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Blog

What's for Dinner?

Suzanne Pollak

Image Courtesy of Tania Lee

Image Courtesy of Tania Lee

Everyone, everyday, asks themselves, “what’s for dinner?” The Deans will prove once and for all that cooking for your family is the second most important thing you can do.  We are still working on number one. Our students come together over bubbling pots and simmering stews and our alums and book fans are armed and ready to tackle satisfying even the most persnickety palates.

Morning

Nobody has the time or desire to make a flaky croissant first thing in the morning.  The Deans are here to tell you that you can make far more delicious biscuits yourself.  Well, the Deans do and so should you.  Smeared with your own homemade preserves or filled with ham or melted butter- this treat is a love letter to your family first thing in the morning. 

THE ACADEMY'S SOUTHERN BISCUIT

Makes 12 to 18, depending on size of biscuit cutter

INGREDIENTS

3 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily    

1 tablespoon baking powder              

1 teaspoon salt                         

1/2 teaspoon baking soda      

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces       

1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk      

                             

1.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it forms pea-size pieces.  Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough almost forms a ball.

3.  Place the dough on a silicone baking mat and begin folding up the sides, right and left, until a ball forms.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness.  Fold one side of the dough into the center and then fold in the other side.  Roll out again and refold in the same manner three to six times.  (Each roll and fold creates flaky layers within your biscuits.)  Roll out one final time until the dough is 3/4-inch thick.

4.  Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or an inverted glass.  Place the biscuits on a nonstick baking sheet.  Gather the scraps, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits until all of the dough has been used.  (At this point, you can cover the unbaked biscuits with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, or freeze up to 3 weeks.)

5.  Bake until lightly browned on the top and bottom, 10 to 12 minutes.  (Bake frozen biscuits at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes.)


Image Courtesy of Tania Lee

Image Courtesy of Tania Lee

Noon

Lunch is when the Dean’s genius is in evidence. Transforming last night’s dinner into a healthy and satisfying lunch is our specialty. Almost any leftover - fish, fowl or meat - can be placed between two pieces of crisped bread and made into a wonderful meal for lunch or a simple dinner.  Chicken Salad is the perfect meal for eating at home, taking to the office or putting in a tart shell for an elegant lunch party. 

CHICKEN SALAD

Take the leftovers of your roasted chicken and create a variety of meals using simple ingredients found in your refrigerator.  

  • Carve out an avocado and place the chicken mixture and avocado inside the shell to transport to work. 
  • Wrap your tasty leftover chicken inside a crepe and marry with mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.
  • Take thick slices of sourdough crisped in hot olive oil and layer with roasted peppers, shaved red onion, and your leftover chicken mixture.

Night

We’ve heard every excuse why a home cooked family dinner is not possible - every single one. Stop yakking at us about this. All stews benefit from a night in the refrigerator and a reheat the day of serving.  The minute you walk in the door, put a pot of water on to boil to make rice, pasta or boiled potatoes to serve the stew over and dinner can be ready in 20 minutes, far less time than gathering everyone up and going out.  Below is the Deans favorite stew.  To take it even one step further, pair your stew with beer you’ve bought at Charleston's Beer Exchange or your local brewery.  

LAMB SHANKS

Serves 4      

INGREDIENTS                                                              

4 Lamb shanks                               

Onion, chopped

Thyme

Red Wine

Salt & Pepper    

                     

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Sauté lamb shanks in a little olive oil in a sauté pan, over high heat, to lightly brown each side.  Remove shanks, season with salt and pepper, and place in stock pot.

3.  In remaining oil, sauté onions until lightly browned.  Place onions in stock pot.  Cover lamb shanks with red wine and thyme and simmer for 2 hours.

4.  Eat right away, make in the morning, or the day before (even tastier).  

*You can stretch one shank to feed three people by shredding the cooked meat.  Reheat in the wine sauce and use the meat and sauce for pasta another time.  Dean-licious.


You can find all of these recipes and more by visiting us at the charleston academy