It’s been quite some time since I’ve written you. In fact, my last letter came to you on a Big Chief sheet, written with map colors. But that was a few decades ago and I doubt you remember anything after the decadent 1980s (for which I was partly responsible).
I’m coming to you with a wish list once again, but first I owe you many thanks.
I might be getting up there in years, but I’m still excited every time a new Hess Truck appears beneath our artificial tree. Also, when I shouted ‘This is the best Christmas ever!’ a year ago after unwrapping the entire Six Million Dollar Man series on DVD, I meant it.
Hell, man. Who am I kidding? I’ve meant it every December 25. You are the bomb, Santa, and I really appreciate you — but not only for Celtics tickets, cooking classes and Wüsthof knives.
Let’s face it, Santa. You must spend considerable time each year pondering as to whether you should stop by my home. I’m fully aware that, if I’m not bitching and complaining about something, I’m getting myself into trouble elsewhere — mostly juvenile stuff like drinking straight from the 2-liter bottle, or leaving my XM-Sirius on the Playboy channel for my wife to hear when she starts the car. I know that you must have also caught me trying to pass off chicken thighs for white meat, or claiming that my (perfect idea of) chili was ‘accidentally’ over-spiced.
What can I say? I’m guilty. Yet, you come through for me every year. And I’m asking you to come through for me in a big way in 2012 — and avoid me.
You read that correctly. Don’t bring me anything.
Unless you can pay off my mortgage or sprinkle some magic ‘get along and be nice’ dust on my children, I have everything I need and want. But, there are too many people who don’t … right here in my hometown.
Before you get too nervous at what I’m asking for, don’t. My request only includes children, since they are the ones who are forced to live with their parents’ choices.
In my line of work, I too often see children who don’t even own a belt or shoes that fit, whereas their caretakers (if you want to call them that) manage to talk on high-tech cell phones as they are driving about town on a $2,000 set of chrome wheels. Other children go hungry on weekends, since school cafeterias feed them only Monday through Friday. (We have about 800 of those children living right here.) What’s up with their parents? God only knows.
I know you cannot solve the world’s problems — especially in one night. And, please don’t start thinking of me as a sappy bleeding heart, because there are some so-called grown-ups out there who deserve to have their remaining ‘meth’ teeth kicked out … and I’d like to have those honors. But, there are some little ones out there who’ll be skipped over (again) if we don’t step up.
So, Santa … How about it?
Your old friend,
Adam J. Holland
P.S. — Feel free to stop by for a late-night snack and a couple of beers (I’ll try to save you at least one Anchor Steam Christmas Ale). But please tell those antler-shedding helpers of yours to avoid snacking on my citrus trees this year.
I hope you enjoy my reflections enough to tell 50 of your closest friends about this place. I’d also love for you to join me on Facebook for regular conversation. Just click the ‘like’ button.
It’s no secret that Santa enjoys sweets any way you make them. But the poor guy needs a little sustenance. Not to mention, all those cookies are murder on his hemoglobin levels. Spicy Pickled Shrimp are clutch as an appetizer, but they are also outstanding on a sandwich or as a salad topper.
Spicy Pickled Shrimp
Though I’m including measurements here, I tend to wing this based on the container I’m using. This recipe is for a 1-quart jar.
1 lb. – Medium shrimp (26-30 ct.), peeled and deveined
2 TB – Old Bay Seasoning -or- 1 TB Pickling spices plus 1 TB Cajun Salt
1 – Lemon, quartered
To about 8 quarts of water, add spices and lemon. Bring to a rolling boil in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Place shrimp in water, turn off heat and cover for about 5 minutes (until shrimp are pink). Remove shrimp and place in ice water to prevent overcooking.
¼ cup – Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp – Ground coriander
1 tsp – Mustard seed
1 tsp – Celery seed
1 TB – Red chile flakes
2 TB – Flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 TB – Black peppercorns
Combine spices with olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
1 – Small yellow onion, sliced into thin strips
3 – Garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise
2-3 – Lemon or Orange slices
2-3 – Fresh jalapeno pepper slices
2 TB – Kosher salt
2 – Fresh Bay leaves -or- 2-3 Fresh Citrus leaves
2½ cups – Vinegar combined with ½ cup – water
Place garlic cloves, jalapeno pepper slices and salt in bottom of quart-sized jar. Add a layer of onion, followed by a layer of shrimp. After a couple of layers, add Citrus slices and Bay (or Citrus) leaves. Continue making layers until all shrimp and onion have been used, or until jar is full to the neck. Add vinegar/water mixture to within about 1 inch from the neck (add more water if necessary). Add olive oil/spice mixture.
Seal jar and refrigerate overnight, or for 2-3 days for deeper flavor. Gently agitate daily to distribute spices. Keeps for about 7-10 days, refrigerated.