Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Meal No. 2171: Grilled Chicken over Spinach Salad

Since lunch yesterday consisted of delicious leftover sweet pork nachos, I had to go lighter on dinner. So I made a fresh batch of honey mustard dressing, grilled some brined chicken breasts, and put these atop a hearty bowl of spinach leaves for a salad supper last night.

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

"5 Minute Honey Mustard Sauce," by Lindsay of PinchofYum.com. [Published 22 July 2015]

Monday, July 30, 2018

Meal No. 2170: Sheet Pan Sweet Pork Nachos

With six of us at dinner last night, and an ongoing hankering to again try out the sweet pork nachos baked on sheet pans, I must say: we had us a fine dinner on a gorgeous Sunday evening!

"Sweet Pork Nachos," from Holly of Life in the Lofthouse. [Published 01 August 2017]

"Loaded Sweet Pork Sheet Pan Nachos," from Elyse of Six Sisters Stuff. [Published 14 March 2018]

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Meal No. 2169: Roasted Salmon over Caesar Salad

After a week on the road, it felt really good to arrive back at home Saturday afternoon. There was unpacking and putting away to do, and also a grocery run, and then as the gorgeous evening came on, I turned my attention to a simple and mostly healthy dinner: roasted spice-rubbed salmon atop a Caesar-style salad. It did the trick after not eating a lot for the last seven days.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A Minimum and a Modicum for the Grove

When I bought the Roediger House in 2003, the front corner known as the Grove was a grassy area with four cherry trees and a Bradford pear in the center, all quite young. One of the cherry trees died quickly when it was still small enough for me to dig up; another one was diseased and was removed in 2012. The picture above shows how things stood in April 2010.

Since that time, I've done away with all grass in that plot and have planted azaleas, rhododendron, lariope, hostas, hydrangea, calla lilies, and day lilies. I built a planter to extend the lines of the retaining wall behind the movie screen. I've also created a lariope-lined path through there.

On the list of low-profile projects this summer, I've already mentioned installing a drain line through there. The other recent task for the Grove was building up the end closest to the parking lot and completing the mulching of the area, which occurred over the last couple of weeks. Some of the border lariope along that path had died out and I've now replaced that as well.

At this point in the summer, I've now almost used up my second load of mulch (above) and my pile of root-riddled top soil (below).

And I'm proud of and slightly anxious about the giant pile of discarded clay that I've dug out of various areas of the yard. It's about five feet high and two or three times as deep now. I've got to get that hauled off sometime.

Friday, July 27, 2018

This Is Not Your Driveway

Every once in a while, somebody operates with the foolish and mistaken belief, just because I have a large driveway, and I don't need to use all of it all of the time, that it's open to his or her use.

I respectfully disagree. And I make sure those interlopers find it necessary to come speak with me by strategically parking my truck:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sassying Up the Silt Fence Slope

Back Yard (April 2015)

So, yesterday's blog post talked about repairing a portion of the rear property line silt fence, that's been in place since early 2014 and that had been installed by the adjoining property owners while they wait to develop the land. But who knows when that will be, or what that will be? While I believe it's just a placeholder rendering, a concept was presented with some city planning docs that would imagines this sort of neighbor 20 feet from my kitchen window:

In the meantime, I feel like I'm in a holding pattern. Someday I might look right into a huge blank wall of a multi-story office building. Or perhaps it will be a parking lot (as it is now) for the rest of my life (or the rest of my residency in the Roediger House)...

BB&T Ballpark Fireworks (04 July 2017)

Without knowing what might someday sit very nearly on top of me back there, I've been uncertain about landscaping the back yard. Two years ago, I decided to plant three maple trees so that I could get a headstart on screening. They are coming along pretty well, thus far:

New Maples (June 2018)

I decided to go ahead and plant arbor vitae in the northwest corner of the back yard...no matter what gets built behind me, I'm pretty sure I'll be glad for that area to eventually be well-screened:

Once I got started on that area, though, I just kept on, which meant digging out a lot more tough clay and rock and brick and such. But now I've made that an ever better landscaped area, and I'm really liking it:

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Repair of the Silt Fence

For the first 10 years of my life in the Roediger House, my property backed up to what had been the used car lot for Modern Chevrolet. A large retaining wall held their property in place, and a crumbling brick wall only pretended to be useful right along the property line. Right around the beginning of the new year in 2014, that sales building and the retaining wall were demolished by the new property owners behind me and a steep slope and silt fence were installed (as shown above, from a few days ago).

