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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.

Barbecue Marinating, Grilling, and Cooking Sauces

Twenty-Seventh in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Well, I shure cain't help noticin' that finally it's grillin' season, an' I'm as ready fer a tasty barbecue dinner as an ole cayote with dinner in its sights. Most anything you kin name kin go on the grill, like vegetables, tofu, seitan, mushrooms, an' even fresh fruits, but it's what y'all use fer marinatin' yer veggies, bastin' yer veggie burgers or dogs, and splashin' on afterwards that gits folks ta jawin' 'bout hardly nothin' but barbecue. Why, even my darlin' kinfolk is workin' overtime talking 'bout the next barbecue.

Why they keeps on callin' on me fer a recipe fer this an' a recipe fer that--an' it's all 'bout what ta put on them foods before they's on the grill, while they's on the grill, an' after they's off the grill.

So, darlin's here's some idears what I done give my own kin fer a heap o' fun ta take care o' the before, durin' an' after all that summer grillin'. Nice thing is it's all easy fixin's that don't hardly take any time at all. What I likes best is that they's all cookin' at home an' eatin' the goodness o' Mother Nature 'stead o' buyin' fancy packages. Lord knows them ready-made bottles 'n' packages cost more'n most folks kin afford these days!

Well, darlin's, I surely hope yer family barbecues gives y'all as much pleasure as I git from mine. Why, I'm happiest when I see ever'one enjoying that family togetherness, settin' 'round the table an eatin' a heap o' good food they's cooked theirselves. I think I done give 'em a few good cookin' lessons, 'cause lately they's done the cookin' an' they keep pushin' me outa the kitchen--guess I done my job purty good, don'tcha think?

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

This is one of Aunt Nettie's favorite sauces to use for the last 2 minutes of grilling tasty burgers and hot dogs, tofu, kebabs of tofu and veggies, skewers of mushrooms, and even slices of fresh pineapple.

This sauce is also ideal for oven stewing veggie meatballs or topping veggie meatloaf before baking.

Tex-Mex Barbecue Sauce


Yield: about 3 cups (720 ml)

    1 14.5 ounce (400g) can diced tomatoes
    1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
    1 6-ounce (170g) can tomato paste
    3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons maple syrup
    2 cloves garlic
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 teaspoons molasses
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend on high speed until the sauce is fully pureed. Transfer the sauce to a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan and simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes. Use immediately or chill until ready to use.

A tasty all-around classic marinade and basting sauce, this easy-prep recipe benefits from the addition of fresh orange juice, giving it a delicate hint of fruity citrus flavor that transforms anything you brush this on.

This tasty marinade even doubles as a delicious salad dressing with a distinct hint of citrus flavor.


Yield: about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)

    3/4 cup (180 ml) organic canola oil
    1/3 cup (80 ml) plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
    1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake well or process in the blender for a more creamy effect.
  2. Pour the marinade into a bowl and keep it handy for frequent basting while grilling or pour it over kebabs or mushrooms to marinate before grilling.
  3. If using as a salad dressing, use a funnel to pour the dressing into a narrow-neck bottle for easy serving. Serve immediately or chill and serve later. Shake well before using. Refrigerated the dressing will keep for 2 weeks.

This flavorful marinade has an unmistakable Asian influence and adds a delightful pungent quality to foods soaking in this sauce. You can also use it for basting foods on the grill. Try brushing it on Portobello mushrooms before and during grilling for a real flavor treat.


Yield: about 1 1/4 cups (300 ml)

    2 green onions, finely minced
    1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    1/4 cup (60 ml) Balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    Pinch cayenne

Combine the ingredient in a bowl or baking dish and marinate the items you plan to grill. For stronger flavors, marinate for at least 2 hours before grilling.

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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