We have added and incredible propane pizza oven that works amazingly well. Easily reaches 700 degrees! All the equipment you need is at the house including pizza peels, IR thermometer, and pizza screens. Full instructions on here on the website. Here is a shrimp and Shiitake mushroom pizza.
The stereo in the kitchen is now controllable by Voice as is the home theater. It is just a start, the system is far from perfect, but it works and is a lot of fun! Give it a try and tell us what you think.
Summers are always booked solid at 26 School House. Summer in Mystic is great, but the "Off" season can be equally good. Less crowds, easy reservations, and less traffic are really nice, and the scenes and wildlife are a year round event. The house is really well insulated, has a super efficient furnace and networked thermostats to keep it comfortable. We added a really nice gas fireplace to warm up chilly nights. Now that we have the kitchen upgrade done, we are going to really ramp up the idea of the cooking vacation. Really? Aren't vacations supposed to be relaxing?
Restaurants are expensive, and sometimes not that great. I frequently finish dining out, thinking "I could have done that better for a fraction of the cost." As a result, when we are at Mystic, we eat most of our meals at home. The ingredients available locally are fantastic, the view is better than any restaurant and the kitchen is a great cooking/gathering place. And we can drink great wine at a reasonable cost. Three couples at a nice restaurant can easily spend over $300. At home, the same $300+ can buy ingredients for a truly epic meal.
Appetizers - Artisan Cheese, charcuterie selection, oysters) $50 + 2 bottles Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Wine $30
Main course - Rack of lamb with shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, roasted red potatoes $60 + 2 bottles Pinot Noir $40
Dessert - Purchased from bakery $20, and Taylor Floodgate 10 yr Tawny Port $25
We are only up to $225! Lets add some lobster to the Lamb to make it a Surf n Turf for and extra $30. Finally, Lets pay somebody to clean up the dishes! We still have paid less than a restaurant.
So the elephant in the kitchen is "How are you going to cook all that?" Easy! The appetizer is mostly purchased ready to go, and the oysters can be shucked in a few minutes. The rack of lamb is oven roasted until the internal temp is 130 degrees, the potatoes and asparagus roast in the oven on aluminum foil. The shiitake mushroom sauce takes a few minutes, but is easy. With a few instructions, the right utensils, and a thermometer anybody can pull this off.
Each year I spend a week upgrading the network, theater, and home automation. This year I have an ambitious agenda that includes incorporating Voice control to otherwise tedious duties. For example, there are a lot of light switches in the kitchen and it is a hassle turn turn each one off. I want to be able to say "Alexa, turn the kitchen off," and have the all lights and music turn off. Other commands are possible such as "Lock the front door," "Turn the movie theater on," "Play a Movie," "Play Pandora Jazz." I have set this up in Pittsburgh and it is incredible and very reliable. For guests, it means not having to learn what switch to flick, or what knobs to turn for entertainment.
The fossil bar is now lit from below. The color of the lights is based on weather forecast. The lights turn on at 8:00P and off at 11:00P
Blue = < 20% chance of rain
Green = 20-80% chance of rain
Red = > 80% chance of rain
We always spend time in May to get ready for summer season. Here is some of what we did.
Varnished the dinning room table and bar
Re-finished the kitchen island with food safe butcher block oil
Tested Nest system of Fire alarms and thermostats
Installed custom made copper motion night lights on the stairs
Re-programmed the entertainment system remote and added Amazon Echo voice control
Installed new home automation computer system
Added lights under the bar
Hauled out a ton of Virginian creeper and bittersweet
Added sensors to determine if various doors have been left open
Replaced gears in the garage door opener.
Just installed an upgraded camera to view the osprey nest behind the house. The new camera provides high def pics with 20x optical zoom. We get good pics now, although if I could just get it little higher, we could see into the nest a little bit. I am still fiddling with the software that records the videos and posts them to the website
We have new powered speakers in the kitchen. It took awhile to hide the wires, but it turned out really well. Music can be streamed form computer, tablet, or phone or you can instruct Alexa to play music for you.
