Sunday, August 31, 2014

Meal No. 1073: Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola

I suppose it's a bit obvious that I'm behind in blogging. What's pictured here is last Thursday evening's dinner: chicken marsala with gorgonzola, over mashed potatoes, and accompanied by fresh tomato slices with Hawaiian red salt. Pretty darned good, and nothing remained for leftovers!

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meal No. 1072: Tomato Pie

It's not all that often that I fix a meal that would qualify as "vegetarian," but that was the case with the lighter supper I put together this past Wednesday night, which consisted of Caesar salad and tomato pie. I'd had an amazing tomato pie on a visit to friends and colleagues John and Donna Whitley-Smith but I couldn't put my hands on the recipe Donna shared with me.

So instead, using the wonderful cookbook from Asheville's Tupelo Honey Cafe, a sweet gift from my sister Allison, I ventured into this previously-untried dish, using fresh garden tomatoes brought by Philip Lamachio, who's restoring the plaster in the house.

In a word: fantastic. This is a keeper and a repeater.

"Tomato Pie" (p. 190-191), 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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Meal No. 1071: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

At mid-day this past Wednesday, I fired up the grill and sliced up some onions and tomatoes, because I wanted to serve up some fresh hot burgers to the guys who are here working on the house. Philip Lamachio and David Mearns of Estate Plaster, Inc., and Ricky Sneed and his nephew Nubi from Clemmons Flooring, joined me for a pleasantly breezy lunch break out on the front porch, and I think it was pretty decent grub. These guys are all doing such a great job on bringing the original part of the house back up to a decent standard of livability and a gorgeous new level of beauty.

I should've snagged a picture of us all out on the porch but I was too focused on this here burger.

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Meal No. 1070: Bang Bang Shrimp

On Tuesday night, I made another copycat recipe. This time, it was one that attempts to mimic the Bang! Bang! shrimp found at the Bonefish Grill. It's been so long since I've eaten out there that I don't have a frame of reference for it anymore, but I do know that this was a fine meal that successfully stunk up the house from the cooking grease smell.

"Bang Bang Shrimp," a video found on

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meal No. 1069: Copycat Chic-Fil-A Sandwiches

Monday night at the Roediger House was a chance to return to this delicious concoction, which I'd not made in over a year: copycat Chic-Fil-A chicken sandwiches. Probably not very good for me, but they are mighty good to me.

"Chic-Fil-A Copycat Sandwich," by Hilah Johnson. From Hilah Cooking.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meal No. 1068: Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Somehow, Sunday night, I managed to make this very same meal again. It's been a go-to these last several weeks. And it keeps being mighty good.

"Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup," from Cook's Illustrated, November 1999. Recipe can also be found online at

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meal No. 1067: Who 8 Brunch

This is a Doctor Who household, although I know that I am a latecomer to this terrific 50-year BBC phenomenon. Count me as a huge fan, though, so the premier of Series 8 (in the reboot of the program) with Peter Capaldi now assuming the title role had to be marked and celebrated in style. As soon as it is available for download from, the morning after its British broadcast, I'm ready to watch it.

On this occasion, the Who Crew 'round here decided to make it an event, starting with a 9 am Sunday brunch before adjourning upstairs to watch the new Doctor in action. Here's what was on the menu yesterday morning:

Fresh Strawberries

Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries

...with a sweet fruit cream for dipping and dousing

Pecan Praline French Toast Casserole

Slow-Cooker Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs

Creamy Cheese Grits

Zucchini Bread

That sour cream sauce for the fruit was a
fantastic topper for the French toast.

"Sour Cream Sauce," from Southern Living, February 2010. Recipe clipping.

"Pecan Praline French Toast Casserole," from Brewster House Bed & Breakfast in Freeport, Maine.

"Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks, April 2001, No. 242, p. 18-19.

Cheese Grits made using recipe for Creamy Grits, from Luquire Family Stone Ground Grits, milled in Greenwood, SC.

"Zucchini Bread," a recipe shared with me by Laura Thomas on August 23, 2000, in Woodstock, Virginia.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Meal No. 1066: New Year's Day Meatballs

Last night's dinner at the RoHo, featuring a dish we call "New Year's Day Meatballs" in honor of the holiday when my sister Allison first made them for us. Alongside: company mashed potatoes and baby lima beans.

"New Year's Day Meatballs," from Carol Fultz and shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (2001).

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Meal No. 1065: Biscuits -N- Gravy

It's Saturday and the Roediger House has company this weekend, and that presents itself as a fine opportunity to break out the great Southern classic of biscuits and sausage gravy for a mid-day repast. Yep. Good stuff, that.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Meal No. 1064: Easy Baked Swiss Chicken Breasts

One of my older recipes was the feature this evening: easy baked Swiss chicken breasts. It's something my dear friend Cindy Coulson would sometimes make when I'd visit her and Harley back when they still lived in Winchester. I've been making this for folks myself for a long time, but I wish I'd quit cooking the chicken until it becomes tough!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meal No. 1063: Tuna Medallions with Agrodolce Sauce

I was reminded of a recipe that I'd not made since the earliest days of the new Roediger House kitchen, within that first year following the kitchen addition project (and which started the count of meals that I have remained awfully obsessive about). But this is what came to me when I picked up tuna on my way back into town from Virginia Beach. I'm at the front end of a five-week run at home with no travel called for, which is quite welcome after traveling four out of the last five weeks!

And the dinner was really good. Not spectacular, but still quite worthy. Red quinoa and sugar snap peas rounded out the plate.

