Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Just Desserts for the Family

My nephew Eli is pretty terrific, a very funny and easy-to-like 12-year-old. It's kind of hard to tell our baby pictures apart, and my sister does not think the similarities end there. For instance, she is quick to remind me that I was every bit as picky as Eli at mealtime. And he and I also seem to share a fondness for sweet goodies, so I had to put at least a couple of dessert and cookie options out there while they were visiting last week.

Mid-week, I made a batch of Cap'n Crunch cookies, but this time I was able to use Chocolatey Crunch, which I've only been able to find thus far in a Target in Virginia Beach. They don't seem to sell it around here.

The extra taste of chocolate made these already unique cookies that much more special.

The other dessert was chocolate eclair cake, a concoction I think I first encountered when I was fresh out of college and working for the President of the Baptist Retirement Homes. Our secretary Anita brought it in and I thought it was the most amazing thing.

"Cap'n Crunch Cookies," found online at The Capitol Baker, with credit going to The Sugar Plum Blog for inspiration and the source of the adapted recipe.

"Chocolate Éclair Cake," a common and popular recipe.

Monday, March 30, 2015

More Rooms Restored to Use

As I noted back in the fall, the house has been in tremendous turmoil with all the floor refinishing and plaster restoration and everything else. I've managed to get rooms put back together to then have to turn them asunder again. For instance, after getting the dining room in shape after its repair and repainting near the end of the summer, I then had to turn it into a bedroom, then into a TV room, and then just into a storage room. I had a similar up-and-down with the South Parlour, which was set up again for the first time IN YEARS back in December, only to then be cramped again with shifted and stored furniture and stuff while floor refinishing was done.

The visits by my two sisters last week, though proved to be a powerful incentive to tackle some of those rooms again and also to simply clean up all the clutter and piles and mess that had built up in places like the kitchen and the master bedroom. Both the North and South Parlours are now open for visitors. The kitchen got a massive cleaning and clean-up from piles and clutter.

Here are photos of three more areas that have been brought back "online" for use:

Second Floor Center Hallway Sitting Area

My Study (temporarily a bedroom)

The Wyeth Guest Bedroom (from doorway)

The Wyeth Guest Bedroom (from windows)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Meal No. 1244: Brendan's Moroccan Bistro Chicken

Last night, for a final meal while the family was all together:

It was a fantastic week and weekend and I loved having all this time with my sisters. I don't see them enough. But maybe we'll make this happen again before too long...

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meal No. 1243: Biscuits -N- Gravy

With my sisters and a nephew here visiting, I have to give up my Saturday morning laziness that leads to yogurts and cereals instead of breakfasts. This morning, we warmed our bellies with biscuits and sausage milk gravy and a hearty helping of creamy cheese grits.

My sister Allison snagged a picture of me at work at the cooktop:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meal No. 1242: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Filet Mignons

It's a pretty regular feature of life in the Roediger House that there will be fantastic people around the dinner table once an evening meal is being served up, but tonight was extra special. For the first time ever, I had both my sisters (Janice from down on the coast, and Allison from Indiana) here. We also had Edna Green, who's been best friends with Janice since they entered 9th grade together at Buies Creek High School...and who lives less than two blocks away from me here in downtown Winston-Salem.

Edna Green and Janice Bodenhamer
Buies Creek High School Class of 1970

I went right back to the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin filet mignons that I tried for the first time less than two weeks ago, and they were good yet again. We also had smashed sweet potatoes and a mess of buttered peas. Folks seemed to enjoy it, and all-in-all, it was simply a wonderful evening.

"Pork Filet Mignons with Savory Pan Sauce," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 109, February 2015, p. 56-57.

"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.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Meal No. 1241: Moravian Chicken Pie

Since last night's dinner was so huge but the dinner guest list was so unexpectedly small, I had a mess of roasted chicken and delicious pan gravy on my hands. If you're from this general neck of the woods, you immediately will recognize that no other course of action is possible: it demands the making of a Moravian Chicken Pie.

I'm sure glad I did!

"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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meal No. 1240: Herb-Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy

I'd expected my sister and her son Eli to return to Winston-Salem this evening from their overnight trip to Harnett County, so I tried to prepare a full feast that would have a chance of being enjoyed by all. Even with an early start, I still didn't put it on the table until late. Alas, apparently they weren't intending to return as I'd thought! So more than enough food and plenty of leftovers...and a fine dinner for a quiet Wednesday night in the Roediger House.

"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.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

"Jiffy Corn Casserole," found on Facebook. Download a pdf version of it by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Meal No. 1239: Risotto with Asparagus

A bowl of tasty risotto was an excellent choice for tonight's meal, with the addition of some full-bodied cut asparagus spears.

