Southern cooking

Vidalia Onion Stir-fry Sauce

August 28, 2014
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While I was on vacation, I discovered a delicious stir-fry sauce that blends the sweetness of Vidalia onions from Georgia with Asian ginger. It’s a tantalizing fusion of Southern and Asian flavors, and my version doesn’t contain any sugar or thickeners.

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Barbecue Black-Eyed Pea Burgers

June 5, 2014
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Move over, African-Inspired Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers! I have a new favorite veggie burger, and it’s ridiculously easy to make. It was inspired by a burger at our local vegetarian restaurant called the “Good Burger,” a black-eyed pea burger that lives up to its name. When a local newspaper recently printed the recipe […]

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Black-eyed Pea Chili with Quinoa and Corn

January 1, 2014
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Happy New Year! In my newsletter this week, I asked my subscribers what they would rather have, a new semi-healthy dessert recipe or a new black-eyed pea recipe. I received a handful of replies, and all but one of them voted for the black-eyed pea dish (the other wanted both!) Well, I didn’t have time […]

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Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding

November 20, 2013
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Well, it’s that time of year again, the time when I throw all caution to the wind and offer you something a little richer, a little more decadent, a little more sinfully delicious than my usual fare. I consider Thanksgiving to be a time to relax and enjoy cooking for and eating with family and […]

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Mushroom and Tempeh Gumbo

November 15, 2013
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Thanksgiving is about 2 weeks away, so I thought it was about time I posted an appropriate recipe. To me, this is “Thanksgiving Gumbo” because it contains mushrooms, sage, and thyme, all flavors that I associate with this time of year. Though it’s based on the Louisiana trinity of onion, peppers, and celery and it […]

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Sausage-Flavored Breakfast Beans and Grits

October 9, 2013
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In my quest to eat breakfast more regularly, I’ve discovered two things about myself: fruit-heavy breakfasts don’t really satisfy me and carb-heavy breakfasts just make me hungry for lunch earlier. Protein is a different story. Tofu omelets and scrambles fill me up and satisfy my hunger for a much longer time than oatmeal or smoothies, […]

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Pimento Cheese-Style Hummus

June 14, 2013
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Years ago, I was making red pepper hummus at my parents’ house when my mother asked for a taste. “Hmmm,” she said. “It’s sort of like pimento cheese.” Now, I don’t know if that was a good thing to her or not; we’d never had pimento cheese in the house when I was growing up, […]

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The Jackson Bowl with Vegan Comeback Sauce

June 3, 2013
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What makes a dish a local specialty? I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over that question since I returned home from a hectic, nerve-wracking (to this introvert), and ultimately exhilarating trip to Portland and Vida Vegan Con last week. (Big confession: I took almost no photos. See the end of this post for links […]

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Healthy Hash Brown Casserole

February 7, 2013
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I wish I had a cute story behind this not-so-cute dish, but the truth is that I saw a hash brown casserole recipe online and wanted to fat-free veganize it. So I did. I threw out all the butter, the cheese, the sour cream, the cream of chicken-parts soup, as well as the corn flakes […]

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Vegan Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing

November 19, 2012
Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing

I recently realized that I’ve never posted the one dish that we had every Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was growing up–Cornbread Dressing. That’s mainly because I’ve always counted on my mother to make it. Even after I became vegetarian, my mother would set aside part of the dressing before she added the giblets or […]

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Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

September 24, 2012
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Black-eyed peas have such a distinctive flavor that they may seem like an odd base for hummus, but I was so intrigued by a recipe for Black-Eyed Pea Hummus in our local paper that I decided to give it a whirl. I totally ignored the recipe, of course (it contained 2 cups of olive oil […]

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No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Pie

August 20, 2012
No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Pie

My mother’s strawberry pie is the one dish I remember from my childhood with so much love that I’ve never tried to veganize it for fear of messing it up. The recipe is simple–spread a layer of sweetened cream cheese in a pie crust and pour over it a layer of strawberries in a cornstarch […]

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Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Etoufee

