Thursday, June 30, 2016

Meal No. 1583: Chicken with Coronation Sauce

This is definitely one of the favorite simple one-bowl meals here at the Roediger House: chicken with coronation sauce. It served well as tonight's fare when I was battling the sleepies from not getting quite enough sleep last night.

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Meal No. 1582: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

These peanut butter bacon burgers are a monstrosity. And so good tonight. That is all.

A review of key points about the Roediger House peanut butter bacon burgers, on the occasion of their 23rd appearance on the dinner table:
  • Inspired by Yo Mama's in the French Quarter of New Orleans
  • First Made: Meal No. 180
  • Last Made: Meal No. 1511
  • 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

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.

Guidance on grinding, shaping, and cooking burgers from "Best Old-Fashioned Burgers," by J. Kenji Alt, in Cook's Illustrated, No. 93 (July/August 2008), p. 10-11.

Original bacon braid guidance from "Bacon Sheets," from

See also: "How to Make a Bacon Weave for the World's Best BLT," a nice video demonstration, from Justin Chapple's Mad Genius Tips on the Food & Wine website [published 02 March 2015].

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Meal No. 1581: Salmon over Penne alla Vodka

Tuesday night's supper, after a great week of fun travel up to New York and Rhode Island, was a return to a seldom-made dish: penne alla vodka, with roasted salmon on top. Delicious.

"Penne alla Vodka," by Rebecca Hays. In Cook's Illustrated, Number Eighty-Three (November & December 2006), p. 10.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Hawk Show of Early June

On a Sunday afternoon in early June, I chanced to spy the arrival of a hawk on the back fence just outside the kitchen bay windows. For me, this is always exciting, and I love to watch and snag as many shots of him as I can. He decided to take up a perch in the red eye althea planted at that back corner of the house, which for him was conveniently between the hanging window feeder and the squirrel-proof feeder on a post...and within sight of another feeder in the middle of the back yard, hanging on a shepherd's crook:

He was a very patient watcher and waiter, so I positioned myself inside the kitchen window to capture photos as I waited for him to pounce:

Which he did eventually and unsuccessfully:

And then his hawkeyes spied movement from at least one creature who had scurried for safety, but to an unwise location:

I finally get a couple of chipmunks to be regular foragers in the yard, and this darn hawk takes one of them away for dinner. Dang it!

The following day (and, actually, the next as well), the hawk returned. First he landed on the fence near the feeders and his perch tree, then he flew around to the front Bradford Pear but was chased out by aggressively defensive other birds. He retreated to one of the trees on the back property line, watched for a short while, squawked a few times, and flew off towards the west.

About an hour later, I noticed that the bird feeders outside the kitchen bay/eating nook were quiet and deserted. I happened to spot that the hawk had returned and was again hiding in the red eye althea:

I kept my eye on him for a very, very long time. He moved three or four times within the bush, and one of those perches gave me a chance to focus on his very intimidating claws:

For the three hours he stayed in the tree, he was watching everything intently but didn't seem to be in any hurry to go for a kill. Several times, a flock of pigeons and a flight of mourning doves settled in on the ground beneath him to scavenge the fallen birdseed, and he made no move. He just watched.

When he finally pounced, he missed the pigeon!

Then he jumped up onto the kamado grill, then back to the ground, shot something nasty out of his hind ends, danced over to the butterfly bush, watched a bit longer, and then flew around the side of the house and was gone. Which meant my own long-term investment in keeping my eye on him that afternoon was not rewarded with great attack and/or consume photos.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Chipmunks Move In!

It seems there is a mix of opinions about chipmunks out there on the interwebs, with some folks insisting they're mostly harmless and others going to great lengths to exterminate them as pests. I've always liked those rascals, but I also haven't had much exposure to them. I don't remember them being around the yard where I grew up, but a couple lived in and around the courtyard of Kitchin House when I was the dorm director there in grad school at Wake Forest.

