Cher Vegetarians in Paradise/Aunt Nettie/Cherry Rhubarb Crisp
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,

Cherries is a-comin' inta season an' I'm mighty tickled 'bout that. Cherries is one o' my fav'rite fruits. Now, truth be told, sometimes I don't feel like fussin', so I jes wash up a nice bowl o' cherries an' enjoy 'em jes the way they is, an' that's mighty fine.

But, then, I git itchin' fer somethin' that's jes gonna git the family ta set up an' say, "Yee haw! This is downright deeeeelicious!" Now Father's Day is jes down the road this month an' I know that deserves somethin' mighty deeeelicious. So, I come up with a dessert that's gonna make all them celebratin' Dads mighty happy on their speshul day.

It took a tad o' time, but I done pitted ever' single one o' them little red beauties and picked some nice stalks o' rhubarb outta the garden. I put 'em together in a great big bowl, mixed in some sugar an' spices along with some mighty big golden raisins an' figured it might-could come out jes fine.

Well, I tell ya true. I should-a made a double batch 'cause what I made is already gone ta dessert heaven an' ever'body is cravin' 'nother bowl of it.

So, if'n yer not feelin' like fussin' today, jes wait another day when ya git up the gumption an' ya jes cain't resist headin' fer the kitchen ta start them fixin's. My buttons was bustin' jes hearin' my kinfolk hoot an' holler 'bout this dessert.

Honest ta goodness, it's really one o' them easy fixin's, so better git yerself some nice fresh cherries an' git ta work. I promise, y'all an' yer Dad is gonna thank me, I jes know it!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

If you're scratching your head trying to decide on a dessert to make for Father's Day, dial it back a bit. Dad loves simple comfort foods with bold flavors, and that also goes for desserts. A homemade dessert is the perfect thing, and since cherries are just coming into season, this unfussy recipe may be the ideal sweet finish to make Dad feel like king for a day.

But you don't have to wait for Father's Day to enjoy a fresh cherry treat. Nothing beats homemade fruit crisp for dessert when you just want to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy a sweet moment. This is one of those tasty desserts blessed with both sweet and tart flavors that balance out perfectly. To make the pleasure last longer, take tiny bites and savor each spoonful as if it were the last cherry of the season. In actuality, this is just the beginning of cherry season, so rock on!

Cherry Rhubarb Crisp Bowls


Yield: about 6 servings

    1 1/2 pounds (.680 kg) fresh cherries, washed, stemmed, and pitted
    1 pound (453g) fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
    3/4 cup (180 ml) golden raisins
    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1/3 cup (80 ml) organic sugar
    1/4 cup (60 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    3/4 cup (180 ml) old fashioned rolled oats
    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole wheat pastry flour
    1/2 cup (120 ml) packed brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 cup (120 ml) vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)

Cherry Rhubarb Crisp Bowls

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Gas Mark 4) and have ready an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Place the baking pan on a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Combine the cherries, rhubarb, raisins, and lemon juice in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the sugar, pastry flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss together to incorporate all the dry ingredients completely. Set aside and prepare the Topping.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, pastry flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Break the margarine into small chunks and add to the topping ingredients. Use your hands to combine the margarine with the dry topping ingredients completely.
  6. Spoon the topping mixture over the filling, pressing down gently and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove and cool.

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

Vegetarians in Paradise