Cooking Tips from an ES Parent

My parents and I always celebrate my birthday in non-traditional ways, which usually ends up in overeating, leftovers for days, and hangovers. Since my birthday is in late August, it’s always the perfect time for crabs. This year, given that the price of lobster has dropped dramatically ($4.99/lb at our local market!) I suggested a seafood extravaganza. The mistake, or maybe point of brilliance, was when I texted Russell:

“My dad backed me into a corner in the kitchen and shoved a live crab in my face and it almost bit me”

“Why wasn’t mom taking photos, can you do it again? (I’ve never seen a live crab/lobster being dunked)”

My father, having both a deep-seated family history in “show business” and an obsession with Russ’s twitter, sprung into action and suddenly we were making videos to show the Brit how to kill crustaceans.

If you’re interested in learning how to make the best shrimp, want to see what happens when two generations of drunk people try to steam lobsters, or are curious about how to properly name your crustaceans, head on over to my YouTube channel to check out Sonny himself.

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It is STILL Summer: Coconut Shrimp Meatball on Crostini with Fruit Salsa

Soooo, are any of you folks on Pinterest?  I am and I waste hours (yes, hours) of my life looking at pins, pinning pins, liking pins and thinking about pins.  Clearly, I have too much free time (at work).

It’s bumming me out lately that people are pinning Halloween stuff and (gasp) Christmas stuff.  I mean, slow down, y’all.

It’s still totally summer, if you ask me.  I literally just started buying and wearing tank tops because I sort of have a tan (a tan for me is not really a tan by normal standards, but at least nobody is blinded by my upper arms anymore).  Also, all the summer clothes are on clearance now and that makes me happy.

Let’s just relax.

And enjoy summer.

How about a coconut shrimp appetizer for your cocktail party?  It screams SUMMER!

Quit trying to plan ahead and live in the present…mostly just so I can enjoy my tank tops and flip flops for a little longer.

Coconut Shrimp Meatball on Crostini with Fruit Salsa

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Beach Paella

At a recent beach gathering, instead of bringing the common potato or pasta salad to accompany burgers and hot dogs, we decided to really go for the wow factor with a one-dish meal: Paella.

We used a recipe that we adapted from an old friend from Spain. The dish is a burst of colors, flavors, and textures that can be made ahead of time, enjoyed at room temperature, or thrown on the grill to add a bit of heat. If you have the paella pan, it is quite the display and the handles on the pan allow for an easy transport. Because you can eat it at room temperature (it does not have to be super hot), you can place it on a picnic blanket or table for people to dig in!

Seated in beach chairs and covered in blankets, with a fork in one hand and a glass of sangria in the other, we dig in.

Beach Paella

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The Endless Road Trip — San Diego’s Top 10 Eats: 2. Tostada Loca

As has been mentioned many times previously on ES, I have a crazy addiction.

Because I am so obsessed with bringing you, dear readers, news of the outrageous and over-the-top food world, I always, always, always have to order the craziest thing on the menu. If the item actually has the word “crazy” in its name, it’s just over.

The well-reviewed Mariscos German Taco Truck (that’s pronounced her-man, they’re Mexican, not some kind of weird Bavarian taco truck) in San Diego had tons of exciting, classy menu items on the day that I went. There were smoked marlin tacos. There was shrimp ceviche. There was calamari. There was also something called “tostada loca,” so I pretty much had no choice.

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Killing Our Guilt: Seafood Stock From Start To Finish

I have a soft spot in my heart for southern delicacies, and last weekend my brother Eric and I ventured into uncharted territory: étouffée and jambalaya. Eric is an enormously talented cook who just graduated from culinary school, so we weren’t going to do this meal half-assed. We started as authentically as possible: freshly made seafood stock.

And when I say fresh, I mean fresh.

Aha! I saw boxes of live crawfish all over the sidewalks in front of restaurants in Louisiana, but I didn’t realize I could find them in Asian seafood markets in south Seattle. Excellent. We grabbed a bag full of these bad boys (with our bare hands, which was quite the exhilarating experience), along with about a pound of jumbo whole shrimp and we were ready to begin.

Seafood stock is a bit time consuming, and I’ll be frank: it’s not pretty. If you are uncomfortable with shrimp brains all over your hands, and boiling little freaked out creatures a la Chef Louie in Les Poissons, this might not be the ideal activity for you. But hey! I’m squeamish and I did it, because I knew in the end it would be so worth it. Anything for the sake of my jambalaya.

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Cioppino: Comfort Food Lite

It is May. I realize for many of us that means the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and we can all stroll around in sandals. Lest we forget, though, I reside in Seattle, the land of darkness and gloom. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reasons to love the Pacific Northwest: crisp, clean air, gorgeous views of the mountains and water, athletic and intelligent citizens, lovely green trees everywhere, I can pretend I’m on Twin Peaks, etc… but I’m not gonna front. The fact that it’s officially spring and we are still dealing with rainy, gray 40-something degree days can get very depressing.

To be fair, bummer weather means more time I “get” to spend inside. While everyone else is dancing around on sun-drenched beaches, savoring tropical fruits and sipping on Mai Tais (maybe?! I don’t know what you exotic strangers do in your warm climates!) I have ample opportunities to play around in the kitchen. Last week my friend Kasey and I wanted to cook something soothing to counteract the lame rainy day, but I was sick of heavy, wintry comfort food. We decided to take the best of both worlds – warm and cozy, yet light and healthy – and threw together the perfect cioppino.

 

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Big Eats in the Big Easy

Editor’s Note: Food writer and new-to-ES-blogger Emily Teachout checks in with a look at one of America’s craziest — and tastiest — food destinations.

In honor of my birthday, I decided to check a long-time goal off my bucket list and head down to New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras. Let’s be real, though; while beads and booze were on my radar, I was most excited for a no-holds-barred culinary tour of the Big Easy. I figured if I’ve lived this long, I might as well test the limits of what my body can handle in greasy, spicy, cholesterol-ridden creole specialties. New Orleans did not let me down, and surprisingly, neither did my arteries.

The first “morning” in the city, after waking up at 12:45pm in our cramped yet exorbitantly expensive hotel room, two of my friends and I dragged our hungover selves out of bed in search of a belated breakfast in the French Quarter. Our prayers were answered thanks to a little alley cafe called Green Goddess. We had to wait 45 minutes for our outdoor table, but since drinking in the streets is allowed (and seemingly encouraged) we downed some $7 beers to pass the time.

To start, we shared the truffled manchego cheese grits you see above. With that sheen of grease, you know heaven is inside. My friend literally licked the plate. No shame!

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