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.

Don’t Blow the Entrance

Editor’s Note: Jody Melto, who has previously brought ES news of lemon cupcakes and Chinese balls, returns to share some very Simmer-y tips about how to survive summer party season.

Summer time is party time. Whether you’re going to a backyard cookout, lazy porch fest or rooftop soiree, don’t just show up and eat chips. Anyone can do that. Be special. Make an Entrance. Arrive.

Following these six tips will secure a place for you in the happy collective party memory, as well as guarantee future invitations tovother great parties.

Tip #1  Get invited to a great party. This is key. If you weren’t invited, bring it up to the host in such a way that he has no choice bbut to invite you. Make it really uncomfortable. Shaming someone into an invitation is only risky if you embarrass yourself later at the party. Like getting drunk and singing with the mariachi band.

Tip #2  Invite an entourage. Nothing says “I matter” like a group trailing behind you. And to really pollute your work-life environment,make one an intern at your new job and the other her roommate who is a complete stranger to you. That unpredictable X Factor.  Also, bringing some party crashers says to the host, “Look! I’m so comfortable inviting myself, I brought others!” Confidence is attractive.

Tip #3  If you bring party crashers, make them unique. In my case, my entourage/unsuspecting party crashers are two lovely Chinese women who have only been in the States for a year. To add a layer of cultural awkwardness. Luckily  “party crasher” doesn’t translate well. In Chinese it literally means, “confuse the water with ink and fish.”  Which, I think, speaks for itself.

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How to Cut an Avocado

As you know, we here at Endless Simmer like to put avocado on everything.

I don’t know if everyone has this problem, but I’ve always been unsure about the best way to cut up an avocado. Some people like to cut it in half and slice up semi-circular pieces to place in salads or sandwiches. I find this method creates less-than-ideal pieces; there’s just something textural I don’t like about those long, thin slices of avo. Spoon it out works for guac, but not when you want whole pieces of green.

So I was pretty stoked when I recently spied a friend in a kitchen cutting an avocado up just like I cut mangos. Cut it half, slice crisscross patters into each half, and then just pop ’em out.

Apologies if this is not as revelatory for everyone else, but lately it has changed my life. It’s so much easier and quicker than other ways, and it results in perfect bite-sized pieces, ideal either for tossing in a salad or for mashing up into guacamole or another avocado dip.