Winter is just incredible on the water. Picturesque beauty everywhere you look. Every window has its own display and every day is different. Inside, its always warm and comfortable. A new gas fireplace is easy to use and amazingly realistic without the hassle and smoke of wood.
This Spring I will be implementing a new home automation computer that will allow me to to much more with lighting, irrigation, video etc. It is always difficult to figure out what switches do what in an unfamiliar home. How about a single button to turn off all the kitchen lights, or one that
turns off all the non-bedroom lights and locks the doors? How about single button that turns on all the home theater equipment and turns off the lights when you start the movie? How about being able to lock the front door from the bedroom?
I currently have all of the above set up in our home in Pittsburgh, and will gradually set it all up at 26SchoolHouse.
It is hard to get a feeling of where the house is situated from the ground. So I bought a photography drone and got some nice shots. The Drone is a DJI Phantom std and cost under $400. I have previously flown radio control copters and I found this really easy to control. The technology is amazing compared to only a few years ago.Read more
Stonington Historical Society Dinner and cooking demonstration
Some of the dishes can be found on www.Chucksfood.com.
Cheese/charcuterie plate with annotated list of cheeses and descriptions
Super Fresh Ceviche with scallops, shrimp, and sea bass.
Rinse fillets, Slice and thoroughly rinse again
1# Thin sliced fresh fish marinated in 1 cup Rice Vinegar, 1 TBS Hot sauce, 2 tsp salt for about 4 hrs.
Rinse well and drain.
Dressed with 1 diced tomato, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 tsp capers, Juice from 2 limes and 1 lemon, Hot sauce to taste. Fresh cilantro or basil
Disclaimer: Eating raw fish is dangerous. To eliminate risk cook all fish to 175 degrees.
Berkshire hog jowl Crostini with crunchy 10 grain homemade bread and a spicy smoked pepper spread. Two toppings 1) Fresh local mushrooms sautéed with fresh garlic, olive oil and capers 2) Berkshire hog jowl bacon braised for 8 hrs in apple cider and soy
Check Bread recipes from https://artisanbreadinfive.com
Chicken Braised in Ancho chilies and Shiraz super tender and flavorful
Recipe at Chucksfood.com Click here
Asparagus baked with sea salt and sesame oil
asparagus placed on cookie sheet drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until tender. Super simple and difficult to overcook
Steak Fest. Comparison of different steaks all cooked the same way
NY strip, Rib Eye, Prime tenderloin, choice tenderloin.
Salted, peppered, Baked to an internal temp of 130 degrees on a foil "snake", then finished over blazingly hot natural charcoal
Click on "Rooms" in the navigation bar to see more pics. We have doubled the size of the kitchen and upgraded all appliances. This is a huge project that has been in the planning stage for years. - 12 ft high ceilings
Bluestar 6 burner Gas Range
Hand Made copper ventilation hood
Separate full size freezer and refrigerator
Double convection wall ovens
Center Island custom made in Walnut
Super heavy duty 14g oversize hand welded stainless steel double sink
Separate task sink
Under cabinet task lighting
Audiophile music system
Coffee and beverage service area
The kitchen is now twice the size with a 12 foot ceiling, 6 burner gas stove, and all new appliances! This is a huge project that was in the planning stage for years. Designed by a team that included a well known local architect and a professional chef.
New cutouts in the Sun Room wall provide a spectacular view from inside
The Bonavita coffee brewer has been a big hit. with recent guests. It is one of 4 coffee machines certified by the SCAA, Specialty Coffee Association of America. We recently added an incredible Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder that uses steel gears to precisely grind beans.Read more
This was an extreme makeover to the favorite room in the house. The old circular table and oversized chairs served us well but were too big and not scalable. The new table was bought used and appeared to be made of mahogany.Read more