Grilled Shrimp

Simplicity is the best route in cooking and this is one of those recipes that reminds you of just that.

Fun fact about me – I love Key West, Florida! I really enjoy traveling, but there is also something comforting and relaxing about returning to a place that you get to know & we seem to not be able to stop going back to Key West- every chance we get. What does this have to do with grilled shrimp? Well, one of my absolute favorite things to do when I am in Key West is to saddle up on a bar stool at the Conch Republic at the A&B Marina and sit for hours with pile after pile of Peel & Eat shrimp. I find Peel & Eats therapeutic! I can sit there all day just peeling, eating & drinking!

Since I can’t get to Key West whenever I want my favorite peel & eats, I had to find a good recipe to make them at home. I found not only one of the best grilled shrimp recipes, but also one of the easiest! However, like all things, you need to start with good shrimp. I find it quite horrifying by the amount of unpronounceable ingredients listed on super market brand farmed shrimps, which are sadly what is served at most restaurants due to accessibility and cost. I am very lucky to be able to source good, fresh shrimp most of the year from a few different vendors in my local area of Greenwich, CT & Westchester, NY. These are shrimp that have one ingredient- shrimp.

This recipe only requires a few ingredients – extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, pepper & lemon. For dipping sauce, I like to make a blended herb mixture, but you also can’t go wrong with a classic cocktail sauce or seafood remoulade.

Having made these now several times for friends I get the same reaction every time – WOW! Why are these so good?! The answer is simple – sometimes simplicity is the best route in cooking, and this is one of those dishes that reminds you of just that.

Grilled Peel & Eat Shrimp
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 mins
 
Course: Appetizer, tapas
Cuisine: International
Keyword: gluten free, keto, seafood, shellfish, shrimp
Servings: 3 people
Ingredients
  • 16 Good quality jumbo shrimp deveined in shell, raw
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 lemons halved
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill over high heat.
  2. Butterfly shrimp by slicing almost through lengthwise, but leave shell on shrimp. (This will keep the shrimp tender while grilling.)
  3. Brush shrimps with oil, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill shrimp for 2 minutes on each side, until shells are hot pink and shrimp is opaque. (They will continue to cook off the grill so do not over cook!)
  5. Place lemons on the grill, cut side down, for the last minute. The heat will release the juice from the lemons. To serve, squeeze grilled lemon wedges over shrimp.
  6. Serve alone, with cocktail sauce, remoulade, or chimichurri sauce.

  7. Peel and eat!
slow cooker chicken

Slow cooker salsa chicken is on pretty heavy rotation here at Casa De Collins! I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I considered not sharing this recipe because I didn’t want my secret to get out about how easy it is to make!

I don’t just love this recipe because it’s easy. It’s also:

  • Low carb / KETO approved
  • Gluten Free (Be sure to use gluten free ingredients)
  • Family friendly (everyone love its!)
  • Can be made in advance
  • Incredibly versatile
  • 3 affordable ingredients

This recipe checks all the boxes of a busy cook including the most important one- It’s really yummy!

This is a great recipe for families or groups of friends because it doubles and triples well. You can make any amount of this recipe if you follow this approach:

Add any amount of boneless chicken breasts into the bottom on the slow cooker. Add one teaspoon of taco seasoning per chicken breast. Top chicken with enough salsa to cover the chicken. Use tongs to toss and coat the chicken in the salsa. Set the slow cooker to low for 4-6 hours. Take note- the more chicken, the longer it may take. That’s all there is to it. (I do like to periodically check on it to make sure everything is coated and positioned well.)

To tell if the chicken is done, use two forks and see if a piece easily shreds. If it does, it is done. If sauce is thin, removed the chicken from the slow cooker and place in a large bowl. Top with about 1/8 cup of fresh salsa, per chicken breast and then begin to fork shred. The concept here is that as you shred, the chicken will absorb all the fresh flavors of the salsa. However you do not want it to be too wet, just seasoned so use your judgement. You can always add more. If the sauce is thick enough from cooking, you can shred directly in the slow cooker in the sauce in cooked in. (This all depends on the consistency of the salsa and how long you cook the chicken for. Either way is fine!)

