Sunday, November 30, 2014

Meal No. 1151: Potato and Cheese Soup

After all the good and hard kitchen labors for the days around Thanksgiving, I took a calm approach to the Friday evening meal for the holiday visitors of the house: potato and cheese soup. This was another marvelous recipe passed on to me by my sister in Indiana.

"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.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Meal No. 1150: Thanksgiving 2014

The general agreement around the table Thursday night (that's the time of the Thanksgiving meal at the Roediger House) was that this may have been about the best the food has ever been. My subsequent food coma attests to this.

Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Apple & Bacon Stuffing

Corn Pudding

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Layered Green Bean Casserole

My Plate in All Its Glory

The Gathered Crew
(captured at an interesting moment)

"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.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Meal No. 1149: Thanksgiving Morning Eats

With several folks staying over Thanksgiving Eve, I figured I'd better have something on the table to go with our morning coffee Thursday morning, so I made zucchini bread and sausage balls.

On this Black Friday morning, I served up more of these but added to it some cheese grits:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Meal No. 1148: Texas Red Chili Con Carne

The Thanksgiving holiday has arrived and it makes me happy inside and out. This is my favorite holiday, hands-down, and at the Roediger House, we stretch it into a multi-day celebration.

That's why last night, on Thanksgiving Eve, the tradition of having folks over for some grub and for games and/or karaoke and/or movies continued yet again. The frivolity of the Xbox ONE was counterbalanced by our serious dinner conversations, if this photo is of any indication:

Dinner was a slow-cooker beef-chunk chili called Texas Red Chili Con Carne, which came out still pretty spicy even though I tried to moderate the heat I was putting into it. I did have a chance to use up the last of the hot peppers brought to me by David Mearns of the Estate Plaster crew. The always-perfect Granny Wilson's cornbread was great again tonight, as were the creamy stuffed eggs.

Yesterday morning, I'd made up a batch of white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies to serve as our simple dessert:

"'Texas Red' Chili Con Carne," by Diane Unger-Mahoney. In Cook's Country, June/July 2005, p. 10-11.

"Granny Wilson's Honey Wheat Cornbread," shared by Linda B. Dunlap in 2006.

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

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Meal No. 1147: Pan-Seared Pork Medallions with Ginger-Shiitake-Soy Cream Sauce

Friend, colleague, and former student Tim Schwarz is back for his annual Thanksgiving visit to the Roediger House. He arrived Tuesday evening just in time for me to serve up tender pork medallions in a ginger-shiitake-soy cream sauce over rice and with fresh steamed asparagus alongside. This was among the best versions of this popular RoHo dish. I didn't have room for one of the Monster Chip cookies from the few remaining...

"Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce," from The Bon Appétit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, 2006, p. 398-399.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meal No. 1146: Herb-Roasted Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy Turned Into Moravian Chicken Pie

Because I had already purchased a honking big Oven Stuffer Roaster, and the sell-by date was quickly approaching, I did double-duty this past Sunday night and cooked two main dishes. The second of these was the Tupelo Honey Cafe's herb-roasted chicken, which I set aside in order to debone and use the chicken with the Monday evening dinner.

With such delicious, flavorful, tender chicken on hand, it was a cinch to turn it into a Moravian Chicken Pie with some of that savory pan gravy on top. Alongside, baked sweet potatoes and seasoned green beans.

"Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy," 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. 136-137.

"Moravian Chicken Pie," adapted from a recipe by Mimi Patterson and published in Cooking with Grace: A Collection of Favorite Recipes from Our Congregation to Your Home by the Women's Fellowship of Grave Moravian Church in Mount Airy, NC (2001), p. 47.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Meal No. 1145: Beef Tender Chuck Roast

The Sunday night meal for a small crew involved a return to roast beef, even though I thought I had recently sworn it off. I'm glad I didn't, because this chuck tender roast was dee-licious.

And for dessert, some fresh-made monster chip cookies:

"Beef Tender Chuck Roast," by David J. Stewart. Via his blog.

