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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. Since 2009 Aunt Nettie has known people were struggling to stretch their dollars during the recession. So she focused her tasty recipes on low-cost ingredients that would still offer delicious, healthy, stick-to-the-ribs foods, yet were affordable.

With the economy improving and more people back at work, Aunt Nettie felt the time was right to ease up a bit on strict bargain-bin shopping and gussy up the menu with a few small splurges.

Aunt Nettie is still happy to answer questions that come her way, but what she loves most is offering seasonal fixin's that inspire her while shopping at the farm stand.

Howdy there darlin's,

Well, my gracious! All I been hearin' 'bout this past week is Oktoberfest--an' it's spellt jes like that--Oktoberfest--my my! Lots o' folks are askin' what I'm cookin' up fer Oktoberfest. Why I hadn't thought 'bout it a bit, but I guess it's been gittin' kinda popular these days.

So I put on my thinkin' cap an' done some readin' 'bout this mighty fine celebration that come along this time o' year. Seems it's kinda like a hootnanny but with lots o' beer an' German-style eats.

Well, I knows 'taters is always good fer fillin' the belly so's y'all don't git too beer-soused in a hurry. An' German foods, I hears, go mighty fine with a tad o' mustard, so I done put some o' that inter the 'taters, too.

You kin leave out the onions, if ya please, but I think the 'taters is much better with 'em. But they do take some extra time fussin' in the kitchen. So, now darlin's, you decide. I really do love them onions so much, so sometimes I even roast 'em up the day before--fer time savin'.

I surely hopes y'all have a mighty happy time at yer Oktoberfest party.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    2 medium onions, sliced, slices quartered

    1 pound (453g) baby Dutch potatoes or red or white potatoes with skins, cut into bite-size pieces

    2/3 cup (180 ml) unsweetened soymilk
    3 to 4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard or whole grain Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon mustard seeds (optional)
    Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Gas Mark 5) and have ready a large, rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Put the onions on the dry baking sheet and heap them into the center. Roast for 30 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the onions and heap them into the center again. Roast for 10 minutes longer.
  3. With the spatula, spread the onions on the baking sheet and roast 10 minutes longer, or until they are beginning to turn a golden color. Remove from the oven.
  4. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan with water to cover. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  5. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Add the soymilk, mustard, and mustard seeds and mash thoroughly.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the roasted onions and mix well to distribute them throughout.
  7. Transfer the potatoes to an attractive serving bowl and dust the top with paprika.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with megabytes 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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