Once it is all shredded, it’s ready to eat as is or ready to use any way you can think of.

Here are just a few of the ways I like to use this chicken.

  • Chicken Enchiladas (my favorite!)
  • Tex-Mex salads (or topped on any salad)
  • Wraps with lettuce, tomato & cheddar cheese (a side of sour cream or guac doesn’t hurt!)
  • Hard shell or soft tacos (most common!)
  • The ever reliable….quesadilla (who doesn’t love a quesadilla?)

Feaster’s Tip:

When hosting Taco night, I rinse out the slow cooker and re-add the now shredded chicken, and set the slow cooker to “keep warm” until ready to use. I set up the taco bar and everyone can help themselves and build their own tacos!

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
 
Course: dinner, entree, lunch
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken
Author: Christina Collins
Ingredients
  • 3 Boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tsp Taco seasoning
  • 1 jar salsa (enough to cover chicken breasts)
Instructions
  1. Lay the chicken breasts into the bottom of the slow cooker

  2. Add 3 teaspoons of taco seasoning and enough salsa to cover the chicken.

  3. Use tongs to toss and coat the chicken, then nestle back to submerge the chicken in the salsa.

  4. Cook on low for -6 hours or until the meat shreads easily with a fork.

  5. Remove chicken to a bowl and add about 1/2 cup of fresh salsa. Fork shred and let the chicken absorb the flavors of the fresh salsa.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

This recipe doubles well. 

 

Ricotta

Ummm…it’s really easy! Literally, anyone can make ricotta. You need only a few basic ingredients and a couple common kitchen supplies.

Making ricotta cheese from scratch is new to me. For years I was a Polly-o girl. Then I became a Calabro fan. But now, after seeing it continually pop up in Ina Garten’s cook books and finally trying it myself, I can’t imagine EVER buying pre-made ricotta cheese again. First and foremost, I love the consistency and the rich creaminess. The bonus is that it’s less expensive than buying a lesser quality pre-made, and I produce no waste from the commonly seen plastic tub it is sold in. What is better than that?

And lets face it- it’s pretty cool to be able to say you made your own ricotta cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

EQUIPMENT:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • White wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Kosher salt
  • A basic sieve
  • Cheese cloth

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The milk and cream must NOT be Ultra- Pasteurized. The process of ultra pasteurization kills off the enzymes required for it to turn into cheese! (Trust me on this… I learned the hard way!) You will end up with a pot of hot dairy and nothing more.

Ricotta is an incredibly flexible ingredient. My absolute favorite way to use homemade ricotta is to make classic cheese raviolis, because, well, I am obsessed with making raviolis. This ricotta is so light, and I roll fresh pasta that is oh, so thin! The end result is like eating delicious, Italian air. It will also transform spaghetti and meatballs just by adding a dollop of ricotta in place of parmesan giving it a creamy, indulgent richness. Another favorite of mine is to serve it simply with crostini toast. Or, make fig ricotta cake, or ricotta pancakes, or scrambled eggs with a touch of ricotta. Or…just do as I do and grab a spoon and eat it right out of the bowl and hope no one catches you 😉

Ricotta Cheese
Prep Time
3 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
 
Course: cheese, condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole milk (not ultra- pasteurized!)
  • 2 cups heavy cream (not ultra- pasteurized!)
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar (MUST be fresh!) Lemon juice works too!
Instructions
  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. DO NOT WALK AWAY from the stove top.

  3. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. (Add more if you do not see it start to separate.) It will separate into (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

  4. Carefully pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I like mine thick.) You can even bundle it and give it a gentle squeeze to remove even more moisture.

  5. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for at least 3 days.

cabbage soup

The evil Coronavirus has us all being challenged in ways we never imagined, and like many of you, I am still finding it difficult to understand and accept our new reality. However with each passing day, that fact that we need to take responsibility for our own health is becoming more and more apparent.

