Kramer and I had an absolutely fabulous time in Westhampton this past week. My father-in-law, Jay, was generous enough to rent a big, beautiful house for the whole Kramer family (and my brother, Dane) to stay in for the week. We swam in the ocean, had some margaritas on the beach, enjoyed the lovely, blue pool on the property, and went to a carnival and made ourselves sick going on all the rides (I still have a sore neck but it was worth it). We even got some exercise, playing tennis, badminton, and plenty of Star Wars Risk (you have to exercise the mind, too, you know). I even got a tiny bit of a tan without too much of a burn, so I’ll chalk this trip up as a victory for me. It was great to see everyone, from Grandma to Aunt Beth and her kids, to Jay and his girlfriend, Jill. I’m sad that our break from the real world has come to a close, but vacations wouldn’t be as enjoyable without the knowledge that you have to go back to reality at some point. When Kramer and I were first moving to New York, we went to sell his car and the man who worked at the dealership said something that really stuck with me, as it applies not only literally but figuratively, too; “You can’t enjoy the sunshine without a little rain.” So, here are we, nose to the grindstone, but at least we’ve got Labor Day to look forward to in the coming weeks and plenty of catching up at work to keep us busy until then.
I made this Shrimp and Avocado Bruschetta for a friend’s party a few weeks back. I knew I’d be transporting it from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and I knew she’d be busy cooking up a storm in her own kitchen, so I wanted to make something that could be served cold or room temperature, something that could be adjusted to suite each person’s tastes, and most importantly, something that I would be able to whip up quickly after an earlier hair appointment that day. I love rock shrimp, as I’ve explained before, so I figured I’d utilize them yet again in this dish. The shrimp are quickly sautéed in oil and spices, then drained of any extra liquid and allowed to sit out to cool before storing in the fridge for later use. The avocado spread was tossed together with even less effort – just some lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a bowl with the cubed avocado makes for a delicious glue to hold the shrimp to the toasts, but honestly, you’ll have a hard time not just eating it with a spoon. You can use any variety of seafood with this recipe, or you can even substitute chicken or vegetables for the shrimp. Bruschetta is the perfect two-bite party food to serve for any occasion, so make it your own and enjoy.
The first day my brother got in, we headed over to the Roebling Tea Room for some colorful summer cocktails.
The next morning, we went to Mile End Deli where I got the most amazing lox with the biggest capers I’ve ever seen.
Then, on to see The Intrepid.
That’s what I call enthusiasm.
The space shuttle Enterprise is currently stationed on board.
Then on to the Hamptons early the next morning (and I mean early – can’t you tell by my happy face?).
Canon ball! More Instagram photos over yonder.
Gather your ever important ingredients.
Lightly toast your bread and set aside.
Cook your shrimp in your spices until just pink.
Cube your avocado and toss it with your cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, jalapeno, and scallions.
Allow your shrimp to cool before storing and serving.
Spread some avocado on your toast, top with shrimp, and serve. You can have guests build their own or have them ready to eat on a tray.
- 1 lb. rock shrimp, rinsed and patted very dry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed
- 3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 baguettes, thinly sliced and toasted
- Heat your olive oil in a large pan or wok. Add in the shrimp and sprinkle with the spices. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. If there looks like there is a lot of liquid in the pan, drain it from the shrimp.
- Be sure to let the shrimp cool to room temperature before storing them - you never want to put hot food directly into a container and into the fridge. You can serve the shrimp at room temperature or chill them in the fridge to serve later in the day (the shrimp can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours).
- Half the avocados, remove the pit, and cube. Place in a large bowl and toss with the lime juice, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Place your sliced bread on a baking sheet and brush with a little oil. Bake at 450 degrees F for 4-5 minutes, until toasted and golden. Top each slice with a bit of avocado, then with the shrimp. Serve within 24 hours of making.