IndyScan.com always get lots of hits from people looking for holiday food ideas. I first posted this back in 2008 and every December it gets several hundred views. I thought I’d re-post this to make it easier to find for those of you looking for it.
The holidays are the time to break out the big guns and impress your friends and family. We cooked our first standing rib roast a few years ago and it’s the go to dish for at least one family gathering each year. A standing rib roast is NOT a cheap cut of meat but you’ll be surprised how many people you can feed with one of these, so when you break it down per person it’s not as bad as you think.
You order your standing rib roast by the bone. Plan on feeding 2 people per bone and don’t go less than 3-4 bones or you might as well cook streaks. A quality instant read thermometer is key to cooking the perfect roast. You can ball park the doneness with a timer but only a thermometer will tell you how far the inside has cooked. Do yourself a favor & don’t ruin an expensive piece of meat by winging it.
I keep it simple when cooking my roast:
Herbs de Provence
That’s it! Make sure you bring your roast to room temperature (30-45 min) before cooking or you can guarantee it will be raw when the outside is done.
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
Put beef, fat side up, in a small roasting pan and brush on a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle all over with salt, pepper and herbs.
Roast beef 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and roast until thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 115°F, about 1 1/4 hours more.
Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand, uncovered, 25-30 minutes.
Meat will eventually reach 125°F (medium-rare).
Adjust the cooking time accordingly to reach the desired doneness. End pieces will be more done than the center pieces so you should be able to make everyone happy.
Be sure to accompany this roast with a delicious Red Wine Sauce. Enjoy & happy holidays!
Last Friday, after a long work week, we received an invite from our good friends to go to dinner (good timing!). Several options were on the table but one stood out, Eddie Merlot’s. Having never dined there but hearing lots of good things we grabbed a reservation (surprisingly easy to do on a Friday night) and headed out.
I declined the Valet Parking since there were parking spaces right by the door (**rant in a future blog post**) & we met our friends in the bar. The hostess greeted us and said our table was ready whenever we were (good start so far since many places over book and you still wait for a table even with a reservation. I’m talking to YOU Bonefish & PF Changs!).
After a few minutes of catching up with our friends we headed to our table and met our waiter who was very friendly. Since this was our first time at Eddie’s he explained the concept of the restaurant and offered some suggestions from the menu.
We started with a few appetizers for all of us to share including the Shrimp Cocktail, BBQ Shrimp & Fried Green Tomatoes (the last one being part of the Farm-2-Fork promotion currently going on). The Shrimp Cocktail is brought out on a bed of dry ice and is quite the head turner. The Shrimp were very large, nicely chilled and accompanied by a spicy (horseradish) sauce. The BBQ Shrimp were wrapped in bacon, grilled & covered in a tasty BBQ sauce.
Finally, the Fried Green Tomatoes had a nice tasting coating and the dipping sauce was pretty good. The problem was they were sliced a little too thick for the amount of time they were cooked. This resulted in a fairly raw and crunchy tomato. We mentioned this to our waiter who quickly sent the manager over. He agreed with the thickness issue, exchanged some pleasantries and promptly removed the item from the tab without another word (continuing the good service for the evening).
Here’s how the appetizers stacked up (I’m only ranking what I actually tasted):
Shrimp Cocktail4.5 out of 5
There were four pieces in the order. Six would have resulted in a perfect score
BBQ Shrimp4.5 out of 5
Same comment as above
Fried Green Tomatoes2 out of 5
These had potential but were sliced to thick & not cooked long enough
Three out of the four of us at the table had steak, two filets and one rib-eye. I can’t pass up a quality rib eye & this one was no exception. Perfectly cooked med-rare and covered in sautéed mushrooms, just the way I like it. This was a good steak & I didn’t want it to end.
The fourth member of our party ordered off the Farm-2-Table menu and selected the “fried” chicken. It was more like a quartered chicken that was roasted and stuffed with Swiss cheese and ham (reminiscent of a chicken cordon-blue). The small sample I had was very good. One of the better chicken dishes I’ve tasted in a while. This may be my selection on our next visit if the promotion is still going on.
Our sides included more sautéed mushrooms , asparagus , steamed broccoli and truffle Parmesan fries. Everything was good with the exception of the fries. Our waiter even said they were not his first choice but I was being stubborn and ordered them anyway. He was right. The fries were oily and pretty bland. Having been warned, I learned my lesson and did not make a fuss.
Scoring for the main course:
Rib-eye (med-rare)5 out of 5
Great flavor, perfectly cooked and nicely trimmed
Filet (med-rare & medium)
I was told it was cooked perfectly & that’s not always easy to do with this cut
Chicken5 out of 5
My bite was juicy, tender and left me wanting to order it in the future
Mushrooms5 out of 5
Great flavor and a nice mixture of fungi
Asparagus5 out of 5
I had one sprig, pretty hard to screw this one up
I’m told it was good but I did not waste room in my belly for this
Truffle Fries1 out of 5
These could have been much better but, even if they were, still not worth $8
We’re already somewhat food drunk but the good conversation and nice atmosphere lead us into dessert (something I rarely get). My wife and I split the Red Velvet cake & our friends ordered the Apple Peach Crisp and Berry Cobbler. Three of the four of us had coffee which is something I find myself getting more and more after a big meal. I know it’s a little old fashioned but I like the nostalgia.
Red Velvet Cake5 out of 5
There was enough for all four of us to share. VERY good and just as good the next day
Apple Peach Crisp
I was told this was really good
Another good choice
Our overall first impression of Eddie Merlot’s was quite favorable and we are going to definitely add this to our short list of places to go for an upscale night out. Our daughter has a birthday (14 yrs) coming up and this may be a good place to take her to celebrate the occasion. She’s turning into quite the foodie and I don’t think the quality will be lost on her at all.
This is definitely not one of the least expensive meals you can get in the Keystone area. Our bill topped the $200 mark before gratuity but that included a couple of cocktails, apps, entrees, sides and a desert. We definitely ordered a lot of food and will probably be a little more restrained on the next visit.
I’ll have to say that Eddie Merlot’s has lived up the praise it’s been given. From the friendly staff to the quality of the food and relaxed atmosphere it has left a very positive impression on us and we’re already looking forward to visiting again.
Flank Steak is one of those universal pieces of beef that can perform many duties. It can be used as a substitute for shirt/hanger steak when making Fajitas and it takes marinade very well. The only caution about Flank Steak is it gets tough the longer you cook it. If you like your meat well done, Flank Steak is not the cut for you…
1 pound flank steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups julienne red onions
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup grated horseradish
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
4 cups assorted baby greens
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Preheat the grill. Season the flank steak with salt, peper and olive oil.
Place the steak on the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.
Remove the steak from the grill and slice into 1-inch slices.
Toss the beef with the red onions, parsley and green onions. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, horseradish, lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Mix thoroughly.
Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the dressing for 1 hour.
Toss the greens with the dressing and mound in the center of the plate. Arrange the steak and onions around the greens.