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Blog

Filtering by Category: COOKING

Mastering Prime Rib 101

Suzanne Pollak

Standing Rib Roast is having a moment. The Academy's line has been fielding dozen of calls about this holiday showstopper. Those of you who have never bought or cooked a Prime Rib (yes, it's the same thing) should not be be intimidated. Let the Dean hold your hand and answer any question that arise. Some of our students are so diligent that they have been practicing before the big holiday meal and texting their every questions to us. The Dean never rests!

For first-time cooks, we offer you a step-by-step guide. More advanced cooks may be amused remembering the confusion you once felt.

Prime Rib FAQ & A:

  • I have big eaters. How many ribs do I need for eight people? We answered, 8 big eaters = 7 ribs.
  • The butcher asked if I'd like an "easy-carve" style? Do I? Easy carve is brilliant, unless one of your guests is an expert carver. 
  • Do I want to buy the fat end or the other end? We say fat end. 
  • Any hints about the vodka rub? Place the roast fat side down during the before cooking time.
  • So I put in at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, then do I leave it in oven to turn temp. down to 325 for the remaining cooking time? Not sure if I should take it out while the oven temperature adjusts... Beef stays in the oven. 
  • My meat thermometer melted...help! Oops, can’t help you there.
  • At what temperature should I remove from the oven? 120-125 degrees (interior) for rare. The roast will continue cooking after it comes out. 
  • Roast is out of the oven and temperature is rising. Do I remove the roast from the roasting pan onto a cutting board so it cools down, or leave it alone? Leave it alone. 
IMG_4730.JPG
All-star student, Logan, and her first Prime Rib.

All-star student, Logan, and her first Prime Rib.

We suggest serving Prime Rib for a holiday dinner with your closest friends, perhaps even in January after everything else subsides.  Serve with Potatoes Gratin, a big green salad, and fine red wine.  If you have leftovers, try Roast Beef Hash for a weekend brunch meal the following day.

GIFT GUIDE: Zen Kitchen

A. K. Lister

Consider a candy-colored stand mixer (Kitchenaid or bust), source of all homemade goodness and a spot of brightness in any kitchen...

Stand Mixer by Kitchenaid

Stand Mixer by Kitchenaid

...or simple equipment, brilliantly designed to last a lifetime: a Peugeot Pepper Mill, a miniature Cuisinart, or an Alessi teapot...

"Mignognette" Pepper Mill by Peugeot

"Mignognette" Pepper Mill by Peugeot

Mini Processor by Cuisinart

Mini Processor by Cuisinart

Teapot by Alessi

Teapot by Alessi

...(or any of these other handy kitchen tools spotted whilst browsing the Alessi Shop)...

Mortar & Pestle,

Mortar & Pestle,

Grater,

Grater,

Colander, all in AlessiShop

Colander, all in AlessiShop

...or a well-made knife (perhaps a set of 3) and an invincible cutting board...

Trio of Knives by Messermeister 

Trio of Knives by Messermeister 

Cutting Board by John Boos & Co.

Cutting Board by John Boos & Co.

...or even just the most luxurious candle in the world, to calm a holiday-harried cook. 

Candle by Taffin

Candle by Taffin

May all your kitchens be Zen this season.  

XO, the Academy

FAQ Friday Edition: Steak on the Stove

Suzanne Pollak

There are truly no such thing as ridiculous questions, least of all at the Academy. But we admit we were a little surprised when, in a recent Essential Dinners: Skillet class, more than one student seemed shocked at the notion of cooking steak on anything but a grill.  

We could only reply: YES!!! You can cook steak on the stove. And yes, your skillets can go in the oven. (In fact, they were designed with such purpose in mind.) You haven't lived until you've made yourself a luxuriously simple steak dinner for one.  Cooking steaks sans grill is as easy as one-two-three.

