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Saturday, April 30, 2005

That dawg don't hunt 

The feeling of being a Southerner is best described by knowing that, in your heart, you understand this story... and having an uncle by marriage whose name is Pap.

My husband and I vacationed in Louisiana this past summer and we were pleasantly surprised to find that contrary to our expectations, we're both vegetarians; there was plenty of great food to enjoy, especially once we had escaped the not so authentic regions of New Orleans proper. We rented a car and drove east toward Baton Rouge along the "airline" which parallels much of historic river road. This area is rich with old plantation sites and great, great authentic Cajun and Creolé cooking.

We took many side trips along the way just to delight in finding local food stops. One such trip is memorable above all others because it was so unlikely. I don't remember the exit exactly but it led us through several miles of back road surrounded by swamp occasionally clearing into small farms or towns. Eventually we came to a cross road that intersected near a bridge. There is a landing by the river there with a number of buildings; a tackle and bait shop, a gas station and a small diner by the wonderful name "That Dog Don't Hunt" Needless to say we couldn't resist, besides it was past lunch time and we weren't in any hurry at all. The dirt parking lot was fairly full, always a good sign and virtually every license plate was local - I'm funny, I notice stuff like that.

We parked and entered the ramshackle single story building which had large windows painted with pictures of 'gators', fish and busy men in boats chasing both. I was set to order ice tea and dessert, despairing of finding anything here that did not feature at the very least possum and venison. My husband was busy checking out the post cards and a very pleasant woman who called me 'cher' - I liked that - ushered me to a clean little table covered in a gingham oilcloth with fresh flowers in a vase and a little bottle of 'Crystal' hot sauce. She brought water with lemon and two menus. While I waited for my husband I glanced through the two-page bill of fare and was dumbfounded: at least half the items were designated 'Vegetarian'. There was Vegetarian Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice, Pea Soup; Smothered Mushrooms in Creolé Gravy, the list was amazing. To be sure there was plenty of meat and fish on the menu as well but the list of vegetarian dinners just knocked me out.

By that time my husband had found our table and he to was amazed by what he was reading. We quickly selected our lunches and like two kids in a candy shop could not wait for the waitress to return.

When she did we both pounced on her imploring her to explain why such a plenitude of vegetarian selections on the menu. She quickly explained that the owners, it turned out that she was one, were both born and raised in the area and were fourth generation Cajun. They wanted a restaurant that reflected their heritage and since that was local they used any and all local ingredients. The recipes were all original and handed down through their families. Barbara, that was her name, told us that while there was always plenty of fish and game to meet their needs they also had a great tradition of vegetable garden and wild herb additions to their table. As for the name of the restaurant well, that came naturally. It seems that Barbara's granddaddy had owned and operated the ferry at this landing before the bridge was built. He used to augment the family farm income by transporting travelers and livestock across the river accompanied by an old Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Fish… because that's what he did. He would spend all day chasing fish in the slow moving river while his buddy the barge captain ferried his passengers to and fro. The old man took a lot of ribbing about the dog from his peers who thought it was awful peculiar that such a fine big dog didn't prefer chasing rabbit or pointing deer in the swamp, all the old man would reply is, "That dog don't hunt."

When Barbara finished we were left to puzzle whether we had been victims of a tall tale designed to ward off curious patrons or perhaps a story to spark the imagination and stimulate an appetite for more. We ordered our lunch and ate with more relish than I can remember in many years.


If you are the least bit curious "This Dawg" is looking for a home and would be a genuine Southern Comfort. Contact Lost Angels Animal Rescue.org


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Monday, April 18, 2005

Block party: What it means to be Southern 

Southern Blogs Ring, the premier source on Southern culture, manner, missive and nostalgia will be holding a group blog to celebrate being alive, southern and free all at the same time.

You’ll are cordially invited Saturday April 30th to attend our first neighborhood cotillion and brunch.

The menu will be a light repast of Southern classics and down home cooked tales served up with Southern style and taste by your hosts:

· Whacky Southern Housewife
· The World According to Tish
· Garden Stuff
· The Gardens Gift
· The Which Blair Project
· Florida Gardening
· A Southern Belle’s Musings
· An American Housewife
· Southern Porch
· The Green Cutting Board
· Animal Broadcast Network
· Romantic Ramblings
· The Naked Vegetarian

Guests will be offered words, photographs, entertainment and some surprises, to be sure. So plan to attend and spend some time with us in the South.


