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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-ninth in a series of articles


Howdy there Darlin's,

Let me start by tellin' y'all I been waitin' all year fer corn season ta come 'round again, an' by golly it done arrived. Why, them corn stalks is as high as an elephant's eye, jes like the song says, an' my oh my them words is true blue!

Now I'm seein' great big ears o' corn at the farm stand an' piles an' piles of 'em at the grocery. Guess it's 'cause the summer's gotten hotter 'n a firecracker an' the corn's practically fallin' off the stalks!

One o' my fav'rite corn fixin's is a nice homemade corn chowder that makes a light summer meal together with a giant-size salad o' greens 'n chopped veggies.

At the grocery I done watched a bunch o' folks standin' at the corn bin an' shuckin' their corn faster'n my eye kin count 'em. They was plannin' ta boil the dickens outta the corn an throw out the cookin' water before servin' up them ears.

Well, I tell y'all, I jes had ta speak up an' tell them nice folks they was losing a heap o' vitamins by boilin' up the corn. Then, ta make matters worse, they was jes gonna throw out the cookin' water with all them vitamins! Imagine that! Why, that cookin' water kin be poured inter a pitcher an' put right in the fridge an' chilled ta drink up later on. Corn cookin' water is sweet 'n deeeeelicious! My thrifty nature got the best o' me right then.

That's when I said I jes put them corn ears on the grill or right on the oven rack, husks an' all! In the oven I roast 'em at 400 degrees fer 30 minutes. On the grill I turn 'em ever' 5 minutes till all four sides got face down over the coals. Then, I jes let 'em cool before shuckin'.

Well, them folks was mighty surprised and said they never done that before--imagine that! But now they knows grillin' or roastin' they won't lose all them good vitamins in the cookin' water. An' if'n they do boil the corn, they oughter drink up that good cookin' water.

Now, darlin's, I do hope y'all love this bowl o' corn chowder. It's one o' my fav'rite fixin's in summertime!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Take advantage of the abundance of fresh corn in season by preparing a delicious pot of creamy roasted corn chowder. It's so naturally sweet, the chowder needs no added sweetening. When the weather is too hot for roasting the corn in the oven, simply put the corn in their husks on the grill and turn them every 5 minutes, using long-handled tongs, until all four sides are cooked. Set them aside to cool, then, shuck them.

Roasted Corn Chowder


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    4 ears fresh corn in the husk

    1 large red or white potato, peeled, and cut into small dice

    1 large onion, chopped
    2 large carrots, peeled and diced
    4 ribs celery, diced
    3 cloves garlic, pressed
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne

    2 cups (480 ml) potato cooking water
    1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    Pepper to taste

    1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened soymilk

    1/4 red bell pepper, diced
    2 green onions, green tops only, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (Gas Mark 6). Put the ears of corn in the husk directly on the oven shelves and roast them for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then, shuck the corn.
  2. While the corn is roasting, put the potato cubes in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan with water to cover by 1-inch. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 4 to 5 minutes, just until the potatoes are fork tender. Set aside.
  3. In a skillet, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Add 1/4 cup water and water-sauté the vegetables, stirring frequently until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables.
  4. Use a serrated knife to strip the corn kernels from the corn, leaving the kernels in chunks. Put half the corn in a blender and set the remaining corn aside. To the blender, add the sautéed vegetables, the cooked potato, 2 cups (480 ml) of potato cooking water, and salt. If there is not enough potato cooking water, make up the difference with water. Process until thick and creamy.
  5. Transfer the blended chowder to a large stockpot. Add the soymilk and the remaining corn kernels. Combine with a whisk. If the mixture is too thick, thin with water or additional soymilk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional cayenne.
  6. To serve, ladle a generous portion of the chowder into soup bowls. Garnish the tops with a sprinkle of diced red bell peppers and green onion tops.

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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