First and foremost, let raw steak sit at room temperature for up to an hour. Word to the wise...do not ever cook a cold steak, ever. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Next, set a non-stick skillet over high heat. When skillet is sizzling, place steak in pan and sear on first side for 2-4 minutes (depending on thickness), until surface is browned and starting to caramelize. Using tongs, turn, for another 2-4 minutes. Use your judgement here, and possibly the tip of a knife, to know when steak is still a little underdone. 

A thick steak, at 2 or more inches, might need more heat -- this is where the oven-roasting comes in. Place the skillet (with steak in it) into oven for another few minutes, depending on how thick the steak is. 

When steak is underdone to your liking, remove steak from pan, and place on a warm plate in a warm place. No drafts! The meat needs to rest. The juices from the center make their way back to the surface and give the steak its juicy tenderness. The internal temperature is still rising, meaning the steak is continuing to cook. FYI, there is nothing wrong with room temperature meat! Anyway, the final step is to make a sauce, which will be piping hot...

Take a glass of the wine you are indulging in while cooking, and pour into the steak's hot skillet. Simmer for a minute or two. Add a few garlic cloves, chopped, a tablespoon or so of tomato paste and a shake of fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Simmer away, until mixture becomes a little syrupy. Turn off heat, turn steaks in the hot sauce, and then slice, because sliced steak is ALWAYS better. If Peter's Luger Steakhouse slices their steaks, then we do too. 

Voila! Dinner is ready for family or company, in the time it takes to drink a glass of wine. Call this Multi-tasking Academy Style. 

Happy Friday!

XO, the Dean

CHEESY RICE! & A Post-Joaquin Dispatch from Lake City

A. K. Lister

AK here, writing from a hotel room at the Inn at the Crossroads, which just happens to be the grandest hotel Lake City SC has to offer.  My boyfriend and I found ourselves stuck here last night in a foolhardy attempt to get home from a mini-vacation in the mountains over the weekend.  While driving through the thick of the storm, we were re-routed from the main stretch/I-95 to local highways, large parts of which are still underwater today.

The sight of houses and cars ruined by unprecedented rainfall along the way made us all the more grateful to arrive in Lake City and eventually (after calling a friend in Charleston who knew someone who knew someone else here) find a place to lay our heads.  We have since been counting our blessings -- our apartment on the third floor of a two-centuries-old Charleston house undamaged, our belongings accounted for, our friends and families safe.  But we are still desperate to be cozy at home.

Once we find ourselves back, we will no doubt be hankering for a homemade meal of the most comforting kind.  But, thanks to the houseguests who occupied the apt. in our absence, I expect our pantry is likely to be stripped down to the bare minimum.  If cabin fever is setting in & making do with whatever is left over sounds like a situation you can identify with, then here is what we'll both be having for dinner:

In aside...absolutely NO judgement if you are face-to-face with a bag of Uncle Ben's, but if you have any say in the matter, go Gold.

Finally, on behalf of the CADP, stay safe out there!  As we make our way back to Charleston -- which probably still looks more like Venice than it probably should -- we keep all those in SC who have lost people they love and places they call home in our hearts today.

X AK

 

Diner en Blanc

A. K. Lister

We're going to Diner en Blanc -- an elegant flash mob dinner to convene outdoors at a previously undisclosed location in downtown Charleston on October 15th.  The event originated in Paris but is now held all over the world.  The idea is for everyone to wear white and to conduct themselves with utmost decorum and grace, despite the innate spontaneity of the occasion and casual nature of a picnic.

We can't wait!  Here are just a few things the Dean and company will be sure to include in our picnic basket : 

  • Grapes & Soft Cheese
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Gougeres -- stuffed with chicken salad or just plain.
  • Salmon Canapes
  • Cold-Fried Chicken.  The Dean loves homemade fried chicken but shout-out to Publix for their not-too-shabby stand-in when we are en route to the dock, the beach, or a super-secret picnic location like DeB.
  • Most importantly..these truly genius Sandwiches from goat.sheep.cow!  The first-rate cheese shop, owned by dynamic duo Patti & Trudy, is located ever-so-conveniently right around the corner from us.  The sandwiches are a trade secret (we eat them on a weekly basis) but the crew comes to the Academy in early November for a cocktail-hour class on pairing cheese with champagne, cider, and Madeira.  Look for it on our Calendar soon.

