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Filtering by Tag: project

Start a Project: PICKLES

Suzanne Pollak

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Why not spend an afternoon making pickles? A pickling is not a big time commitment but still delivers huge rewards in the coming weeks. A refrigerator door lined with jars of homemade pickles is always worth opening — if only to admire, get a blast of cool air, and for the good feeling of being on top of your domestic game (at least for the moment.)

Here at the Academy, we choose refrigerator pickles because no canning or boiling is involved, and they are the definition of simplicity and tastiness. You will have brightly colored jars of tangy morsels to enhance any plate of food, adding a touch of something handmade to your meal.  Smart parents know that the pickle is one way to introduce stronger flavors to the pickiest eaters on earth, most under the age of fifteen.

Pickled Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound white, cremini, bella or shiitake mushrooms (cleaned with paper towels to remove dirt)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons coarse salt

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • a few branches fresh thyme, marjoram and parsley, leaves removed from stems

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine mushrooms with oil and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast in a roasting pan for about 10 minutes. The mushrooms will give off a liquid. Drain in a colander. 

  2. Combine the vinegar, garlic, thyme, marjoram, parsley, honey, pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix well. Add the warm mushrooms and stir. Chill the mushrooms in the refrigerator until cold, about an hour. Transfer to mason jars. Seal tightly and refrigerate. 

  3. Storage: The pickles will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator.

Start a Project: Reading List

Suzanne Pollak

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An old-fashioned concept might be brand new to some: READ A BOOK!

Since school is starting soon, we at the Academy took it upon ourselves to watch less Netflix and read more books. Immediately we were reminded that reading is just as relaxing and possibly more rewarding than night after night of episodic TV. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings laid down this fact, “Netflix’s number one competitor is sleep, and we are winning!” which is proof that the vast majority of us have not only stopped sleeping but also stopped reading. 

The feel of a real book in your hands — turning the pages without stopping to look at a screen — is pure magic. If you need inspiration, open an old-fashioned cookbook, as opposed to TV chef-authored book. Those books instruct, delight, and transport us to other worlds in the past or over the seas.

 The Academy team’s favorite food books (pictured at top): 

Suzanne - How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher

AK Lister - A Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis (which is a proper cookbook but still a pleasure to read & will open all kinds of doors into the soul of American cuisine.)

Geoff Yost - Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Sarah Bachleda - The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

John-Anthony Thevos - At Home by Bill Bryson

Francine  Maurokian - Alice Lets Eat by Calvin Trillin

For more reading ideas, join us in Charleston during the first weekend of November to experience the exciting Charleston to Charleton Literary Festival featuring an array of world class authors, speakers, and parties.

Summer Salad #3: Art Project

Suzanne Pollak

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Rule #1 - We first eat with our eyes! Contrasting shapes and colors can be a beautiful thing. The cubes of croutons and logs of carrots make this feel like an art project, painting on the plate.  Flavor becomes a balancing act as well. Academy Croutons and roasted Carrots Vichy deliver the satisfying crunch, complementing the buttery texture of tender lettuce leaves.

Academy Croutons can sit in their frying pan for over a half hour after cooking, soaking up extra olive oil. The wait makes the fried bread even tastier, turning each cube into crispy little bombs delivering crunch, fat, flavor all in one bite. If there is still olive oil in the pan, use it to finish the salad.

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To make Carrots Vichy, peel whole carrots - not baby carrots, not woody large carrots in 5-lb. bags, but carrots in bunches with their leafy tops intact. Cook carrots in a sauté pan over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil and enough water to come halfway up their sides. When a knife tip can barely poke inside the carrot and the water is almost evaporated. Add fresh thyme. Wait till carrots are room temperature to use in the salad, either sliced into 1-inch lengths or simply left whole. Know that these beauties are yummy hot, cold or room temperature for apps and dinner. 

There are two ways to finish this sort of salad. For more crunch, you could add celery. Simply slice across the stalks to get a handful or two of pale green half moons. But if you crave more flavor, spice and fat, then salami is your friend! Thickly slice and dice and toss in salad. A little bit goes a long way. (In our latest version, pictured above, we opted for a few nubs of blue cheese. Delicious!)