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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, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I'm planning a rather large party next month and want to serve a nice variety of raw veggies and dips as a starter. I know it's impossible to do everything in one day, so I thought of cutting all the vegetables the day before. What's the best way to keep them fresh? Hope you have some suggestions for me.



Howdy Maria,

How lucky yer party folks are to be treated to fresh vegetables, the bestest food in the world. Yer such a darlin' ta go ta the trouble. These days ain't many folks spendin' much time in the kitchen. Land sakes! They jes' don't know what they're missin'. Now there I go a-ramblin' when I should git right down ta business.

Right off the bat, git out a nice deep bowl, fill it with water 'bout 3/4 full, an' set it on the counter. Now, let's start with the drier veggies. First, wash all them purty l'il veggies afore any cuttin' up. Now, peel yer carrots, cut 'em any which way ya like, and plunk 'em right inta the bowl with the water. Then cut up yer celery, radishes, cauliflower, an' broccoli an' plunk 'em right cozy inta the bowl with the carrots. If yer includin' beets, put them in a separate bowl so everthin' don't turn red. Hope yer fridge is purty good size 'cause it's a-gonna git filled up right quick.

Fer makin' the veggies look mighty fancy, use one o' them crinkle cutters if y'all have one. If yer like me, yer sure ta have one 'cause ya jes' can't live without one! If y'all know how ta make radish roses, those look even better the next day 'cause the petals open up nice 'n wide in the water.

Basket Now, mind, 'cause this is important. Yer vegetables that are kinda wet, like bell peppers, jicama, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, Jerusalem artichokes, an' kohlrabi should be washed, dried, an' put separately inta them plastic bags with the little zippers. Jes' afore ya do that final zippin', push on the baggies ta git out all the air. All them vegetable-filled baggies goes inta the fridge, too.

If yer usin parsley or greens o' some sort, wash 'em thoroughly, shake out the extra water, and dry 'em with a cloth kitchen towel. These go inta them baggies with the zippers, too, an' don't ferget to push out the air afore storin' in the fridge.

Mushrooms an' green beans can be washed separately right quick an' dried with a nice terrycloth kitchen towel. Then it's inta the zipper baggies and inta the fridge.

Last of all, lets talk 'bout tomaters. Cherry tomaters can be washed, dried, and put into a bowl or plunked inta the plastic baggies. But, I hafta tell ya true, I purfer ta wash 'em the day o' the party. That way they taste fresh as the day they came off the vine.

Now, my little secret fer impressin' yer party folks is ta call them plain ole raw veggies by the fancy French word Crudités. If yer writin' it out, be sure ta put in that l'il accent mark and pronounce it CROOD - it - tayz. That'll have 'em standin' on their hind legs!

Well, Maria, the most important thing of all when yer havin' a party is ta relax an' enjoy it. If yer havin' a grand ole time, sure 'nuff yer friends will too.

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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