How To

Tip: Blender and Mason Jar

How to use a mason jar with your blender to whip or chop things right into the jar.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes

Did you know that many, if not most, blenders can be used with a standard mason jar, or wide-mouthed mason jar?

This is a trick my mother taught me. Apparently 40 years ago or so, about the time this blender pictured was bought, manufacturers used to include a mason jar in the box with the blender.

Mom recalls even a booklet that listed the many things one could make with the mason jar blender, including ground spices, whipped cream, and peanut butter.

We use this trick most often to make whipped cream. The blender whips it right in the jar, so if we have extra, it’s already in a jar for storage. And it is easier when it comes to making small quantities.

I was complaining the other day that I needed a spice grinder. My mother reminded me of the mason jar trick and it worked perfectly.

Here’s how to do it. I’m using walnuts to demonstrate, but you could use this trick with just about anything you want to blend, chop, or grind.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup to 1 cup of shelled nuts

Special equipment:

  • Old style blender
  • Mason jar (standard mouth)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup to 1 cup of shelled nuts

Special equipment:

  • Old style blender
  • Mason jar (standard mouth)

Method

Step 1: Remove the base from the regular blender container. Place what you want to chop or blend (up to about a cup of whole shelled nuts) in the blender jar.

Step 2: Screw on the base to the mason jar. Make sure it is nice and tight.

Step 3: Invert the jar and place on the blender.

Step 4: Use as you would a food processor. Pulse or blend to desired degree.

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How to Separate Eggs

Step-by-step instructions for how to separate eggs, with photos. Easy enough for kids to do!

Who knew a 9-year old would find separating eggs so much fun?

I taught my nephew how to separate eggs last week and every day he asked to separate more eggs. I think we went through a couple dozen, making ice cream from scratch 3 times, cake, pavlova, and a lot of scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Lots of recipes call for separated eggs. Here’s what we do:

Ingredients

  • 1 raw egg

Ingredients

  • 1 raw egg

Method

1 Set out two bowls.

2 Crack the egg gently on a flat surface or on the rim of a bowl, as close to the middle of the egg as possible. If you crack it on the rim of a bowl it might be easier to get the egg to crack right in the middle, but you may be more likely to get pieces of egg shell in the egg whites.

3 Working over a small bowl, use your thumbs to gently pry the egg halves apart. Let the yolk settle in the lower half of the egg shell while the egg whites run off the sides of the egg into the bowl.

4 Gently transfer the egg yolk back and forth between the egg shell halves, letting as much egg white as you can drip into the bowl below. Be careful so as not to break the egg yolk. Place the egg yolk in a separate bowl.

If you are planning to whip the egg whites for a recipe, you might want to separate the eggs one by one into a smaller bowl, and then transfer the separated egg into larger bowls. This way if you break a yolk it will not break into all the egg whites you’ve separated. The fat in the egg yolk (or any oil) will interfere with the egg white’s ability to whip up properly. For this reason also you should also wash your hands carefully, to remove any natural body oils, before working with egg whites.

If you get a piece of egg shell in the separated eggs, scoop it out with a larger piece of shell.

Note that chilled eggs are easier to separate (the yolk doesn’t break as easily), but most recipes call for working with eggs at room temperature. So, you either let your eggs get to room temperature before separating them, in which case you’ll need to be a bit more careful with the egg yolks, or let the eggs get to room temperature after you’ve separated them, in which case you should cover them in their bowl with plastic wrap and use them as soon as they get to room temp.

Another way to separate eggs is to crack the egg open into your upturned palm. Let the egg whites slide through your finger tips.

This is faster than the other method but if you are planning on whipping the egg whites, the less the egg whites come in contact with your hands, and the natural oils on them, the better.

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How to Make Stock from Chicken Feet

Make delicious soup with stock from chicken feet! The rich gelatin of the feet create a rich and nutritious stock.

Ready in:

  • Yield: Makes approximately 2 quarts

The other day my father announced that he missed chicken feet. (What?!)

His mother, my grandmother who was born in 1899 and lived to the age of 97, used chicken feet when she made her stock and my dad could always tell when a soup had been made with stock from chicken feet.

Chicken feet have their own unique and wonderful flavor, and the added gelatin from the feet give whatever dish is made with the stock a luxurious feeling when eating it.

