Friday, January 31, 2014

Meal No. 912: Hamburger Supreme

A weird week with the snow days and the cancellation in Virginia Beach that gave me a couple of unexpected days it was a quick overnighter last night and today to Richmond to spend today with the leadership team at St. Christopher's. To get something decent on the table yet again meant going for a meal that I could throw together quickly and easily. In this case, the long-time Jones family favorite: hamburger supreme.

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Meal No. 911: Corn Chowder & Pipetizer Casserole

Last night was an impromptu big gathering of folks, and so with what I had on hand in the fridge, I threw together a meal for us. It helped that my sister Allison and I had a good long phone conversation as I drove home Tuesday afternoon, escaping the winter snowstorm bearing down on Virginia Beach, and she inspired me to grab the fixings for corn chowder. She even emailed me the recipe so that I'd have my ingredients checklist when I made a snowy-slick-roaded stop at the Harris Teeter on my way into Winston-Salem.

It was a good time, and the corn chowder really was terrific.

This time, I think the Pipetizer casserole was only so-so, but still edible.

"Indiana Corn Chowder," by Brannon Soileau of Maize American Grill (Lafayette, IN). Shared with me by my sister Allison on December 31, 2006. You can find this, and quite a few other Indiana recipes, if you scroll to the bottom of this article: "Indiana Can Cook."

"Pipetizer Casserole" is an adaptation of "Tailgate Casserole," from The Big Book of Casseroles, by Maryana Vollstedt. San Francisco: Chronicle Books (2000), p. 120.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Finally, Some Snow

No Snow Event. Last week, a winter weather system moved through the area and, while much of the action was promised for east of here because of the moisture pattern, Winston-Salem was at least to get anywhere from a dusting up to an inch. We had a bit of rain but the forecast was for it to switch to a wintry mix and then into some snow.

Right at the time it was to begin, instead I began to see a completely clear sky and even the traces of a lovely golden sunset bouncing off the buildings across the street (now that I have a new view to the west).

And while I would like to have had the rare treat of some snow, this sunset did give me a nice gloaming reflection on the downtown skyline:

We weren't completely robbed, though, because apparently something fell overnight, according to the evidence left on my car windshield:

Firewood Replenishment. With the many cold days thus far this winter, I've really blazed through my firewood stack. I reordered from Chris's Tree Service because the previous load he brought me in November 2012 was flawless and awesome. He brought my resupply this past Saturday.

I'm afraid it's not as good a load, although there's plenty of it. It's not cut as uniformly but there are also some huge pieces, which I've gone to the trouble to split myself. It's also pretty darned green. I think Chris has definitely had a busy winter so I bet he's struggling to keep up with demand. That's likely to slow me down for fires the remainder of this winter but I'll hope it cures well for the ones that follow.

Today was good for a fire, for sure:

Fire No. 28

And Then, Snow. Because of all that oversized and green wood, I had to work hard to keep this fire going, which I did all day long. That's because overnight and this morning, we got snow at last in Winston-Salem:

And Cyprus loved it:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Meal No. 910: Herb-Roasted Salmon Fillet

It was only the last hour that began to get a bit treacherous this afternoon, when I made the five-hour drive home from Virginia Beach. My work there for Wednesday and Thursday was canceled because of the 6-12 inches of snow that was to begin mid-day. Schools were dismissed early and the assistant superintendent said: "Go home."

I stopped off at Kernersville at the Harris Teeter and there was a fine-looking piece of salmon in the fish market. While I just had it a few meals ago, it was too tempting not to go with it again. With a bit of quinoa and some sugar snap peas that looked worse for the wear, I had the treat of being home and of cooking up some grub for dinner.

This also means that my compulsion to blog every single day requires me to shift around some entries that I had scheduled for this week while I was to be away from home. If you didn't know it before, I construct the blog in part by contrivances.

Based on "Herb-Roasted Salmon Fillets," by Luanne Asta of New York, NY. In Taste of Home, December 2013, p. 28.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meal No. 909: Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

I had some sausage to use up before hitting the road for this week's work in Virginia Beach, so I decided to whip up a Sunday morning breakfast casserole. Everybody has this in a recipe book somewhere...probably one of the most common breakfast dishes ever. I always liked my Mother's although I often thought we overdid the cheese in it. This may be only the second or third time I've ever made it, and I did pretty darned well.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meal No. 908: Spicy Pork & Broccoli Stir-Fry

This was last night's new stir-fry recipe. It uses pork tenderloin, which is just not my preference when it comes to a good stir-fry. I think I'll stick with chicken, beef, and shrimp. It was good, but not quite to my liking.

"Spicy Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry," in Cook's Country, February/March 2012, centerfold recipe cards.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Meal No. 907: Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola

This was a pretty straightforward meal to prepare although last night I had the frustration of half the chicken being underdone by the time I was plating the food. It got me rattled enough that I failed to snap a photo, which I'm sure breaks the hearts of my dear blog readers.

Never fear, though: this was identical to how I prepared it last time, for Meal No. 479, right down to the jasmine rice and the baby Brussels sprouts, so I'm posting the unchosen picture from that previous dinner. (Last night it was chicken thighs instead of breasts, though.)

"Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola," by Jill Anderson (Sleepy Eye, MN). In Taste of Home, February/March 2012, p. 34-35.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fire No. 27

It's proving to be a stupidly cold winter. But this Friday morning fire was perfect for a day off the road and a quiet morning with coffee and catching up on email.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meal No. 906: Potato and Cheese Soup

This is a delicious recipe for potato and cheese soup, which I've only made once before (Meal No. 654). I shouldn't have waited so long to return to it.

By the way: there's a big difference between 3 cups of cubed potatoes and 3 pounds of cubed potatoes. Guess the direction in which I made tonight's cooking error.

"Potato and Cheese Soup," shared with me by my sister and her husband, who got it through a cooking class at KitchenArt in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Meal No. 905: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

By special request by a Roediger House regular to celebrate his birthday, it's peanut butter bacon burgers for Mookie:

A review of key points about peanut butter bacon burgers:
  • Inspired by Yo Mama's in the French Quarter of New Orleans
  • First Made: Meal No. 180
  • Last Made: Meal No. 886
  • 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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meal No. 904: BBQ Shrimp with Pasta Alfredo

I picked up a pound of shrimp at the grocery store today, but without any clear idea about what I would do with it. When dinnertime rolled around, all I had in me was to sauté it in a mess of butter with lots of spices, some garlic, some Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of beer, and serve it over penne with an alfredo sauce. Hey: it was good.

"BBQ Shrimp," by Chef Brian D. Smith of Randol's Restaurant and Cajun Dancehall in Lafayette, LA.

"Fettucine Alfredo," from The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. New York: Scribner (2006), p. 327.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Chili Cook-Off

Man-o-man, what a fantastic night and a great gathering for this year's annual chili cook-off. It's not really a competitive thing: it's just an excuse to get people together and enjoy the winter-time treat of bowls of chili.

This was one of the bigger turn-outs and it was lots of fun. So many of the regular chili-makers from past years have left town, so I fretted a bit about whether there'd be enough. I was prepared to make three chilis but settled for two. With additional chili brought by Amy and Terry, a delicious shrimp-and-avocado appetizer brought by new RoHo Friend Thomas, an extra dessert from Danny, and chewy gluten-free cornbread from Kathleen, it all worked out great. Other folks brought extra cheese and chips and sour cream and beer. It was a group effort!

Once folks started arriving, I never grabbed the camera, and I didn't actually sit down to eat my own bowl of chili until after most folks had left.

The Guinness chocolate cheesecake was a new venture for me: dense and incredibly chocolate-y. And the Whitley family recipe for lemon custard ice cream is always fantastic, with tonight being no exception. I'll post those pics later.

"Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans," from Cook's Illustrated, Number Sixty-One [March-April 2003], p. 10-11.

Six-Hour Chili, from Williams-Sonoma online.

"Granny Wilson's Cornbread," a recipe shared with me by Linda B. Dunlap.

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

"Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake," from Kevin Lynch at

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Meal No. 902: Herb-Roasted Salmon Fillet

Today I made the blue cheese dressing using a huge wedge of blue stilton, and while it was certainly a strong flavor, it really worked. The salmon was just about perfectly cooked, and the wild rice was a step away from my usual inclinations.

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

Based on "Herb-Roasted Salmon Fillets," by Luanne Asta of New York, NY. In Taste of Home, December 2013, p. 28.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Classic Old Bottles from the Wall Demolition

The guys from Lowder who were working on demolition of the rear retaining wall found a number of mostly intact old bottles that had been buried in the fill, and they pulled them out and passed them on to me. I haven't gotten them cleaned up yet, but I think they'll be suitable souvenirs of that project and the passing of that old wall. I was excited to see that two of them are easily identifiable: a vintage Dr. Pepper bottle and a vintage Nehi bottle. Unfortunately, the Nehi bottle has a chipped rim at the opening at the top but that just gives it character. It's not like I'd be looking to sell them anyway.

Friday, January 17, 2014

White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies for Hopewell

I'm headed back up to Hopewell, Virginia, for the second Saturday in a row. Tomorrow will be the other half of the Project CRISS training I'm conducting at the high school there. On the seat beside me for the trip: white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies. Hope they're a hit!

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Yard Work

Since it took me about eight years to ever start doing any serious landscaping here at the Roediger House, it won't surprise you that I've not quite figured out what kind of yard upkeep I'm supposed to do over the winter. I managed now to identify and mark a number of limbs that need to be trimmed, because I have come to understand that this is the time of year to do that.

My neighbor across the street had told me that January 1st was around the time that I needed to cut back all my monkey grass so that it could come back clean and strong in the spring. I also still had the shriveled and dead stalks from some of the summer plants, like the basil in the kitchen garden and the vinca in the front yard. I still had some dead stalks from day lilies to tackle as well.

I don't have to tell the rest of you that part of the challenge of winter yard upkeep is finding a day that isn't too cold, windy, or wet that also coincides when I've got a free afternoon to work. That magical combination occurred just before the horrible polar vortex cold snap the week before last.

There was a nice pay-off to this work, other than cleaning up the yard. I found a muddy dollar bill and, surprisingly, a gift certificate for dinner for two at the local city club in the BB&T headquarters building.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meal No. 900: Ribeye with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

This is a bit of a switch-up for me, but boy-howdy was it good:

More homemade mashed potatoes, too. Hmmm.

"Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce," by Ree. From