Friday, July 31, 2015

Meal No. 1348: Porterhouse Steaks & French Fries

It was a great week back at work after a wonderful stretch of extended time off. And while it's been hot and quite muggy again, this Friday night just had the feel of a great summer evening. The parking lots and sidewalks around the house were busy with people going out to eat or grabbing gelato or heading to the Winston-Salem Dash baseball game. And for the third week, the Food Truck Friday event has been taking place right outside my back door:

With all that good food outdoors, and the weather so nice, and a hope to get in a quick early dinner before diving into the evening's plans, and of course with porterhouse steaks on sale, the Roediger House supper was mighty fine:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meal No. 1347: Shrimp and Goat Cheese Grits with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

With a guest new to the Roediger House over for an evening hang, the decent grub that reached out to me from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook was this delicious but thoughtfully simple take on shrimp and grits over goat cheese and basil grits. This sausage-less version relies on potent flavoring from the garlic, creole spices, and roasted red peppers to create a nice wine-and-butter-based sauce that has just the right heat and zap to it.

"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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Meal No. 1346: Chicken Quesadillas

After a great and full two days working with administrators in Mount Airy City Schools, I was feeling good but tired once supper time rolled around, but the Wednesday evening meal still proved to be a worthy endeavor. A recent issue of Cook's Illustrated offered a different take on making quesadillas, which I wanted to try. I stopped off at the Sam's Club on my way back into Winston-Salem and grabbed a rotisserie chicken. Back at home, I sautéed onion and sweet peppers and added chopped green chiles to it. I had a couple of bags of shredded queso and some oversized tortillas. Instead of frying them in a skillet, this approach is really about roasting them in the oven, which lets you make four big'uns all at once.

My quesadilla was pretty fantastic, if I may say so myself.

Preparation and cooking based on "Quesadillas for a Crowd," by Morgan Bolling. In Cook's Country, August/September 2015, p. 18.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meal No. 1345: Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Monday night's dinner was just plain, although I ate it up: chicken in a peanut sauce over a bed of rice. I think I've got better versions than this that I can make.

"Chicken with Peanut Sauce," by Carol Holland (Winnipeg, Manitoba). In Cooking for 2, Summer 2009, p. 37.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meal No. 1344: Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze

Last night was a return of some regular Roediger House guests, and frequent Sunday night supper sharers, and it also marked a return to an early summer grilling favorite: pork kebabs with a barbecue glaze. The skewers seemed to come out pretty close to perfect, and we enjoyed a country take on butter-sopped spuds and roasted feta-stuffed sweet peppers.

Sheryl Cohen, my dear friend from my UVA days, first introduced me to making feta-stuffed peppers this way. They're pretty fantastic.

For dessert, fortunately, some key lime cake and some Cinnabon cinnamon roll cake both remained on hand.

"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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Meal No. 1343: Breakfast Treats for the Holden Crew

My sister and her boys came back through Winston-Salem on their way home from the beach, arriving here at almost 2:30 am last night. I had some fresh-baked cookies for them (which I'll blog about later) and then they went to bed. On this Sunday morning, they slept in. It's about a 10-hour drive for them back to their home turf in Indiana, so it makes sense to get as much rest as they can before the rest of the journey has to commence..

For a mid-day departure snack, I made the creamy cheese grits favored by Eli. For the first time in about two years, I also made a Cinnabon cinnamon roll cake.

There was time for a family photo just before they hit the road:

"Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake," first found at The Recipe Critic []. Printable PDF of recipe found at The Lady with the Red Rocker:

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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meal No. 1342: Filipino Chicken Adobo

"Introducing Chicken Adobo," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2012, p. 6-7.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Meal No. 1341: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

Tonight's dinner of peanut butter bacon burgers was yet again a requested item, and given how delicious they are, I was more than happy to accommodate it. They are so filling in and of themselves that I rarely, if ever, offer any side items to go with it. While my own verdict on them was that they were more on the average side, the folks at dinner still managed to choke them down.

A review of key points about the Roediger House 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. 1330
  • Fresh Home-Ground Beef, typically from boneless beef short ribs and top sirloin
  • Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Homemade Classic Burger Sauce (recipe below)
  • Labeled Sample "Final Product" 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.

"Bacon Sheets," from

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meal No. 1340: Deviled Beef Short Ribs

Tonight the Roediger House hosted long-time regulars for a meal of deviled beef short ribs. From around the table came comments such as: "This is now my new favorite dish at the Roediger House...I might like it even more than the beef tenderloin." And: "These ribs have jumped to the Top 5 of all the meals I've had here."

And yes, I think it's safe to say they were mighty good, yet again. I snapped the photo above before I'd put any of the incredibly delicious mustard sauce on it. The twice-baked stuffed potatoes were sort of average this evening but the traditional Campbell's green bean casserole was pretty much all gone by the end of mealtime.