The “Eww” factor of chicken feet I think comes from the fact that chicken feet look a lot like our hands.

Silly eh? Especially when we consider that making stock from chicken feet has been a human activity for thousands of years.

Most of our grandmothers or great grandmothers used feet in their stock as a matter of fact. They would laugh at us today to see us cringe. Stock made from chicken feet is fabulous, and incredibly good for you with all that gelatin.

After a lot of digging, I found a few old recipes. All recipes call for boiling the feet first, and then draining the boiling water. I think the point of this step is to get most of the extra protein and impurities to leave the feet and come to the surface.

Another step that all the old recipes take is to cut off the claw tips. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing that by cutting off the tips of the toes, it’s easier for the marrow and therefore the gelatin in the bones to come out.

Expect to get a lot of stock out of the chicken feet. A pound of feet will yield about a quart of stock, pretty much a bargain at $1 a pound for feet. Where to find chicken feet? Probably the best place to look is in Chinese or Asian markets.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken feet
  • 2 large carrots, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken feet
  • 2 large carrots, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns

Method

1 Boil chicken feet initially for 5 minutes at a hard boil: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Put the chicken feet into a large stock pot and cover with boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes.

2 Drain, rinse, and cut off and discard the tips of the claws: Drain the chicken feet completely. Rinse with cold water so that the feet are cool enough to handle.

Using a sharp knife, chop off the tips of the claws and discard. They should cut easily if you cut them through the joint. If any rough patches of claw pad remain, cut them away with a paring knife.

3 Place chicken feet in a clean large stockpot. Fill with cold water to cover the feet by an inch. Add carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer, immediately reduce the temperature to low. Partially cover, leave about a half inch crack or so, and keep the stock cooking at a bare simmer, for 4 hours. Occasionally skim any foam that may come to the surface.

4 Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a low simmer with the pot now uncovered. Continue to cook for an hour or two. At this point you are reducing the stock so that it is easier to store.

5 Strain the stock through several layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (ideally both) into a pot.

6 Pour into quart-sized jars. Let cool for an hour or so before storing in the refrigerator.

When your stock has cooled, it should firm up nicely into a gel.

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Easy Tip for Getting Corn Off the Cob

A method for easily and cleanly getting corn kernels off of a cob, using a bundt pan to catch hold the corn cob and catch the kernels.

Lots of recipes (creamed corn, corn chowder, corn salad) require stripping the corn kernels away from the cob.

In practice, it’s a bit tricky as the corn cob can slip from its position, and the kernels can go flying all over the place!

I don’t know where I first heard of this trick of using a bundt pan, but it’s great for helping to steady the corn cob and to catch the kernels as they come off the cob.

Ingredients

  • 1 cob of corn

Special equipment:

  • 1 bundt pan

Ingredients

  • 1 cob of corn

Special equipment:

  • 1 bundt pan

Method

To remove corn kernels from the cob using a bundt pan, stand the shucked corn cob upright, with the tip of cob placed in the center hole of the bundt pan.

Holding the cob steady, use a sharp knife and make long downward strokes on the cob, separating the kernels from the cob.

Many bundt pans have a stick-free interior. If this is the case with yours, be careful not to scratch the interior of the pan with your knife. If the knife scratches around the edges of the bundt pan hole, that shouldn’t be a problem, as when you use a bundt pan baking, this area doesn’t usually come in contact with the cake batter. (Note from the comments, you can tuck a paper towel or dish towel into the hole to protect the pan.)

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How to Make Vanilla Extract

How to make your own homemade vanilla extract, it’s easy! All you need are vanilla beans, vodka and a glass jar.

Why make your own vanilla extract?

Well let’s see. It’s easy to make. You’ll never run out of vanilla again. It might even be economical, given that you’ll never run out of it. It’s fun to watch the extract change colors? I don’t know. Sometimes we just make things for the heck of it.

In this case, Garrett gave me a dozen or so vanilla beans, sharing what he had been given by this generous company. Vanilla beans are produced in several countries, and Garrett has a good write-up on his site regarding the differences between the varieties – Madagascar, Bourbon, Tonga, Mexico, Tahiti, etc.

