Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

The requested dessert for our birthday gathering last Friday night: banana pudding. Yum.

"Murray's Old Fashioned Nana Puddin'," from the Murray Vanilla Wafers package. Also found online at http://melissaannbrook.blogspot.com/2011/04/banana-and-vanilla-wafer-with-pudding.html.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Meal No. 2350: Cheddar and Potato Soup

It's mostly standard practice that I offer menus of choice when birthdays are celebrated at the Roediger House, and that's how the six of us ended up sitting down to cheddar potato soup on Friday night. These bowl of goodness were all the more fitting given that the weather took a blustery chilly turn that afternoon as a cold front passed through, and soup proved to be the right call for battling this brisk and bracing interruption of spring.

Adapted from "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.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Meal No. 2349: Grilled Tuna Steaks

Perhaps it's clear from the picture above that it was a rather sizable hunk of grilled tuna on the dinner plate Thursday night. What may not be obvious is how perfectly-cooked and flavorful it was, necessitating only the bare accompaniment of roasted garlic-and-parmesan asparagus. Still, the leftovers at lunch on Friday were pretty darned good as well...

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Meal No. 2348: Top Sirloin on Caesar-Dressed Power Greens

After a full day of work in the yard, I felt like I needed a bit of red meat in my belly. So for supper on Wednesday night, I seasoned a couple of top sirloin filets and pan-seared them in the iron skillet. One of them ended up perched atop a salad with the last of my homemade Caesar dressing, and all was well in my world.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

Tuesday evening proved to be a nice opportunity to make a new recipe for cookies...and this time, the choice was soft and chewy lemon cookies. They chilled overnight and I popped them into the oven Wednesday morning, and they were sweet and tasty!

"Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies," by Averie Sunshine of averiecooks.com. [Published 24 October 2015]

Thursday, April 25, 2019

What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?

I'm a little shocked at myself for undertaking the sweet treat that I brought out of the freezer on Tuesday night, after working on it both Sunday and Monday. It's a homemade Klondike Bar, if you can believe it, and I must say: it was quite something!

There were multiple stages to the operation, resulting in a product that, quite frankly, I'm not normally drawn to: a frozen treat. Seriously...I like ice cream sandwiches a lot, and of course ice cream gets me every time. But making a confection like this? I don't even get these things at the store. But I sure made a batch of Klondike bars for the joy and amusement of the Roediger House, and I might even do it again sometime.

"Homemade Klondike Bars," by Stella Parks of SeriousEats.com.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Meal No. 2347: Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs

The stand-out note to be made about this past Saturday was the dip back into chilly temps, with strong breezes and occasional rain showers. We only got up into the high 50s so it was a good day for staying in. When dinnertime rolled around, I served up for the three of us some good ol' baked chicken thighs, in a rosemary garlic butter sauce, atop a bed of wilted spinach, and easy stuffing. Because I had a head of broccoli I hadn't used, I roasted florets to supplement the plate.

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Atlantic Beach Pie

This past Friday night, following the amazing deviled short ribs dinner, there was also dessert. This is a North Carolina favorite and also very much a Roediger House favorite: Atlantic Beach pie. It's our seaside take on Florida's more famous key lime pie, but we go for lemon as the tangy central flavor and mix it up a bit by nestling the goo into a crushed cracker crust. The recipe calls for saltines but also encourages Ritz as an alternative. I'm always fond of that alternative. And I'm always fond of this pie.

"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.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Meal No. 2346: Deviled Beef Short Ribs

Oh my...it's been far too long since I've made these incredible deviled beef short ribs. In fact, I've felt a tad guilty for over a year now, because it's the meal that Roediger House regular Mookie had requested for his birthday and then we went and had a surprise birthday for him instead (thanks to the machinations of his delightful wife Kristen!). That surprise party was great, but at the same time, Mookie may have been cheated since his hoped-for dinner menu was a ruse. So when he was over for a boys' night Friday, that's what I served up. Also on our plates: a new take on scalloped potatoes and some roasted bacon-wrapped whole green beans (which were fun and especially tasty!).

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

"Classic Silky and Rich Potato Gratin," by Sohla El-Waylly, Culinary Editor at SeriousEats.com. (I found these scalloped potatoes to be disappointing and still a tad undercooked after two hours of baking. So I doubt I'll be using this recipe again in the future.)

"Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles," by Susan Cutler on JustaPinch.com. [Published 16 December 2012]

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Meal No. 2345: Sheet Pan Beef Nachos

Sheet pan beef nachos sure are easy to make, and because they really do taste so very good, it always feels like an indulgence when I have 'em for supper. They hit the hungry spot this past Thursday night even though the next morning's scales also gave me some pangs of regret.

Taco-Style Meat Based on "Crispy Beef Tacos," by Hilah Johnson. From HilahCooking.com.

