We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Celebrating with Fragolino Martinis

by Linda

   Salvation Sisters turns one this weekend! So before we celebrate with Fragolino Martinis, I thought I would share the story of how our sisters' blog came to be.
   Michelle and her daughter, Maddie, (plus one large and hairy poodle named Django) arrived at my house in Guerneville, California on the last day of July in 2009. Coming to my rescue, they pulled into my driveway in a white Toyota 4Runner that was nearly bursting at the seams with everything that they would need for their stay in California until their house sold in Arizona (the selling of which, my brother-in-law Jay, was overseeing back in Tucson).
   It was our hope that the house would sell in a few months time, at most. At the conclusion of the sale, the plan was for all of us to relocate to the lovely city of Petaluma, which is about an hour south of here. If you read our blog regularly, you will already know that, like the proverbial "best laid plans", this did not happen. 

After a week or so, the strawberries release all flavor and color.
   I say that Michelle and Maddie were coming to my rescue, because my son Joshua, who was in the Special Forces in Afghanistan, had died in January of that year. I was alone, struggling with my sadness and grief, and the arrival of Michelle and Maddie was just the medicine that I needed to help see me through this very sorrowful time.
   Michelle's plan upon arriving, was to sort through an enormous archive of e-mail that we sisters had been writing to one another for a decade, and to create a novel out of it. We believed, and still do, that there is a book just waiting to be created out of our correspondence, but as it so happens, our blog was born first.
   Summer was pretty much over by the time Michelle and Maddie took up residence here in Sonoma County, and after after two months of rather mild fall weather, winter set in with a vengeance. On an early shopping trip right after their arrival, I had encouraged the purchase of rubber rain boots and down vests and jackets. Despite my assurances that they would get much use out of the items they were purchasing, I could still see that they both remained doubtful about the necessity of such gear. 

Maddie and Michelle in their cold weather gear.
   It took only until November to arrive and they could see that they were in for days upon days of rain and dreary gray skies, not to mention the damp cold that settled in Guerneville, being that we were situated right across the street from the rain-swollen Russian River. This soggy river bottom is very wet and chilly in the fall, winter and spring. Being that they had become accustomed to the very mild winters experienced in the southwest, winter in Northern California quickly became a rather demoralizing trial, and adding insult to injury, Django started experiencing recurring ear infections. 

Rubber boots are a necessary footwear for living near the Russian River.
   Michelle spent the winter of 2009 swaddled in layers of winter apparel, sipping cup after cup of steaming hot tea or coffee, she began the daunting and tedious process of transferring year upon year of our voluminous e-mails into a single document. The amount of written material was staggering, and it was the new year before she was done. As she sat at the computer day after day, with a red wool scarf encircling her neck and the tips of her fingers peeking out of fuzzy mittens while she typed, she began to consider another possibility.
   We sisters has also been interested in the idea of compiling a cookbook of all of our recipes accumulated from years of cooking for family and friends, as well as professionally. There have been many requests for our recipes, and yet, we rarely shared them, thinking we would save the material for our cookbook. So one day in early 2010, Michelle posed the idea to me of creating a blog. This thought hadn't occurred to me, and I don't recall being all that enthusiastic about the proposed project.
Maddie in the loft, Michelle at her "desk" (sans scarf).
   My lack of interest, however, did not stop Michelle. She began the process of investigating blogs, and how to create one. Michelle, Juliette and I agreed that our philosophy is indeed "the more you share, the more you have", and so Michelle's idea of creating a sisters' blog took on momentum. We decided to start giving our recipes away for the first time, and telling the stories behind them. Pineapple Martinis "aka Happy Juice", became our inaugural post on March 28th, 2010. Seventy-seven posts later, a year has passed, and naturally with the passing of another year, many more changes in our lives.
   The house in Tucson did not sell, and it seemed the best option for Maddie and Michelle (and Django with his ear troubles) to all return to Arizona. With more than a few tears, I watched them drive off one year later, this time the 4Runner requiring a black canvas carrier strapped to the top of the truck for the trip back to Arizona enabling the tranportation of more things acquired during a year's stay in California.

We practically lived in our vests - day wear, evening wear.

