Loaded Baked Potato with Shiitake Bacon

Loaded Baked Potato with Shiitake Bacon

Shiitake bacon is not bacon, let’s get that straightened out from the top. Shiitake bacon is not pork. It is not meat. It is not fatty, salty, and smoked. (So much for telling the reader what it is, not what it is not.)  It is however crispy, chewy, intensely flavored, and can be smoky-flavored! Making shiitake bacon is truly one of my favorite plant-based culinary techniques. Read on for How to Make Shiitake Bacon — and a darn good Baked Potato. (more…)

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Vegetarian Parmesan Broth Collard Greens

 

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Collard greens are as much a cornerstone of Southern cooking as biscuits and gravy. And, the use of the ingredient has evolved like the cuisine. Collard green kimchi, collard green chiffonade, wood-fired dehydrated collard greens, and collard green patra are now part of the Southern culinary lexicon alongside pot likker and sidemeat. However, in much of the country, collards are thought to be prepared one way: drowning in pork fat and cooked beyond recognition into a form of Army green pabulum. Read on to learn how to prepare an umami-packed, point friendly vegetarian collard green recipe perfect for these cold winter days.

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Fried & Griddled Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes are as deeply rooted in Southern culture as a field of kudzu. I have a confession. I am not a huge fan of Fried Green Tomatoes, the vegetable. (I love the movie!) Fried Green Tomatoes served piping hot and fresh out of the skillet can be pretty good. But, usually, sadly they always seem to be soggy, greasy, and dull, best suited as a delivery device for rémoulade (old school) or goat cheese (new school). Ha! Are you ready to take away my “Southerner” card? Well, read on…you won’t believe it. (more…)

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Farmer’s Market Summer Tomatoes

Summer Vegetable Stuffed Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes are only ever good in summer. There is nothing as wonderful as the full, rich, winey, flavor of a vine ripe tomato – as there is nothing as disappointing as the dull, insipid, lifeless flavor of a cold storage tomato shipped from halfway around the world. I don’t eat those and strongly suggest that you don’t either. So, when it’s tomato season, I heartily endorse eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible. (more…)

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Plant Forward BBQ: Sweet Heat Pulled Butternut Squash

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Wait, what? I can hear folks now. Vegetarian BBQ? Has she lost her mind? Yes! Well, it’s not a pit-cooked pig, that’s for sure, but hear me out. Barbecue is a solemn and serious business. There is perhaps nothing in the realm of Southern food that stirs deeper emotions. It’s veritably a religion in the South — and so is Southern hospitality. At my table, everyone is welcome and we need to include vegans and vegetarians, too! (more…)

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How to Plan the Safe and Perfect Picnic

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As a kid, my Southern summers were spent fishing at our family pond and swimming in the ocean, pool, or lake and catching fireflies with my sister after dark. And, more than anything, summer meant dining outside. On the weekends, a mixture of friends and family would get together with coolers and wooden picnic baskets, laden with food. This year picnics are certain to be different, so check out my tips on how to plan a safe and perfect outing. (more…)

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Butternut Squash and Ground Turkey Gratin

 

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Butternut Squash is one of my favorite winter vegetables. I treat them as a multi-purpose vegetable “roast.”  It’s actually rare that I cook an entire one at once or halved. Instead, I separate the long thick end of the squash where it meets the spherical orb into two pieces. The longer neck is cooked for one meal or dish and the seed end is cooked for another.

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Cooking with Virginia: How to Cook Dried Beans

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Beans in some way, shape, or fashion are fundamental in many cuisines. Healthy and economical, they are a go-to in my kitchen. I’ll often cook a pound at the beginning of the week and reheat them over the next few days as a warm side dish, toss cold into a salad, or cook further for soup. They’re also a great protein for a healthy breakfast with an egg atop a tortilla. Knowing how to cook beans gives you enormous maneuverability in the kitchen. This handy culinary skill helps with meal prep and gives you the ability to magically produce multiple meals out of a humble bag. 
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What’s in Season: Winter Squash

Wintery mix and snowy weather call for comforting foods like this Winter Greens and Butternut Squash Gratin. This cozy casserole is great as a side dish or filling enough for a plant-based main course. Winter squash are earthy, creamy, and rich – the definition of a satisfying supper. Continue reading for information on how to tell the difference between the varieties — from pumpkin and butternut to acorn —  how to clean, cut, and store, and a collection of great recipes. (more…)

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