Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Meal No. 889: Root Beer Molasses-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

...with Smoked Jalapeño Sauce and Apple Salsa!

This is one more recipe pulled from the Tupelo Honey Cookbook that's proven to have so many great meal ideas. Alas, while this was a unique way to do a pork tenderloin, I expect this is the one and only time this particular meal will be prepared at the Roediger House.

I put some good labor into it, meticulously dicing the ingredients that went into the apple salsa, and taking the time to smoke the jalapeños when I made pork shoulders last week. This was also my first trial of the black rice I got not too long ago.

Half of tonight's crew that gathered for New Year's Eve said it was pretty good, but the other half found it not so pleasing to the palate.

Oh well. It was worth trying. It just didn't rise to the special, special meal I'd like to have served to bring 2013 to a close.

"Root Beer Molasses-Glazed Pork Tenderloin" (p. 149) with "Smoked Jalapeño Sauce" (p. 23) and "Apple Salsa" (p. 4), 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.

Meal No. 888: Caramelized Ham Biscuits

Made these last night to be ready to toss them in the oven for breakfast this morning:

It's different from the way we've always done them in the Jones Family but it was a nice switch-up.

"Caramelized Ham & Swiss Buns," from Iris Weihemuller of Baxter, MN. In Taste of Home, December 2013, p. 59.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Heavy Rainfall and a Partial Wall Collapse

The Sunday and Monday before Christmas proved to be pretty darned wet for Winston-Salem. According to our local television station, WXII, we had a locally-recorded total of 2.63 inches of rain over that two-day period.

That meant there was more evidence of leaking on the face of the chimney for the kitchen fireplace, a problem which has never been fully resolved by the general contractor for the renovation and addition, Peter R. "Pete" LaRoque of Mocksville, NC:

This is the first time I've seen rain leaking in since back in February, and that time was the first incident I'd had in nearly three years.

It also served to prove that, while much more rare now, it's still possible for water to come in to the south side of the cellar:

Back in November, I blogged about the wall that divides the properties on the north and south side of the 700 block of West Fourth Street, running between Fourth and Holly Avenue. The developer who has purchased it has talked with me about the plans for bringing that wall down, because it is somewhat fragile and compromised.

All that rain was enough to bust out a weak portion of it, along the gravel lot to the north of the house:

It turns out that the hold-up is with Duke Energy: Lowder Construction is anxious to get moving on this but they are waiting for Duke Power to come take out the power/telephone poles that are in the way of the demolition.

So, why am I blogging about the wall instead of telling about tonight's dinner? Because my grand plans for grilled mustard-and-herbed rack of lamb with onion jam were completely busted by the eruption of my increasingly rickety old Weber gas grill:

So once again, my dinner guests and I were saved by having Foothills Brewery right around the corner, because that's where we went to eat.

Tuesday Afternoon Update: We might be one step closer to the demolition of the building behind the house as well as the wall, because this afternoon the crawler-excavator showed up...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meal No. 887: Baked Chicken Thighs

Simple, simple, simple: baked chicken thighs with Israeli couscous with pine nuts and sautéed sweet onion and bell pepper.

Then I made a third batch of eggnog for the season:

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

"Homemade Eggnog," by Beverly Sims. In Cuckoo Cooks from Gilboa Christian Church in Cuckoo, Virginia.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Meal No. 886: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

Tonight's meal was the amazing and delicious creative culinary sensation known as "Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers." It does not appear to be sweeping the nation, but I'm quite all right with that. It is one of the most satisfying meals and a definite favorite of the Roediger House.

Some key points about it:
  • inspired by Yo Mama's in the French Quarter of New Orleans
  • First Made: Meal No. 180
  • Last Made: Meal No. 729
  • Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Fresh-Ground Beef from boneless shortribs and top sirloin
  • Homemade Classic Burger Sauce (recipe below)
  • Labeled Finished Burger: Guide to Meal No. 234
  • Some guidance, inspiration, and tips are based on Cook's Illustrated, No. 93 (July/August 2008), p. 10.

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.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Meal No. 885: Grilled Double Gloucester & Stilton Cheese Sandwich with Bacon

Sourdough bread, double Gloucester & stilton cheese, applewood-smoked thick-cut bacon, and a home-made take on Thousand Island dressing. One-and-a-half of those sandwiches and I was ready for sleepy time.

"Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Thousand Island Dressing," by Greg Morris of Oaks Gourmet (Los Angeles, CA). In Food Network Magazine, April 2011, p. 139.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Meal No. 884: The Renowned Mr. Brown

It's always one of the joys of the Christmas holiday to catch up with former 7th grade student Brendan Shanley and his folks, Carol and Fred Wood. For the last however many years, that's usually involved me visiting them in the neighborhood across the street from Leesville Road Middle School, where I taught Brendan. Carol is a teacher at the adjoining Leesville Road Elementary School. They're all great folks and I'm glad that they have been so good about keeping in touch and making sure we see each other at least once a year.

