Friday, June 30, 2017

Meal No. 1860: Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf

Friday night was a gathering of the most regular regulars, although we're missing Gern while he's off on a fantastic summer study trip. For the rest of us, it was Alien Resurrection and lamb-and-mushroom meat loaf, a spreading mass of sweet sweet potato casserole, and our common seasoned green beans. I was late with dinner and the crew was not unkind about that.

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

"Sweet Potato Casserole," based in part on Wanda Byerly's recipe, found in Cooking with Grace, by the Women's Fellowship of Grace Moravian Church, Mount Airy, NC (2001), p. 39.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

New Shower Doors, At Last!

The first major renovation and addition project that I undertook after buying the Roediger House began five years after I moved in, and was completed in the late spring of 2009. That included four full bathrooms and I wanted some roomy and sizable showers in them. Only this summer have I finally gotten around to having shower doors installed!

Alas, thanks to what appears to be poor tile installation by that project's general contractor, Peter R. "Pete" LaRoque of Mocksville NC, the main upstairs bathroom shower door is still not yet installed, because the tile on the shower door jam was poorly mudded...and broke when the guys tried to drill for the door hinges.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meal No. 1859: Grilled Filet Mignon Steaks

It was a fun gathering of four this evening, on an absolutely gorgeous June day (although I was teaching again today from 8 am to 5 pm!). Grilling seemed called for, as did a simpler dinner with limited clean-up. Filet mignon, baked potatoes, and roasted whole green you wish you'd been able to join us? I'll confess: my steak was one of the best I've ever cooked.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meal No. 1858: Weeknight Chicken Tikka Masala

It's always a treat when neighbors Alaina and Deborah can come up to the house for a bit of evening grub, which was the case this evening. I'd taught a really full day down at High Point University and time was somewhat limited, but chicken tikka masala and roasted cumin-and-coriander cauliflower were a delightful and practical combo for the crew.

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

"Roasted Cauliflower," from Cuisine at Home, Issue 85/February 2011, p. 15.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Meal No. 1856: Easy Creamy Swiss Baked Chicken Breasts

With Amy at the house tonight to hang out a bit while Gern is off on a summer travel study trip, and with me facing a very early rising tomorrow morning, dinner was served up just a bit earlier than usual. On our plates: creamy Swiss baked chicken breasts, stuffing, and asparagus salad supreme.

"Easy Creamy Swiss Baked Chicken Breasts," a recipe shared with me by Cindy Coulson in 1997. Versions of the recipe can be found here and here.

"Asparagus Salad Supreme," from Paula Bass [Washington, NC]. Originally published in Quick Cooking, March/April 2000, p. 37.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cookies for a 50th Birthday Bash

This evening, in order to have something in hand for a 50th birthday bash, I whipped up some Caramel Popcorn Cap'n Crunch Cookies, which really are just a delicious treat.

"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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Meal No. 1855: Pork Medallions in Dijon Mushroom Cream Sauce

After three days of work in Virginia this week, I made the nearly five-hour drive home in time to hit the kitchen and put dinner on the table for four of us: pork medallions in a dijon cream sauce with sautéed mushrooms and shallots. Company mashed potatoes are the perfect first side, and hot buttered garden peas were the final accompaniment. All plates were brought back up to the buffet bar for seconds.

"Pork Medallions with Dijon Mushroom Sauce," by Frank Hollands of Moorhead, Minnesota. Bake-Off Contest 37 (1996). Published in Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks' A Taste of the BAKE-OFF Issue from March 2001, p. 40-41.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Meal No. 1854: Grilled Chicken Breasts

It's been great to have an extended visit from friend, colleague, and former student Tim Schwarz over these last few days. In keeping with his determined efforts to eat a healthy ketogenic diet, I have tried to make the menus accommodating, so the Monday night meal included grilled boneless chicken breasts, asparagus salad supreme, and steamed cauliflower with yet more of that tasty cheese sauce.

Tim's managed to go back for seconds with these meals of late...I'll take that as a sign of approval.

Helpful guidance for grilling chicken breasts came from: "How to Grill the Juiciest Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts," by Joshua Bousel of

"Asparagus Salad Supreme," from Paula Bass [Washington, NC]. Originally published in Quick Cooking, March/April 2000, p. 37.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yellow Cake, Chocolate Frosting, and Cookie Butter Ice Cream

My nephew Eli is a fan of cake (somewhat) and ice cream (a great deal), and I'm hoping to be a reasonably decent although we went out to eat on Saturday night, I came home and made us a midnight serving of yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and added to it the cookie butter ice cream I'd prepared earlier in the day. We tackled it with some enthusiasm but all the bowls had some small unfinished remains.

