Monday, November 30, 2015

Meal No. 1424: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

For the Monday before Thanksgiving, I wanted to return to a fantastic and special Roediger House meal that first made its appearance during the Thanksgiving holidays of 2010. It is a ridiculous concoction and super souped-up hamburger, topped with two slices of cheese and homemade peanut butter and a bacon weave and homemade burger sauce. I made the burgers extra big that night and it was hard to actually finish them. Jeez Louise, though, they're amazing.

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. 1375
  • 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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meal No. 1423: Chicken Quesadillas

For the Sunday evening meal on November 22nd (and yes: the blogging is still quite behind), the choice was chicken quesadillas with salsa and sour cream. I overstuffed them and they could've used more cheese, frankly, but they were still really good.

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Meal No. 1422: Pipetizer Casserole

A week ago tonight, for a Saturday night boys' night at the Roediger House, I served up Pipetizer Casserole with Caesar salad and garlic bread. It made us all pretty happy, I think.

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Meal No. 1421: Potato and Cheese Soup

There must be something about the turning of the weather, the approach of the cooler evenings, the darkness at an early hour that makes me yearn for the hearty goodness of my sister's potato and cheese soup recipe. That was the basic dinner a week ago tonight, and there was only enough left to send home a serving with one of the guests that evening.

"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.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

New Orleans Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

A week ago, when some folks gathered here for a meal of New Year's Day meatballs, I also managed to put together some dessert: New Orleans pecan pie bread pudding, along with a tasty sweet whiskey sauce. This one is hard to beat.

"New Orleans Pecan Pie Bread Pudding," from King Arthur Flour online.
NOTE: The two reviews of the bread pudding that have been posted thus far on the website are not all that favorable, but I think I had better results because I referenced another bread pudding recipe when making it. I upped the amount of heavy cream and also let the dried bread cubes soak a while longer. I think I also used more melted butter than called for.

"Whiskey Sauce," based on a recipe from Mimi's Cafe (found online).

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Meal No. 1420: New Year's Day Meatballs

A small mid-week gathering of dear Roediger House regulars last Wednesday night proved to be a fantastically wonderful and enjoyable time. We gathered in the dining room and partook of one of the RoHo's much-loved meals: New Year's Day meatballs with company mashed potatoes. This time I also had steamed asparagus to go with it.

This dish earned its name because of the first occasion on which my sister Allison fixed it for us, in a Christmas holiday season when all of us were together at my mother's home.

"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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Meal No. 1419: Simple Korean BBQ

Full of great flavor, simple to prepare, with thinly-sliced boneless beef short rib, and served over Basmati rice...I tried out a basic Korean bulgogi recipe last Tuesday night and it made me quite happy.

"Basic Bulgogi," by Chris Morocco. In Bon Appétit, November 2015, p. 44.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Meal No. 1418: Chicken on a Throne

I haven't made this meal since June 2014. I haven't even used the kamado grill since then. I guess I was getting really frustrated with two or three occasions either of really slow cooking meals, or problems keeping the charcoal going. When my remote temperature gauge crapped out on me, I'd just had enough.

But a week ago Sunday (I am quite behind on blog entries!), I took advantage of a combination of lovely weather and a tad more gumption than usual, and I put the kamado back to work.

This is politely called "Chicken on a Throne," or less politely: beer can chicken. Either way, I call it mighty tasty when it comes out right!

Kamado Meal #30

"Chicken on a Throne" (p. 171-173) and "Alabama Great White Sauce" (p. 362). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Meal No. 1417: Doctor Who Brunch for "Sleep No More"

A week ago Sunday, schedules coalesced in a way that permitted another edition of brunch and Doctor Who.  (Around here, without the benefit of cable or satellite, current shows in which there is high interest are watched either by purchasing the streaming from Amazon Prime, or by waiting until the season is released on Netflix, Hulu, or DVD.)

For the crew, I made some breakfast before we went upstairs to watch the show. It included zucchini bread, sausage balls, and fresh fruit.

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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Meal No. 1416: Sausage & Beef Manicotti

I ventured into a completely new kind of dish for me last Saturday night: sausage and beef-stuffed manicotti. I guess I'm limited on my Italian dishes, at least the pasta-based ones, and manicotti isn't something I'm drawn to when I'm eating out.

But the recipe struck me as quite promising, so I gave it a try. I'd classify it as involved but not terribly taxing. Stuffing the manicotti with the beef and sausage mixture was actually easier than I expected.

The verdict? Pretty darned good, if I may say so. I need to try to eliminate a bit of the greasiness from the meat in it, but I would not change anything else about it.