Thyme, Marjoram, and Parmesan Risotto, based loosely on Emeril Lagasse's directions found in "Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto Casserole."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Meal No. 1238: Pipetizer Casserole

The meal on Monday was again an attempt to please the mix of palates around the kitchen table, and it's hard for people to turn their noses up at the cheesy meaty flavorful goodness of the comforting casserole we call Pipetizer.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Meal No. 1237: Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

The visit by my sister and her son this week continues, and for the Sunday night meal (again, trying to get something on the table expeditiously while satisfying a particular palate) I made cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Eli enjoyed his sandwich and even tried (and perhaps liked!) the tomato soup.

All this followed a most gorgeous trek and hike up to Hanging Rock State Park, which led to the following picture of the three of us up at the top overlook:

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Meal No. 1236: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

My sister Allison and her son Eli arrived today from Indiana and will be here all week. We are already having a great time. When dinner time rolled around, I went both for simple and quick, but also something that I hoped would pass muster with a 12-year-old, so we had juicy burgers on the grill. I think this worked.

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meal No. 1235: Grilled Lamb Chops

Back home after my work in Virginia Beach, I took advantage of the nice evening to return to the grill. I also returned to grilled lamb chops, and I was glad of it. Sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts were also on the plate.

Grilled Lamb Chops:
Based on the marinade ideas from:
"Pan-Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops," from the FoodNetwork.com.
...with instructions for grilling found at:
"Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops with Herb Aioli," by Martha Stewart. Found online.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chocolate Pecan (Blender) Pie

When I was in upper elementary and perhaps into middle school, my mother would take my sister Allison and me to get our hair cut by a very nice woman named Lib Keith. She's the source of the recipe that's been making folks in the Jones clan happy for many decades, and I brought it back out this past weekend so we could have some dessert for Amy Williamson's birthday dinner. Two guests at the table, who've had a lot of occasions to try Roediger House goodies, proclaimed it was the best pie they'd ever had. They might have been guilty of hyperbole, but I was glad they liked it nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie

I suppose it's been quite a while since I made key lime pie, and yet again, it did not disappoint. This was dessert for some weeknight meals recently.

"Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie," from the Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Juice website.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Meal No. 1234: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

The carry-over of the winter weather in February still managed to affect my work this week. I was scheduled to consult all five days with various schools in Virginia Beach, but the rescheduling of the Virginia writing tests eliminated Wednesday, smack dab in the middle of the week. So I figured up the number of hours I'd be spinning my wheels away from home and used that as an incentive to point my wheels back to Winston-Salem, even though it was just for an overnighter. I'll turn around and drive back tomorrow afternoon.

But I got to whip up the best version yet of the Roediger House favorite called Chicken with Coronation Sauce. It's another meal where I overdid my intake but every mouthful was delicious.

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

A True Coat Closet, At Last

When I bought the Roediger House in 2003, I snapped a heckuva lot of photos of the house as it was at that time. (I'm still kicking myself for all the photos that I didn't snap, such as those showing more of the original kitchen.) Here's a photo looking along the 1st floor hallway from the entry foyer towards the back of the house:

The two doors you see there no longer go to what they once did. That's because everything behind that back wall (bathrooms, mudporch, and kitchen) was demolished when I did the huge addition on the rear of the house in 2008-2009. Originally, that door on the left opened into a small vestibule, behind which was a small toilet-only water closet:

This was a poor excuse for a powder room, because there was no sink...just that lonely porcelain throne. Now, however, that door opens into a small coat closet, which has just been an empty shell since the addition was completed. And it finally boasts a shelf and a clothes rod:

Just another thing on the long list that I can check off!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meal No. 1233: Stuffed Holiday Pork Roast

In celebration of dear Roediger House friend Amy Williamson's birthday this weekend, it was a special meal and gathering Saturday night. On the menu, stuffed holiday pork roast, Delmonico potatoes, and peas for most of us; and poached Atlantic salmon for Amy, because she is on a mad tear of healthy choices and eating these days!

"Poached Salmon," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 216.

"Holiday Stuffed Pork Roast," by Meghan Erwin, in Cook's Country, December/January 2009, p. 18.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Meal No. 1232: Bacon-Wrapped Pork Filet Mignons

Last night for the Friday night meal, I had a chance to try out another new recipe, and another recipe from a recent issue of Cuisine at Home. This time it was an experiment with bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin medallions, and they were amazing. Some quick stove-top stuffing and seasoned lima beans made the plate complete. After a full but great day of doing a workshop with elementary teachers in Greensboro, this was a nice ender of the week.

"Pork Filet Mignons with Savory Pan Sauce," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 109, February 2015, p. 56-57.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Meal No. 1231: Honey-Mustard Turkey Kebabs

Last night was another new venture, which was made possible by the rare appearance at my local Harris Teeter of fresh boneless turkey breast. I'm going to enjoy trying this one again because I had some minor missteps in preparation, but the result was delicious nonetheless.

"Honey-Mustard Turkey Kebabs," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 109, February 2015, p. 54-55.

Quinoa adapted from "Pecan Couscous with Rosemary," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 109, February 2015, p. 55.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Meal No. 1230: Hamburger Supreme

I didn't mean to slip into that nap yesterday afternoon but it put me behind when it comes to dinner prep. I had some ground beef to use up, hamburger supreme is easy, and with corn and applesauce, it was still a fine supper.