Either that winter or the next, some desperate but inconsiderate snowboarder took advantage of that short but steep slope in one of our meager snowfalls and busted through the silt fence right where it meets the undemolished part of the wall. So a gradual erosion has occurred and a small delta has been building up into my back yard as a result:

I've been re-securing sections of the silt fence over the years, as the zip ties pull through the fabric, but I haven't gone about repairing this more major breach until this past week:

It's not my fence to fix but it's my battle that gets joined against the creeping elements and time, so I figured I'd best take it on. It's not an expert job but by golly it's doing something, right?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Doorbell Button Is Re-Lighted to Meet You

When the attic was renovated to become the new entertainment space and man cave, I had a second doorbell chime added there since it's a long way from the main chime, under the stairs on the first floor, all the way up to the third floor. The attic project and second chime installation came along just after I had the exterior of the front doors refinished as the first task by Clemmons Flooring, who ultimately refinished all the hardwood floors and many of the mantles and the hallway and dining room wainscoting and also several doors.

Not sure if it was the wood refinishing or the electrician, but somebody must've messed with the doorbell button at the front door and not only destroyed the bulb but also misplaced some of the interior housing.

It wasn't until the last few months that I even realized the doorbell button no longer lit up, which is how I discovered that there were problems in the button that had not been there when I first installed it myself back in 2003.

I've fixed it now, which is another small item checked off of the extensive to-do list. So if you come by the house in the evening or night, you'll find it easy to locate the button to summon us to greet you at the front door.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Haro Extreme Mountain Bike Refurbished

Another long-time to-do item has been achieved: I fetched my early 90s Haro Extreme mountain bike out of the cellar, where it's been for 15 years, and got it fixed and tuned up by the great guys at Mock Orange Bikes. I'm pretty excited to have it back up and running!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Meal No. 2168: Mixed Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

It was another fine day of yard work yesterday, with more progress on low-profile tasks and projects, in spite of a return of some unpleasant humidity. I'd had a filling enough lunch of leftover quesadillas and hunger was minimal at suppertime, so I was content with another bowl of mixed berry spinach salad with some of the remaining delicious and tangy raspberry vinaigrette. I've still got some of those really tasty cinnamon-vanilla spiced pecans, to boot!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Meal No. 2167: Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

When longtime and dear friend Jen Martin came last night to hang out, I thought we might do nicely with a warm and filling treat of chicken and cheese quesadillas. And we were not disappointed!

I might add: I've tried thus far to be somewhat philosophical about my first-time efforts growing tomatoes. I've sure made plenty of mistakes and missteps and have made notes for myself about how to do better in the Summer of 2019. But when I had checked a ripening Better Boy on Thursday evening, and again on Friday morning and mid-day, certain that it would be just right to serve up with the quesadillas last evening, I 'bout burst a vein in the side of my head to find that sometime during the afternoon some critter had gotten to it and chewed into it a bit.

I am now on a fateful mission to eradicate the squirrel problem plaguing my tomato harvest, and I'll be limited in the details of the operation so as not to invite scorn or derision from the more tender readers of the blog. This determined embrace of borderless malice is being fueled right now by the discovery this morning of a deeply-hidden wonderfully full and ripe beefeater tomato, which engendered a feeling of delicious excitement in me, until I picked it and felt the backside of it:

Since this tomato was so big, I just cut off that chewed part and found the rest of it to be quite delicious when eating leftovers at lunchtime today:

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 ForTheMommas.com. Adapted from "Fajita Seasoning Mix Recipe" on Food.com.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Meal No. 2166: Chicken Salad Melts on English Muffins

I got a little inventive last night for the Thursday evening supper. I'm not sure that it's all that remarkable to whip up a batch of chicken salad unlike one's previous versions...I suppose I'm in good company when it comes to tinkering and fiddling with the right combination. I seldom measure and generally just put it all together until the taste is right. Still, I was a little more attentive to what I was adding and how much of it, and the final result was just excellent sitting atop a huge sliced homegrown beefeater tomato on a toasted English muffin and crowned with a slab of cheese. More tomato and sliced apples on the side made this a refreshing summer evening dinner.

Speaking of tomatoes: it was frustrating to yet again find a nearly-ripe tomato on the vine had been nibbled at:

Also of note from yesterday: I answered the phone about mid-day and was asked if this was the Roediger House. After I confirmed that it was, I had to entertain a complaint from the very nice caller that the Roediger House website wasn't working properly and could I please tell her our Saturday and Sunday hours for house tours. I had to apologize that the house was not what she was imagining, since it was simply a private home, but I almost offered to have her come by anyway, just because it's a cool old place.

I understand the confusion, though! When I designed this simple website, I put short-named links in the title bar, and the first one definitely says "Tour." I really hate that the site has broken links, though, and someday I really will get around to updating it all.

"Chicken Salad Melt," a Roediger House original recipe.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Meal No. 2165: Plank-Grilled Slab of Atlantic Salmon

Wednesday night at the Roediger House, with dinner for four: plank-grilled salmon with a spice rub, with a chilled rosemary dijon cream sauce. Also: roasted garlic-parmesan asparagus, Jamaican coconut sweet rice, and a mixed berry salad with cinnamon vanilla-glazed walnuts and homemade raspberry vinaigrette.

