butter me up.

Hello, friends!  Happy sunshiny Monday morning- our first one in several weeks.  It’s a beautiful follow up to a spectacular weekend.  I am actually feeling recharged and content after spending what Adam and I declared “playtime” on Saturday at the free Midsummer Music & Food Festival.  We enjoyed an amazing set of tunes by The Wood Brothers.

Funky, bluesy, and soulful, they gave me goosebumps all over more than once.

The crowd was thick

and there were long lines at each and every food truck.

We’d seen some of the trucks before, and some were new to us.

We shared a crazy hotdog concoction from The Good Food Truck,

called “The Poodle”.  Adam was sucked in by the French toast bun.  And then we devoured a Cajun chicken and tasso ham eggroll from The Pickle that was divine.  Always fun to see the creativity abounding from local food purveyors.  We wound down our evening listening to Dirty Dozen Brass Band (such a great slice of New Orleans) and G. Love & Special Sauce while chillin’ on a blanket with friends.  I love it when Atlanta brings the festival vibe right to our backyard- plastering a big ole smile on my face for hours on end.

After our playday, Adam and I were ready for some market magic.  And this week’s Grant Park Farmers Market experience was lovely.  Could not have asked for a nicer day.

Squash is still rocking it out as the MVP of the market.

Hudson, of Oakleaf Mennonite Farm, told me that he’s been taking those squatty squashes (they look like huge patty pan squash), slicing them thick, and grilling them up like burgers.  I also saw someone make sliders from roasted beets this weekend.  Gives a different meaning to the term veggie burger, for sure.

Before collecting our box of goodies from Jackson Lowe, we took in the sites and offerings of the market.

The Spotted Trotter has so many incredible options these days, and John, who works their market table, is passionate, knowledgeable, and eager to share his insights into the world of sausage and salami.

This week, we decided to take home the SWOT.  Again.

You can’t blame me.  It’s the best Italian sausage I’ve ever tasted.

Speaking of best foods I’ve ever tasted…

The Little Tart has absolutely outdone themselves with these double chocolate cookies.  They were oozing with warm, gooey chocolate.  Intensely wonderful.

When we walked up to Prowell’s Pasture, Whit seemed to know exactly what we had in mind.  He offered us arugula,

which we had already put on our menu for the week to accompany our Brinner option- a savory French toast (eggs, milk, cheese, scallions, herbs).

We also snagged their last container of blackberries, since Adam has been dreaming of making a blackberry-nectarine crumble.

The cucumbers of many shapes, colors, and sizes delighted me.

I heart diversity.

These girls made me grin,

and I’m quite sure I need one of those aprons.

Speaking of…

Prairie Seed Dry Goods was showing off a wide variety of aprons, bags, pillows, and cloth napkins.

That woman has a serious eye for patterns and color!  I think any of her products would make a fabulous gift.

Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet’s wild salad mix was looking prettier than ever.

And Le Tre Lune’s spot was loaded with spring goodness, as usual.

They even had vibrant wild flowers.

With market hours dwindling, we made our way back to Jackson Lowe’s table to collect our CSA lot.

Those new potatoes look so inviting…makes you just wanna take a bite.  Like an apple.

Cabbage and kohlrabi,

staples of spring.

We grabbed our loot

and headed on home.  Time to pump up some music and enjoy time with my honey’ in the kitchen.

Since JLVF’s CSA community will enjoy cilantro this week, we decided on a Thai inspired menu.

Roasted shrimp tossed in cilantro lime butter over sauteed leeks and green beans with peanuts and coconut rice.  Yummalicious!  This meal will cause those who have shied away from cilantro in the past (I won’t say haters) to lick their bowls clean.

We chose to infuse jasmine rice with the trademark coconut flavor of Thai food.

Adam rubbed the pot with a bit of coconut oil while I rinsed 1 Cup of rice in a mesh strainer.  We heated our pot to medium high heat, added the rice, a can of coconut milk,

and a pinch of both salt and sugar.  We brought it up to a boil and then reduced heat to low, covered the pot, and allowed the rice to simmer for 12 minutes.  Next, we turned the heat off, but left the covered pot sitting on the hot burner for about ten minutes.  Then, we fluffed the rice with a fork,

moved the pot off the heat and let it hang out, covered, until we were ready to plate.  You may also want to add a couple of tablespoons of raw coconut shavings to your rice while it cooks- be my guest!  I have an aversion to that texture, so I chose to leave it out of mine.

Cilantro butter, or any herb butter, is a breeze to make.  Let your butter sit out to soften for a bit before you try to blend it.  Then, just place a handful of cilantro leaves (about 1/2 a cup) in a small blender or food processor, along with half a stick of butter, 2 cloves of garlic, the zest of one lime, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt.

Whir the ingredients to combine them well, scraping down the sides now and again, until you achieve a homogenous blend.

Taste it and adjust seasoning to your liking.  It should have a bold cilantro punch paired with spice from the garlic and zing from the lime.  Be sure the salt level is there, as this butter will flavor your shrimp.

