Cooks Exchange

Get to the Farmers Market for some fresh summer produce

Most of the Coast cities have weekly farmers markets where fresh, local produce is available.
Most of the Coast cities have weekly farmers markets where fresh, local produce is available. Sun Herald File

Summer means good, fresh eating along the coasts from Texas to Florida.

Fresh shrimp is waiting at the piers, and fresh vegetables are ripe for the picking or at farmers’ or roadside markets. Some farms open to let customers pick their own vegetables, which is a great learning experience for children or grandchildren.

Seeing shrimpers haul in their catch and sell that same catch is another learning tool.

Let’s face it: Summer eating is clean, fresh eating. Pairing fresh shrimp or crabs with fresh vegetables is the way to go. To give a jumpstart to farmers’ markets, the American Farmland Trust celebrates nationwide these markets on Wednesday. The National Farmers Market Celebration does just that, celebrates the impact of the markets on peoples’ lives and the work that the farmers do. Most of the Coast cities have weekly farmers markets where fresh, local produce is available.

Personally, eggplant, squash and homegrown tomatoes are my favorites and offer a wealth of combinations with seafood or meats.

A recipe from Steve Pucheu marries shrimp and squash well, plus uses fresh tomatoes and bell pepper. The shrimp and eggplant casserole is a good one even if it does use celery. A woman who befriended me when I was working at my first newspaper job shared it with me. For those who like it quick, an old Mr. Food recipe for shrimp and vegetable stir-fry is an easy does it.

MORE REQUESTS

“In the 1990s, a friend and I would go to eat lunch at the Hook, Line and Sinker restaurant located on Beach Boulevard in Biloxi,” said Ann Brown of Biloxi. “We would have their shrimp salad (lots of shrimp, eggs and other ingredients scooped on a large leaf of lettuce). I have tried to duplicate it and can’t get it quite right. If you would see if a reader of your column has this recipe to share, I will so appreciate it.”

Readers, do you have this recipe or a similar one? This is an old-time shrimp salad.

Brown also wants Bill Vrazel’s recipe for shrimp and artichoke heart Teresa.

ZUCCHINI RECIPES, PLEASE

A reader who really doesn’t like zucchini wants recipes that make the vegetable taste good. She asked to remain anonymous. Readers, do you have some ideas for her? If so, send them to me.

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

SHRIMP AND SQUASH

1 cup cooking oil

1 cup andouille sausage, diced

1 1/2 cup onions and celery, chopped fine

3/4 cup bell pepper, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

5 cups sliced yellow squash

4 tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 8 wedges per tomato)

1 1/2 pounds boiled and peeled shrimp

Salt and pepper to taste

Italian bread crumbs for topping

Add oil to large pot and first five ingredients. Sauté about 20 minutes. Add squash and sauté another 15 to 20 minutes. Add shrimp and tomatoes. Sauté an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in large greased casserole. Top with bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees until the bread crumbs are golden and casserole is heated through.

Makes 4 to 6 entrees or 10-12 side dishes.

Steve Pucheu

SHRIMP AND EGGPLANT CASSEROLE

4 large stalks celery

1 large onion

1 large bell pepper

1 pound fresh shrimp

1/4 pound butter (1 stick)

3 large eggplants

1 cup cracker crumbs

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

3 slices white bread

1/2 stick butter

Paprika

Chop celery, onion and bell pepper, then sauté in one stick of butter until tender. Add shrimp, cleaned and halved. Sauté with celery, onion and bell pepper until shrimp turn pink.

In another pot, peel and cut eggplants into medium-size pieces; cover with water and boil until tender; drain and mash. Combine with shrimp-vegetable mixture. Add cracker crumbs and well beaten eggs; salt and pepper to taste. Place in casserole dish.

For topping, let slices of bread stand in warm oven until dry; crush with rolling pin. Melt half stick of butter in skillet, stir in crumbs. When coated, sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of casserole. Dust with paprika. Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Note: For us celery haters, I add more onion and bell pepper and add minced garlic. I add 1 stalk of celery.

SHRIMP AND VEGETABLE STIR-FRY

1 can (15 ounces) baby corn, drained and liquid reserved

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil

2 bell peppers (1 red and 1 yellow), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large onion, cut into wedges

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a small bowl, combine the reserved liquid from the corn, the soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil and sugar; mix well.

Heat peanut oil just until hot in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp tender, stirring constantly. Add snow peas and baby corn. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the snow peas turn bright green, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and the soy sauce mixture. Cook until the shrimp are pink and the sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve on brown or white rice. Makes 5 servings.

Nutritional data per serving: calories, 417; fat, 19 grams; cholesterol, 177 milligrams; sodium, 867 milligrams; carbohydrates, 38 grams; fiber, 9 grams; protein, 28 grams.

From Mr. Food’s Easy Cooking magazine, March/April 2000

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