February 20, 2012
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I’m writing this from a hotel on St. Charles Avenue after a night of revelry in the streets of New Orleans. If you’ve never been to Mardi Gras, you might assume that the partying is confined to Fat Tuesday itself, but Mardi Gras day is just the culmination of all the parties and parades that […]

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Homestyle Green Beans and Potatoes

July 18, 2011
Homestyle Green Beans and Potatoes

I know that after my recent talk about all the San Francisco restaurants where we dined on our vacation, some of you expected me to come back with ideas for fancy, cutting-edge dishes. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but here I am with something so un-trendy, so uncool, that most bloggers would be afraid to […]

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Watermelon Rind Preserves

June 2, 2011
Watermelon Rind Preserves

Last weekend, E and I took a train down to Louisiana for a quick, two-night visit to my parents’ house in the country. We were eating a surprisingly sweet watermelon for lunch on Saturday when my father noticed it had something he hadn’t seen in a long time: a thick rind. It seems that watermelons […]

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Five-Year Anniversary and New Southern Greens Recipe

January 9, 2011
5 Years and Counting

On this day in 2006, I decided to start a blog.  At the time, I barely new what a blog was, but it seemed like a way to personalize my website, so I decided to give it a try.  I had no idea that simply recording what I was cooking would very quickly evolve into […]

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New Orleans’ Style White Beans

December 28, 2010
New Orleans' Style White Beans

Come on, tell me you’re tired of rich holiday food and are ready to settle down to some healthy–even homely–fare.  I know I am.  I never thought there could be such a thing as too much dessert, but after stuffing myself on pumpkin cheesecake, cherry-chocolate mousse pie, and the downright obscene rum- and margarine-soaked bread […]

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Pumpkin, Squash, or Cushaw Bake

October 22, 2010
Pumpkin or Cushaw Bake

One Sunday a month throughout my childhood, my family would attend Family Night Supper at our church.  It was a time of community, of fellowship…and of competition.  Because Family Night Supper was a potluck dinner, the ladies of the church showed off their cooking skills by bringing their signature dishes–their congealed chicken salads, artichoke dips, […]

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Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice

April 1, 2010
Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice

I have a real admiration for collards and other greens because they are survivors. Tomatoes, eggplants, and other warm-weather vegetables are delicious, of course, but they have it easy, basking in the sun all day and not being expected to withstand repeated freezes. And while Mississippi isn’t exactly known for its cold weather, this year, […]

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Ridiculously Easy Southern Succotash Stew

March 22, 2010
Ridiculously Easy Southern Succotash Stew

From a nutrition standpoint, I’ve never felt bad about using frozen vegetables; I’ve always believed (and new studies back me up) that vegetables that are frozen just after harvest actually retain more nutrients than fresh vegetables that have been shipped long distances. In the winter months, when the only fresh, local produce I can get […]

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Creamy Creole Eggplant Casserole

December 28, 2009
Creamy Creole Eggplant Casserole

There are certain recipes that fall into a category I call “Louisiana Church Potluck Dishes.” These are dishes that I grew up eating regularly because they were staples at the monthly “Family Night Suppers” at the church of my youth. I remember sampling delicacies like baked cushaw, mirliton supreme, and eggplant casserole without knowing what […]

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Sweet Potato, Okra, and Chickpea Gumbo

September 29, 2009
Sweet Potato, Okra, and Chickpea Gumbo

With okra, as with most things in life, size does matter. When you’re talking okra pods, smaller is better—tender and tasty. Let them grow too big and they become tough and woody. However, when it comes to the plants themselves, bigger is definitely better. After a summer of more garden failures than I care to […]

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Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes

August 14, 2009
Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes

Summer is the season when I feel the most Southern. Delicacies that I can find only at farm stands and farmers’ markets a few months out of the year–juicy peaches, ripe tomatoes, tender summer squash, sweet watermelon, and fresh lima beans and field peas–bring back memories of the “vegetable meals” my mother made when I […]

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Ridiculously Easy Roasted Yellow Squash and Onions

August 10, 2009
Ridiculously Easy Roasted Yellow Squash and Onions

When I was growing up, my mother probably made some variant of this dish and I probably ate it, dutifully and without really tasting it. That all changed a couple of years ago when I sat down to eat the Southern-style meal my mom prepared during one of my brief visits. I took the first […]

