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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.


Seventy-third in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Hope y'all done a heap o' holiday cookin, an' celebratin' with yer family and friends an' had a hootnanny of a time! I knows that time o' year there's lots o' goodies an' fancy sweets that come yer way an' it's a time when it's easy ta say, "oh that looks mighty deelicius. I think I'll have another helpin'."

Well, now, I got a calorie-savin' recipe fer makin' caramelized onions yer gonna really appreciate, 'cause it's one you kin use in a million ways. I like it jes fine 'cause it's SOOO EASY!

One day I was makin' caramelized onions an' standin' over the stove and cookin' an' stirrin' them darned onions in vegetable oil fer nearly half an hour. Why, right then I said there must be a better way ta make them onions.

So right then I turned on the oven, cut up some more onions, an' decided the oven was gonna do the work! Now mind, I don't shirk cookin', but jes like ta be smarter 'bout it.

So I let them l'il ole onions set there in the oven fer quite a while before I turned 'em over. An' I let 'em set awhile longer. Now they was gittin' softer but needed a tad more time in the oven. All the while, I was able to keep my hands busy choppin' an' slicin' vegetables fer the other things I was makin'.

Long 'bout 50 minutes they was lookin' nice an' golden an' gittin' nice an' soft, jes the way I like 'em.

Nice thing was, I didn't even use a drop o' vegetable oil or nothin'. Them l'il ole onions was happy as could be jes enjoyin' their visit in the oven. So there you have it--mighty easy caramelized onions you kin use in a million ways.

I surely hopes y'all have a mighty happy an' healthy New Year.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

And just like Aunt Nettie tells it, this is a truly easy and low calorie way to make caramelized onions that come out perfect every time. The trick is to let the oven do the work. And when they're done, they're ready for any creative kitchen endeavor you invent from piling them into a sandwich to enjoying them in a tossed salad.

Easy Caramelized Onions


Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

    3 medium onions, sliced, slices cut in half

    1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Heap the onions into the center of the baking sheet and roast them for 25 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the onions over, again piling them into the center, and roast 20 minutes longer.
  3. Turn the onions again and spread them into a single layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes. The onions should be very soft, transparent, moist, and sweet. If needed, toss the onions and roast them for another 5 to 10 minutes. Because oven temperatures may vary, you might need to adjust the roasting time.
  4. When the onions are very soft, add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and mix well. Roast for 5 minutes to infuse with the flavorings.

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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