Beginning this summer, though, I started seeing one regularly scurrying from a yard across Spring Street and running about amidst the low plants and in the monkey grass. I started trying to snag a photo but wasn't having much luck:

Too far away, even with my long lens, and blurry because I wasn't prepared with my tripod. Plus, they move like a shot! A few weeks later, I got a slightly better but still distant shot:

You see, I'd already startled him and he ran over to the next door neighbor's and perched on her yard chair. The next morning, in early June, with wonderful clear skies and gentle breezes and temps, I decided to drink coffee and read to start my morning. I took my camera just in case but wasn't holding it when I looked down to find two chipmunks running around and one of them was right below my chair (I took this photo afterwards to show where I mean):

Patience paid off, though, and I was able to finally get a couple of decent shots for my wildlife photo album of the yard:

I was shooting over the dwarf crepe myrtle, hence the pink blur.

With so much excitement to see TWO regular chipmunks frequenting the yard, imagine my distress at the next time I snagged a shot of one of them:

More about that in tomorrow's blog post.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Regular readers of the blog know that I mean for the Roediger House to be a welcoming place, but it's not a blank check. It's rare, but sometimes panhandlers trounce on up to the front door in order to beg. Run-of-the-mill solicitations really don't seem to occur. I ordered a couple of "No Trespassing" signs quite a while back and just haven't gotten around to putting them up, in part because I needed to be prepared to drill into bricks that are well over a century old. That finally happened earlier this month:

Alas, it was just a few hours too late on that sunny Saturday morning to discourage a visit from a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. I doubt it would have made a difference in stopping them, but maybe the next time those possessed of a missionary zeal march up the stairs to the house, they'll at least have been duly informed that I don't really welcome their presence.

There is also the occasional problem of people parking in the lot and I knew I should at least attempt to inform folks that this is a private these signs are also now up on both sides of the parking entrance, just up from the curb and sidewalk:

That's unlikely to be much of a deterrent to whoever let himself into my truck and helped himself to all the change in the ashtray and in the armrest, sometime in mid-June. I must've left the vehicle unlocked at a most inopportune time...and there was no security footage of the activity because I'd been parking the vehicles over in the shady corner while it's been so hot lately:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Movie Night 2016 No. 2: Clue

Looking ahead a week, I saw that the forecast leading up to this past Sunday night was for perfect weather: clear skies following a very moderate afternoon. So the word went out for people to come join in on a second summer movie night, and there were twelve of us to take in the madcap romp Clue. I'd never seen it myself but I'm glad we got to screen it with a cool crew of folks on hand.

That night was also the inaugural run for a recent Roediger House acquisition:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meal No. 1580: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

Last Sunday night, with a plan in place for the second movie night of the summer of 2016, it seemed a good idea to bring folks in early and serve up some more easy summer food. I didn't stray far from the previous weekend's plan: juicy burgers on the grill and chips on the side. These are almost always a good go-to for a crew on a terrific night like that one.

"Grilled Juicy Burgers," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks recipe magazine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Meal No. 1579: Chicken Quesadillas

Much of this past Friday was spent futzing around with my's over four years old and had just become really buggy and bogged down and flat-out slow. I overcame my fears of cracking the case and actually replaced the hard drive as well as upgraded the RAM from 4 GB to 16 GB. I was proud of myself. But then that's all followed by reinstalling the operating system, repairing permissions, updating all software, and then restoring all files from the back-up...and then doing a whole new back-up (which took about 11 hours)...and then re-entering key product codes to reactivate some software licenses...and...and...and...

So supper could not be taxing and could not take much time. Fortunately, dear friends and neighbors Deborah and Alaina were understandably forgiving of the meal's simplicity: chicken quesadillas. We ate our fill (they were also forgiving that I'd burnt the shells a bit!) and still had some room for a fresh batch of cinnamon-chai oatmeal cookies later in the evening:

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

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Meal No. 1578: Lamb on Naan Pizza

It was another meal that tended toward the exotic last Wednesday night: Za'Atar-spiced ground lamb and feta naan pizzas. I must say: I liked 'em.

"Za'Atar Naan Pizzas," by Cindy Jones, Owner of the Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh, NC.