"Homemade Chili and Taco Seasoning," from Jamie of MyBakingAddiction.com. [Published 03 February 2011]

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Meal No. 2344: Roasted Salmon and Broccoli

Although it might appear that I had salmon two nights in a row, based on the meal count and these two most recent blog posts, I actually was out of town in between, working up in Virginia. When Wednesday night rolled around, I was pretty content to toss another thick and tender filet of salmon into the oven to roast, along with the simple accompaniment of roasted broccoli. It's an odd picture, perhaps, but it was a delicious light dinner.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Meal No. 2343: Salmon or Chicken Caesar Salad

Last Sunday, I made salads for supper: dressed with a homemade creamy Caesar and topped with roasted salmon on one and with roasted garlic chicken breast on the other. It was pretty scrumptious!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

RiverRun International Film Festival 2019

In 2003, Dale Pollock, the one-time dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, brought the RiverRun International Film Festival to Winston-Salem, from its original home along the French Broad River in Brevard, NC. My colleague at Wake Forest at that time, Linda Dunlap, turned me on to it and I first went in April 2004, when it was just a four-day festival.

500 Days of Summer (RRIFF 2009)
View Trailer on YouTube

Then, from 2005 to 2009, I was a manic movie attender each time the festival came around. I've seen so many great films, from full-length features to documentaries to animated and a wide variety of short films...domestic and foreign, full-time professional filmmakers and film students...the whole range. Then, my work schedule got too full and too crazy and I had not attended RiverRun in 10 years. Until this past week, that is!

Between Friday April 5 and Sunday April 14, I saw 70 films at RiverRun (the number is high because the screenings included seven different collections of shorts, ranging from six to 11 films each). Some of those were at the ACE Cinema Complex on the UNCSA campus. One film was at SECCA; one was over in Greensboro at the RED Cinemas. Fortunately, several were at HanesBrands Theatre and at Aperture Cinema, both of which are walking distance from the house. Except for the few days when there were some heavy downpours, it made my attendance all the easier and all that much more cool, given my downtown residence.

Years ago, I ended up with one of the RiverRun inner tubes that various businesses around town displayed to advertise and support the Festival. I put it up on the second story porch rail for the very same reason this year.

So there's been much less kitchen activity while I was indulging my film passions. The Festival was fantastic, though, and I'm already missing it now that it's over. Then again, it finished up just in time for me to scramble and do my taxes at the last minute!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Meal No. 2342: Pan-Seared Sage and Garlic Pork Chops

This past Wednesday night, it was pan-seared pork chops for supper, dressed up with a garlic-and-sage butter sauce and served up with both roasted broccoli and a squash-zucchini-mushroom combo. The chops were tender, perfectly cooked, and wonderfully seasoned.

I had to leave the dirty dishes sitting by the sink, though, so that I could stroll over to the HanesBrands Theatre at the Milton Rhodes Center for Arts to catch the RiverRun International Film Festival's showing of The Sunshine Boys. While I keep forgetting that Neil Simon really isn't my favorite, what was pretty awesome was getting to hear from Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, when they were awarded RRIFF's Masters of Cinema honors before the film screening.

Although I now go by memory and feel, the basics of the recipe are found here: "Your New Favorite Pork Chops," by Alison Roman, in Bon App├ętit, March 2015, p. 35.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Meal No. 2341: Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

The Tuesday night treat last week was a supper of sausage gravy over biscuits. I severely limited my portion although this proved to be especially challenging, given how tasty it all was.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Perfect Carrot Cake

Using a recipe I'd very delightedly tried out once before, I threw together a one-layer carrot cake to offer up to the crowd gathered for Friday night dinner back on April 5th. I didn't get it made until after dinner, so the cake was still too warm when it came time to frost it...but the droopy cream cheese icing was still as devilishly delicious as ever.

"Perfect Carrot Cake," by Shelly Jaronsky of CookiesandCups.com. [Published 11 April 2018]

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Meal No. 2340: Country Captain Chicken

It was a delightful gathering of seven Friday night a week ago (I'm behind on blog posts!) and I tried out a different recipe for Country Captain Chicken, served along with Basmati rice and roasted broccoli florets. While I'll confess to being a bit troubled that there were no trips back for seconds, at least all plates were nicely cleaned at meal's end. I hope it was good enough for the outstanding crew that night...I don't want to let them down!

"Country Captain," from The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. New York: Scribner (2006), p. 434.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Meal No. 2339: Roasted Salmon over Caesar-Topped Greens

Back on Thursday, April 4th, at the end of another gorgeous spring day, it seemed time for another salmon-topped salad with homemade Caesar dressing. Adorned with some roasted sunflower seeds and overdressed because I have a weakness for tasty dressing, it was a fine end to a great day.

