Cooks Exchange

Old Coast recipes are treasures, indeed

Bill Vrazel was the proprietor of the former Vrazel’s restaurant in Gulfport. Reader Ann Brown wants the restaurant’s recipe for shrimp and heart of artichoke Teresa.
Bill Vrazel was the proprietor of the former Vrazel’s restaurant in Gulfport. Reader Ann Brown wants the restaurant’s recipe for shrimp and heart of artichoke Teresa. Sun Herald File

The Coast’s love of tradition and history spills over into its foods.

Especially since Hurricane Katrina, old recipes have become treasures in some Coast homes.

Often, we do not know what we had until it is gone. The same is true for family recipes.

As I was cleaning out my office preparing for a garage sale, I came across a copy of a cookbook done by the Mississippi & Gulf Coast Exposition Co. for the 1916 Gulfport Exposition. Robyn Jermyn of Long Beach sent this to me several years ago.

Members of the Housewives of the Gulf Coast donated the recipes to the Woman’s Auxiliary who in turn gave the recipes to the Mississippi & Gulf Coast Exposition Co. for the cookbook. Members of the cookbook committee were Mrs. W.A. Todd, Mrs. L.E. Andrews, Mrs. J.W. Luckett and Mrs. H.A. Jackson.

This cookbook even includes a recipe from the chef at the Great Southern Hotel, who uses gill as a liquid measure. One gill equals one-quarter of a pint. Some of the instructions are a bit archaic. I have approximated temperatures since many recipes simply say hot oven, medium oven and the like.

Maybe some great-grandparents remember the hotel, but for later generations these recipes are the foods of their ancestors. Even some of my Florida readers will like to have these recipes. I will share some of them today.

Another Coast treasure

“Would you please see if you can get the recipe from Bill Vrazel?” she asked. “It was Gulf shrimp dipped in garlic butter and served over a rich, baked casserole of artichoke hearts, baby shrimp and Parmesan cheese. It was my favorite of all their many delicious items on the menu.”

This dish was an item on Vrazel’s regular menu. I will ask Vrazel and see if he will share the recipe.

More Storage Tips

“Once again thanks for a wonderful column on food storage,” said Lynette Faul of Gulfport. “I will definitely keep this one handy, and with your permission send a copy to my friend in Aussie.”

A fellow reader Dora Harrison created a great chart on food storage, and I shared part of it on how to store fresh fruits.

Since fresh vegetables are appearing at farmers’ markets, U-pick farms and roadside stands, I will share Harrison’s tips on fresh vegetables storage and shelf life.

— Bell peppers: store on refrigerator shelf in plastic bag; keep 1 week.

— Cucumber: store in refrigerator drawer and wrap in plastic; keeps 1 week.

— Dark, leafy greens: Store in refrigerator drawer in plastic bag with dry paper towel; keep 1 week.

— Head of lettuce: Store in refrigerator drawer in plastic bag with dry paper towel. Keeps 5 days.

— Onion: Store unwrapped in dark pantry. Keeps 1 to 2 months.

— Halved onion: Store in refrigerator drawer in a sealed plastic bag. Keeps 3-5 days.

— Summer squash: Store on refrigerator shelf in plastic bag; keeps 5 days.

— Green beans: Refrigerator drawer in plastic bag with dry paper towel. Keep 1 week.

— Mushrooms: Refrigerator shelf in paper bag. Keep 3 days.

— Potatoes: Dark pantry in paper bag. Keep 1-2 months.

— Salad greens: Refrigerator drawer in large plastic container layered with dry paper towels. Keep 10 days.

— Sweet potatoes: Dark pantry in paper bag. Keep 2 weeks.

— Winter squash: Dark pantry unwrapped. Keep 1 month.

— Winter squash halved: Refrigerator drawer wrapped in foil. Keeps 2-3 weeks.

Tomato nuts

Scoop seeds out of tomatoes. Chop 1 cup nuts and mix with a creamy dressing. Fill tomato shells with nut mixture. Place a boiled shrimp on top of each tomato with a dab of mayonnaise. Serve on a little ring of watercress, green pepper and onion.

Original recipe from Mrs. L.M. Cowling

DEVILED CRABS

1 quart crab meat (boiled)

4 finely chopped hard boiled eggs

1 large tablespoon parsley

4 gratings of fresh nutmeg

1 very large tablespoon butter

2 small tablespoons flour, salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup cream or milk

Have crab meat ready. Put milk or cream on to boil, mix in flour carefully, stirring rapidly (flour must be mixed with a little cold water first to keep from being lumpy), add finely chopped eggs then crab meat (a little at a time), then parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper, then last butter. Have eight shells ready, fill nicely, sprinkle with cracker or bread crumbs with a little lump of butter on top to brown, put in moderate oven (350 degrees) until a nice brown.

Original recipe by Lueze Lockwood

SHRIMP MARINER

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 quart of shrimp (cleaned)

2 ounces butter

1 ounce flour

1/2 gill (1/8 pint) tomato juice

1/2 gill (1/8 pint) sherry

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon minced parsley

Salt to taste

Put oil in small saucepan. Add shrimp, cover tightly, simmer gently for 15 minutes, add flour and butter, worked smooth, then the tomato juice, sherry, the finely minced onion, nutmeg, pepper, parsley and salt. Let cook 5 minutes. Pour into baking dish, besprinkle with bread crumbs, bake in hot oven (425 degrees or so) 10 minutes. Properly garnish with lemon and sweet pepper slices. Serve with sea biscuits or crackers.

Original recipe by W.L. Carter, chef at the Great Southern Hotel

TEA CAKES

3 cups sugar

1 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

6 eggs

Vanilla to taste

2 teaspoons yeast powder (baking powder), enough flour to thicken

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs 1 at a time, then milk and vanilla to taste, and yeast powder (baking powder) in flour, put in enough flour to make like biscuit dough, roll thin and bake in hot oven (400 to 425 degrees) until light brown on edges

Original recipe by Mrs. Martin Farrel, Pass Christian, MS

SHRIMP A LA NEWBURG

In large skillet, put 4 tablespoons butter, put cooked shrimp (about 2-3 pounds) in and let simmer about 5 minutes. Then add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, a speck of cayenne pepper, dash of mace and simmer 5 minutes more. Beat well the yolks of 3 eggs, mix with 1 cup cream and pour over cooking mixture, stir constantly, and serve at once on buttered toast. A spoonful of sherry or brandy may be added to the first mixture. Lobsters may be used instead of shrimp.

Original recipe by Madge Stewart

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