Did you know that each vanilla bean comes from an orchid that has been pollinated by hand? Once the vanilla seed pod has developed, it must be hand picked as well.

After picking the curing process takes several months. So if you’ve ever wondered why vanilla extract, and especially vanilla beans, can be so expensive, this is why.

Commercial vanilla extract usually has simple syrup (sugar water) added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste. You can do this if you want, but if you are using the vanilla for baking, there really is no need.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka
  • glass jar with tight fitting lid

Method

1 Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected.

2 Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka.

3 Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.

Lasts for years. You can keep topping it off with vodka once in a while as you use it, just remember to give it a good shake.

You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. Great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking.

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How to Peel and Cut a Butternut Squash

Butternut squashes can be intimidating to cut, can’t they? Here’s a safe and sure method for the easiest way to peel and cut butternut squash.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 10 minutes

Butternut squash can be rather daunting to prep. They’re round, hard, thick, and dense. But with a few easy steps you can very quickly peel and chop your butternut squash without too much difficulty.

First you need to have a large sharp knife. After that, the most essential thing to keep in mind when it comes to cutting anything is to stabilize whatever it is you are attempting to cut.

This is nowhere else as critical as when cutting a butternut squash, a notoriously difficult task because of the thickness and density of that squash.

How to cut and peel a butternut squash

The most important thing to consider when following these steps, or anyone else’s steps for cutting winter squash is to keep whatever pieces you are working on as stable as possible.

The first cut from the bottom of the squash is to help keep the squash steady on the board as you gently work your knife down from the top to bottom.

Keep squash pieces as stable as possible while cutting. A rubber mallet can help, if you have one, to gently push the knife through difficult thick spots. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, one with a carbon steel blade, will help with the peeling.

By the way, it helps to microwave a butternut squash (whole) for 30 seconds or so first, before peeling. This will help soften the peel just enough to make it a bit easier to peel.

Ingredients

  • One butternut squash, 1 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • A sharp, heavy, chef’s knife

Method

1 Slice off the ends: Using a heavy, sharpened chef’s knife, cut off about 1/4-inch from the bottom of the squash in an even slice. Then cut off 1/4-inch from the stem end.

2 Peel with a vegetable peeler: Holding the squash in one hand, use a sharp vegetable peeler in the other hand to peel off the outer layer of the squash. You can also secure the squash standing upright and peel it in downward strokes with the peeler.

3 Cut the squash in half: Stand the peeled squash upright on a cutting board. It shouldn’t wobble, you want the squash to be stable. (If it is wobbly, make another cut at the bottom to even it out.) Make one long cut, down the middle from the top to bottom, with a heavy chef’s knife.

Some squashes can be pretty hard; to help with the cutting you can use a rubber mallet to gently tap on the ends of the knife to help push the knife down through the squash.

4 Scrape out the seeds: Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and the stringy pulp from the squash cavity. (If you want, you can prepare the seeds like toasted pumpkin seeds.)

5 Cut squash halves into slices: Lay the squash halves, cut side down on the cutting board for stability. Working section at a time, cut the squash into slices, lengthwise, the desired width of your squash pieces. Some recipes call for 1/2-inch slices or cubes, some for 1-inch or greater.

6 Stack and slice, then make crosswise cuts into cubes: If you are cubing the squash, lay the slices down (you can stack a few at a time) and make another set of lengthwise cuts. Then make crosswise cuts to make cubes.

One 1 1/2 pound butternut squash will yield approximately 4 cups of 1/2-inch cubed squash.

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How to Make Brown Butter

Take your recipes up a notch with the nutty aroma of browned butter. It’s easy!

Ready in:

  • Cook time: 5 minutes

Have you ever browned butter?

It’s an easy way to take a recipe that relies on butter up a notch in flavor. Just by cooking the butter a little past the melting point results in the milk solids in the butter browning, and creating a wonderfully nutty aroma.

It’s fun to do with butter-based sauces (check out these scallops in a brown butter caper sauce), baked goods that call for melted butter (like these brown butter chocolate chunk cookies), or with vegetables such as winter squash that you sauté in butter.

Just be sure to keep your eye on it while cooking; it’s pretty easy to go from browned to burnt!

What do you like to make with browned butter? Let us know in the comments.

How to brown butter

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter

Method

1 Melt the butter: Heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the butter (if you slice it, it will melt more evenly) whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter.

