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Today is May 10

The American Revolution was an unexpected victory for the colonists. They won an immense land with a myriad of perks and perils, but the only way to traverse its complex vastness was to join a wagon train. It was a complicated and difficult crossing that many did not survive.
Then, on May 10, 1869, everything changed; two railroads completed the task of laying the tracks from “sea to shining sea”. The presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met at Promontory, Utah to drive the last spike into the rails of the nation’s first transcontinental railway.
Seven years earlier, land grants and loans from Congress had equipped them with the fiscal flexibility to build, but according to History.com, “In their eagerness for land, the two lines built right past each other, and the final meeting place had to be renegotiated.”
To learn more about how the West was subdued, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Full Steam Ahead: The Race to Build a Transcontinental Railroad by Rhoda Blumberg.
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‘National Shrimp Day

Boiled Shrimp

Ingredients:

4 cups ground crab boil

1 cup liquid boil

1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce

1 pound salt

1 onion

Cut in half 2 garlic heads, cut in half 2 lemons, cut in sixths 10 new potatoes 6 ears sweet corn, cut in half 4 gallons water 10 pounds fresh Louisiana shrimp, heads on. The size of the shrimp will vary according to personal preference; we recommend at least a 26-30 count.

Directions:

Bring water to a boil and add all seasonings, the onion, garlic, and lemons, except the salt. Flush shrimp with tap water until water runs clear and the eyes of the shrimp grow in size, about 5 minutes.* When water comes to a boil, add the potatoes, cook 10 minutes, and then add the ears of corn and the shrimp. Bring the water back to a boil and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the shrimp boil, remove the onion from the water, and cut in sixths and return to the water. Add 3/4 pound of the salt and rest for 10 minutes. Taste 1 of the shrimp to determine whether the additional 1/4 pound of salt is needed. Let the shrimp rest in the boil for an additional 20 minutes. Chef’s Note: This step is very important as it will aid in the peeling of the shrimp. It’s an old shrimper’s trick!

For more recipes visit https://www.louisianaseafood.com/recipes.

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National Small Business Day

Did you know?

Supporting local businesses has some surprising benefits that can greatly improve life for entrepreneurs and the communities they call home. Large corporations may find it impractical to open up shop in some small towns, villages and rural areas, feeling that the cost of opening and maintaining the business might not be justifiable with such a small potential customer base. In such instances, small businesses offer an invaluable service to their communities, providing readily accessible goods to residents might not be able to or simply don’t want to drive long distances to purchase items from the nearest retail center. Small businesses also provide employment opportunities to local residents, which can be especially valuable in communities where jobs are few and far between. Supporting small businesses also can help make communities safer and more stable. When small businesses thrive, they pay more in local taxes, and that increased tax revenue is then used by local governments to fund local schools, police forces and fire departments

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World Cocktail Week

Perhaps nothing is more relaxing on a warm summer night than sipping a cocktail as the sun sets. Some cocktails, such as the following recipe for “Blueberry Crush” from Susan Elia MacNeal’s “Infused: 100+ Recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails” (Chronicle Books), even evoke the twilight hours of summertime with their unique look.

Blueberry Crush

Serves 1

4 or 5 ice cubes

2 blackberries

2 blueberries

2 raspberries

3 ounces Blueberry Vodka (see below)

Dash of lime juice

1 cup cracked ice

1/2 cup sparkling water or club soda (optional)

Place the ice cubes in a chilled old-fashioned glass. Place the berries in a small bowl and crush with a fork. Add to a shaker with the vodka, lime juice and cracked ice. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds, then strain over the ice cubes. For a lighter version of the drink, add the sparkling water.

Blueberry Vodka

1 750-ml. bottle of vodka

1 quart fresh blueberries

1/4 to 1 cup Sugar Syrup (optional; see below)

Decant the vodka into a clean 2-quart glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Soak the original bottle to remove the label. Let dry.

If using frozen berries, allow them to thaw. Place the fresh or thawed frozen berries in a bowl, crush with a fork and add to the vodka. Allow the vodka to infuse away from direct sunlight and intense heat for 3 months. Shake the container a few times each week.

When you’re satisfied with the intensity of flavor, strain the liqueur through a metal sieve into a bowl. Discard the berries. Add the sugar syrup to taste, if desired.

Using a funnel, pour the liqueur into the original bottle (or another container). Label with the name of liqueur and the date. Age for 1 month away from light and heat.

Sugar Syrup

1 cup water

2 cups granulated sugar

Put the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Bring the water to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Select a clean container that will hold at least 11/2 cups. Using a funnel, pour the sugar syrup into the container, seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.