The no-meat southerner?
It’s not a contradiction. Chicken and waffles, bacon, boudain and other things we are proud of can be simulated and modernized and still demonstrate how creative we southern cooks are. Why? Don’t waste time asking why some people don’t eat meat. Just hurry up and get to a table prepared with recipes from Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence.
Artichoke hearts and succotash over smoked cheddar grits, crispy eggplant sandwiches and roasted garlic and ricotta spread and okra fritters with Creole mustard sauce should convince you to give meatless a chance. You sure won’t go hungry. These creators of The Chubby Vegetarian Blog have collected the recipes in “The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table.”
We’re all proud of our black-eyed peas, which some Yankees once considered fit only for cattle. Look what we can do with them:
Hoppin’ John Black-Eyed Pea Butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 ½ cups prepared black-eyed peas (or one can, drained)
½ teaspoon hot sauce
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon tahini
½ teaspoon hickory-smoked sea salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
IN a medium pan over medium-low heat add hteolive oil, garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Add the contents of the pan to the work bowl of your food processor along with the black-eyed peas, hot sauce, lemon juice, tahini, hickory-smoked sea salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Serve with toasted baguette or pita chips.
Red, white and blue tortilla chips will dress up your patriotic party with delicious flair. I have tried and enjoyed Liberty Chips from RW Garcia, a family owned and operated artisan tortilla chip maker based in San Jose, California. My future son-in-law ate all the white and red chips first, leaving blue chips in a green glass dish. The presentation was still beautiful. Try these for your Fourth of July celebration and guests will take note. They have that thick, natural flavor, through stone ground, verified non-GMO corn. These chips contain no trans fats, additives or preservatives and are certified gluten free. Find them at Whole Foods and crunch on, for America.
High on Thai
Mellow Mushroom is a chain pizza place, but that doesn’t take away any of its charm. There’s a wall of beer bottles embedded in concrete. How’s that for artistic? High on Thai is a limited edition menu that includes the Thai Dye pizza: Olive oil and garlic base, all natural grilled curry chicken, mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, onions. Topped with fresh basil, cucumbers and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce.
I can’t imagine in my youth that I’d have ever thought cucumbers were good on pizza. I would have been wrong. This wasn’t mellow to me, it charged me up!