Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Holdens in the House

July ended on a great note, because its final weekend was the time for a visit from my sister Allison and my nephew Eli, along with Allison's friend Jill (also from Indiana). There were some important moments:

Jill having grits for the first time ever.

Eli on his second bowl of cheese grits.

Eli and Jill on the Wii while Cyprus naps nearby.

Eli deciding Cheerwine is his new favorite soda ever.

Cousins Carla Ray and Marilyn
(they came for dessert on Saturday night)

Marilyn, Allison, Eli, Ray, Carla

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sweets and Treats of July

I've continued to try to work some sugary magic with desserts and goodies while I've been home. Here are a few desserts and such that have not yet shown up in the blog posts of late.

Chocolate Chess Pie
(recipe from Deborah and Pembroke Pettit)

Strawberry Lime Yogurt Cake

Peach Nehi Ice Cream (Version #2)

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake

"Strawberry Lime Yogurt Cake," by Cindy who blogs at "Hun...What's for Dinner?" Recipe also found on Honey Bee Hive blog.

"Peach Nehi Ice Cream," by Dedi of Shelby, NC. Recipe found online.

"Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake":

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rapid Salad with Leftover Chicken

This laser focus I had in May to get as much as possible done with yard work while I was home led to some diminished kitchen prowess. I did lots of simple meals and a couple of occasions where I didn't cook at all (thanks, Bojangle's and Sonic!). To squeeze in lunch on one of those intense yard days, I still went to the small trouble of making chicken salad from a leftover rotisserie chicken. I should have troubled myself to stick closer to the recipes I've got, though: this was heavy on the dressing and had too much vinegar tang. That didn't stop me from wolfing it down before heading back out to the waiting wheelbarrow.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Meal No. 784: Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy

A roast chicken on Sunday may sound like the most regular and common thing in the world to the rest of you, but it's a pretty novel proposition in the Roediger House kitchen. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to recall a time that I have ever just done a simple, plain roasted chicken.

Not that this one was completely plain but it was reasonably simple. As my sister Allison departed today, she presented me with a terrific new cookbook from the folks at the famous Asheville eatery, Tupelo Honey Cafe. (Update: I was in Asheville a couple of days after this but found the line too long for a solo diner to partake of the THC dinner offerings, as noted by the picture to the right. I will have to wait till another time to see for myself what everybody who's been there just raves about.)

Anyway: I had bought a couple of whole chickens thinking they might find their way to a Chicken on a Throne destiny on the kamado grill. Instead, I used one of them once I saw the recipe for Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy in the Tupelo Honey Cafe Cookbook.

Wow. That's what I have to say about this meal. Wow.

"Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy," in Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen, by Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC (2011), p. 136-137.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Meal No. 783: Apple City Baby Back Ribs

This meal should have been much better than it was, and I was majorly disappointed in it all. If nothing else, I would love to have been able to cook these ribs much, much longer to get them to the "falling off the bone" stage. This one failed to impress the sister, and I was not a happy man. Even the sweet potato casserole was a let-down.

Kamado Meal #19

"Apple City Baby Back Ribs" (p. 72-73) and "Apple City Apple Sauce" (p. 361). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Meal No. 782: Indoor Pulled Pork Barbecue

My sister Allison and her son Eli, along with her friend Jill, came in this evening for a weekend visit. That seemed like a great reason to make a batch of indoor pulled pork barbecue and a bit of the Barefoot Contessa's blue cheese coleslaw. They got here a little bit later than they'd intended but we had us a fine meal a-waiting. Gooey, gummy buttery mashed potatoes were alongside.

"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.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meal No. 781: Pit Pot Roast

Kamado Meal #18

"Pit Pot Roast" (p. 128-129) and "Cinderella Glaze and Sauce" (p. 124-125). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Eggy Potato Salad with Pickles," by Jenny Rosenstratch and Andy Ward. In Bon Appétit, May 2012, p. 36.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Meal No. 779: Dijon Pork Medallions

"Pork Medallions with Dijon Mushroom Sauce," by Frank Hollands of Minnesota. From Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks' A Taste of the BAKE-OFF Issue from March 2001, p. 40-41.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Meal No. 778: Planked Smoked Wild-Caught Sockeye Salmon

First try at plank grilling-smoking some salmon in the kamado grill. Mighty good, with the Dizzy Pig Raging River rub and a touch of butter and maple at the tail-end of cooking. Quinoa and sugar snap peas to round out the plate.

