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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Meet our guest, Tina Avila owner of Casa Tina Mexican Grill, Main Street Dunedin, Florida. In yesterday's story we introduced Tina on webRadio Today we have more of that interview and give our readers a recipe or two to boot.

Casa Tina's is a mix Gourmet Mexican and vegetarian grill which Tina explains is the philosophy behind their successful restaurant. When Tina met her future husband and partner,Javier, he was one partner in "Senior Frogs" restaurant in Miami. Soon their interest in healthy and traditional cuisine merged into the concept for a family restaurant that offered traditional as well as vegetarian fare. The lucky benefactors of this partnership are the residents of Tampa Bay and downtown Dunedin.

Voted best Mexican and Vegetarian Restaurant by both the Weekly Planet and Tampa Bay Magazine Casa Tina Grill glows in the family friendly tradition of serving great meals for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Prior to the broadcast we asked our listeners to send us their hot or spicy traditional family recipes. Karen from Sarasota, Florida sent us this recipe for dirty rice, a traditional Creole dish often served with ground beef or spiced sausage, Karen veganized the recipe and we've reprinted it here.

Dirty Rice


1 1/2 Cups cooked white rice
1/2 Cup diced onion
1/2 Cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 Cup chopped portabella mushrooms
1/4 Cup water
1 Tbls vegetable bouillon paste
1 Tbls dried parsley
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Cajun spice blend Emeril's Bamm


Prepare the rice according to instructions in advance and set aside.

Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft, add the mushrooms and parsley. Cook uncovered until the mixture dries slightly and the flavors blend. Now add the cooked rice, water and bouillon. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until medium dry, this is "Dirty Rice" after all.

Garnish with fresh green onion.

serves 2

Our guest restauranteur Tina quickly pointed out the vegan virtues of this traditional recipe and remarked especially on the use of Portabella mushrooms which she said have a distinct smoky/dense flavor and texture when added to any dish. Vegetarian cooking is a matter of combining spice texture and taste in ways that satisfy the pallet and refresh the spirit both traditional and unexpected. Casa Tina's Grill does both very well.