2 Watch for brown specs and nutty aroma: Once melted the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Watch carefully as lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma.

3 Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to stop the butter from cooking further and perhaps burning.

It’s pretty easy to overcook browned butter and go from brown to burnt. If the butter starts to blacken, I suggest dumping it and starting over (something I’ve had to do on occasion), unless you want beurre noir which has a different taste than nutty brown butter.

If you want to make sage brown butter sauce, add some fresh sage leaves to the butter once it has melted. Allow the butter to brown and remove from heat.

Use browned butter immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for future use.

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How to French a Rack of Lamb

Step-by-step photo tutorial on how to French cut a rack of lamb roast.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes

A “rack” of lamb is a section of ribs, usually 7, sometimes 8 lamb chops in one piece.

A classic way to prepare rack of lamb is with the bones “frenched” or exposed.

These days you can usually find packaged lamb racks already frenched. Or if you have access to a butcher, he or she should be able to prepare it for you.

If not, here is a simple guide to frenching the ribs yourself, as demonstrated by master butcher Mike Carroll, meat department manager of Sacramento’s Corti Brothers. Thanks Mike!

Butcher Mike Carroll of Corti Brothers

Note Mike’s butcher gloves in the photos. Mike’s a professional butcher, so he’s going to wear gloves when working with meat for customers. No need for gloves like these at home.

Ingredients

  • One rack of lamb

Special equipment:

  • A sharp, skinny knife

Method

1 Make cutting guideline: Stand the lamb rack up on one end so that you can see the “eye” of the lamb chop.

Score the fat side at the edge about an inch and a half or so up the rib from the eye to use as a cutting guideline. Do the same on the other end of the rack.

2 Cut fatty side to the bone: Using a sharp knife, cut through the fatty side of the rib roast, to the bone, from one marked end to the other.

Then go back over your cut and holding the knife perpendicular to the roast, jab it in several places to go all the way through the other side, so that the reverse site gets “marked” with scores.

3 Cut around the flesh of the rib bones: Turn the rib rack over, so that it is now bone side up. You should be able to see the markings made from the knife that got inserted from the other side. Those markings will delineate the boundary beyond which you will not cut.

Working from the skinny ends of the rib bone, make a cut down along the bone, until you get to the previously scored marking, then cut across to the next rib and cut up to the end of that rib bone. Continue to do this until all of the bones have had the flesh cut around them.

4 Pull the fat and flesh from the bones: Turn the rack over again so that the fat side is on top, and begin to pull off the fat and flesh from the bones.

Use your knife to help cut away any flesh that is sticking to the bones.

5 Scrape away any residual flesh on the exposed bones. Use a towel to wipe the bones clean.

There you have it! Your rack of lamb is perfectly “Frenched”.

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How to Trim an Artichoke

Here’s a simple photo tutorial on how to trim an artichoke down to its heart.

Sometimes you want to get right to the heart of the matter, in this case the heart of the glorious fresh artichokes that arrive each spring.

Here’s how to trim an artichoke to get that heart, which you can use for all sorts of recipes, such as oil-poached artichoke salad or sautéed artichoke hearts.

You don’t have to discard the artichoke leaves. You can cook them, steam them as you would a whole artichoke. (Leaves? Petals? More accurately bracts. The artichoke is a thistle, a flower and the “leaves” are actually a special form of leaf that surrounds the budding flower that are called “bracts”.)

You’ll need a sharp paring knife, a large empty bowl for leaves, and a large bowl filled two-thirds with ice water.

Ingredients

  • Artichokes
  • A fresh lemon cut in half

Method

1 Squeeze half a lemon into a large bowl of water: If you are trimming more than one artichoke, squeeze half a lemon into a large bowl of ice water. You will be dropping trimmed artichokes into this bowl to keep them from browning while you work others.

2 Snap off outer green leaves, then pull off yellow petals: Start by snapping off the artichoke leaves and tossing them into a large empty bowl. When you get to the yellow petals, just pull them off. Wipe the exposed surface with the other half of the lemon you cut.

3 Pull out the pink tipped leaves: Take care when you get to the pink center of the artichoke leaves. There are sharp spines on the end of the inner leaves. Pull them out.

