Friday, May 30, 2014

Meal No. 1009: Grilled Bone-In Ribeye Steak

Today was the first spotting of a goldfinch for the season:

I snagged that picture with my smartphone whilst sitting in my old man's chair by the fireside. And then that goldfinch flitted off before I could try to get any better shots.

And for dinner on a beautiful late spring evening: grilled ribeye and baked sweet potato. I'm going to love steak all the way until the day after my first heart attack.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meal No. 1008: Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spicy Miso Mayo

This recipe required that I track down some exotic ingredients, including yuzu kosho paste and yuzu juice, which were a mystery to the folks at the local Asian grocery. So I ordered them from Glad I did. This was a terrific dish, and the very simple spicy miso mayo was a great condiment alongside.

"Grilled Chicken Thighs with Spicy Miso Mayo," from Ricardo Zarate. In Food & Wine, March 2014, p. 103. (Recipe Clipping)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Meal No. 1007: Garlic-Lime Grilled Pork Tenderloin Steaks

"Grilled Pork Tenderloin Steaks," by Dan Souza. In Cook's Illustrated, Issue No. 128, May & June 2014, p. 6-7.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Possum No. 8: Pint-Sized Possum

Cyprus and I returned from a long walk a week or so ago and we were greeted in the driveway by this little rascal, who's now been safely relocated down by the river:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Meal No. 1006: Thanksgiving on the Half-Year

Just over five years after I bought this wonderful old Roediger House, I undertook some major renovation work on it, with Peter R. "Pete" LaRoque as my General Contractor. The designs by Sam Binkley, my architect, included removing the original one-story add-on kitchen (it was bare, basic, and perhaps 12 x 12). We also removed the old bathrooms on the back of the house as well as the mudporch. In the place of all that, I not only got a very nice new master bathroom and a new guest powder room, but also a grand open kitchen area.

Tonight marked exactly five years since I was able to make the first meal in that new kitchen space, which I have spent the last five years loving immensely and spending much time in. And, as you can tell from the meal blog entries, I've enjoyed making lots of meals in those intervening years.

Coincidentally, tonight was also the occasion of the annual "Thanksgiving on the Half-Year" dinner event that I've been hosting for the last few years. That holiday meal is so fantastic and, while it's important that it remain special as a holiday feast, it seems a shame to have it limited to only a time or two around Thanksgiving and Christmas. So Memorial Day is the excuse for whipping up all that great food and serving it to a table full of friends.

Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey Gravy

Beef Tenderloin

Wine Sauce with Garlic, Mushrooms, and Onion

David Venable's Apple and Bacon Stuffing

Corn Pudding

Layered Green Bean Casserole

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Everything (except for the creamy horseradish sauce)

I'm so glad to have the dining room back in service.

I also got around to making the carrot cake that just seems to belong with this meal:

Generally, I tell whoever's coming to not bother bringing anything, but it doesn't mean I'm going to stupidly turn down something like a really good home-made key lime pie, which tonight's guest Michelle was kind enough to make and bring. Here it is alongside a slice of the carrot cake.

Finally, I'd like to note that today marks the third anniversary of the arrival of the wonderful and amazing Cyprus to the Roediger House, and given the uncertainty of her actual date of birth, today gets celebrated as what is believed to be close to her fifth birthday. The RoHo is much better with her in it.

"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. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (2006).

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," from my sister Allison in Rossville, Indiana.

"Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping," from Southern Living Slow-Cooker Cookbook. Birmingham, AL: 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.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Restoring the Dining Room

It's now been almost three and a half years since my mother passed away, and two summers ago, my siblings and I met on a 100-degree-plus weekend to begin separating out and dividing the possessions from her estate. Each time we've met to do this, I've found myself bringing home boxes and furniture without having any clear plan as to what I should do with them yet. That's how I lost my dining room for the last two years. Once I'd begun piling boxes and stuff in there, it became an easy dumping room for all kinds of things.

I don't have a picture that shows how bad it really got, but this one paints the picture from back in 2012:

One of the RoHo's weekend guests successfully persuaded me we could tackle this mess, and within about an hour-and-a-half, the dining room was restored to usefulness:

This means it's all ready for tomorrow night's Thanksgiving on the Half-Year. I'm pretty damned excited to get this room back.

Oh, and if you notice on the far wall in that picture above, one of the items I brought back from my mother's estate was this portrait of me, from 1971:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

Meal No. 1004: Peppered Ribeye Roast

I went into this meal with enthusiasm and high hopes, and it ended up being one of the most mediocre passable meals I've made in quite a while.

It started off with another batch of that delicious spiced pecan and blue cheese salad with sweet-and-sour vinaigrette. I tried making the dressing with walnut oil this time, which gave it a different flavor that was still good.

