Saturday, June 29, 2013

Meal No. 758: Planked Salmon with Spice Rub

"Planked Salmon with Spice Rub," from Fire & Smoke. Recipe accompanied package of cedar grilling planks. [Link is to a similar recipe.]

"Rich and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing," from Cook's Illustrated. Published May 1, 1999.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Meal No. 757: Sambal Chicken Skewers

These sriracha-glazed chicken skewers were delicious but the heat in them accumulated to a grave level of high octane by meal's end.

This required an emergency excursion for Euro Yogurt gelato from Caffe Prada, located on Broad just behind the house.

"Sambal Chicken Skewers," in Bon Appétit, July 2013, p. 69.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Real Cookie Cooking Disaster

I was pulling out probably the third pan of Cap'n Crunch cookies back in early May and the over door popped up and hit my bare elbow. The pan tilted, the parchment paper performed its slick miracles, and everything shifted and fell over. Since I typically pull cookies out when they are still in a gooey state, you can see what a mess (small and manageable) it made:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Dip

A baby gender reveal party earlier in the spring introduced me to a wild and easy new appetizer concoction: buffalo chicken dip. I tried it just recently:

I like it.

"Frank's RedHot Buffalo Chicken Dip," from Frank's RedHot website.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bird Bath / Re-Seeding of Grass

Among the items from my mother's estate that have come to me are her concrete yard features, including two benches, three planters, and her treasured bird bath. I think she would like very much to see it sitting now in the grove, which I'm still in the process of improving (but have made great progress this spring!).

I find that it's pretty darned handy to have a tiller, and last weekend I just about broke my body putting it to use again. This time, the focus was two large bare areas in the back yard, which were bare because it's just hard-packed clay and gravel. I also had two spots in the front yard: where a large dead tree was removed, and where I relocated a dwarf crepe myrtle. I tilled, brought in fresh good topsoil, raked, spread grass seed, spread hay, and watered before I headed out of town. I'm praying for some rain showers in the meantime.

Monday, June 24, 2013

CRISS Level II and Cinnamon Chip Cookies

I am spending this week working in Richmond, VA, and conducting my first-ever solo training of trainers for Project CRISS. Since it's my first time to do this, time this past weekend was limited. But I did manage to make a batch of cinnamon chip oatmeal cookies, which I hope hit the spot with my fine group of 10 folks from Shenandoah County, Hopewell City, and Virginia Beach City Schools.

"Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies," from Hershey's Kitchens. Also available on the Hershey's website:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Don Cornelius Likes My Sole Drain

The picture above shows the north retaining wall going up the edge of my property, from Spring Street up to the bay window in the dining room. The granite slabs atop this wall stop at the back corner pillar of the wrap-around porch, and in that picture at the top, the sunlight catches just a bit of an out-jut at that point in the wall. This is what you're seeing:

For all these year's I've been in the house, I imagined this strange feature of the wall was a planter or something odd like that, which may not be a particularly reasonable explanation. But what I saw was a squared out place that appeared to be full of dirt, and I figured it was time to plant some great summer flowers in it.

But it's not a planter. Once I removed a couple of inches of soil and sand with a small scattering of weeds, I found myself staring into a drain:

It must've caught run-off from the porch gutters and downspouts, and I think it must tie directly into the street sewer. A sort-of-interesting find, and that's about it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Meal No. 756: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

This has been a stand-by and favorite summertime recipe at the Roediger House for a very long time. Originally, I copied it out of one of my Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks recipe know, the one in the grocer's checkout aisle. It always seems to go over quite well; people tell me they love them.

I like 'em a lot too, so I find it easy to turn to them. Especially on great summer evenings like tonight, when a crew of us went to see the Superman reboot, Man of Steel. I'd already prepped the patties and there were chips on hand to go with it. That was tonight's fare, eaten in camp chairs on the breezy corner of the front porch.

"Grilled Juicy Burgers," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks recipe magazine.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Meal No. 755: Plank-Grilled Miso Salmon

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

Cooking recommendations from "Planked Salmon Platter," from either Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks or from Betty Crocker Recipes Magazine, date unknown, personal saved clipping.

Couscous recipe based partially on "Toasted Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts and Parsley, from Bon Appétit, December 2004.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meal No. 754: Filipino Chicken Adobo

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meal No. 753: Hamburger Supreme

It's been almost a year since I fixed this Jones family favorite. As I regularly mention, thank goodness my older sister Janice got both the ski boat and this recipe out of her first marriage.

