High-Dollar Holiday Alternative: The Special Salt-Encrusted Sirloin Sensation

Prelude- Let me explain why this particular recipe contains no accompanying pictures; the reason is that THIS year I am planning to make this dish for my New Years Night Party, and I feel that this is such a great alternative to lavish, overdone traditional holiday meals that I didn’t want to wait until after the new year to post the recipe. Plus, I can usually only afford to make this dish once a year so please accept my picture-less apology.

When I was growing up I always looked forward to the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter were ‘The Big Three’ when all of the aunts, uncles and grandparents would gather each of the extended families of cousins and other in-laws, and would have a huge afternoon-into-evening dinner party. This went on from the time that I was a baby into my early teens and, although I loved those times, the one thing that always bugged me was this; the menu never changed. Because it was always the same group of people, and because everyone had to make or bring their own special ‘signature’ dishes, it was a constant combination of all three holiday menus. There was always a massive turkey, a giant ham and 2 different types of polish sausage (pork and beef), along with the green bean casseroles, creamed corn, pumpkin pies, crescent rolls, etc. This happened three times a year, EVERY year from my birth until I obtained a drivers license. (Yes! Thank you Jesus!)

This is why I prefer to have non-traditional menus during MY holidays.  I want something that I don’t eat during the year but that I look forward to making and consuming. Something laid back and casual, but decadent, naughty, rich. Something that that is so expensive to make, you couldn’t afford to eat it out at a restaurant. I’m going to share one of those recipes now. This particular one works great with any of the ‘Big Three’ holidays, but is also perfect for poker parties or during the playoffs–provided you collect a cover charge at the door. It’ll feed at least 8 so plan accordingly. This ain’t cheap, but it’s worth every cent!

Presenting, what I like to call “The Special Salt-Encrusted Sirloin Sensation” or, “Some Real Expensive Meat Thrown In a Bunch of Butter.”

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Hungry for More

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First, the good news; according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in the highly coveted world competition among developed countries to see which nation is the most obese, the world-class leader is once again (drum roll please),….the United States of America! Our entire country is 30.6 percent obese, which just crushes second place Mexico, trailing us at a paltry 24.2 percent. Mexico is 4 to 5 percent fatter than they were last year and they still couldn’t keep up with us! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Now for the bad news; even though there are 1.6 billion overweight and obese people in the entire world, we’re only number one in obese individuals–not overweight ones. There is a difference between overweight and obese. To be overweight you must have a Body Mass Index over 25. To be considered obese your BMI has to be over 30 and morbid obesity is over 40. The rest of the world can’t match our BMIs over 30 and 40, but when it comes to the over 25 BMI group–the merely ‘overweight’–we come in a pathetic ninth place.

I know. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Even if you wrap it in bacon and pour sugar on it. Only 74.1 percent of our nation is overweight compared to 94.5 percent of the country of Nauru, which is the world’s smallest island nation with a population under 100,000. Man, they smoked us! How can their Mango Papaya Sherbet and Coconut Crusted Fish compete with our Krispy Kremes and Quarter Pounders?

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The Bourbon Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Etherus

Hey, guess who I bumped into the other day? Etherus. You know, the Santharian God of Excess. Not to brag but he’s a personal friend. Yeah, we go waaay back. He likes to drop by unexpectedly. Usually whenever I break out the bourbon. That’s a bad habit of his but what can I do? He just doesn’t take a hint. Like the other night while I was watching a football game and sipping on some sour mash when, sometime after the half, who shows up? The E-Man. It seems that E was hungry and thought that a grilled cheese sam’itch might hit the spot. Yeah, that might taste real good about now. But not just ANY grilled cheese. Oh, noooooo. Not for the G of E. He had a reputation to uphold. It was time to step it up! A little cheese between two hunks ‘a bread just wasn’t gonna cut it! It was all in and balls out! The following abomination is what he came up with.

The Bourbon Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Etherus

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Burns My Bacon: 'White' Whiskey

The dame just stared back at me and cocked her gorgeous mug like a confused chicken. She’d never seen a Joe take as many shots and still remain upright. Yeah, I took the hits alright. I had eight slugs in me and they were all eighty proof. I asked for it, but I didn’t think they would kick so hard. Must be gettin’ old…

The name”s Whiskey. Nip Whiskey. And I’ve been walkin’ the bar beat to get the goods on this new bunch of clear pretenders that wanna share my name. You know the ones I’m talkin’ about. ‘Shine’ is what we used to call ‘em. White Whiskey *  is what the punks go by now. About as old as a melted snowball and just as clear, this new hooch is the American boy band of distilled spirits. It’s makin’ a lotta noise now, but it won’t be around for long. Seems that the big boys uptown decided to try and slip one by us by chargin’ extra for some grog that ain’t finished yet. And let me tell ya, it don’t go down easy with me.

Once upon a time there was somethin’ called ‘Moonshine.’ You know the stuff. About as refined as paint thinner and just as tasty. ‘Shine could be made outta just about anything—corn, grain, potatoes—you name it. It was cooked in the backwoods without any restrictions or standards and people only drank it ‘cause that was all you could get. Plus, it was ‘illegal’ which added to its attraction. Prohibition goes away, best online casino Uncle Sam steps in and bada boom, bada bing, the old time-tested methods of barrel-aged brews are brought back, get regulated, taxed, and everyone’s happier than a waterfront hooker during shore leave.

Fast forward to not-so-long-ago when some upper management numbskull gets the bright idea to produce legal whiskey that looks like ‘shine, but is made like their established brands. Except that it ain’t aged in charred oak barrels. In fact, it ain’t aged at all. They call it ‘rested’ because it goes from the cook tank to the bottle in less time than it takes a politician to break in a new intern.