A large crowd was in attendance for dinner, so I had two boneless ribeye roasts, simply salted and peppered. But I didn't keep a close enough eye on them and they cooked up to medium well. Still flavorful, but I was very disappointed to have ruined that good meat.

For the sides, I returned to the recently-discovered Delmonico potatoes and steamed some asparagus (more crisp than tender, I'm afraid). Somehow I managed to make a coagulated mess of greasy gravy to go with it. Like I said: flavors might have all been okay but this was not a shining effort in my kitchen repertoire.

And let me tell you about the chocolate cake...or perhaps the pictures can take it from here:

"Spiced Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad," inspired by the signature salad at Ryan's Steaks, Chops, & Seafood (an excellent Winston-Salem restaurant). "Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette" from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 373. "Crispy Cayenne Nuts" recipe from Southern Living, July 2008, available online at Thanks as always to Jimmy Randolph for helping me track down those recipes.

"Standing Rib Roast," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 235.

"Delmonico Potatoes," by Diane Unger, in Cook's Country, December/January 2009, p. 13.

"Duke's Chocolate Cake," from the Duke's Mayonnaise website. Adapted version from Deb Lindsey published in the Washington Post.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Meal No. 1003: Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter

I don't recall ever fixing any flat iron steak before, and the special on it at the Harris Teeter led me to try it out this evening. I'm glad I did.

"Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter," by Kristin of Norfolk, VA, and posted to

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Meal No. 1002: Fettuccine with Cajun Alfredo Sauce

While I now live a life I love and enjoy, I do miss the days when Winston-Salem was home to many recently-minted new teachers from my social studies program at Wake Forest University. Many a night would find me with one or more of them, enjoying dinner out or in, with a mix of teacher talk and life stuff.

One of those memorable dinners was made by two students from my first group of masters candidates at WFU, who were roommates after they finished the program: Marie and Susan. The featured dish was a delicious spinach fettuccine with Cajun alfredo sauce, from the cookbook for the famous Grit restaurant in Athens, GA.

The batch I made this evening (with regular rather than spinach fettuccine), with all that nostalgia swirling about, was not nearly as good as theirs (meaning Susan and Marie's version). But it was still delicious following a day of hard work in the yard.

"Spinach Fettuccine with Cajun Alfredo Sauce," from The Grit Restaurant Vegetarian Cookbook, by Jessica Greene and Ted Hafer. Athens, GA: Hill Street Press (2001), p. 65.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Meal No. 1001: Butter Chicken

Here's something that I've only made once before, back in February 2012: butter chicken. I've always thought of it as a close cousin to chicken tikka masala without nearly the amount of muss and fuss to put together. It results in tender morsels of chicken in a fragrant and flavorful light sauce (that, I'll admit, I wish were a little creamier). That was Meal No. 1001 in the "new" kitchen addition to the Roediger House (a five-year-old kitchen in a 109-year-old house), served up last night along with another installment of the Twin Peaks watching party.

"Butter Chicken," with recipes by Raghavan Iyer in Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley (2001), p. 105.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meal No. 1000: Roasted Salmon on Spiced Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad

Just shy of five years since the first meal was made once the kitchen addition was completed, and I have hit the magical mark of One Thousand. Today it was lunch that caused this milestone to be reached, prepared for the very special occasion of a visit from Princeton, NJ, friends Everett Kline and David Wald.

Later, I realized I'd made this salad for them the last time they visited, three years ago, but they were too gracious to make note of this faux pas. Shows what a limited imagination I must have.

But what was new for them, and relatively new still for me, was the New Orleans Pecan Pie bread pudding that I made for dessert, with a whiskey sauce to put us over the edge.

This necessitated a big downtown walk following the meal, which gave us a chance to walk around all the construction and development on the east side of downtown in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

Also, a quick yard note: before David and Everett arrived, I received my spring top soil load from Pope Sand & Gravel:

"Spiced Pecan and Blue Cheese Salad," inspired by the signature salad at Ryan's Steaks, Chops, & Seafood (an excellent Winston-Salem restaurant). "Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette" from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 373. "Crispy Cayenne Nuts" recipe from Southern Living, July 2008, available online at

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

"New Orleans Pecan Pie Bread Pudding," from King Arthur Flour online.

NOTE: The two reviews of the bread pudding that have been posted thus far on the website are not all that favorable, but I think I had better results because I referenced another bread pudding recipe when making it. I upped the amount of heavy cream and also let the dried bread cubes soak a while longer. I think I also used more melted butter than called for.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Meal No. 999: Patty Melts

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.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Meal No. 998: Chicken on a Throne

Kamado Meal No. 28

"Chicken on a Throne" (p. 171-173), with "Alabama Great White Sauce" (p. 362). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.