"Sausage & Beef Manicotti with Homemade Marinara," from Celebrate the Seasons: Autumn Classics from Cuisine at Home. Issue No. 6, October/November 2015, p. 18.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Scotch Chocolate Cake

At the end of last week, on a night when I didn't cook dinner and just had cereal instead, I still managed to scrounge up something in the kitchen, which turned out to be a scotch chocolate cake. This was one of my mother's specialties when I was in my youth, and I can remember how good it was to take back with me to UNC-Chapel Hill or Wake Forest after a weekend at home. When I was at the University of Virginia, I heard for the first time this dessert being referred to as Texas sheet cake, thanks to friend and mentor Tom Estes. When I moved back to Winston-Salem, I stumbled across an article in the food section of the local daily paper where it was called Scotch chocolate cake.

I just call it delicious and happily serve it up to whoever's around for dinner.

"Scotch Chocolate Cake," [in my world, also known as Texas Sheetcake]. Credited to Susie Timmons. From "Popular: Cake Request Gets 22 Responses," by Michael Hastings, Food Editor of the Winston-Salem Journal. Published October 6, 2010.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Meal No. 1415: Baked Mustard Chicken

Oh my goodness: this was a delicious weeknight feast. Dinner a week ago tonight was a new find for me, from the latest issue of Cook's Country. It's called Baked Mustard Chicken, and it was more involved than I realized, but it paid off. Alongside, some stuffing and buttered corn.

"Baked Mustard Chicken," by Ceclia Jenkins. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 12.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meal No. 1414: Holiday Stuffed Pork Roast

On Veteran's Day, a crew came to dinner and I made it a special menu: holiday stuffed pork roast along with candied sweet potatoes and seasoned green beans. We feasted in the dining room and our bellies were full and content.

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

"Candied Sweet Potatoes," by Cecilia Jenkins. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 21.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meal No. 1413: Steak au Poivre

Last Tuesday night, I returned to one of my earliest recipe finds after I relocated to Winston-Salem from Charlottesville and again had a kitchen to cook in: steak au poivre. It's been quite a while since I'd made this. It tasted really good, but I was wishing I'd gotten the sauce to be a bit thicker.

"Steak au Poivre," by Dawn Yanagihara. In Cook's Illustrated, September & October 2001, p. 8-9.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Final Cutting of the Grass

I cannot believe that, on the 15th of November, I still had to give the grass a full cutting. It's been wonderfully mild and also rather wet this fall, which extended the grass-growing season a good bit, I guess.

In 2014, I mowed the lawn 14 times between April 13th and October 5th. In 2015, there were 16 mowings of the lawn, between April 3rd and November 15th.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Meal No. 1412: Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Maple-Sage Butter

Last Monday night, I thought I'd try a decently simple but delicious new recipe from the latest issue of Cook's Country. The dish was pork chops seared in the skillet, topped with caramelized onions and slices of apple, along with a maple-sage butter. The sweet potato and buttered white corn were tasty accompaniments.

"Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Maple-Sage Butter," in Cook's Country, October/November 2015, center recipe cards.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Meal No. 1411: Shrimp Po'Boys

This past Sunday night, I figured it was about time to revisit the really delicious recipe that I use to make shrimp po'boys.

And they're good. Not New Orleans good, because I don't have access to that perfect French baguette that true po'boys are made with. But really good for homemade!

"Shrimp Po'Boy," in Bon Appétit, June 2011, p. 118-119.

"Rémoulade," online at

Friday, November 13, 2015

Meal No. 1410: Rotini Carbonara

It was rainy and dreary and I must confess to being tuckered after two weeks on the road and a short weekend in between. I took care of bills and invoices and then spent time looking at some recent issues of recipe magazines. I think I just wanted to veg today. One Roediger House regular came by in the afternoon for seven games of pool (and left on the losing end of a 0-7 record), and another came 'round for supper and a little more pool that night. I didn't bother with going to the grocery store and was happy with the rotini carbonara that was possible only with what I had on hand here at the house. The full belly that resulted also led me to a bedtime just shy of 9:30 pm that night.

"Pasta Carbonara," a recipe shared by Monie Lawrence of Raleigh, NC.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sweet Unsettled Cyprus

This is what rejection and refusal looks like.

Poor sweet diabetic blind Cyprus: she's been on a run of about a week or more of not eating, or eating very little. When she doesn't eat, she can't get her insulin, and when she doesn't get her insulin, she doesn't feel good, so she doesn't eat. As has been noted in the past, when we get into this cycle, it can sometimes really spiral out of control, so I've been on edge about this.

