Family Christmas Dinner – Brought to you by Echo & Rig


I don’t think anything makes me happier than cooking for people I love. I’m never more satisfied than when I’m in the kitchen – I’m sure a lot of you can relate. The past two Christmases have been emotional upheavals. Last year we’d only been without my mother for three months – I think we were all still dealing with the reality that she was gone, and gone too soon. My sister’s in-laws graciously invited us into their home and made what could have been an agonizing holiday into a special memory I’ll never forget (thank you from the bottom of my heart, Jen and Greg and Yvonne and Rollie!). If you’d like to read about last year’s Christmas, you can click here.

My sister’s in-laws are Norwegian and for anyone lucky enough to spend time with them in their kitchen, they are big on keeping those Scandanavian cooking traditions alive. We enjoyed a traditional Christmas-Eve dinner of Swedish Meatballs, lutefisk (reconstituted salt-cod) and lefse (a Norwegian flatbread). It was nice to be in the kitchen of someone who truly enjoyed nurturing  her family and friends with food. I may have stirred the meatballs once, but then I was pretty much relegated to the kitchen table with a glass of wine where I was overly-spoiled. I’ll never forget that first holiday without Mom but my new extended family soothed the jagged edges that are inevitably produced by fresh grief.

Christmas was my mother’s favorite holiday and so I’m sure no matter how many Christmases come and go, they will never get easier for me. Everything about the holiday reminds me of her. It’s good to remember but I still want her here. I needed to be in the kitchen this year which was my favorite place to be with her. I needed to cook from morning ’til evening, washing pots and pans and dishes along the way (Mom taught me that) to feel normal.

Maybe that was my Christmas gift to myself – being able to nurture my family and friends.

Knowing I’d be unable to spend Christmas with my sister, I decided I wanted to make my Christmas dinner extra special. I had the pleasure of hosting my dad and my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Rod at my place this year. It was the perfect day, though I got spanked quite a few times playing various and sundry card and board games.

I recently had the pleasure of popping in to Ehco and Rig in Las Vegas. This relatively new steakhouse and butcher, located in the fancy-pants Trivola Village (15-minutes from the Strip and worth the drive) is “a stunning homage to meat featuring one of the most acclaimed butchers in the country, a large open glass meat locker, vertical displays and an exhibition/demonstration area.”


I was unable to stay for dinner (when I’m in Vegas, it’s usually for just a day or two, and I had another bucket-list joint on my dinner-card that evening: Honey Salt – blog coming soon …) but I knew I’d find something delicious there for Christmas dinner. Four darling beef tenderloin filets flirted openly at me from the meat case. “Yes, please,” I replied when approached by the friendly staff at E&R. “I’ll take four of those right there.” I already had my Christmas dinner in mind: Ree Drummond’s Steak Oscar with Roasted Asparagus and a Meyer Lemon Hollandaise Sauce.

The team at Echo and Rig is bringing back the lost art of butchery. You might remember it, when your local butcher knew your name and what cuts you liked. I’m not so young that I don’t remember out little town in AZ having two decent butchers in the local markets. Sadly, they are long gone. Walking into the E&R butchery for the first time felt like coming home. I drooled over the wide selection of quality meat in the brightly lit cases as my tenderloin filets were packaged rather elegantly.


The perfect meat for the perfect meal for the perfect Christmas Day. I was excited to get cooking, yet apprehensive as well. I tend to be a perfectionist and I’d never made hollandaise sauce before. Ree Drummond made it look approachable (thanks, Pioneer Woman!) and her easy-to-follow instructions produced an easy-peasy elegant sauce that we drizzled quite liberally over our steak, shrimp and asparagus. I even have leftovers – time to try some new egg-poaching methods!

Steak Oscar (I’ve read) is traditionally served with crab, but Ree used shrimp in her recipe and, handily, I’d just received a rather large shipment of fresh Louisiana-gulf head-on shrimp (thanks for making the pit-stop, guys!).


I had two remaining Meyer Lemons from a recent farmer’s market score and squeezed them lovingly into the hollandaise sauce. To continue the Meyer-Lemon theme, I used Queen Creek’s Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (they produce some fantastic oil!) when sautéing up the shrimp as well. I think that’s how I’d like to go out – on an overdose of Meyer Lemons. Can’t think of a better way to go.

I love Ree’s technique of cooking a thick cut of meat like a tenderloin filet – sear it briefly (1-2 minutes) on both sides high heat in a skillet that’s going to produce a good crust (I used my big cast iron skillet), then toss the skillet into a hot oven and “finish” the steaks for about 4-5 minutes more. Delicious crust, medium-rare centers. It’s nearly fool-proof as long as you aren’t the type who is easily distracted …

One more thing I enjoyed about this meal (which included a flavorful mushroom pilaf recipe of Ree’s that I’ll also include) was that it all came together relatively quickly so I wasn’t away from my guests for very long at all. I’d recommend this meal to anyone who’s trying to woo a loved one, and/or if you ever find yourself in the doghouse. This is a guaranteed winner. You’ll be a super-star without really even trying.




Steak Oscar with Roasted Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce

Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond – serves 4

IngredientsTarragon Hollandaise:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • Juice of 2 lemons (I used Meyer Lemons because I had them handy – regular lemons work just perfectly)
  • 2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • Dash of kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 2-inch-thick beef filet steaks (about 10 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Roasted Asparagus:

  • 1 bunch medium-sized asparagus, ends trimmed if woody
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon Queen Creek Meyer Lemon Olive Oil (or any good-quality olive oil)
  • 8 ounces jumbo (16- to 20-count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.For the tarragon hollandaise: Add the egg yolks to a blender or a food processor and blend. Add the lemon juice and blend for several seconds. With the blender on, slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Turn off the blender, add in a little salt and cayenne and whip it again until combined. Add the chopped tarragon and pulse. Set aside.For the steak: Generously salt and pepper both sides of the steaks. Heat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts, add the steaks to the skillet and sear on both sides until a really nice color, about 1 minute per side. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking the steaks. Cook until medium rare, 4 to 5 minutes. Cover loosely in foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.For the roasted asparagus: Put the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Roast for 5 to 10 minutes.For the shrimp: Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute until pink and dark golden brown. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Set aside. Place each filet steak on a plate and place three to four asparagus spears on top. Pile on some sauteed shrimp and drizzle on some hollandaise Sprinkle on the parsley and serve.
Here is a direct link to Ree’s Mushroom Pilaf recipe – so simple and yet so flavorful. Make it once and it’ll find it’s way into your monthly rotation, I guarantee it.
And for your viewing pleasure, a few puplet pics from our Christmas Day. Happy Holidays!
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5 thoughts

  1. Pingback: Echo & Rig – Butchery and a Beautiful Bavette | Goodness Gravy

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