Thursday, December 31, 2015

Meal No. 1445: One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans & Potatoes

For the 1,445th meal prepared in the "new" kitchen addition to the Roediger House, I returned to a recipe that I'd only tried once before, back in late October for a small dinner party. It's a very friendly dish: easy to prepare, tasty and filling, and even looks rather attractive.

We scarfed it down but then still saved room for a bit of dessert at meal's end...

...which was some of the remaining carrot cake (that's still moist and delicious!) along with buttermilk ice cream:

"One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Green Beans and Potatoes," by Christie Morrison. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 27.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Meal No. 1444: Biscuits 'N Sausage Gravy

The grub on Christmas morning was the classic southern favorite: biscuits 'n gravy. More than enough to go around and hit the spot perfectly.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Buttermilk Ice Cream

This was some delicious creaminess right here. It was like it was the perfect recipe to make ice cream feel and taste like the ultimate ice cream. I hadn't previously tried any recipes in this book from Bi-Rite Creamery but you can bet I'll raid it for some more good possibilities.

Update: Really interesting weather today. We definitely shifted to something more appropriate to the fact that it is December, but the huge invading mass of warm air was gallantly fighting to work its way back to us here in Winston-Salem, as the following WXII-12 weather graphic shows:

A 30-degree difference between Winston-Salem and Wilmington! And by evening, what laid down on us was an oppressive and dense blanket of fog, which left the house looking stark and lonely in the early evening:

"Buttermilk Ice Cream," from Bi-Rite Creamery's Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker, and Dabney Gough. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (2012), p. 37.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Meal No. 1443: Christmas Eve Eve Feast 2015

The most regular regulars of the Roediger House do understandably scatter at Christmas. But we've still got to have our own special holiday meal together, which occurred this year a couple of days before Christmas Day.

The menu? It's the Thanksgiving Feast all over again. And I do mean feast.

Since that night was another in a nice series of sleepovers for a crowd that have been happening lately, we had no compunction about taking in our dessert at nearly midnight. It took that long to be ready for it, after the huge meal earlier in the evening.

And the pool playing was intense and hilarious, with the following moment captured right after Mookie managed to scratch on the 8-ball to lose the game:

"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. From "In The Kitchen with David," on

"Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake (1981)," also known as "Best Carrot Cake (October, 1997)," from Southern Living. Compiled in the Southern Living 1981 Annual Recipes, Birmingham: Oxmoor Press. Also found online. The recipe I follow was recommended to and shared with me by John & Ebbie Linaburg of Woodstock, Virginia.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Meal No. 1442: Breakfast with Todd Martin

On a dreary, rainy, foggy, but surprisingly warm Wednesday morning before Christmas, it was a pleasure to be joined at breakfast time by childhood friend Todd Martin. This was his second visit to the Roediger House, and I was glad he was able to make the one-hour drive up from Asheboro, where he's spending the holiday with his folks. After the leisurely breakfast of party ham biscuits, souped-up scrambled eggs, and creamy grits, with fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee, we did a quick tour of the progress on the house. We finished up in the renovated/rehabbed attic space and played a number of rounds of pool. It was a great morning.

Let me also note that today (Sunday, December 27) was unbelievably warm. At the end of the driveway, I found that two azaleas (that have been pretty quiet in the bloom department) had suddenly busted out in color:

I also spotted the seed pods on the iris just outside the back door:

It was such a lovely afternoon (when the sun would occasionally poke through) that I took a good walk through downtown. Here's a shot of the R.J. Reynolds Building, which is being renovated to become the Cardinal Hotel and Residences, which is really awesome for downtown:

I don't think that my sister in Indiana (where it was 39°F) was at all appreciative of the phone screenshot I sent her:

"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.

Based on "Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks, April 2001, No. 242, p. 18-19.

"Creamy Grits," from Luquire Family Stone Ground Grits, milled in Greenwood, SC.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Meal No. 1441: Arroz Con Pollo & Eggnog Tres Leche Cake

On Monday night, for the small crew that gathered to hang out at the Roediger House, I tried some new recipes. The main dish was arroz con pollo with a homemade Mexican white cheese dip.

For dessert, we had another new concoction: eggnog tres leche cake. Wow. It was quite something.

"Mexican Chicken & Rice," in  Cuisine at Home, Issue No. 115 (January/February 2016), p. 10-11.

"The Best Mexican White Cheese Dip," from

"Eggnog Tres Leche Cake," from Michele at

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Meal No. 1440: Simple Beef Chili & Chocolate Pie

This past Sunday night, with another boys' night on tap for dinner and pool, I broke out the Dutch oven and endeavored to provide all those hearty appetites with a warm and satisfying (and rather spicy) evening meal: simple beef chili.

I also managed to put together a dessert that hasn't made an appearance here in almost three years: Emeril's chocolate cream pie. I botched the whipped cream a bit but this rascal was still incredibly delicious.

"Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans," from Cook's Illustrated, Number Sixty-One [March-April 2003], p. 10-11.

"Emeril's Chocolate Cream Pie," by Emeril Lagasse (2007). Featured on The website.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

French Yogurt Cake and Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

For a recent dinner party, I made Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream, and a quick check of the blog showed that it had not made an appearance at the Roediger House in over three years. It's so good, and so easy, and it seemed to bring just the right end to the evening meal. (It's pictured above from the next night, when I paired it with the other dessert I made recently.)

Then, a day later, I was headed to the Milner Christmas party, and I did not want to arrive empty-handed. So I made another French yogurt cake that seemed to come out just right.

"Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream," by David Lebovitz. In The Perfect Scoop. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (2007), p. 35.

