Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Cinnamon Toast Blast from the Past

The photograph makes my cinnamon toast look overcooked, or burnt, even. But it was actually pretty close to on target.  Do you have any idea how long it's been since I even had any cinnamon toast? This was something I ate all the time growing up, and then it's been a favorite in the various places I've lived. It's the main reason that I kept a toaster oven for so long, although the one that went with me to start my freshman year at UNC finally got to where it didn't cook so well anymore and it's now down in the cellar somewhere.

When I was a hall director during my masters program at Wake Forest, I bought loaf after loaf of bread, and gallon after gallon of milk, and container after container of squeeze Parkay...because I made these for the guys in the dorm quite a bit. I recall fondly the late-night knocks on the door, when a whole suite of residents would troop over to the hall director apartment and demand that I fix this for them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lime Velvet Tart

Here's another blogging oversight: the lime velvet tart that I made last week. This rascal is pretty easy but I prefer throwing it together when I can get ahold of store-bought lime curd...I do not like having to make my own. I found some at the Martin's in Stephens City, VA, a couple of weeks ago and have been waiting for a good chance to put it to use.

Southern Living, February 2008, p. 120, 122.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monster Chip Cookies for Project CRISS

Last thing I managed to accomplish in the kitchen yesterday before leaving for Warrenton, VA: a huge batch of huge monster chip cookies. Let me be honest and confess: yes, I did have one hot out of the oven with a tall glass of Vitamin D milk, and that constituted my breakfast or lunch for the day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sour Cream Pound Cake / Bundt Coffee Cake

When I managed to awake at the ridiculously early hour of 4 am this morning, I found myself in the kitchen that I enjoy so much and got cranking on making a pile of desserts and goodies.

Tomorrow I'll be up in Warrenton, Virginia, for an update session for Project CRISS trainers. With everybody's budgets so tight, I have a suspicion that there may not be foodstuffs for all of us to help us get through that very long day.

So here's one thing I made to take with me:

This is the sour cream pound cake recipe from McCormick (the spices, seasonings, and extracts folks). The special ingredient that isn't available everywhere is their vanilla butter and nut extract/flavoring. It's always good, so I'm hoping it goes over well with any of tomorrow's takers.

The another goodie that I made in the wee hours of this morning was what we've always referred to as the Bundt coffee cake:

I did have my usual problem of a couple of patches sticking to the pan, where the swirl filling sunk down too low and bound itself to the bakeware. I bet it will still taste delicious, nonetheless.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meal No. 449: Filipino Chicken Adobo

Wow. This was yet another freakin' awesome meal. I'm just saying.

Based on the description in Cook's Illustrated, this is a "quick-cooking, pantry-ready braise with bold, tangy flavors and tender meat."

That's all I'll choose to say, except to say I served it over brown basmati along with baby lima beans. The crowd around the table joined me in proclaiming this a keeper.

"Introducing Chicken Adobo," by Bryan Roof. In Cook's Illustrated, Number 115, March & April 2012, p. 6-7.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meal No. 448: Hamburger Supreme

So on this Friday night, when I actually got home at 4pm from my work on the road, I was more able to cook dinner but I still didn't make it too fancy.

This is the infamous hamburger supreme, and it was famously good with the usual side of corn and the less usual side of cinnamon applesauce.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dog-Sitting to the Max!

Over the weekend, the Roediger House played host for an overnight stay by Cyprus's steady playdate, Max. They've gotten to where they play very well together. I snapped a few shots of their wrestling match on Saturday afternoon.

Cyprus does like to dominate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

February's Nearly-Full Moon over W-S

It was a lovely sight in the waning afternoon light/early evening just ahead of February's full moon. I wish I were more skilled with finessing my camera settings. I still like these two results, taken from the upstairs porch on the front of the house, looking east at the Winston-Salem skyline.

One of these might serve as a new starting point for a future Roediger House blog banner, no?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meal No. 447: Chicken Piccata, Sort Of...

While it was a bit of a grand meal to throw together with only about an hour to spare before hitting the road for this week's work, I managed to whip up a spread last night that gave me a huge dose of happy belly.

