Dean Martin’s & Frank Sinatra’s Burger Recipes

I’m putting Don Rickles in charge of dessert.

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Some Boneless Short Ribs In The Slow Cooker

It’s gray and gross outside today. I got some chores to do around the house and will do them intermittently with farting around on a Sunday… so what better day to make my entire house smell like thyme & braised beef?

And a lazy recipe it is… perfect for my mood today. I took about 2 pounds of boneless short ribs, salt & peppered ’em up good, and then browned them nicely on all sides in a little olive oil.

Removed them to the slow cooker insert, then threw one cut-up onion (I cut it half, then just cut big 1 inch slices out of each half, jumbled it up a bit with my hands for big pieces), 3 chopped garlic cloves & a half tablespoon of dried thyme into the cooked oil/brown bits miscellany.

Cooked it for a bit, scraped up the brown bits, then added 1 cup chicken broth and a cup (maybe more) of a nice Italian red wine blend.

It’s mostly Nero with something else, making it just like Agrippina’s sex life. Hiyo! But seriously folks, it’s great to be back at the Circus Maximus. I’m here all week, until the lions show up… thank you and try the dormice and flamingo…

Brought the wine/onion mix to a slight simmer, added it to the slow cooker insert, and then put the cooker on high for 4 hours.

Will remove the beef to rest under foil for 10-15 minutes while I return the sauce to the stove top, cook down a bit, adjust the seasoning and then toss with the ribs. I’m figuring on two big HE-MAN sized portions, one of which will go into the freezer to taste even better as a leftover.

In the meantime, the music is on. The local jazz station has a blues show on during weekend afternoons. Maybe I’ll watch a movie during the day and another this evening. Maybe I’ll read a little. I look forward to drinking the rest of the wine with my dinner… maybe a nice big Italian-dressed salad (I’m thinking Armani) and a nice big piece of crunchy bread will suffice. Or maybe I’ll make some polenta as a bed for ’em, something I’m sure Agrippina did at the orgy more than once.

Have A Healthy Day, Jack!

So I’m at the grocery store on the way home, loading up on a few items, grabbing some ginormous shrimp for dinner and the like.

I get into the checkout line and in front of me is some kid who works at the store, cashing out a couple of snacks. It must be break time.

Then the other kid starts to ring me up, and goes “Oh, how’d that happen? It’s giving you his employee discount.”

So I say “Does that mean I have to grab a uniform and start stocking shelves?”

The kid smiles, and I regale him with stories of my brief days working at a supermarket as Jimmy the Bagboy™ for minimum wage many years ago. He finishes ringing me up & bags my stuff and hands me the receipt. “I couldn’t reset it, whatever!”

Oh YEAH! At the bottom of my receipt reads “Team Member Discount -6.49 Have a Healthy Day, Jack!”

So thanks for that six and a half buck discount of my bill, Jack. I hope you have a healthy day as well.

Oh wait, it WAS too good to be true. A customer had an allergic reaction to some guacamole they were giving samples of, and the bathroom is an ungodly mess. They’re handing me a mop and bucket. The hazmat suit is extra, and I’m not giving back that $6.49. Well, here goes…

A Wonderfully Cooked Steak

“One measly steak!” to quote Jimmy Stewart, but I cooked it up quite nicely without a grill. And here’s how.

I started with a 3/4 pound NY strip, maybe 1 1/4″ thick.

I patted it dry & sprinkled kosher salt on it. Let it sit about 20 minutes to get to room temperature.

I heated up my nonstick T-Fal 12 inch saute pan, then added a little peanut oil. Steak went in under medium-high heat. Three minutes on the first side, two minutes on the other. Then I put the pan into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes to get a medium pink on it.

When it came out of then oven, I put it on a plastic cutting board and covered it with foil for 10 minutes.

That was it – it came out great. Nice crust from the oil, nice lack of gray-pink border on the inside from the oven – pretty much a nice shade of pink all the way through. Your oven may vary – I used a meat thermometer to get a 130 on it when I removed it from the oven.

