Friday, February 28, 2014

Meal No. 931: Brendan's Moroccan Bistro Chicken

A night of planned but also welcome-but-unexpected guests, so I turned to the recipe shared with me by former student Brendan Shanley, because it's great with a crowd and with unpredictable arrival times.

Also, with the demolition of the rear wall and the old sales building that was right above my kitchen window, I now actually get to catch a glimpse of nice sunsets to the west, like the one I saw this evening while I worked on dinner:

"Layered Green Bean Casserole," from my sister Allison in Rossville, Indiana.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Caramel Cake

Wow. This cake had such great promise but the layers were dry as dust. Caramel icing was pretty delicious and that's what saved it for a day or so.

"Easy Caramel Cake," by Cali Rich. In Cook's Country, December/January 2009, p. 26.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal No. 928: Dijon Pork Medallions

This is a very sentimental meal for me, one that my mother and I made when she did her part to send me into kitchendom by buying a recipe magazine in the grocery check-out aisle. It's always good, and it always brings her to mind.

"Pork Medallions with Dijon Mushroom Sauce," by Frank Hollands of Minnesota. From Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks' A Taste of the BAKE-OFF Issue from March 2001, p. 40-41.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Meal No. 927: Roast Dijon Leg of Lamb

I played with a mix of ideas from recipes to achieve this evening's delicious roasted leg of lamb.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Meal No. 926: Beef Stir-Fry

Recipe based on "Glorious Beef with Mushrooms," in Wok Fast by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison. Ten Speed Press, 2002, p. 87 (recipe) and p. 26-27 (marinade and sauce).

Friday, February 21, 2014

Abita Mardi Gras Bock

It's about damned time. My friend and former WFU student Tim Schwarz got me hooked on Abita beers such as their Amber and especially their Turbodog. At Christmas I had come to appreciate their Christmas Ale. And he had been encouraging me to try to get my hands on some Mardi Gras Bock. But I couldn't find it around Winston-Salem. Until a week or so ago. That stuff is pretty darned good, and you'd better believe I've stocked up on this seasonal release. It's already sold out at Total Wine but I'm grabbing more as I find them at the grocery store.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Quanto Basta Coming to Spring Street

Former Elections Board Office, as seen from my upstairs porch
(center of picture, visible between two poles)

When I first moved to North Spring Street in downtown Winston-Salem, it was not just the gorgeous old house that drew me here. I also liked the convenience: to restaurants, galleries, performance spaces, bars, and government services. One of the first reaped benefits of this kind of convenient living was being able to walk across the street to the county elections board office to change my voter registration.

That office, though,  moved into the new county government complex on the other side of downtown shortly after that, which is still easy to walk to for early voting and such. The old building across the street has since then been many things, including home to the Winston-Salem Symphony, Bald Eagle Technologies (now merged with OutSourceIT), and a couple of inscrutable "financial advising" firms.

With a front entrance facing West Fourth Street and a side entrance facing North Spring Street, this building is at the early stages of renovation and reconstruction. According to a small article posted in Smitty's Notes, the good folks who opened the Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen, & Bar (within sight of the Roediger House) are going to turn this into Quanto Basta, an Italian restaurant and wine shop:

Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar coming to 4th Street Winston.

Coming soon! Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar. Located at 4th and Spring Street in downtown Winston-Salem. This is another project from the folks that brought us Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen, & Bar. Chef Tim Grandinetti, Lynn Murphy and Lynnette Matthews-Murphy. 

The establishment will feature a deli market and dining room on the first floor seating 80. A wine bar will be located on the second floor that will seat 60. There will be a Roof Top Terrace overlooking downtown that will seat 48. Construction has already started with an anticipated opening in Spring 2014.
From Smitty's Notes

A couple of weeks ago, Quanto Basta posted this rendering to their Facebook page:

Source: Quanto Basta Facebook Page
View from intersection of Fourth & Spring

Unfortunately, also a couple of weeks ago, the Spring Street side of the building got hit with this:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meal No. 925: Hamburger Supreme at Lunchtime

Before hitting the road to work a few days in the Shenandoah Valley, I made some lunch:

I think Ben Phillis would have really enjoyed it.

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

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meal No. 924: Breakfast for Dinner

It's always good and it's exceedingly rare around here: breakfast for dinner. Last night, after three more episodes of the second season of House of Cards, it included center-cut bacon, scrambled eggs with Swiss cheese (like Sheryl Cohen and I used to make back in 1997), creamy stone-ground grits, and biscuits.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal No. 923: Ribeye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce

I pan-seared this steak last night and also made another batch of home-made mashed potatoes to go with this. That onion blue cheese sauce is simple but rich in flavor.

"Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce," by Ree. From

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Meal No. 922: Chicken Tikka Masala

Still running a day behind on posting blog entries...

So last night's Saturday night meal, nestled in the midst of watching five episodes of the second season of House of Cards on Netflix, was this slow-cooker wonder: chicken tikka masala. This is another RoHo favorite that hasn't shown up on the menu in quite a while...maybe over a year.

"Chicken Tikka Masala," in Cuisine at Home, Issue 85, February 2011, p. 14-15.

