Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meal No. 1692: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

While I think we all feasted pretty well on Thanksgiving night, the spirit of camaraderie  and fellowship had not left us. When Friday night rolled around, members of the cast of regulars gathered again for pool playing, music, hanging out...and another meal at the Roediger House table.

On the menu: braised chicken over Brussels sprouts and shallots, together with some pretty delicious Southern creamed corn. Nobody asked about dessert afterwards.

On a side note: the weather finished out really nice this week, with warm temps these last couple of days. Once again, I took evil delighted pleasure in sharing with my sister the contrast between temps here in Winston versus up in Indiana, where she lives:

"Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts," in Everyday Food, Issue 97, November 2012, p. 22.

"Southern Creamed Corn," by Patrick and Gina Neely of the Food Network.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Meal No. 1691: Thanksgiving 2016

This year's intimate gathering around the kitchen table for seven of us was yet another special and memorable Thanksgiving holiday. The turkey breast was exceptionally tender but everything on our high-piled plates was darned tasty. Good food, good friends, laughter, and the dreadfully unexpected appearance of a sad pancake...but we feasted well and finished glad that it's only a month until the Christmas Eve Eve repeat of this fine meal.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Layered Green Bean Casserole
(beautiful serving dish holder: gift of The Lloyds!)

Herb-Roasted Breast of Turkey

Apple & Bacon Stuffing

All of the Above
plus sweet potato casserole

"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.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Meal No. 1690: Thanksgiving Morn Sleepover Breakfast

It was a festive holiday week at the Roediger House, and that included not only the usual big fun gathering Thanksgiving Eve, but also yet another slumber party for some great house regulars. I figured I'd best have something to snack on when we all got up, so with two pots of coffee brewed, I was able to serve up party ham biscuits and traditional sausage balls.

"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. For the horseradish sauce, I turned to the one I make for the "Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce" recipe that was part of the Thanksgiving meal that night.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Meal No. 1689: World's Best Lasagna for Thanksgiving Eve

With nine on hand for the annual Roediger House Thanksgiving Eve gathering, when pool and games and music and beer occupy the lot of us, I turned to John Chandler's much-loved and quite popular recipe for lasagna. There was some concern that this was too heavy a meal the night before the Thanksgiving feast, but I considered it to be excellent training to prepare us for all that we would consume the following day.

I even made freshly grated parmesan cheese to go in the lasagna and on it:

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Meal No. 1688: New Year's Day Meatballs

With seven of us for dinner at the start of our holiday mood last Tuesday night, I wanted to serve up a special favorite of this crew of Roediger House regulars: New Year's Day meatballs, company mashed potatoes, and seasoned green beans. We did ourselves proud.

"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.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Meal No. 1687: Standing Rib Roast

Perhaps it was a bit early to be getting into the mode of holiday cooking, but I found a small standing rib roast irresistible when I was doing my weekend grocery shopping and ended up putting it into rotation for a regular ol' Monday night meal. Neighbors Deborah and Alaina were here for the evening, so it was close to the perfect size for us.

Stuffed twice-baked potatoes and buttered early peas rounded out the plate, and the ladies brought some terrific pumpkin roll cake from Dewey's Bakery for dessert. We had a delightful evening.

"Standing Rib Roast," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 235.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Meal No. 1686: Skillet Calzone

The Sunday evening meal at the Roediger House was an unusual experiment for me, but boy-howdy was it delicious.

Say hello to a sausage and pepperoni skillet calzone. For the four of us around the table, it proved to be quite a hit, methinks.

"Cast-Iron Skillet Calzone," by Russell Selander. In Cook's Country, December/January 2017, p. 12.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Meal No. 1685: Fusili Carbonara

The plan last Saturday night was originally for braised chicken thighs over Brussels sprouts, but when I pulled the chicken out of the fridge, it was frozen! So I decided to improvise and come up with a different meal for the four of us that evening, and I quickly settled on pasta carbonara. No one seemed to be unreasonably frustrated by the substitution.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meal No. 1684: Chicken Quesadillas on a Friday Night

With a good week of work under my belt, I arrived at Friday night hankering for the simplicity of fajita-spiced chicken quesadillas, and they did not disappoint. Combined with quite a few rounds of pool, it proved to be a relaxing start to a Roediger House weekend.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Meal No. 1683: Ribeyes and French Fries

On the menu last Thursday night at the Roediger House: ribeyes and french fries.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Meal No. 1682: Pipetizer Casserole

When Tuesday evening's meal turned into a gathering of five, and since I had worked later in the day in McLeansville, I had to go with stuff I had on hand. Fortunately, Pipetizer Casserole was the perfect go-to, and we were all relatively pleased by its potent goopiness.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Meal No. 1681: Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary

It's not that often that I serve up a pork loin, although I do like them. I nice center cut pork loin, already trussed and tied, was calling my name in the meat department at Harris Teeter when I did my weekend shopping, and having three at the table last Monday night was a good excuse to try a new recipe for it.