Additional Inspiration from "Flatbread Naan White Pizza," by Leslie Green, The Hungry Housewife. Published 03 October 2011.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Meal No. 1577: Chicken Souvlaki, Greek Salad, and Tzatziki Sauce

My brother-in-law Tom in Indiana is a regular participant in classes at a West Lafayette cooking store called Kitchen Art. He and my sister Allison have shared a few recipes with me from that source, and in the last week or so I stumbled on some others on the store blog that looked interesting. Last Tuesday night, I gave chicken souvlaki and Greek salad a try and was pretty happy with how it turned out. I couldn't make the tzatziki sauce without first making a stop at the Savory Spice Shop in Greensboro to pick up some za'atar seasoning, though. It was all reasonably simple to put together and made for a satisfying weeknight meal.

"Chicken Souvlaki and Greek Salad with Tzatziki Sauce," from the blog of Kitchen Art: The Store for Cooks (West Lafayette, IN). Published 25 June 2015.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Meal No. 1576: Miso-Glazed Salmon

Last Monday night, on a gorgeous June evening, the dinner fare included miso-glazed wild-caught Alaskan salmon, pearl couscous, and fresh-cut steamed broccoli florets. Oh, and more cake and ice cream for dessert, of course.

"Miso-Glazed Salmon Steaks," in Bon Appétit, May 2011, p. 58.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Last Sunday night, I served up yet another new and fresh-made dessert: classic yellow cake with a deep super-chocolatey frosting. It went along well with more of the chocolate frostie ice cream from the evening before.

This was my first trial for both this cake and that frosting, and the combination was a real hit around the dinner table. It was having an abundance of chocolate frostie ice cream that made me want to make this as an accompaniment. By the time folks see me back in work mode come August, I'll be as big as a house, with all these desserts I've been maniacally making.

"Classic Yellow Cake," by Robyn Stone. Found online at

"Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting," from King Arthur Flour. Posted 01/01/2010.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Meal No. 1575: Linton Hopkins's Bucatini Carbonara

We had a strong heatwave going on in Winston-Salem this past weekend, with temps in the mid-90s and a pretty good dose of humidity. On Sunday afternoon, I minded it a bit less because there were really strong breezes, which is always preferable to the dead air of a July or August swelter. Still, I took advantage of pantry staples to avoid going out to the market when it came time to plan a dinner menu for four of us, and I think we were all happy with the result.

For our meal, it was Linton Hopkins's take on carbonara, made on that night with diced prosciutto instead of pancetta (and supplemented with some bacon), made silky smooth with egg yolks, and served over steaming bucatini.

There was also an awesome dessert, which will be featured in tomorrow's blog post.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meal No. 1574: Herb Roasted Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy

Another nice gathering of Roediger House regulars occurred this past Saturday night, and on the table we had herb roasted chicken with savory pan gravy, along with smashed sweet potatoes and buttered garden peas.

Because I didn't get it together in time for the previous evening's movie night, I went ahead and did a freezer of chocolate frostie ice cream early in the day so it would have time to set up before the dinner hour. (I made the base the day before but that's as far as I'd gotten.) It was pretty tasty!

"Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken with Savory Pan Gravy" (p. 136-137) and "Smashed Sweet Potatoes" (p. 128), 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.

Recipe for Chocolate Frostie Ice Cream can be obtained from Originally discovered in a discussion thread on the Southern Living blogs, posted by user Pat (pbj1118).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

First Movie Night of 2016: The Breakfast Club

Last Friday night, many of the usual crew hoofed it up the closed-off driveway to the Roediger House to enter my most favorite of summer events: Movies Under the Stars. The evening was picture-perfect, crystal clear, just the right temperature, occasional slight breezes, a limited number of passing motorcycles and mopeds, and no sirens to drown out the sound.

On the movie bill that evening: The Breakfast Club, a film that I might have only seen one other time since it first came out back in 1985 (other than the original run at the theatre). It really is good.

I also try to have some good snacks on hand whenever the Roediger House hosts an outdoor movie night. On the first one of the season, back on June 10th, the shareable item was a few plates of fresh-made Doubletree-style chocolate chip cookies. They're mighty hard to beat.

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Meal No. 1573: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

The Roediger House started off this past weekend just right, with juicy burgers on the grill followed by some chocolate éclair cake, all as a prelude to the first movie night of 2016. It was a glorious evening.

"Grilled Juicy Burgers," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks recipe magazine.

"Chocolate Éclair Cake," a common and popular recipe.