The Dean holds that the blankets and pillows are equally important as the food at a picnic.  Be sure they go with the setting and that there is enough room for everyone to lounge comfortably, Luncheon on the Grass-style.

FYI -- it's not too late to join us at Diner en Blanc -- purchase your tickets HERE.

XOXO, the Academy

 

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

SALAD DAYS & SALAD NIGHTS

Suzanne Pollak

Salads are a life staple, so that means salad accoutrements are too.

Dean Pollak has lived long enough to know she has constructed over 25,000 salads. We will not divulge how we arrived at that number -- math is not our strong suit -- but it is absolutely accurate and means you should pay attention.

There are many reasons we insist that you take note of your salad bowls, salad servers, pepper grinders and salt cellars. Foremost, all the paraphernalia is essential in making salads addictive, beautiful, fun to construct, and will get your family on the daily salad wagon without rebuttal. Health concerns are the least of the reasons our lunchroom serves a big bowl everyday. We like fattening salads. We like thinning salads. We like beautiful salads. We like bread salads, also known as panzanella. But we like playing with wooden bowls, like the ones at The-Commons, around the corner on Broad Street, most of all!

Who doesn’t long to fill a gorgeous handmade bowl? Even kids do and will. A big wooden bowl is a thing of beauty. In fact, the only thing more beautiful is several wooden bowls nesting in each other, letting you choose how many people will eat your salad.

Collections are fun to start. We suggest that if you haven’t collected anything yet, you begin with salad bowls. Let us be your guides. As with any collection, done carefully over years, a collection swells and takes up real estate, so the objects might as well be useful to use and beautiful to look at. Handmade bowls will make your kitchen feel more grounded, your knowledge of wood expand, your waistline shrink, your menu decisions easier. Plus, the number of guests eating salad can start at one or grow to twenty -- three full 18-inch bowls will easily feed a crowd.

You can never go wrong serving a salad, whether it's a simple green one or a confetti of colors and surprises. They always delight.

A few suggested themes:

  • Color, e.g. Yellow - yellow beets (roasted early in the day or even a day before, sliced thickly or cubed), wedges of yellow heirloom tomatoes, croutons count as yellow, slices of pear.
  • Simple Green – sliced endive and watercress tossed with blue cheese.
  • Seasonal, e.g. Fall - roasted root vegetables tossed with escarole, radicchio, red cabbage, topped with rare cold steak.

Ancient Wisdom: Get your kids on the job of helping in the kitchen and a green leaf just might make it past their lips.

  • Toddlers can toss the salad. The utensils pictured above are especially easy and fun for little kids to use.
  • Elementary school-aged children can become proficient in washing lettuce in a salad spinner.
  • Middle schoolers can try their hand with knives -- chopping, peeling, and slicing.
  • High schoolers can and should be in charge of dinner at least once a week. Let them dream up their own salad...even if it ends up being popcorn salad, do not judge!

Finally, here are a few Academy salads from the vault...

Happy Healthy!

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...)

Essential Dinners: Stock Pot 9/23

Suzanne Pollak

At the Academy, we live and die by our many useful mottos.  One is, Beware of recipes that require you to buy more equipment!  With this in mind, we established our Essential Dinners series, in order to teach students to utilize the standard workhorses already sitting in their home kitchens.

Starting with the trusty Stock Pot and a saucepan, improve your repertoire of one-dish dinner party standouts, and get a leg up on the busy work week with freezer-friendly family meals.  Let the Dean show you how to make stock, soup, stew, and gumbo so you too can make four dinners, for dozens, in just one morning -- enough food for tonight, tomorrow, and next week's dinner party.