But the real kicker is that these corporate corn holes are chargin’ more for something that costs them less to produce. See, regular whiskey has to sit around in barrels for years before it mellows in flavor and gets its color from the charred oak. That means storage space, temperature regulation, labor costs—all those things that you pay for when you buy a bottle of yer favorite loopy juice. So tell me this; why is the clear stuff about ten bucks more a bottle than the aged sauce? When I bought a bottle of this swill I asked the barkeep where my kiss was. “What kiss?” he says. “My kiss.” I said. “I like to be kissed when I’m being screwed!”

And taste? This crud tastes about as good as gettin” Frenched while chewin” tobacco. If they tried to make wine this quick, y’know what they’d call it? GRAPE JUICE!

You want my take on this counterfeit yack? Why waste yer dough on somethin’ that’s gonna age a lot longer on the shelves than it did before it got into the bottle? Take it from me, this White Whiskey fad is gonna last about as long as a Chicago Cubs winning steak. If you wanna spend a chunk’a moola on something that looks like fun but will just disappoint you in the end, I know a couple of strippers I could introduce you to.

Take it from the Nipper, and pass on the pretenders. It’s clearly not the real thing.

*Just so ya know, here”s the line-up of the mugs that I interrogated for this piece; Hudson New York Corn Whiskey, XXX Shine White Whiskey, Bully Boy, Slow Hand and Deaths Door

Friday Fuck-Up: Stick With the Beer

T’was the night before Christmas and there in my kitchen,
the turkey was ready; and boy, was it bitchin’!
It was seasoned and brined and buttered with care,
and ready for dinner once the gang all got there.
We’d celebrate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and all,
and include all religions, just like the mall.
I’ve sent out the invites and bought all the booze.
They all said they’d be here, even the Jews!

This recipe is new, I’d seen it online.
It got thirty ‘likes,’ so it had to be fine.
I roast at 450 for thirty minutes or so,
to get the skin crisp—then turn it real low.
And leave it alone to keep cookin’ all night.
It was on endlesssimmer so it had to be right!

I popped in the bird and poured a short drink.
I drank it real quick, and that made me think.
What can I do while I’m timing the roast?
That drink was sure good, maybe just one more toast.
Wait thirty minutes, or some other jive?
To help me pass time I’ll take a shot every five!

Fifteen minutes go by and it’s shot number three.
Or does that make five? Now how can this be?
I started with two and then had three more.
What was the time when I started to pour?
I roast it for thirty or some other crap?
Maybe I’d better take just a short nap.

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Split Pea Soup takes a Ribbing

Man, I hate the cold weather. I’m already tired of chillis and stews. What I want is ribs! But broiling them in my oven blows. Hey, wait a minute…ribs are pork, right? Pork goes great in soups, right? Let’s cook us some ribs in a split pea soup and have the best of both worlds!

Katt’s Baby Back Ribs in Split Pea Soup


2 tblsp of olive oil
9 oz of pancetta, chopped into small cubes
1 rack of baby back ribs
2 smoked ham hocks
1 large red onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pd of split peas
2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of white pepper
Salt to taste
5 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp of unsalted butter
1 dollop of heavy cream
Crusty bread

I like my soups and stews really spicy (hot), so if you’d rather not breathe fire while you eat this, don’t hit the ribs with the cayenne, and wait until right before you serve this to add any of the red pepper to the soup. You may find that the white pepper is all the spice that you need.

Start by cutting the ribs into individual pieces. Then, sprinkle the front and back with about a teaspoon worth of cayenne pepper. Next, chop up your pancetta. (For this particular demo I couldn’t get a single 9-ounce slab, so I bought three 3-ounce packages of sliced pancetta and I just chopped that up.) Pour your olive oil into either a stock pot or a roasting dish and bring that up to a medium heat. We want to slowly render out the fat from the pancetta without browning it too quickly, so this step should take between 15 and 20 minutes. Once the pancetta is browned, remove it from the pan and reserve it in a bowl.

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POM is the Bomb!

Ho-hum. Just another beautiful day here in the penthouse offices of ES. What have I been doing you ask? Well, let’s see…oh yeah, yours truly got an all-inclusive opportunity to take a sponsored tour of the POM Wonderful pomegranate orchards and bottling facility in central California. And let me tell you, not only was it impressive as hell,  but I got the opportunity to drink as much of the POM juice as I could inhale! Was it cool? Heck to the yeah! I LOVE when someone asks me if I want to get juiced! And for free? Outta my way!

I don’t know how many pomegranates you’ve eaten lately but the ones at the POM orchard were HUGE! I saw one that was as big as Giada De Laurentis’ head and it was packed with almost as many arils as Giada has teeth! (I’m kidding of course. Giada’s teeth are infinite.) Did you know that the POM orchards span 18,000 acres? The name of the variety of pomegranate that they grow is called the ‘wonderful,’ which is why it’s POM Wonderful and not POM Some-Other-Kinda-Variety…er, you get what I mean.

Anyway, the fresh pomegranate picking season only lasts about three months which is from October into December. Once picked they’re rushed from the tree to the processing plant to be scanned and scrutinized, which determines if the fruit is to become juice or if it meets the incredibly high standards that POM applies to all of its fresh pomegranates. It’s like the fruit version of ‘The Next Top Model’; the ones that make it are perfectly beautiful and flawless on the outside, but sweet and tart on the inside! You just can’t wait to get your hands on one! (I’m talking about the pomegranates here…)

And of course there are those super anti-oxidants within the POM juice that is the real treasure. It’s so powerful in fact, that I’m told most of the pickers average around 150 years in age. I couldn’t verify this because—y’know—most of them were wearing hats, but with the way I was being treated by the POM staff I’d believe anything they told me.

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