Boom!  You can make this butter ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re cooking the shrimp.  Or, you can just chill it briefly until the shrimp is cooked- if you’re creating this meal all in one fell swoop.  Any leftover butter will happily live in your fridge for a couple weeks, covered, and it can easily transform a simple ear of corn or a grilled chicken breast into something magical.

Next, the veggies.  Preheat your oven to 400°.

You can choose any combination of vegetables you like, really.  Squash or zucchini would work perfectly.  I just thought these crisp Georgia green beans would be light, crunchy, and bright green.  And they were.  So much.  Here’s what we used:

light coating of coconut oil

3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced lengthwise and then into half moons, washed well, and drained

1 inch hunk ginger, peeled and minced

2 Thai chili peppers (use as many as you like to ramp up the heat), chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, sliced into bite-sized pieces (or you can just snap ’em!)

1/3 Cup or a couple handfuls unsalted peanuts, crushed

handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

couple splashes of low sodium tamari or soy sauce (up to about 1/4 Cup)

We began by placing a little bit of coconut oil into the pan.  I am new to coconut oil, but I am so glad that I bought some!  It has a lower smoking point than olive oil, much lower than peanut oil.  So, you don’t want to use it when cooking over high heat.  Moderate heat, however, allows this oil to lightly perfume the air with coconutty wonder and adds a notable rich silkiness to a dish.

Over medium low heat, add your leeks.

Go ahead and add a pinch of salt here and stir to coat the leeks.  Let them soften, stirring occasionally, while you peel your shrimp.

We have access to Georgia shrimp all the time at the DeKalb Farmers Market, and they are so very tasty.  Peel off your shells and remove the vein that runs down the back of each shrimp.  Rinse with cold water and pat them dry.

Toss the shrimp with a bit of olive oil and season simply with salt and pepper.  Place the shrimp on a sheet pan, use a silpat mat to line the pan if you have one, just to prevent any sticking.  Allow your shrimp to roast for 8 – 12 minutes, depending on size.  Ours took ten minutes to curl into a U shape and become just firm and tender.

Ten minutes is plenty of time to finish up your vegetables.

Add your ginger and peppers to the softened leeks.  Raise your heat to medium and cook for about a minute.  Then, add your garlic to the pan

and stir for about 30 seconds.

Add your green beans (or squash or broccoli or, or, or).  Stir to coat the beans in the flavor pool.

The goal is bright vegetables with their “bite” in tact.  These beans took about 5 or 6 minutes to become crisp-tender over medium heat.  If you let your veggies cook too long, you’ll just have mushiness lacking in vitamins and nutrients.  Look for that vibrant green color and taste one (without burning your taste buds) to be sure it has a nice bounce-back when you bite it.

Next, stir in your peanuts and cilantro.

Add a couple splashes of tamari or soy sauce and stir.  This serves as your salt factor, since we haven’t talked about salt since the leeks first hit the pan.  The tamari will get soaked up quickly.  Give a bean a taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Remove the veggies from the pan.

Once your shrimp is out of the oven, add some of your cilantro butter.

You don’t need to use a ton, since the butter is full of flavor.  Then, toss the shrimp gently to coat it in the cilantro super butter,

and try not to eat them all before you plate.

That’s all, friends.  Scoop some coconut rice into a bowl, top it with a good helping of your green beans, leeks and peanuts, and place the shrimp on top.

Holy moly.  This meal was scrumptious.  Adam and I kept talking at the same time, “Mmm this shrimp is soooo good.   Oh, the rice!!!  Mmmmm these beans are delicious”  The rice was just sweet enough, rich and silky with coconut flavor.  And it had a creaminess to it that prevented me from needing a bunch of sauce.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the bold cilantro, lime, garlic butter bath they had taken didn’t hurt them one iota.  The green beans were so fresh and crisp against the sweetness of the leeks and the spiciness of the Thai chili peppers.  And the peanuts- a perfect textural component- offered nuttiness to round out the dish.

I would do it all over again.  Oh wait- I can!  For lunch!  Hooray!!!

I hope that your week is off to a stupendous start and that you are basking in the glory of late spring fruits, veggies, and herbs.  I’m off to plan for my Monday clients and have a busy day ahead.  Good thing we prepped this amazing pasta salad yesterday.

Loaded with local squash, tomatoes, green bell pepper, and sweet dill tossed with toasted almonds, asiago cheese, and a garlic lemon vinaigrette, my dinner is all ready to go.

Cheers to you having a most wonderful and delicious week.

Happy cooking and eating to you.


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  1. Ashley… just wanted to give you a shout and let you know I check daily for your new posts… what a cool blog you have going on! Seems like you’re doing amazingly… so happy to see that;) I wish I lived closer to you… I’d have you teach me a thing or two in the kitchen!!


    • Hi, Courtney! So glad to hear that you are reading the blog and enjoying it! Thanks so much for letting me know. I really appreciate the feedback! I am definitely enjoying myself and all of the fresh goodies that are so abundant down here. Hope you are well, and I wish you were closer too!


  2. […] start with Ashli’s creations. She uses leeks and Cilantro in her Thai Shrimp Meal, and suggests that you could also use squash or zucchini in place of the green beans. Click the […]


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