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Strawberry Snack Cake

March 19, 2009
Strawberrry Snack Cake

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Sherry Lucas, the food writer for our local newspaper, who asked if I’d like to be the subject of an article. Though naturally camera-shy (as well as people-shy), I agreed, and when she suggested that I cook a dish using something seasonal, my very first thought […]

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Butter Bean Soup with Portabellas and Wild Rice

December 20, 2008
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In the depths of winter weather–or as deep as it gets in these parts–often the only thing standing between me and acute culinary boredom is the freezer. Sure, pumpkins and winter squash are exciting at first, but it doesn’t take long before summer produce envy sets in and I start pining for the juicy tomatoes […]

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Apple-Pumpkin Delight

November 11, 2008
Apple-Pumpkin Delight

What if you love pie but don’t like crust? Strange as it sounds to me, I have a daughter who doesn’t like crust–on bread, on pizza, or on pie. Her aversion is not a big deal because she can always eat around it, but since I have my own reasons for avoiding pie crust, I […]

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Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup

May 15, 2008
Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup

I’ve had a package of pre-washed, pre-chopped collard greens in the fridge for a few days, and I was hoping to do something different with them. But as time went on and no new recipes came to mind, I started to get afraid that they’d go bad; at the very least, they were losing nutrients […]

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Creole Black-eyed Peas

January 8, 2008
Creole Black-eyed Peas

Last year, a cold made me feel so miserable that I didn’t even think of having my traditional New Year’s black-eyed peas until a few days into the new year. This year I was determined to have them on New Year’s Day, despite the fact that a sizzling, burning short in our breaker box had […]

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Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

September 14, 2007

What can I say? Ever since I saw KathyF’s Black Bean and Rice Cakes with Chipotle Remoulade and Roasted Corn Salsa I’ve been craving that remoulade sauce, lusting after the whole gorgeous dish, really. At the same time, I’ve had it in mind to create a version of these black-eyed pea cakes that I once […]

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Garden Gumbo

August 12, 2007
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Even the best cooks can’t work their magic without good ingredients. I like to think I know my way around a kitchen, but I can say with certainty that without fresh ingredients, my cooking would be pretty blah. In the summer, cooking becomes very simple for me: walk outside, see what’s ripe, and combine it […]

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Peach Upside-Down Cake

August 7, 2007
Peach Upside-Down Cake

No long introduction to this recipe, folks. I could talk about how it’s peach season and the sweetest, juiciest, not-quite-local peaches come from Chilton County, Alabama. Or I could travel down memory lane and plague you with childhood stories of how I used to gorge on peaches in my family’s orchard until the fuzz burned […]

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Confetti Cornbread

July 26, 2007
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During the summer, one of my most frequent meals is “fresh from the farmers’ market”: fresh peas, some greens, and cornbread. By “peas” I mean one of the many varieties of field peas available here in the South in the spring and summer, such as blackeyed peas, lady cream peas, pink-eye purple hull peas, and […]

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Southern-Style Banana Pudding

May 8, 2007
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A few weeks ago, E. and I had lunch together at a local restaurant that serves “Southern Style” food. At the end of the meal, E. spied the dessert cart, which contained, among other tempting dishes, banana pudding. E. had never seen banana pudding layered between vanilla wafers before, but I told her that my […]

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Gumbo z’Herbes with Cajun Tempeh Bacon

February 28, 2007
Gumbo Z'herbes with Tempeh Bacon

Most people outside of my home state have never had this “Greens Gumbo,” but it’s an authentic Louisiana dish. Traditionally, it was made without meat to serve during Lent, but with Louisianians being the great seafood and meat lovers they are, ham and seafood eventually made their way into this naturally vegetarian soup. Well, now […]

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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

December 11, 2006
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping

I’m going to be honest with you and admit that I’m not a big fan of holidays. Stressing over some arbitrary date on the calendar–to cook certain foods, travel long distances, buy token gifts, and so on–has never been my idea of fun. For a long time, I felt the same way about the traditional […]

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Quick and Delicious Collards