It all made for really nice lunch leftovers the next day, outside, when I took a break from yardwork:

"Cedar Planked Salmon with Spice Rub," by Olha7397 on GeniusKitchen.com.

Additional Guidance on plank-grilling the salmon from "Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon Pepper and Horseradish-Chive Sauce," by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell. From FineCooking.com, Issue 111.

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

"Jamaican Coconut Sweet Rice," by Michaela of An Affair from the Heart.

Ideas and Guidance on Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Asparagus from:

"Raspberry Vinaigrette," from Robyn Stone of addapinch.com. [Published 13 March 2014]

"Cinnamon Vanilla Glazed Walnuts," from McCormick.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meal No. 2164: Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs

A dinner can still be quite good even if there's not all that much to it, as was the case last night: baked garlic chicken thighs with spinach cooked on the bottom of the dish.

Y'know, it's been dry as a bone and hot here these last several weeks. There has been no appreciable rain to hit us in downtown Winston-Salem in forever. It seems to me that 95% of the forecasts for some chance of showers or storms have amounted to nil. Take yesterday afternoon: there was this dramatic foreshadowing tweet from WXII:

The sky around the house even darkened sufficiently to make it all seem believable:

The rain we got, though, was equivalent to about one-and-a-half sneezes.

"Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs," from Sooz Cooks and published on Genius Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Meal No. 2163: Caesar Salad with Grilled Filet

I put in a very full day working in the yard yesterday and only had a small bit of hunger at dinner time. A Caesar salad topped with grilled filet and some sliced hard-boiled egg was just right for the evening.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Meal No. 2162: Filet Mignon Melt Sandwich

On my last excursion to the Harris Teeter, I spied a small pack of somewhat thin beef tenderloin steaks that were priced mighty low. I grabbed them thinking they'd be good, grilled, and atop a spinach salad. When it came time to make dinner last night, I instead made a filet mignon melt sandwich with caramelized Korean barbecue onions and a garlic aioli to boot. It was quite something!

"Filet Mignon Melt Sandwich," a Roediger House original recipe.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Meal No. 2161: Juicy Burgers on the Grill

By special request last night, I made juicy burgers on the grill, covered amply with cheese. I served them on toasted brioche buns, to boot! But for myself, I just had a salad:

It was a gorgeous night for another installment of a Roediger House reading party, held in the light summer evening breezes to be found on the second story porch:

As the evening wore into night, I can tell you that Sumner found it quite relaxing:

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

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Meal No. 2160: Planked Pork Tenderloin with Asian-Style Barbecue Sauce

For the Friday night meal at the Roediger House, I once again soaked a cedar plank and fired up the grill. This time it allowed me to serve up a pork tenderloin with a delicious Asian-style barbecue sauce (which was also used as the marinade for the meat). I tried two other new things: a roasted broccoli gratin, and yet another different Caesar dressing for a salad. An old stand-by was creamy stuffed eggs. Everything came out pretty great.

"Planked Pork Tenderloin," by Courtney Rappe. From Fire & Smoke (recipe originally included on insert with package of cedar planks). [Published 04 December 2017]

"Caesar Salad," by Sue Li and Chris Morocco. In Bon App├ętit, May 2013, p. 42.

"Blissed-Out Crispy Cheesy Broccoli Gratin," by Raquel Pelzel, Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless, November 2017.

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

Guidance for Hard-Boiled Eggs from "Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs," by Jill Winger of the Prairie Homestead [Published April 2016]; and from "Instant Pot Recipes Everyone Should Know," by Alina Bradford from c|net.com. [Published 17 May 2018]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Meal No. 2159: Mixed Berry Salad with Plank-Grilled Salmon

It was a bit over the top last night when I decided to make a mixed berry salad with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette and toasted pecans, along with spiced plank-grilled salmon. But whoo-whee!

"Cedar Planked Salmon with Spice Rub," by Olha7397 on GeniusKitchen.com.

Additional Guidance on plank-grilling the salmon from "Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon Pepper and Horseradish-Chive Sauce," by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell. From FineCooking.com, Issue 111.

"Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette," by Mira of CookingLSL.com.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Meal No. 2158: Roasted Salmon

I'm working on healthier meals, in a general sort of way, and last night was a fine example of how good that can actually be: roasted salmon with roasted parmesan asparagus and some tossed salad. I really wouldn't mind having that again tonight!

Lunch yesterday, though, wasn't nearly as healthy and represented a failure on my part to maintain my resolve after losing all this weight:

But I'll claw back some credit since, a couple days before, I made this my lunch:

I'm still heavy-handed on the dressing but I acknowledge that weakness.

Ideas and Guidance on Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Asparagus from:

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