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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 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.

Red Posy Ragout

Twenty-Third in a series of articles


Cookin' up dirt cheap food gits easier 'n' easier when yer not shoppin' in them big chain groceries with fancy prices that near ta make me faint. I jes mosy over ta them markets from different places in the world fer prices that make good sense. Wby you kin find fixin's at half the price them big markets charge. Now y'all watch fer them sales, too, an' don't be surprised ta see five bunches o' radishes fer a doller or three cucumbers fer a doller. Them markets knows that folks ain't made outta money.

Soon's y'all git yer fixin's together, why you kin git ta makin' one o' the purtiest stews y'ever set yer eyes on, I tell ya true. My family was wont ta give this here stew a fancy name so's they kin call it a ragout, but truly, darlin's, it's just a dern good stew that's a tad different from the rest of 'em. You'll see it's turned mighty red from that one tiny beet--imagine that!

Aside from tastin' mighty fine, this stew don't need no fancy meddlin' ta git it cooked up--no siree--it's easy as pie. An' soon's y'all set yer eyes on it, why you'll be a-thinkin' it looks like a garden o' red posies.

With a good measure o' barley you'll be gittin' plenty o' fiber ta keep ya reglar and a heap of vegetables ta give ya vitamins 'n minerals an' goodness knows what else--like them phytochemicals that keeps y'all in tip top shape. An' nice thing is ya didn't spend the family fortune fer this nice dinner.

Serve it up with a good salad piled with plenty o' veggies an' maybe a couple leaves o' kale chopped up nice 'n fine. Toss is some beans, too an' git ready fer a fine tastin' stew er ragout er whatever y'all takes ta callin' it! No matter, this grub's got what it takes ta fill the belly an' put at least a l'il ole grin on yer face.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Red Posy Ragout


Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) pearl barley
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 medium carrot, sliced

    1 large zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
    1 small broccoli crown, cut into tiny florets
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 small beet, peeled and diced
    1 cup (240 ml) water
    5 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely minced
    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
    Salt and pepper

  1. Combine the water, barley, and salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and steam for 50 minutes. Turn off the heat, keep the pot covered, and set aside to allow the barley to absorb any remaining liquid.
  2. Place the carrots in a small saucepan and barely cover with water. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and steam for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the carrots are just fork tender.
  3. In a large, deep skillet, combine the zucchini, broccoli, bell pepper, beet, water, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil and sauté over high heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Season with lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir in the cooked barley and cooked carrot slices. Adjust seasonings if needed and serve.

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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