In the excellent company of top etiquette experts from along the East Coast, Dean Pollak answers our burning wedding FAQ’s for the New York Times this week. Among other tips for how to proceed, Pollak advises against micro-managing in-laws who may be paying for a rehearsal dinner (although sharing your preferences is certainly allowed), explains the “no phone policy” trend, and instructs attendees on how much to spend on gifts when they have been invited to multiple events. This article is a must-read for anyone planning a wedding or even simply planning to attend one! Read the full piece via NYT HERE on their site…
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Standing Rib Roast is having a moment. The Academy's line has been fielding dozen of calls about this holiday showstopper. Those of you who have never bought or cooked a Prime Rib (yes, it's the same thing) should not be be intimidated. Let the Dean hold your hand and answer any question that arise. Some of our students are so diligent that they have been practicing before the big holiday meal and texting their every questions to us. The Dean never rests!
For first-time cooks, we offer you a step-by-step guide. More advanced cooks may be amused remembering the confusion you once felt.
Prime Rib FAQ & A:
- I have big eaters. How many ribs do I need for eight people? We answered, 8 big eaters = 7 ribs.
- The butcher asked if I'd like an "easy-carve" style? Do I? Easy carve is brilliant, unless one of your guests is an expert carver.
- Do I want to buy the fat end or the other end? We say fat end.
- Any hints about the vodka rub? Place the roast fat side down during the before cooking time.
- So I put in at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, then do I leave it in oven to turn temp. down to 325 for the remaining cooking time? Not sure if I should take it out while the oven temperature adjusts... Beef stays in the oven.
- My meat thermometer melted...help! Oops, can’t help you there.
- At what temperature should I remove from the oven? 120-125 degrees (interior) for rare. The roast will continue cooking after it comes out.
- Roast is out of the oven and temperature is rising. Do I remove the roast from the roasting pan onto a cutting board so it cools down, or leave it alone? Leave it alone.
There are truly no such thing as ridiculous questions, least of all at the Academy. But we admit we were a little surprised when, in a recent Essential Dinners: Skillet class, more than one student seemed shocked at the notion of cooking steak on anything but a grill.
We could only reply: YES!!! You can cook steak on the stove. And yes, your skillets can go in the oven. (In fact, they were designed with such purpose in mind.) You haven't lived until you've made yourself a luxuriously simple steak dinner for one. Cooking steaks sans grill is as easy as one-two-three.
First and foremost, let raw steak sit at room temperature for up to an hour. Word to the wise...do not ever cook a cold steak, ever. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Next, set a non-stick skillet over high heat. When skillet is sizzling, place steak in pan and sear on first side for 2-4 minutes (depending on thickness), until surface is browned and starting to caramelize. Using tongs, turn, for another 2-4 minutes. Use your judgement here, and possibly the tip of a knife, to know when steak is still a little underdone.
A thick steak, at 2 or more inches, might need more heat -- this is where the oven-roasting comes in. Place the skillet (with steak in it) into oven for another few minutes, depending on how thick the steak is.
When steak is underdone to your liking, remove steak from pan, and place on a warm plate in a warm place. No drafts! The meat needs to rest. The juices from the center make their way back to the surface and give the steak its juicy tenderness. The internal temperature is still rising, meaning the steak is continuing to cook. FYI, there is nothing wrong with room temperature meat! Anyway, the final step is to make a sauce, which will be piping hot...
Take a glass of the wine you are indulging in while cooking, and pour into the steak's hot skillet. Simmer for a minute or two. Add a few garlic cloves, chopped, a tablespoon or so of tomato paste and a shake of fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Simmer away, until mixture becomes a little syrupy. Turn off heat, turn steaks in the hot sauce, and then slice, because sliced steak is ALWAYS better. If Peter's Luger Steakhouse slices their steaks, then we do too.
Voila! Dinner is ready for family or company, in the time it takes to drink a glass of wine. Call this Multi-tasking Academy Style.
XO, the Dean