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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-fifth in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

My family was wantin' fer a dinner that was a real true stick-ta-the-ribs kinda meal. So, I put on my thinkin' cap 'cause I knew I could toss up a few fixin's an give 'em jes what they was needin'--a nice hot dish o' some kinda noodles packed with plenty o' vegetables and a good handful o' healthy nuts.

Then, I remembered my niece, Zel, come up with a fine 'n' dandy recipe fer Noodles and Nuts in her cookbook The Nut Gourmet, so I figgered I 'd share it with y'all, 'cause there jes ain't nothin' that beats it.

Why, this recipe got ever'thin' my hungry kin could want--there's a heap o' noodles that fills the belly jes fine, an' plenty o' veggies fer good health. Now, my favorite fixin's in this recipe is the whole cup o' nuts that surprises ever'one that don't expect nuts in a noodle recipe. Zel jes puts them almonds inter the food processor an' grinds 'em up purty much.

An' when ever'thing is purty much cooked, she puts them nuts inter the pan an' stirs 'em up til the sauce gets nice an' thick. Now that's a mighty fine good-fer-the-belly dish fer ever'body's family.

I surely hopes y'all enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Now, y'all let me know, will ya?

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

This sumptuous one-course meal starring almonds, vegetables, and pasta is ideal family fare. Dishes this flavorful make it easy to encourage the kids to eat more vegetables. To complete the meal, serve it with a salad, whole-grain bread, and steamed vegetables. Warn everyone in the room to hold their ears when the almonds go into the food processor--they roar pretty loudly for about 60 seconds until they're ground. I like to grind them into a coarse meal because I enjoy the textured mouth-feel.

Noodles and Nuts


Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    1 (14 to 16-ounce/396 to 453g) package Japanese Soba noodles or your favorite egg-free noodles

    2 tablespoons organic canola oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1-inch (2.4 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

    1 large broccoli crown, coarsely chopped
    3 medium tomatoes, chopped
    2 ribs celery, chopped
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 cup (240 ml) water
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    1 teaspoon umeboshi plum vinegar or rice vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    1 cup (240 ml) whole almonds
    Salt and pepper

    1 green onion, finely chopped

  1. Cook the noodles in boiling water until tender according to the package directions.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, heat the canola oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook over high heat for 1 minute.
  3. Add the broccoli, tomatoes, celery, onion, water, bell pepper, sesame oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  4. Grind the almonds into a coarse meal in the food processor. Add the nuts to the simmering vegetables and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Drain the noodles and add them to the vegetable mixture a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon to distribute them evenly. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Heap the noodles and vegetables on a large platter, and garnish with the green onion.

Soba noodles are a type of Japanese pasta usually made from a combination of buckwheat and wheat.

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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