The Academy lunchroom will be positively overflowing, so stay for lunch!  Join the Dean at her table, where she will reveal her simple secrets for making each recipe stand out, and the trick to cooking multiple recipes at the same time.  Go home with new recipes you will feel confident executing on your own at home, plus kitchen wisdom, entertaining tips, new friends, and all the leftovers you can carry...

After a single Academy class, the only question is: what can't you accomplish?

 

Why Buy Sauce in a Jar?

A. K. Lister

Marcello's tomato sauce came in a jar.

Marcello's tomato sauce came in a jar.

Sofia made hers the Academy's way.

Sofia made hers the Academy's way.

All right, technically, this recipe for Tomato Sauce takes Ten Minutes to make, plus 45 to cook while you check something else off the list.  But 45 minutes is positively nothing in kitchen years.  Just ask our trusty mascot & dog-bud Teddy.  He's 106 but feels like he's seven (until it comes to hiking up the five flights of Academy stairs...)

Listen folks, it's hot.  The only good thing about being in the Carolina Lowcountry this time of year are the TOMATOES!!!  Only, we're tired of salads and sandwiches.  Aren't you?  Take ten minutes out of your afternoon, whip up this little Stock Pot delicacy, and let it simmer.  

No need to tend.  Set the table!  Make some croutons!  Make yourself a martini.  Put on some mambo music.  Take a bath.  Oh yeah, make some pasta.  Top it with Sauce, maybe some basil if yours survived the heat.   Everything is going to be okay, babies.  Mangia!

It only takes 5 minutes and 3 ingredients to make 1 pitcher of margaritas...

A. K. Lister

OK, OK, 4 ingredients if you count salt.

Sorry to drill it home but Labor Day weekend has arrived (yes, it officially starts Friday AM, class dismissed!) and Summer is packing her bags while Fall cha cha's in the back door.

But it's still hot as Hades in Charleston, and the rain seems like it might wash us all to sea.  Your life raft: a few friends/neighbors, a sassy hat, and a pitcher of margaritas you can make faster than you can say, "Siri, find me a Mariachi Band."  Sassy hat optional.  Mariachi band...strongly encouraged.

Give that old Summer feeling a proper farewell. 

XOXO, the Deans

P.S.  Pro. Tip #1:  

P.P.S. Pro. Tip #2: Do not drink the pitcher all by yourself.  One margarita usually does the trick, but two could have you feeling ten feet tall, bulletproof, and wild as a hornet's nest.  That's what happened to a friend of ours one time, anyway...

So Long, Summer

A. K. Lister

The solstice may be fleeting, but September has arrived & the Academy is in session!  Time for a new season of classes, starting with our quintessential Essential Dinners series.  If you anticipate finding yourself surrounded by hungry friends/partners/kids/co-workers (or even all alone, just starving little old you) and fresh out of satisfying dinner plans, here's your answer.

On Wednesday mornings in late September/early October, let the Dean show you how she wields the workhorses of the kitchen -- the Stock Pot, the Roasting Pan, and the almighty Cast-Iron Skillet -- for Suppertime glory.  Learn how to make everything from Gumbo to freeze-able stocks, from the Academy's prized Pork Butt in Milk to roasted root vegetables, from cheesy rice to eggplant everyone will eat.  Then, enjoy lunch in the Academy dining hall while the Dean fields all of your burning kitchen- (or even non-kitchen-) related inquiries.  

For more information on the Essential Dinners series, check out our calendar or purchase tickets here

 

 

Breakfast is for Champions

Suzanne Pollak

Dean Manigault perpetually whines to Dean Pollak that she wants to lose weight, wah-wah. She also always wants her lunch at eleven o'clock. This is because she never eats breakfast. Dean Pollak is astounded that Dean Manigault doesn't know the first credo about losing weight. Breakfast is the essential key element of all thin people. Here's what Dean Pollak knows to be a medical fact: if you wake up and you are not hungry you ate too much the night before.