   I honestly didn't know if the blog would survive our separation. Just a few months old, maintaining the blog would require the need to collaborate remotely. Happily it has not only survived, but it and we, are thriving. Michelle, Juliette and I are now back to our original arrangement of spending lots of time on the phone with each other, and trading e-mails and photos back and forth to stay in our usual close communication. With the love and support of my sisters, family and friends, I feel stronger everyday, and I will forever be grateful to Michelle and Maddie for their year spent here with me. Sharing the burden of our collective grief has helped us all, especially me, to heal from our great loss.
   Salvation Sisters, the blog, has become a part of our daily lives, and to our delight and amazement, our readership has grown steadily over the year. For our first birthday post we are sharing our recipe for Fragolino Martinis. Our post called A Trio of Fruit Liqueurs: Limoncello, Fragolino and Frambolino has been our most popular post to date, and a cocktail recipe seemed apropos for our birthday celebration.

Fragolino, also known as Strawberry Liqueur, is on the right.
   As an additional birthday present to ourselves, Michelle, Juliette and I have each purchased new cameras in hopes of being able to provide even better photos for our blog. As I write, I am waiting for the UPS driver to walk up to my front door with my new Canon EOS 50D 15.1MP SLR digital camera!
   Michelle, Juliette and I would like thank you for your interest in our stories, and hope you continue to enjoy making our recipes and reading about the further adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

P.S. We love your comments and feedback, so please keep them coming! And remember, just click on any of our photos to enlarge them.

Fragolino Martini

   I completely understand being too busy to take on the onerous task of making homemade Limoncello. Limoncello is an endeavor not to be taken lightly, or to be attempted by the uncommitted, or when lemons are out of season. Fragolino, however, can be made with ease at any time of the year.
   Simply purchase frozen organic strawberries and a nice quality vodka, and you are in business. This simple cocktail can be made from your own homemade Fragolino, or from Fragolino purchased at your favorite seller of spirits (but it won't taste nearly as good).
   Bartender's tip: Make an extra serving of the cocktail ahead of time and freeze it. The frozen cocktail can be scooped by the spoonful into your freshly made cocktail to keep each serving nice and cold without any dilution of the cocktail.


cocktail shaker
Pyrex 1-cup liquid measuring cup
citrus juicer

Fragolino, preferably homemade
Bols® Triple Sec
lime juice from 1 large fresh lime
fresh strawberries if desired for garnish

1. Juice one large lime.
2. Pour Fragolino into a Pyrex glass measuring cup to the 200 ml line. Then pour in the Triple Sec to the 250 ml line. Pour the Fragolino and Triple Sec into a cocktail shaker along with the lime juice. Add a good amount of ice to the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. When thoroughly shaken, split between two martini glasses and garnish with fresh strawberries. Add a large spoonful of frozen Fragolino cocktail to each glass and serve immediately.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gratin of Creamed and Roasted Tomatoes

by Michelle

   Signs of spring are finally identifiable here in the Sonoran desert. The Tombstone rose next door, with its waterfall of arching branches, is now looking lively with clusters of yellow blooms jumping in the breeze. A favorite, ever-expanding clump of iris, visible from my breakfast nook, is sending up shoots with little hints of purple in the tight pods, the petals yet to be unfurled. As I wash dishes, the twitterpated doves on the concrete wall keep me entertained with their preening and kissing.
   I'm craving asparagus, artichokes, sweet peas and fava beans. I'm longing for cherries and vine ripened tomatoes. Decent plum tomatoes are available this time of year from a hot-house grower in Wilcox, Arizona. To intesify their flavor, I like to oven-dry the tomato halves for a few hours.
   I find so many uses for the tomatoes and you will too. Toss them in a salad, or spoon on top grilled bread, rubbed with garlic, for a quick bruschetta. Add the little guys to an antipasti tray and pair with a room temperature chèvre and my light pesto. For a stellar side dish, whip up this gratin to serve alongside just about anything: eggs, beef, lamb, chicken or halibut. The gratin is also wonderful served with chimichurri.

