Saturday, August 31, 2013

Meal No. 804: Lasagna

Tonight was a small celebration of sorts, with the first venturing out to the Roediger House by the adorable and beautiful Eliza B, whose previous "visit" to the RoHo was when her mommies were feted by friends at a shower here.

I figured a one-hand dinner was the wise way to go, as I could picture a baby being held while a mommy tried to eat. So it was a grand casserole of meaty, cheesy lasagna along with some garlic bread. Our bellies were filled at evening's end, when Jen and Jen spirited Eliza back home in hopes they could put her down for a good night's sleep. Or, at least for a couple of hours before she was hungry again!

"World's Best Lasagna," by John Chandler (Dallas, TX). Found online at

Friday, August 30, 2013

Meal No. 803: Grilled Ahi Tuna

It's been a while since good tuna has shown up in my regular grocery stores. Winston-Salem-based Lowe's Foods got a haul of it in this weekend and also put it on an almost-half-price special. That was all the incentive I needed to return to this regularly and dependably delicious approach to grilling tuna steaks.

"Foolproof Grilled Tuna Steaks," by Andrew Janjigian, in Cook's Illustrated, May & June 2010, p. 12-13.

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Meal No. 801: Lamb Meat Loaf

Wow. Another incredible meal thanks to a recipe in the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook, a gift of my sister Allison.

That's a nice mushroom demi-glace to go with it, which was every bit as good on the mashed potatoes as it was on the meatloaf (which was very tender, very tasty, very juicy, very amazing).

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf," 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. 150.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Meal No. 800: Shrimp with Goat Cheese Grits and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I might have to create a new blog post tag that goes as follows:

[Oh, My Food's Good!]

Tonight was one of those meals where I'm glad I bother to love cooking, and it was a fine way to mark the 800th meal in the still-relatively-new Roediger House kitchen.

Thanks are due yet again to my sister Allison from Indiana, who very thoughtfully gave me the cookbook that's the source of this recipe when she was down for a visit at the end of July. Hear, hear, hallelujah, and OMFG! (That means it was incredible.)

"Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce," 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. 100-101, 179.

Luquire Family Stone Ground Grits, milled in Greenwood, SC, which is where my father was when he died in 1981, interestingly enough.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Meal No. 799: Chicken Francese

"Light Chicken Francese," in Cuisine at Home, September/October 2013, p. 24-25.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Meal No. 798: Grilled London Broil

For perhaps only the third time, I've made an attempt at preparing London broil. Turns out, this was close to the charm.

It was delicious with a red wine demi-glace to bring the flavors out and up a bit. I managed to slice the meat pretty darned thin, which apparently is one of the keys to making this chewy roast a much more enjoyable dinner than might otherwise have been the case.

I also reached again for the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook that my sister Allison gave me, and repeated that very delicious smashed sweet potatoes recipe. They were light and fluffy and so full of good flavor! I think that night's dinner guests have crowned this their favorite way to do sweet potatoes, even above and beyond the slow-cooker version that I've been serving them for a while now.

Let's not forget dessert: some homemade banana pudding:

"London Broil on a Gas Grill," by David Pazmiño. In Cook's Illustrated, Number Eighty, May & June 2006, p. 11-13.

"Smashed Sweet Potatoes" (p. 128), 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.

"Murray's Old Fashioned Nana Puddin'," from the Murray Vanilla Wafers package. Also found online at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Butter Toffee Cookies & Lemon Bliss Brownies

When I conducted a Project CRISS training at Corporate Landing Middle School in Virginia Beach a couple of weeks ago, I was given clear instructions to bring with me some baked goodies. I met the command two-fold.

It gave me an excuse to reach for a favorite cookie recipe that always seems to be well-received: butter toffee cookies.

I also rushed my way through a brand-new recipe that has circulated on Facebook, for Lemon Bliss Brownies. I think I made it a sugary mess with a bit too strong a flavor of lemon, but we all seemed to like it once we got around to sampling it.

"Butter Toffee Cookies," from King Arthur Flour.

"Lemon Bliss Brownies," passed around on Facebook during August 2013.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Meal No. 797: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

Prior to the arrival of the evening's rain storms, as a cold front passes through, I got a mess of burgers prepped and grilled for a fine Friday night summer dinner for the crew on hand this evening. I also made Barbara Huneycutt's recipe for creamy stuffed eggs but added crumbled bacon to it. The eggy potato salad got extra creamy when I decided to incorporate the leftover stuffed egg filling into it.

Classic Burger Sauce
from Cook's Illustrated, July-August 2008, p. 11.
4 T mayonnaise
2 T ketchup
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

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

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

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Meal No. 796: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

"Coronation Sauce for Chicken," from 400 Sauces, by Catherine Atkinson, Christine France, and Maggie Mayhew. Hermes House (2006, 2008), p. 155.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

When education colleague, friend, and fellow CRISS trainer Jeremy Craft came down for a visit this past weekend, he did not come empty-handed: he brought the Roediger House a gift of doughnut pans.

