a shrimptastic day

freestyle fridays
notes from maggie's farm

©from maggie's farm 2011

a shrimptastic day
as we headed home from the coast, we were still in the mood for fresh.  our fried shrimp feast from king's inn in riviera, texas, (another post all together) had only served to awaken our shrimp-hungry monster.  on the road, or most anytime for that matter, we share an unwritten rule-no chains, no fast food.  (although we cave for non-chain fast food, like a small town hamburger stand, on occasion.)  and a certain farmer thinks a jumbo jack is a perfectly good substitute if nothing better is found.  yuck.  i, on the other hand, think a taco truck is the best default; however they're a little spotty on the coast.  but i digress. 

©from maggie's farm 2011
i moved to texas from louisiana, where i spent 18 (often adventurous, occasionally raucous) years surrounded by the best seafood in the world.  that may sound like a bold assumption, however i will not argue this point, because, no, i haven't been to iceland  (or whatever other seafood haven that might be in the running), but i haven't seen anyone else waxing poetic about the seafood in iceland, and in south louisiana?  well there's a whole lot of waxing going on.  they l.o.v.e. their seafood.  they talk about it like texans talk barbecue, like napoleon spoke of josephine. men spend as much time around the boiling pot or bbq spit outside as women do in the kitchen.  weekend afternoons were often spent beside some body of water, or atop a levee, peeling shellfish of some kind, and tossing the shells to the fish.  it was hot—the weather and the food—and the day wrapped around you like one of those steamy towels from a barbershop.  heaven for a while, but a tad uncomfortable for any longer.  those days held a special kind of romance, the kind that puts a nostalgic smile on my face when i smell the heady aromas of the ocean, and the faint wisp of salt and seafood from the shrimping boats in the harbor. 

©from maggie's farm 2011
so imagine my delight at finding this crusty jewel open on sunday in aransas pass. we were actually running around the area 'mapless', living fancy-free by determining our direction based on a very technical process of 'left or right?' at each road's end.  after a right, left, left, right, left and left, we found it!  as i often do, i, well, i…i….i shrieked seafood! and my sweet hubby made a james rockford-esque left hander at full speed.  he's seriously the best at keeping up with my (sometimes crazy) adventures.  he's up for anything, any time.  that's why he's my sweet hubby.  the dogs got a little jossled in the backseat, but that's nothing new to them, either. 

so corey's seafood market it was, and corey's had some beautiful fresh, fresh, fresh shrimp (and a few other lovelies) at great prices--we picked up a few pounds of  'fisherman's choice' that was straight off the boat.  i mean only an hour off the boat!  it was one of those special moments when the culinary gods arrange the stars and planets to converge in such a way that i come upon my holy grail of protein, fresh shrimp from the boat!  i can't stand it!  i mean, i can.  really stand it.  (i'm singing now…)  i lo-oo-oo-oove you fresh shrimp from the boat!

©from maggie's farm 2011
and then we picked up a pound of….wait for this……steamed shrimp with butter! still hot! really spicy. corey herself, offered us a taste and it was all sold! from there,  I got a little glassy eyed after that and i'm not sure what all i ordered but most sentences seemed to end with, sure, we'll take some of that.  corey sent us off with directions to the picnic area around the harbor (more left, right, right, left, around the corner, over the bridge, left and right) and a handful of paper towels, bless her heart. 
no elegant fine dining establishment could top the experience of sitting aside the harbor, getting all messy eating these delicious, spicy shrimp.  we had a loaf of from maggie's farm whole grain parmesan and herb bread, and it was just the perfect accompaniment, dipping the corners in a little of the soft, garlicky butter.   we watched the shrimp boats coming in, and going out, and the fishermen throwing scraps to the pelicans. 

©from maggie's farm 2011

road trips and beachcombing give time to consider the lives we lead, the busy day to day goings on, the work from which we've taken a break.  it's good to 'get away from it all' occasionally; take stock, a mental accounting of the ways we spend our days.  being a fledgling organic farmer is hard work these days, and starting a small business is not for the faint of heart.  it's not unusual to question the path we're on.  what is unusual is for such a sublime afternoon to yield, so clearly, the answer, our personal gift from the sea:

©from maggie's farm 2011
once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
--from scarlet begonias, the grateful dead
and so it is, and so it will be.  i know that it will be only a short time down this path that i will be able to look back, with a bemused peace, and say, also, perserverance won.

so what to do with those 2 lbs of shrimp?  with shrimp this fresh, let's keep it simple.  a simple boil, with the requisite corn and potatoes seems like the perfect antidote to this current wave of louisiana nostalgia, with enough for some fabulous 'leftovers', too.

©from maggie's farm 2011
shrimp boil for two
(with enough for some fabulous 'leftovers', too!)

©from maggie's farm 2011
2# fresh shrimp, heads off 

6 large boiling potatoes, halved

1 large carton of whole mushrooms

2-4 fresh ears of corn, shucked and halved

1 gallon water

1/8th cup kosher salt

1 lemon, halved

©from maggie's farm 2011
1 lime halved

8T corey's seasoning  (or another seafood boil preparation, dried or liquid, --when i'm not lucky enough to have corey's, i use zatarain's or louisiana seafood liquid boil, substituting the suggested amount of seasoning according to packaging directions.  i've doubled the amount of seasoning suggested, as i've also doubled the amount of food and water with the additional vegetables)

©from maggie's farm 2011

to water in a large boiling pot, add salt, lime, lemon, and seasoning.  bring to a boil.  add potatoes, corn, and mushrooms, and cook at full boil until tender, about twenty minutes.  add shrimp; turn off heat after two minutes.  let shrimp continue to cook by soaking in the hot liquid, for about ten minutes.  remove from boiling liquid and transfer to plates, platters, or more traditionally, a paper covered picnic table, with diners pulling from the communal 'pile'.  serve with butter for potatoes and corn, and, if desired, a small bowl of melted butter for dipping shrimp.  myself?  why gild the lily?  i eat them just as they are, shedding the shells in a pile in front of me, just as i did all those years in louisiana. 

©from maggie's farm 2011
so why such a big batch for two?  well, the leftovers!  with vegetables, stock, and shrimp already infused with such rich, well-seasoned flavor, giving the leftovers a fresh new life is simple.  and that's just what we'll do this weekend, on our special weekend edition of notes from maggie's farm—the glory of a second chance.

©from maggie's farm 2011
this week from maggie's farm
what we harvested this week: the peppers, squash, eggplant, and melons are going gangbusters.  everything else has slowed waaaay down, much like the farmers around here have.  the ducks have said no more to the eat, but the trusty herb bed wilts in the afternoon, but springs back up with the evening watering, and ms.sheba is still to be counted upon for a quart a day, or so, of sweet goat milk. thank you, sheba.

what we tackled this week: got a hike and a road trip in, but primarily, we're just trying to survive these rainless, (50+!) days of 100 degree plus weather. something's got to give.

what we are thankful for: time for a little get-a-way, fresh shrimp, and a gift from the sea.

words that inspire us:
perserverance won.


  1. I think everyone should visit Corey's when they're in the area. It's really easy to find. Just drive aimlessly around town for a while and, it's right there, on the left.

  2. from maggie's farm05 August, 2011

    you're so funny. the best partner in crime a girl could ever ask for. xo.


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