I am a big believer in natural immune boosting and one of the ways I have been trying to boost my immune system over the past few days as this pandemic unravels, is to get sun exposure to boost my Vitamin D levels and to eat healing foods in abundance.

Today I decided I wanted to share with you one of my oldest recipes – Healing Cabbage Soup. It is what I have always made when we are under the weather or just feeling sluggish and need a vitamin boost. You can feel it’s effects almost immediately.

My hope is to inspire even just one person to make this soup (or another vitamin packed meal) to help them boost their immune system during this trying time of fighting COVID-19. I wish wellness to all and very speedy recoveries.

Healing Cabbage Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
 

Heart healthy and packed with nutrients, healing cabbage soup is a delicious way to naturally boost your immune system.

Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: International
Keyword: gluten free, keto, paleo, soup, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks thin sliced
  • 3 tsp minced or sliced garlic (more or less to taste. I like garlic.)
  • 1/2 head of savoy cabbage large chop (about 1.5 inch cubes)
  • 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups good quality chicken stock (bone broth if possible) (preferably homemade – it is so much healthier!)
  • 1 cup Diced zucchini or any other mix of fresh vegetables you have on hand.
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves large rough chop or leave leaves whole
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, red peper chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Sautee onion in 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add in the celery and carrots. Sautee for about 5-7 minutes or until soft. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt, a few grinds of fresh pepper, and a 1/2 tsp red pepper chili flakes. Stir in garlic, whole sprigs of thyme and rosemary and sautee for another minute or two.

  2. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add in cabbage and tomatoes and simmer for about ten minues. Taste for seasoning and adjust. I usually find it needs a dash more salt.

  3. Add in remaining vegetables and continue to simmer until just cooked thorugh. Right before serving stir in parsley.

basil-parmsan-sauce

Sauces are so important to any dish from the humble lunch sandwich to the most gourmet of meals. Often overlooked by home cooks because they can be intimidating, sauce is vital and what pulls a meal together. Like shoes to an outfit- it serves an important functional role as well as pulling everything together. Sauce should never, ever be overlooked.

This is one of my absolute favorite sauce recipes. I love that it is packed with fresh flavor, can be made in advance, and it’s extremely versatile. I use it on everything from classic turkey sandwiches to elegant beef tenderloin. It’s a perfect condiment to keep around and I am always finding new ways to use it. You can’t say that about too many other sauces.

basil mayo in jar

This sauce is really nothing more than a flavor infused fresh mayonnaise. I changed the name from mayonnaise to sauce after serving it with beef tenderloin (as I always do) after I discovered that not everyone was down with the idea of mayo and meat. So I started presenting it as Beef Tenderloin with Basil & Parmesan “Sauce” and guess what happened? Everyone tried it and loved it. Funny how people have what they “like” and don’t like” already made up in their minds before trying things.

The original recipe is from Ina Garten but I have tweaked the recipe over time to get it just right. Here are some tips I picked up along the way:

  • This is sauce is best made in advance so the flavors have time to marry together.  
  • While Ina uses vegetable oil, I prefer using sunflower oil. I found it lightens up the oily flavor and texture noticeably.
  • Mason jars are the perfect way to store this sauce.
  • When serving with beef, I like to take the chill off the sauce before serving.
Basil Parmesan Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
 
Course: sauce
Ingredients
  • 4 large egg yolks at room temperature (organic free range eggs are recommended)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups sunflower oil
  • 1 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped and packed fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.
  2. With the processor running, slowly pour the oils into the bowl through the feed tube and process until emulsified.
  3. Add the basil and continue processing until finely pureed.
  4. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

As always, I always suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, it is recommended you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

chicken chili with sour cream

When we talk about chili, most of think about beef and beans. So when I was challenged to participate in a chili contest I spent weeks trying out twists on the classic beef and beans version. I tried ground beef, diced sirloin, kidney beans, black beans, a variety of peppers. But something wasn’t sitting well with me. I knew everyone would be making a some kind of version of the classic beef chili and there is only so much I could do to it to make it stand out. And I wanted to win! So I decided I was going to take a chance and do something totally different.

