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Filtering by Tag: NFL

Monday Morning Quarterback

Suzanne Pollak

Even the Deans learn something, if not every day, at least every Monday morning about food. We always start our workweek by rehashing what went right as well as what went wrong the previous weekend. It’s not just your parties we are analyzing. We also scrutinize our own parties in the extreme but our passion for critiquing focuses most often on our number one activity, our family meals. That’s the beauty of there being two Deans, we are equally passionate on the topic of our own cooking. Like discussing a painting, a book or a pair of shoes with your best friend, discussing cooking with a friend can help you find solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had.

Take our world famous croutons. Traditionally we always fry these in olive oil. Last week Dean Pollak decided to use the fat from her roast chicken to fry the croutons for her ubiquitous salad. Even the Deans who adore chicken drippings more than most, found these were too heavy and unpalatable. Dean Manigualt suggested she use half olive oil and half chicken fat, which prompted Dean Pollak to say, ‘why don’t I quickly toss the croutons in chicken fat and then roast them until crisp while the chicken rests.'

Et voilia! If Dean P had not opened the discourse with Dean M then the solution would never have presented itself to Dean Pollak.

Charleston Academy Croutons

1.  Using a day old country loaf, toss a large handful of torn bread (you want uneven edges for these croutons) in a mixing bowl with a spoonful or two of chicken fat.

2.  Place the croutons on a baking sheet and bake for 6 to 7 minutes at 375 degrees F.

3.  Once toasted, check to see if nice and crispy then serve.

Super Bowl 48 is Upon Us

Suzanne Pollak

Lately, we have been ruminating on how the Deans read from the same playbook as NFL coaches. Experts are experts after all. 

The Super Bowl is starting off on quite a high note this year, literally. Super soprano Renee Fleming is singing the National Anthem and the Deans would watch just for that! First we will dabbing Renee’s signature fragrance, La Voce, behind each ear to get us in the mood, for what, we are not sure.

Just for your edification, Deans contacted an NFL coach on the proper rules and regs of Super Bowl parties. Since he is married to Dean Pollak’s daughter, he had to take the call. In order for a Super Bowl party to go as smoothly as possible, remember these guidelines straight from an award winning coach.

The people who want to watch the game, really want to watch the game. Do not interrupt with any questions, stupid or otherwise. During the Super Bowl the commercials are just as mandatory as the game.

Provide two rooms so the talkers can be sequestered far from the watchers.  This will prevent fist fighting, which could interupt the flow of the festivity.

For our Super Bowl parties we always serve our patented cheese coins. They are the perfect pairing with beer. Any type. Just this once we will let you in our secret. These cheesy coins are our good luck charms. 

A Treasure Trove of Cheese Coins

The Deans receive a cruel lashing from friends if we attend any event without bearing canvas bags overflowing with cheese coins. They are the Academy’s signature treats and Dean Manigault’s muscled right arm is a testament that the cheddar is lovingly grated by hand. Sometimes this can mean up to 25 pounds of cheddar because we have so many friends and students to bestow our coins upon.

 Makes about 2 dozen

16 ounces shredded sharp cheddar 

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

2 cups flour

1 heaping teaspoon cayenne

22 twists freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon salt 

Using a standing mixer or food processor, whirl all the ingredients until combined. Form the cheese dough into 2 logs, about 1 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days (or freeze for up to 6 weeks).

Preheat the oven to 325°. Cut the logs into ¼ inch slices and place on baking sheets. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature (or let cool and store in airtight containers for up to 7 days). 

The Deans Take Pointers from the NFL

Suzanne Pollak

Some parties are more stressful than others just like the Super Bowl is more thrilling than a pre season practice. Never let fear be a reason not to entertain. The thrill of doing something scary keeps you in the game.

Throwing a party is similar to Patriots’s coach, Bill Belichick, winning NFL game strategy. "He's ahead of the curve in about 99% of the things he does," according to a recent WSJ article.

How like the Deans he is! Just as he is prepared for every opponent the Patriots face, we are prepared for each guest who enters our houses.

Here’s our plan and we suggest you adopt it as you own. 

The key to an unforgettable party is mapping what needs to be done well in advance many times over. One quick thought will not create an adequate framework on which to hang a comprehensive plan.  

·      Always, always do as much in advance as possible. Your forethought will circumvent many possible pitfalls.

·      Be sure to consider guests’ personalities, lighting, timing, tastes and drinks, and what you are going to wear.

·      Come up with a few topics of conversation that might appeal to all attendees.

·      Know the top news stories of the day.

·      Serve one of your no fail menus.

·      Make sure you have a half hour to decompress before guests arrive. If you like a dressing drink, now is the time to imbibe.

·      Once your guests arrive, your number one mandate is to enjoy yourself. Everyone will follow your lead and a gracious, relaxed you, will be doing a touch down dance by night’s end, with each guest high fiving as they leave.