"Hamburger Supreme," from the late Mrs. John T. (Glynn) Johnson of Buies Creek, North Carolina, via Janice Jones Bodenhamer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Gallon of Vanilla Bean Paste

My sister Allison in Indiana very thoughtfully shared with me some vanilla bean paste, which is a viscous bean-specked 1-to-1 alternative to vanilla extract, and I've enjoyed using it for the last several months. Unfortunately, the small 4-ounce bottles of it can be pretty expensive: $12.95 from King Arthur Flour, for instance. When I can buy things in quantity to get a dramatic savings, though, I'll do it. (I was a quick convert to Sam's Club and Costco, let me tell you!)

Recently, as my supply of vanilla bean paste slowly diminished, I decided to seek out a bulk purchasing option, and found it.

Boy howdy, did I find it. I now have a full gallon's worth of vanilla bean paste, and that's going to make for some extra tasty goodies in the coming months: from cookies to confections to turning out a vanilla version of Donna Whitley-Smith's mother's frozen custard ice cream!

I can use it lavishly now that I'll not feel constrained by the limited supply found in the expensive 4-oz bottles.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Furniture from Mother's Estate

Today was the next stage of the long and drawn-out process of settling and dividing my mother's estate. For this round, it was the division of furniture and larger home goods. From the master list, the siblings each indicated items that they might want. For overlapping wishes, the competing siblings worked it out, wheeled and dealed, or flipped a coin. I lost out to my older sister Janice when the coin toss didn't go my way, so she's got an arm chair I'd had my eye on.

But I did get to come home with the extra-long living room sofa, the secretary/desk, a rug, and some outside items like concrete benches and planters and a birdbath. I also loaded up and brought home the multiple items claimed by my sister Allison in Indiana, and that's what mostly helped fill up both of the front parlours. When I get home from West Virginia (my one day of travel this week), I'll try to do a better job of sorting and placing things. For now, here's how I had to leave things just to get them inside and then return the U-Haul:

Among my mother's many clocks were 13 that are actually reproductions rather than antiques. The siblings drew numbers to determine an order in which to pick them (although there were four clocks of the same kind and we each took one). This picture shows both mine and my sister's clocks after I brought them in:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Meal No. 750: Country Ham & Biscuits

A long but fantastic week doing trainings in Richmond this week, so my Friday night return to the kitchen was not meant to be complicated or time-consuming:

A couple of tall very cold glasses of milk washed it down nicely.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I don't recall the tree in the back corner of the lot spewing so much trash in past transitions from spring to summer:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Leftover Beer Can Chicken Sandwich

This is another blog entry that's been waiting in reserve, from the end of April 2013:

When I first made Chicken on a Throne (which is fancy-speak for "beer can chicken"), I thought the chicken was just okay.

But the next day, I used some of the leftovers to make myself a sandwich, topped with the Alabama Great White Sauce. And it was awesome, let me tell you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Winston-Salem's Finest Homes of Yesteryear

George and Laura Roediger built this house in 1905. I bought it just shy of its Centennial, in 2003. For most of this last decade, my knowledge of the Roedigers has been pretty limited and was gathered from bits and pieces and various sources, much of which is tucked away in my mix of files related to buying the Roediger House.

Near the end of last summer, I got this burst of interest in knowing more about the house and about the family. For a long time, I've operated under a hopeful assumption that this fine estate would naturally have been captured in various pictures buried in old newspapers or pictorial histories of Winston-Salem...that I had only to stroll the block and a half to the main branch of the county library and marvelous historial treats would be mine (after the anticipated digging and searching).

Another source of history is a website called What has puzzled me so much is that my very beautiful old home doesn't show up in any pictures, ever. I mean: c'mon! It's a lovely and stately place and it's close to a main drag. How come it has never been caught in any street shots, parade photos, or even featured just on its own merits?

Well, the simple answer is this: my home may be a marvelous place to call home, and it may stand out beautifully against much of the rest of the neighborhood...but at the time it was built, it was modest at best. The homes that were worth a photographer's attention, whose stately presence is captured in sometimes fuzzy old black-and-white or sepia-toned prints, completely leave mine in the dust.

The following pictures should give you a clue as to what I mean.

It boggles my mind, though, that all those gorgeous old palaces of old are all gone. And my humble abode somehow endures.

How cool and simultaneously awful is that?