4 Use a paring knife to dig out the fuzzy choke. You will want to slice off the narrowest layer of the heart to get all of the choke without cutting away too much of the delicious heart.

A note on this whole process. Don’t do it if there are distractions. You need to focus. You will be using a sharp knife close to your hands. Since artichokes are tough when raw, you can easily cut yourself if you take your eye off what you are doing.

5 Rub cut lemon over exposed artichoke heart: Once the fuzzy choke is out, smear the cut lemon all over the exposed heart.

This prevents the heart from oxidizing and turning brown. An artichoke is still perfectly edible when oxidized, it just is not particularly attractive.

6 Slice off all but the last inch or so of the stem. Rub lemon juice on the cut end.

7 Trim the hard green exterior of the rest of the heart. Cut away from you as you rotate the artichoke, slicing off just the hard green part and leaving the light green underneath. Rub this with lemon.

8 To finish, slice the outside layer off the stem and then coat the whole heart one more time with lemon. Drop into the lemon-water bath and go on to the next one.

Here’s a tip: as your cut lemon gets used up, put it in the water bath, which will help keep the bath’s citric acid content high, and help keep the artichokes from browning.

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How to Boil and Eat Lobster

Who wants lobster?! Here’s a guide to boiling and eating fresh New England lobster.

We don’t have American lobsters out here in California. (Well we do, but they’re shipped in from New England, and frankly they just aren’t as good as lobsters bought near the sea shore on the East Coast.)

So whenever I’m in New England in the summer (according to my local friends, summer is the best time for lobsters, they’re more plentiful and therefore less expensive) I make a point to have some.

Now, there are many ways to cook lobster, and probably just as many ways to eat them. Boiling is the most straightforward way to cook lobster, though you can easily steam them too.

I like my lobster dipped in hot melted butter, so that’s what is presented here. Some people just like a squirt of lemon juice, or dipped in mayonnaise. Some people meticulously extract the meat from every little leg. I skip them and go for the claws, knuckles, and tail.

For me, cooking lobster is something you do for a gathering of friends and family. It’s so much fun, so messy, and so good, it’s just meant to be shared.

How to Buy and Store Lobster

When choosing live lobsters from the market, look for the ones that are most lively, don’t have any noticeable cracks on their shells, and do have all of their parts (not missing legs or claws). Look for lobsters that are 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds, which is a good size for the average eater.

As soon as you get your lobsters home, put them in the refrigerator to keep them cold. Do not put them in the freezer (they will freeze). Do not store them in tap water. Store them in a sturdy paper bag in your fridge.

If you have to transfer the lobsters, pick one up by its body, not claw or tail.

Lobsters can live only up to 36 hours after they’ve been removed from sea water, so buy lobster the day you intend to cook it, and don’t wait too long to cook it.

If you end up with leftover cooked lobster meat, chop it up, mix in with mayo, and serve with lettuce on a buttered and toasted hot dog bun to make a lobster roll.

Ingredients

  • Live lobsters, 1 per person
  • A large pot of salted water
  • Butter
  • Bread for dipping into the lobster-infused butter (optional)

Method

How to Boil Lobster

First consider the size of your pot for boiling the lobsters. An 8-quart pot will easily take one lobster, a 16-quart pot, 2 or 3 lobsters. If you are cooking a lot of lobsters you’ll either need to cook them in stages or have more than one pot of water boiling.

Should you remove the bands that are holding the lobster claws closed? By all means keep the bands on while you are storing the live lobsters. Some people take them off right before dropping them in the pot because they say that the rubber imparts an off taste to the lobster if you leave them on. I’m somewhat of a scaredy-cat (and I value my fingers) so I usually leave them on. If you are cooking lobster for the first time, I recommend keeping the bands on.

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil: Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Add a tablespoon of salt for every quart of water. The water should be salty like sea water (in fact you can use clean sea water if you have it). Bring the water to a rapid boil.

2 Lower the lobsters into the pot: Grasp the lobster by the body and lower it upside down and head first into the boiling water. Continue to add the live lobsters to the pot in this manner. Cover the pot.