You should be so hungry upon waking up that you must eat breakfast. Not eating breakfast is out of the question. If Dean Pollak gets Dean Manigault to change one single thing about her life, it will be that she eats breakfast. She is not talking about eggs, bacon, grits, sausage and biscuits. Neither is she talking about pancakes or French toast, although as once a week treats those are all fantastic, especially if they get you to eat breakfast. Dean Pollak eats boring Fiber One and a banana four mornings a week, but Dean Pollak can also wear the same jeans as she did in high school. 


SMOOTHIE

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

1 cup strawberries or other berries, frozen

1 cup ice cubes

1 cup water

1/2 cup raw almonds, cashews, or walnuts (preferably soaked for several hours in water)

1/2 medium avocado

 

 

1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked at least 30 minutes and/or overnight

2 to 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 to 3 drops Wild Orange essential oil, preferably doTerra or other ingestible brand (Optional)

1.  Puree all the ingredients together in a sturdy blender.  

*The measurements are not exact because some people like a thick yogurt-like consistency that requires a spoon, while others prefer a liquid that's sippable right out of a glass.

The choice is yours.  We can already see your inner glow.

A Soon to Be Lost Art

Lee Manigault

Entertaining children at home is a forgotten art.  Helicopter parents over-schedule their children with soccer, art camps, swim teams; anything so as not to have a moment of down time.  

Recently, one of our first grade friends and fans told us about an incident at school. She was incensed when a classmate took over her job as door monitor and had a solution to end the tyranny. She got her backpack and whacked her classmate over the head! We admire her pluck and verve but could not endorse this tactic as a life long plan and her school and parents certainly did not. When she returned home from school, her parents 'punishment' was to have her sit out the nightly TV program with her sister and to help with evening chores instead.  But guess what?  She loved the extra time with her parents.  We were reminded anew that children don't find house work the chore we do if they can learn and be with their parents.  All children might not love the added chores as much as this budding domestic goddess, but they will enjoy having added responsibility. 

Dean Manigault went to her ex-husband's plantation with her daughter and a friend of hers.  There was no wifi, so all attendees were forced to be 'present'.  It was freezing cold so the children were tasked with keeping the fires stoked and the log piles plentiful.  Dinner was provided by Dean Manigault but breakfast and lunch was the time tested "if you can reach it, you can eat it".  The kids were a bit inventive when left to their own menu choices, but no one starved and the kids reveled in their new autonomy.  In fact, Gigi cracked the spine of the Academy cookbook for the first time ever and created the egg strata all by herself. All the entertainments were "in house" and there was lots of downtime together.  It is so much fun to get young people's perspective on the world today.

EGG STRATA

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

1 sourdough boule sliced 3/4 inch thick

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Thin slices of Gruyere or cheddar, enough to cover bread on bottom of pan

6 eggs

3 cups whole milk

1 pound bulk sausage, browned

 

1.  Grease a 9-by-11 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Spread both sides of the bread with the butter.  Layer the bread in the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with the cheese.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Pour over the bread, up to a 1/2 inch below the top of the baking dish.  Any more liquid will bubble over when cooking.  Add the sausage.  Cover and refrigerate the strata overnight or for up to 2 days.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the strata until puffy and golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. 


Unstructured time at home is a gift and should be treated as such.  When time is over scheduled outside the home- the domestic skills are left to wither on the vine.  Quiet time together in your own house is not the modern day boogyman.  Quite the opposite.  Revel in before your children are permanently gone and you missed your chance to get to know them and what they can do!

Find creative recipes for everyday & special events

Girls Night Out, In

Allison Jacobson

Dean Pollak gives Southern Charm star, Cameran Eubanks, a lesson on how to host a pre-party with your besties before a Charleston Fashion Week event.

Richard Avedon said style is based on repetition, not duplication.  All you need are a few signature recipes and drinks - and own them.  No need to reinvent the wheel every time you entertain.  Guests will look forward to your specialty.