This is a version of chicken piccata, although the choice to leave out the capers (I don't hate them but I do not choose them) could have rendered this chicken dish into something more akin to "cutlets with garlicky-lemon sauce." I added to it a rare side dish, called sweet onion corn bake, that has probably only made one or two other Roediger House appearances in the nine years I've lived here. And asparagus is always good.

And hey: I even started off the meal with a garden salad topped with homemade buttermilk-blue cheese (well, gorgonzola) dressing.

"Chicken Piccata," in Cuisine at Home (clipping / date unknown).

"Sweet Onion Corn Bake," by Jeanette Travis (Fort Worth, TX). In Taste of Home, April-May 2003.

"Buttermilk-Blue Cheese Dressing," from Southern Living, February 2006, p. 137.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meal No. 446: Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce

Let me tell you what was on the dinner table last night, a meal rich in amazing flavors and simple enough for a Sunday night. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

You may not realize you should wish you were here for this, but you really should wish you were here for this.

"Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce," Cook's Illustrated, Number 115, March & April 2012, p. 10-11.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February's Small Winter Event!

In the midst of this unusually mild winter, Winston-Salem finally got something that made us all remember: "Oh yeah: it's February." A cold air mass swooped down in time to join up with a system of Gulf moisture working its way up the coast, and so an inch or two of snow blanketed the area. It started right on time, at the predicted hour of 3 o'clock, and stayed mostly in the small-flake range.

Here are some shots from this evening.

With the flash; captures the flakes coming down.

Without the flash, just a few seconds later. Gave it quite an eerie look.

Cyprus's first experience with snow with me, and she liked eating it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meal No. 445: Biscuits -N- Gravy, By Request

Good friends, whom I lovingly refer to as "The Jens," took note of the fact that I had yet to make biscuits and gravy for them. That was remedied tonight. I made 'em way too salty but I think they were enjoyed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Night, and Off the Road

While I impress myself with being able to make a long drive in after working up in Virginia for the week, and then still put some dinner on the table, I'll use this post to acknowledge that it doesn't always play out that way.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Scene of the Kill

Looks like there was some awesome action amongst my downtown wildlife creatures while I was out of town recently. I found that there was quite an evenly-dispersed spread of mourning dove feathers back in the private and relatively sheltered rear corner of the lot (where I have my compost pile), which to me suggests the neighborhood hawk was successful in obtaining a recent meal.

And the remaining two feet were a nice artistic touch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Luscious Lime Cookies

Just found a misplaced/misfiled draft entry from just after the New Year, on January 03, 2012:

A Tuesday morning diversion recently was to try out the lime juice powder that came with a collection of other kitchen goods in my latest order from King Arthur Flour. The recipe was simple but it made a very dry dough that left me nervous (sort of sugar cookie-ish, which I've not had good luck with in the past). But once these little buttons had cooked up, I was left with an incredibly tasty baked bit of goodness.

"Luscious Lime Cookies," from King Arthur Flour [online].

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pitiful Pit

This is what people in other parts of the country might call a barbeque, which isn't what we typically mean in the South when we refer to "barbecue." To the best of my knowledge, it was built by the guys who were part of FIRST, Inc., from whom I bought the house. Unfortunately, it has no cooking grates, and now there's too much growth up on the wall around it (trees, vines, saplings), so I don't think I could even use it for a cool-weather firepit.

I'd give it away, but I don't suppose you'd be able to move it anywhere.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meal No. 444: Pipetizer Casserole

On this chilly Monday evening, I made an overdue trek up to a/perture cinema, an independent movie house just up the street from the Roediger House, to take in this sensational new film, The Artist. The idea for catching the film came from dear friend Edna Green, when she came for dinner last week. We wanted to make sure we caught it before it closed up and was replaced by some other independent or art house selection.

Joining us was my cousin Marilyn, who has also only recently been to the house for the first time. On that previous occasion, I forgot to take her picture, and I remedied this tonight.

For dinner, which I enticed Marilyn to stick around for, I whipped up pipetizer casserole, because it was easy to throw together and it would serve whatever number of people happened to still be around when it came out of the oven.

