Category Archives: Chefs, Cookbooks, Restaurants & Recipes

Guinness Street Festival & Irish Pub’s Oysters – Love those Oysters Rockefeller

Relaxing in the afternoon, eating Oysters Rockefeller with a dash of Tabasco. Ahhhhhh, Life Is Good!

Bethlehem’s McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar / Restaurant’s Oysters & Guinness Street Festival has become an annual event for us as a family. This is the 4th year it has been held and we’ve been to 3 out of those four. 2020, did we do anything that year? Well, let’s just say… I don’t think any of us were being very “social” that year.

2021, a year of almost normalcy? We decided that we were hungry and did not want to be on a “waitlist” just to be seated on their “Patty-O.” Instead, we were graciously and immediately swept inside to a “Snuggle Booth” to enjoy our Oysters Rockefeller with Guinness. I opted for a cosmopolitan.

As we enjoyed our annual “fest,” my focus that day was…Oysters Rockefeller!

“oysters spread with a mixture of spinach, butter, seasonings, and breadcrumbs and baked on the half shell”

Some Food History: Oysters Rockefeller was created in 1899 at Antoine’s Restaurant (1840) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jules Alciatore, the son of the founder, Antoine, is credited with this honor.

Jules Alciatore is known as a pioneer in the art of cooking oysters (as they were rarely cooked before this time).  According to legend, it is said that a customer exclaimed with delight after eating this dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”

Jules Alciatore took over the business in 1899. There was a shortage of French snails and as well, not as much interest in the delicacy.  Jules wanted to use something local that could be acquired easily. He ended up choosing oysters. He worked with the snail recipe from his father and adapted it in order to use the more abundant gulf oysters.

Rockefeller was used for the dish’s name because of how “rich” the taste was and how the dish’s green color brought about the thought of greenbacks. Jules wanted his dish to represent something that was the “richest in the world.” ( John D. Rockefeller was a name that was known for being of great position and wealth at the time.

In 1980, the great-great-grandson of Jules Antoine, Roy F. Guste, Jr., Fifth Generations Proprietor, wrote in his book, Antoine’s Restaurant Cookbook… “The sauce is basically a puree of a number of green vegetables other than spinach.” I wonder if he shares the actual recipe in his family cookbook?

OK…to date, never being to New Orleans to savor the delicacies of that famous culinary cuisine, where do I go from here to search for a recipe that compares?

Online, I discovered the fantastic source of Jules Antoine’s great-great-great grandson, Roy F. Guste, Jr. and his cookbook from 1980 – Antoine’s Restaurant Cookbook! Sadly, no recipes were to be found without purchasing the book so…, a cookbook filled with “History and Legends of Favorite Foods – Food History,” Linda Stradley’s cookbook, What’s Cooking America shared Jules Alciatores’ Oyster Rockefeller’s recipe.

Now, to be honest, I have not had the privilege of making Oysters Rockefeller for our family as of yet… but, I’m believing in the above reputable sources of having it resulting in accolades of “This is delicious!” It will definitely be on our New Year’s Eve “Make a Wish Fest” this year! If you make some before me… please share your thoughts below! Enjoy!

Here’s a recipe from What’s Cooking America:

Enjoying Bethlehem’s Annual Oyster Fest at our local Irish Pub, McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar. Yum!

OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER – Jules Alciatore created in 1899

Servings: 6 or 36 appetizers


36 fresh live oysters on the half shell

6 Tablespoons butter

6 Tablespoons fresh spinach leaves, finely minced

3 Tablespoons onion, finely minced

3 Tablespoons parsley, finely minced

5 Tablespoons bread crumbs, homemade

Tabasco sauce to taste

1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Pernod

1/2 teaspoon salt

Rock salt

Lemon wedges for garnish


Using an oyster knife, pry open the oyster shells, then remove the oysters.

Discard the top shells; scrib and dry the bottom shells. Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter; add spinach, oion parsley, bread crumbs, Tabasco Sauce, Herbsaint and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Press the spinach mixture through a sieve or food mill; let cool. Mixture may be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use.

Preheat oven broiler. Line an ovenproof plate or platter with a layer of rock salt about 1-inch deep(moisten th salt very slightly). Set oysters in the rock salt, making sure they are level.