Gratin of Roasted and Creamed Tomatoes

   Leftover gratin can be gently reheated the next day and served alongside scrambled eggs and chimichurri. Sounds strange, I know, but it is very good.
   This recipe is adapted from Kinkead's Seafood Restaurant cookbook. The restaurant is located in Washington DC. I recall that on a rainy night, as our party dashed towards the front door for a waiting taxi, I caught sight of the cookbook with a fork wielding, conch-shell blowing Triton on the cover. After a lovely night eating incredible food, I knew instantly that I had to have the book for my collection. I skidded to a stop, Wile E. Coyote style, quickly made the purchase, tucked my new acquisition under my coat and made haste to my waiting friends. Preparing this recipe always brings me back to that special night.

30 oven-dried tomato halves
about 1/4 of loaf of bread: French, Peasant, focaccia, rosemary, etc.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1-2 tsps minced thyme leaves, preferrably fresh
3 Tbsps butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsps chopped chives or chervil
1/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese or Parmesan

1. Prepare the oven-dried tomatoes. The dried tomatoes can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to proceed with the recipe.
2. Prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 300ºF. Remove crusts from bread. Cut into 1/3-inch slices, and then cut into 1/3-inch cubes. Spread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake until cubes are dry and crisp, about 40 minutes. Toss the croutons with a spatula about every 15 minutes for even cooking. Cool completely and store for about a week at room temperature. As an alternative, you can also use homemade croutons for salads.
3. Prepare gratin: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9x12-inch oven-proof dish with at least 1-inch sides that is large enough to hold all the tomatoes in a single layer.
4. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, and add the garlic and time, and cook for a couple of minutes until the garlic is softeneed, but not brown. Add the dried tomato halves and 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook gently for a couple more minutes.
5. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Add the croutons and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the prepared gratin dish. Dot with the the remaining butter and bake for about 40 minutes until bubbly and nicely browned. Sprinkle with chives and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

Note: The unbaked gratin may sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before popping in the oven to bake, giving you some timing flexibility with final meal preparations.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

by Michelle

   I have served these tomatoes as part of an antipasti tray, in winter salads, and alongside eggs and fried potatoes for Sunday brunch. Although more often than not, I prefer to use the tomatoes in a delicious Tomato Gratin to serve with Grilled Beef Roulade and Parsley Chimichurri.
Oven-Dried Tomatoes

   Oven temperatures vary, so your tomatoes may bake faster or slower than what's called for in the recipe. The longer and slower you can dry the tomatoes, the better, because the flavors become more concentrated the longer the tomatoes bake. As Chef Bob Kinkead advises, "Through this process, normally bland winter tomatoes become fairly edible and summer tomatoes become super intense, delivering an out-of-this-world taste experience."
   Chef Bob Kinkead opened his restaurant in 1993 in the historic Foggy Bottom area of Washington DC, near the White House. This recipe is sourced from Kindkead's Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2004) by Bob Kinkead.

39 large fresh plum tomatoes
2 Tbsps Diamond® kosher salt
2 Tbsps granulated white sugar

1/2 cup extra virgen olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsps fresh thyme leaves

1. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Place a baking rack on each cookie sheet.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the stem core. Gently squeeze out most of the seeds and place the halved tomatoes closely together, cut side up, on the baking racks.
3. In a small bowl, combine the salt and sugar. Sprinkle generously over the cut side of the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature. The salt and sugar will help draw out the moisture in the tomatoes.
4. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 225ºF. Transfer the cookie sheets to the oven. Bake the tomato halves for 3 to 4 hours, checking about every 30 minutes. Rotate trays half way through for even baking. The tomatoes are done bakings when they start to shrivel but are not completely dried.
5. When cook enough to handle, turn the tomato halves over and gently peel away the skins.
6. If you like, in a bowl, dress the tomatoes with the olive oil, freshly sliced garlic, black pepper and fresh thyme. Delicately layer the tomatoes in a flat container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Because all the moisture is not extracted, the tomatoes will spoil.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thai Beef Salad

by Michelle

Thai Beef Salad

   One of my first dates with the man who would eventually become my husband was at The Pink Pepper a Thai food restaurant (at a now defunct location) in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was there in the modern dining room decorated in white with accents of pink and black, that I tasted Thai Beef Salad for the first time. The dish was a revelation - spicy, hot, sour, and sweet in every bite.
   I immediately fell head-over-heels in love with Thai cuisine. Over the years, I tried many times to recreate that particular Thai Beef Salad with varying degrees of success until I tinkered with the following recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, July 2003.