Had a nice salad, some fresh French bread & a cabernet with it.

Continue reading “A Wonderfully Cooked Steak”

White Cooked Chicken With A Ginger Soy Dressing

Saw this one on TV, made some minor modifications to it, and came up with a wonderful simple way to cook chicken, especially when I’m in the mood for something light and not piping hot on a warm summer night.

“White cooked” is the Chinese version of sous vide – cooking in simmering water. If you’re someone who demands crispy skin, this ain’t for you. The skin will come out flabby and unusable, kinda like I am in the eyes of most women.

You’ll need a pot big enough to submerse a chicken or its parts in water. I saw this done with a whole chicken, I did it with a bone-in breast.

Into the water: at least 2 big tablespoons of salt – the water should be 2x as salty as pasta water.

At this point, you can pick your flavorings. When I planned on making a chicken salad with mayo afterwards, I stopped with salt. For the ginger/soy recipe, I added about a half cup of sherry, some chopped scallion and a few nickel-sized pieces of smashed ginger to the water. Any sort of aromatics in the water at this point will subtly infuse the meat, however.

Bring it to a boil. Add the chicken, bring back to a boil, and then lower to medium to keep at a simmer.

Cook uncovered 20 minutes. Then, flip the chicken over, simmer another 20 minutes. Turn the heat off, lid the pot, and let it sit another 30. Finally, take the chicken out onto a cutting board and let rest another 15.

That’s it!

You’ll have a nice pot of homemade chicken broth as well, to save for later. Consider this when you’re adding stuff to the water at the beginning.

Peel off the rubbery skin and separate the meat from the bone. Chill in the refrigerator if you want.

I cut up the meat and tossed it in a ginger-soy dressing made up of: 2 tbs soy, 1 tsp finely minced ginger, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil and some chopped scallion.

Serve over some crisp lettuce or cabbage. Or, you can do what I did – take the homemade broth and use it to cook some rice in the time the chicken was sitting & resting.

That other chicken, sitting and resting in front of my TV after a long day? He’s for dinner tomorrow night.

 

 

Sky Bar On Life Support

The New England Confectionary Company, maker of those unique chalky NECCO wafer candies, has been bought at a federal bankruptcy auction by Spangler, a candy company based in Ohio.

I’m sure they bought it up to get the NECCO wafers and similarly formulated Valentine’s heart candies with the little messages on ’em, but the company also made other stuff whose future is unsure… such as Clark Bars and one of my absolute favorites.. Sky Bars.

While the wafers can be found in Southern California, the Sky Bars are few and far between, only available in specialty nostalgia-style candy shops like Rocket Fizz and the like, and they usually run north of a buck and half a bar. Oy.

The Sky Bar is a milk chocolate bar stuffed with 4 flavors that turn up randomly – peanut, vanilla, caramel and fudge. Part of the fun is the surprise by biting into each section.

Right up there with Crunchy Frog.

One time they did a promo with one of the abominable sparkly vampire Twilight films, with dark chocolate Sky Bars wrapped in “Twilight” themed wrappers…. and like other leftover promo candy, they wound up at the local 99 cent store in large quantities…

AND I BOUGHT THEM ALL!!!!

I really did – stocked my ‘fridge with maybe two dozen of the damn things at 3 for a buck after recognizing them as Sky Bars in a different wrapper.

Alas, those days (and hopefully that added weight on my belly) are gone.

I hope Spangler keeps making the Sky Bars, or at least sells the brand & recipe to someone who will. It’s my favorite candy bar, along with one that’ll NEVER go away, Three Musketeers (yeah, I know… candy snobs find that one boring,  but I admire its simplicity) and a foreign entry, the Ferrara Chocolate Torrone bar I’ll get at a local Italian deli every so often for upwards of TWO DOLLARS!

But it’s SO damn good.

Please, Sky Bar… don’t leave me.

