Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Meal No. 1388: Deviled Beef Short Ribs

The good weekend food and festivities continued unabated this past Saturday night. Since it was Wake Forest University's homecoming weekend, the Roediger House got to enjoy a lot of time with guests Matt and Jenn. We had a fantastic time.

The Saturday night meal was totally sourced from issues of Cook's Country and featured the deviled beef short ribs that seem to always go over reasonably well. I doubt I'll get my short ribs from Lowe's Foods anymore, though: these were a mixed batch in terms of meatiness.

I also tried out a couple of new recipes for the sides, including Brussels sprout gratin:

There was also a new take on sweet potatoes, with a light "candying" of them that led to a very satisfying result:

It made for a nice Saturday night plate!

"Deviled Beef Short Ribs," by Jeremy Sauer. In Cook's Country, April/May 2014, p. 12-13.

"Brussels Sprout Gratin," by Morgan Bolling. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 22.

"Candied Sweet Potatoes," by Cecilia Jenkins. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 21.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Meal No. 1387: Saturday Morning Cinnamon Toast

A childhood favorite of mine was cinnamon toast, usually made with squeeze Parkay and a generous spreading of cinnamon sugar. I took this breakfast/late-night-snack treasure with me into my role as a hall director for a freshman men's dorm at Wake Forest University, when I was getting my masters degree, and it's one of the things a lot of those guys remember all these years later.

Since fellow alums Matt Phillips and Jenn Moore were here this past weekend, nostalgia required that we revisit this, and it sufficed for our Saturday morning breakfast before the two of them headed out to the Homecoming football game at Groves Stadium.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Meal No. 1386: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

On Friday night, I was mighty happy that the Roediger House began a rainy weekend hosting fellow Wake Forest alums Matt Phillips and Jenn Moore. Matt was a freshman in my dorm during my first year as a hall director at WFU, and then he became an RA on my staff the second year. We've remained good friends through the years, and I made many a trek up to DC to hang with him and his crew when I lived in Charlottesville. But it'd been about seven years since we last caught up, which is much too long.

For dinner: slow-cooker chicken tikka masala over jasmine rice, with roasted cumin and coriander cauliflower on the side. It seemed to do us right.

"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.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Meal No. 1385: Linton Hopkins's Bucatini Carbonara

The Roediger House played host Thursday evening to some dear friends who'd not been here in a while. Unfortunately, though, I was quite late coming home thanks to a full day of observing with middle school teachers, followed by a meeting with the chief academic officer in a neighboring county.

With no time to plan better and without stopping at the grocery store, I relied on pantry staples to make the uniquely-styled version of carbonara created by Linton Hopkins. It was well-received and was well-complimented by the apple Doris cake brought by one of the marvelous guests.

"Bucatini Carbonara," by Linton Hopkins. In Food & Wine, July 2009.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Meal No. 1384: Breakfast for Dinner

After two full days with a fantastic group of elementary principals here in Winston-Salem, I had a short window of unwinding that afternoon before dashing out to another meeting of the Holly Avenue Neighborhood Association. By the time I returned home, Wednesday night's dinner needed to be something I could make quick and with what I had on hand.

And boy howdy: breakfast sounded awesome...some sausage patties, creamy grits, sunnyside-up fried eggs, toast, jelly, and milk.

This also was my inaugural use of the new cast iron skillet I finally acquired. This southern boy has never had one, which seems a violation of some important creed.

"Creamy Grits," from Luquire Family Stone Ground Grits, milled in Greenwood, SC.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Meal No. 1383: Simple Beef Chili with Beans

Last Tuesday evening, the kitchen table was one spot shy of being fully seated, and by popular demand the menu was a big pot of chili. We all thought it was among the best we've had here, and that's a fine way to get the fall season started.

"Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans," from Cook's Illustrated, Number Sixty-One [March-April 2003], p. 10-11.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding

Over the weekend, a wonderful woman named Gloria, who was a student of mine my first year teaching, posted to Facebook a twisted version of banana pudding that I decided I had to try. These things get passed around on social media and figuring out their source gets tricky, but it appears to be pretty much an exact match for a Paula Deen recipe. I figure I'll title it (above) as Paula Deen did, and the printable pdf version (see link at bottom) gets the Facebook title: "Best Banana Pudding."

