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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 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:
MUSTARD GREENS WITH TEMPEH BACON

Forty-third in a series of articles

BY AUNT NETTIE

Well Howdy there darlin's,

Now, I been thinkin' about how ever'body kin do something good fer their family an' even folk we consider mighty good friends. We kin help ta make 'em a tad healthier. That's right, darlin's. 'Course I know we's not doctors an' cain't write a prescription.

But we kin do somethin' better. We kin rustle up a heap o' good food in the kitchen that's better 'n' pills! Now don't you fret none 'cause that somethin' healthier ain't fancy food that costs half yer salary. Matter of fact, it's just humble food, but it's so good fer ya that it's gonna surprise ya ta the bone.

Child, I been talkin' 'bout greens. Now don't go gittin' yer kickers in a knot 'cause ya cain't imagine greens is all that important ta eat. But I tell ya true. Greens is magic food. Not Harry Potter kinda magic, but there's a touch o' Mother Nature magic in them greens.

Why, did y'all know greens is packed with a heap o' vitamins an' minerals an' they's so low in fat I kin promise they won't make ya gain weight. Matter of fact, they's got a heap o' fiber that helps ya lose a few extra pounds.

Now maybe y'all never et greens in yer life an' don't even know what they are an' where you kin git 'em. So here's a smidge o' help--the healthiest greens is KALE, MUSTARD GREENS, TURNIP GREENS, AN' COLLARD GREENS an' you kin git 'em at the plain ole grocery store.

If you was lookin' fer one ordinary, ever'day food that could lower yer cholesterol, boost up yer immunity, help ta knock down yer arthritis, an help ta prevent cancer, you would be happy if'n ya found that food, right?

Why greens kin do all them things an' at the same time give ya some protein, fiber, an' a heap o' vitamin A with all them powerful antioxidants with fancy names. There's vitamin C in them greens an' even a heap o' vitamin K ta help keep calcium in yer bones where it does ya good.

Here's somethin' most folks might not know. Greens got so much goodness, y'all oughter be eatin' 'em ever'day.

You kin eat yer greens raw by choppin' 'em up in a salad or eat 'em cooked an' flavored up the way ya likes. They's mighty easy fixin's.

Now down yonder there's a deelilcious recipe fer cooking mustard greens an' I'm feelin' very positive yer gonna like that dish just fine. An' it's a mighty good way ta start the New Year eatin' more healthy fixin's.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Mustard Greens with Tempeh Bacon

MUSTARD GREENS WITH TEMPEH BACON

In Southern U.S. tradition, these humble greens symbolize money when eaten with black-eyed peas on the first day of the new year. The liquid remaining in the bottom of the pot is known as "pot likker" and makes a tasty dipping sauce for bread.

This is one of the tasty recipes in Zel's cookbook, Vegan for the Holidays.


Yield: 4 servings

    1 (8-ounce. 226g) bunch mustard greens
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water
    1 cup (240 ml) coarsely chopped onion
    1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped green bell pepper
    3/4 teaspoon organic sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped tempeh bacon or imitation bacon bits
  1. Remove and discard the tough stems of the mustard greens and coarsely chop the leaves. Put the greens in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan.
  2. Add the water, onion, bell pepper, sugar, and salt and cover the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over high heat. Add the tempeh bacon and cook and stir frequently for 4 or 5 minutes, or until it is almost crisp.
  4. Stir the tempeh bacon into the cooked greens. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the greens to a serving bowl. Pour the pot likker into another bowl so guests can dip their bread into it.





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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