1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup black sesame seeds, toasted**
1 bunch cilantro, destemmed, leaves placed in a bowl
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup Thai basil, chiffonade
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths and then sliced into thin strips
cracked black pepper

1 one-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1 Tablespoon)
1 Tbsp grated lime zest (about 3 limes), and then juice limes for the dressing
1 jalapeño chile, halved and seeds removed, or 2 Thai chilies
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced finely
2 Tbsps granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Thai fish sauce, preferably Thai Kitchen®
1 tsp olive oil

2-3 pounds flank, hangar or flat iron steak

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
2 Tbsps Thai fish sauce, preferably Thai Kitchen®
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pushed through a press
1/4 cup olive oil or peanut oil

1 small Napa cabbage, halved and thinly slice (about 3 cups)
1 small red cabbage or big ridicchio, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 bag baby spinach leaves
1/4 bag arugula
1 English cucumber, split in half, peeled, and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, sliced and diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded, sliced and diced
2-3 carrots, peeled and shredded or julienned
1 bunch radishes, cut into thin rounds
3 scallions, both white and green parts, sliced thin into rounds

1. Make marinade: Process ginger, lime zest, jalapeno, garlic cloves and sugar in a food processor to form a coarse paste, about 1 minute. Add one tablespoon each of fish sauce and olive oil; pulse to combine. Slather meat with mixture and marinate in a plastic bag for at least six hours or overnight.
2. Make dressing: In a small bowl, combine lime juice with the fish sauce. Add sugar, and minced cloves of garlic. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Allow dressing to rest for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.
3. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast peanuts, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool, then coarsely chop; set aside.

4. Toss salad ingredients together on a platter, such as the one designated for the turkey at Thanksgiving. Drizzle dressing over salad greens just before serving, or serve on the side.
5. On a gas or charcoal grill, cook steak 6 minutes on the first side. Turn steak and continue cooking 4 minutes more for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board to rest at about 5 minutes.
6. Thinly slice steak on the bias, and fan out slices in middle of platter on top of greens. Sprinkle with peanuts, and scatter scallions across steak. Sprinkle additional parsley and Thai Basil. Servings: 6 as a main course or 12 as part of a buffet.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Postcards from Las Vegas and Shrimp Cocktails

My Traveling Tales by Michelle

Dearest Sisters,
   Over stimulated Michelle writing to say hello from the oddest place on earth. This is how I started off my morning... by stepping off the elevator to encounter the skinny, sagging ass of a 60-something gentleman, perhaps European, who was outfitted in a Speedo (aka banana sling) and a short shirt, which did not leave anything to the imagination in the nether region.
   I was instantly reminded of that hilarious episode of Sex In The City where Samantha thinks she can talk herself into a relationship with a super-rich elderly man until one night she sees his naked wrinkled "gluteous minimus" moving towards the bathroom, and in that one crucial moment, she knows the relationship is ding-dong over.
   I had to follow "no pants man" all the way down to Starbucks - where I put on the brakes and he thankfully walked quickly on, eventually out of sight, but not out of my head. I was indeed very grateful that I did not have to stand behind him to wait ten minutes for coffee, eyes fixed on the unspeakable. It's just difficult to comprehend that he was completely comfortable marching his saggy butt and thinly disguised you-know-what through the casino, the very llloooonnnnngggg MGM shop walk, descending the stairs to the beginning of the conference center, and then finally through the double doors on down to the pool where he could horrify other sunbathers and repell the wait staff. Hope he's a big tipper, but I sincerely doubt it. I hope not to be scarred for life by that horrifying visual.

