Sunday, May 31, 2015

Meal No. 1295: Grilled Barbecue Chicken Thighs

From Bon Appétit, July 2013:

"Memphis Rub," from ALIKAT695 on, with helpful modifications as suggested in the reviews from naples34102.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Meal No. 1294: Grilled Tuna Steaks with Coconut Rice

The Friday night meal at the Roediger House was a result of seeing nice tuna steaks on sale at Harris Teeter again. I think I got the coconut rice closer to the right version this evening but its sweetness did not please all palates at the table. The tuna was tasty and the sauce was full of flavor. Even the asparagus seemed just right.

Tonight's dinner was based on ideas from the following:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Meal No. 1293: Chicken Tikka Masala

Last night was a return to the spicy and warm goodness of a simple weeknight version of chicken tikka masala, and it was a hit for the small gathering around the table. I also got ahold of both garlic and plain naan at the Harris Teeter, which was good for sopping up the tasty sauce.

"Chicken Tikka Masala," from Cook's Country, October/November 2014, centerfold recipe cards.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meal No. 1292: Hamburger Supreme

After the good labors of the Thanksgiving on the Half-Year, dinner on Tuesday night was considerably less taxing: the tasty casserole of simple design that we know as hamburger supreme.

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Meal No. 1291: Thanksgiving on the Half-Year

A tradition of the Roediger House these last few years has been to bring out the customary Thanksgiving meal about half-way between Thanksgivings. Memorial Day has proven to be that ideal midpoint and, this past Monday night, it was a feast for 13 to celebrate "Thanksgiving on the Half-Year."

With a crowd this size, I didn't want to disappoint, and I got a beef tenderloin that was too big for my dish. I found an 8-pound turkey breast (on sale, even!). I made sweet potato casserole and layered green bean casserole and apple and bacon stuffing and horseradish sauce and, by the conclusion of the meal, hardly any scraps and only a modicum of crumbs remained.

It was a great evening!

"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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Meal No. 1290: Deviled Beef Short Ribs

These deviled beef short ribs are always a hit...always in the sense of the two other times I made them they got quite a reaction from the dinner guests. Tonight the comment was "Holy Jesus!" I guess that means these are pretty tasty. A baked potato and some steamed broccoli sat alongside.

Dessert was pretty amazing as well: red velvet ice cream with cream cheese frosting swirl. This ice cream knocked my socks off. It was a little more involved to make but it was well worth any trouble.

"Deviled Beef Short Ribs," by Jeremy Sauer. In Cook's Country, April/May 2014, p. 12-13.

"Red Velvet Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting Swirl," from Annie's Eats, a food blog. Accessed May 2015.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Meal No. 1289: Grilled Filet Mignon and French Fries

The steady refrain these last two weeks while I've been off the road has been yard work, errands, and piled-up tasks. After a good but full day in the yard on Saturday under more perfect spring weather, I just had to grill out again. And with my body drained in a good way from the landscaping labors, what could be better than a satisfying meal of steak and french fries with good cold beer to wash it down?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Meal No. 1288: BA's Best Breakfast Sandwich

With Bradley and Lauren here overnight Friday, I figured it was a good excuse to make a new breakfast sandwich recipe that I just came across in the latest issue of Bon Appétit. They call it the ultimate egg sandwich, which ends up being pretty grand.

The verdict on these was favorable, though: I think we liked them. I did not make the sausage as the recipe offers, because Neese's hot breakfast sausage from the neighboring city of Greensboro is the perfect Southern treat. Griddle-toasted buttered English muffins, a fluffy fold-over egg, fresh country sausage, a slice of American cheese, some hot sauce for thems what likes that...

Tasty goodness, and worth bringing back again sometime.

Almost forgot! I also made the classic Bundt coffee cake that came from a recipe on the box of cake mix back in the 1980s...

"Bon Appétit's Best Breakfast Sandwich," by Alison Roman. In Bon Appétit, May 2015, p. 57-58. A step-by-step breakdown is also available.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Meal No. 1287: Shrimp & Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Yesterday evening, good friends Bradley and Lauren Phillis drove into town for a night's stay here at the Roediger House. Since they were coming from Knoxville on the Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend, we knew it would be tricky to nail down the arrival time, so I went for a meal whose preparation could be kindly treated by uncertainty regarding when it needed to be served. That led me to the Tupelo Honey Cafe's take on shrimp and grits. Although it was salty tonight (my fault entirely), we were all pretty well satisfied. It was also a great early summer evening to stroll across the street to the West End Coffeehouse for some gelato after dinner was done.

"Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce," 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. 100-101, 179.

Source of creamy grits recipe: Luquire Family Stone Ground Grits, milled in Greenwood, SC.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Meal No. 1286: Sambal Chicken Skewers

Once the showers cleared out yesterday, and I returned from another excursion to Lowe's and Home Depot, I had a couple of late afternoon hours to haul some of my new topsoil. This gave me a chance to fill in more of the big hole in the grove but, more importantly, to plant five azaleas and a rhododendron.