Instructions as per the Deans:

 

The Many Benefits of Hosting a Pre-Party Cocktail Hour:

  1. Party where you get all the credit with very little work.
  2. Party takes less than a half hour to put together.
  3. Party is so easy it can be last minute (some of our favorite parties have been last minute).
  4. Party is over before you know it.  One hour and your hosting is done.
  5. Party expense is minimal, but impact is big, lasting and fun.

A PITCHER OF COCKTAILS

INGREDIENTS

1  1/2 cups tequila

1 cup citrus juice (mixture of freshly squeezed lime, orange, lemon & tangerine juices)

3/4 cup (or more) soda water

Ice cubes

 

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir.

2.  Pour into cocktail glasses and serve over ice.


WARM OLIVES

INGREDIENTS

1 cup olives with pits (use assorted colors)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 strip orange peel

1 chili

1 teaspoon fennel or Herbs de Province

 

1.  Heat small sauté pan over medium heat for a minute; add olive oil, and then remaining ingredients.

2.  Cook over low heat, stirring, for a few minutes until olives are warm.  Turn off heat and pour olives in a small bowl.

3.  Place a smaller bowl, or cup, near the olive bowl for the pits.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Suzanne Pollak

Everybody we know is totally exhausted right now. Even the Deans can’t figure out why this is, even though we are the two most tired we know. We are exhausted just propping open the Academy doors.

With this level of energy we can’t imagine there are too many dinner parties being thrown. Here’s what the Deans are currently advocating: Tea Time! Tea can be served at any hour, everyone likes it, tea time provides a soothing ritual and tea's preparation is accessible to all. Boil water and dunk a tea bag, or steep a pot and open a tin of short bread.

The Charleston Tea Plantation , home of American Classic Tea

The Charleston Tea Plantation, home of American Classic Tea

 A ritualized tea time started going out of favor in Britain right after the Great War and now the sun sets on the British Empire. Coincidence? We think not. 


SALMON CANAPES

MAKES 20 generous canapes

INGREDIENTS

One 17.6-ounce package pumpernickel bread (we prefer Mestemacher Natural with whole rye kernels)

8 ounces creme fraiche

8 ounces smoked Atlantic salmon, sliced thin

1 lemon

2 tablespoons capers

Freshly ground black pepper


1.  Cut the bread into triangles.  Smear creme fraiche on each slice and pile high with the salmon.  Drizzle with the juice from the lemon and top with the capers.  Capers will roll off and serve double duty as decor and garnish.

2.  Sprinkle with the pepper.


The Double Napkin Awards

Suzanne Pollak

There are some current rave favorites that the Deans feel guilty about having kept to ourselves for so long. If we were nominating the James Beard Awards, and we are not sure why we are not, here would be our nominees in the Almighty Sandwich department. If a sandwich doesn’t require at least two napkins it cannot even get in contention! No gluten? No way!

THE DEANS LIST:

Our six favorites (in no particular order) are:

When in New York, like lemmings to the ocean, we find ourselves pulled towards these two Manhattan jewels: John Dory Oyster Bar’s Lobster Roll and the Russian Dressing Hamburger at the The Mark Hotel Bar.

When fishing closer to home we currently have an embarrassment of riches in Charleston. Having exhaustingly and methodically tasted every sandwich in this city, we have noticed three sandwiches that have consistently pulled ahead of the pack. Butcher and Bee’s Porchetta Sandwich, Artisan Meat Share’s Porchetta (is there a theme here?) and the Wagyu Beef Panini at Ted’s Butcher Shop (be sure to ask for a little extra time in the press so it’s piping hot). And on the lighter side (only on Tuesday) is the Lobster Roll at The Ordinary. If you must go gluten free, we don’t want you to starve, get over to Edmund's Oast for the Charcuterie Boards. We just know you won’t be sorry.  

