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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.


Forty-fifth in a series of articles


Howdy there darlin's,

Well ain't spring just sprung with all them bright colors in the stores, purty flowers ever'where, and plenty o' color in the farmers' market with them fresh fruits an' vegetables jes sparklin' ta beat the band!!!

I hope y'all done an armful o' veggie shoppin' 'cause I'm gonna share a mighty fine recipe fer Scrumshious Stuffed 'Taters ta go with all them healthy vegetables y'all done brought home. All's ya do is fix yer famiily a great, great, great big salad and put some taters in the oven ta bake.

Yer gonna have one delicious dinner, I tell ya true. An' don'tcha worry none 'bout yer tight food budget--this dinner is one you kin afford an' feel mighty good about 'cause it tastes so fine an' it's so good fer ya.

If y'all been shoppin' where you kin find good down-ta-earth food prices, yer gonna be mighty happy when ya see how low them tomater prices are--now, they's hot-house tomaters, but still, they's jes fine. An' they's purfect fer roastin' an mixin' with some wholesome beans 'n' 'taters.

I noticed hardly nobody complains 'bout eatin' 'taters--why, ever'body jes loves 'em! I heard tell that 'taters isn't good fer ya, but that jes ain't true. No sir, not true! Why there's nearly 8 grams o' protein an' almost 5 grams o' fiber in one big 'tater. Betcha didn't know that good news!

You kin even find calcium, iron, zinc, plenty B vitamins, an vitamin C in 'taters. An' they's got a whoppin' 1539 grams o' potassium. Imagine that! I hear people worryin' 'bout not gitten' enough potassium. No need frettin'. All's they needs ta do is eat a 'tater! Simple as that!

Did y'all know 'taters have vitamin K, too? Why that's a mighty important vitamin that helps yer blood ta clot. So now, child, you kin see that 'taters has so much goodness you kin go ahead an' love 'em like I do.

I'm a-gonna make some "Scrumshous" Stuffed 'Taters tonight. Let's have 'em together an' it's OK if'n tomorrow is better for ya. 'Taters is jes fine any time.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

This is one of those ideal make-ahead potato main dishes just made for busy households seeking convenient meal preps. If you've baked and stuffed the potatoes a day in advance, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4) and put the potatoes on a baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil and put them under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to give the top tomatoes an enticing glow.

Stuffed Potato


Yield: 6 servings

    6 Russet potatoes, scrubbed

    Tater Stuffin'
    1 pound (450g) tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

    2 (15-ounce/424g) cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
    1/2 small onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
    1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder (optional)
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

    1 medium tomato, sliced, slices cut in half
    1/2 bunch fresh parsley, 2 sprigs minced

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (Gas Mark 6). and put the potatoes on a baking pan. Bake the potatoes for 50 to 60 minutes, or until soft when gently squeezed. Set the potatoes aside to cool and lower the heat to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4).
  2. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes on a baking pan, cut side up, and broil 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the heat source for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once while broiling.
  3. Put the cannellini beans in a food processor, along with the onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt, liquid smoke, chipotle pepper, if using, and pepper and set aside.
  4. When the tomatoes are broiled, add them to the ingredients in the processor and pulse-chop until combined, but still a bit chunky.
  5. When the potatoes are soft, cut them open, and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add the bean and tomato mixture and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the potato shells, using it all and heaping it very high. Top each potato with a half slice of tomato.
  6. Return the stuffed potatoes to the oven to warm them for 25 to 30 minutes. Arrange the potatoes on a serving platter and garnish with the sprigs and minced parsley.
  7. Note:
    The optional chipotle pepper powder adds a lively touch of spice. If you shy away from spicy dishes, leave it out and the stuffed potatoes will still be very delicious.

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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