I'll note that today did start off with a visit from the plumber, who came to replace the relay switch on the power vent on the gas hot water heater in the cellar. I've gone the last three days with only lukewarm water, since the heater was unable to work at full strength. Glad to get that done!

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

"Campbell's Classic Green Bean Casserole," from Campbell's Kitchen. Recipe available online.

Twice-Baked Potatoes based on "Stuffed Potatoes: Good/Better/Best," in Cuisine at Home,  December 2006, p. 23-24. [Recipe Clipping]

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Meal No. 1339: Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

For the Tuesday night Roediger House meal, with six really fun folks around the table, I reached again for the famous James Beard recipe called "Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic." It's always so tender and juicy and flavorful and usually goes over reasonably well. To go with it, I steamed a mess of asparagus and topped it with a mushroom, scallion, and walnut sauce that hasn't made an appearance here in years and years and years. I also completely over-cooked some fingerling potatoes with rosemary and salt and pepper.

The terrific finish to the meal came from one of the guests: red velvet cake. Garrett might be from California but his cake is a true Southern classic.

"Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic," from James Beard. Published in One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking, by Molly O'Neill. Simon & Schuster, 2010, p. 350.

"Asparagus Salad Supreme," by Paula Bass of Washington, NC. Published in Quick Cooking, March/April 2001, p. 37.

"Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Seasoned Salt," from

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Meal No. 1338: Italian Pork Braised in Milk

It's pretty rare that I use my crockpot the way those rascals were intended: to set a meal up to cook all day so that you can come home from work and serve it up. No, the way it almost always works for me is that I'm home all day but I can use the crockpot to free up cooking space for other dishes.

Yesterday was that exception, though, because a crew of us took in an evening movie and I still wanted to have dinner when we all got back to the house. Dinner was really tasty and served up about 15 minutes later than the usual mealtime here. That still left time for more pool playing last evening.

"Italian Pork Braised in Milk," from Cuisine: Celebrate the Seasons, Issue No. 2, February/March 2015, p. 24-26.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meal No. 1337: 2 x 2 Soup

By special request last evening, we had my cousin Betsy's version of 2 x 2 soup for boys' night at the Roediger House. There was plenty of pool playing before and after we had our grub.

"2 x 2 Soup," from various sources.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Meal No. 1336: Creamy Cheese Grits & Coffee Cake

It was way too short a visit, but something is better than nothing, and today I had to bid goodbye to my sister and nephews so that they can continue their journey down to Emerald Isle for the week. Eli always asks for some cheese grits and I also made a cake-mix-based Bundt coffee cake that's been part of our family recipe collection for a long time.

There was more pool playing before the crew left and it sure was sad to see them leave.

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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Meal No. 1335: Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken

Last week, I was in Asheville for a week of work with principals on a retreat, and on the first night there I got to enjoy a great relaxing evening with some of the school division team at the Sky Bar. This is an oversized fire escape that gives great sunset views out to the west of town, but on our evening up there, we were instead treated to a fantastic summer storm and lightning show.

My time in Asheville also, finally and at last, granted me the chance to eat at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. I already feel an intimate connection to this restaurant, thanks to the terrific two cookbooks from there that my sister Allison gave me. So many really good Roediger House meals came straight out of there!

Tonight's supper was a repeat of one of those: herb-roasted whole chicken. This was timely, since for one night my sister and her boys Kirk and Eli are here, on their way to the beach. Other regulars of the Roediger House were also on hand, so with seven folks around the table, I needed to cook two of those chickens! (And I was shocked and surprised to find that the pair I bought at Sam's Club today did not include any giblets, so I went without the normally tasty pan gravy that usually accompanies this meal.) Those needing additional flavor could avail themselves of a bowl of Alabama Great White Sauce.

The company mashed potatoes and layered green bean casserole, also sourced back to my sister's recipe storehouse, joined the delicious morsels of chicken on our plates, and there was chocolate éclair cake for dessert.

After dinner, the boys and I played pool for quite a while. (I finally went to bed around 1:30 am; I think they played till around 2.)

"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.

"Alabama Great White Sauce" (p. 362). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," shared with me by my sister Allison Jones Holden of Rossville, IN (December 2001).

Friday, July 17, 2015

Meal No. 1334: Grilled Blackened Pork Chops

A wonderful gathering of friends this evening and a delicious meal of grilled blackened pork chops, peas, and especially spot-on potluck mac and cheese.

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

"Best Potluck Macaroni and Cheese," by Cali Rich and published in Cook's Country, April/May 2007, p. 11.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Meal No. 1333: Ultimate Creamy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Tonight I made ultimate cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese paninis, which seemed to go over well with the guests who were here. Since I had to take Cyprus into the vet this afternoon when I came in from the road, I didn't make it to the grocery store, and this is a great meal I can make just with things from the pantry.