I kept coming back to Ina Garten’s recipe for chicken chili. I wasn’t convinced it would be great. The main ingredients were bell peppers and chicken which are not at all what I think of when I think of chili. I had so many reservations and questions about the ingredients in this recipe, but I just kept coming back to it until I decided I had to try it. And when I finally did, I knew I had something special. This is one of those recipes that simply surprises you. How can chicken and peppers come together and taste like chili? I just don’t know, but they do! And it’s damn good!

I invited a few feasters over to taste test the chicken chili and discuss the pro and cons of going with a chicken chili vs a traditional beef chili in the contest. It was so helpful to get honest feedback so I could make a confident decision about which chili to submit. It was a unanamyous decision that I had to step out of the box if I wanted my chili to stand out and we all agreed this dish could be a real contender. So, that’s what I did. I spent the next few weeks deciding what tomatoes to use, what type of chili powder to use, what cheese worked best as a garnish. I worked hard to make it the best it could be.

Then the day came. My chili was up against 18 other chilis. Voters could only vote for their top choice. When the votes were tallied I did not come in first (hold- I need to wipe the tears) but I came in second and by 1 vote! That means a heck of a lot of people choose this chili as their top choice! That’s a win in my book and I have no regrets. This is a great recipe and it now on rotation at Casa De Collins and will be….at least until next year when I go for gold and take that first place prize!

The Recipe

Award Wining Chicken Chili
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
 
Course: entree
Cuisine: American, International, Mexican, Tex-mex
Keyword: chicken, chili
Servings: 6 people
Author: Original version by Ina Garten
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions 2 large onions
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil plus extra for chicken
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic
  • 2 red bell peppers cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for chicken
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 4 split chicken breasts bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.
  3. While onions are cooking, use a pairing knife to pierce and slightly break open the tomatoes to release their water and seeds. Crush the tomatoes by hand, or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times), or simply chop well with a sharp knife. Set aside.
  4. To the onions, add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the basil, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While chili is simmering, separate the chicken meat from the bones and skin and shred, or cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. (All a matter of preference.) Add the chicken to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Soft scrambled eggs with lobster

We all grew up eating some version of scrambled eggs. Some made with milk, some with butter, some over cooked, some under cooked. No matter how you grew up eating scrambled eggs, we were ALL wrong about the “right” way to make them.

As it turns outs, the only way to have scrambled eggs is the Gordon way. Chef Gordon Ramsey, that is. They are simply delectable, delightful, delicious scrambled eggs!You are probably thinking, “What could HE possibly do to scrambled eggs that could make them THAT much better?” Trust me, I thought that too. Until I watched the video (below), read some reviews, and broke out my sauce pan and spatula. About 6 minutes later, I was speechless, and life hasn’t been the same since!

Chef Ramsey doesn’t use any special ingredients or equipment, it’s just about the process of cooking the eggs that is different. (Quality helps!) The approach is simply to crack the eggs into a sauce pan, add in some butter, turn on the heat and begin to stir. Constantly. The result of this technique is creamy, soft, silky scrambled eggs. You won’t believe the difference.Steak & eggsThe basic recipe is plenty good enough as it. But why not take things up a notch? Once you get the technique down, there is no stopping where your creativity can take this dish.

I have prepared them with fresh tomatoes and mushrooms, lobster and chives, smoked salmon with dill, and more.

The question is, where will your creativity with ingredients take you?This video shows exactly how Chef Ramsey makes the most delicious scrambled eggs. In just a few minutes you will learn how to change the way you cook eggs forever and for the better!

Gordon Ramsey's Soft Scrambled Eggs
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
6 mins
 

The absolute best eggs you'll ever eat

Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: eggs
Servings: 3
Author: Gordon Ramsey
Ingredients
  • 6 Cold, organic free range eggs the fresher the better
  • 1.5 tbs Butter- divided (optional: substitute truffle butter)
  • Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Crème fraîche
  • Chives to garnish
Instructions
  1. Crack 6 cold eggs into a non stick, small saucepan.