By the time I came in from those yard labors, I didn't want to fret over a complicated meal. And I've been enjoying the grilling of late, so I returned for a third time to sambal chicken skewers. I made it a one-bowl meal, over jasmine rice, along with a new venture: garlicky mayonnaise. Altogether, it made for deliciousness.

"Sambal Chicken Skewers," by Alison Roman, in Bon Appétit, July 2013, p. 69.

"Garlicky Mayonnaise," by Alison Roman, in Bon Appétit, July 2013, p. 69.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 2015 Landscaping Update

Ah, Spring! The winter is behind us, the days have been sunny and beautiful, sort of breezy and mild. I am delighted to be off the road and free of work for a spell, and I'm excited to get back to my much-neglected yard.

It appears that 2014 turned out to be a great year to almost completely ignore the yard and landscaping. At the edge of the parking lot is a tray of lariope that went unplanted and eventually died, along with a bottlebrush plant that also did not get planted, along with a rosemary bush that died that did not get planted. About all I accomplished was to keep the grass cut and to spray Roundup from time to time. Oh, I did manage to dig a huge hole where the front yard meets what I like to call The Grove, while extracting a diseased cherry tree's stump. It started simple but I didn't keep it simple:

Can you see here the old wall where the driveway used to be?

I did not get any pics of how deep and wide I eventually went with this hole.

Now that I stop and think back on it, I'm realizing that working on digging out all the roots from that stump, while simultaneously telling myself I was creating a better bed for some shrubs like azaleas and rhododendron, is part of what bogged me down last year during prime yardwork season. But I also seem to recall we had a pretty wet summer. And I traveled a was a full work calendar.

And I also went into mad-crazy-subcontractors-work-on-the-house mode as we moved into summer: porch repairs, chimney rebuild, plaster repair and restoration, mantles restorationfront door refinishing, floor refinishing...and I recall distinctly not wanting to be stuck in a yard project when I wanted to watch and/or support and/or monitor all that other work going on.

Not so for 2015! I am set and raring to go and have already gotten a lot accomplished in this first week or so off the road. I distributed the last of the old mulch pile last week and got a new load delivered:

The planting bed beside the parking lot and back door was nicely weeded by my sister back in March, but it was very much in need of rebuilding thanks to how much it had settled and sunk.

But I ran into a little problem regarding my load of topsoil, delivered a year ago but left completely untouched since then: the reeds that grow wild in that back corner of my lot (and the neighboring lot) are pervasive and insidious with their root systems, and they had managed to get into and completely throughout the entire 7 cubic yards of dirt:

And that means I had to sift and screen every single shovelful of topsoil before I could wheelbarrow it either to the sidebed or to the cherry stump hole in the front yard:

The final tally approached 60 wheelbarrow loads—each and every one screened and sifted—so the city yard waste cart was very nearly full of screened roots (shown at just the beginning of that accumulation here):

I finished up that pile on May 20th, and on May 21st, the next load of topsoil was delivered:

This time, though, I hope I've got a good barrier to prevent a repeat of that root invasion: there is a landscaping weed barrier layer, along with two tarps, and I'm going out with the shovel (once the rainy weather today clears) and make sure that there is no contact between the new pile and any ground or root source!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Meal No. 1285: Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze

It was another fun weeknight casual gathering at the Roediger House with five around the table, so it was a perfect opportunity to try out this new recipe for grilling pork tenderloin kebabs from the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated. We were all pretty darned pleased with the result, so I expect this will be showing up here again in the future.

"Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze," an online extra from Cook's Illustrated and based on "The Best Way to Grill Pork Tenderloin," Issue No. 134, May & June 2015, p. 6.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meal No. 1284: Grilled Tuna Steaks with Ginger-Soy Cream Sauce

It might be awfully soon to be repeating this meal from earlier in the month, but I found myself drawn back to it (1) because it was delicious, (2) the tuna steaks looked great at my grocery, and (3) it was kindly quick to make.

I steamed some broccolini for a nice change-up and added a pile of freekah to the plates. I was unable to finish this scrumptious meal!

Tonight's dinner was based on ideas from the following:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Meal No. 1283: Grilled Barbecue Chicken Thighs

Good Lord. I still feel somewhat nervous from a lack of experience with grilling chicken, but the Memphis Rub and the homemade barbecue sauce that were key players in tonight's grilled chicken thighs made me feel like the master of this domain. It was super fantastic, perfectly cooked, full of potent complementary flavors...all-in-all, a great Monday night dinner at the Roediger House.

From Bon Appétit, July 2013:

"Memphis Rub," from ALIKAT695 on, with helpful modifications as suggested in the reviews from naples34102.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Meal No. 1282: Grilled Blackened Pork Chops

These gorgeous days of May keep a burden on my heart to (1) work in the yard and (2) grill for supper. Last night, the choice for dinner was blackened grilled pork chops, together with baked potatoes and baby Brussels sprouts. Just for an extra kick to it all, I topped the pork chops with a couple of poached eggs. Pretty good for a Saturday night at the Roediger House.

