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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,

I've got this can of water-packed artichokes hanging around on the shelf and other than serving them with a salad, I haven't the faintest idea of what to do with them. I would really be grateful for a good suggestion.



Howdy there, Mavis,

Well, darlin', you don't need to let that can o' artichokes git rusty on the shelf. Them artichokes is good fer lots o' different things. I likes 'em when they's all ground up an' mixed with olives an' chopped almonds an plenty o' garlic. Then, ya takes them fixin's an stuff 'em inter some o' them nice-size stuffin' mushrooms.

They's even good chopped up an' blended with some vegetable oil, lemon juice, a l'il water, salt, pepper, an' some herbs and turned inter a mighty fine salad dressing.

But mind, you start with them stuffed mushrooms an' let me know how ya likes 'em.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Dinner guests usually arrive ravenously hungry and eager to eat. The perfect appetizer is one you can make ahead and pop into the oven for a quick warming. And that's exactly why this recipe works so well. The mushrooms do not need to be cooked in advance, just stuffed and refrigerated if not served right away. Because the mushrooms become softened in the oven, they can be a bit messy as finger food. Serve them on small dishes and offer your guests forks and knives.


Yield: 10 to 12 servings

    30 to 35 fresh mushrooms about 2-inches (5 cm) in diameter

    1 13.75-ounce (390g) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
    20 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
    10 jumbo pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
    1/2 cup (120 ml) almonds or cashews, coarsely chopped
    1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 shallot, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a large baking pan lined with parchment paper. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stems by pressing on them with your thumb. Set the stems aside for another recipe and place the mushrooms on the baking pan.
  2. To make the filling, place the artichoke hearts into the food processor. Process until they are broken down but not fully pureed and place them into a medium bowl. Add the Kalamata olives, green olives, almonds, olive oil, garlic, and shallot and stir well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
  3. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the stuffing into the cavity of each mushroom, pressing firmly to secure the ingredients.
  4. Bake the stuffed mushrooms for about 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.

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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