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Filtering by Tag: series

Rice 103: Pudding!

Suzanne Pollak

While the first two rice dishes in our Rice summer school series — paella and risotto — have great cultural pasts, rice pudding is personal, evocative, emotional... 

For me, rice pudding brings up memories of college dinner parties my sister & I gave for our friends. Instead of time at the library, we devoted hours devising menus and guest lists, then walked together to the grocery store to buy ingredients only to haul them back to our apartment (as we neither owned a car nor even possessed driver's licenses.) We had small monthly allowances so dinner parties were a creative way to please people on a culinary shoe string, with our financial resources combined. Rice was our standby dessert because pudding pleased everyone, even if it wasn’t their childhood comfort food, or ours. Rice pudding was easy to make, exotic to our friends, foolproof, inexpensive, delicious.

[Illustration,  Pepperidge Farm Cookbook , c. 1970]

[Illustration, Pepperidge Farm Cookbook, c. 1970]

Our recipe came from an old-fashioned standard, Margaret Rudkin’s Pepperidge Farm Cookbook. We soaked raisins for a topping and always whipped heavy cream by hand to top the topping. Gilding the lily was our mantra straight through college, at least where food, parties, and dress were concerned. We didn’t always apply the philosophy to our studies — funny I should be a “Dean” now. But Charleston Academy classes always start with drinks followed by food, so perhaps none of this should come as a surprise.

Paella uses bomba rice, risotto: Arboria rice, both medium grain and starchy which do not make good puddings. This leaves long grain rice for puddings. Do not use ‘instant’ or ‘minute’ rice. Basmati and jasmine rice are excellent choices too. 

Pepperidge Farm Cookbook Rice Pudding

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart whole milk

  • ⅓ cup rice

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup sugar

  • Dash of cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons rosewater

Directions:

  1. Butter a 2-quart casserole. Put the rice in the casserole and pour in the milk. Add the seasonings and stir well.

  2. Bake for 3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes during the first hour to keep the rice from staying in the bottom of the casserole. 

  3. When cooked, sprinkle the rosewater over the top. Serve hot or cold, with or without soaked raisins (in brandy, cognac, or just hot water) and whipped cream.



Self Love Series: Psychic Home

Suzanne Pollak

There could be a yard sale in your future…

There could be a yard sale in your future…

Getting rid of stuff liberates you. You are left feeling fresh and more in tune with your psychic home.

There are myriad reasons to release items that have no more use in your life, possessions that others can use, objects that just take up space. The most important is you must own your personal style and relinquish anything that doesn’t represent YOU. We want to see people expressing themselves fully...

An empty shelf, a bare wall, a pared down interior feels good! A refreshing breeze rushes into your soul, bringing with it a brand new energy. You become lighter. For those of us who favor minimalism, empty space is essential. For others, letting go is a good exercise. You can always fill in an empty space but it is a fact that everyone owns too much stuff. Who needs dozens of black pants, ten computer plugs, 50,000 jars of cosmetics, 150 cowboy boots?

Unless you are a collector — that’s a different story entirely, a discussion for another day. (Stay tuned for our next post if you are into collecting wine!) Collections are interesting, meaningful, even educational. They bring us beauty and infinite rewards.

Hoarding, however, does not. Even if you are not a hoarder, hanging on to things takes energy. It drains you of your power to access your innermost self. Keeping stuff just in case you may need it one day has no meaning for today. Take the plunge and purge.

Summer Salad #2: Porky Pig

Suzanne Pollak

Why do we love eating decadent fatty meals disguised as salads? Because everyone everywhere loves to be deceived, lulled into thinking their meal was extra healthy. But guess what? This salad is actually healthy, despite the indulgent addition of slow-roasted pork...

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FRISÉE - A lettuce that balances the fattiness with its bitter bite and texture. Remember, one small head delivers way more volume than you can imagine once you separate the leaves and tear them into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Tearing is absolutely necessary. Who wants a mouth full 4” spiky leaves, delicious as they may be?

PORK - We like to make this the day after serving Pork Butt in Milk with Cabbage Slaw for dinner. If you and your guests were not too piggy (pun intended) then you'll have plenty of leftovers. Simply reheat in a frying pan over low heat, or in the turned off oven after roasting the eggplant. The pig will crisp right up.

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EGGPLANT - Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Thinly slice unpeeled eggplant. Lay slices on parchment paper. Lightly drizzle olive oil on slices, turn over and drip olive oil on top. There is really no wrong way to do this. After years of making these eggplant slices, we can say for certain that sometimes they turn crispy, sometimes softer, but every time delicious! Roast slices in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes, turn over and roast another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Some parts will blacken but that is okay. There is a fine line, a few minutes, between a little black, and the burn taking over the slice.

Summer Salad #1: Plain & Simple!

Suzanne Pollak

IMG_8387.jpeg

When Summer brings a bounty of perfectly sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, there's no need to overdo it! Even dressings have been simplified at the Academy. These days we pour olive oil over salad, not too much, sprinkle a little coarse salt plus several grinds of black pepper. Then we toss salad with our hands. If a lemon happens to be around we might squirt drops on top but sometimes it's oil all the way!

Buy live lettuce because the head keeps cold for a couple of weeks so a meal can come together in a moment. Perfect when you find yourself too hot and bothered to fool with anything else! In the time it takes you to pour yourself a summer cocktail, your bowl of greens and vitamins will be ready and waiting.

MACHE - these leaves are delicate. Don’t take lettuce out of frig until ready to make salad.

TOMATOES - A Summer salad MUST have the ripest most delicious tomatoes you can find. No skimping or trying to save a dollar. Otherwise the salad will not make you swoon. It will just be ho hum. It is impossible to live a beautiful life without regular doses of swooning. Cut heirloom tomato, farmers market tomatoes, or ones grown in your backyard into wedges.

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BLUE CHEESE - We find already crumbled blue cheese a big flavor disappointment, and expensive to boot. Why is this even an option in a grocery store? Buy a wedge of blue cheese, slice off a hefty portion, and use your fingertips to crumble on top of the salad. In biggish clumps so friends and family know the blue cheese you choose was not pre-crumbled by a machine then stored and shipped in a plastic bag.

AVOCADO - The doctor says ‘eat an apple a day’. The Dean says ‘eat an avocado a day’. An avocado is the exact amount of fat you need per day. When the Dean gets her medical PhD she will prove this medical fact. To make an avocado last a few days, keep in refrigerator. Do not buy rock hard avocados. Why wait so long to eat one?

Cut avocado in half, remove pit, remove peel, slice or thickly dice on top of salad.