Farmers Market Favorite | Yucatan-inspired Spring Shrimp & Lemon Soup | Market Chef Maggie Perkins


It was one of those gorgeous spring weekends of which dreams are made at the Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline and Mueller. We celebrated Earth Day with activities like the new composting program, and even over at the chef demo tent, where I tackled the issue of food waste, and shared a few ideas for using those parts and pieces we often discard.

This crowd-pleasing Yucatan-inspired Spring Shrimp & Lemon Soup used stock made from shrimp shells and the fibrous green tops of leeks, along with a few additions, to replace the usual store-bought chicken stock used in the traditional recipe, and to utilize what others may often consider 'garbage'. One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say. The result is a light and flavorful soup with half the sodium of the soup from which it was inspired.
Read more about reducing, reusing, and recycling, including one more use for those discarded shells, here
Low sodium, low fat, low calorie, this simple soup is a Maggie favorite during warmer days and as a bright beginning for summer dinners. Served cool, room temperature, or warm, it's a versatile workhorse of a dish, and I think you'll like it, too.


Yucatan Spring Shrimp & Lemon Soup
Market Chef Maggie Perkins

This light soup serves 4 as a full course or 6 as a first course. If serving as an entree, perhaps a few slices of perfectly ripe avocado might add to the satiety of the dish, served with steamed corn tortillas.

1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), shells on, peeled, shells reserved

1 small bunch leeks, greens and whites separated, whites thinly sliced, washed well and strained

2 carrots, sliced into chunks

6 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 4-inch cinnamon sticks

4 whole cloves

½-1 tablespoon olive oil

2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced

1 large Meyer lemon, juice and zest (see note, below)

1 bunch cilantro, stems minced, ½ leaves chopped, separated

1 tsp salt, or to taste

1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced

Shrimp stock: In a large saucepan or dutch oven, cover shrimp shells, green tops of leeks, and carrots with 6 cups of water. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rolling simmer, covered, for 30 minutes to an hour.

Toasting Spices: In a small skillet over high heat, toast cumin, cinnamon, and whole cloves until they begin to release their fragrance, stirring constantly and taking care not to scorch. This should take no more than 2 minutes. When toasted, add to simmering stock, above, for 30 minutes to an hour.

To spice toasting skillet, add just enough olive oil to cover bottom of pan. Over medium high heat, saute leeks until limp and slightly golden. Remove and reserve.

Remove stock from heat and remove solids by straining through a fine mesh strainer. Return strained stock to pot.


Over medium heat, bring stock to a rolling simmer, adding sliced jalapeno peppers, minced cilantro stems, the zest and juice of 1 large (2 small) Meyer lemon, toasted sliced leeks, and salt, to taste. Simmer 15 minutes, covered.

Add shrimp and heat through until shrimp are completely opaque. Remove soup from heat and serve, garnishing each bowl generously with sliced radishes and chopped cilantro.



 


Substitutions: Meyer lemons have a unique sweet floral fragrance and flavor that is unrivaled, however they are only available late winter and early spring. To substitute, try a combination of fresh orange and lemon juices and zest, or simply go with sweet limes (small key limes) as the traditional soup uses. In absence of leeks, try spring onions or large scallions. And should you wish to skip the shrimp shelling, try clam juice and/or low-sodium chicken broth in place of the homemade shrimp stock. But do it at your peril! Because it's just not the same.

Make ahead preparations: You can make the stock, strain, and freeze for up to 3 months for optimum freshness. You'll find you can let it thaw in the pot over low heat, then proceed with the soup, above.

Disclosure: This soup was prepared for the Texas Farmers' Markets where I am contracted as Market Chef. The following items were provided by market vendors for use in promotion:

Fresh Gulf Shrimp-- K and S Seafood
Leeks, Carrot, Radish, Cilantro-- Johnson's Backyard Garden


If you find yourself in the Greater Austin area in May, I will be at TFM Lakeline on May 13 and 27, and TFM Mueller on May 14 and 28. Stop by for a bite and let's chat about FOOD.

Farmers Market Favorite | SESAME BROCCOLI STIR FRY WITH MUSHROOMS & LEEKS


For this Meatless Monday, reap the rewards of more moderate climates with the first burst of early Spring, and green, green, green at the farmers markets.

A plateful of nutrient powerhouses, learn more, including nutrition profiles, about
This weekend at the Texas Farmers' Markets, I found the best and brightest the market had to offer in broccoli, from Yummy Farms, leeks from Johnson's Backyard Garden, green garlic from Hairston Creek Farm, and crimini mushrooms from Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms.

