Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meal No. 1561: Tennessee Pulled Turkey Sandwiches

Thursday night was perfect for grilling, after I cut the grass and then enjoyed sitting out in front of the house watching the evening go by. I'd already made another batch of the smashed potato salad and also tried out making a slivered broccoli salad (the latter was really just so-so). Turns out it's not easy to find fresh boneless skinless turkey breasts around here, but I happened to pop into the Fresh Market on Robinhood, and lo and behold...

And thank goodness, because Tennessee pulled turkey sandwiches are the bomb. Full of flavor, tender, with a nice smoky taste, and the white barbecue sauce was the perfect complement to it. It was awesome also to have longtime Wake Forest friend Chris Burris here, too, after too long an absence.

"Tennessee Pulled Turkey Sandwiches" and "White Barbecue Sauce," by Morgan Bolling. In Cook's Country, June/July 2016, p. 6-7.

"Smashed Potato Salad," by Christie Morrison. In Cook's Country, June/July 2016, p. 8. Helpful reminder about the best technique for cooking eggs from Chow Hound's video short: How To Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Winston-Salem Cycling Classic 2016

Winston-Salem is becoming quite a cycling hub, drawing professional and amateur enthusiasts both nationally and internationally. The week leading up to and including Memorial Day made this status darned clear, as the 2016 of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic was held. Race courses were set up downtown (including the Holly Avenue Neighborhood and Spring Street), in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter on the east side of downtown, through the West End and Buena Vista Neighborhoods, and out in the town of Lewisville on our western edge.

I think this was actually two major cycling events occurring, officially called the Volkswagen USA Cycling Masters and Para-Cycling Road National Championships and the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road Race and Time Trial National Championships. That's a mouthful.

Spring Street was part of two Saturday morning criterium race courses, and I enjoyed my morning coffee and snapping some photos as these athletes sped by.

One of these days, Winston-Salem will become the official home of the National Cycling Center, taking over a wonderful old building (most recently, a furniture store, I think) on Liberty Street.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Doubletree-Inspired Chocolate Chip Cookies

I try to remember that making good cookies means you have to keep one's craft current, and it had been a little while since I last made cookies. The choice recently: Doubletree Hotel-inspired chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. I learned what happens if you misread the directions and add one more egg than called for: you get a spreading thin cookie that overcooks at the edges and undercooks in the middle. And still, somehow, tastes pretty good.

"Doubletree Hotel's Chocolate Chip Cookies," by Ayşegül Sanford and her blog, Foolproof Living. Published December 29, 2013.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Meal No. 1560: Texas Thick-Cut Smoked Pork Chops

It was one heck of a dinner for four of us at the Roediger House this past Tuesday night. Everything on the plate was a new recipe for me and altogether it felt like a bit of a more ambitious undertaking, yet everything seemed to turn out great and was ready on time...and that's a bonus.

The evening started with a poached pear salad on hydroponic bibb lettuce, with goat cheese and cinnamon vanilla glazed walnuts, dressed with a homemade poached pear balsamic vinaigrette. That was pretty darned tasty.

The main course included Texas thick-cut smoked pork chops with a homemade zingy barbecue sauce. On the side: smashed potato salad that captured perfectly what you might expect at a good southern country establishment, and my first take on stuffed sweet peppers.

Fortunately, at meal's end, there was still a bit of red velvet and cream cheese swirl ice cream for dessert, leaving no room for anything but the crying.

"Texas Thick-Cut Smoked Pork Chops," by Ashley Moore. In Cook's Country, June/July 2016, p. 4-5.

"Smashed Potato Salad," by Christie Morrison. In Cook's Country, June/July 2016, p. 8. Helpful reminder about the best technique for cooking eggs from Chow Hound's video short: How To Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg.

Stuffing-Stuffed Peppers based on "Stuffed Peppers with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Herbs," by Diane Unger. In Cook's Country, June/July 2016, p. 12.

