The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

June 22, 2013

COOKING WITH SIMON: Enjoy local flavor with great Texas ingredients

By SIMON WEBSTER
Palestine Herald-Press

— 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



Directions

In a bowl combine the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Carefully fold in the crabmeat, corn and breadcrumbs. Form crab mixture into loose cakes. Heat a skillet over medium heat with two tablespoons of oil. Add the cakes and brown on each side. Cook about five minutes on each side and be careful when turning.



BEET & GOAT CHEESE SALAD

Ingredients


1 cup tomato, cut in to small cubes

1 cup cooked beets, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced

1 tablespoon sliced almond

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese

8 leaves of romaine lettuce



Directions

In a bowl combine the first five ingredients and toss together. Place two romaine leaves on each plate and top with the other ingredients. Top with a vinaigrette dressing and serve with crab cakes.

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Simon Webster is the Executive Chef of Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro a multi-faceted dining destination just outside Palestine. For more information go to www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.