This time around, I invited them to make the journey over to Winston-Salem, and they graciously agreed. Brendan hadn't been here since before the house renovation and addition, and Carol and Fred had last been here when the construction was underway...but nobody had seen the finished product. Carol made a wonderful UNC housewarming gift, which is already hanging up in the main hallway:

For our dinner, I fired up the kamado grill late last night and tossed onto it two 7-pound Boston butt pork shoulders (which had gotten an initial rub of Southern Succor Rub even the night before that!).

The smoker did its job overnight and all day long today. I kept an eye on it, trying to maintain the smoking temp at around 200°F.

Our appetizers tonight included my version of pimento cheese and Rachael Ray's take on a warm bacon dip. The bacon dip was the hands-down favorite.

With the smoked pork shoulders, we had coleslaw (without the blue cheese) and smashed sweet potatoes. I gave them a choice between two possible barbecue sauces: an Eastern North Carolina vinegar-based sauce, and a tomato/ketchup-based sauce that's more akin to what we might get here in the Piedmont region. Looks like the Piedmont-style was the clear winner this evening.

Desserts were chosen from the broad sampling of Christmas goodies on hand: date nut balls, fudge, sugar peanuts, and the last of this past Sunday's carrot cake. Brendan brought a home-made pound cake, which was moist and delicious.

The evening had to end too soon, but it was a long drive for them back over to Raleigh and Fred has to be at work tomorrow morning.

Kamado Meal #23

"The Renowned Mr. Brown" (p. 53-54) and "Vaunted Vinegar Sauce" (p. 349). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Sauce," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2010 (No. 102), p. 6-7.

"Swiss and Bacon Dip," from Rachael Ray. Available online at the Food Network website.

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

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

"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.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

Greetings on this merry Christmas day from the warm and cozy Roediger House. The day began bright and early, right around 6 am, with temps outside a very chilly 19°F. I lit the fire that I'd already laid and tossed the Christmas morning rolls into the oven.

Cyprus, warmed by Fire No. 22

The rolls didn't turn out quite right but I could still eat around the edges. (I do not have very good luck with Parker House frozen yeast rolls.) It was another tribute to memories of Christmas at my mother's house: there would almost always be a pan of these. My sister Allison still continues this tradition best among my siblings.

Mid-afternoon, when I was taking Cyprus out for a pee break, my eye caught something that I had not expected: a Christmas Day bloom from the very sturdy iris right outside the back door:

There was a nap this afternoon. And some clean-up from last night's fun Christmas Eve gathering. And then I turned my attention to dinner prep for tonight. This was another late, late night holiday meal at the Roediger House, with food going on the table just before 10 pm. It was worth the wait, though!

I've never tried to do anything with Cornish hens before. The result was awesome. And the corn maque choux: wow. Just wow.

And before I could go to bed, there was a little business to conduct in anticipation of special guests here tomorrow night:

"Cornbread-Stuffed Cornish Game Hens with Corn Maque Choux," by Bruce Aidells. In Bon Appétit, October 2008, p. 110. Recipe found online.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Tradition

From the time my parents moved to Mingo, in Sampson County, they started a small Christmas Eve get-together with some of the other couples with whom they were close friends. It's a tradition that continued for about 50 years, in fact, because my mother continued it and made it a huge Buies Creek gathering each year up until around 2000 or 2002. Following the Memorial Baptist Church Christmas Eve service at 5 pm, most of the church and half of Buies Creek were welcome to come to her house and partake of the annual "Ham Biscuit Get-Together."

My sister Allison and I have chatted this holiday about that holiday affair just a bit, and we've tried to remember what all was on the "menu" of finger foods and goodies. Ham biscuits were a given.

Anyway, I've been feeling Mother's absence rather acutely this holiday and it's led me to put together a small gathering of friends with some traces of those yearly Ham Biscuit Get-Togethers.

Seven-Layer Cookies
(haven't made these in forever!)

Sugar Peanuts

Date Nut Balls

Fudge: with nuts and without

A Second Batch of Eggnog
(thinner version: I used milk instead of heavy cream)

Beautiful Eliza Blake came with her moms, The Jens

And ham biscuits, of course!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Meal No. 880: Christmas Eve Eve Eve Feast

For a wonderful gathering of 10 friends last night, before various members of the crew split off into their various holiday directions, it was the Christmas Eve Eve Eve feast at the Roediger House. The food turned out pretty well, lots of fun was had 'round the Wii upstairs before dinner, and we capped it off with some delicious carrot cake for dessert. Not sure where we found room to put that last bit of goodness, but we all trudged through to the end.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Wine Sauce with Onion and Mushroom for the Beef

Layered Green Bean Casserole / Apple & Bacon Stuffing

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Oven-Roasted Herbed Turkey Breast

Clockwise, from bottom:
beef tenderloin with wine sauce, horseradish sauce,
turkey with gravy, apple & bacon stuffing, sweet potato casserole,
layered green bean casserole

The gathered crew, digging in with gusto.

Carrot Cake

Less than half a carrot cake

Delicious Carrot Cake with a Buttermilk Glaze and Cream Cheese Frosting

"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.

"Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Bacon," from David Venable. Found online.

"Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake (1981)," also known as "Best Carrot Cake (October, 1997)," from Southern Living. Also found online. The recipe I follow was recommended to and shared with me by John & Ebbie Linaburg of Woodstock, Virginia.