It was rich but pretty good and the pudding/filling was decidedly thick and creamy. I'm not sure I think it's so much better than my other usual version. But when I want my banana pudding to feel and taste hearty, with just a slight tang from the cream cheese, I reckon this one will do.

"Best Banana Pudding," from Facebook, also known as "Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding," from Paula Deen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Meal No. 1382: Filipino Chicken Adobo

After a good but long day of peer observations with teams of teachers over in Guilford County, I got home late Monday afternoon in time for a meeting here at the house with a member of the Curry School of Education's Foundation team. I'm glad to hear that funds are being raised to name a classroom space for my friend, advisor, and mentor Jerry Moore and his wonderful wife Joan, and I look forward to contributing to that effort.

Then I switched into dinner prep mode, because a neighbor from across the street was coming over to the house for the first time. The street I live on is dotted with a lot of rentals and apartments and so the population tends to be pretty transient. I've not been all that good at reaching out as much as I should. This counts as one of the exceptions.

I went with the reliable stand-by of filipino chicken adobo but I need to realize my fondness for dark-brewed soy sauce is not the best choice in a long-simmering chicken dish. I thought things were on the over-cooked side of the ledger and the sauce even got a little gummy. But hey: it still satisfied even if it failed to inspire confidence in the Roediger House's culinary prowess.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meal No. 1381: Blackened Grilled Pork Chops

The Sunday night meal at the Roediger House felt like a long good-bye to summer. According to the forecast that was in place for the upcoming week, temps were going to take a noticeable dip and the beginning of autumn (today) was going to seem like the shutting of a door. I hate to see summer fade, and I dread the approach of winter. But I do love September for many reasons, and this month has certainly been a good one.

Well, all that's to say: I thought I ought to grill out last Sunday night, so I picked up pork chops, tossed some blackening spice on them, added stuffing and a pile of buttered corn, and I was more than happy with how it all turned out.

Guidance for grilling these pork chops based on "Molasses-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops," adapted by Nick Kindelsperger from Bobby Flay's Grill It! Found online at

Monday, September 21, 2015

Meal No. 1380: Doctor Who Series 9 Premiere Brunch

As noted about a year ago, Doctor Who is definitely a favorite in the Roediger House universe, and it counts many fans from the regulars around the RoHo.

Series 9 premiered Saturday night on BBC America but, since I don't have cable or satellite, my habit is to purchase it the next day through Amazon Prime Instant Video. We get pretty excited and stirred up once the new season rolls around, and we are keen to make special plans to all sit down and watch it together. So, on Sunday morning, I made bacon-and-cheese scrambled eggs, Cinnabon cinnamon roll cake, and coffee to get us all started.

Then, after our filling breakfast, we trooped upstairs to fire up the big screen plasma TV. And all we could get was the spinning "loading" wheel from Amazon Prime. Apparently, there was a nationwide outage of the service that lasted for at least a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, that exceeded the window of time that some of our group had so we made alternate plans to eat a one-bowl meal on Tuesday night while watching it then. I hope Amazon Prime doesn't let us down!

Based on "Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs," from Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks, April 2001, No. 242, p. 18-19.

"Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake":

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Meal No. 1379: Shrimp Creole

I've had it in the back of my mind for several years now that I wanted to try making shrimp creole. I can trace it back to a delicious Christmas-time visit and meal with former middle school student Brendan Shanley and his folks, Carol and Fred. Carol served up a fine dish of it that I was inspired by. My follow-through has been slow in coming, but last night I finally made it happen. And it was pretty good, all things considered. It was a fine one-bowl meal before a small crew of us sat down to watch the 1987 classic: Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

"Shrimp Creole," by Katie Leaird. In Cook's Country, October/November 2015, p. 13.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Meal No. 1378: Chicken Salad Sandwiches

After a great long Saturday morning drive over into Davie County, with Cyprus lying lovingly across my lap in the Tundra, there were belly noises being made. I took the rest of a rotisserie chicken and turned it into a delicious chicken salad to pile up on fresh hamburger buns for the mid-day meal. With a cold can of real sugar Pepsi, this really hit the spot.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Meal No. 1377: Navajo Frybread Tacos

Back by popular demand, it was a Friday frynight with the homemade taco and frybread meal that comes from This is worth trying, folks, because it sure is filling and delicious. Even better tonight because I stopped off at the Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market to pick up some fresh flavorful tomatoes.