  2. Add the butter. 

  3. Turn the heat on to med - high.

  4. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula—don't whisk—making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.

  5. After 30 seconds, take the pan off the heat. Keep stirring. After about 10 seconds, put back on the heat. Repeat for about 3 minutes. (Adjust heat if they are cooking too fast.)

  6. Off the heat, season the eggs lightly with salt & pepper. Stir in 1 tsp of crème fraîche

  7. Plate and garnish with chopped chives.

herb-roasted-turkey-breast-03

Ihave been making Ina’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast for at least ten years. Each and every time I make it I continue to be amazed at how delicious it is. As wonderful as roasting a whole turkey is (not!) there is simply no way to properly cook the legs and thighs without overcooking the breast. Since I really can’t bear to eat dry turkey, I turned to this recipe and never looked back.Over the years, I made two notable tweaks to Ina’s original recipe. The first is that I always double the amount of marinade she calls for. The second is that I always prep the turkey one day in advance so the flavors have time to really infuse the turkey meat.

The combinations of herbs create a really wonderful savory crust that somehow manages to penetrate the entire turkey. It is simply delicious! The hardest part is prepping the herbs you’ll need, which I think we can agree is more time consuming than it is difficult!

Look no further, this is simply the best turkey recipe and the only one you’ll ever need.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
resting time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins
 

Savory roast turkey breast is the only turkey recipe you'll ever need. 

Course: entree
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic 6 cloves
  • 4 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. 

  2. Cover the turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

  3. 1 hour before you are ready to cook, take the turkey out to come up closer to room temperature. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

  5. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

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Slow Cooked Filet of Beef

This recipe for Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin is by far, my most favorite special occasion meal to make. It is not only one of the easiest dishes I have ever made, but it is also sure to impress even the most critical of guests. (Hopefully you don’t have too many critics in your life!)

There are no tricks, fancy techniques or equipment needed to execute this recipe. All you need is a great cut of beef, some fresh tarragon and butchers twine. After that, the oven does all the work.

I have invented reasons to host special occasions just so I have an excuse to make this incredible beef tenderloin!

Every special meal deserves a special sauce.

Having made this beef tenderloin countless times, I can tell you that every-single-time, the results are simply beyond impressive.

I have tried many, many sauces to accompany this beef, but I always come back to the Ina Garten’s original recommendation for sauce which is a delicious Basil Parmesan sauce. When I don’t have the time or the ingredients to make this basil mayonnaise, I serve the beef with a delicious horseradish creme sauce or a good steak sauce such as Delmonico’s or Peter Lugers

Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 25 mins
Resting time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
 

This recipe for slow roasted beef will make you the star of the show! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 whole filet of beef tenderloin trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 15-20 branches fresh tarragon
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise
  • 2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature (Organic is best)
  • 3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt (may require 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

  2. Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry (all over) with paper towels. Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper.  Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

  3. Roast the filet of beef for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare. Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature. 

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise
  1. In this order, place the basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper then the egg yolks, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. 

  2. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the sunflower oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. 

  3. Taste for seasonings – the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

Because the beef is slow roasted, the recipe can be adjusted to accommodate a small cut of beef without altering the time. Of course, keep an eye on it, but I have produced excellent results using varying size cuts. Simply, adjust your seasonings correctly. 

Recommended side sauces for serving are horseradish cream sauce or Ina’s Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise. 

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

Broccoli is the king of the vegetable kingdom. Well, at the vest least, the king of my vegetable drawer.  It’s my favorite vegetable and simply roasted, it is my go-to side dish most days of the week.  I know I’m not alone in this and I think that is probably why none of us think about broccoli as anything special and certainly not the side dish you think to include when planning a special occasion dinner. But THIS Parmesan Roasted Broccoli recipe from Ina Garten is life changing!This dish, however, is another story. It’s not just good enough for a special occasion dinner, it may actually compete for the best thing on the plate. I have more people comment on this side dish than any other always saying the same thing, “This is the best broccoli I have ever had. What did you do to it?” Well, the answer is simple- I followed the recipe!

