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Filtering by Tag: hack

Ironing is about Attitude

Suzanne Pollak

One day, a very long time ago, one of the top magazine editors in the country, along with his family, happened to be staying with me. He wanted to know where I kept our iron and ironing board, telling me unashamedly that he enjoyed ironing his shirts (or at least he did then.) He shared his ironing tricks; explaining that there was nothing to it: just pay attention to the collar, cuffs, and strip with the buttons. No one saw the rest of the shirt anyway. This man — a haughty, brilliant, intellectual with his finger on the pulse of everything everywhere — did not turn his nose up at ironing. 

So why did I? I am ashamed to confess that I believed ironing was a waste of time. For years I collected antique linens but paid others to iron. Now, I iron myself, and I enjoy it. My ironing sessions are for afternoons when I am doing heavy brain lifting, and need a distancing mechanism. Sherlock Holmes used his pipe smoking and violin playing. A knotty problem for Holmes was a 'three pipe problem'. My equivalent is two dozen linen napkins.

I plug in the iron; remove the linens from the refrigerator (more on that trick in the video below) and find the back and forth of ironing soothing, contemplative, and surprisingly rewarding. In no time at all, my mind disengages enough to solve the weighty problem, plus I have a pile of lovely linen napkins ready and waiting. Like a Battalion Commander planning an exercise, I feel that one detail is completed for a dinner party in the future.

There is something so satisfying seeing the pieces of cloth go from wrinkly to smooth. Near-instant gratification!

XO The Dean

All Hail the Bloody Mary

A. K. Lister

The Bloody Mary is a sweet, spicy, savory cocktail for taking with on the road and sipping when the sun is still high in the sky.  While this is undoubtedly the best recipe, there are a million and two ways to customize with garnishes: dilly beans, a celery stalk, skewered olives, pickled okra, even candied bacon if you're feeling frisky.  This is traditionally a brunch beverage -- our motto is no bloodies after 2PM, but the bottom line is it's your life & you can do what you please.

Whether going for a picnic or tailgating for the big game, show up with a tank of these + a bottle of vodka and you will undoubtedly be named MVP.

A Simple Vinaigrette for Any Salad

A. K. Lister

Start with a beautiful wooden bowl.  Add a basic bunch of leafy greens or go ahead and assemble a fanciful mix of late Summer fruit and early Fall root vegetables.  Top it all off with croutons and this quick & easy vinaigrette, which owes its creamy texture not to actual cream but to the magic of emulsification.

There you have it!  You can thank us (and Science) later.

XO, the Academy

Academy Croutons

A. K. Lister

Nothing makes our Daily Salad sing quite like giant cubes of bread, sautéed in olive oil.

At the Academy, we've long realized that simple luxuries make the mundane sparkle.  An effortless sleight of hand in the almighty cast-iron skillet gives a guilt-free lunch the illusion of indulgence.  A bowl of vegetables, particularly those perfectly in season, should never bore anyone to tears.  In fact, it could be the very thing that carries you from the salad days of Summer to the Autumn's longing embrace.

For a superlative salad, start with late Summer's leafy greens and slices of ripe fruit, gently tossed with roasted early Fall vegetables.  Just add Croutons.  Here's the secret: don't skimp on the EVOO!  And always remember, "A cold crouton is a useless crouton."

The Academy Roast

A. K. Lister

Our secret weapon?  Sans question: Pork Butt in Milk.

When a dinner party (or just dinner) looms at the end of a long day of work or play, all that's needed is an inexpensive pork butt + salt, sugar, milk + 8 hours to set-it-and-forget-it.  What will emerge from your oven is a feat of invention and alchemy -- tender, flavorful meat with just a hint of the perfect crust -- even the Dean cannot explain.

There are a million and ten ways to serve this, but we like it as the main dish with a side of Cabbage Slaw (recipe below, straight out of the Academy Handbook) and Ice Cream Sundaes for dessert.

CABBAGE SLAW,

The Pork's Perfect Partner.

1/2 red cabbage, shredded

6 bunches scallions

1 large knob (2-3 tbsp.) of ginger, minced (in a mini food processor if you have one.)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. light soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients and let macerate for up to 1 hour.  Make banh mi sandwiches the next day with leftover pork and cabbage; sprinkle with chopped jalapeño.

Thanks to the long line of Italian cooks and Marcella Hazan for passing on the magic of Pork Butt in Milk.  May it find itself in perpetual rotation on your dining table, to wide and illustrious acclaim, just as it does on ours, without fail.

(And P.S.  If you are in search of more tried-and-true Roasting Pan recipes, tips, and tricks, there are just a couple of tickets left for our class at the end of September...)

Quick Tips for a Hallway Arrangement

A. K. Lister

IMG_0274.jpg

Along with your warm greeting, a punchy party soundtrack, the scent of a something delicious to come, and a stiff cocktail at the ready -- the thoughtful placement of an eye-catching arrangement by the front door should be the first thing to welcome guests to your home.  

It doesn't have to be an elaborate bouquet (...not that we would ever protest.)  All you really need are a few interesting leaves and branches, clipped from the garden/yard/public park across the street, in the dark of night, so local law enforcement and nosey neighbors don't notice you at work.

The Dean is not here to judge anyone's methods for procuring their flora, but simply to offer quick & easy instruction for arranging them.  Without further ado: