Cook Something with Shells
Few things say "I am not afraid of cooking" more than turning a mass of hard-shelled crustaceans into a fragrant, briny platter of dinner waiting to be sopped up with good bread. It shouldn't be scary, though, since you really just need a handful of ingredients, and there's no special technique. Take clams, for instance. As Adler explains in An Everlasting Meal, once you scrub them and put them in a pot along with a little cold butter and a splash of wine or beer, the little mollusks will gasp and open, leaving you with a rich broth and the sweet clam meat. Adler's recipe for Clams and Potatoes with Vinaigrette and Parsley also explains how to choose between littlenecks, quahogs or razor clams: "Buy whatever you're facing, and do it boldly."