Hereís a vegetarian version of the classic Louisiana method of boiling a huge pot of seafood and vegetables and dumping the contents on a newspaper-covered table for all to feast on. Itís a great way to serve a crowd, and a fun way to entice children to eat vegetables:
2 pounds new potatoes, halved
6 ounces green peanuts, unshelled
8 ribs celery
4 large green or red bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, and quartered
2 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1 lemon, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Cajun Spice Mix (see below) or prepared Cajun spice mix
8 ears corn, shucked, silks removed, and cut in half
2 pounds broccoli, ends trimmed and cut into stems with the florets attached
3 pounds soy Italian link sausage
1. Combine the potatoes, peanuts, celery, bell peppers, onions, lemon, garlic, bay leaves, and Cajun Spice Mix in a straining basket in a large stock pot. Cover the ingredients with water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes.
2. Layer the corn and broccoli on top of the other ingredients. Bring the mixture back to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sausage on top of the corn and broccoli. Cover and return to a boil.
3. Remove the pot from the heat. The potatoes should be tender when pierced with a fork. Let the ingredients cool, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the straining basket or carefully strain off all of the water and discard it. Remove and discard the bay leaves and lemon. Serve by dumping the boiled ingredients on a brown paper- or newspaper- covered table outside, or serve indoors in large, individual bowls.
Cajun Spice Mix
Makes about three-quarters cup.
This spicy mix adds a burst of flavor to many recipes.
2 1/2 tablespoons ground paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Shake to mix. Store in a cool, dry place.
Adapted from The Ethnic Vegetarian, by Angela Shelf Medearis (Rodale, 2004).