Kamado Meal #17

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meal No. 777: Beef Back Ribs

Kamado Meal #16

"Cinderella Glaze and Sauce" (p. 124-125). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Grown-Up Mac-N-Cheese," by Ina Garten. Recipe from the website.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Meal No. 776: Humdinger Hamburgers

I've got several great burger recipes that please my palate and that also seem to go over well with guests, including Juicy Burgers on the Grill, Peanut Butter-Bacon Burgers, and Bulgogi Burgers. Tonight I thought I'd see what the kamado grill could do with burgers and used Cheryl and Bill Jamison's recommendation for what they call "Humdinger Hamburgers." With these, you mix minced onion and minced chili peppers into ground chuck, and I used the Jamisons' spice rub recommendation of Wild Willy's Number One-derful Rub and then I let the rub and smoke do the rest.

Which means these were more smoked than grilled: you keep the deflector stone in place and keep the temps relatively low for an hour-long cook. I'd say they were OK but not necessarily humdingers. I do need to try doing these in grilling/direct heat mode sometime, just to see what I think. I'd make the patties much thinner, though, so that they're cooked to the temp that I'm accustomed to and prefer for hamburgers. Sometime I'll put to the test their Jamaican take on these burgers. If so, you'll read about it right here.

The accompaniment was a new recipe, which was passed on to me by my good friend Sheryl in California. It's baked onion rings with a chipotle ranch dressing, and they were good. I had seconds of those, for sure. I believe I will work on the dressing a bit and see if I can make it much less thin. It was a nice flavor, too.

Dessert was a new adventure: éclairs. I love éclairs, and I don't recall anyone doing them homemade save for one distant relative who's not all that good a cook (or that nice a person). I've been hankering to give these a try for a while, and yesterday just seemed like the time.

The initial baking of the pastry shells gave me great hope that I might be on the right track, because they came out mighty purty:

I chose the easy route on the pastry filling, a slightly souped up batch of Jell-O instant vanilla pudding. I reached for my rarely used pastry bag to squirt these rascals full. After dinner, I heated up the chocolate and dipped them upside down in it.


"Humdinger Hamburgers" (p. 133-134). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Baked Onion Rings with Chipotle Ranch Dressing," from Real Simple magazine, May 2013, p. 226.

"Cream Puffs and Éclairs," from the folks at King Arthur Flour and available online.

Kamado Meal #15

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meal No. 774: BBQ'd Beef Short Ribs

I had not yet tried smoking any beef short ribs, so tonight was the night for this. It's not supposed to be a hard proposition: salt and pepper rub or a more interesting combination of spices, if you prefer; a relatively short stay on a low-heat kamado smoker; and a simple and down-home sort of barbecue sauce that was actually surprisingly amazing. Throw in a starch and something green, and it's a fine Thursday night meal. The mac-n-cheese was particularly good tonight...I used gouda and goat cheese in place of the Gruyère and blue cheese.

Kamado Meal #14

"Boneless Beef Short Ribs," from

"Bullsy Beef Rub," from

"Virginia Pruitt's Perfect Barbecue Sauce," by Fred Thompson of Grillin' with Gas. Recipe found on

"Grown-Up Mac-N-Cheese," by Ina Garten. Recipe from the website.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meal No. 773: Yakitori with Tare Sauce

Another run at grilled chicken skewers, this time using a recipe for what is basically Japanese street food.

"Yakitori with Tare Sauce," in Cuisine at Home, June 2011, Issue 87, p. 14-15.