This is my absolute favorite broccoli recipe and  just trust me, it will be yours too!It’s lemony, salty and decadently rustic.The trick to this dish is about preparing the ingredients ahead of time because it gets assembled quickly at the end of its roasting time.Prep ALL the ingredients and set aside before beginning to roast your broccoli. Then right as it comes out of the oven and you are preparing to serve, find a sous chef to assist you. Have them toss the broccoli in a large mixing bowl while you add in the prepared and measured ingredients. This will ensure even distribution of flavors and ingredients. Otherwise, you’ll have pockets of too much lemon, or too much salt, etc., so it’s important to be prepared with an extra set of hands!

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: International
Keyword: broccoli, side dish, vegetarian
Servings: 6
Author: Ina Garten
Ingredients
  • 4 to 5 pounds broccoli
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and thinly sliced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts or slivered almonds toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves about 12 leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

  3. Meanwhile prepare all the remaining ingredients, measured out and set aside ready to toss in quickly when the broccoli comes out of the oven. (You'll need to move quickly!)

  4. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Oyster Rockefeller

These oysters are as ‘Rich as Rockefeller!’

A few years back we were up in Newport, RI for a wedding. We had a great time and knew we would be back. We stayed in this great B&B- The Marshall Slocum Inn, which we had little expectations for and never expected to enjoy it as much as we did. It’s very serene and peaceful at the Inn- there is something really special about this inn and we were happy we found a room here.

Ok – so what does all this have to do with Oysters? Nothing. I just wanted to give you some background.

Oysters Rockefeller Ingredients
Select a Nutty cheese that melts well like parmesan or a really good gruyere.

We bounced around town enjoying the Newport night life and a local had recommended we head over to Benjamins for a late night bite. So off we went. And there it began….our obsession with oysters rockefeller.

They were so good. They were so good that we ordered them twice that night and before our Saturday afternoon departure, went back and order two more orders- we just couldn’t leave town without having them again! 

Well ever since then we have been trying oysters Rockefeller everywhere we go and always left wondering why there is no consistency between restaurants for this seemingly classic recipe? So we started to do some research and it turns out there is a long history, and a bit of a mystery, surrounding the creation of the original oysters rockefeller recipe. 

The jist of it:

In 1840 Antoine Alciatore opened the doors to “Antoines” – a French Creole restaurant in New Orleans. Antoine’s was a thriving restaurant that specialized in amongst other things, escargot. After Antoine’s death, his son Jules Alciatore took over as head chef and the restaurant continued to thrive.

On a late night in 1899, a hungry unnamed person ordered Antoine’s Escargot, but the Escargot had been 86’d. (That means they ran out.) Not discouraged but certainly disappointed, he asked the chef to create him something from the kitchen. It was late, and only scraps of vegetables lay around the kitchen. Inspired by the butter and herb mixture used to make the escargot, the chef combined these scraps with Oysters and baked them.  Upon tasting the dish the hungry man exclaimed, “Why this is as rich as Rockefeller!” Thus, the legend of oysters rockefeller was born.

Jules Alciatore went to his grave with the original recipe that was born that night. However, Antoine’s restaurant is still turning out the same dish to this very day in New Orleans. They keep their recipe a secret and it seems that no one will ever know how close todays version is to the one created that night back in 1899.

With this story as our inspiration, we got to thinking. What ingredients were available in New Orleans in 1899? What would have been in the kitchen? Antoine’s was almost 60 years old when they invented Oyster Rockefeller- 60 years! This means they had established dishes, recipes, clientele, and chefs. That would have played a part in the creation. There are numerous reports of it being a bright green color, which if you have ever seen escargot before it is cooked, you know this is common with this dish as well. Was that all it was- the recipe for escargot applied to oysters? Or was there more to it? We think a little bit of both. The escargot sauce elevated with likely less garlic and the addition of new herbs and greens to compliment the briny taste and delicate texture of the oyster. You must keep in mind- Oysters were a main source of food in America dating back to the first settlers. Oysters were plentiful all over the United States, and even were shipped on trains before beef was shipped. The point here is that the chef at Antoines knew how to cook Oysters. He was a talented chef who knew how to handle oysters and how to cook traditional french snails. He most likely simply adapted the classic escargot recipe that Antoine’s had been severing for 60 years and there you have it.