Finlaggen Single Malt Scotch Review

I’m not too sure why I like single malt scotches and have never really liked any of the blended varieties I’ve sampled. Maybe because I can actually pick out flavors in the singles that overcome the harshness of the alcohol. But I’ve even had some single malts that only rated a “meh” in my eyes, and I pegged them as not really being worth adding to the rotation.

Well, after the plug it got in the Trader Joe’s fearless flyer that lands in my mailbox every few months, I got curious about Finlaggen single malt. I read a few reviews on whiskey review sites, and it seemed to be on par with other stuff I’ve liked in the past, like good ol’ Glenlivet, always my reference point for single malt scotch since it was the first one I ever tried, way back in college.

I figured nineteen bucks wasn’t too much to risk to try it, and I gotta say… I think I like it BETTER than Glenlivet. It feels “thinner” on the palate than the bourbons & ryes I’ve had, less syrupy I guess. But what really got me was the nice smokiness of the taste & finish.

A good scotch ought to evoke the smokiness of a nice peaty fire, right? I should picture myself sitting with Groundskeeper Willie in front of one, passing the bottle and trying to keep warm while we await Robert the Bruce to lead us into battle the following dawn against that inbred Longshanks bastard.

And he was played by Patrick McGoohan!

Anyway, this stuff leaves a wonderful smoky finish on the palate, akin to, well…. some really good smoked whitefish. I really can’t describe it any other way, but what began as the sting of alcohol on my tongue ended as the aroma of wonderful smoked fish. And as off-putting as that might sound, it really was wonderful.

I’d sip this stuff straight, and I’ll definitely enjoy it blended with water or seltzer.

AND it was only nineteen bucks at TJs, relatively cheap for a single malt, and certainly a good buy for a solid scotch.

So thumbs up!

 

 

The Quickest Whiskey Tasting Review Of The Day

Not too long ago, I discovered I like rye whiskey. Up until that point, the only whiskey I’d regularly work into my rotation was Jack Daniels. “Normal” bourbons didn’t do much for me, I wasn’t crazy about the Canadian whiskeys I tried (which turns out to be meaningful in my exercise today), and I’ve only liked single malt scotches of the scotches I’ve tried.

So after trying a rye cocktail at a bar, I went to good ol’ Costco and got a monster sized bottle of Bulleit Rye, a 95% rye mash whiskey that I liked very much, blended into my usual concoction of a couple of fingers worth over ice with a splash of lemon juice & then mixed with a lemon seltzer.

I wondered about some of the other ryes out there, though. Would I notice any difference?

An easy way to test, I figured, was to head over to the local BevMo and grab a few minis of whatever ryes they had and do comparison tests each day, making 2 half-sized drinks, one with the Bulleit and one with the special guest star.

Well, they only had the Jack Daniels Rye, so I grabbed a mini (along with a six of some Moretti Rosso, one of my favorite beers) and headed home.

I mixed both the Jack Daniels Rye and the Bulleit in identical proportions in separate glasses, and then did some extremely enjoyable taste testing.

Gotta say… the Bulleit was superior, and I’m thinking I can actually pick up the difference between its 95% rye mash versus the Jack Daniels 75%. The JD isn’t bad, but has an odd finish to it, similar to what I felt when I mixed a Crown Royal Canadian whiskey drink some time ago. And “Canadian Whiskey” is mostly corn/bourbon-y type stuff flavored with rye in varying amounts.

Funny…. you’d figure a 75% rye on top of what Jack Daniels old number 7 is would be right up my alley…. but evidently it isn’t. I preferred JD to other bourbons because of it’s subtle sourness, which is why I figured I liked rye in the first place.

Sigh. I’m a prima donna…. I gotta have nearly pure rye for the stronger and more consistent flavor in the finish after each sip.

Though I gotta admit… the rye-IPA thing is WAY too much sharp/bitter for me, and I’ll leave that stuff to others. I’m not a big IPA guy anyway.

So perhaps I’ll try a small bottle of one of the other pure rye mash versions to compare to Bulleit, although the easier thing to do would be to head back to Costco and just get another 1.75 liter job and savor it over the several months it’d take me to go through it. This ain’t exactly rocket science.

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