"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, February 12, 2012

Meal No. 443: Grill-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

I found a good buy today on beef tenderloin roast at Sam's Club, so that led to a very special Sunday evening meal at the Roediger House. It made me go back and dig out a recipe for grilling a beef tenderloin that I'd used only once before (although, as I recall, it turned out to be on an occasion when my gas grill ran out of fuel in the middle of cooking).

The salad to start off the meal was rather straight-forward: hearts of romaine with a fresh-made (this afternoon) dose of buttermilk-blue cheese dressing. And the cognac-onion sauce for topping the beef was incredible.

While this meal was, of course, quite good, I do think I much prefer my beef tenderloin in wine sauce recipe. It's good to switch it up, I guess.

"Grill-Roasted Beef Tenderloin," from Cook's Illustrated, September/October 2004, Number 70,  p. 6-8.

"Cognac-Onion Sauce," from Southern Living, February 2006, p. 130.

"Buttermilk-Blue Cheese Dressing," from Southern Living, February 2006, p. 137.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meal No. 442: Butter Chicken

I reached for the Betty Crocker Indian Home Cooking cookbook again, and this time I turned to the tomato-cream sauce concoction known as Butter Chicken. It's in the vein of chicken tikka masala but is definitely different...and it's considerably simpler to put together. Still, I did have to track down some dried fenugreek leaves (méthi), and I went ahead and bought (rather than made) some ghee clarified butter. Glad that Golden India has a market on one side of their restaurant.

And it was also really good, nestled on top of jasmine rice and with garlic naan and a tall cold glass of ice water on the side.

"Butter Chicken," in Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking, Wiley 2001, p. 105.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Meal No. 441: Pancakes

Drove in from Virginia tonight, and this was the key to my dinner.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

Since the holidays at the end of 2011, I've had an issue of Cuisine at Home that was taunting me with a delicious-looking red velvet cake recipe. Over the weekend, I had a chance to try it out.

Some findings:

1) It's too tall for any of my cake carriers/containers. I had to cover it using an upside-down brining container.

2) I'd like the cake layers to have a bit more punch, a bit more flavor.

3) This frosting from Paula Deen does not work for me, at all. There's too much of something in its flavor and consistency, so that's almost lard-ish. I have better cream cheese frosting recipes that I'll reach for next time.

"Red Velvet Cake," from Cuisine at Home, Issue 90, December 2011, p. 48-51.

Paula Deen's Cream Cheese Frosting, found online at

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Mascot Makes Dessert

This past Saturday morning, the Roediger House got the full Phillis family treatment: a visit from parents Susan and Jim; and all three of their children: Bradley, Bethany, and Benjamin. For those guys, I wanted to have one of my oldest recipes, reaching all the way back to about 8th grade...something we've always just called "Bundt Coffee Cake." It went well with the coffee that only a few of us partook of, but I don't think it was considered shabby by those who washed it down with glasses of water.

That evening, when the dear and delightful Edna Green came over for dinner (now that she's my nearby neighbor), I also cranked out some home-made dessert: lemon buttermilk sherbet.

So, that meant dessert Saturday night could be a delicious combination of both the cake and the home-made sherbet. As sweet finishers go, this definitely worked.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meal No. 440: Grilled Tuna with Red Wine and Rosemary Dijon Vinaigrette

It was simply another beautiful day in Winston-Salem today, and with a need to make a good late lunch or early dinner before hitting the road, I found the grill was just the thing. (It wasn't such a bad thing that wild-caught yellowfin tuna was also nearly half its usual price!)

I do believe I've loved this meal every single time I've made it in the past, although it's been a while since it showed up on the RoHo menu. Some perfectly-cooked quinoa soaked up more of the vinaigrette, and the fordhook lima beans were my tribute to green vegetables.

Cook's Illustrated, No. 104, May-June 2010, p. 12-13.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meal No. 439: Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce

This Monday night at the Roediger House was a time of celebration. It's always a pleasure when former neighbor and good friend Jon Piper visits, although one of these days he's got to bring his lovely wife (and my former WFU student twice over). This was also a chance to mark off the second challenging day of student teaching for Ben Phillis. Why, he even let me go observe him this afternoon and we snuck in a bit of time to talk while the meal was in its final cooking stages.