Place a little of the reserved oyster liquor on each oyster. Spoon an equal amount of the prepared spinach mixture over each oyster and spread to the rim of the shell.

Broil approximately 5 minutes or until the edges of the oysters have curled and the topping is bubbling. Watch carefully.

Garnish the plates or platter with the parsley sprigs and the lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

Added Recipe Notes:
It is best to use small oysters for this recipe. The oysters themselves(not the shell) should be no more than 1 to 1 1/2″ in diameter. Any variety of oysters will work; just make sure the oysters you choose are as fresh as possible, still alive, and tightly closed.

A fun “Throwback” photo — September 2018, the very first Oysters & Guinness Street Festival… Bob enjoying his raw oysters that year, on Bethlehem’s Walnut Street curb. The people to his left were also customers of the pub that year. Bob had fun chatting with them & their dog. Robin captured the moment with this photograph! It brings back smiles…

Meatless Meals 3: Mary Ann’s Crab Imperial

Meatless Meals 3: Lenten Meals: Mary Ann’s Crab Imperial – Adapted from a coveted Cossie Snyder’s recipe!

During Lent, it was a given, Cossie Snyder’s in Allentown, Pennsylvania is where you would find Bob, our girls, my mom and myself on a Friday night.  Marie Geletkanych, co-owner with her husband, would wait on our table.  A lovely woman, knew us by name and we always ended our meal with the most delightful of conversations.  And, some Irish coffee!  :)!

Enjoying Cossie Snyder’s because of Marie’s hospitality was one thing but, another…. they had good food!  Lobster tails, fish, crabcakes, Crab Imperial — were some of our favorites on their menu.  Mom always got breaded fish, the girls and I enjoyed their Lobster tails!  To this day, I will say — It was the best or could compete with any lobster tail in our area or anywhere we have eaten to date.  The reason I say that…. they knew how to make them!   They were perfect!  Not undercooked and not over cooked — and, always served with drawn butter!

Bob’s favorite, on the other hand, was their Crab Imperial.  He loved it so much I would call Marie right before New Year’s Eve and she would make some for us to serve at our annual New Year’s Eve – Make A Favorite Food Wish – Feast at our house.

Cossie Snyder’s has since closed and to find Crab Imperial anywhere is a difficult task to say the least.  I’ve searched for recipes and recently found an article and some notes in our local newspaper — The Morning Call.  Google it — it was fun to read!

The Morning Call – March 11, 2009

The Recipe You’ve Been Waiting For — Crab Cake Recipe finally Revealed
By Diane Stoneback

Marie Geletkanych always said she’d take her recipe for crab cakes — a signature dish at the former Cossie Snyder’s Corner in Allentown — with her to the grave. She closely guarded her secret during the 34 years she and her husband Robert owned the seafood and steak restaurant at Seventh and Washington streets. She made the crab cake mixture early in the morning, before anyone else was in the kitchen. Not even Robert, who cooked everything else on the menu, was entrusted with making the crab cakes.

1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat (fresh or pasteurized)
2 stalks of celery grated (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup grated sweet onion
4 slices fresh white Wonder bread, crusts removed and then cut into very small cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 Tbsps. parsley flakes
2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and then grated
5 Tbsps. Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 egg, raw for breaded crab patties,
you’ll also need:
One beaten egg
Bread crumbs.
Gently sort through the crab to find and remove any shells.

And, there it was!!!!   Right before everyone’s eyes!  In Black and White!!  Such excitement!  People in our area got sooooo excited!  Here’s another note I found:

The Morning Call March 18, 2009

Crab Cake Recipe Prompts Store Rush
By Marion Callahan

Heckenberger’s Seafood in the Allentown Farmers Market sold a week worth’s of fresh lump crab meat in one day, and owner Ray Adams knows the reason behind the rush. Adams said customers lined up for crab meat last Thursday, eager to make Cossie Snyder’s crab cakes, a coveted recipe that was revealed in last Wednesday’s Morning Call. Marie Geletkanych’s crab cakes were a signature dish at the former Cossie Snyder’s Corner in Allentown. She closely guarded her secret recipe during the 34 years she and her husband Robert owned the restaurant at Seventh and Washington streets.

Sweet story……
But, back to the Crab Imperial!!!

NOW I HAD A Recipe…… for crab cakes!  Not, Bob’s Crab Imperial……
So, I improvise!  I Create!  🙂

Basically, it’s the same recipe with a few, slight changes.

Mary Ann’s Crab Imperial – adapted from a coveted Cossie Snyder’s recipe

1 can jumbo lump crabmeat, picked through for shells
2 stalks celery, grated ( approximately 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup sweet onion, grated
4 slices fresh white bread, crusts removed, cut into very small cubes
or non seasoned bread crumbs / panko
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes, minced
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs, hard-boiled, shelled and grated
5 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
Butter individual baking dishes and fill 3/4 full.

Mom's Crab Imperial pic

Bake in a 375 degree oven until a light, bubbly, golden brown!

Mom's Crab Imperial After Pic
Mary Ann’s Crab Imperial – After

Enjoy!  Enjoy!

Oh….. End of story…..  Bob Loves it!  :)!

Filet Mignon Roast & Cookbook: Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom

This is truly one of my favorite cookbooks!  It is by a chef I absolutely adore!…. the one and only, Julia Child!  I have such respect and deep, soul, “cooking passion” emotion for this woman it is hard to put into words.

That said, this is one of those cookbooks that I refer to often and give as gifts to new brides, friends & family members.  My personal little green, hard back version is precious to me and it is centrally positioned in my “creating” kitchen.

Her famous, very detailed, 2 Volume Set, my husband Bob, gave to me as a gift one Christmas.  So special!  It was written with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck — “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II.”  I also cherish these cookbooks —  for just the mere pleasure of reading and “dream” cooking with them.    This book however… is always near me… my favorite… my little green one.

In describing Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom book, I will use her words: “This book aims to give quick, snappy answers to many…questions.” “It is, rather,  a mini-aide-memoir for general home cookery…. ” “It began as my loose-leaf kitchen reference guide gradually compiled from my own trials, remedies, and errors — corrected as I’ve cooked my way through the years.  Now that it has evolved into a book, information is arranged according to the large categories of soups, eggs, bread, and so forth, with the emphasis on technique.” As for the essential techniques, “….in the roasting section for instance, the master recipe, though brief, details the technique.… Once you have mastered a technique you hardly need look at a recipe again and can take off on your own.”

And only as Julia can express with her heart on her sleeve… “My own little loose-leaf served me well, and I am hoping this book version will give you too, as well as me, many of the essentials needed for brief instruction and problem solving.”

Here’s a recipe selection under the category of “Meats, Poultry and Fish” — Technique, Roasting — Master Recipe: Our Filet Mignon Beef Roast!

This is a tried and true, favorite family recipe – used throughout the course of the year and consistently for our New Year’s Eve Celebration which I call…. “Foodie Wish Fest Celebration!”

To note… this recipe is always delicious and perfect —— every time!  
Enjoy!!  From our family to yours!
Or as Julia would say…..  “Toujours bon appetit!”  

Family Filet Mignon Roast* – A Foodie Wish Fest Celebration Favorite

Roasting time at 325 degrees – preheat oven

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt & pepper, freshly ground

For the Deglazing Sauce

  • 1/2 cup each – carrots and onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plum tomatoes, fresh, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth

  1. Rub the exposed ends of the roast with oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange the roast in a roasting pan and set in the lower third of the preheated oven.
  3. After 1/2 hour, baste the ends of the roast with accumulated fat, strew the carrots and onions into the pan, and baste with the fat.
  4. Continue roasting, basting again once or twice, to a meat-thermometer reading of 125 – 130 degrees at the large end – for medium rare.  
    We prefer to roast it until medium – 140 degrees / medium well.   December 2012, 160 degrees was perfect for us!
  5. Remove the roast.
  6. Spoon fat out of the roasting pan.
  7. Scraping up the coagulated roasting juices, stir in the tomatoes.
  8. Blend in the beef broth and boil several minutes to sauté the tomatoes and create a concentrated flavor.
  9. Correct the seasoning, strain and pour into a warmed sauceboat.


*Adapted from the book’s recipe: Roast Prime Ribs of Beef