"Indian Frybread and Indian Tacos" and "Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meal No. 1376: Jimmy's Cajun Chicken Pizza

Tonight was a chance to try another new recipe, and it was also a return to an attempt to do a homemade pizza. This one was a little on the unusual side: it was a cajun chicken pizza. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, given what goes into it: a buttermilk-sour cream-creole seasoning-ranch mix sauce, for instance.

In the end, though, I'm glad I made it. It was pretty remarkable.

"Jimmy's Cajun Chicken Pizza," from Chef James Rigato. From National Public Radio's Series, Found Recipes, published on May 29, 2015.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meal No. 1375: Peanut Butter Bacon Burgers

For the Roediger House Wednesday night meal, I returned to our delicious weird concoction known as peanut butter bacon burgers. I think this is the 19th time I've made these. And oh my gosh, they were incredible yet again. I just hope that Felicia Bowser doesn't find out that I made them without her here to partake.

A review of key points about the Roediger House peanut butter bacon burgers:
  • Inspired by Yo Mama's in the French Quarter of New Orleans
  • First Made: Meal No. 180
  • Last Made: Meal No. 1341
  • Fresh Home-Ground Beef, typically from boneless beef short ribs and top sirloin
  • Homemade Peanut Butter
  • Homemade Classic Burger Sauce (recipe below)
  • Labeled Sample "Final Product" Burger: Guide to Meal No. 234
  • Some guidance, inspiration, and tips are based on Cook's Illustrated, No. 93 (July/August 2008), p. 10.

Classic Burger Sauce
from Cook's Illustrated, July-August 2008, p. 11.
4 T mayonnaise
2 T ketchup
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

"Bacon Sheets," from

Monday, September 14, 2015

Meal No. 1373: Creole-Spiced Chicken over Caesar Salad

I had such a late lunch today that I preferred a lighter dinner. It had been quite a while since I did a simple salad with a protein on top, and that just sounded perfect this evening.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Meal No. 1372: Lamb and Mushroom Meatloaf

It's another birthday for this old man, and as I've demonstrated in the past, one way I like to celebrate it is to make a good meal and have dear friends come and share it with me. That was this evening's affair, and it was a delight.

On my flight home from Los Angeles Saturday, I had the rare pleasure of interesting seatmates in the guise of a couple named Colby and Crystal. Our conversation filled nearly the entirety of the four-hour flight to Charlotte, and it included comparing notes on kitchen endeavors. Since Colby is originally from McDowell County, just east of Asheville, he was familiar with the Tupelo Honey Cafe, but he'd not yet come across the cookbook that has so many great recipes.

Anyway, I guess that's what gave me the hankering to make one of my favorites from Tupelo Honey: lamb and multi-mushroom meatloaf, along with their take on smashed sweet potatoes. The crew on hand tonight has made quite well known their fondness for the layered green bean casserole dish, so that's what rounded out these lovely plates (which were my Mother's fine china):

"Lamb and Multi-Mushroom Meat Loaf" (p. 150) and "Smashed Sweet Potatoes" (p. 128), 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.

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

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Return to Fall

After several days of work at the Pilgrim School in Los Angeles, I returned home today and was greeted by a distinct change in the weather!

Apparently, I had the good luck to be in LA during their typical one-week September heat wave, because we had temps at or near 100°F for the three days I was out there on the job. I had the pleasure of working with an amazing leadership team there, though, and while it is incredibly intense and potentially quite draining, they rose to all challenges and were still energized and smiling when we emerged on the other side of our sessions.

I especially appreciated the nice note that the Dean of Instruction sent me on his way out of town Friday afternoon (shown at right).

It had been quite a while since I'd been to LA, and this is my first exposure to the Pilgrim School. It was terrific. We identified quite a few areas that might be worth tackling together, so perhaps there will be future occasions to work with these fine folks again.

