

Given how simple this recipe is, and how good the result, you'd think I would have made this a more regular feature at the Roediger House. Alas, I've apparently only made them twice before: way, way back in the fall of 2010; and in early spring 2012.

"Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars," by Cindy Mushet. In Bon Appétit, June 2010, p. 96.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Update on New Office Building

This morning's Winston-Salem Journal provides an update on the status of the new office building, slated to be constructed across Fourth Street to the north of the Roediger House:

"New Building at 4th & Broad to Have 5 Stories, 55,000 Square Feet"

blogged about an article in that same paper from last fall, which was my first news of this development.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meal No. 747: Jerked Chicken Kabobs

Tonight's meal was inspired by what I saw at the Harris Teeter today on my way home from working in Greensboro: at the meat counter, they had Jamaican jerk chicken skewers for sale. So I came home, looked at a couple of recipes online, and chose the one I could prepare the most quickly and simply. I found it on the Food Network website, and it came from Guy Fieri. The online reviews for the posted recipe were mixed, and I also think Guy Fieri is a bit of a jerk, ironically enough. Maybe they could have been named "Jerk's Chicken Kabobs," but I digress...

The meal hit a lot of the right notes for me, so I expect this one will repeat.

"Jerked Chicken Kabobs," by Guy Fieri. Found online at the

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

"Jamaican Hush Puppies," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 99, May/June 2013, p. 31.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Sticky Buns: On a Roll!

Batch No. 8

Only days after I last made these, and with a house full of a different set of guests this weekend, I rose early on Saturday morning and got going on a fresh new batch of cinnamon roll sticky buns. They were good as ever, and that much more sweet and delicious with the cream cheese icing to top them off.

I also made another batch of the brown sugar cookies Friday night after dinner.

"Brown Sugar Cookies," from Crisco. Recipe can be found online.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Meal No. 746: Thanksgiving on the Half-Year

Oven Roasted Turkey Breast

The Roediger House has some fine traditions, including the one observed tonight: Thanksgiving on the Half-Year. Since the delicious dishes featured in this holiday feast are too good to limit just to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the crew here likes to create a Memorial Day weekend excuse for putting on this monster meal.

Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce

I always, always love the food that goes on the holiday table. With twelve on hand for the grub, and my dining room still being a bit of a wreck, this big gathering required that the old men chairs get pushed away from the fireplace so that a card table could be set up to keep us all in close proximity to one another.

Tonight was just about perfect: great company, lots of talking and laughter, the food turned out right, folks brought in some good desserts, and some of us even finished up the evening by stepping out for a few games of pool at Recreation Billiards.

Clockwise from Bottom: Turkey with gravy, stuffing, corn pudding, sweet potato casserole, layered green bean casserole. Center: Beef tenderloin with wine sauce.

If there is any kind of downside to this fantastic occasion, it's that today was another phenomenally gorgeous May Sunday and I've still got lots to do in the yard before my time at home runs out this week. But hey: the food coma made me go all amnesiac on any of those yardly regrets.

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

"Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce" (p. 296) and "Spicy Horseradish Sauce" (p. 295), 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.

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Meal No. 744: Lamb Köfte

"Lamb Köfte with Yogurt Sauce and Muhammara" from Bon Appétit, January 2010. Recipe Online.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Landscaping Pays Blooming Dividends

As spring finally but gradually began to settle over Winston-Salem, various parts of the yard burst into some beautiful blooms and blossoms. Here are a few shots from the past few weeks.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meal No. 743: Indoor Pulled Pork BBQ

It's never too soon to repeat this meal, and it was a grand gathering of six of us around the table to enjoy it tonight.

I still managed to put in a very full day in the yard today, since there are long stretches where the pork is either brining or just roasting. I also stole a little bit of time to whip up a very simple, very-bad-for-you dessert: kool-aid pie:

"Indoor Pulled Pork," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2010 (No. 102), p. 6-7.

"Blue Cheese Coleslaw," from Ina Garten. Available online at the Food Network website.

"Kool-aid Pie," from Recipe Goldmine.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Sticky Buns

Since I emerged from slumber wide awake and sleepless at:

...and since I have family in from out of town that I can't help but want to treat well and/or impress, I made my sister and brother-in-law's recipe for sticky buns.

And they were terrific.

Sticky Buns: Round 7!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meal No. 742: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

Made by special request this evening: the delightful and delicious braised chicken thighs over Brussels sprouts, along with company mashed potatoes.

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

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Meal No. 741: Cuban Pork Shoulder Roast Sandwiches

This afternoon I took a break from work-related tasks and yard work and joined a large crew at the cineplex to take in Star Trek Into Darkness. But I was prepared for what would follow because a pork shoulder roast was cooking away in the oven while we enjoyed the movie. Most of that troupe found its way back to the RoHo for dinner.

And it was oh-so-good: spice-crusted and slow-roasted to perfection, fork-shredded and spiked with the citrus mojo, and slathered with the creamy cilantro-lime sauce. What I did not find time for was making any good sides, so I went the store-bought route for potato salad and slaw...and am regretting it still.

"Pork Shoulder Roast with Citrus Mojo & Creamy Cilantro-Lime Sauce," by Alex Roberts of Brasa (Minneapolis, MN). Recipe in Food & Wine, May 2012, p. 152, 154.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cookies & Sugary Treats

A recent visitor to the Roediger House complained that I never make sugar cookies. So I made some this past week, with a brown sugar twist:

A colleague in Virginia Beach knew of my fascination with Stewart's Key Lime Soda, and she found a bag of key lime marshmallows. I finally put them into play when making rice krispies treats:

Monday Morning Addition: Last night, following Star Trek Into Darkness, and the Cuban pork sandwiches, I also cooked fresh batches of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies:

"Brown Sugar Cookies," from Crisco. Recipe can be found online.

"Key Lime Rice Krispy Treats," from Campfire Mallow Bursts.

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