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Vegan for the Holidays

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    What's in The Nut Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet

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.


Forty-fourth in a series of articles


Well, Howdy there Darlin's,

One o' my favrite meals o' the day is breakfast--always was. My, I do love that time o' day when the sun is jes comin' up and there's a tad o' chill in the air an' it's nice an' quiet.

An' there ain't nothin' better 'n' pancakes fer breakfast -- specially when they's made o' such nice fixin's that don't have ta hit the wallet too hard. Bananas, tofu, flour an some spices is mostly what they's made with -- but this time I did somethin' a l'il extra special. I done bought some pecans, chopped 'em up, an' tossed 'em inter the batter. Now you kin leave 'em out if the budget says it cain't stretch that fur and you'll still have some mighty tasty pancakes.

Myyyy, them pancakes was goooood! An' they's mighty light an' just right sweet. What makes them pancakes so different? Well, darlin', the secret is they's made the way you young modern folks do--in the food processor. Makes them fixin's come together quick as a wink.

Now, bakin' them pancakes in the oven is the perfect way ta keep them calories down, too. Are y'all wonderin' how that kin be? Why, puttin' them l'il pancakes on a sheet o' parchment is 'nother thing you young'uns kin do ta cut down on the fat.

Cookin' with oil kin make y'all fat, an' adds a few lumps ta yer body in places you'd rather it din't. Cookin' without oil means ya kin say bye-now ta extra fat 'n' calories.

I learnt there's 120 calories in every tablespoon o' oil. Now I knows there's times when cookin' with oil come in handy, an' I do use it sometimes. But when I don't need that extra 14 grams o' fat, why I jes leave it out, like I did in this mighty nice recipe from my niece Zel Allen's nice cookbook The Nut Gourmet.

Well, I do hope y'all enjoy this mighty nice breakfast pancake recipe. An' it's jes fine an' dandy with a tad o' maple syrup on top. Even some mashed fruit with a tad o' sugar makes a nice toppin' fer them breakfast goodies. Now, y'all write back an' tell me what you think.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Banan Pecan Pancakes


Breakfast or brunch becomes a special treat when nutty pancakes are on the menu. Serve them with maple syrup or your favorite topping, and round out the meal with a sauté of onions, peppers, and potatoes. Broiled or sliced tomatoes, fresh fruit salad, and some soy sausages or soy bacon make the breakfast a hearty extravaganza. This is one of the tasty recipes in Zel's cookbook, The Nut Gourmet.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 pound (450g) extra firm tofu
    3/4 cup (180 ml) mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
    1/3 cup (80 ml) regular soymilk
    3 tablespoons organic sugar
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon maple extract
    Dash salt

    2 tablespoons water
    1 tablespoon whole flaxseeds
    2/3 cup (160 ml) coarsely chopped pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (Gas Mark 5) and line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Break the tofu into pieces and put them into the food processor. Add the bananas, flour, soymilk, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, maple extract, and salt. Process until well blended.
  3. Combine the water and flaxseeds in the blender and blend on medium speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture becomes thick and viscous (the consistency will be similar to thick oatmeal). Add to the tofu mixture in the food processor and process until well mixed.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and add the pecans, stirring well to distribute them evenly.
  5. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, putting 12 to 15 pancakes on each sheet. Keep the pancakes small, no larger than 2 inches in diameter, for easier turning. Flatten the pancakes slightly with a fork so they will bake evenly.
  6. Place 2 of the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the pancakes with a spatula, and reverse baking sheet positions, moving the lower baking sheet to the upper rack, and vice versa. Bake 7 to 8 minutes longer. Place the finished pancakes on a serving dish and bake the remaining pancakes.

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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