My brother Martin is finally getting hitched, so I figured we needed a stout yet sassy beverage for his engagement party. In the name of printing up (completely unnecessary but adorable) little St. Patrick’s Day menu cards, this cocktail was named “the Smartini” as a Martin/Sarah mashup.
As a general rule, I think most dudes will drink a fruity cocktail as long as it:
- isn’t bright pink
- uses some sort of unorthodox ingredient, and
- doesn’t come in a fancy cocktail glass that makes you inclined to raise a pinkie.
And this cocktail passes all of those tests. The Acai Berry liquor is a trendy new kind of booze we had in Charleston while dining at Cypress (the oysters, OH THE OYSTERS!), and The Chef and I are pretty much basil sluts on every level, so this was a no-brainer.
While I didn’t squeeze the 3 dozen lemons it would have required to make a pitcher of this stuff, if I were making smaller batches, I’d definitely use the fresh stuff. Also, this has agave nectar in it, which is just nature’s fancy-sounding answer to Splenda, so do not be afraid.
The bottom line: this was refreshing and delectable, so throw it in your spring rotation.
2 parts Acai berry liquor (Veev)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part agave nectar
2 parts club soda
1 package basil, roughly chopped
cucumbers and lemons, sliced for garnish
- Pour your Acai berry liquor in a pitcher or tupperware container. Add basil. Let steep for 1-4 days, depending on desired strength of basil flavor.
- Combine all ingredients and chill.
I made this in a much larger quantity – i.e. used two bottles of Veev and increased amounts of the other ingredients proportionally – and that worked very well. Put it in a pitcher and dress it up with the cucumbers and lemons, and you got one pretty and potent cocktail.
Well it’s been a while since this blog was used for actual recipes, and I think it’s time we get it back on track.
This recipe is super simple, thus the “classic” title. The Chef and I produced boatloads of this stuff on New Year’s Eve to top the 100 oysters he so kindly shucked. And no matter how fun it is to spice things up with something like an Asian mignonette, there is something unbeatable about a really great cocktail.
So much so that If you’ve got good oysters, I’d suggest going cracker-less. And if you’re looking for more of a kick, grate some extra fresh horseradish on top. That will light you up and clear your sinuses in the most delightful way.
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup prepared horseradish (or 3/4 cup freshly grated)
1 cup of ketchup (NO Hunt’s. It is The Worst.)
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire
- Mix and chill.
Filed under Sauces, Toppings
This recipe comes to us from the grill of the Grosshans. You may know them from such hits as JR’s Brandy Mustard Filets and Bonnie’s Artichoke Dip. And if you know those, you know this recipe is pretty much a guaranteed “W.”
These are undoubtedly amazing when cooked on the Big Green Egg, but the marinade itself will dress up your tenderloin even if you don’t have the daddy of all grills at your disposal.
Obviously we would pimp any of our Nummy sauces for this, but I’d wager that reducing the leftover marinade would make a pretty delicious topper all on its own. (But boil it before you reduce it, y’all. We don’t need anyone dropping dead of raw-pork-related illness on our watch.)
2 pork tenderloins
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp dry mustard
juice of 1 lemon
5 garlic gloves, smashed
2 tbsp of coarse black pepper
- Mix all ingredients together and marinate pork in them for at least 3 hours.
- Grill to your preference. Serve on rolls with Horseradish Cream Sauce.
I know it is not artichoke season, but I love them. If I can still find them at my market, I will make them. In Rome I had the best artichoke I have ever eaten at Il Matriciano restaurant near the Vatican. It was addicting, and I could have eaten about 10 of them. Below is a traditional Roman artichoke recipe from Mario Batali. -ts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 artichokes, halved and trimmed outer leaves, choke removed, held in acidulated water (fancy talk for lemon water)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup boiling water
- In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- In the cavity of the artichoke from which the choke was removed, place 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture. Repeat this procedure with the remaining chokes.