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Meal No. 1853: Filipino Chicken Adobo

Plenty of folks around the table this past Sunday night, with the return of my sister Allison and her son Eli at the end of their annual summer beach trip, and Roediger House and WFU alum Tim Schwarz here. On the menu: Filipino chicken adobo, which I'd not made in over a year, along with basmati rice and steamed broccoli with cheese sauce.

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

Meal No. 1852: One-Pan Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables

Friday night's meal for four at the Roediger House featured another reasonably ketogenic-friendly offering, with the exception of those delicious roasted baby dutch potatoes: one-pan pork tenderloin, green beans, and the extra treat of cauliflower gratin. I always appreciate seeing that the cleared dishes by the sinkside are also satisfyingly clean plates, if that's a sign of the diners' satisfaction.

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

"Cauliflower Gratin," by Julia Collin. In Cook's Illustrated, Number Fifty-Five (March & April 2002), p. 18-19.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Meal No. 1851: Texas Thick-Cut Smoked Pork Chops

The Roediger House is enjoying the delightful surprise of an unanticipated summer visit by Tim Schwarz. Although he graduated ten years ago from the masters program I directed at Wake Forest University, and moved down to New Orleans to be an excellent educator at such a critical time, he has been a regular and reasonably frequent visitor back here. That's included quite a few Thanksgivings and plenty of summer visits. But it had been over a year and a half since he last made his way here, so it's a great reunion. Thanks to a significant change in his eating habits, he's gone with a ketogenic diet and so the dinner I made Thursday night was meant to complement that. On our plates: Texas thick-cut smoked pork chops with Virginia Pruitt's perfect barbecue sauce, along with fresh steamed broccoli and a new recipe for cheese sauce. The pork chops were very nearly perfect, and darned incredible...and over two inches thick. It was a fine meal.

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

"Virginia Pruitt's Perfect Barbecue Sauce," by Fred Thompson of Grillin' with Gas. Recipe found on

"Broccoli with Cheese Sauce," from Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. Published 23 February 2015.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Meal No. 1850: Baked Spaghetti

When the blog post entries are viewed in order, I guess it could make my menu list occasionally seem redundant. Last Saturday, for Meal No. 1849, dinner was lasagna. But because of a work trip to Virginia for a few days, the next time I cooked was this past Wednesday night. And with seven folks coming, and me working all day at a local high school, Meal No. 1850 was a big casserole dish of baked spaghetti, using a recipe I got from my friend Stick almost exactly 20 years ago. Lasagna, and then baked spaghetti? (But one was Saturday, and the other the following Wednesday...!)

I used to make baked spaghetti a lot when it was my turn to do the meal on the family beach seems to satisfy all kinds of palates and is filling and good.

And hey: I also managed to eek out a dessert for the evening: scotch chocolate cake, which some also call Texas sheet cake.

"Baked Spaghetti," by Margaret Coalson via Stick Coulson, 13 July 1997.

"Scotch Chocolate Cake," [in my world, also known as Texas sheet cake]. 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.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Van Gogh Is a "Go" Again

Van Gogh Guest Bedroom in 2009

Lord have mercy, it takes me longer than a month of Sunday sermons to ever get some things done. Take, for instance, the rear guest bedroom on the north side of the house, dubbed "The Van Gogh." (In a past iteration, it was decked out with various prints of Van Gogh paintings.)

Plaster Restored, Floors & Mantle Refinished, Freshly Painted in 2014

When I undertook plaster restoration, painting, and refinishing of the mantles and floors in the latter half of 2014, I decided at the last minute to include the front room that will someday be my study. That room had been the dumping ground for all my boxes and books and everything else from the time I bought the house, and then it was made much worse when I left the faculty of Wake Forest and had to bring all my office stuff home.

The study was the last room to get renovated in the fall of 2014 (well, before I also decided to finish out the attic!), and so I had to clear it out. Since the Van Gogh had just been remodeled and was barely furnished, it was the logical alternative for all that storage stuff:

In the intervening two years, it's been a challenge to find (1) the time and (2) the motivation to restore the Van Gogh to proper use as a guest room (I mean: it has its own private bathroom, for pete's sake!).  When the Christmas holidays rolled around, though, I finally got inspired enough. And it really was a full four-day project!

And another bonus: I ended up finding lots and lots of things either lost or long forgotten, and I couldn't be more pleased about that, either.

