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 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 an/or get her cooking advice, .


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.



RECESSION GRUB:
HALLOWEEN GHOULISH STEW

Fortieth in a series of articles

BY AUNT NETTIE

Well Howdy there darlin's,

Ya know, I gotta admit I been kinda serious in past times, but this month we comin' up purty quick on some very speshul holidays, an' it's time ta git ready fer good times an' happy celebratin'.

Come the end o' this month we jes might see a hootnanny o' goblins dancin' up the street an' y'all better watch out fer them witches! Why, they jes might climb on a broomstick an' pretend ta fly up to the sky. I'm mighty sure you're gonna see ghosts a-plenty an' maybe a pirate, Frankenstein, Dracula, or a grim reaper, too.

Now y'all know I'm jes talkin' 'bout our young'uns dressin' up in costumes an' pretendin ta be ghosts, goblins, witches, an' every kinda mean or scary critter you kin imagine.

It's a heap o' fun ta make a l'il ole fuss at Halloween an' still not have ta break the piggy bank ta serve up a kettle o' tasty stew. So I done come up with a mighty ghoulish stew--that's so's you kin feed them tiny goblins at home before the trick or treatin' starts. Now, remember darlin's, this stew is mighty ghoulish, an' that means it's got a tad o' perky life in every spoonful. But you kin make adjustments, if need be.

Now I knows them young'uns is gonna be very excited an' mighty anxious ta visit the neighbors an' git their sacks filled with candy. But jes maybe startin' the celebration with a hearty stew might slow 'em down a tad an' keep 'em from chompin' down all that candy at once.

That was my l'il ole trick when I had young'uns a heap o' years ago. An' I do say, it worked purty good. Y'all jes might want ta do the cookin' the day before trick or treatin' day, so' you got time ta git them costumes all buttoned up an' them l'il faces all painted up nice an' scary.

Happy Halloween y'all!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie



Halloween Ghoulish Stew

HALLOWEEN GHOULISH STEW


Yield: 6 servings

    5 cups (1.25 liters) water
    2 cups (240 ml) black lentils
    2 medium onions, cut into 8 wedges
    1 large carrot, peeled and angle sliced
    12 cloves garlic, cut in half lengthwise

    1 1/2 pounds (675g) butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
    2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, divided

    Juice of 1 lemon or lime
    Pinch cayenne

    1 to 2 tablespoons rice or distilled vinegar

  1. Combine the water, lentils, onions, carrots, and garlic in an 8 to 10-quart (8 to 10 liter) stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer about 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are beginning to soften.
  2. Add the squash, tomatoes, salt, and cloves. Cover and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the squash is tender.
  3. Add the lemon juice and cayenne and adjust seasonings to taste. Cook about 5 minutes longer. Add the vinegar and remaining 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Mix well 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



Vegetarians in Paradise