What was served: roasted center cut pork loin with garlic and rosemary, with baked sweet potatoes and seasoned green beans. We had our fill.

"Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary," from Bon Appétit, June 1999.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Meal No. 1680: Ultimate Cream of Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Back on Sunday night, when Winston-Salem had its first overnight frost of fall, my thoughts understandably turned to soup. Since it was yet another day of many house chores plus more work out in the yard, the recipe that made sense was cream of tomato with grilled cheese sandwiches. If it's going to turn cold, I might as well enjoy the meals that the weather inspires.

I'll also mention that, before I went out to work in the yard that afternoon, I fortified myself with a hearty three-egg breakfast:

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Meal No. 1679: Frisco Patty Melts on Sourdough

Saturday was another good day for working in the yard, and that impacted what I was willing to do regarding supper. It was time for another reasonably easy meal, one that I hadn't made since the very beginning of the year: Frisco patty melts with caramelized onion on buttered toasted sourdough bread. It was too much: I couldn't finish all of mine.

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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Meal No. 1678: Bourbon Chicken

At the end of the day last Friday, with my body aching from two full days in the yard, I once again went a more simple route for the three of us at the dinner table. Named not because bourbon is an ingredient, but supposedly because it was developed and perfected by a Chinese cook on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the dish I piloted that night is called Bourbon Chicken.

We decided it was pretty darned good.

"Bourbon Chicken," by LinMarie. From

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Trees for the Roediger House

Fall in Full Swing:
South Property Line Maples

When I had an unexpected day off from work last Thursday, I used the time to drive up to King to Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse. What a great find! I might never buy plants or shrubs from Lowe's again (well, maybe). They had a great selection and the plants and flowers and trees all were in such good shape. And the staff who helped me out were just terrific.

I had gone up there on a mission. While the backyard is really just a 20-foot-wide strip of hard clay and trashy grasses, with a steep slope midway between the house and the rear property line (to get the kitchen addition to proper elevation grade and also provide for drainage), it still deserves some love and attention. It is the most neglected area from the past four years of dedicated landscaping efforts. What I found myself trying to picture there, among other things, was a couple of tall hearty trees (if I live long enough to see them become tall and hearty).

And I am trying to be proactive in the face of the likelihood that a sizable office or mixed-use building will be constructed 21 feet from the back of the house, and this weighs heavily on me. I don't know when that will occur or what it will look like or what I might one day have to look out my kitchen window and see...a sheer wall? a minimalist block of tinted office windows? a variety of apartment balconies? the faux-window openings of a ground-level parking garage? I figured I'd better get started with creating some kind of screen.

I came home from Mitchell's with two tall red maples, which should grow relatively quickly once they get themselves established. I had to work past dark that day, but I got them both planted in holes that I'd already initiated, but which required finishing. The red maples are now planted just in from the rear property line, and I hope I take the right care of them:

The northern tree hole was a bit of a bear: not only was the hard-packed clay a back-breaker, but I also found that I was digging into the remnants of a buried wall. I busted it up as well as I could and discovered quite a collection of buried oyster and clam shells.

I also apparently knocked into an underground storeroom (look above at the back of that hole) of sunflower seeds from my birdfeeders...likely created when I had the problem with backyard rats!

I am now completely out of my reserve of topsoil that I regularly have delivered:

In addition, I picked up a Cherokee Brave red dogwood and decided that I really liked the image of it one day anchoring the small planting area just outside the side door to the parking lot area. I've never been quite happy with how I've used that lush and sunny area thus far, so we'll see how this helps in getting the right look and feel:

Trees were not my only find at Mitchell's: I also got one more oakleaf hydrangea, for which I'd been saving a corner spot right outside the side kitchen door:

And I got four flats of pansies and have planted them in the open beds both at the front of the house and in the side yard near the new red dogwood:

All mulching is pretty much completed, and all this was finished just hours before the first frost of fall, which occurred in the wee waking hours of Sunday morning:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meal No. 1677: Country Ham, Biscuits, and Rice

Thanks to a long afternoon, and even into the evening, of planting two trees this past Thursday, as well as a few hours of dog-sitting for neighbor-from-across-the-way Sarah, I just couldn't put together a taxing meal. Thank goodness for the ease of country ham, biscuits, and rice. That was just right for my aching and weary body.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Meal No. 1676: Biscuits 'N Gravy

On the first day following the apocalyptic results of the 2016 election, the sober, worried, and depressed crew on hand for Wednesday night dinner requested a simple meal composed of an ideal comfort food: biscuits and sausage gravy.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Veterans Day Parade 2016

Being situated so near to the intersection of North Broad and West Fourth Streets, the Roediger House is in a prime location for a number of parades and their accompanying street closures. This activity has tapered off somewhat, as I noted in a blog post about a year ago, but the Veterans Day Parade is still quite a sizable to-do and the staging area is still right here around the house.

I was also able to enjoy the holiday this year, which means I was also able to enjoy the parade when it took place yesterday morning. I took my camera with me and have a few shots to share.