Poached Pear Vinaigrette loosely based on "Onion Vinaigrette Salad Recipe," by Harriet Stitcher of Milford, IN. Originally published in Quick Cooking, May/June 1999, p. 11. Recipe downloaded from Taste of Home online.

Poaching of pears in wine based in part on "Fresh Poached Pear, Toasted Pecan and Bleu Cheese Salad with Pear Vinaigrette," from Chef Albert Breurs of the Old Guard House Inn. Found online via the Food Network.

"Cinnamon Vanilla Glazed Walnuts," from McCormick & Company, Inc.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Red Velvet Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Swirl

Ever since the one other time I made red velvet ice cream with a cream cheese swirl, I've been wanting to bring it back for another go. (It's been almost exactly one year.) That finally happened last weekend, with this amazing concoction serving as a soothing dessert after the slightly-spicy chicken quesadillas on Sunday night. And there was plenty to carry over into the early days of the week, which was much appreciated by more than just me!

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Meal No. 1559: Chicken Quesadillas

With a hearty amount of terrific roasted chicken left over from the Saturday night dinner party, it was an easy call to make chicken quesadillas for the Sunday night supper. And they were just about perfect. This time, since the chicken was already cooked, I added the homemade fajita seasoning mix to the sweet onions as I caramelized them. Then, at the last minute, I also added some of that seasoning mix to the diced chicken and green chiles and tossed them in as the onions were finishing.

I also upped the cheese amount in each quesadilla and was very pleased with the balance when they came out of the oven. Not a hard meal to make, but more than worth even the small amount of effort!

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 ForTheMommas.com. Adapted from "Fajita Seasoning Mix Recipe" on Food.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

Good gracious. This was a pile of delicious sugar, and all in a pretty package.

Last Friday I was up early and had softened some cream cheese in order to make some cheesecake. I just hadn't decided on what kind or what version.

Thumbing through a collection of recipes took a bit of time, because I've got a lot of good ones I need to try, and then I settled on a cinnamon roll cheesecake. Those of us at the table found it hard to finish our slices...not because it wasn't good, but perhaps because it was too good. Wow.

"Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake," from Lindsey of the Life, Love, and Sugar blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Meal No. 1558: Herb Roasted Chickens

Last Saturday night was a great and grand dinner party, with six of us around a happy table for a full and most enjoyable evening. Delightful dear friends Frank and Karen were stars of the group, and I was most chagrined to look back and see that it had been very nearly two years since the last occasion of their visit.

On the menu: two herb-roasted whole chickens, scalloped potatoes, layered green bean casserole, and some more homemade apple sauce.

"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.

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

"Slow-Cooker Scalloped Potatoes," by Kelly Price. In Cook's Country, January 2011, p. 6.

Guidance for Homemade Applesauce from:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Meal No. 1557: Chicken Francese

It was a chilly and misty Friday night in Winston-Salem, and with four at the table for dinner I piloted a new take on a dish I've made in some form or fashion a few times before. Officially, it's called Chicken Francese, although a pounded breaded cutlet cooked in wine and broth, with lemon and garlic and other seasonings, is pretty much what we're talking about here.

From TripAdvisor.com

When my work travels provide me the good fortune to meet colleagues and friends Donna Whitley-Smith and Ebbie Linaburg at Sal's Bistro in Edinburg, Virginia, it's my standard dish, and it's always good. I'm not quite nailing down the exact restaurant-level result, but I don't think any of us left the table displeased.

The other key element of the evening was to try for only the second time to make rosemary peasant loaves. The dough came together nicely and rose beautifully through the afternoon. But once I divided and shaped them into individual rolls, their rise was much less encouraging. At dinner, they had great flavor, but they were dense. I always talk in blog entries like this about the need to do a lot more practice with yeast doughs and then I keep only doing it sporadically.

"Chicken Francese," from Tyler Florence via the Food Network.

