Friday, March 31, 2017

Meal No. 1787: Teriyaki Steak Fingers

On a long-ago visit to my sister's in Indiana, her husband Tom grilled a delicious set of teriyaki steak fingers on skewers, and I had to come home with that recipe in hand. It makes only a rare appearance here, though, and this is the first time in almost two years I've made them. Alongside on Tuesday night were a first-time attempt at grilled asparagus, a new way to cook corn-on-the-cob, and yet another new recipe for coconut rice (that still isn't quite perfect).

"Teriyaki Steak Fingers," courtesy of Tom and Allison Holden [Rossville, IN].

"Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob," from Christine Mahrlig of

"Grilled Asparagus," from Gourmet. June 2000. Found online.

"Coconut Rice," by Andy Ricker of Pok Pok [Portland, OR]. In Bon Appétit, January 2012.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Meal No. 1786: Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Sage and Garlic

I didn't mean to repeat this meal quite so soon, but when it's good like this, I might as well: pan-seared pork chops with butter, sage, and garlic. This past Monday night, I added baked potatoes and stuffing to the plate, for a bland look but a tasty supper.

"Your New Favorite Pork Chops," by Alison Roman, in Bon Appétit, March 2015, p. 35.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Old-Fashioned Vanilla Buttercream

At the end of the weekend following the Sunday dinner for a small crew, there was a tasty new concoction available for any who were interested in dessert: vanilla birthday cake with vanilla buttercream. Even though the dinner menu had included delicious belly-filling lasagna, we all just did manage to squeeze in this sweet goodness.

Now, I'm certainly ignorant about cake decorating, so my cakes never look all that pretty. And this one looked crumbly, as if it might be dry...but it was moist and delicious. We all liked it, sure enough.

"Vanilla Birthday Cake with Old-Fashioned Vanilla Buttercream," by Jenn Segal of

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Meal No. 1785: World's Best Lasagna

"World's Best Lasagna" is what John Chandler of Dallas might have jokingly named his concoction when he posted it to the website, but it is a notable star on that online collection of recipes and has been ever since he first uploaded it. It's also highly ranked here at the Roediger House, where it is considered a house favorite and is frequently requested (or hoped for). I like making it show up with some frequency, and last Sunday night was a good time to bring it 'round again.

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Meal No. 1784: Philly Chicken Cheesesteaks

The Saturday night meal at the Roediger House was a second trial of a new recipe for me: Philly chicken cheesesteaks. And once again, they were a winner!

Based on a combination of ideas from:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Meal No. 1783: Hoisin-Soy Chicken Legs

With the arrival of sweet and amazing Sumner to the Roediger House last Friday, a mood for celebration was in order. The faithful crew of six regular regulars was here, and on the dinner table (while Sumner tooled round and round it!) were hoisin-soy chicken legs, creamy mashed potatoes, and roasted parmesan asparagus. It was a delightful evening, time well-spent with old friends and, now, a particularly adorable new friend.

Inspiration and ideas from "Sticky Soy-Hoisin Chicken Thighs," by Kate Parham in Cooking Light, December 2013; and from "Spicy Hoisin Chicken," from Gourmet, May 2003.

"Creamy Mashed Potatoes," from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. Published online 03 November 2007.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cookie Butter Ice Cream

It seems to me a dangerous thing to have discovered the ridiculousness known as cookie butter. A random Instagram post introduced me first to the notion of cookie butter cheesecake, which I made in the middle of February, and then I got to thinking about whether it would lead to a good ice cream. I got my chance to try that out back in early March, and the result was pretty tasty.

Here, you can spot what a perfect accompaniment the ice cream was to the butter pecan pound cake I'd made the night before.

"Cookie Butter Ice Cream," from Michelle of the blog.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sumner Breezes In

As was mentioned back at the end of February, it has been a hard year since the loss of Roediger House mascot and sweet bundle of snug Cyprus. It is a breaking of the heart that was unlike any other loss in my life and it still catches me off guard. She was pretty awesome, and that's an understatement. I've heard it said that it can take a good year before a dog lover can move on when a much-favored pet passes. Turns out, that's true for me.

Blame the wild but adorable neighbor dog, Hambone, for putting serious cracks in my steely resolve not to have or fall in love with another dog, when he took temporary refuge here a few weeks ago. I could not get over the intensified feeling that there has been a huge hole in the heart of this house for a year now, and the only way to fill it is to welcome in a new addition to the family.

