During the spring and summer months, we have huge vegetable garden, with my neighbors James, and Essie Mae Grissom, who are also our landlords, and friends, really more like family, now that we’ve been here so long , but it was really like that, right from the beginning. James, 85 has been growing vegetables, since he was big enough to walk, as he puts it, and tells me story, after story, about taking the crops to market, with a Horse Drawn Trailer Full of whatever crop they had harvested, and drove it from here in Gwinnett Co., 40 miles down to Atlanta, where there still exists a Farmers Market to this day. Leaving before daylight and getting home long after dark. Life was very different back then.
      Essie Mae, 90 years old now, and her first husband bought the old farm house I live in now 72yrs ago, after losing her husband, she built a house next door 35 yrs ago, met James, also recently widowed, and they married, and are still there, but Essie had raised all six of her kids here in the old farm house. Most of which she has outlived, so I’ve become like a daughter to her, and she like a Mother to me. Like I always say, everything happens for a reason. This recipe was born of the garden, that has brought us all so close, which makes it all that much better, as I’m using everything from this years harvest, which I’ve either canned, or frozen, thanks to Essie Mae’s teaching me how to can, and preserve, and freeze things “Propper”, as she says. The Shrimp, and Spices, and Rice are the only things I need from the store. Everything else came from the earth outside my back door.

So, in a heavy bottomed soup pot add:
1/4 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Onion
1/2 cup Celery
1/2 cup sweet or hot banana peppers, they are best when they’ve turned red or at least bright yellow
Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes over med heat
1/3 cup flour and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes
3 cups chicken or fish stock
3 cups tomato puree 
3 TBLS. Pressed Garlic
1 tsp or to taste Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning
Cook for 10 minutes on simmer/low boil,  stirring occasionally, flour sticks, I’m just sayin’….
Add :
1 1/2 lb Okra sliced 1/2 inch thick
Cook for about 10 more minutes
1 1/2 lb Peeled and deveined Medium Shrimp
cook until Shrimp turns pink, about 4 minutes
Sprinkle with Filé Powder, stir well
turn off and leave covered for a minute or two.
Serve with Old Fashoined Sticky White Rice (Short Grain is all that means, it gets sticky all by itself)
2 cup rice, to 4 cups water, depending on how much you want to make, just double up
I always put out more Filé Powder and Cayenne Pepper, for people to add to their own taste.
Cause I like it hot, hot, hot!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2009