- Arrange all chokes in a deep pan that keeps them close together, in other words, one that doesn’t give them room to fall over.
- Add the wine, boiling water, remaining oil and a pinch of salt.
- Cover and simmer on the stovetop 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature.
I rarely order shrimp at restaurants for some reason, but when it comes to cooking at home they are a go to ingredient for me. Living in NOLA, we have access to the best gulf shrimp. Also, since Chef John and I plan on cooking every recipe in Besh’s My New Orleans, there are lots of shrimp dinners ahead of us, so expect more shrimp recipes to be posted! Below is one we used on these amazing huge fresh gulf shrimps that our friend gave us. I wish I had a picture of them raw because they were beauties. This is a very basic recipe so really feel free to change it up with whatever spices and herbs you like. I think this recipe was adapted from an Emeril recipe, but honestly I cannot remember. We served this with a frisse salad and roasted veggies. -ts
1/2 pounds large unpeeled shrimp
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper
- Devein shrimp, leaving shells on.
- In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 6 tablespoons lemon mixture for serving. Place shrimp and remaining lemon mixture in a resealable plastic bag; seal bag and shake to coat shrimp. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Heat grill high. Remove shrimp from marinade, wiping off excess. Grill until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve shrimp drizzled with reserved lemon mixture.
The Chef brought this home last week for us to share. For two days I stole bites every time I was in the kitchen until he gave up and said I could have the rest. Which was good… because I had already eaten it. What I’m saying is, this is badass.
Clearly this recipe targets the rich and famous as it requires a whole pound of lump crab meat, but it is worth every penny. (I say this as a person who got hers for free, but whatevs. Details.)
For those of you who are budget-conscious, The Chef would like to remind you that you can use a lot of different things to supplement the crab if you don’t want to burn your whole paycheck on this dish. Cooked shrimp, lobster or scallops can be substituted for part of the crab, and I’ll attest that the 1/2 shrimp-1/2 crab combo is plenty delicious. Just please, for the love, leave the krab out of it.
The Chef suggests serving this on avocado halves as a first course or with crackers or crispy wontons. I, however, think this salad is something that should remain between a girl and her spoon.
1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
1/2 cup mayo
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
half bunch of green onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, fresh minced
- Drain crab and pick through for shells.
- Add everything except crab to a mixing bowl. Gently fold in crab meat.
- Eat immediately, preferably alone, before anyone else can get their hands on it.
Chef John says: Shortly before leaving NYC, I was introduced to a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant called Balaboosta. If you are in NYC you should definitely go, there isn’t a bad item on the menu. A must-order from here was the Brick Chicken. I don’t really get how the whole brick thing works and I don’t really care, all I know is it’s delicious. The skin is super crispy, the meat is juicy and that’s what matters the most. I recently came across a recipe so I decided to give it a shot.I found the marinade to be very flavorful but switch it up to your tastes. Just be sure to use the brick.It’s allllllllll in the brick.
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
One 4-pound whole grass-fed chicken, butterflied
- Combine the garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, crushed red pepper and salt. Whisk in the olive oil. Rub two-thirds of the marinade all over the chicken and under the skin.
- Prepare your grill for direct medium-low heat or heat a cast-iron pan over a medium-low flame. Place the chicken on the grill or pan skin side down. Place a foil-wrapped brick or a heavy cast-iron skillet on top of the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the brick and turn the chicken over. Place the brick on the chicken again and continue to grill until the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with the remaining marinade.
It is rhubarb season which means strawberry rhubarb pie time! I first had this pie back in 2005 from the lovely Chef Erin (famous for her Mac and Cheese recipe). I have been begging her for the recipe since, and now 6 years later I have it. I was invited to a shrimp and grits dinner party and knew that was the perfect time to try out this recipe! It was just as tasty as I remembered. This is just the recipe for the filling, feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe. You can use a frozen pie crust but will need two as there is a top to this. – ts
2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Large granule sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into chilled crust.Dot the top of the filling with the butter.
- Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar.
- Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling.
Let cool before serving.
As wonderful as living in NYC was for 6 years, now that I have outdoor space and a grill, I realize how much I had been missing out. I love being able to grill. Unless I am baking, there is now no need for me to turn on the stove. In 110 degree heat and little kitchen air circulation, that makes me happy! Below is an amazing grilled artichoke recipe I found from whiteonricecouple.com. It taste unbelievable and is very easy. You have to use fresh artichokes, and find ones with a large stem. One thing I never knew until now, the stem is just a large extension of the heart. Don’t miss out on it! Preparing fresh artichokes seems like a daunting task but is honestly easy. This recipe gives a little bit of directions but there are tons of instructional videos online that can help. – ts
Chef’s note: You can substitute any herb for the tarragon in this recipe
6 medium artichokes with stems
4 tablespoons sea salt (for boiling water)
2 small lemons
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (any vinegar will work)
3 tablespoons crushed garlic, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ chunks
2 teaspoons sea salt, for sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large stock pot 3/4 filled with water to a boil. While the water heats, trim the artichokes. Cut off the stems, and cut them into manageable lengths (usually in half). Peel the outer layer of the stems and rub with half of a lemon. Trim the top third off of the artichokes, then trim the tips of the remaining leaves.
- Slice the remaining 1 1/4 lemons into large wedges and put in the boiling water. Add the 4 T of sea salt to the water, then add the artichokes and stems. Place a few layers of paper towels over the artichokes to weigh them down, sinking them deeper in the water. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until the heart is tender when pierced and an outer leaf pulls off easily and the meat is tender.
- Drain and allow to cool upside down in a colander until easy to handle. Slice stems in half. Cut artichokes in half and remove choke with a small spoon.
- Combine olive oil, vinegar, and 1 T of garlic in a plastic bag large enough to marinate the artichokes and stems. Add artichokes and stems to the marinate, toss to coat, and allow to marinate 30 minutes to an hour.
- Heat a grill set up for direct heat. Remove artichokes and stems from marinade (reserving the marinade to make sauce) and grill artichokes and stems until lightly charred, about 5 minutes.
- Add remaining marinade to a sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Add remaining 2 T of garlic and cook until garlic is soft (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Whisk in butter chunks until completely melted. Add sea salt, lemon juice, tarragon, and black pepper, whisking to combine. Serve immediately with grill artichokes and stems.
Well corporate America, it’s almost quittin’ time on our most hallowed of holiday weekends. And nothing’s more American than using company time to do entirely personal things on a Friday afternoon, so that’s what I’m doing here.
This recipe is obviously of the rich and famous variety (because we clearly are SO VERY both), and it is as good as you think it is. The Chef made this in honor of our last dinner with The Grosshans (while we were still official Memphians, that is), and sitting on a porch eating this with a cold glass of white wine and good company is about as close to perfection as you can get. While you’re outdoors in Memphis in June, anyway.
The freshness of the tomatoes, the sweetness of the lobster and the bite of the balsamic make this dish truly addictive. So if you’ve decided to turn in your hot dogs for fancier fare this Fourth of July, this is a recipe not to be missed. (I obviously will not be doing that because hot dogs and me are an American love affair for the ages, but it’s your life.)
2 lobster tails
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Season lobster with salt and pepper and dab one tablespoon of butter on each tail.
- Roast for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Once done place in a ice bath to cool.
- Once cool dice and squeeze the juice of one lemon over them.
Caprese Salad with Balsamic Reduction:
2 yellow tomatoes, diced
2 orange tomatoes, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
salt to taste
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar
- Take one cup of balsamic vinegar and cook in a pot on low heat for thirty minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Season tomatoes with salt and toss with Basil Vinaigrette.
- Top with goat cheese and lobster. Drizzle balsamic reduction over salad and serve. (Makes 4 servings)
Luxuriate. That’s the only word that does this justice. And justice is American as hell.