"Salmon with Agrodolce Sauce," from Gourmet, April 2008. Saved recipe clipping. Recipe can also be found on the Je Mange le Ville blog.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August Update: 751 W Fourth Building

With an anticipated completion target of next month, things are looking a bit frantic across the street at 751 W Fourth Street. Crews are working seven days a week, the fences are down, the back parking lot has been curbed and paved, and it's much closer to a finished look:

And the construction staging area has now relocated to the gravel lot right outside the kitchen bay/eating nook windows:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Own Golden Finch

Over the weekend, when I took advantage of the most gorgeous August day ever to cut the grass and to work in the yard a bit, I spied my beautiful summer goldfinch. He flitted from the fence at the back of the house, along the north property line, and made a beeline for the just-refilled bird feeders hanging from the fruit trees in the grove. He perched there for so long, eating his little heart out, that I had time to grab the long lens...and then he flew away.

But I rediscovered some shots I'd captured at the end of July when he was spotted in the back yard:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bugs Stink!

It's been going on four years since I was up in Nelson County, VA, to do some training, and the bed and breakfast I stayed in was completely swamped with stinkbugs. We'd seen scant evidence of them down here but the trend and pattern suggested that North Carolina would suffer through their expanding territory of invasion in short order. I called the invasion "imminent" in a 2010 blog post.

That hasn't really come to pass, though, at least not yet. I've found some dead ones in the fireplace and found a few here and there around the baseboards, apparent victims of my pest control efforts. I will see one clinging to a window screen from time to time. It feels more like a few have lost their way, as opposed to a legion of invaders.

So I certainly did not like the reason I wasn't able to finish my cup of coffee recently:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sodas of Summer 2014

While it hasn't been the soda extravaganza of summers past, the Roediger House has still played home to a limited selection this summer of special and seasonal and hard-to-find sodas:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Meal No. 1062: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

On the road to Virginia Beach for four out of five weeks, with only a couple of days at home in between, has proven to be a real drain on my creativity at dinner time. Hence, this evening turned out to be a rapid repeat of something recently had: chicken with coronation sauce, over fragrant basmati rice.

The work in Virginia Beach has been almost all good, though. I figure between the expense of oceanfront hotel rooms and the craziness of vacationers and partiers, my lodging choices have kept me further inland, mostly in the Pembroke/Town Center area. And that gave me this lovely view one summer evening sunset, as I looked out from the top floor of the Crowne Plaza:

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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Meal No. 1061: Lamb & Mushroom Meatloaf

All this travel, and I'm returning quickly to recent favorites that are reasonably sensible to make since I'm only home for two days and with much to do in the few hours available to me!

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf" (p. 150), 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.

"Sauce Poivrade alla Marsala or Madeira," from More Than Gourmet.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Wyeth Restored!

In the continuing plaster restoration and repair project, three rooms have been completed as of this writing, and the upstairs hallway and stairwell are almost completely finished. Philip Lamachio of Estate Plaster has now begun on the old TV room, affectionately referred to as the Dali Room. When that is finished sometime next week, the upstairs will be all repaired and repainted, with the exception of the disaster which is my study.

This is excellent news.

In the meantime, let me share the transformation of the guest bedroom in the southwest corner of the original part of the house, which has been dubbed The Wyeth. When I first moved into the house back in 2003, I had designated this room as the TV room, and that's what it was for several years. Then I decided to make it into a bedroom. Here it is cleared out, from shortly after the completion of the 2008-2009 renovation and addition project:

This door leads into the bathroom that I added as part
of the renovation and kitchen addition project.

Once it was set up as a guest bedroom again, it looked like this:

Here are a couple of shots of the new bathroom for this room:

Before the plaster restoration came to this room, there were definitely some problem areas:

And then Philip's associate David Mearns got busy tackling the yucky parts:

All cracks were resecured to the wood lathe or to the ceiling joists, and most if not all of the room was screen-meshed and replastered. Then they primed the walls:

And now it's all finished:

This is not a good capturing of the actual green color.
The next two pictures are much closer to the reality.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Demise of the UVA Stadium Cup

On November 16, 1996, I attended my one and only football game at Scott Stadium at the University of Virginia. I was in my first semester of my PhD program and some of my family came up to root for our beloved Carolina Tar Heels against the Cavaliers.

We were decked out in our UNC finery and sat in the visitors' section, thanks (I'm sure) to the generosity of long-time Rams Club member and family friend Bill Randall. UNC was favored to win but UVA pulled off a thrilling 20-17 upset and we Tar Heels had to head home with our sad heads wagging.

Other than the lingering bitter disappointment at throwing away a game that UNC had mostly controlled, my other souvenir was this stadium cup. It's served me well for nearly 18 years but, over the weekend, it finally cracked. Farewell, silly souvenir!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Key Lime Tarts

It's been quite a while since I made these, but I like to keep an accurate record of these things via the blog! I had some little shortbread shells that I'd picked up from a Virginia Kroger and used those instead of the mini phyllo shells that were the source of the recipe. That might be tacky on my part.

"Key Lime Tarts," from the Mini Fillo Shells package. Recipe found online at

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Meal No. 1059: Kung Pao Chicken Stir-Fry

The Saturday night meal at the Roediger House was the delicious and flavorful stir-fry favorite, loosely considered "kung pao chicken," even though it's not like what you'd get at a Chinese restaurant. And I never fret over topping it with peanuts. I just know it's good.

"Kung Pao [Chicken]" (p. 80) with Szechwan Marinade (p. 28) and Spicy Peanut Stir-Fry Sauce (p. 27). In Wok Fast, by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. Ten Speed Press (Berkeley/Toronto), 2002.