SESAME BROCCOLI WITH MUSHROOMS & LEEKS
YIELDS 4 SIDE DISHES

INGREDIENTS

1 large head broccoli
1 small bunch leeks
1 bunch green garlic
1-2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
coconut oil
Stir Fry Sauce and Dressing (below)

Prepare vegetables prior to cooking time--

Slice large broccoli florets in half lengthwise. Peel large stems of broccoli, and slice all approximately 1/4” slices. Chop any broccoli green leaves. Keep separate.

Slice whites of leeks thinly. Separate into ringlets. Rinse under running water well (leeks, by nature of the way they grow, are notorious for hiding dirt between the ringlets and require thorough rinsing).


Mince green garlic, both whites and greens, if tender.

Wipe mushrooms with a paper towel. Trim stems. Slice lengthwise into thin slices.

In a wok or large skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and add broccoli stems (only). Stirring frequently, cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Cover with foil or an upended bowl to keep warm.

Add coconut oil if/as needed. Transfer leeks and green garlic to pan. Stirring constantly, saute until transparent, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate with broccoli stalks. Keep warm.

Maintaining about 1T coconut oil in pan, transfer mushrooms to pan. Continue to stir over medium high heat until slightly browned around the edges, about 4-5 minutes. Add sliced broccoli florets, and toss to combine. Stirring frequently, cook until florets are slightly wilted. Return stalks, leeks, and green garlic to pan. Toss lightly to combine.


Season with Stir fry Sauce, below, by tablespoon, adding, tossing, tasting, correcting as necessary, adding more until seasoned as desired (anywhere from 3 Tablespoons to  to ¼ cup). Warm through, then serve.

STIR FRY SAUCE AND DRESSING
The basic starting point for a tweak-your-own versatile sauce and dressing you'll be putting on ERRYTHING this week. Add and/or subtract according to your own tastes, and make it your own.
INGREDIENTS
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
¼ c seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon tamari sauce
1-2 teaspoons honey
½ c grapeseed oil 
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Optional: Juice and zest of 2 mandarin oranges, toasted sesame seeds, and/or minced cilantro stems
PREPARATION
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse on low speed until well-blended. 
Note: This will yield more than required for this dish, alone. Reduce as desired, or make the full batch and use as a salad dressing, or marinade. This dressing keeps up to a week refrigerated. 

Disclosure: This dish was developed and prepared by me in my role as Market Chef for the Texas Farmers' Markets. All vegetables were provided free of charge for promotion by market vendors.

Questions about what do with your seasonal market selections? I'll be back at the Lakeline market on March 25, and the Mueller market on March 26, 2017. I'd love to see you there.


For an in depth class on making the most of your CSA share or local farm bounty, join me in Austin in partnership with Johnson's Backyard Garden for The Seasonal Plate| March 28 for dishes, demos, prep tips and more, and take home a full CSA share of your own. 



Mornings After | Days Like This


Mornings after big cooking classes are usually spent recovering-- getting my little old home back in order, giving my ornery back a rest, and in the case of morning after bread-making classes, baking off loaves for the neighbors.


I kept this small loaf today-- it's a smoked pepper and salt flake olive oil bread that I've eaten for breakfast and lunch with butter and fresh rosemary. For dinner I'll add sliced cherry tomatoes, radish, maybe hastily mashed and salted avocado instead of the butter. Or in addition to.

Butter. Mmmmm..



Van Morrison serenades me over the comforting hum of the (new!) dishwasher from the living room, keeping me company along with Jack, my dog, who waits for errant crumbs with the rapt attention of a soldier on sentry duty.

Perhaps it's maturity. I don't know. But in this little home, as I learn to focus on my passions and shut out the noisy din of the nothing sometimes said out there, I've found peace in the simple. It comforts me. I wear a serene smile for no one but me as I reflect on my blessings. This is bliss.

As Van sings, "Well, my mama told me there'll be days like this".


Want to learn how to bake bread? Check out March's bread baking classes here


Classes & Events | March 2017 | Maggie Perkins



Welcome to a new feature on Notes from Maggie's Farm-- an entire page devoted to Classes and Events. Below, find out what I'm up to in the month of March, then check back by clicking on the link in the navigation bar, above. You'll find featured monthly events and my calendar, updated as classes and demos are added. Thank you for keeping up with all that's going on with Notes from Maggie's Farm. 