He then insisted I put them to use before he headed home the following Sunday morning.

"Baked Doughtnuts Three Ways," from King Arthur Flour. Recipe found online.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Meal No. 795: Smothered Pork Chops with Onion-Thyme Gravy

Just before heading out yesterday for a two-day Project CRISS training in Hopewell, VA, I whipped up this tasty lunch for my departure. Yessirree: it was worth it to arrive a bit later than might have been judicious, just so's I could have this mid-afternoon feast.

"Smothered Pork Chops," by Erika Bruce. In Cook's Country, April/May 2011, p. 22-23. [View and print a pdf of the recipe by clicking on this link.]

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meal No. 794: Beef Tacos on Indian (Navajo) Frybread

This was dinner last night, and it was pretty darned incredible. I think Ben Phillis might be glad he stopped by to borrow the truck at just the right moment to share in a sampling of these.

"Indian Frybread and Indian Tacos" and "Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gâteau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie

I stumbled across a nearly-flourless chocolate torte recipe and gave it a try last night when I needed to whip up a dessert fast for an unexpected team of visitors. It is incredibly chocolatey, lusciously dense, and remarkably simple. I recommend it.

"Gâteau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie," by Molly Wizenberg. Adapted from Je Veux du Chocolat! by Trish Deseine. Found online at Orangette blog.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Meal No. 793: Grilled Porterhouse Steaks

It was another houseful last night but only three for dinner, and the value package of porterhouse steaks had just the right number of steaks for tonight's rainy grilling endeavor. I tried doing the french fries in last night's cooking oil (that I had strained) in the skillet, but they did not come out quite right. Still, a fine Saturday night meal at the Roediger House.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Meal No. 792: Nutty Fried Chicken

Tonight represented another good opportunity to reach for the new Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook that my sister Allison gave me. The menu choice this evening was "Nutty Fried Chicken with Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Milk Gravy," and for the crew around the table, it was a smash hit.

"Nutty Fried Chicken" (p. 127), "Smashed Sweet Potatoes" (p. 128), and "Milk Gravy" (p. 10). 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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Meal No. 791: Patty Melts

No complaints whatsoever about how I spent the last few days: with two really good different groups at two schools in Virginia Beach. They were thoughtful, energetic, engaged, responsive, and all around fun. Seriously.

After teaching all day and making the 5-hour drive home, I reached for the filling and faithful standby of patty melts for dinner. No disappointments here: they were top-notch.

Classic Burger Sauce
from Cook's Illustrated, July-August 2008, p. 11.
4 T mayonnaise
2 T ketchup
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An August August Hawk

This past Saturday morning, I was witness to a small ruckus at the window bird feeder that I can see from my old man's chair in front of the fireplace hearth. The hawk was back and he made a grab for a tweeter on the feeder, but he missed. After an unsuccessful sliding attempt to perch on the windowsill, he dropped down to the ground below and recollected his thoughts. I used this as my chance to snap shots over his shoulder, as follows:

I do love having this hawk around and thrill to any chance to see him in action and up close.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Parade O' Cicadas

If I lived up in certain areas of Virginia or Maryland where the ear-shattering onslaught of some huge cicada brood's emergence was a horror to behold for friends of mine, I might feel differently. But I just love the way a cicada's song brings to mind the marvel of summertime and summer evenings for me. It was relatively late in the season this year before the light chorus of some backyard cicada duo burst into song, but it's been part of my outside entertainment when I've fired up some citronella candles and incense and whiled away part of a night out there.

One of them was still hanging around in the morning this past weekend and I was glad he was willing to sit for a portrait.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Good, The Basil, and the Ugly

Brand-New Cherry Dazzle Dwarf Crepe Myrtle
has settled in well in the south sideyard
Planted a bunch of petunias but this is the only one(s) that performed well.
This weather has been great for my sweet and purple basil
that I just planted this summer in the new south sideyard area.
Looks like I'm losing one of my Autumn Belle Encore Azaleas

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Possum No. 6

There's been a stray yellow cat running around the property of late, and I've had the Havahart® trap out for it for a while. In fact, I'd foolishly forgotten about it, which I need to make sure is not a recurring oversight on my part. This past Friday morning, I came outside with Cyprus and we found that the trap had been sprung, but this time it was for yet another young possum. I've safely relocated him to a relatively unpopulated area out in the country, but not before friends Byron (one of my Wake Forest students from the Class of 2003) and Laura Hoover and their boys Noah and Jonah got to check him out.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Meal No. 790: Pot Roast

Nothing all that fancy or special, but mighty good on a dreary stormy rainy Saturday night: pot roast. Special compliment: cat head biscuits.

"Cat Head Biscuits," by Cali Rich. In Cook's Country, April/May 2010, p. 12-13.