My dear friend Sheryl (we were together at the University of Virginia in our respective education PhD programs, nearly 20 years ago!) was a fantastic host, as always.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, though, the weather has taken a decidedly fall-like turn back here in Winston-Salem, and it is gorgeous. My single clump of iris that, to me, blooms at strange times, has been quiet all summer and greeted me with this beautiful bloom when I came in from the airport:

While I believe deep down Cyprus is glad to have me home again, she cannot get over her fascination with the trailing scents of either the chipmunk or the rat that's been scampering around in the flower beds the last few weeks. When I took her outside, she paid me no mind but that wonderful blind bombshell was on high sniff alert:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dessert Labors of Labor Day Weekend

It was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, with company in from out of town, and I wanted to put together a special dessert for dinner that night. I had two recipes that I'd wanted to try out, and they promised a certain complimentary flair, so I tackled the time-consuming preparation of them both for much of the afternoon (and into the evening!). After a great dinner of pan-seared pork medallions in a ginger-shiitake-soy cream sauce, this was sort of a heavy dessert: an intensely chocolate-y layer cake with some homemade salty caramel ice cream on the side:

But it was not a particularly successful endeavor. Well, it was partially successful. Here's the deal.

Both of these items involved making caramel by melting down sugar. For the ice cream, that worked out reasonably well (although as you'll see below, I think it was an insufficient amount of sugar). The caramelizing of the sugar for the cake was in order to create a thick but spreadable layer of caramel to go between each of the cake layers...but even though I thought I watched it carefully, it ended up with a nasty burned taste. I discarded that caramel filling and doubled the rich deep chocolate frosting and used it as filling and as icing. That proved to be an excellent accommodation: this is about the most intense chocolate cake I've ever made, incredibly moist and flavorful. You probably don't want a regular sized piece of it, frankly. It has the potential to overwhelm you.

As for that ice cream...I have a small collection of recently-obtained ice cream recipes that I've wanted to work my way through. The first of those was fantastic: the red velvet ice cream with cream cheese swirl. The second one was reasonably well-received by that evening's company but I didn't think it was worth repeating: coffee toffee ice cream.

So the next one I tried out was for salty caramel ice cream, last Saturday night. I've become quite fond of salty caramel ice creams and gelatos. I've also enjoyed discovering the caramel version of Liberté yogurt. I was pretty pumped to try this out at home.

But where is the sweetness?! This is an incredibly blah ice cream. I expect some of it will get eaten, just because it's here, but I'll not be surprised if I throw out what's left. I realize kitchen life is full of its ups and downs, but man-o-man I hate to put in that many hours and come out with a double-dose of disappointment.

"Chocolate-Caramel Layer Cake," by Lan Lam. In Cook's Illustrated, Number 136, September & October 2015, p. 20-22.

"Salty Caramel Ice Cream," a not-at-all-good ice cream, I'm afraid. Yuck. Try it if you want to. But I would discourage you. Totally. Adapted from Jeni Britton Bauer and originally published in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Found online at

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Meal No. 1371: World's Best Lasagna

I like it meaty, saucy, and cheesy. That's the lasagna that was talking to me this past Sunday night when some of the usual crew gathered around the table.

By the way, I guess the reason this is the go-to lasagna recipe for me is because it was the top hit on a google search and, once I tried it, I saw no reason to look any further. When I was writing up this blog post, though, I was trying to remember if the author was a restaurant chef. Turns out he's just a talented home cook. And this recipe has been Number One for 12 years on

This has led to a bit of newsworthiness for Mr. John Chandler, the recipe's author, on Good Morning America and in the Washington Post.

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

One Phenomenal Pie: Atlantic Beach Pie

Granted: it's a North Carolina beaches concoction that is definitely similar to the way key lime pie is often made. But the variations are significant enough to grant it its own special imprimatur: Atlantic Beach Pie. Made famous all over again by the chef at Chapel Hill's famed Crook's Corner, this is a lemon, egg yolk, and sweetened condensed milk base cooked inside a sweet-and-salty crust made from pulverized Ritz crackers, butter, and sugar. It sure takes me back to many a meal on the southeastern North Carolina coast during childhood vacations.

Call it what you will, but this rascal finds a happy home in my mouth. It was a tasty dessert last Thursday night.

"One Phenomenal Pie: Atlantic Beach Pie," from Chef Bill Smith. Published in Our State Magazine, May 2014. Also featured in "Found Recipes" on All Things Considered from National Public Radio, broadcast April 13, 2013.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meal No. 1370: Pan-Seared Pork Medallions in a Ginger-Shiitake-Soy Cream Sauce

This past Saturday night, with a regular weekend guest on hand, I returned to one of the all-time Roediger House favorite meals: pan-seared pork medallions in a ginger-shiitake-garlic-soy cream sauce. It's as good as it sounds, my friends. The sides were mashed potatoes and seasoned lima beans, but the desserts (yes, plural!) will be blogged about later.

