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or, Orecchiette, if you want to get technical.

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Typically, I shy away from seafood.
I’m afraid of it.  Both in the ocean and out.
If I’d known shrimp was this easy, I’d have cooked it long ago!!
One thing I really like is that the veggies aren’t cooked over any direct heat, they wilt from the heat of the pasta.  Which means saved vitamins and nutrients! 🙂

Summer Pasta Salad with Shrimp
Source: Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Ingredients:
coarse salt, ground pepper
1/2 pound short pasta, such as fusilli or orecchiette
1 medium squash, thinly sliced crosswise
1/3 c. roughly chopped pitted Kalamata or Nicoise olives (optional)
4 lightly packed cups baby spinach (3 1/4 oz.)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest + 2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions:
1)In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain pasta, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with squash, olives, spinach, lemon zest and juice, and 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp. oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

2) In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top pasta with shrimp.

Let’s just say, Andrew always picks the most extravagant birthday dinners.

It usually ends up being some sort of seafood.  This year I believe he asked for Clams and Mussels.  But seeing as we also assumed he’d want us to be at this said dinner, he agreed to Alaskan King Crab Legs.  (You will never get me to eat a clam, a mussel, or an oyster.  I don’t care if it’s the Queen of England’s birthday party – I will not eat it.)

He then asked for a Yellow Cake with Mocha icing.  It was delicious! Mom truly outdid herself.

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I believe the funniest part of the evening, however, had nothing to do with Andrew’s birthday at all.  Rather, it involved my father, one of the funniest and funnest (it’s a word…back off) people I know.  You see, if there is anything my dad is, it is a prankster.  A Jokester at heart.  Meaning, for example, that he will play April Fools jokes on you which involve telling you he’s taking the family on a Disney Cruise, so why don’t you spend all day on the website and pick out all the fun things you’d like to do.

……………

It’s been 10 years, and I’m still bitter.

Some additional information: Dad loves shrimp.  Adores them.  Lives for them.  Will camp out by the shrimp platter all night until his wife comes over and informs him that it’s not polite to horde all the shrimp at dinner parties.

Now that we’ve got the background information, you can understand what went through my mind when I walked into my parents house that night and saw an entire platter of shrimp sitting out on the counter.  Add to that: Dad had taken Rosie out to Blockbuster to get a movie and was not on the premises at the moment.

So I did what any rational person would do: I piled 97.5% of the shrimp onto a separate plate and stashed them in the fridge, leaving 3 measly shrimps on the platter.  My mom and Ba and I are laughing hysterically at this point.  Mike nobly informs us he will take no part in these shenanigans. 

So when dad walks in, he greets us with hugs and laughter.  And then, when the crowd clears, his eyes fall immediately on the shrimp platter.  There is a short pause as what this means settles in and takes effect.  Then his arms raise up in protest, at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock respectively, his eyes and mouth open as wide as coconuts, and a gasp escapes from him that sounds like “guuuuuuUUUUuuyyyys!”  Ok, it was louder than a gasp, it was an agonizing moan mourning the loss of several dozen shrimp.

Stifling laughs with all our might, we apologized profusely.  Said we were so sorry, but there was nothing we could do.  And pointing at Mike, we said, “HE ate them ALL!”

And just like that, we threw poor Mike under the bus.  Poor Mike who had honorably stated at the outset that he wanted no part in our shenanigans. 

Eventually we convinced Dad to come out of his office where he’d gone to mourn, and we revealed the hidden plate of shrimp that we’d stashed so cleverly away.  And when he went to protest of how mean a joke that was, I swiftly reminded him of the time when, upon picking me up from an all-day swim meet, he informed me that my dog had gotten into a fight and lost his entire left ear.  How I had cried the whole way home and, upon seeing him,  had fallen on the floor next to his bed and wept over his poor bandaged head.  How, while doing so, I heard muffled laughs and restrained snorts from my parents and siblings, which made me even more upset and cry even harder.  How, once I had run upstairs and locked myself in my room because I was so appalled at their laughter, he explained that Jake had indeed gotten into a fight, but he was merely bandaged in a way that made him LOOK like he’d lost an ear.  How the ear was an extremely vascular appendage and needed heavy duty bandaging, even though he would be just fine.  How, when they saw how he looked, they could not get the idea out of their heads that such a joke would be a hilarious thing to tell their 16 year-old daughter.  It was simply too irresistible. 

…………

I told him, it was exactly that same sort of “irresistible humor” that led me to convince him that the shrimp had evaporated into thin air.  Or, into poor Michael’s stomach. 

My point was quickly taken, and we all had a very good laugh about it all.  Mike graciously forgave my mom and me for throwing him under the bus as we did; he was a good sport about it.

And that’s how we do things in the Sharp household.  We upstage brother’s birthday celebrations with pranks of revenge. 

Happy Birthday, Andrew :)  We love you!

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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