November 28, 2006
Quick Collards

Over the holiday, we ate more unhealthy restaurant food than I care to admit, so when we got home, I was ready for a little good home-cooking. Since I didn’t have the energy to make anything fancy, I thought I’d keep it simple and unblogworthy. I had some organic collards that I’d bought before we […]

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Fresh Peas and Corn Cakes

October 5, 2006
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It’s been a crazy, hectic week here. Our 9-year-old E. is in an opera! She and several of the students from her school are part of the children’s chorus in a local opera production, which will (finally) be performed this weekend. Between driving her to and from rehearsals and staying up late to make sure […]

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South Carolina Golden Mustard Barbecue Sauce

August 22, 2006
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When I moved to South Carolina, I was surprised to discover that the barbecue there was yellow instead of red. Tangy and sweet, mustard-based barbecue sauce was very popular, but I never sampled the barbecued pork that the natives raved about because I became vegetarian shortly after moving there. Fortunately, the bottled sauce was available […]

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Black-eyed Pea Gumbo

August 8, 2006
Blackeyed-Pea Gumbo

Yesterday was the first day of school, and I don’t know who was more excited, my daughter or me. She’s in a new school and riding the bus for the first time, and, best of all, her best friend is in her class. She was so eager to start that yesterday she woke up at […]

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Stuffed Eggplants and Not-So-Dirty Rice

August 2, 2006
Stuffed Eggplants

I bought some baby eggplants last week and spent several days agonizing over what to do with them. I wanted to keep them whole because to me it totally defeats the point of having little eggplants if you chop them up into pieces that could be any old eggplant. If you’re not familiar with baby […]

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Okara "Crab" Cakes

July 17, 2006
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If you make your own soymilk, you know what okara is–it’s the soy pulp that’s left after all the “milk” is strained out. And if you’ve been throwing it out, you need to stop that right now because it’s very valuable stuff: It has almost as much protein as tofu but has 32 times as […]

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Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Cajun White Beans

July 13, 2006
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You would have thought I’d never seen fresh vegetables. My husband wanted to shop as men do: Get in, get something, and get out. But I dragged him from stall to stall at the farmer’s market, comparing the quality of the tomatoes and zucchini, sighing in disappointment that I’d gotten there too late to get […]

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Mirliton and White Bean Stew

March 22, 2006
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One of my favorite Louisiana ingredients is mirliton. If the name doesn’t sound familiar to you, perhaps you’ll recognize it as chayote, vegetable pear, chouchou, choko, vilati vanga, or one of the other many names it goes by. It’s a little hard to describe the flavor and texture because it really isn’t like anything else. […]

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Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

March 12, 2006
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A great okra dish starts with choosing okra that is fresh and young. Test it by bending the tip back. If it snaps off, the okra is fresh. If it doesn’t, don’t buy it. This is a fast, easy way to cook okra that preserves the fresh taste by not over-cooking it. The okra is […]

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Tofu Jambalaya

March 11, 2006
Tofu Jambalaya

I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days, but before I go, I’d like to share with you a couple of recipes from my native state, Louisiana. First up is a somewhat non-traditional jambalaya, based on a recipe for Chicken Jambalaya that I used to love in my omnivore days. It […]

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Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

February 25, 2006
Real Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

It’s Mardi Gras time again! I’ve been craving red beans and rice ever since last weekend, when my husband and daughter left me alone for some much needed quiet time while they went back to New Orleans for the first parades. They came home with loads of beads, doubloons, stuffed animals, and MORE beads, and […]

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Cajun 15-Bean Soup

January 26, 2006
Cajun 15-Bean Soup

Last night, along with the collard greens, I served Cajun 15-Bean Soup. I made it a little differently than my usual recipe, so here’s my updated version. (The old version used Gimme Lean sausage, so if you’re into fake meats, you might want to check it out on the FFV website.

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Down-home Southern Food

January 16, 2006
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Every now and then I get back to my Southern roots and prepare a meal of simple vegetables. This is the kind of meal I grew up eating regularly. Back then, my siblings and I were always dismayed when my mother prepared a “meal of vegetables,” but I now appreciate all the fresh produce my […]

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