3 Boil lobsters for 10 to 20 min, depending on size: Note the time at which the water comes to a boil again. From that point, boil the lobsters for 10-20 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the lobster. 10-13 minutes for 1 lb lobster, 12-18 minutes for a 1 1/2 pound lobster, 18-23 minutes for a 2-3 pound lobster. The lobsters should be a bright vivid red color when done.

Note that larger lobsters will turn bright red before they are completely finished cooking, so you do want to time your cooking, and not just go on color alone.

Unlike with fresh scallops or fish that you can eat raw (think sashimi), you don’t want to eat raw or undercooked lobster. Translucent undercooked lobster meat really doesn’t taste good. It needs to be opaque through and through. If you cook it too long, the meat will get rubbery, so keep an eye on the time.

4 Remove lobsters from pot to drain: Remove the lobsters from the pot with tongs and place on a plate to drain and cool.

How to Eat Lobster

What you’ll need: Before you get started, you’ll want to assemble some essentials. You’ll need a nutcracker, a large bowl to hold the shells, a small dipping bowl for melted butter, and what’s missing from the following photograph—a lot of napkins!

Eating lobster is messy, you’ll need napkins. There’s a good reason they give diners plastic bibs at restaurants when serving lobster.

You may also want to use some kitchen shears and nutpicks in addition to a nutcracker.

After the lobster comes out of the pot, let it cool for a few minutes, otherwise it will be too hot to handle.

Start with the claws: Pull off the rubber bands from the claws, if they are still attached. Twist the claws away from the body at the joints that connect them to the body. Separate the knuckle from the claw.

Pull back the “jaw” of the claw until it breaks, but do it gently, so that the little bit of meat that is in the small part of the jaw stays attached to the rest of the meat (it’s easier than trying to fish it out of the small shell).

Use a nut cracker to crack the main claw shell. Depending on the season and the size of your lobster, the shell may be easy or hard to crack with a nutcracker. If necessary you can take a mallet or hammer to it, but do it gently, just enough to break the shell without crushing the meat inside.

Pull away the broken shell pieces and pull out the meat inside. Any white stuff attached to the meat is fat, which you can choose to eat or not. Dip into melted butter or not, and eat.

Extract meat from the knuckles: Use kitchen shears (if you have them) to cut the knuckle shell along its length. Pry open the shell where you made the cut and you can pull out all the knuckle meat in one piece.

Alternately, you can crack each section of knuckle with a nutcracker and pull the meat out in chunks.

If you have a very large lobster, you can eat the legs. Get to the meat from the legs in a way similar to pulling off the “jaw” of the claw.

Bend the joints of the legs the “wrong” way, which breaks them. You should have a piece of meat attached. Simply bite this off, leaving a thin piece of cartilage attached to the rest of the leg.

Go for the tail: Now on to the lobster tail, where the biggest piece of meat lies. You’ll need both hands to get the meat from the tail. Grip the lobster’s body with one hand and the tail with the other. Bend the tail back away from the body to separate it from the body.

You will see one, and maybe two, odd things inside. You’ll see the greenish “tomalley,” which is the lobster’s liver. You can choose to eat it or not. Some people spread it on toast or add it to lobster soups or sauces.

If the lobster is a female, you may also see the bright red “coral,” which is the roe of the lobster. You may also choose to eat this or not. The coral can be spread on toast as well, or used to add flavor to lobster bisque.

The tail will now look like a really big shrimp. Grab the flippers at the end of the tail and bend them backwards gently. If you do it right, you’ll get the meat from the inside of one or more flippers.

This is uncommonly sweet meat, so don’t forget the morsels in the flippers! You can pry them out by working the little joints back and forth, or use shears to cut their thin shells.

With the flippers off the tail, you can now just put your finger through the small opening where the flippers were and push the tail meat out in one piece. If you have an exceptionally large lobster, use kitchen shears to cut a line down the underside of the tail to help remove the meat.

Remove the digestive tract: Before you eat the tail, pull the top of it off. This will reveal a digestive vein which you will likely want to remove, much like deveining a shrimp. It won’t hurt you if you eat it, but it is the digestive tract of the lobster.

There is meat inside the body of the lobster, mostly right around where you pulled off the tail. For lobsters bigger than 2 pounds it is worth it to fish around for these extra morsels.

There you go! Now just dip in melted butter (or not) and eat. If you have crusty bread, it tastes great dipped in the lobster-infused butter as well.

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