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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 recently adopted a vegan diet and lifestyle and am feeling great. The only challenge I'm facing is a very inconsiderate neighbor who regularly barbecues hamburgers and steaks and says to me, "What do you have on your barbecue, lettuce? Ha Ha Ha!"

What can I barbecue? Any suggestions?


Leah, you poor l'il darlin',

You surely do have an inconsiderate neighbor. Now don't you fret none, 'cause we're gonna whup the pants off yer next door friend with some deelicious surprises on yer barbecue. Yer gonna be sendin' mighty temptin' aromas his way, and purty soon he'll be beggin' fer some of yer recipes.

Here's the menu fer 4 hungry folks:

Jamaican Spice Portabella Mushrooms
Barbecued Tempeh
Marinated Tofu
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Grilled Veggie Skewers

Now jes' add a nice tossed salad fer starters and finish up with some fresh melon, either watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe 'r one of them fancy melons like Persian 'r canary. There's yer knock 'em-off-the-timber summer barbecue that'll match anything yer silly neighbor kin cook up. Now be sure to look down below fer them grillin' recipes.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Portabella Marinade

1 1/2 C. (355 ml) unsweetened pineapple juice
1 3/4 t. salt
1 3/4 t. ground allspice
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
1/4 + 1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 C. (79 ml) fresh ginger, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 to 4 serrano chiles, cut in half, seeded, and finely minced
1/2 C. (118 ml) chopped onions
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. maple syrup

4 large portabella mushrooms

  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a 9" x 13" (23 cm x 32.5 cm) shallow pan and stir well.
  2. Cut stems of mushrooms flush with the base so mushrooms will lie flat. Put mushrooms and stems into the marinade, turning to coat evenly. Marinate several hours or overnight, turning several times to flavor evenly.
  3. Remove mushrooms from the marinade, and grill them over hot coals about 5 to 10 minutes, turning frequently and basting with marinade each time you turn them. Watch carefully to avoid burning.


Start with a 12-oz. (340 g) piece of any kind of tempeh. Score the tempeh lightly on both sides and cut into 4 equal pieces. Marinate in the same pan as the mushrooms. Grill along with the mushrooms about 10 minutes, turning and basting frequently.


Begin with 12 oz. to 1 lb. (340 g to 453 g) of extra firm tofu. Cut the tofu into 1/2" (1 cm) thick slices. Make a marinade of Bragg Liquid Aminos (or Tamari or soy sauce) and apple cider vinegar. Find the proportion that pleases you simply by relying on your taste buds. Marinate for at least 2 hours. If you have a barbecue basket, put the tofu slices into the basket and grill 5 minutes on each side. Without the basket, just grill the slices 5 minutes on each side, turning them with a spatula.


Go to http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch9.html and you'll find the recipe for grilling corn right in the husks. You might want to cook the corn first, since they take about 20 minutes. You'll also need to cool the corn for several minutes before attempting to shuck them. While they're cooling, you can be grilling the other components of your barbecue.


Prepare skewers of your favorite summer vegetables arranging them in a colorful order for visual appeal. Here are some vegetable suggestions: Red, yellow, and green bell peppers, zucchini, yellow crookneck squashes, patty pan squashes, red and white onion slices, button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, eggplant cubes, sliced sweet potatoes, sliced butternut or kabocha squash.

Brush your skewers with a well-seasoned oil and vinegar dressing, or make your own brush-on marinade. Turn skewers frequently, and cook about 10 to 12 minutes total.

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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