"Monster Chip Cookies," by Judy Mabry [Myrtle Beach, SC]. Published in Taste of Home, October/November 2001.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meal No. 1144: Linguine with Smoked Gouda & Wine Sauce

Hello there, delicious pasta meal from this past Friday night:

"Linguine with Smoked Gouda and Wine Sauce," from The Grit Restaurant Vegetarian Cookbook, by Jessica Greene and Ted Hafer. Athens, GA: Hill Street Press (2001), p. 64.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meal No. 1143: Kung Pao Chicken Stir-Fry

This was a mighty tasty meal this past Thursday night, although I could have kicked up the spice factor just a bit.

"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.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meal No. 1142: Double Cheeseburger Pizza Rounds

When I was finishing up my PhD program at the University of Virginia, and about to resume the life of an adult not living in a college dorm room, my mother started picking up recipe magazines to ease me into doing more cooking. One of those first ones was the Pillsbury Bake-Off issue from March 2001, with delicious-looking cheeseburger pizza rounds on the cover.

I've made several really good dishes and recipes from this little check-out aisle publication, but never the one from the cover, until this past Wednesday night. It was pretty good, actually, and not that hard.

"Double Cheeseburger Pizza Rounds," by Debra Kelly of Illinois, and a prize winner in the 2000 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. Published in the Bake-Off Contest Issue of Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks, March 2001 (Issue #241), p. 21.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meal No. 1141: Aromatic Lamb Meatballs

This was the meal for a small gathering of folks on a hectic Tuesday night, when I had a meeting that ran long in the late afternoon. The yogurt-tahini sauce helped but not enough. I'll not make the mistake of these lamb meatballs again, though: this recipe is headed for the rubbish bin.

"Aromatic Lamb Meatballs," by Nigella Lawson and published on The Food Network website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meal No. 1140: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

Things were a bit rushed this past Monday, so dinner was kept simple: spaghetti with meat sauce. It did the job.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meal No. 1139: Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Paninis

The Sunday night meal at the Roediger House, which was scrumptiously good:

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Meal No. 1138: Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Shallots in Roasted Garlic Wine Sauce

This past Saturday night, I tried out a new recipe: pan-seared chicken thighs cooked with shallots in a roasted garlic wine sauce. What an excellent dish!

I also managed to make a dessert that evening: glazed apple cream pie, from a Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks issue that featured contest winners in the Bake-Off Contest. I've made it before, but it's been a long time, and it just isn't all that spectacular. I think I have much better recipes to choose from when apple pie is on my mind.

"Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Shallots in Roasted Garlic Wine Sauce," from Amie, the Day-Dreaming Optimist. Her blog is A Meaning of An Optimist.

"Glazed Apple Cream Pie," by Rema Conger of Oklahoma. From "A Taste of the Bake-Off Contest" Issue of Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks, March 2001 (Issue #241), p. 58-59.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Meal No. 1137: Chef Mick's Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Wine Sauce

As of this past Friday night, I have now made Salisbury steak three times in my life: twice using this recipe and once by turning to one of my many cookbooks on the shelf. I much prefer the version you can link to below, because it sure was good!

"Chef Mick's Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Wine Sauce," from

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Meal No. 1136: Roasted Herbed Salmon

Herb-roasted salmon appeared on the Roediger House table on Thursday night, with a side of Israeli couscous and a mess of broccoli crowns. It had been a pretty full day and this is mighty easy to throw together.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Meal No. 1135: Grandmother's Lamb

The Wednesday dinner this week was a Persian-influenced take on lamb in a flavorful tomato sauce, which gave me a chance to put to use more of the peppers that were kindly shared by David Mearns of the plaster restoration team.

Not bad for a weeknight, and a very potently tasty dish served over jasmine rice as a one-bowl meal.

"Grandmother's Lamb," by fauzia and posted to Also featured in allrecipes magazine, December/January 2015, p. 58.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Meal No. 1134: Cap'n Crunch French Toast

After having such a filling lunch of peanut butter bacon burgers on Monday, and with the Mearns boys staying late to finish up the last of the plaster and painting work, I pulled out the small and simple idea of French toast for that night's dinner. The extra touch was to crust it with crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal. Yes, Lord. Yes indeed.

"French Toast," from King Arthur Flour online.