I have no idea what's going on with her, or why her appetite seems so off. She's eaten small portions on and off at mealtime, but she sure has skipped a lot of food lately.

This past Saturday morning was the first time she seemed to eagerly scoop up every last morsel, with enthusiasm, so it was a good sign for sure.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Meal No. 1409: Eggs on Toast

The mid-day meal this past Saturday was a clear throwback to my childhood: scrambled eggs on toast with jelly. A tall glass of cold vitamin D milk made it all come together.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meal No. 1408: Party Ham Biscuits for the Slumber Party

As noted on an earlier entry, Halloween this year was celebrated at the Roediger House with a big slumber party. After our late night of eating and pool playing and movies, people still got up surprisingly early. Fortunately, I was prepared with a big pan of party ham biscuits and some more of the creamy stuffed eggs from the night before.

"Party Ham Biscuits," a recipe shared with our family by Susan Brown, who was my sister Allison's college chum at the University of North Carolina. I recorded Susan's in my recipe collection in 1988. There are various versions of this recipe, of course. Pretty popular is the "caramelized" version, such as this one: "Caramelized Ham & Swiss Buns," by Iris Weihemuller of Baxter, MN, in Taste of Home, December 2013, p. 59.

Monday, November 9, 2015

You Should See My November Azaleas

Yesterday, which was Sunday November 8th, I had to head outside with my camera because most of my azaleas are blooming something fierce.

They are putting on quite a show right now, as if all the trees weren't losing their leaves, and daylight savings time hasn't ended, and Halloween hasn't passed.

I'll enjoy them while they last!

The iris is also putting out some lovely blooms:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Halloween 2015: A RoHo Slumber Party

I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry that there was no big outlandish Halloween Party at the Roediger House this year. Instead, the occasion was honored with a big sleepover instead. I've learned from the last two of these that the crowd (1) brings its own candy and (2) will definitely want snacks but finds it unnecessary for me to go overboard with these.

So I made three things, and not all of them were even eaten:

Warm Swiss and Bacon Dip
(served around 1 am and quickly devoured)

Homemade Palmetto-Style Pimento Cheese

Creamy Stuffed Eggs

"Swiss and Bacon Dip," from Rachael Ray. Available online at the Food Network website.

"South Carolina-Style Pimento Cheese." Recipe worked out by me, based on Sharon's Palmetto Pimento Cheese.

"Creamy Stuffed Eggs," a recipe shared with me by Barbara Huneycutt of Crozet, VA. Technique for cooking eggs greatly enhanced by Chow Hound's video short: How To Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Meal No. 1407: Indoor Pulled Pork BBQ

Halloween 2010

For quite a number of years, the Roediger House has been the site of a pretty big Halloween party. Since this blog didn't begin until 2008, with the first major renovation and addition project, you will only find 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 chronicled here.

With the house in disarray with last fall's next round of major renovation work, there was no Halloween 2014 party, though. And now that the house is mostly finished—and much nicer as a result—I don't really want to open up the place to as many as 60 or 70 people for that kind of shindig.

For Halloween 2015, there was a crew of eight folks on hand for dinner, snacks, pool, scary movies, drinking, more eating, and sleeping over. And it really was a great time. Since daylight savings time ended that night as well, we were more willing to stay up until about 2:30 (formerly 3:30 am!) watching World War Z. And eating more snacks (to be blogged about later).

Our dinner: indoor pulled pork barbecue and blue cheese coleslaw. We feasted on the good food, and then we lingered at the dining room table for quite a while afterwards.

"Indoor Pulled Pork," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, January & February 2010 (No. 102), p. 6-7.

"Blue Cheese Coleslaw," from Ina Garten, from the Food Network website.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Monster Chip Cookies for a Professional Development

Monday a week ago, I spent the day with the faculty of a middle school in a neighboring county, with whom I'm working all this year. They've been working hard in our previous sessions and I promised to bring some cookies when I could. The batch I made was monster chip cookies, which typically prove to be huge and amazing.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Meal No. 1406: Grilled Ribeyes and French Fries

On the last Friday of October, I drove in from a week of work and teaching in Virginia with a late arrival, thanks to more wrecks on the interstate and a need to hit the grocery store on my way in. A quick meal on a lovely Friday night was called for, and that led me to ribeyes and fries. Perfectly cooked, I might add:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

For the birthday dinner party a week ago, I also made a favorite Roediger House dessert: dulce de leche cheesecake bars. They are mighty rich but we all did our best to conquer our respective slices.

"Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars," by Cindy Mushet. In Bon Appétit, June 2010, p. 96.