"Easy Lemon Caesar Salad Dressing," by Kim of lowcarbmaven.com.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Cap'n Crunch Cookies

Two weeks ago, I tried making Cap'n Crunch cookies with alternative sugars and didn't particularly care for the results. The experience left me hankering for another go at them with the ingredients that are central to their success, and that finally happened the morning of April 4th. While they did spread out more than I might have wanted, they sure were delightful!

"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.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Meal No. 2338: Roasted Vegetables

When Sheryl Cohen visited for spring break at the end of March, she talked about how she roasts vegetables and then has them on hand to put to a variety of uses. I liked the idea and tried it out Wednesday a week ago and made a simple supper out of it.

That morning began with frost on windshields but turned into a phenomenally gorgeous day. Sumner and I got in a great long walk and then I also put in some time with yard work. By evening, I could feel it in my old man's back!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Meal No. 2337: Potato & Cheddar Soup

I mentioned it as an addendum to the April 2nd blog entry, but we had really cold temps and even some heavy snowfall on that Tuesday. I kept the fire going until letting it burn out by evening, and with four of us sitting down to dinner, I thought piping hot bowls of potato and cheddar soup would be just right. And it was.

Adapted from "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, April 9, 2019

Meal No. 2336: Chicken Ricotta Pasta

On Monday a week ago, when the April Fool's joke was that it felt like it was winter all over again, I decided to serve up bowls of warm creamy comfort in the form of chicken ricotta pasta. This was a new recipe for me, and I tinkered around the edges a bit with it, but it hit the spot and filled our bellies.

"Stove Top Chicken Ricotta Pasta," from Paula Jones of CallMePMc.com.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Meal No. 2335: Roasted Salmon over Salad

After starting my day with pancakes the Saturday before last, I figured I'd better be a bit more healthy with supper that night. Once again the salmon looked good enough to (cook and) eat, when I ventured out to my Harris Teeter, and I found at dinnertime it sat nicely atop romaine dressed with more of that honey mustard sauce.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Meal No. 2334: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

On the agenda the final Saturday morning of March was a trip to the Grand Theatre to catch an 11:15 am showing of Jordan Peele's latest movie, Us. We decided we'd all start out with breakfast first, though, so I made pancakes and bacon, and it was pretty delicious.

"Best Tips for Making Pancakes: Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes," by Joanne on the Pioneer Woman website.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Meal No. 2333: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad, Take 2

I had to whip up another batch of honey mustard sauce to use as a dressing, but the remaining pecan-crusted chicken from two Thursday nights ago dinner was perfect for making a similar salad that next evening. That's what supper looked like on the final Friday of March!

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

Friday, April 5, 2019

Meal No. 2332: Pecan-Crusted Chicken over Salad

For the final meal Thursday night of the spring break visit of my friend and colleague Sheryl, she requested pecan-crusted chicken on salad. I obliged with just that, plus sliced tomato and avocado, cinnamon-vanilla-spiced walnuts, crumbled goat cheese, and a homemade honey-mustard dressing. It made for a pretty picture, sure, but it also made for an incredibly delicious dinner.

Helpful guidance for pecan-crusted chicken came from:

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

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cap'n Crunch Cookies

This past week's house guest requested that we try making a batch of cookies with some of my sugar alternative to see how they turned out. I decided to do it that Wednesday night with Cap'n Crunch cookies and, while the taste was still fine, the texture was more like a muffin top and therefore didn't please me very much. In the scheme of things, perhaps that was for the best!

"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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Meal No. 2331: Roasted Salmon

One of the meals my friend Sheryl asked for during her spring break visit was roasted salmon, and I was delighted to oblige. Our Wednesday night supper included that, plus Brussels sprouts gratin and some roasted baby potatoes. I do believe we had our fill that night.

"Brussels Sprouts Gratin," by Alison Roman. From Cooking on newyorktimes.com.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Happy Spring (April Fool's!!)

So here we were getting all into the spirit of Spring, with flowers blooming and temps getting up even into the 70s the last day or so. And then came April 1st with all its malicious ill-humored cruelty to offer up a morning low of 32°F and a temp at noon that was still at 38°F.

Sumner and I still had us a nice day together, venturing out repeatedly into those cruelly chilly breezes that were bearing down on us from the west. I pulled weeds some of that time, until my hands got too chilly. And all the while more good signs of the coming good weather days were still to be found.

UPDATE [12:30 pm]: It's snowing, and the National Weather Service has just issued a winter weather advisory. So Sumner and I are enjoying trying to be cozy inside while one final (?) fire of the winter season burns brightly in the fireplace:

Fire No. 70

Monday, April 1, 2019

Meal No. 2330: Morning Oatmeal

With friend and colleague Sheryl visiting this week, it led to the making of at least one breakfast: a steaming bowl of creamy old fashioned oatmeal, adorned with some fresh fruit. As Mother would say: it'll stick to your ribs. That's what I served up to start our day on Wednesday morning.