"Crunchy French Toast," by Nick Iverson. In Cook's Country, April/May 2013, p. 14-15.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Meal No. 1133: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers and the End of the Plaster Work!

This past Monday was the final day of work for the enormous plaster restoration project that began back on June 11, 2014. Philip Lamachio of Estate Plaster, Inc., and his team members David and Richie Mearns, have absolutely and completely transformed this house over these last five months, and the results are just fantastic. Every wall and ceiling in the original part of the house (with the exception of the wallpapered walls of the north parlour) were tackled by these guys, and the rooms and hallways really are remarkable now.

After having them in the house almost daily for five months, the end of this project was understandably bittersweet. It was a pleasure having them here. And since I'd promised to give them a chance to try the signature burger meal of the Roediger House, peanut butter bacon burgers, that's what I whipped up for our lunch Monday.

Unfortunately, the bacon I had on hand was maple, and the taste was way too pronounced and really overshadowed these. I think the guys were generally unimpressed with this funky meal anyway, a bit overwhelmed by the thick slather of peanut butter, and generally taken aback that I'd do all these crazy things to a perfectly good burger. I was sorry it did not make a more favorable impression on them, but I guess we've had enough decent meals over the last several months to make up for it.

Late Monday afternoon, Richie and David put the final strokes on the wall of my study, bringing to a happy conclusion their successful labors on this great old house:

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. 1099
  • Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Fresh-Ground Beef from boneless beef short ribs 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, November 11, 2014

Meal No. 1132: Bourbon-Glazed Pork Chops

The Sunday night meal: bourbon-glazed pan-seared pork chops. I had some very thin chops that evening and wouldn't have minded more meat on those bones, but it did the trick.

There was also some dessert to go with it, although I mis-heard and confused my kitchen timers and ended up overcooking the Ritz cracker crust, which affected the flavors of what should have been a second round of Atlantic Beach pie:

"Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops and Fried Eggs," by Sydney Oland of Somerville, MA. Found online at [Posted January 18, 2014.]

"One Phenomenal Pie: Atlantic Beach Pie," from Chef Bill Smith. Published in Our State Magazine, May 2014. Also featured in "Found Recipes" on All Things Considered from National Public Radio, broadcast April 13, 2013.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Meal No. 1131: Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Yesterday was the time to watch the two-part season finale of the BBC's Doctor Who, and I've been trying to provide something brunchy or breakfasty for those who can be here. Yesterday, that was biscuits and gravy, and we were all pretty full by the time we were done.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Meal No. 1130: Crispy Ranch Chicken

Last night at the Roediger House I finally got around to trying one of my "ranch chicken" recipes. It wasn't very good.

"Crispy Ranch Chicken," a recipe card from Great American Recipes from International Masters Publishers.

"Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Seasoned Salt," from

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Meal No. 1129: Bucatini Carbonara

Friday night brought a small crew to the house for dinner, and I'd had kind of a rushed and hectic day, and then suddenly it was time to make the meal. I've had in the back of my mind that it was about time to bring back Linton Hopkins's version of carbonara, which is silky and delicious and tastes sort of like a special occasion. Instead of my usual bacon, I use diced pancetta, and instead of penne or rotini, I used bucatini. Folks seemed to think it was good.

"Bucatini Carbonara," by Linton Hopkins. In Food & Wine, July 2009.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Meal No. 1128: Pipetizer Casserole

Since I was home today, I figured I'd go ahead and whip up some lunch for me and for the Mearns brothers who are here working on the plaster restoration. They were working so intently, though, that I had to let the finished casserole sit for a while before they were ready to eat. In fact, I think it was around 3:15 when we took our lunch break.

This is Pipetizer Casserole, adapted from another recipe, and named in honor of long-time friend John Piper, who was visiting from Ohio one of the first times I ever made this.

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Making the Mantles Marvelous

Ricky and Nubee Sneed of Clemmons Flooring, LLC, have not just refinished floors and trim. They have also tackled the mantles in most of the original rooms of the house and transformed them as well. Here are some before, during, and after shots for four of them...

The Wyeth Guest Room

The Van Gogh Guest Room

The Dali Guest Room

The North Parlour