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

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meal No. 921: Italian Milk-Braised Pork Loin

The Valentine's Day meal at the Roediger House last night was another new recipe, and another one that was fine but, to me, unremarkable. The home-made mashed potatoes and baby Brussels sprouts were helpful enhancers to it, though. And it was pretty good after getting out and doing some more shoveling of snow.

I actually kind of like shoveling snow. Of course, I rarely have to do it.

"Italian Milk-Braised Pork," by Lan Lam. In Cook's Illustrated, March & April, 2014, p. 10-11.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Meal No. 920: Crab Bisque

Last night, with the cold and the snow and the sleet, I felt like making a soup. I had come across this recipe for crab bisque and had wanted to try it. It was pretty good. Not stellar, but pretty good.

"Crab Bisque," from the Taste of Home website.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Meal No. 919: Shredded Beef Tacos

Last night, while the snow continued to fall, I tried this new recipe for making shredded beef tacos. I over-did the chilies in it but boy-howdy it was awfully tasty. This one's a keeper.

It was a great night to have some fresh-made snow cream on hand to cool the burning spices off my tongue!

"Taqueria Beef Tacos at Home: Shredded Beef Tacos," by Andrew Janjigian. In Cook's Illustrated, March & April 2014, p. 8-9.

A Collection of Snow Cream Recipes, from WRAL-TV5 in Raleigh, NC.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Meal No. 918: Crab-Boiled Country-Style Pork Ribs

Eight to twelve inches of snow? I'll believe it when I see it. But this forecast did send me scurrying to the grocery store late last night to stock up for the week. Just in case. Things were already pretty picked over, and there was one final package of country-style pork ribs available. And only two gallons of Vitamin D whole milk were left, so I got both of them since I'm seeing hot chocolate, a different pork meal with milk gravy, and probably some bowls of cereal if I'm not working because of snow.

This evening's crab-boiled pork ribs were topped with smoked onion barbecue sauce and served with delicious simple mac and cheese.

"Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs," by Emeril Lagasse. Found online at the Food Network.

"Smoked Onion Barbecue Sauce" (p. 360). In Smoke & Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison. Boston: The Harvard Common Press, 2003.

"Macaroni and Cheese Casserole," by Sarah Gabriel. In Cook's Country, June/July 2012, p. 17.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meal No. 917: Tomato-Gorgonzola Pasta

"Tomato-Gorgonzola Sauce with Pasta Shells," from Cuisine at Home, October 2007 (clipping).

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Meal No. 916: Diner-Style Pork Chops & Gravy

"Diner-Style Pork Chops and Gravy," in Cook's Country, December/January 2009, centerfold "30-Minute Supper" recipe cards.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Meal No. 915: Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry

While I've tried a few recipes for cashew stir-frys, I believe this is the first time I've used this particular recipe. And it was mighty good.

"Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry," in by Kris Widican. In Cook's Country, December/January 2009, p. 17.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Departures Depress Cyprus

Cyprus knows when I'm packing and she knows that she does not like it. Here's the stance she took last week, signaling strongly her disapproval of my impending departure.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Moon of December 2013

Here's another catch-up blog post.

December offered up a pretty moonrise up over the city skyline:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Thumb

It took until the latter half of January, but my "winter thumb" has now appeared. This is a painful crack in the skin at the right front edge of my thumbnail that occurs once it's cold enough long enough. I think this is the third year I've gotten it and it hurts like a mofo.

Another reason for me to pine away for the arrival of spring. I can be a whiner like that.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January's Unchronicled Dessert Run-Down

I'm a bit behind on posting some of the sweet treats prepared at the Roediger House over the last few weeks, so here's the catch-up blog entry...

Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake. The chili cook-off held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January was a great time, and a Guinness chocolate cheesecake was one of two desserts that I made for it. This was a rich, deeply chocolate concoction that could push one's tastebuds to the limit. Not sure I'll reach for it again anytime soon: I think I've got better cheesecake recipes. But I'd wanted to try it and the chili cook-off was a good impetus for doing so.

Willa Whitley's Lemon Custard Ice Cream. Thanks to the generosity of Donna Whitley-Smith, I am in greedy possession of the magical recipe for excellent frozen custard that comes from the Whitley family treasure trove. This was a sweet accompaniment and a tongue-soothing treat at the chili cook-off:

Red Velvet Cake. Near the end of January, with the peanut butter bacon burgers meal, there was also celebratory cake, since it was a birthday gathering. I have had mixed results with this recipe but when it's good, it's freakin' awesome.

Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake. I used to make this particular cake all the time, especially for the students in my teacher education classes at Wake Forest University. It's been quite a while but I found myself drawn to it over the weekend and, while it dipped badly in the middle, it was still a chocolate-y wonder.

"Lemon Custard Ice Cream," from Willa Whitley and shared by Donna Whitley-Smith.

"Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake," from Kevin Lynch at

"Grand Finale Dessert: Red Velvet Cake," from Cuisine at Home, Issue 90 (December 2011), p. 48-51. This recipe has also been posted online.

"Deep Dark Chocolate Cake" and "One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting," 100 Years of Hershey's Favorites, Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International (1994), p. 18-19.