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Vegan for the Holidays


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The Nutty Gourmet

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,

I done had a mighty fine day with my kinfolk t'other day an' wanted ta share that with y'all. They was jes so speshul ta bring me ta this great big Asian market--somethin' I ain't never done before an' my eyes jes went ever'where! Why this market had foods from ever' country in Asia. I saw so many new vegetables an' fruits I never done seen at the farmstand before an' I wanted ta buy 'most ever'thin' an' taste it all!

Well, now, I tell ya true, I did not buy ever'thin' but I did buy some nice big mushrooms, a mighty big bunch o' bok choy cabbage, some coconut milk, an' a package o' speshul noodles called bean threads made from yams but not the kind o' yams we know 'bout. This market had packages o' chestnuts that was all cooked up an' peeled an' ready fer eatin'--imagine that! That was surely a time saver an' I brought home two o' them packages.

The nice folks at the market tole me I could jes put them noodles in nice hot soup an' in 'bout 2 minutes they would be nice an' soft an' ready fer eatin'. My, oh my, what an adventure I had in that market--why it was like takin' a visit across the ocean to a mighty different land.

So jes like the nice folks tole me, I put all them veggies an' a few more, too, inter a big soup pot and cooked up a mighty fine soup fer my family. They liked it so much they got up off'n the chair an' served up a second helpin'. Now that's what I call satisfyin' an' it made me feel like kickin' up my heels!

I surely hopes you like the soup much as my kinfolk did.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Asian Market Noodle Soup

ASIAN MARKET NOODLE SOUP

Makes 5 to 6 servings

    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 medium carrot, diced
    1 rib celery, chopped
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    1 tablespoon organic canola oil

    5 cups (1.2 liters) vegetable broth
    1/2 pound (226g) firm tofu, cut into bite-size chunks
    6 to 8 button mushrooms, sliced
    2 leaves bok choy, chopped
    1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
    1 medium zucchini, chopped

    1 (13.5-ounce/400 ml) can medium fat coconut milk
    1/2 cup (120 ml) cooked and peeled chestnuts, halved
    1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons lime juice
    2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or Tamari
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar or other mild vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon 5-spice powder
    Pinch cayenne

    3 to 4 ounces (85 to 113g) yam noodles (also called bean threads or glass noodles)

    Garnish
    1 bunch cilantro
    3/4 cup (180 ml) roasted peanuts

  1. In an 8-quart (8 liter) stockpot combine the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, water, and oil. Cook and stir over high heat until the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, tofu, mushrooms, bok choy, and both squashes and cook about 5 minutes or until the squashes are just softened.
  3. Add the coconut milk, chestnuts, tomato, lime juice, Bragg Liquid Aminos, vinegar, 5-spice powder, and cayenne and mix well. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  4. Add the yam noodles and cook and stir for about 2 minutes or just until the noodles are softened. Mix well to distribute the noodles.
  5. Spoon the soup into serving bowls and garnish each with a small cluster of cilantro and 2 tablespoons of the peanuts.



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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