"Almost-Famous Rosemary Bread," from Food Network Magazine, April 2011, p. 52.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Meal No. 1556: Bucatini Carbonara

The Roediger House got another new neighbor recently, and this past Thursday night Jeff popped over for beers, pool, and a bit of supper. I shifted the menu a bit and went with a typically pleasing scaled-up version of carbonara...but I somehow blew the sauce and ended up with more puddles and less silk. Tasty, but not up to par. Still, it was a good evening to visit.

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Meal No. 1555: Filipino Chicken Adobo

Great new neighbors have moved in down the street, and it was time to return the kindness for the dinner they hosted at their house. This past Wednesday night was the occasion, and I went with Filipino Chicken Adobo since it's always been pretty well-received by guests. It was a fantastic evening!

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Meal No. 1554: Wednesday Brunch

The middle of the day this past Wednesday was a great chance to take advantage of everybody having the day off, so I put together a brunch before we headed upstairs for pool playing and a season finale of a favorite show. On the docket: white cheddar and dijon baked eggs, fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream, and slices of freshly-baked five flavor pound cake.

"White Cheddar and Dijon Baked Eggs," from Averie Cooks.

"Five Flavor Pound Cake I," by P J Coward. Recipe from AllRecipes.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meal No. 1553: Sausage & Beef Manicotti

On Tuesday, the menu at the Roediger House tended towards Italian, for the second time in three days. This is my third go at sausage and beef manicotti with a homemade marinara sauce. The first time it was amazing, the second time it was really good but incredibly frustrating to assemble, and this third time was the charm.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Meal No. 1552: Spice-Rubbed Grilled Turkey Tenderloins

I hadn't grilled up some turkey tenderloins in a while and they looked pretty decent at our new Publix grocery store this week. On a slightly cool Monday evening, those rascals were a fine dinner along with steamed broccoli florets and a mooshy baked sweet potato.

"Spice-Rubbed Grilled Turkey Tenderloins," from Southern Living, March 2009.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Meal No. 1551: World's Greatest Lasagna

Last Sunday night it was time for a huge pan of lasagna. We all ate until we were miserable, giddily crazily joyously miserable.

"World's Best Lasagna," by John Chandler (Dallas, TX). Found online at AllRecipes.com.

Guidance for Homemade Applesauce from:

Monday, May 16, 2016

Meal No. 1550: Grilled Porterhouse Steaks and French Fries

Picture-perfect breezy Saturday night weather put me in the mind to grill out, and I did. Wonderful steak dinner!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Best Banana Pudding (?)

On Friday night, I managed to add some dessert to the evening meal's menu. This was my second go at a recipe that a lot of people had saved to their timeline on Facebook a while back, and while it was not so credited, it's pretty much the same as Paula Deen's version of banana pudding, which is typically ridiculous, and which she called "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding."

That's an understatement. It's a little banana and a lot of pudding, but it's not so much pudding as it is sugar and more sugar and some pudding. It's ridiculous. I actually don't think I should ever make it again, it's so bad for you. Which means it's classic Paula Deen.

By the way, when I got up on this fine sunny Sunday morning, it was nice and chilly:

...so I suspect some grass will be getting cut today, along with other needed yardwork.

"Best Banana Pudding," from Facebook, also known as "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding," from Paula Deen.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Meal No. 1549: One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables

Awfully quick to be repeating this meal, given that it was on the menu at the beginning of May. But roasting a flavorful pork tenderloin and green beans and fingerling potatoes all at once, and it comes out perfect? I'm down with that.

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

Meal No. 1548: Not So Cajun Chicken

Last night, Winston-Salem got hit by a pretty intense band of thunderstorms. A couple of lightning strikes were perhaps two or three blocks away, with the thunder following immediately upon the disappearance of the bolts. There was a brief period of hail, which I'd not seen in town in quite a long time.