Say hello to Sumner, who arrived at the Roediger House today to take up residence. Like Cyprus, Sumner comes from the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation here in Winston-Salem. Last weekend, when Saturday afternoon had turned sunny and warm and bright, he was preciously stretched out in a grassy gated area at AARF, in all his blonde glory, intently mangling a rawhide, and effortlessly sold himself as the right guy for the job of bringing pet love back into the homestead. As of now, it's believed he's a whippet/lab mix but I'll have the DNA run on him when he makes his first vet visit. He's younger than I'd prefer, at about a year old, but I sure do look forward to his long and happy tenure here.

Within his first hour in his new domicile, he was already looking pretty happy and content. And so was I.

Oh, and he's a cover model, too:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cakes on the March!

During the month of March, it seems I've managed to get busy with several different cake recipes. Right now, I'm getting so far ahead on various blog posts that I figure I just need to combine all these into one entry, so here's the run-down...

Tres Leche Cake with Dulce de Leche Glaze

Back on the first Saturday night of March, when there were six of us around the dinner table, I also had a fun new dessert: dulce de leche tres leches cake. It's not as good as eggnog tres leches cake, but we all ate our entire slices, for sure.

Butter Pecan Pound Cake

On a warm but darkly cloudy Tuesday earlier in March, I ended up having a day at home because a principal I was to work with had a conflicting meeting to come up. I had a list of errands and tasks and didn't mind having those unanticipated hours, even though the to-do list was longer than the day was. One element of that day was to work up a dessert to follow the evening's meal, and it was my first trial of butter pecan pound cake.

Wow. What a delicious cake this turned out to be, and it got rave reviews after our dinner of chicken biriyani that night.

I was tickled enough with it that I could only wish to share it...thank goodness neighbors Deborah and Alaina were still up to receive some delivered to-go slices of this sweet treat!

French Yogurt Cake

Before reporting for a day of classroom observations with the assistant principals at Jackson Middle School back in early March, I used an early awakening that morning to make a French yogurt cake to take with me. I found it to be a perfect mid-morning snack, snuck in when the APs were pulled away briefly to deal with a couple of situations that seem so often the norm in the challenge of middle schools!

Not as dense as a pound cake loaf and with enough hints of lemon that it's not plain...while it kindly refuses to pretend that it is a lemon cake. You might oughta make this sometime.

Scotch Chocolate Cake

Back on St. Patrick's Day, when the house was full of some of the most usual suspects, over for dinner and a movie, I also scrounged together a dessert: scotch chocolate cake, also known as Texas sheet cake. I haven't made this since November of 2015, so I reckon it was overdue. It was also over-scrumptious.

"Dulce de Leche Cake," from Saveur online. Published 04 May 2010.

"Butter Pecan Pound Cake," by Debbie Bankston. From

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

"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.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The March of Cookies

Shrove Tuesday Butter Toffee Cookies

OK, not quite March but just hours before March debuted this year, I was too busy with work on Mardi Gras to make a King Cake. I did, though, manage to make butter toffee cookies after the dinner that night. There were enough to share with the admin team at the school I was working at the next day, and that's a bonus.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies for Kristen's Birthday Bash

Back in early March, I'd promised to make a batch of cookies for a birthday/engagement party. The delicious choice that night: white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies.

They turned out reasonably decent.

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

On March 12th, before I hit the road for a few days working in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I took advantage of a window of time that early afternoon to try out a new recipe: cookie butter chocolate chip cookies. This continues my current fascination with cookie butter as an ingredient, and they were tasty hot out of the oven.

But they're not better than the usual version of chocolate chip cookies I make, so this might be a one-off experience. The chocolate morsels overwhelmed any cookie butter/speculaas taste you might get, and I really missed pecans or walnuts, too.

"Butter Toffee Cookies," originally from King Arthur Flour. The catalog that comes periodically from KAF has recipes in it, which is where I originally got this. But, as sometimes happens, it is not available on their website. I'm glad someone posted it to

"Premier White Chocolate and Macadamia Pieces Cookies," from Hershey's Mauna Loa. Found online at

"Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies," by Rebecca of the blog.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Meal No. 1782: Cavatappi with Vodka Sauce

On Saturday night, before having to hit the road for a few more days of work in Virginia, I took the simple route on supper with a new recipe for cavatappi with a vodka sauce. It wasn't bad but it's not all that remarkable, either.