Guidance for grilling these pork chops based on "Molasses-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops," adapted by Nick Kindelsperger from Bobby Flay's Grill It! Found online at

Guidance for poaching eggs in quantity came from Food & Wine and The Kitchn Blog.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meal No. 1281: Porterhouse Steak and French Fries

After a pretty full and hard day of yardwork yesterday, with a lovely May evening rolling into the dusk, and T-bones and porterhouses on a great sale at the Harris Teeter, dinner had to be this:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Meal No. 1280: Linton Hopkins's Bucatini Carbonara

When it comes to pasta carbonara at the Roediger House, I most often make the version that my friend Monie Lawrence trained me to make as a simple weeknight meal. Sometimes, though, I like to go for the slightly fancier, silkier version, that I almost always reserve my bucatini pasta for. Instead of making a roux and adding cream and grated parmesan, with onion and bacon, the Hopkins take relies on diced pancetta, shallots, and egg yolks with the cream. Either way, I'm happy when it's time to chow down on it. With some friends over last night and no chance to make it to the grocery store, this was what I put on the dinner table.

After clean-up, once the guests had departed, I got inspired to make a batch of cookies. I always enjoy making cookies but haven't been getting around to it as much lately. Hence, my stockpile of various brown sugars is starting to dry out a bit and I'm having to employ tried-and-true helpful hints to restore them to usefulness.

It took a good dose of dark brown sugar to allow me to return a second time to the amazing flavors found in chai-spiced oatmeal cookies. The source recipe calls for caramel bits, which I found overly chewy, so I substituted cinnamon morsels this time and was still quite pleased at the result.

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

"Caramel-Chai Oatmeal Cookies," in Cuisine at Home, September/October 2013, p. 47.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Meal No. 1279: Pipetizer Casserole

A nearly full table at dinner last night, but it was a very casual hang, and by special request I served just the Roediger House favorite casserole known as Pipetizer. Strangely named but strangely good, enjoyed by folks who are anything but strangers here.

"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, May 13, 2015

Meal No. 1278: Grilled Plank Salmon with Park Hill Maple & Spice Mustard Glaze

It's been a while since I employed my Savory Spice Shop mix known as Park Hill Maple & Spice Pepper, but it was just the call for last night's planked grilled salmon fillet, with pearl couscous and sugar snap peas. It was actually more than I could eat, so no clean plate club membership for me this time around.

Cooking guidance from "Planked Salmon Platter," from a Better Crocker recipe clipping. Glaze recipe from the Savory Spice Shop: "Park Hill Maple & Spice Mustard Glaze," by Mike Johnston.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Meal No. 1277: Grilled Shoulder Lamb Chops

It's regularly the case that it's a small gathering of multiple mouths 'round the Roediger House table, and last night was another one of those enjoyable evenings. I depended again on the shoulder lamb chops that have been a faithfully good choice so many times before, and they grilled up just right, just before the thunderstorms hit. Mashed potatoes and seasoned lima beans completed the plates.

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

Monday, May 11, 2015

Meal No. 1276: Scrambled Eggs on Toast

I couldn't help myself: when lunchtime rolled around and I was strangely and deeply hungry, I reached again for this satisfying concoction from my childhood: scrambled eggs on buttered-and-jellied toast. It was more than I needed to eat at mid-day but that's not what was on my mind as I licked the last of it off the knife I was using.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Meal No. 1275: Cheese-Stufffed Chicken in Phyllo

I'm no longer scared of working with phyllo dough and have really enjoyed the few times I've now employed it with dinner. I'm still not especially skilled at it but I can make do. Tonight I decided to try out another version of chicken in phyllo, a variation of what I attempted with good success back in January. This recipe calls for pounded chicken breast cutlets wrapped around a spinach and cheese filling (which I'm sure is good!), but I made it all a mixture with diced rotisserie chicken and finely chopped broccoli florets. I whipped up the homemade version of garlic and herb cooking creme to give it a saucy topping and served some buttered corn alongside.

Recipe based on "Cheese-Stuffed Chicken in Phyllo," republished from Better Homes and Gardens, and found on

"DIY Cooking Creme," from Joy in My Kitchen, 25 May 2011.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Meal No. 1274: Grilled Filet Mignon & Fries

You missed a gorgeous Saturday in Winston-Salem, full of errands and shopping but short on yardwork time. This kind of Saturday evening brought to mind some great grilled beef and a mess of french fries, washed down with cold Brooklyn Brewery brown ale. And then I was pretty much done for the night!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meal No. 1273: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

Not nearly as good as the recent version that I called the best yet at the Roediger House, but with my last full day of the work week behind me, I was on the underside of motivated.

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

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Meal No. 1272: Eggs on Buttered Toast

I guess if my arrival home from working in Virginia Beach doesn't occur until after 9 pm, I gotta make do with dinner. And this making-do done me good. Not pretty, but pretty tasty.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Peach Nehi Ice Cream

As much as peach Nehi is loved in this house, you'd think that I'd get around to more often making peach Nehi ice cream with it. It's always so good. At the end of April, I saved a few bottles of that ridiculously sweet soda and used the simple recipe for making ice cream with it. It's pretty hard to beat.

Enough to save some for later!

"Peach Nehi Ice Cream," as detailed in the Southern Living Community Blogs online. Another version that incorporates pureed canned peaches and a little more sugar can be found here.