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Meal No. 1229: Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

Last night's dinner was so-so but I still cleaned my bowl.

"Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 109, January/February 2015, p. 44.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Meal No. 1228: Bodacious Breakfast for Dinner

Last night was a breakfast feast: pork sausage patties, scrambled eggs, creamy stone-ground grits, sourdough toast, and a tall cold glass of milk.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Meal No. 1227: Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Last night for a casual hang, I tried another new recipe that turned out pretty darned good: country-fried steak with mushroom gravy. Even after an extended cooking time, the baked potatoes were not fully baked so those mostly went to waste, but the broccoli florets were decent.

"Country-Fried Steak with Mushroom Gravy," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 109, January/February 2015, p. 58-59.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Meal No. 1226: Kung Pao Chicken

Last night, for the final episodes in the binge-watching of the fourth season of Game of Thrones, I tried out a different approach for Kung Pao Chicken. It was tasty, although I could've gone for a little more punch and a little more sauce. No complaints from the gathered crew, though.

"Kung Pao Chicken," from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Diana Kuan and published on epicurious.com, July 2013.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Meal No. 1225: Cap'n Crunchy Maple French Toast

Somehow I managed to drink far more than I'm used to last night and woke up needing some good breakfast to help me get my day started. I also had another new recipe for French toast that I was hoping to try, and with a paltry smooshed loaf of challah bread that was on sale at the Harris Teeter, the fates had pretty much conspired to make this happen.

I've no doubt that the recipe alone was key to a delicious result, but I made one most judicious substitution that really sealed the deal: instead of crushed corn flakes, I used pulverized Cinnamon Roll Cap'n Crunch (a rare treat at the Roediger House since I cannot find it in my local grocery stores...I have to track it down whenever I'm working in Virginia Beach!).

Based on "Crunchy Maple French Toast with Maple-Whiskey Butter," by cookinginvictoria and found on Food52.com.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Meal No. 1224: Spiced Lamb Burger

Good heavens, what a fun great weird new recipe to try out! Tonight I grilled lamb burgers between two whole-wheat flatbreads, with slices of cheese tucked in them (in addition to the crumbled feta already mixed into the patties), and boosted with a lemon garlic tahini sauce. I'll have to try this again and figure out how to keep from charring the flatbread too much while the lamb burger inside reaches the appropriate doneness. But it will be a repeat meal on the Roediger House menu, for sure.

"Spiced Lamb Burger," from Bon Appétit, July 2014, p. 60.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Meal No. 1223: Your New Favorite Pork Chops

While stuck at home with winter weather shutting down my work schedule, I stole some time and went through an accumulation of recently-arrived recipe magazines here at the house. I have such a hard time (since I subscribe to quite a few) remembering where I've seen which ideas for meals. From this focused review of a limited number of magazines, I made an "intended" list that I committed to trying out, which has allowed me to make quite a few new dishes of late.

Tonight was one of those, a different take on pan-fried thick pork chops (that you flip every minute for their entire cooking time) and seasoned with the surprisingly effective combination of whole sage leaves, smashed garlic cloves, and melted butter.

I should've snagged a picture of the cooked whole pork chops but I followed the directions and also sliced them thin to arrange on the plate, topped with that bit of pan sauce left after basting them at the end of the cooking. A huge sweet potato and a pile of Brussels sprouts made this a bigger meal than I felt comfortable in finishing.

"Your New Favorite Pork Chops," by Alison Roman, in Bon Appétit, March 2015, p. 35.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Confetti Layer Cake with Miracle Frosting

In my casual and haphazard pursuit of improved skills at various aspects of the kitchen craft, I ponder from time to time how to get better with my cakes, which are so often hit-or-miss. Practice is called for. My eye has been caught by some recipes in recent issues of my various cooking magazines, and I worked into the late hours of a Saturday night not long ago to give one of these a trial run.

The results were not good. The cake layers did not puff up and were painfully and densely underwhelming. The approach to this frosting was rather out of the norm for me and actually took several hours (which gave my cooked cake layers too long to also dry out and develop a stiff crust).

This was one of those cakes that could only be served to Roediger House regulars, who are generously forgiving of my kitchen experiments. I was so disgusted with it, I sent the whole thing home with Sunday night's dinner guest.

The bright spot was the batch of ice cream I made along with it: butterscotch pecan. This was a new ice cream for me to try and it was absolutely delicious. I'll cut the amount of roasted buttered pecans in half next go-round, though.

"Confetti Layer Cake," from The Great American Cake series in Cook's Illustrated, April/May 2014, p. 33 (inside back cover).

"Miracle Frosting," by Bridget Lancaster. In Cook's Country, October/November 2010, p. 26.

"Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream" (p. 44) and "Buttered Pecans" (p. 195), by David Lebovitz. In The Perfect Scoop, Ten Speed Press (Berkeley/Toronto),  2007, p. 72.