"Cavatappi with Vodka Sauce," from

Monday, March 20, 2017

Meal No. 1781: Pipetizer Casserole for a Crowd

At the end of my work week Friday, it was a night of Mulholland Drive upstairs and a big ol' hearty dish of Pipetizer casserole for supper. I had to go with that for the dinner choice because (1) I needed to feed six of us, and (2) it was Amy's birthday week and she loves this.

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Meal No. 1780: Argentine-Style Beef with Chimichurri Sauce

On Thursday night, I reached deep in the archives for a meal I'd only made once, in March 2011: Argentine-style beef skewers with a zippy chimichurri sauce on the side. I also made pearl couscous and squash with Vidalia onion. Pretty tasty, all that.

"Argentine-Style Beef with Chimichurri Sauce," from Bon Appétit, March 2011, p. 16-17.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Meal No. 1779: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

Brutal cold hit the City of Winston-Salem this past Wednesday, and temperatures at the house barely got above freezing that afternoon. I was unexpectedly at home that day, because the snow that hit the Shenandoah Valley led to my early dismissal from the scheduled days I was to work there. But I'm glad when I can be off the road and glad when I can get into my kitchen to make vittles for a crowd. I think the crew was happy, too, because it meant a return to the remarkable peanut butter bacon burgers that delight and puzzle all at once.

A review of key points about the Roediger House peanut butter bacon burgers, on the occasion of their 26th 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. 1714
  • 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].

Friday, March 17, 2017

Meal No. 1778: Seared Pork Chops with Butter, Sage, & Garlic

On the quiet and blustery cold Tuesday night earlier in the week, the Roediger House menu included pan-seared seasoned pork chops, finished with a sage and garlic browned butter pan sauce. Hot buttered garden peas and quick stuffing helped it all come together into a delicious weeknight meal.

"Your New Favorite Pork Chops," by Alison Roman, in Bon Appétit, March 2015, p. 35.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Meal No. 1777: Hamburger Supreme

I had expected to be spending the first three days of the week working in Shenandoah County, Virginia, but then came the big snow storm that decided mid-March was the best time to appear. So the Shenandoah County folks very thoughtfully and graciously told me to get the heck out of town when I finished conducting a training Monday. In the fridge once I got home were the exact fixings I needed to put hamburger supreme, a Jones family favorite, on the table a little before 9 pm. Good stuff, that, especially when there's hot buttered corn on the side.

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Meal No. 1776: Mexican Chicken and Rice

Last Saturday night, after attending a delightful gathering in honor of Jen Watson's 40th birthday party, I came home and whipped up a simple arroz con pollo with white cheese sauce for supper. Yum.

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

"The Best Mexican White Cheese Dip," from

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Meal No. 1775: Pork Medallions with Ginger-Soy-Shiitake Cream Sauce

The picture I'm able to post with this blog might explain why there's no photo of last Thursday night's dinner, and also why I can report on no green vegetables on the plate. Hambone belongs to a new neighbor in the upstairs apartment of the house beside me, and he is an energetic and determined puppy who got out of the backyard fence and came over to me when I stepped outside to the compost pile in the midst of making dinner.  He's a bit of a wild thing! But I got him calm enough and fed him and especially watered him and persisted with dinner prep for the four of us on hand that night. Everything was a bit too salty, but we ended up with clean plates after feasting on pork medallions with ginger-shiitake-soy cream sauce and company mashed potatoes. Mo, the neighbor, came by and got him before dinnertime was over.

Cream Sauce based on "Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce," from The Bon Appétit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, 2006, p. 398-399.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Meal No. 1774: Not So Cajun Chicken

The meal this past Wednesday night was one of the most favorite Roediger House meals: not so Cajun chicken, with fresh steamed broccoli florets and Basmati rice.

"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.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Meal No. 1773: Chicken Biriyani with Saffron Cream

Last Tuesday night, with three at the table, I got a strong hankering to try out a new recipe that I came across in the New York Times "Cooking" section of their website. It would be the first time in five years that I'd tried to multi-task with my rice cooker (back in 2011 and 2012, I made arroz con pollo three times with it). On the menu: the one-bowl wonder of chicken biriyani with saffron cream. And it was definitely a tasty meal!

"Rice Cooker Chicken Biriyani with Saffron Cream," from Julia Moskin of the New York Times: Cooking website.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Meal No. 1772: Glazed Salmon

This past Monday night found salmon on the menu at the Roediger House, for the first time since September! And it was perfectly cooked and delicious, if I might say so myself. To go with it: Caesar salad and steamed broccoli florets, plus a chilled rosemary dijon cream sauce.