I appreciate your support!
Maggie

Learn to Bake Bread 
Tickets & Info ---> March 7, 2017
Tickets & Info ---> March 21, 2017

Southern Comfort series | Creole Shrimp Etouffee
Tickets & Info ---> March 9, 2017

The Season's Best series | Texas Farmers' Market Chef Demo
Info ---> TFM Lakeline March 11, 2017
Info ---> TFM Mueller  March 12, 2017
Info ---> TFM Lakeline March 25, 2017
Info ---> TFM Mueller  March 26, 2017

Learn to Bake Bread | No-Knead Caraway Rye
Tickets & Info ---> March 14, 2017

Home Fermenting | Sauerkraut
Tickets & Info ---> March 16, 2017

Southern Comfort series | Gumbo YaYa | Chicken & Andouille
Tickets & Info ---> March 23, 2017

The Seasonal Plate with Johnson's Backyard Garden
Tickets & Info ---> March 28, 2017

Sustainable Seafood | Crawfish Boil!
Tickets & Info ---> March 31, 2017


Austin's Farmers Markets | 2017 #ATXBESTEATS City Guide

It's an honor to share my passion-- supporting local farmers and food artisans--for a third year. This third annual guide sees a few changes in hours and locations for local markets. You can see the first annual guide, here, for reference, if you're curious. Thank you for your interest and patronage of our local wholesome food purveyors.  
Welcome to Austin. We're happy to have you. Have a great time while you're here!

As a contributor to the Austin Food Blogger Alliance 2017 City Guide, #ATXBESTEATS, I have the pleasure of sharing what's near and dear to my heart, and my appetite-- Farmers' Markets in Austin. I spend a lot a time around the markets and I've come to love the sense of community, the availability of peak of the season fruits and vegetables, and just for hanging out, eating delicious prepared foods, and jamming with the band. I'm even a farmers' market chef. Join me on a fresh adventure around Austin and thank you for supporting your local farmers!


The challenge to traveling light and lean is often the lack of  healthy, wholesome food among the greasy spoons and fast food one often settles for on the road. In absence of sound nutritional and convenient choices along the highways and byways, a drive-thru salad day old salad bereft of color and flavor with a hefty squeeze of what passes for ranch-style dressing is about as healthy as you'll find. Yet how, and where you choose to fuel your body will go a long way toward energizing you for vacation days, and nights, of walking, and partying, during SXSW, or any time spent knocking around Austin, for that matter.

Now, just how many greasy burgers are you going to stuff in your face before you start feeling the effects of haphazard and hasty food choices? Sluggish, bloated and worn down is not what you're after when you're on the go, go, GO. Treat yourself right.


When your body starts to disapprove of that typical road food fare (or all that barbecue you've been scarfing down?), head over to one of Austin's friendly farmers' markets and dig right in for a little digestive rescue. You'll find farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, prepared foods to eat on site or take away, and in many instances, art, body care, clothing, jewelry, ponies, petting zoos, family-friendly special events and even FREE LIVE MUSIC. Really! No wristband required!

Austin, and the surrounding area, is filthy with food choices from farmers' markets and local farm stands almost every day of the week. A comprehensive listing and map of all Austin and surrounding area farmers' markets, sorted by day, can be found at Edible Austin.

Below, find listings for all farmers' markets, certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture, within the Austin city limits.

Barton Creek Farmers' Market 
2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy
Austin, Texas 78746
Days of Operation: Saturday
Hours: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
List of market vendors


Hope Farmers' Market 
412 Comal Street
Austin, Texas 78702
Days of Operation: Sunday
Hours: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
List of market vendors
Photo credit: Hope Farmers' Market

SFC Farmers' Market Downtown 
422 Guadalupe
Austin, Texas 78701
Days of Operation: Saturday
Hours: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
List of market vendors
Photo credit: Thomas Winslow

SFC Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley 
3200 Jones Road
Austin, Texas 78745
Days of Operation: Saturday
Hours: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
List of market vendors
Photo credit: Thomas Winslow

SFC Farmers' Market at the Triangle
4700 W Guadalupe (Triangle Avenue)
Austin, Texas 78705
Days of Operation: Wednesday
Hours: 3 - 7 p.m.
List of market vendors
Photo credit: Thomas Winslow
Texas Farmers' Market | Mueller
4550 Mueller Blvd - Under Historic Browning Hanger
Austin, Texas 78723
Days of Operation: Sunday
Hours: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
List of market vendors


Texas Farmers' Market | Lakeline
11200 Lakeline Mall Dr
Cedar Park, TX 78613
Days of Operation: Saturday
Hours: 9 a.m - 1 p.m.
List of market vendors




Feel like going straight to the grower? You're not far from the source. Several urban farms operate within the Austin city limits, and at least two of those farms lay claim to some of the friendliest folks you'll meet in Austin. Stop by these flourishing East Austin farm stands where you'll find tables teeming with abundant, freshly-picked produce and more.

