Most of us have heard of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. But how many of us know the founder’s unique history?
In 1965, single mother Ruth Fertel realized she needed to earn more money to send her sons off to college. She found a restaurant for sale in a New Orleans newspaper called Chris’ Steak House. She quickly learned that Chris’ steak house originally opened on her birthdate, and she took that as a sign of good luck to move forward with the sale.
Shortly after Fertel purchased the establishment, a fire forced her to change the original location and she renamed the restaurant, “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.”
Though she had no restaurant experience, Ruth’s Chris became a huge success. Fertel opened her first franchise in 1977 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Today, there are more than 80 locations in the U.S. and overseas.
This delicious creamed spinach recipe is inspired by the dish served at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It has just a hint of cayenne pepper to give it that Louisiana zing!
1 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoon flour
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Cook the spinach as directed on the package. Drain and squeeze all the liquid from the spinach when it is done.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the flour to the melted butter and stir until smooth. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the cream and heat for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Whisk often so that the sauce does not burn.
Add the cheese, spinach, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring often.
Rachael Ray is one of my all time favorite cooks. I feel like we could be family. I love reading the stories behind each of her recipes because it reminds me of my own family memories in the kitchen. She definitely has been an inspiration. She has said her Sicilian grandfather and her Cajun ancestry both exert strong influences on her cooking. She uses ingredients such as fresh herbs, garlic, and chicken stock to boost flavors, and believes measuring “takes away from the creative, hands-on process of cooking.” She, instead, favors approximations such as “half a palmful” or “2 pan swirl.”
I believe my Sicilian and Spanish ancestry has definitely been a strong influence in my cooking style as well. Before I started my blog, I never measured anything. But now since I have been writing and sharing my recipes, I always have my laptop next to me in the kitchen so I can keep a record of what I am creating.
She has been an inspiration to several of my recipes. Today I would like to share my Salmoriglio recipe inspired by her.
Salmoriglio is a traditional condiment from the Calabria and Sicily regions of Southern Italy. The name is from the word salamoia, which means salty or briny.
Salmoriglio is a quick sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs – and it’s absolutely fantastic served over this grilled swordfish, as well as other grilled meats, or seafood.
2 pounds fresh swordfish
2 lemons, zest and juice divided
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
4 tablespoons cold butter
In a small bowl mix lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.
Mix and add only half of this liquid to the bag with the swordfish. Seal the bag and let sit for one hour at room temperature.
While the swordfish sits for the hour, add the lemon juice (about ¼ cup of lemon juice) and parsley to the reserved half of the liquid and set aside to serve with the cooked fish.
Heat outdoor grill to high on one side and cool on the other.
Clean and oil the grill grates.
Remove the swordfish from the bag and brush off any garlic or zest and place the two pieces on the hot side of the oiled grill. Brush some of the liquid from the bag over the fish as it cooks.
Cook two minutes and turn each piece one quarter turn to get cross hatch marks. Cook for two more minutes then flip. After two more minutes turn one quarter turn and cook for two minutes. (Total of eight minutes so far.)
Take a sheet of foil and place on the cool side of the grill.
After the eight minutes of searing both sides, move the swordfish to the foil and close the cover. Try to keep a consistent temperature of 350 degrees F. in your grill.
From here you will cook for 1-6 more minutes based on how thick your steaks are. Our 1 ½ inch swordfish steaks cooked for exactly six more minutes for a grand total of 14 minutes.
You are looking for an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
As soon as they come off, place the four tablespoons of cold butter over the top to melt.
To serve, drizzle the reserved sauce over each portion.
Julia Child is one of our biggest cooking icons of all time- the Queen of French Cuisine. Julia Child was a beloved American icon who pioneered an entire genre of cooking shows and taught a generation of food lovers that cooking can be easy and enjoyable.
Still to this day, I love watching her cooking shows and reading her cookbooks. She helped me realize it is okay to make mistakes in the kitchen, that is what makes cooking fun! She lived fearlessly and fully until she passed at 91 years old.
Here are a few of my favorite Julia quotes
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.”
“Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?”
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
“People who love to eat are always the best people.”
“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon is a world wide loved classic for a reason. Tender fall apart chunks of beef simmered in a rich red wine gravy
This InstantPot recipe is inspired by her famous Beef Bourguignon recipe.
2 pounds beef – beef chuck, round eye or ribeye
8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms – 1 package
1 large carrot – chopped thick
4 large garlic cloves – minced
1 medium red onion – diced
1 medium yellow onion – diced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine – Cabernet Sauvignon
¼ cup cognac
5 tbsp. butter
5 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
⅛ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
Chop baby Bella mushrooms in half and set aside. Chop carrot into pieces that are 1 – 2 inches thick, then slice each piece in half and set aside.
Mince 4 garlic cloves and chop a tbsp. of thyme, and set aside.
Chop onions into chunky pieces and set aside.
Cube the beef into large, 2 inch cubes (if your meat is that thick). You want the cubes to be nice and chunky.
Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” on “High.”
Add 2 tbsp. of butter to the pot and coat the bottom. Place the mushrooms cut-face down. Allow them to brown for 6-8 minutes. Once done, carefully remove them from the pot, and set aside.
Add 1 tbsp. of butter to the pot and add the carrots. Place them flat-side down so they can brown. Just like the mushrooms, allow them to brown on 1 side then remove them from the pot.
Add the onions cut-side down, and allow them to brown for only 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme to the pot. Stir gently so you don’t break the onions apart too much, and allow to sauté until thoroughly cooked. Remove from the pot and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, toss meat chunks with 2 tbsp. of flour, 1 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of pepper until each chunk is thoroughly coated.
Add 1 tbsp. of butter to the pot, allow it to coat the bottom, then add the beef. Brown for 5 minutes, then flip and brown on the other side for 5 more minutes. You may want to do this process in 2 batches if each piece doesn’t sit nicely without overlapping others in the pot.
Once done, press “Cancel” to stop the Sauté and pour in ¼ cup cognac to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the yumminess on the pot under the meat.
In a bowl mix together 1 cup beef broth with 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, ⅛ tsp. smoked paprika, ½ tsp. garlic powder and ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper.
Add beef broth mixture with 1 cup of wine to the Instant Pot. Add veggiesto the pot and give them a gentle stir. Place the lid of the pot on and lock it in place. Set the Instant pot to “Pressure Cook” for 20 minutes on “High.”
Carefully release the pressure by engaging the pressure valve. While it depressurizes, mix 3 tbsp. flour in ¼ cup of water. When the pot is finished depressurizing, you’ll add this to thicken your stew.
Lift the lid and mix in the flour liquid and give it all a good stir. Give it a taste and see if it could use more salt or pepper.