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 more 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.

Quinoa Pattycakes

Fifteenth in a series of articles


Well, yee-haw an' jumpin' jahosefat! Summer done finally come! This here nice warm weather with plenty o' sunshine is feelin' mighty fine and puts a heap o' smiles on my face ever' day. An' it gits me ta thinkin' 'bout food in a different way now that I done left the chill an' shivers behind. 'Stead o' big ole stews an' farm-style soups to stoke up the belly fire, we simply got to lighten' up the eats ta match the weather.

But we're still wont ta fill the belly with good grub what don't cost yer week's pay an' keeps ya fired up with energy to do the jobs that needs ta git done. So I learnt 'bout a mighty tasty whole grain called KEEN WAH. It's spelt mighty funny though an' I keep wantin' ta say it different.

Now this here healthy grain got a heap o' protein ta keep yer body fit an' plenty of fiber ta boot. It's surprisin' that it needs only 1 cup ta make it go a long way an' stretch them family dollars. I matched it up with 'taters that's dirt cheap, some purty vegetables, an' tasty fixins' an' out of the oven come a heap o' mighty purty pattycakes you kin enjoy fer yer dinner or supper. Serve it up with a heapin' bowl o' salad and cook up some veggies on the side like broccoli or cauliflower, if ya like.

An' if'n ya want ta git a tad fancier, why you kin serve up these here pattycakes with some tomater sauce fer the top. Or, maybe y'all have a likin' fer Tofu Sour Cream you kin make in yer own home kitchen quick as a wink. I put that nice easy recipe down yonder--jes look down, darlin'.

My heart tells me yer gonna really enjoy these deee-licious pattycakes. Now, you be sure'n let me know, ya hear?

Quinoa Pattycakes


Yield: 12 to 15 pattycakes

    2 cups water
    1 cup quinoa
    1 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

    3/4 pound white rose potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

    1 cup finely diced onions
    1 medium carrot, peeled and finely minced
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup diced zucchini

    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and have ready 1 or 2 large jellyroll pans lined with parchment.
  2. Combine the water, quinoa, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and all the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. Place the potatoes and water to cover into a 2 to 3-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes to a bowl and mash them thoroughly.
  4. While the quinoa and potatoes are cooking, combine the onions, carrot, bell pepper, and zucchini in a large bowl. Add the cooked quinoa and mashed potatoes and mix well.
  5. Add the lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and mix well until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the seasonings are thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Scoop up about 3 heaping tablespoons of the mixture and use your hands to form into balls about 1/2-inch thick by 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Place the balls on the prepared jellyroll pans and press down gently to form the pattycakes.
  7. Cover the pans completely with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 5 minutes longer.

Tofu Sour Cream

    1 12.3-ounce box extra firm silken tofu
    1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Use immediately or chill for an hour or two before serving. Refrigerated, it keeps for 1 week. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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

Vegetarians in Paradise