Sunday, January 31, 2016

Meal No. 1469: Patty Melts

What a gorgeous final day of January! I was glad I could get outside a bit today, even though the blustery breezes made it feel considerably colder than the mid-60s. What an end of January, though, and I say: good riddance. Let's get into the dark doldrums of February and then proceed to get past wintertime.

Ah, but this January 31st blog post is actually a report on a meal from the first day of this past week: Monday. So read on, won't you?

With a bit of ground beef left over from the previous night's bacon-wrapped meatloaf, I decided to keep it simple and return to an easy favorite: sourdough patty melts. They were just the ticket on that Monday snow day, when I didn't have to work since schools were not in session.

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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Meal No. 1468: Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

This past Sunday night, for one of the smaller gatherings at mealtime, I decided I was ready to make a veritable feast. It included bacon-wrapped meatloaf, company mashed potatoes, and green beans.

But I also ventured into homemade applesauce and a new recipe for sweet cornbread, both of which turned out to be really good.

I'm glad I invested in the peeler-corer-slicer for apples: I had ten of those rascals peeled, cored, sliced, and ready for the stovetop in just minutes.

I had only once before tried making apple sauce, over ten years ago, and it didn't turn out too well on that occasion. Tonight, though: pretty much spot on!

"The Ultimate Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf," by Cristin Walsh. In Cook's Country, February/March 2015, p. 4-5.

"Company Mashed Potatoes," a Jones family favorite.

"Golden Sweet Cornbread," from bluegirl on

Guidance for Homemade Applesauce from:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Meal No. 1467: Island Pork Tenderloin

The winter weather snowed-in meal this past Saturday night was a second pass at a delicious roasted pork tenderloin, with a creamy wine and shallot sauce. Alongside, pearl couscous and a first attempt at one of Ina Garten's roasted Brussels sprouts recipes. It was all mighty fine!

"Island Pork Tenderloin" and "White Wine Cream Sauce," from Sherry's Cafe Vita. Found online.

"Roasted Brussels Sprouts," from Ina Garten. Found online at the website.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Meal No. 1466: Caramelized Party Ham Biscuits

On Saturday morning, while the sleet was piled all around, effectively shutting down City activity, the overnight slumber party guests sat down for a simple breakfast of caramelized ham and Swiss buns. This time around, I tried the Sara Lee version of Hawaiian rolls, which made this much more bready than I'd like. But it was still a nice way to start this cold, wintry day.

"Party Ham Biscuits," a recipe shared with our family by Susan Brown, who was my sister Allison's college chum at the University of North Carolina. I recorded Susan's in my recipe collection in 1988. There are various versions of this recipe, of course. Pretty popular is the "caramelized" version, such as this one: "Caramelized Ham & Swiss Buns," by Iris Weihemuller of Baxter, MN, in Taste of Home, December 2013, p. 59.

"Spicy Horseradish Sauce," from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Compiled and Edited by Julie Fisher Gunter. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor Press (2006), p. 296.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cocoa Layer Cake

The winter weather this past Friday meant being confined to the cabin, if you will. It's not "snowed-in" when pretty much all that fell was just a huge accumulation of sleet. On the one hand, I really REALLY regret that this wasn't the wallop of a massive snow storm, as was promised. But I'm also very relieved that Winston-Salem had almost no freezing rain, which means we didn't have icing, which means there was really no great risk of losing power from downed lines.

In addition to the barbecue chicken soup for dinner, I also made a new cake recipe for the late-night dessert for those of us sheltering in place: cocoa layer cake. This is a clipping from Bon Appétit that's been in my "CAKES" folder for a long time, with a gorgeous picture from the magazine that's always made this cake look heavenly and worth trying.

It's darned chocolate-y, that's for sure, and it employs a technique for the icing that I'm not accustomed to, but I liked the result. It begged for the tall glass of cold milk that I drank with it.

"Cocoa Layer Cake," by Alice Medrich. In Bon Appétit, February 2011, p. 90-91.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Meal No. 1465: Barbecue Chicken Soup

When Thursday brought mostly sunny skies and, comparatively speaking, the relative warmth of mid-40s temps, it made for a good day to smoke a couple of beer can chickens on the kamado grill in anticipation of the pending snowstorm promised for the weekend.