Oyster Rockefeller
Inspired by oyster rockefeller, we call these delicious gems “Oysters rock-a-brett!”

Only one thing left to do.. try it ourselves. We tested a few different approaches including with cream and without, with cheese and without, with spinach and without. Here is what we discovered in our test kitchen that night- they were all really good!

Oysters Rockefeller Ingredients
Simple, good quality, fresh ingredients are all it takes to make this rich and impressive oyster dish

I mean, lets face it- we were roasting oysters with garlic and butter and topping them with amazing cheese. The results proved that all combinations were fabulous and there really is no wrong way to make these. 

With the realization that no oyster baked with butter, herbs and cheese in any combination was ever going to disappoint, we ditched all the recipes out there and Oysters Rockabrett was born!

Feaster’s Tip:

When selecting oysters to roast or grill, tell your fish monger you are looking for oysters with a belly shape, not flat ones. This will provide a plumper cooked oyster and also keep them protected in the shell while roasting and prevent them from drying out.

The Recipe

Roasted Oysters
Prep Time
35 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These baked oysters are succulent and rich and oh so delicious! 

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Seafood
Keyword: oysters
Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (and/or any combination of basil, tarragon or chives)
  • 1/8 cup minced celery with leaves (optional, but recommend!)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces gruyere cheese (or similar nutty cheese)
  • Sprinkle of breadcrumbs- optional
  • 12-24 fresh oysters (in the shell)
Instructions
  1. If you have a oyster roasting pan now is the time to use that! If you don’t, prepare a baking sheet with a roasting grate to support the oysters, or make a bed of dried rice or rock salt to nestle the oysters into on the sheet pan to keep them supported so they do not spill their liquor or the butter sauce you will add.

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 

  3. Open the oysters with an oyster knife. (if you don’t know how to safely do this, don’t make this recipe!)  

  4. Meanwhile, melt together the butter, herbs, shallots, lemon zest, garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. (Feel free to add a dash of white wine) Be careful not to burn the butter sauce but cook it enough to cook down the shallots and garlic. 

  5. Once all oysters are in place on your roasting tray, add a heaping teaspoon of the melted butter mixture on top of each oyster. Top with about a teaspoon of shredded cheese followed by a pinch of breadcrumbs, if using. 

  6. Roast the oysters until the the oysters are just cooked through and the cheese is melted and turning golden brown. (About 8 to 10 minutes) Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If your cheese is not browning or you really want a nice dark brown color, Put the oysters on broil for the last 2 minutes.  

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Holy cow folks. Local Taste has done the homework for you and found you THE BEST game day recipe you’ll ever need! It is actually unbelievable that this recipe only requires two ingredients. Thats right- I said TWO! Chicken breasts and hot sauce. Okay, you need water too, but hopefully you have a running faucet and I don’t need to include that as an ingredient.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is really simple to make. Literally, anyone can do it so you have no excuse not to serve up some home-cooking at your Super Bowl party this weekend. (I’m talking to all you lazy bones out there.)

All you need to do is add boneless chicken breasts to a slow cooker, combine equal parts water and hot sauce (NOT Tabasco or Sriracha) and pour over the chicken until just covered. Turn your crockpot on low for about 6 hours until chicken falls apart easily with a fork. Drain, shred, top with extra hot sauce if desired and serve!

This recipe hails from the Feast & Merriment culinary blog. They recommend setting up a ‘make your own’ Buffalo chicken slider bar with slider rolls, lettuce and blue cheese dressing. Guests will absolutely love this and it gives you, the host, one less thing to do at your own party!

Happy Crockpot Cooking!