Lobster Roll from The Ordinary

Lobster Roll from The Ordinary

Edmund's Oast Charcuterie Board

Edmund's Oast Charcuterie Board

Baby It's Cold Outside

Suzanne Pollak

Courtesy of Radio Boston

Courtesy of Radio Boston

In the Spring, springing and farmers markets occur at least three times a week teaming with tender young vegetable and zucchini blossoms crying to be stuffed, nobody is thinking about their pantry. However, when the last three consecutive Monday’s has dumped 72 inches of snow on our heads, and ordering in is not a possibility let alone going out, you throw open the pantry door praying it is stocked and ready. Is it?

The fall is the ideal time to whip that pantry into shape, but it's not too late at the end of February. Winter is still here. Buy boxes, bottles, cans and jars. They will provide the mainstay of your winter diet. Buy pasta in all sorts of different shapes (fettuccine, shells, bow ties, angel hair), cans of tuna, cannellini and kidney beans, all variations of tomatoes (crushed, whole, diced, pureed) and jars of capers, green peppercorns, pimentos, preserved lemons and bottles of rum, vodka and bourbon to nip at while keeping winters chill at bay.


RUM TODDY

INGREDIENTS

3 ounces dark rum

4 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

A piece of lemon rind

1 dash of freshly grated nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

6-8 ounces boiling water

 

1.  To a large heavy duty cup or glass, add rum, honey, lemon juice, lemon rind, and nutmeg.  Stand cinnamon stick upright in the cup.

2.  Pour the boiling water and stir well to blend.  Adjust honey to suit your sweetness and adjust lemon juice to suit your taste.

3.  Sip slowly and enjoy.


CHILI

from the New York Times January 28, 2015

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds

1  1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

4 pounds beef chuck roast or steak

1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra as needed 

1 large yellow or white onion, chopped, plus extra for serving

6 large garlic cloves, minced

4 to 7 large fresh green jalapeños (depending on how much heat) stemmed, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons masa harina or 1 corn tortilla torn into pieces (optional)

2 tablespoons ground pure chile powder, such as pasilla, Chimayo or ancho

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 - 12 ounce bottle Negra Modelo beer

1 - 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, or 3 - 10 ounce cans Ro-Tel canned tomatoes with green chiles

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

3 whole dried large red chiles, such as New Mexico

Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

Fritos or warmed flour tortillas, for serving

1.  In a small heavy skillet, toast cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant.  In a mortar and pestle, or in a coffee grinder, grind to a powder and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, roughly cut beef into 2-inch cubes, or slice it against the grain into pieces about 1/4-inch thick by 1  1/2-inches square. Sprinkle with salt.

3.  In a large, heavy pot over high heat, heat oil until simmering.  Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, brown the meat, turning occasionally until crusty.  Adjust the heat to prevent scorching.  As it is cooked, remove the meat to drain on paper towels.  Add more oil as needed for browning, but do not clean out the pot.

4.  To the empty but crusty pot, add onion, garlic, jalapeños, masa harina or tortilla (if using), chile powder, cumin-coriander powder, and oregano.  Cook, stirring, until onion has softened, 5 to 10 minutes.  Add meat, beer, tomatoes, chocolate, whole dried chiles and 1 quart water.  Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for about 1  1/2 hours, or until meat is fork-tender.  Remove the dried chiles.  Taste and add salt if necessary.

5.  Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate.  (The chili tastes best one or two days after it is made.)  Reheat over low heat, if necessary, and serve in bowls, sprinkled with chopped onion and cilantro.  Add Fritos for crunch or dip tortillas into the spicy gravy.


PENNE ALLA VODKA

SERVES 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

Kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 pound penne pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 - 32 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand

1/4 cup vodka

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup Parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Finely chopped parsley, to garnish

 

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add penne and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 11 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and vodka and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cream and cheese, season with salt and pepper and stir until smooth.

2.  Drain pasta and transfer to pan with sauce.  Toss pasta with sauce until evenly coated.

3.  Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley.


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.