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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. She's agreed to answer any questions you might ask about vegetarian food, its preparation, and even clean-up tips. But we have to prepare you. She just might want to come right over to your house and help you fix dinner.

To send any questions to Ask Aunt Nettie, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

A neighbor gave me a Japanese pumpkin, which I appreciated very much. But I haven't got the faintest idea of what to do with it!

In need of help,


Well Howdy there, Myra,

Now, darlin', don't you fret none 'cause I'm gonna give y'all a recipe fer a dish that's easy fixin's--I promise. I knows yer gonna love it 'cause that Japanese pumpkin--sometimes folks calls it kabocha squash--is mighty tasty an' it's sweet to boot. It makes a fine side dish that's packed with beta carotene that's got all them nutrition folks mighty excited. Soon as ya takes one bite ya think ya bit inter a 'tater that went sweet on ya. The hardest part is cuttin' the dern thing, but this recipe gives ya some tricks fer that, too.

Hope it's to yer likin',

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


    1 2 to 2 1/2 pound (1 kilo) kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin)

    1 large onion
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    3 tablespoons water
    1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and pepper

  1. Wash the kabocha squash. Using a heavy-duty chef's knife, cut the kabocha squash in half on a sturdy cutting board. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the cut side of each half on the cutting board and cut off the skin by holding the chef's knife in a horizontal position pointed away from you. Cut the squash into bite size chunks and set aside.
  2. Peel the onion, cut it into thin slices, then quarter the slices. Place the onions, garlic, water, and olive oil in a large, deep skillet or flat bottom wok, and cook and stir over high heat for 3 or 4 minutes to soften the onions.
  3. Add the kabocha chunks and an additional 3 tablespoons of water if the pan is dry. Toss well to coat the squash and cover the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and steam for about 4 or 5 minutes, just until fork tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Makes about 6 to 8 servings.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with gigabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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