I finally broke out the BBQ Guru CyberQ WiFi temperature control gizmo that my sister Allison had encouraged me to get. Not only does it monitor and report how the pit and the food are doing, but it also includes a powered fan to help maintain pretty precise temperatures throughout the smoking process.

And you can monitor and adjust it from your laptop or smartphone, which is mighty awesome.

Smoking whole chickens has proven to be a mixed bag for me, with the dual problems of considerably longer cooking times than most recipes suggest, and keeping the fire/coals going for that long process. The CyberQ sure helps with the second dilemma, but I still need a solution to the eternal smoke time to get up to temperature. I put the chickens on Thursday at about 3:30 in the afternoon. At midnight, they were still 30 degrees shy of done, so I gave up on the kamado and put them in the oven to finish off. By the time they'd cooled a bit and I could debone them, it was almost 1:45 am!

I say this only in retrospect, I'm sure, but I reckon it's worth it when you taste how good that chicken is as the hearty main feature of BBQ chicken soup:

It was perfect, on a cosmic scale, for overcoming the bitter disappointment of getting almost all sleet instead of the foot of snow we were promised this weekend.

And there was a ton of it left for sharing...

Personal Note: Since it's my sister and her husband Tom who brought this recipe (and kamado grills in general) to my attention, I might add that while I was making this soup, she texted me that Tom (who is a pharmacist at CVS in Rossville, IN) had just been held up at gunpoint at the pharmacy. They took money and left without delivering on the threat to shoot. Last I heard, the suspects were identified but not yet in custody.

Kamado Meal #33

"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.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Meal No. 1464: Buttermilk Featherweight Pancakes

The non-snow event on Friday left me restless and antsy, and when hunger struck just before mid-day, I reached for a new from-scratch recipe for pancakes. This proved to be a most excellent move. They were incredibly tasty and I loved the texture.

"Featherweight Pancakes," from Cook's Illustrated. Published January 1, 1996. [Accessed via]

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Meal No. 1463: Basic Korean Beef BBQ

In the countdown to our "massive snowstorm" this weekend, I prepped a delightful deviation from the norm for Thursday night's supper: Korean Bulgogi beef barbecue over stir-fried rice. With a soy-sesame-ginger marinade that included fresh-grated bosc pear, the thinly-sliced boneless beef short rib seared wonderfully in the skillet and was full of flavor and just a touch of heat. The fried rice was helped by ample butter and sesame oil, as well as a bit of light soy sauce and chopped scallions. I was thinking about topping it with a fried egg the way I did the last time (and the only other time) I made this, but I think it would have been too much. I had trouble finishing my bowl as it was.

Fortunately, I had made all the grocery runs that I thought I needed to, so I was all prepared for the weather that was promised:

From @NorCak:

By the way, when the sun emerged on this fine Sunday morning (at the time of this blog post), it really cast a warm glow on the beautiful scene:

And while I think this picture in the grove doesn't show it nearly well enough, I swear there were 20 robins (and other assorted birds, too) hungrily scarfing down all available food:

"Basic Bulgogi," by Chris Morocco. In Bon Appétit, November 2015, p. 44.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Great Sleet Storm of 2016

Winter has struck Winston-Salem again, but not with the wallop that was promised by the dominant forecasts leading up to the weekend. As late as Wednesday, the National Weather Service was warning that Winston-Salem was likely to receive a 12-inch dump of snow from Thursday night through Saturday afternoon.

The Roediger House regulars were invited to come here to shelter, and given the threat of some ice with this storm, I made sure the fire was laid and that plenty of wood was on hand to keep it going:

Instead of mostly snow, we got almost all sleet. Mind you, there was a small accumulation of snow overnight Thursday, and then occasionally a bit of freezing rain mixed in, but for hours and hours Friday all that came down was sleet.

I'll definitely take that over freezing rain and icing. Unlike friends to the south and east, we had no problems with power outages, lines down, or trees snapped. The snow that was expected was supposed to be heavy and wet, so we didn't even have to contend with that.