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cyprus Is a Sick Girl

Hitting the (approximate) six-year-old mark has not proven to be good for sweet Cyprus. She is diabetic and she is blind. And she's falling apart. Last month, she developed issues that sort of shut down her gastrointestinal system, leading to vomiting and extreme diarrhea and then she became ketotic and her body was beginning to digest itself. She was bleeding out a most foul discharge.  I had to sequester her in the shower so that she didn't leave a trail all over the house:

This led to an emergency vet visit, of course, that then led to a hurried trip to Greensboro for an ultrasound and consult with a specialist veterinary internist. They hospitalized her for two days.

Belly Shaved for the Ultrasound

Shaved Spot for the IVs

She got better for a while but today, our house-sitters then reported that she did not eat and pooped multiple times and it resolved to terrible diarrhea. Diarrhea, of course, isn't scoopable poop, so the backyard is now dotted all over with shovels-full of scooped topsoil:

Update. As soon as I drove in from Asheville Thursday afternoon, I took her to the vet and waited until they could work us in. The vet thinks it's essentially the same GI issue and re-prescribed medication to control the diarrhea so that we could try to get her on track again. You could tell how bad she felt as we headed back home after that:

She ate her dinner most voraciously Thursday night but then has refused to eat again for the following two days. That means I can't give her any insulin, which means she continues to feel bad, which means she's not hungry, and it's just a vicious cycle. Her bout of this in June proved that's it's also viciously expensive: those few days tallied to around two grand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Meal No. 1332: Crispy Chicken Stir Fry

Back in June, I tried out for the first time another recipe from Hilah Johnson that she called crispy chicken stir fry. I was ready to bring it back, so that's what I made for Sunday night's dinner. It's basically a terrific mimic of your standard decent Chinese take-out: stir fry chicken with broccoli and a touch of spicy heat. Delicious.

"Crispy Chicken Stir Fry," from Hilah Johnson. Found online at

Monday, July 13, 2015

Meal No. 1331: Grilled Porterhouse Steak & French Fries

It's summer, the evening last night was nice, steaks are mighty good, and french fries are irresistible. That is all.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Meal No. 1330: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

This past Thursday, on the final night of this week's fantastic visit by the Roediger House friends from Oklahoma, a special request was made for peanut butter bacon burgers. These had been spotted on the blog in the past, and Shandra was especially interested in giving them a try.

So, as is my custom when this is the evening's meal, I made classic burger sauce, I made peanut butter from scratch, and I ground the burger beef myself (which was a mix of top sirloin and, for the first time, a cut from beef brisket).

I also tried for the second time a different approach to cooking bacon when it's destined to be included on a sandwich or bun: braided bacon sheets:

The results were pretty solid and I think everybody enjoyed them. It was a real favor to me that they requested this meal: I love making it and I especially love eating it.

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. 1298
  • Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Fresh-Ground Beef, typically from boneless beef short ribs and top sirloin
  • Homemade Classic Burger Sauce (recipe below)
  • Labeled Sample 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.

"Bacon Sheets," from

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Cinnamon-Chai Oatmeal Cookies: OK for the OK Crew

After stepping out across the street to the new Quanto Basta Italian restaurant for dinner one night last week, the visiting crew from Oklahoma came back to the house and retired to their respective comfy chairs up in the entertainment room upstairs. Amanda and I got in several intense rounds of pool while the rest of the folks listened to music, talked about old times, and scrolled through their phones.

I snuck downstairs around midnight to whip up a batch of cinnamon-chai oatmeal cookies. But when they came out of the oven, it turns out everyone had gone to bed!

I ate a few cookies solo and then followed their good example.

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

Meal No. 1329: A Tuesday Thanksgiving

This past Tuesday evening, the newly (and finally!) restored dining room was returned to usefulness with a grand gathering of ten folks for dinner. This included the folks visiting this week from Oklahoma, but it was also a chance to also bring in some of the faithful regulars of the Roediger House. The extra special addition was the appearance of Bradley Phillis, who could be counted among the RoHo regulars from his time as one of my graduate students in 2006-2007 up until he married and left to go into a PhD program at UT-Knoxville. I'm always glad when he can pop back in for a visit.

It was the grand usual spread, which appears here for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Thanksgiving on the Half-Year (at Memorial Day):

The Resting Meats

Herb-Roasted Breast of Turkey

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Wine Sauce for the Beef

David Venable's Apple and Bacon Stuffing

Turkey Gravy

Layered Green Bean Casserole

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole
(and Amy's Plate)

Awesome to have the dining room back!

A Feast Feat

"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.