   I am now sitting in my hotel room on the 16th floor, with a strip view, basking in the silence. No ring-a-ding-ding from the slot machines, no blaring music, no talking, no yelling, no nothing. No cigarette smoke or cigar smoke. Definitely no banana slings. No boobs, except for my own. Just peace and quiet for another two hours until I meet the team for a cocktail before heading to dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant and then on to see KÀ.
   I had the good fortune of seeing Le RÊVE. Upon leaving the theater, a co-worker said, "That was freakin' awesome, but what the heck did it mean?" Love it. I felt like Linda as I explained to him the hidden meanings in the metaphore of virginity dispatched, archetypal figures, the hero's journey and the power of myth à la Joseph Campbell. I bored him into another cocktail.

The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace.
  The show was quite wonderful. I enjoyed a $14 glass of Chardonay during the show. I will note that it was served in a plastic cup. Only in Vegas will one be charged $14 for wine in a ***small*** plastic cup. Since we could not grab dinner before the 9:30 show, we went to Wolfgang Puck at midnight. The Boss, who was starving, proceeded to order four sets of appetizers for everyone to share and then went on to chow down two-thirds of a huge plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. He reported the next day that he regretted the meatloaf for the rest of the "morning". I was more sensible (for once) and ordered Wolfgang's famous Chinois Chinese Chicken Salad, which was short on chicken, ate half, and was in bed at exactly 1:30 and asleep by 1:32. 
   After tonight's Cirque du Soleil show, I believe I will have seen every show in Vegas with the exception of LOVE - The Beatles extravaganza. Oh yeah, and the Viva ELVIS show. Something to look forward to experiencing one of these days.
   We needed to hold a company meeting today and the only quiet option was renting a cabana at the pool for $300. A little peace and quiet with abundant fresh air, some sunshine, and the muddled sounds of jet airplanes landing and departing at the airport nearby: Priceless. 

The whacky world of tradeshows: Pull My Finger and The Doughminators.
  I saw Mitt Romney speak at the opening General Session. Linda would have loved him. I thought about getting an autographed photo as an early birthday present for her, but the opportunity didn't present itself. I am totally bummed. Now I'm not sure what to do for a present. I suppose it will have to be something "lame" from NapaStyle. How exactly does one cut sarcasm with a knife?
   The gang went to Diego last night for dinner. Their tagline is "SexMex". Not a joke. While I didn't see too much sex in the establishment - by Vegas standards - the food was quite wonderful. I enjoyed a really lovely shrimp cocktail made "tableside" with rock shrimp that were tossed in a cocktail shaker with lemon-chile sorbet and some other goodies - although I could have done without the pepitas. The margarita was pretty rockin' as well as the guacamole that was prepared tableside. The Boss gave me a bite of his incredible steak. It was so big he could give a sampling to the other four people at the table and still have plenty for himself. Crazy.

Jean Philippe Patisserie located in the Aria Resort and Casino.
   The Chinese restaurant's tagline is Yin Yang Yum. I wish I had thought of that first for a blog title. Love the tagline, but we opted instead for Japanese on Sunday night. Pretty frickin' awesome Japanese food - that is - at Shibuya. I broke my rule about not eating raw fish. If you are going to break a self imposed rule, one might as well do that in Sin City. The Yellowtail was amazing or more appropriately: sinsational. The spicy tuna was yin yang yum. We also had sushi made from pork. Sounds weird, but oh man there was some raving going on at the table.
   I saw a guy last night wearing, what looked like, a long duster made from alligator. His girl had big, big boobies. They looked good together. I will leave that open to interpretation.
   I am looking forward to a "sistercation" in April. I'm glad that we will be staying in the center of the strip. I have been advised by several people to check out The Cosmopolitan and The Aria. I have to say that window shopping in Vegas is quite unique. Every designer is here and it is fun to take a look. There is a clothing shop here in the MGM where the styles are not good for me, but the clothes are wildly inventive and the coats are fantastic. It's big cha-ching. Who can afford such expensive items? It's always such a wonder especially during these difficult economic times.