I'm pretty pleased for now with the result. The finishing touches of getting up some wall hangings and the full-length mirror were completed at the end of May. Still to do: drapes and valances...

Long-time Roediger House crew likely remember that the tall-lamped corner you see in the above picture is the corner which once held a very small full bathroom, before I added on new ones (door to the right) in 2008-2009. Here's how it looked in 2003:

Also, towards the end of this old blog post, you can see some other pictures that sort of capture it...wish I'd had my wide-angle lens back then!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meal No. 1849: World's Best Lasagna

With Amy and Gern over this past Saturday night, it was reasonable to believe that lasagna would be an acceptable choice for dinner.

The good lasagna helped me feel better about the bad time I had up against Gern on the pool table...he took me down 3-6 on the night.

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Meal No. 1848: Saturday Morning Breakfast

Some sausage patties were waiting patiently in the fridge this past Saturday morning, and my belly was grumbling impatiently. What else to do, but make a late breakfast?

Also: it's time for daylilies!

And the bee balm my sister brought from Indiana has begun to bloom:

I'm glad to see such a large and lovely bloom on one of my hydrangeas:

And the butterfly bush has burst out in royal glory:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Meal No. 1847: Vegetables for the Vegetarian

In what I hope is just the first of many visits to the Roediger House, a delightful couple comprised of Emily and Ethan came and hung out this past Friday night. They're remarkably calm kids for the fact that they were (at that time) only about a week away from matrimony! Ethan's a vegetarian and I wanted to be a good first-time host, so it was a vegetable plate kind of night when dinner rolled around: asparagus salad supreme, southern creamed corn, squash casserole, Michie Tavern stewed tomatoes, homemade applesauce, and golden sweet cornbread. It all seemed to come together nicely and I believe they enjoyed it.

"Asparagus Salad Supreme," from Paula Bass [Washington, NC]. Originally published in Quick Cooking, March/April 2000, p. 37.

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

"Squash Casserole," recipe from Margaret Holmes southern canned vegetables.

"Jefferson Stewed Tomatoes," from the Michie Tavern [Charlottesville, VA].

Guidance for Homemade Applesauce from:

"Golden Sweet Cornbread," from bluegirl on

Monday, June 12, 2017

Meal No. 1846: Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks

For the third time now, I've tried my hand at making chicken Philly cheese steaks, and they were good all over again. That was the basic dinner for this past Wednesday night, and it was still good as dinner leftovers on Thursday.

Speaking of Thursday, I went ahead and made a dessert that night: lemon chess pie. I fear I let it cook just a touch too long and I don't think it was as dependably good as I have come to expect. I still forked it into my greedy mouth, though.

Based on a combination of ideas from:

"Lemon Chess Pie," originally thought to be President Clinton's favorite version, but apparently it's not quite the same. My source is unknown but this link goes to the identical recipe.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Black Rat Snake Invader

The Roediger House is situated at the edge of Winston-Salem's central business district, and it is surrounded by offices and parking lots. The only wildlife that frolics here in abundance is birds, followed closely by squirrels and chipmunks. Sure, every once in a while there will be a possum. What I've never seen in fourteen years here is a snake...until this past Thursday.

Say hello to this black rat snake, which I caught out of the corner of my eye while outside doing some yard work.

My presence caused him to retreat up into that non-functioning drainpipe in the rear wall. I had to wait him out, even heating up and then eating my leftovers for lunch outside, until he emerged again.

Unfortunately, his target was the abode of my beloved chipmunks on the incline just beyond the rear property line, and that's unacceptable. So this mostly harmless black snake is now no more.

At the house in which I grew up in Buies Creek, it was my mother's policy that all snakes would earn the same fate, whether a threat or harmless. When Dr. Swiers, the neighbor across the street, reminded Mother that the black snake was the farmer's friend, her quick retort was, "I'm not a farmer."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Meal No. 1845: Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

This past Tuesday night, four were at the table, and the small plates were filled with a singular focus: cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole. Options for seconds were exercised freely.

While I have pretty much made it my own recipe, I still got inspiration and ideas from:

Friday, June 9, 2017

Meal No. 1844: Pipetizer Casserole

"Amy," I said this past Monday when she came over early to catch up on shows, "What ought I to make for dinner?" She recommended either lamb meatloaf or a gooey casserole. The gooey casserole won out, once I'd had a chance to see what was available at the Lowe's Foods south of town. So for the happy crew, it was a heaping steaming portion of Pipetizer Casserole, even though Gern had soundly beaten me 6-1 at pool.

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