This time around, I was responsible enough to make sure the feeders were full and ready for my sweet birds. They were demonstrably glad, I'd say.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Meal No. 1462: Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

My dear friend and colleague Donna Whitley-Smith from Virginia is a thoughtful sharer of good recipes, and a while back she passed on to me a collection of Everyday Food magazines that included quite a few good dishes to try. The one that has gotten the most mileage, because of how doggone good it is, is the braised chicken and Brussels sprouts meal. I made it a lot after its first appearance on the RoHo dinner table back in 2012, but the blog tells me it's been just over a year since the last time. It was good to return to it, on this chilly evening with about a half-inch of snow on the ground from the fast-moving afternoon snow event, and with good friends here to share it with.

"Braised Chicken and Brussels Sprouts," in Everyday Food, Issue 97, November 2012, p. 22.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Meal No. 1461: Classic Chicken Fried Rice

On Tuesday evening this week, I tried out a new take on chicken fried rice, with a sort-of-okay result. It's not nearly as good as the typical chicken stir-fry dishes I have made in the past, but it was suitable enough for a weeknight repast.

"Classic Chicken Fried Rice," from The Woks of Life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Meal No. 1460: Potato and Cheese Soup

Let's not kid ourselves: it's turned mighty cold. When I woke up early yesterday morning (so that I could get to a local middle school for an all-day professional development), my weather app told me it was a brisk and nose-hair-freezing 13°F here in Winston-Salem. No, no, no: that won't do!

It was almost as cold as that on Monday, which led me to make a big pot of hearty potato and white cheddar soup for the three of us gathered around the table.

I might have gotten carried away with the amount of freshly-grated cave-aged sharp white cheddar cheese that was needed, but we didn't seem to care.

"Potato and Cheese Soup," shared with me by my sister and her husband, who got it through a cooking class at KitchenArt in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Meal No. 1459: 2016 Chili Cook-Off Gathering

A tradition that I started when I was on faculty at Wake Forest was to host a chili cook-off for my students, our alumni, and the teachers who worked with our program and with our student teachers. It's one of the few regular events that has persisted from that time, given how my work and social life has transformed since those days.

But I always look forward to it, whether it's a major gathering with multiple pots of chili, or if it's a small crew and I just make a pot or two of rich meaty goodness. The 2016 gathering was one of the smaller affairs, with eight of us spooning up chili and complementing it with some hunks of Granny Wilson's honey wheat cornbread.

With the older members of the dinner crew hanging out in the kitchen, and the younger jet-set upstairs for music, pool, and beers, I brought out the warm bacon and Swiss dip and split it between the two sub-groups:

For the evening's main event, I made two versions of chili: the always-dependable and generally well-received simple beef chili with beans, and a slow-cooker meat blitz from a Williams-Sonoma recipe that had always been good...until Sunday night! (Not sure how I screwed it up, but it was dis-a-ppoint-ing.

We had two items on the dessert menu: French yogurt cake, and a key lime version of Willa Whitley's frozen lemon custard. It had a tangy punch and went well with the yogurt cake, but boy-howdy there was a lot of it left over!

Come have some, won't you?

"Swiss and Bacon Dip," from Rachael Ray. Available online at the Food Network website.

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

"Six-Hour Chili," from Williams-Sonoma online.

"Granny Wilson's Cornbread," a recipe shared with me by Linda B. Dunlap.

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

"French Yogurt Cake," by Andrew Knowlton. In Bon Appétit, May 2012, p. 30.

Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK Weekend at the Roediger House

It's been a mighty fine weekend here at the Roediger House, especially because I've gotten to enjoy a visit from my oldest sibling Janice. She came up Saturday and headed back home today. In the meantime, we got to talk and catch up and reminisce and share, while also partaking of some reasonably decent meals here.

Our first winter weather mini-event hit Sunday morning, so she had the additional treat of getting to see some snow before it quickly disappeared:

I mustache you a question.

Janice made the north parlour look so cozy by curling up on the sofa to read on our lazy Sunday afternoon, tucked under the afghan that our Great Aunt Lee made for me when I was a small tyke.

I had always thought Aunt Lee was widowed young, leading her to go and live with her sister (my Grandmother Jones), but Jan says Aunt Lee's husband went off to sell a load of tobacco and just never came back. Aunt Lee was always wonderful about sending five dollars every birthday. I don't remember being all that good about sending her back a thank-you note, however.

With temps in the mid-20s this morning, and a forecast high of only 32°F today, I had to make a fire when I got up early. I'm home all day, so I'll enjoy the warmth and the crackle and the faint smell of woodsmoke.

Fire No. 32