"Vinegar Sushi Rice," in Cuisine at Home, April 2013, Issue 98, p. 45.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Meal No. 772: Bulgogi Burger Sliders

Back in November 2011, for Meal No. 387, I tried an interesting take on burger sliders with a distinctly Korean flair. Tonight I tried these out for the second time and they were every bit as good. They're called Bulgogi Burgers, and this recipe puts them into bite-sized slider form. I forgot to put the smoked gouda on them but that didn't seem to slow down how quickly these were finished off. It's a more involved meal of course, but being at home for a break in July makes this kind of cooking possible and likely.

That previous blog entry breaks down the process a bit more, in photos.

Except for the fact that I ended up adding in too much flour to the yeast dough, the brioche buns were pretty darned good, if a bit dry. I continue to wish I would work enough in bread-making to get more of a feel for how to do it. My efforts are almost always just short of the mark.

"Brioche Buns," from Cuisine at Home, June 2011, Issue 87, p. 18-20.

"Bite-Size Bulgogi Burgers," by Debbie Lee. Printed in Seoultown Kitchen. Found online at

Monday, July 15, 2013

Meal No. 771: Easy Jerk Chicken

When I pulled out the June/July 2005 issue of Cook's Illustrated to make Triple-Chocolate Cookies a few days ago, I also took note of an article called "A Spicy Taste of the Tropics." It offered a reasonably simple recipe for easy jerk chicken, and that was this evening's fair. I adapted this a bit to cook it on the kamado grill, initially giving the chicken thighs a good sear over direct heat, and then adding the shielding stone to let the cooking continue indirectly. I erred on the side of overcooking it because grilling chicken still makes me a bit nervous, but the guests round the table said it was still tasty. We all agreed that a longer sit in the marinade/paste would have served the chicken and us well.

It is fortunate for all of us, too, that there still remained some delicious Whitley Family lemon custard ice cream. Once again, I managed to get a concession from Ben and Robin to suspend their no-sugar pact for the duration of this bowlful of goodness.

Kamado Meal #13

"Easy Jerk Chicken," from Jeremy Sauer in Cook's Country, June/July 2005, p. 22-23.

"Lemon Custard Ice Cream," from Willa Whitley and shared by Donna Whitley-Smith.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meal No. 770: Grilled Leg of Lamb Dijon

This was one of those meals that makes me feel I went all out, although it definitely had elements that were easier than they might have looked. The plan was to have a full table of seven people, as part of a Roediger House game night, so in addition to the meal itself, I figured I'd best have some snackables ready for pre-dinner munchies:

Homemade Palmetto-Style Pimento Cheese

Barbara Huneycutt's Creamy Stuffed Eggs

Butterflied American leg of lamb was on sale at the Harris Teeter, and I needed to make something good for a group. That led me to a recipe that was on the same page and right next to the Margarita Pork Tenderloin I made recently. It's called Grilled Leg of Lamb Dijon, and it was a take on lamb that was new to me but I can't imagine it could ever get old: it was darned delicious.

I fired up the kamado grill mid-afternoon:

By this point, I already had the slow-cooker scalloped potatoes going. The lamb had sat overnight in a dijon marinade/paste that was deliciously goopy. You should have smelled it smoking and grilling this afternoon, too.

Eh, so I let it go a little long and the meat was more cooked that it should have been. But the flavor was awesome (and I'd made a delicious port demi-glace sauce to go with it):

My mission was not complete, though, because I had high hopes that I could put people into a food coma. The crowning touches were the amazing lemon custard ice cream, a family favorite shared by Donna Whitley-Smith, and sour cream pound cake:

Kamado Meal #12

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

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

"Grilled Leg of Lamb Dijon," in The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham: Oxmoor House (2006), p. 254.

"Sauce Poivrade alla Port," from More Than Gourmet.

"Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes," by Kelly Price. In Cook's Country, January 2011, p. 6.

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (December 2001).

"Sour Cream Pound Cake," from McCormick. Found online and on the flavoring's packaging box.

"Lemon Custard Ice Cream," from Willa Whitley and shared by Donna Whitley-Smith.