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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, .

Editor's Note: Instead of Aunt Nettie answering individual questions, she has decided to address a number of requests from people who want to save money on the food budget and still enjoy healthy dining. This is one of a series of money-saving tips and recipes designed to stretch those slim dollars.

As an example of Aunt Nettie's impressive, penny-pinching ability to save, she still has some depression glass dishes and bowls in the cupboard--they're the real thing and she still treasures them.

In future issues of Vegetarians in Paradise, Aunt Nettie and her niece Zel will offer money-saving recipes for the most extreme skinflints along with suggestions to help bargain-hunter foodies seek out cheap fare that still brings good cheer to the table.

Third in a series of articles


Well, darlin's, I promised y'all a heap o' good eats without bustin' the budget ta smitherines, an' I'm true ta my word, I am. I knows how important it is ta put good wholesome fixin's together ta keep yer engine runnin' like a fine-tuned fiddle--an' them fixin's has got ta have two important points ta consider. They's got to be good an' cheap and they's got to be whole natural foods that you kin cook up from scratch.

Now, sometimes it takes a l'il figgerin' ta decide if its cheaper ta buy fresh or canned tomaters. During the winter, why it's easy ta figger out--canned tomaters is the best buy. But right now we's sorta inbetween the seasons when fresh tomaters might not be cheap yet. So y'all use yer common sense, an' I knows ya got some, to decide on fresh or canned tomaters.

Dried beans, unless they's some kinda fancy imported bean, is always cheap an' you'll see that one pound kin feed lots o' hungry folks. Onions an' carrots give lots o' good flavor to a bean stew an' yams has plenty o' beta carotene. I knows that's a mighty fine antioxidant ta keep y'all good n' healthy.

Right now zucchini is comin' ta market at good prices so you kin even put in two o' them if ya like. This is a mighty easy recipe that turns out purty nice flavor fer just a few fixin's. The final flavorin' is up to yer own judgement--an' I knows ya got some o' that, too!

Now if I'm gonna cook up this stew at evenin' time, I'll start them beans a'soakin' in the mornin'. Then they's got all day ta git softened up. But if ya got the time to cook up yer stew in the mornin', why just soak them beans before goin' ta bed the night before.

An when y'all serve up this mighty fine stew in a big bowl, be sure ta put some whole-grain bread on the table ta mop up all that good-tastin' sauce left in yer bowl. It's got plenty o' goodness in it from all them good veggies.


Yield: about 5 to 6 servings

    2 cups small dried fava beans

    2 large onions, chopped
    4 cloves garlic cloves, minced

    3 medium carrots, sliced
    1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes or 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped
    1 stick cinnamon
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

    2 yams peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
    1 or 2 large zucchinis, chopped
    Pinch cayenne
    Salt and pepper

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Pick over the beans and discard any spoiled beans or bits of debris. Put the beans into a large bowl and cover with about 3 inches of water. Soak the beans for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain off the water and rinse the beans. Place them into a large stockpot and cover with 3 inches of fresh water. Add the onions and garlic and partially cover the pot. Bring the beans to a boil, watching carefully to avoid a messy boil over. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour, or until the beans are softened.
  3. Add the carrots, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander and cook about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add the yams, zucchini, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook another 10 to 12 minutes or until the beans and all the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the lemon juice and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

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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