Surf and Turf New Years

My family has had a tradition for a few years now that I have lovingly named “Surf and Turf New Years”. Every year on New Years Eve, my mother and her 3 sisters converge on our house, their cooking utensils in hand, and put together a multi-course meal, complete with lobster and caveman-sized steak.

Surf and Turf New Years started when my brother, cousins and I were in high school. My mother and her sisters used these delicacies to lure us into spending time with the family before we dashed off to our respective New Years Eve parties. I have to say, it worked like a charm. Here’s a picture of me back in high school playing with live lobsters before they went into the pot:

The lure of underage drinking in a suburban basement full of teenagers had nothing on this

The lure of underage drinking in a suburban basement full of teenagers had nothing on this

This years smorgasbord was no exception. It was an impressive way to set off the new year. I should start by saying that it was my mother’s hope to finally ditch the tradition since all the kids in the family have flown the nest (except for me, the boomerang child), but her sisters talked her into the whole fiasco for at least one more year. So, my Aunt brought over the live lobsters, which were promptly steamed:

PITA, eat your heart out!

PETA, eat your heart out!

Another aunt brought over 15 pounds of NY strip steaks which were promptly rubbed with Emeril’s Essence, pan seared, and finished in the oven:

Arteries don't fail me now!

Arteries don’t fail me now!

And as the relatives marched in, the sides came with them. Course #1: NY strip with fries from Five Guys, caramelized onions, and my mom’s amazing, addictive mushroom-red wine sauce:

photo 5

Everyone loves my mom’s sauce. It goes great on beef or pasta. Here’s the recipe for those of you who were wondering:

My Mom’s Amazing Addictive Red Wine Mushroom Sauce


  • 2 cup mushroom
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup of any good red drinking wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour

Slice any type of mushroom and put in a pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook until they soften and brown. Add wine and let it simmer for about 3 minutes. Add beef broth and salt and let simmer on a low flame for 5 minutes. In a separate small pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add flour and mix. This is called a roux. Cook the roux for 2 minutes on a low flame, constantly stirring. Add the roux to the simmering sauce and stir until it thickens. And you’re done!

Course #2: The lobster:

Here's looking at you, kid.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

My family doesn’t mess around with lobster. I was raised Jewish but my parents obviously don’t keep a kosher home. My grandparents, however, were strictly kosher. Because they were deprived of shellfish for their entire childhoods, my mother and her sisters all developed a deep love affair with any and all shellfish. In my house, the live lobsters come home, they’re dropped into the boiling, unsalted, filtered water and my mother almost intuitively knows when they’re ready. They always come out tender and delicious and there’s always plenty of melted butter to go around.

Needless to say, it was a great way to start 2014.

photo 2


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