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4th of July

4th of July, Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Healthy, Local, Tomatoes, Vegetables

5 fast and easy uses for summer tomatoes

July 8, 2015

Fresh local tomatoes are ripening in full force around the country, and at no time during the year will they taste this authentic, this juicy and this meaty. But the pressure to enjoy each and every precious one is killing me. I bought a bunch last week at our farmers market, and then my mother-in-law plied me with a big bag — an overrun from her brother’s wildly productive garden. We’re using tomatoes as fast as we can around here in BLTs, cucumber and tomato salads and tomato sandwiches on shamelessly squishy white bread. I love them diced over morning eggs, and nowadays, a simple plate of sliced tomatoes replaces a requisite green salad at dinnertime.

But what else can you do with fresh juicy summer tomatoes? Plenty. Here are a few ideas to make sure none of those tasty beauties goes to waste.

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4th of July, Corn, Farmers Markets, Fresh produce, Healthy, Herbs, Local, Louisiana, One Pot, Soups, Squash

Corn and squash soup brims with summer goodness

July 1, 2015

One of the easiest ways to use fresh summer produce is in a luscious seasonal soup. I know, it’s hot outside, but your AC is probably on full blast, and soup is an inside dish. Corn soup (…and its many versions) is a longtime favorite around South Louisiana, but adding squash to the mix creates depth and wholesome goodness. Thanks to the Red Stick Farmers Market for planting the seed with their annual Corn & Squash-tastic event last Saturday celebrating the summer bounty. The idea of combining the two got stuck in my head and led to this simple recipe, which gives me a chance to do something different with yellow squash. I admit to getting stuck sometimes on expanding my use for it.

This soup tastes rich, but it’s really pretty healthy. A portion of the corn is pureed with a little broth to create a creamy consistency without actually using cream.

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4th of July, Breakfast, Celebrations, Desserts, Figs, Fresh produce, Fruit, Louisiana

Figging out: Fresh fig cake

June 29, 2015

The figs have started to ripen here in South Louisiana, and a couple of days ago, we started harvesting the sweet fat fruit from our backyard tree – braving mosquitoes and trying to beat the birds. Some days we eat every last fig over the sink within minutes of giving them a rinse. Other days I manage to set some aside and share them with my friends, especially my next-door neighbor, Martha. She paid me back for fresh figs once with a really yummy fig cake. It’s a great use of figs – super moist with a light, but sturdy texture and pleasant, subtle fig flavor. The recipe, Martha tells me, is modified from the Junior League of Monroe’s popular 1972 cookbook, The Cotton Country Collection. Tone down the sugar, and it makes a super breakfast cake. Here it is, below.

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4th of July, Celebrations, Hungry for Louisiana, Local, Louisiana, Maggie Heyn Richardson

4th of July Giveaway: Enter this contest

June 25, 2015

Crawfish boudin paella chased with a gin-filé cocktail and followed by a Creole cream cheese snoball? What’s your most creative use of the ingredients featured in Hungry for Louisiana, An Omnivore’s Journey? Compete in this fun 4th of July contest and you could win a free, signed copy of the book and a complimentary package of hand-harvested bay leaves, so essential in Louisiana cooking.

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