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Delta Delicious with Martha Foose May is time to play: Fettuccini, cheesecake bars easy fixes

By Martha Foose

Delta Delicious with Martha Foose May is time to play: Fettuccini, cheesecake bars easy fixes

May brings late sunsets and impromptu get-togethers.
These two recipes come together with little fuss.


Spinach fettuccini with shrimp and spring vegetables

“You have to pay to play,” they say. For convenience’s sake I’ll splurge on the peeled, deveined shrimp from time to time. Generally, I buy head-on, fresh shrimp. But, really, a bag ready to go in the freezer is hard to beat when you look up and it’s already 7 p.m. This basic method works with a world of substitutions for the vegetables. Have fun with making it your own special mix of spring’s first finds. 

1    pound spinach fettuccini (cooked according to package directions)
1    pound large, peeled, deveined shrimp
Salt and pepper
4    tablespoons butter, divided
4    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (plus more for drizzling)
1    yellow squash cut in matchsticks
1    cup fresh or frozen English peas
1/2    cup fresh or frozen corn
2    tablespoons finely diced red onion
2    cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2    cup dry white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2    tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
2    tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves
1/4    cup grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the shrimp. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and set aside. 

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the squash, peas, corn, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook stirring often until the vegetables are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. When the butter has melted, add the shrimp to the pan and cook until they just begin to turn pink. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil, along with the parsley, oregano, and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.



Blueberry toaster-oven cheesecake bars

The fact that these luscious blueberry bars bake up in the toaster oven and don’t heat up the whole kitchen makes them tops for summer treats around my place. A double crust makes them an easy choice for picnics and ball field snacks. Beating the eggs just until combined with the cheese mixture yields the smoothest texture with no tunnels or cracking. This is also wonderful made with crushed gingersnaps and diced peaches or plums. Makes 16 small bars. 

1     cup graham cracker crumbs, divided
2     tablespoons plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1     teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel, divided
1/4    cup butter, melted
2     packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2    cup granulated sugar
1/4    cup fresh lemon juice
1/8    teaspoon almond extract
2     tablespoons grated lemon peel
2     eggs
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1     cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2    cup all-purpose flour
1/3    cup butter, softened 

Spray or butter an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, toss together ¾ cup of the crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon peel. Stir in ¼ cup melted butter. Press onto the bottom of the baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes or until beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and ½ cup of the sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until fluffy. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons lemon peel. Beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition just until well combined. Spread over warm crust.
Sprinkle with blueberries.

In small bowl stir together the brown sugar, flour and remaining ¼ cup crumbs. Add the 1/3 cup softened butter and mix with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until topping is browned and filling is puffed and the edges and almost set. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Carefully cut into squares.


About the author

Martha Hall Foose, the author of “Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook,” won the James Beard Award for American Cooking. Her latest collaboration is “A Good Meal is Hard to Find: Storied Recipes from the Deep South” with Amy C. Evans. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son. She is a member of Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association. 

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