My standard recipe for roasting a beef tenderloin continues to be "Beef Tenderloin in Wine Sauce," which is persistently and consistently delicious. I always try to have a side of spicy horseradish sauce, from the same cookbook, and it tends to pretty quickly win over any newbies. The sides were standards: company mashed potatoes and my new old friend, traditional Campbell's Kitchens green bean casserole.

"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).

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Meal No. 438: Super BBQ Bowl Sunday

It was the annual 6th & Vine Super Bowl party this evening, and I set my alarm this morning for 6 am so I could toss my nearly 9-pound pork shoulder into the slow cooker to deliver eastern North Carolina-style barbecue to the event. Don't care who wins, but enjoyed a few good commercials, and was bored by the half-time show. That's why I'm back home early and working on kitchen clean-up.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meal No. 437: Not So Cajun Chicken

Well, well, well.

That handsome devil over there to the right was me at around 4 years of age. And that's how old I was in 1970 when my sister graduated from Buies Creek High School in a class of around 28 people. She is the oldest sibling, and 14 years later I came along as the youngest of four children.

Her best friend in that graduating class was Edna, and I just learned that Edna, within the last few years, moved into a condo about a block and a half from me.

So it seemed like the very best thing to do was to have her over for dinner. That's what happened tonight.

The meal was a faithful stand-by and one of the most favorite meals on the Roediger House list of dinner possibilities: not so cajun chicken. There was also the added bonus of another surprise visit by good friend Jon Piper, formerly a fellow resident of Spring Street and the one who found this house and made me buy it. He's in town a couple of days, and he's crashing here as is our standard agreement.

Dinner was pretty good, with the not so cajun chicken resting on some basmati and good green beans to balance it out. The bread machine offered up a loaf of fresh-baked honey wheat bread. Edna brought a great salad with walnuts, blue cheese, and dried cranberries.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Meal No. 436: Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola

Behold this lovely feast. It's based on a recipe by Jill Anderson, and it's delicious. It's also pretty darned easy to make. This is her take on chicken marsala, with the nice addition of Gorgonzola. I put it on top of some fresh steamed rice and put baby lima beans on the plate to round it all out. This was a good way to celebrate coming home from the past week's work on the road.

"Chicken Marsala with Gorgonzola," by Jill Anderson (Sleepy Eye, MN). In Taste of Home, February/March 2012, p. 34-35.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Continued Ice Cream Kick

Wow. There's been some ice cream and frozen yogurt and frozen custard been made up in the Roediger House this last month.

Over the last week, two different batches of a new recipe find were made. This one is very, very simple, and it's called Chocolate Frostie Ice Cream, in part because it sure is reminiscent of a Wendy's frostie.

First batch, after setting up in the freezer
It's pretty direct: a half-gallon of very chocolatey chocolate milk, 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip, and a can of sweetened condensed milk. That's it. Mix is all together, chill it, and put it into a larger ice cream freezer.

Second batch, with dulce de leche; fresh from the ice cream churn
The variation for the dinner I made on Monday night: substituting Nestlé's Dulce de Leche for the Eagle Brand milk, and adding a healthy dose of Hershey's chocolate syrup.

The result was smooth, creamy, and even more delicious.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Maiming of the Shrew

I'm using the word "shrew" to refer to the creature featured in this blog post, because that's what looked closest in my online information search, and because I don't think I have to know all that much about this. It could be a young mole but I don't know.

Anyway, Cyprus has been going a bit sniff-and-smell and dart-around-searching-crazy for the last few weeks, whenever she goes out in the back yard to do her business. I assumed it was a mouse or perhaps a city rat.

Yesterday, she trapped a squeaky and tiny mouse-like varmint, and the incident did not end well for the shrew. You should have seen how much Cyprus's mouth was dripping and drooling when I took this away from her. She's got her natural instincts well represented in her constitutional make-up!