"Roasted Glazed Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard," by Sam Sifton. Published by New York Times Cooking.

"Chilled Rosemary-Dijon Cream Sauce," in The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, compiled and edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House (1999), p. 216.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Meal No. 1771: Sherry Braised Short Ribs

It was a glorious sunny but slightly cool Sunday in Winston-Salem. On the menu, a new take on English beef short ribs, this time braised in sherry and broth on top of a mix of hearty vegetables. To go with it, I added the classic pairing of polenta and the hot buttered garden peas. There was still some leftover dessert from a couple of nights ago, for thems what needed a sweet lift.

"Sherry Braised Short Ribs," from Chef John of

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Meal No. 1770: Braised Chicken over Brussels Sprouts

With four at the table on Saturday night and the need for a very early supper (because of a birthday party we were all headed to), I thought we might all do with some braised chicken over Brussels sprouts and shallots, along with easy stovetop stuffing.

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

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meal No. 1769: Cheesy Chicken Rice & Broccoli Casserole

It was a great Saturday night at the Roediger House, with six around the table including a return visit by recently-departed friends David and Chris (they have relocated to Charlotte). It also turned into a bitterly cold evening with winds and mid-20s temps. To go with the warmth of friends reuniting, a casserole made sense to me. Because it was so good at the beginning of February, I thought I'd give cheesy chicken rice and broccoli casserole another go, and this time there was also Caesar salad and Parker House yeast rolls. The reviews from the crew were good.

While I have pretty much made it my own recipe, I still got inspiration and ideas from:
[Very little of each recipe actually made it into my version of that evening's dish, so I think my tinkering went beyond merely adapting.]

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Meal No. 1768: Glazed Grilled Center-Cut Pork Chops

Although much cooler temps have made their way back into Winston-Salem here at the beginning of March, and Thursday was a day of persisting gusts, I was drawn to the grill that evening once the air had stilled somewhat. Onto that grill I tossed salt-and-sugar-brined center cut bone-in pork chops, which were then finished with a tasty glaze. To go with it, I put together some roasted garlic and parmesan asparagus and added leftover smashed sweet potatoes.

A quick grumble: it was disappointing to get home from my Harris Teeter and find that the package of chops labeled "Thick Cut" included a half-truth:

The half-inch one was, of course, under the label and you couldn't see how small it was. When I was at the Teeter the next day, I shared this picture with Wes, the manager, and asked him to follow up with the guys in the butcher department. I'm glad I was just grilling and not stuffing them that night, or else I'd've been up in arms about that little mismatch of chops!

"Glazed Pork Chops," in Cuisine's Celebrate the Seasons: Summertime Menus, Issue 10 (June/July 2016), p. 36-38.

"Oven-Roasted Asparagus," from swedishmilk on

Monday, March 6, 2017

Meal No. 1767: Pepperoni Pizza

When my original plan for Wednesday night's dinner hit several serious snags, I had to back up and punt so that I could still serve up grub for the evening's guests. With the frightening storms and heavy downpours barrelling through, I couldn't abandon the kitchen and just take everybody out to dinner. I settled on homemade pepperoni pizza and we scarfed it down.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Meal No. 1766: Lamb and Mushroom Meatloaf

On the final day of February, with Mookie on hand, it was a return to the much-loved lamb and multi-mushroom meatloaf, along with smashed sweet potatoes and seasoned green beans.

Oh, oh so good!

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf" (p. 150) 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.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Meal No. 1765: Weeknight Chicken Tikka Masala

When Monday night rolled around and I was short on creative ideas about dinner, I put two chicken breasts to good use in the creamy flavorful sauce of chicken tikka masala.

"Chicken Tikka Masala," from Cook's Country, October/November 2014, centerfold recipe cards.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Meal No. 1764: Country Ham & Biscuits

Sunday night was more like Sunday breakfast, but what's not to like about my childhood favorite of country ham with rice and biscuits with grape jam?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Meal No. 1763: Chilly Night for Chili

Whew! After all these many gorgeous days in the 60s and 70s this month, it was a shock to the system when a cold front with gusty winds barreled through on Saturday night...dropping temps into the 30s. It was a good time for a big pot of beef chili and delicious sweet Southern cornbread.

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

Sweet Southern Cornbread adapted from "Golden Sweet Cornbread," from bluegirl on