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Broccoli and pepper au gratin 


1 large head fresh broccoli*
2 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium red bell pepper cut into large pieces
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp mushroom bouillon
3 Tbls flour
2 Tbls vegetable oil
3/4 C cold water
1/3 C each vegetarian: cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey jack, Romano cheese
sea salt, oregano, basil and parsley to taste


Cut broccoli florets and place in a steamer along with red bell pepper for 10 minutes.

Prepare a roux by heating vegetable oil in a skillet and adding flour, stir until a light brown past is formed. Add cold water and bouillon paste. Stir until the roux smoothes and thickens. Add the mushroom slices and remove from heat.

Place the steamed broccoli and pepper in an oven ready casserole, add the roux. Top with 4 cheeses, salt and herbs. Cook covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

serves 2


*One half cup cooked broccoli contains the following nutrients as well as many other trace nutrients and phytochemicals.

Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup cooked fresh broccoli)

Calories 23
Dietary fiber 2.4 grams
Protein 2.3 grams
Carbohydrates 4.3 mg
Beta carotene
Vitamin C 49 mg
Folic Acid 53.3 nanograms
Calcium 89 mg
Iron 0.9 mg

source: University of Illinois Extension Service


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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Spaghetti pie 

If you're like us and always wind up with left over pasta, here's a great next day serve up that's bound to be as good or better than the original.


Left over spaghetti, any amount
Left over vegan spaghetti sauce, any amount
1/2 cup chopped fresh green pepper
4 ounces chopped button mushrooms
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 ripe tomato, chopped
2 ounces thin sliced soy salami
some garlic
some chopped olives
2 tsp olive oil
2 ounces soy Mozzarella
4 Tbls soy Romano


Sauté the green pepper, onion, tomato, mushrooms and garlic in a dry sauce pan until the flavors blend, set aside.

Place the left over spaghetti in an oven proof fry pan. Top with left over sauce and set-aside sauteed vegetables. Garnish with olive oil, olives, salami and 2 cheeses. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for about 40 minutes.

Allow the baked pie to cool slightly and slice with a pizza cutter.

serves 2-4


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Monday, April 04, 2005

Fried green tomatoes 

Our street woke up this morning to this very charming reminder that "Earth Day" is just around the corner - April 22 - and oh, by the way, on our neighbor's drive, compliments of his young daughter Annette.


4 large green tomatoes
2 cups plain white corn meal
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning mix
Pinch of black pepper


Wash the tomatoes and pat dry. Cut tomatoes in 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dip each slice in corn meal seasoned with Creole spice and lay aside on waxed paper. Heat oil. Fry tomato slices until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with tomato remoulade and vegan soy feta. Serve hot.

serves 4


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Friday, April 01, 2005


Living and working in Florida has its rewards. The ocean, sand, sunsets and tart, native key limes. To help celebrate Earth Day and Soy Month in April this vegetarian soy redux of a splendid Southern classic, Key Lime Pie.


Graham cracker crust:
1-1/4 Cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbls soft vegan soy spread

12 ounces firm tofu
1/3 C powdered sugar
1/4 C Key lime juice
zest of 1 large lime

4 ounces firm tofu
2 Tbls raw sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Crush the graham crackers in a bag until they are a course texture. In a bowl thoroughly combine cracker crumbs and soft soy spread. Line a 9" pie pan with the graham cracker mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Puree 12 ounces of firm tofu in a food processor until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the key lime juice and 1/3 C powdered sugar. Continue to blend until smooth and pour into chilled pie crust. Garnish with lime zest and refrigerate for 2 hours, overnight is better.

Puree 4 ounces of tofu. Add raw sugar, vanilla and continue to blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Garnish the pie with whipped soy cream and serve.

serves 6-8

*deSunserts \di-'Sun-'zerts\ n [FL: A course of pure delight. Any form or portion of dessert pie having its origin in the Sun or tropics. Little things that are tart and sweet both at the same time and go bump in the night.


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