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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.

Fifth in a series of articles


Well darlin's, it's been mighty hot this summer, an' that's the truth. If'n yer feelin' as hot as I am, yer not wont ta spend yer day in the kitchen rustlin' up a heap o' hot fixin's. So I'm a-gonna give y'all a recipe fer a nice cold 'tater salad that's hearty enuff ta nourish you an' yer young'uns without a whole lot o' fussin'.

'Taters is dirt cheap an' they's mighty good fer ya. Did y'all know they even have protein an' fiber? Why they even have fluoride, calcium, an' vitamin C. Imagine that! An' if'n yer a tad low on potassium, jes cook up a 'tater an' you'll git a heap of potassium.

Now, this ain't no ordinary 'tater salad--this one takes a shoppin' trip ta the general store ta pack it with them stick-to-the-ribs fixin's. If'n y'all got the time ta make the salad in the mornin' then yer supper kin come ta the table quicker 'n a lizard runnin 'cross the road.

But don't fret none if yer puttin' up the fixin's at suppertime. Maybe you kin even git some help from yer teens ta do a tad o' choppin' an' slicin'. Nice thing is, this 'tater salad looks so purty you won't git no fussin' an' fightin' from yer family. Why even them picky eaters likes 'taters.

I surely do hope yer family enjoys this summer recipe from my kitchen. Now mind, y'all send me an email an' let me know if it's ta yer likin'.


Yield: about 5 to 6 servings

    6 medium new potatoes, either red or white, unpeeled, cut onto bite-size chunks
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 large broccoli crown, chopped
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water

    3 to 4 stalks celery, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    2 medium carrots, coarsely shredded
    1 or 2 (15-ounce) cans (425g) beans, rinsed and drained (garbanzo, kidney, black, or pinto)
    3 green onions, chopped or 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons vegan bacon bits
    3 to 4 tablespoons capers, thoroughly drained
    Pinch cayenne
    2/3 cup to 3/4 cup ((160 ml to 180 ml) vegan mayonnaise
    Salt and pepper

    1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded
    1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped

  1. Place the potatoes into a 6-quart (6 liter) saucepan or large stockpot and cover with water. Add the salt and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then, reduce the heat to simmer the potatoes for 4 to 7 minutes, or until just fork tender. Watch carefully to avoid overcooking the potatoes. Pour the potatoes into a large strainer to drain and place them into a large bowl.
  2. Place the broccoli into a large, deep skillet and add the water. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until the broccoli is just tender. Drain the excess water and add the broccoli to the potatoes.
  3. Add the celery, greed and red bell peppers, carrots, beans, onions, bacon bits, capers, cayenne, and vegan mayonnaise and use a wooden spoon to distribute the mayonnaise throughout. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, place a generous portion of shredded lettuce on each plate. Spoon a serving of potato salad over the lettuce, and garnish the edges with the tomatoes.

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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