Boggy Creek Farm Stand
3414 Lyons Rd.
Austin, TX 78702
Days of Operation: Wednesday-Saturday
8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Seasonal Report


Springdale Farm Stand
755 Springdale Rd.
Austin, TX 78702
Days of Operation: Wednesday and Saturday
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Currently Available




If you found this guide to be helpful, you may enjoy other Austin city guides I've curated:

and be sure to check out additional recommendations in every category of food and drink under the sun, at #ATXBESTEATS, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide 2017.


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Disclosure: As mentioned above, I work as a market chef contractor with Texas Farmers' Markets, the operator of markets at Mueller and Lakeline, listed above.  .

Creole & Cajun Food in Austin | 2017 #ATXBESTEATS City Guide


Welcome to the 7th annual Creole Crawl, a guide to Cajun and Creole fare in Austin. I've set forth on the delicious adventure to suss out the best of the best Louisiana regional cuisine offered right here, in the heart of Texas. Along the way I've discovered new gems, gone on wild goose chases, revisited old haunts, reconsidered popular favorites, EATEN MY WEIGHT IN GUMBO, and as always, run into some of the very nicest people. Folks who are enamored with and devoted to Creole/Cajun cuisine truly are filled with la joie de vivre. Spend a little time with them and you'll see-- it's infectious!


For the purposes of this overview, I dispense with my somewhat lengthy history, thoughts, opinions, reviews, etc, and simply share a brief listing of everything that's out there in Austin and surrounds. For more in depth discussion, please visit the inaugural guide. And keep an eye open for individual reviews of each establishment coming soon on Notes from Maggie's Farm.


Sure, I have my favorites--this is right in my wheelhouse after all, and I'll certainly offer the skinny (ironic word, that) in subsequent reviews, but the scene is expanding and folks are catching on to this vibrant culinary scene. so a little brevity will be employed in this latest contribution to the #ATXBESTEATS 2017 City Guide. Or at least I'll try. That doesn't come naturally to me when waxing poetic about roux and gumbo and rémoulade, and smothered greens and dark bitter coffee and gravy poboys, and jazz brunches and pralines and brandy punches and river boats and boudin balls and second lines and crawfish festivals and community cookbooks and bake sales and...

Local Favorites: Spiced just right


Cypress Grill
Address: 4404 Wm Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78749
Phone:(512) 358-7474
Hours: Open 7 days. M-F 11a-10pm, S/S Brunch 8:30-2:30pm
Currently craving: Bourbon Milk Punch, Fried Oysters Benedict--make those yolks runny, please

Evangeline Cafe
Address: 8106 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745
Phone:(512) 282-2586
Hours: Kitchen: 11am-9:30pm, Until 10pm Thu-Fri, lunch/dinner, Closed Sunday
Currently craving: Oysters Contraband and a seat by the band.

French Quarter Grille
Address: 13000 N IH 35 #600, Austin, TX 78753
Phone:(512) 832-9090
Hours: Open 6 days. Weekday lunch. Dinner. Closed Sunday. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Orange Creme Brûlée and coffee with a shot of brandy

Sawyer & Co
Address: 4827 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone:(512) 531-9033
Hours: Open 7 days Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch/Dinner. Various open and closing times. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Grits and Grillades or Eggs Sardou. This is hard. 

Shoal Creek Saloon
Address: 909 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
Phone:(512) 474-0805
Hours: Open 7 days, Kitchen open 11am-10pm
Currently craving: Smoked Duck Gumbo and the choir of Creole angels I hear when it's served.



Hidden Gems: Eat like an insider

Cajun Pizza Place
Address: 6001 McNeil Dr, Austin, TX 78729
Phone:(512) 291-7997
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner, 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat til 10.
Currently craving: Crawfish Pirogue, ice-cold Turbodog, and a winning Saints game.

New Awlin's Cafe
Address: 8650 Spicewood Springs Rd #111, Austin, TX 78759
Phone:(512) 394-7200
Hours: Open 6 days for lunch/dinner. Closed Sunday. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Homemade pie and genuine Southern hospitality.

Food Trucks: Creole on wheels
Address: 2512 Rio Grande St, ATX 78705
Phone:(512) 645-4112
*Also  2730 E.Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78705-4529
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Corn fritters and smothered greens

Baton Creole
Address: 1016 East 6th. St. ATX 78702 (On the Shangri-La Patio)
Phone: (512) 986-3834
Hours: Open 6 days, Closed Tuesday. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Powder-coated Beignets to dunk in my lava-hot bitter coffee

LA 1 Cajun and Creole
Located at St Roch's Bar
Address: 515 Pedernales St, ATX 78702
Phone:(512) 777-4441
Hours: Wed-Sunday, 4-9pm.
Currently craving: Roast Beef Debris Gravy on hot, crisp french fries and some Lou Reed on the jukebox.

