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

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.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meal No. 1843: Deviled Chicken Thighs

Monday night's dinner included delicious deviled chicken thighs and, on the side, a bit of Caesar salad. Also, using some of the leftover creamy mashed potatoes from the other night, I turned them into company mashed potatoes.

"Deviled Chicken Drumsticks," by Ian Knauer. In Gourmet, August 2008.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Meal No. 1842: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

If you'd bellied up to the table at the Roediger House on Saturday night, a pseudo-healthy meal would have greeted you: grilled seasoned boneless chicken breast over a Caesar salad. I'm feeling much, much better about grilling those chicken breasts, thanks to the suggestions found on the website. It was pretty delicious and had the advantage of leaving just enough room for some more vanilla cake and cake batter ice cream.

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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Vanilla Birthday Cake and Cake Batter Ice Cream

Friday night's meal ended with a well-received dessert pairing: vanilla birthday cake with old-fashioned vanilla buttercream frosting, along with a fresh batch of cake batter ice cream. This was the second appearance of both of those desserts, and I'm pretty sure there will be many more appearances yet to come.

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

"Cake Batter Ice Cream," by smstemp on

Monday, June 5, 2017

Meal No. 1841: Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze

It was back to the grill on Friday night on the second full day of a visit from my sister and nephew from Indiana: pork kebabs with a barbecue glaze, along with creamy mashed potatoes, corn, and creamy stuffed eggs.

"Grilled Pork Kebabs with Barbecue Glaze," an online extra from Cook's Illustrated and based on "The Best Way to Grill Pork Tenderloin," Issue No. 134, May & June 2015, p. 6.

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

"Creamy Stuffed Eggs," a recipe shared with me by Barbara Huneycutt of Crozet, VA.

Guidance on Hard-Boiled Eggs: "The Hard Truth about Hard-Boiled Eggs," by J. Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Meal No. 1840: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

Thursday was the first full day of a visit from my sister and her son, en route to the North Carolina coast for their annual beach trip. Her husband Tom promised her, when he spirited her off (nearly 30 years ago!) to the wilds of Indiana, that she would always be able to travel back to her home state for family and ocean, even if he wasn't able to come along.

For dinner that night, I grilled juicy burgers and had a mess of smokin' sweet kettle chips on the side.

Eli just finished up eight grade and he's a great kid who's also getting mighty darned tall. I regret that we didn't get in as much time playing pool as we have in the past. And it's always good to catch up with Allison. We used to do that by staying up well past bedtime, but this old man ain't so good at that anymore.

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Meal No. 1839: BBQ Chicken Soup

When I made beer can chickens on the kamado grill this past Saturday, it was not only for dinner that night. I also looked forward to using the rest of the deboned smoked chicken in a huge batch of barbecue chicken soup, which is simply amazing. That's what I served up on Memorial Day, and that was the first opportunity for regular houseguest Jeremy to partake of that concoction. It seems he liked it well enough to take a couple of containers back up to Virginia at the end of his visit to the Roediger House.

Kamado Meal #35B

"Chicken on a Throne," from Smoke & Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press (2003), p. 171-173.

"BBQ Chicken Soup," from the folks at the Big Green Egg website.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Meal No. 1838: Thanksgiving on the Half-Year 2017

We've got some traditions here at the Roediger House, and one of my absolute favorites is how we celebrate with friends with the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Beginning in 2010, we added a regular Memorial Day weekend version of it and called it "Thanksgiving on the Half-Year." The 2017 event happened this past Sunday night, with eleven delightful anticipatory bellies at the dining room table, along with fun conversation and laughter.

All the usual dishes were on the menu, but not all are pictured separately:

Beef Tenderloin

Layered Green Bean Casserole

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

The complete plate:

Clockwise, from bottom:
beef tenderloin, apple/bacon stuffing, turkey with gravy, sweet potato casserole, horseradish sauce,
green bean casserole [center]

And dessert to ribbon carrot cake that was just delicious and a bit overwhelming:

"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. From "In The Kitchen with David," on

"Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake (1981)," also known as "Best Carrot Cake (October, 1997)," from Southern Living. Compiled in the Southern Living 1981 Annual Recipes, Birmingham: Oxmoor Press. Also found online. The recipe I follow was recommended to and shared with me by John & Ebbie Linaburg of Woodstock, Virginia.