It was quite a gully-washer and it was a sustained period of heavy rain...and it hit right after I'd finished doing a complete watering of all my plants and shrubs! It also highlighted that I've still got issues with gutters and roof run-off, but then again, the amount of rain that fell would be hard for any system to contain or control:

As for the Thursday night dinner: it was only about three weeks ago this was on the menu, and it's not as though it hasn't made innumerable appearances on the Roediger House table. But for last night's heavy thunderstorm suppertime, it had unmistakable appeal.

The dish is Not So Cajun Chicken, which was a specialty of Crowley's on Medlin Drive in Raleigh (a place heavily frequented by the Raleigh Little Theatre crowd I hung out with). I would not have any idea how to make it, though, had it not been for the good sleuthing of dear friend and college roommate Jimmy Randolph, who sniffed it out of a long-missing newspaper article from South Carolina.

"Not So Cajun Chicken," a dish I regularly enjoyed at Crowley's Old Time Favorites restaurant and bar on Medlin Drive in Raleigh, NC. Credit to Jimmy Randolph for helping track it down. (Another version of the recipe can be found here.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Amazing Eggnog Ice Cream

Earlier in the week, amongst many other things going on, I also managed to whip up a batch of eggnog ice cream and served it for dessert on Monday night. It was really terrific. I'm liking this particular ice cream recipe book.

"Eggnog 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. 186-187.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Meal No. 1547: Egg Drop Soup

If you've hit 50 and are on a good health plan, this picture will have a lot of meaning to you. Which is, in part, why I wanted a meal tonight that would be gentle on my recently inspected system.

That's how I finally got around to trying out a mix of approaches for my first attempt at egg drop soup. And it was pretty good, although I'm going to have to tinker with it to get it how I really like it.

"Egg Drop Soup," from The Woks of Life blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Meal No. 1546: Fettuccine Alfredo

Last night, as I continue my quest to maintain adequate water intake together with low-fiber meals, in anticipation of Wednesday's medical endeavor, I decided I might just need to fix some pasta. The lowest-risk dish that came to mind was this take on fettuccini alfredo, and it did not disappoint.

"To Die for Fettuccine Alfredo," by ErinMarie.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bluebirds, At Last

In the early morning hours of this fine Monday, after I took care of dishes and fixed up a pot of coffee and was returning from the outside recycling cart, I caught the sharp yellow smear of my goldfinch flitting by. He landed and was perched on the fence outside the kitchen eating nook/bay, and I quickly swapped out my camera lenses to get off a quick shot or two of him.

It proved most fortuitous that the goldfinch's appearance propelled me to have the telephoto at the ready, because as I walked past the kitchen sink window a little while later, I caught sight of something that I couldn't quite believe:

Through the dirty window and the dusty screen, I at first thought that it was my imagination that led me to think I was seeing a surprising blue tint to this little girl's coat... It couldn't be.

Then, she turned:

I've lived here now for 13 years and have never seen any bluebirds in the yard. I figured downtown was too inhospitable to them. But there she was. And, a moment later, her mate flew into sight and perched on the hook with the little red bird feeder on it:

Honest to god, I almost lost my sh**! I found myself irrationally happy and thrilled just to have spotted them. They are quite beautiful to me, but they were also one of my mother's great birdwatching joys, as she'd sit on the front porch in Buies Creek. They were faithful residents of her bluebird house each spring and summer.

When I bought the Roediger House in 2003, a bluebird house was one of my mother's first house-related gifts to me, but I've never gotten around to putting it up. Again, I just didn't think I had the right location and habitat for them. You'd better believe I got that rascal up today, though!

And their visit to the yard was not a one-and-done thing: I spotted the female again early afternoon:

Around 6, she was yet again on that same perch once more. Oh, I am overjoyed. And hopeful that they might be regular visitors...and, perhaps one day, residents!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Meal No. 1545: Herb-Roasted Salmon

The Sunday night meal: herb-roasted salmon, pearl couscous, and store-bought applesauce. I'm trying to go low-fiber, because Wednesday is going to be a magical day, as understood by all who have hit their 50th birthday.