The entrance to Aria Resort and Casino at City Center.
   At noon, I had a big beef sandwich laced with horseradish from 'Wichcraft and I'm getting hungry already. Why's that? It's a sad state of affairs. Feeding the pie hole all the time here in Vegas. I think I might have a banana in my purse that I didn't eat at breakfast. It can hold me over until dinner. I'm having a difficult time eating the banana so shortly after the now infamous banana sling incident.   
   You know, I have to say, I eat my fair share of Shrimp Cocktails when in Las Vegas and lately I've been very disappointed by the offerings. For example, lets examine the $18 plate of ridiculousness at Michael Mina's Nob Hill Tavern. Six small shrimp with a dab of cocktail sauce. I can buy a mongo bag of large shrimp at Costco for $18.00. Chef, if you are going to tag me for $18, please showcase jumbo shrimp for a wow factor. At least make me feel as if I paid for something a little special. 
  As much as I rag on Vegas, I am having fun. It's just a weird, weird, weird place to visit. Really, I think one can see just about anything here is this odd alternate universe fueled by sex, alcohol, drugs and gambling.
   I'm glad to be packing up tomorrow and heading home - although I don't arrive in Tucson until about 10 pm. I will definitely enjoy sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night, stale smoke emitting from my hair delicately perfuming the pillow. Nice.

Lots o' love,

I could not help myself, I had to sneak some lump crab meat in to the cockatil.
Jumbo Shrimp and Crab Cocktail

    In crab season, I like to make fresh crab and shrimp cocktails. In stemless martini glasses, I like to fill the bowl two-thirds with a salad comprised of slivered iceburg lettuce combined with minced celery, shredded carrot, pickled shallots, and diced avacado. Spoon on a tablespoon or two of cocktail sauce. Mound fresh lump crabmeat on top of the cocktail sauce. Hang the shrimp from the rim or propped against the perimeter of the glass for an artful presentation. Garnish with a wedge or two of lemon. Serve with additional cocktail sauce on the side in individual dishes so guests can feel free to "double dip".
   When buying horseradish sauce, I head to the refrigerated section of the grocery store and buy the preparation with the fewest ingredients. Bubbies is a great choice.
   The pickling spice used in the recipe give the shrimp a super fresh, clean flavor. The shrimp can be cooked ahead of time, quickly cooled and then chilled until ready to serve, a minimum of a few hours, but no longer than a day. You'll definitely want to eat the shrimp on the same day that they are cooked.

Brining the shrimp for flavor.
5 "21-25 count" shrimp per person, fresh or frozen
2-3 Tbsps pickling spice, optional
2 bay leaves, optional
lemon wedges, seeds removed

1/2 head Iceberg lettuce
1 large carrot, shredded
1 Tbsp parsley, minced
1 Haas avocado, cubed, optional
pickled shallots

Cocktail Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1 cup Heinz® Chili Sauce
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp Lea and Perrins® Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Tbsps prepared horseradish
dash or two of Tabasco® sauce


1. For the cocktail sauce:  Combine all the ingredients together. Taste. Add more horseradish or Tabasco to suit your palate. Refrigerate and serve. The sauce will keep well up to a week in the refrigerator.

2. For the shrimp: Peel (leaving the tail intact), devein and brine the shrimp for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to 60. 

Transfer the cooked shrimp immediately to an ice water bath to chill quickly.
3. To boil shrimp: Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of pickling spice to a mesh tea ball, close securely, drop in the water, add 2 bay leaves and boil for 10 minutes. Near the kitchen sink, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Drain the shrimp and discard the brine. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and stir frequently. The shrimp will cook quickly so keep an eye on them. As soon as the shrimp begin to curl and turn pink, about 2 minutes, the little guys are done. Drain the shrimp, using a colander and quickly transfer to the ice water. After 2 to 3 minutes, drain the shrimp again and chill until serving time.

4. To a pickle shallots: Remove the papery husk from 1 to 2 shallots. Slice the shallot into thin rings and transfer to a smallish bowl. Add mild vinegar to cover, such as Sherry, Champagne, or white wine, to cover. Stir every once in awhile and let marinate for about an hour.

5. To make the salad: In a medium bowl combine thinly shredded Iceburg lettuce, shredded carrot and minced parsely. Just before serving, toss in some marinated shallot rings and carefully fold in the diced avocado.
6. Artfully present the shrimp in individual plates, cups or glasses, with or without the salad, and cocktail sauce served on the side for dipping.

The lusty and silly renegade pirates of the Siren Show at Treasure Island.
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