Pizza Oven

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.

Shrimp and shiitake mushroom pizza

Voice Control

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.

Cooking Vacation

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.

Our websites www.26schoolhouse.com and www.Chucksfood.com have instructions already, and we are constantly adding information for cooking a wide variety of spectacular dishes.

Voice Control is On its way

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.

amazon Echo home automation

The bar predicts the weather!

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

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Summer preparations

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 air-conditioning

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.

New Osprey Cam

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

New Sound System

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

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.

New Home Automation

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.

Aerial Photography at Mystic

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.

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Stonington Historical Society Cooking Demonstration

Stonington Historical Society Dinner and cooking demonstration

Stonington Historical Society Dinner

Some of the dishes can be found on www.Chucksfood.com.



Cheese/charcuterie plate with annotated list of cheeses and descriptions

Cheese platter at Mystic Rental


Super Fresh Ceviche with scallops, shrimp, and sea bass.Fresh Ceviche

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.





Pork crostini cooking demonstrationBerkshire 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







Checked braised in ancho chilies and ShirazChicken 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


Time Lapse Video



Bar made of Pewter, Walnut, and Fossils

Incredible bar representing 18 months of work made by owner. Features fossils, hand poured enter, walnut, and resin. Looks out over Mystic river. See complete details on menu "Chucks Projects"


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Kitchen Renovation

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

Dishwasher

Granite countertops

BACK TO NEWS

Huge New Kitchen Completed

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.


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Sunroom Renovation

New cutouts in the Sun Room wall provide a spectacular view from inside

Incredible Coffee

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.

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New dining table

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.

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