"French Yogurt Cake," by Andrew Knowlton. In Bon Appétit, May 2012, p. 30.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Meal No. 1439: Fettuccine Alfredo

This past Saturday night was an unusually early dinner at the Roediger House, because the Milner Christmas party was happening at 7:30 pm. After sort of swearing off making pasta alfredo, thanks to a succession of trials that had disappointed me, I got a hankering to give it another go with a new recipe. And it was really good.

"To Die for Fettuccine Alfredo," by ErinMarie.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Meal No. 1438: New Year's Day Meatballs

Last Friday night, I enjoyed the heck out of having some new and special guests for a dinner party: colleagues and professional friends from the Talent Development team with Guilford County Schools. These are some of the folks I've been working with the last four years on coaching and teacher development.

I like these folks a lot and really enjoy our work together, but I also find them to be great people, so it's nice to have a chance to hang out in a casual setting. We're always working so hard whenever we've been together before...this was an awesome diversion and a delightful evening.

When figuring out the menu, I wanted to make something that would feed a small crowd but also not tie me down at the stove or oven. I went with New Year's Day meatballs, company mashed potatoes, and layered green bean casserole. I like how clean the plates were when the dishes were cleared, and I sent the leftovers home with the departing guests.

"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.

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

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Meal No. 1437: Fajita-Seasoned Chicken Quesadillas

Last Thursday, it was so nice evening of hanging out with the guests for dinner. It was my last day of working before the start of my Christmas vacation and I used the rainy day as an excuse not to go to the grocery store.

But I had some boneless skinless chicken thighs on hand, as well as some oversized flour tortillas and shredded queso I looked up a fajita seasoning mix online and went with chicken quesadillas for our evening supper. Once again, I probably overstuffed it with diced chicken and caramelized onions, and didn't put enough cheese on each one, but I think we were all still happy with how they turned out.

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

"Fajita Seasoning Mix," from Adapted from "Fajita Seasoning Mix Recipe" on

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Chill Saturday Morning

So much of December thus far has been gorgeous and warm, which is much to my liking. We haven't had a single day with a high lower than 50°F. We've had eight days in the 60s, and three in the 70s. It's been pretty nice, if you ask me!

But on this fine Saturday morning, after I made a lot of headway cleaning up the dishes from last night's delightful dinner party, and I took some recycling outside to the roll cart, it was clear that this was a winter day. At just shy of 7:30 am, it was a brisk, clear, sunny 26°F here in Winston-Salem.

I realize it's all relative, of course...later in the winter I'm going to wish it was as high as 26°F, I'm sure!

Fire No. 31

With a forecast high today that stays in the 40s, and with this chilly start, it seemed a good time to get a fire going for the first time this season.

By the way, as you might imagine, my sister in Indiana was not at all pleased when I sent her the following screenshot of the forecast here for Christmas this year:

[Click to Enlarge]

As of yesterday, I am officially on my Christmas vacation, so I'm looking forward to using today to catch up on the blog, get some laundry done, probably do a little baking, perhaps continue updating some presentation powerpoints...and enjoy the heck out of this fire.

Tonight is the Joe and Lucy Milner Christmas party, and that's something to look forward to as well. Lucy was my teacher in the summer Governor's School program back in 1982, and Joe was a professor of mine in my master's program at Wake Forest, and then he was my department chair when I was on faculty there in the early 2000s. This Christmas party is quite special to me, because I've been fortunate to be on their guest list now for nearly 30 years. They are a terrific couple of people.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Meal No. 1436: Grilled Blackened Pork Chops

On Wednesday night, with it being another lovely warm December day, it returned to me the hankering to do some grilling. The simple Roediger House meal for the small crew on hand was grilled blackened pork chops, along with garlic roasted baby yukon gold potatoes and steamed broccoli.

"Garlic Roasted Potatoes," from Ina Garten. From the website.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cookies for Rankin

This school year, I'm spending a number of days with the instructional leadership team and coaches at an elementary school in Greensboro, and I've been promising to bring them a sampling of the Cap'n Crunch cookies that seem to be a favorite product of the Roediger House kitchen. On my fourth and final visit of the fall at the beginning of the week, I finally did so. These ladies were hilarious as they playfully fought over how to divvy them all up. Next time, I think I'll bring them in individual labeled baggies.

"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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Possum No. 11

Yesterday, when I was headed out to the car to drive to Greensboro to begin a Project CRISS training, I saw that the Havahart® trap had yet again snagged a neighborhood possum. This is the 11th one I've trapped around the house. And they are always so frickin' ugly.

I just got back from a middle-of-the-night run out to the river to set him free into the wild. Good riddance.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Meal No. 1435: Hamburger Supreme

This is a little embarrassing, because only two meals ago, I made hamburger supreme. But let me point out that it's actually been over a week ago, because I had a whole week on the road working in Virginia Beach and I was also behind on the blog posts.

When it came time for this past Sunday's evening grub, though, I didn't get time to run to the grocery store, and some regular company was coming to hang out and play pool. I had everything on hand for this dish, so it earned a quick repeat after being on the menu so recently.

The other bonus? Leftovers to take with me to work on Monday.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

French Yogurt Cake and Peach Nehi Ice Cream!

About a week ago, before hitting the road for a full five days of work in Virginia Beach, I used a portion of a Saturday afternoon to bring back a couple of desserts that had been neglected from the Roediger House offerings for a while: French yogurt cake and peach Nehi ice cream.

Yeah. That's some good stuff, there. And a fine combination at that.

"French Yogurt Cake," by Andrew Knowlton. In Bon Appétit, May 2012, p. 30.

"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.