Beyond the Limits: Outside of the City

Address: 100 N Main Street, Buda, TX 78610
Phone:(512) 312-4387
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently Craving: Weekend brunch Eggs Cleveland and a stellar $2 Bloody Mary


Gumbo's North
Address: 701 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
Phone:(512) 943-4214
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Grilled Shrimp Robert and happy hour on the patio.



Louisiana Longhorn Cafe
Address: 200 E Main St, Round Rock, TX 78664
Phone:(512) 248-2900
Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Shrimp poboy and and their ambrosial Hurricane.

Mouton's Southern Bistro
Address: 309 N Hwy 183, Leander, TX 78641
Phone:(512) 260-6300
Hours: Open 7 days, breakfast/lunch/dinner, Call for hours.
Currently craving: these Shrimp and Grits. You'll be sated for days.

Parrain's Louisiana Kitchen
Address: 18653 Farm to Market 1431, Jonestown, TX 78645
Phone:(512) 215-9319
Hours: Open 7 days, brunch/lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently Craving: Cold Abita, boiled crawfish and House-Smoked Boudin


Making Groceries: Dine-In and Retail


Quality Seafood Market
Address: 5621 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Phone:(512) 452-3820
Hours: Open 6 days, 10:30am-9pm. Closed Sunday.
Currently Craving: East Coast, Gulf Coast, and grilled- plump, briny oysters with chilled bubbly, please.

Stuffed Cajun Meat Market and Specialty Foods (2 locations) Phone:(512) 918-1600
--Address: 5207 Brodie Ln #125, Sunset Valley, TX 78745
Hours: Open 7 days, 10am-9pm
--Address: 12226 Ranch Rd 620 N, Austin, TX 78750
Hours: Open 7 days, 10am-8pm
Currently craving: New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and a loaf of Gambino's French bread for home.


Honorable Mentions: Worthy of a Word

A few popular spots are worthy of mentions, but may have missed the mark of those above for a variety of reasons:
  • inconsistent service, hours, or quality
  • is one of a large chain 
  • serves a menu not fully devoted to Creole/Cajun food.
  • is terrific. Just not Creole/Cajun. 


Each has a following-- I may or may not be among the following, but I'd be remiss not to include them. I enjoyed a beautifully-prepared fried softshell crab at Surf & Turf, pictured, also in Cedar Park. Northwest Austin's Pacific Star Seafood is cheap. Red's Porch, on South Lamar, has a GREAT patio, Texas-based Pappadeux serves consistently good plates, and speaking of chains, there's still a Razoo's in Round Rock for a quick, very fried Cajun fix. Nubian Queen Lola uses proceeds to feed area homeless, Original New Orleans Poboys newest digs boast the diviest bar on the list, and Turf N' Surf Poboy's only claim to Cajun is blackened seafood at their 2 walk-up locations. But it's damn good seafood, I'll give you that.


Cherrywood Coffee House serves fried seafood and poboys, and their weekend brunch Crawfish Omelet, pictured, is knockout good. Hoover's Cooking, on Manor, is more southern comfort than Cajun/Creole per se, but étouffe smothered fried catfish for breakfast. On biscuits?? Oh yes. Yes indeed. And lastly, newcomer Liberty Kitchen, a chic and hip-swank downtown spot, serves one of the best bowls of gumbo, pictured, I ate in Austin last year. Check out their happy hour.

A relative newcomer, I haven't had the opportunity to try La Gris Gris, located in the backyard of C-Boy's Heart & Soul on South Congress, but I'm looking forward to remedying that situation real soon. Their food pictures look righteous. Great excuse to get back to C-Boy's. As if I needed one. I'll report back.
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Mais cher, I think that's IT! But I may be wrong. Who serves your favorites? Know where the perfect jambalaya is on the menu (because in all of my eating, I didn't find one that thrilled me, and a few down right repelled me)? Favorite spot to watch the Saints? The Tigers? The Ragin' Cajuns? Want to offer a little feedback on the places mentioned? LOVE to hear it. Give me your thoughts and let's LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER, y'all.

If you're a guest to Austin, I welcome you. If you're a resident, I congratulate you. If you're hungry for more of Austin's vital culinary scene, be sure to visit the 2017 Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for the best dining the city has to offer. There's something for everybody, including my recent #ATXBESTEATS city guides:



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