Recipe based on "Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce," from The Bon Appétit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild, 2006, p. 398-399.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Rainy Food Truck Friday, and Gallery Hop

Just as the weekend was kicking off, and the trucks were in place for the latest Downtown Winston-Salem Food Truck Friday behind the house, the rains and some storming arrived.

But people merely retreated to their cars for a bit, or whipped out their umbrellas, or sought shelter under the food truck canopies. I watched from the pool table gable window until the rain let up. And then I went for some supper, from the Taqueira El Azteca taco truck.

Then I headed out to Gallery Hop in the Arts District on Trade Street. The rains had pretty much cleared out but you could tell it put a slight damper on the crowds. Still, I got to see some great art and had the bonus of meeting new neighbors who have moved in just down Spring Street. All in all, it was another fantastic Friday night in downtown Winston-Salem, capped off by enough time to relax over some Abita Andygators once I was back at the house.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Meal No. 1369: Savory Garlic Beef & Broccoli Turnovers

It's been years since friend and colleague Leslie Martin has come over to the house, and the dinner visit this past Thursday night was long, long overdue. It's my fault: she's promised to be here if I'd just send her the dates that worked best, and I repeatedly failed to get that ball rolling. Leslie definitely appreciates how much this house has been transformed by all the work that I've had done to it. She knew what it looked like when I first bought it in 2003.

For dinner that night, we had a terrific dish created by Kirsten Shabaz, as part of a Philadelphia Cream Cheese promotion, if I remember correctly. I stumbled across it in an issue of Taste of Home, which almost always then makes its recipes available via their website. This one isn't, though. Instead, to access the original, you might look at a reposting of it on

On the Kraft website, it's been reworked to account for the unavailability of the savory garlic cooking creme that's no longer marketed. I don't like that Kirsten's name has been completely removed from authorship, though. And quite frankly, I prefer the DIY cooking creme recipe that I've posted down below.

I guess the recipes that Kirsten and other women created back in 2010 or 2011 were supposed to boost the demand for the short-lived "cooking cremes" that were so briefly in grocery stores. Kraft seems to recognize that people still yearn for them, even though they were an unsuccessful venture in the Philadelphia line, and they finally put up this Tumblr page to help people craft (ha!) them at home.

"Savory Garlic Beef & Broccoli Turnovers," by Kirsten Shabaz of Minneapolis, MN. Taste of Home, November 2011, p. 31. (Go to for a copy of the original recipe.)

"DIY Cooking Creme," from Joy in My Kitchen, 25 May 2011.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Meal No. 1368: Spice-Rubbed Grilled Turkey Tenderloins

I made this meal quite recently but it was so delicious I was ready to give it another go. So the Roediger House dinner table this past Wednesday night was filled with spice-rubbed grilled turkey tenderloin, along with stuffing and baby Brussels sprouts.

"Spice-Rubbed Grilled Turkey Tenderloins," from Southern Living, March 2009.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Meal No. 1367: Biscuits 'n Sausage Gravy

Wednesday's noontime attraction ended up being a meal instead of a snack or a sandwich, and it prominently featured biscuits and sausage gravy. This was not a meal that I grew up eating and only came to appreciate as I approached middle age. This might call into question some of my southern credentials.

And I couldn't quite finish it:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Meal No. 1366: Grilled Blackened Tuna Steaks

Although occupying a large portion of the plate, this grilled ahi tuna steak was actually cut a bit on the thinner side. It only took about a minute and a half per side on a very hot grill to cook it up just right this past Monday night. It was still too large for me to finish it all. With quinoa and sugar snap peas, it sure hit the spot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Mission Possible Endeavor: Caramel Popcorn Crunch Cookies

Oh, these caramel popcorn crunch cookies are devilishly delicious. I got up early yesterday morning so that I could make a batch, by special request, for the Mission Possible team I've been working with in Guilford County Schools. I had a planning meeting with them and this seemed like a good addition to our session.

"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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Meal No. 1365: Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Shallots in Roasted Garlic Wine Sauce

This fine skillet chicken dish has only made one previous appearance at the Roediger House. I thought it was better on its inaugural run, but Sunday night it was still a delicious meal.

"Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Shallots in Roasted Garlic Wine Sauce," from Amie, the Day-Dreaming Optimist. Her blog is A Meaning of An Optimist.