The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Opinion

June 22, 2013

COOKING WITH SIMON: Enjoy local flavor with great Texas ingredients

There’s a big push lately to shop local and support small local businesses, but in the restaurant industry it’s important to take that effort one step further. As a chef, I try to design my menu around ingredients that are available from area producers, farmers and markets from East Texas, as well as other parts of the state known for their great food commodities.

Being a Go Texan member makes that easy because other members like to share with each other and make each other aware of great Texas products and producers. Just about everything you need can be found within the borders of Texas and if not, then maybe it should be reconsidered as a menu item.

When restaurants bring in produce, meat and other ingredients from far and wide it’s not only damaging to local economy, and the environment, but an unnecessary expense to pass onto customers. It also means the food traveled hundreds or thousands of miles and in the process flavor and freshness were probably compromised.

This time of year there’s so much fresh produce available from area farmers and local markets and it’s a better value because you’re supporting local economies and business owners. Dollars spent locally have great value to all involved. It’s a win-win for everyone – the chef, the farmer and the customers.

Today’s recipes are all about great local and Texas flavors – corn, beets and lettuce from the farmers market, tomatoes and basil from my own garden, goat cheese from Haute Goat in Longview and blue crab from Texas Gulf Coast waters. And speaking of Gulf coast seafood, you can always buy Texas fresh Gulf Coast shrimp at Brookshire’s in Palestine.

CRAB CAKES

Ingredients


1 pound lump crabmeat

1 egg

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup fresh corn kernels

1/2 cup bread crumbs

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