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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 vegetarian 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 hear about fruit salsas, but I'm not sure how to make one and what I'm supposed to serve it with. Do you have any ideas?

Your friend, Darlene

Howdy there, Darlene,

I jes love fixin's that are made with them fresh 'n chipper fruits 'n vegetables right from yer garden or from the farmstand. Darlin', you jes git out yer favorite kitchen knife an' prepare yerself fer a little cuttin'.

Now there's Summer Fruit Salsa an' there's Winter Fruit Salsa, dependin' on what's in season when yer itchin' fer somethin' extra ta make yer meal speshul. An' don't ferget there's veggie salsa, too. Be sure ta add a tiny touch o' herbs that makes a salsa bright an' sunny, an' a little touch o' spice is mighty fine 'cause it gives a little zip to yer life.

When yer finished with yer fixin's, jes spoon the salsa inter a nice purty bowl an' serve it up with yer main dish--don't matter if'n they's beans or rice or tofu. Salsa is a little side dish that puts a tad o' color on yer plate an' a whoop-dee-doo poke to yer tastin' buds.

I'm gonna give y'all a deelicious recipe ta git ya started. Then, turn ya loose with some ideas fer creatin' yer very own kind o' salsa that you kin flavor up the way ya likes. You kin do yer own mixin' an' matchin'--ain't no rules that says ya cain't. An' if ya comes up with a really stand-up'n holler salsa, why you jes send it along, an' I'll share it with everbody so's they kin enjoy it too.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Mango Salsa Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 large mango, peeled and diced
    10 snow peas, trimmed, cut in half crosswise
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/3 cup (80 ml) diced sweet onion
    1/4 cup (60 ml) minced mint leaves
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Pinch cayenne

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss well. Serve immediately or chill and serve later. The salsa can even be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

Basic Recipe Guide for Salsa
Determine whether the salsa will be fruit or vegetable dominated. The recipe above is fruit dominated, but when your favorite vegetables are in season, you may decide to do a vegetable salsa. Perhaps fresh, uncooked corn cut from the cob, tomatoes from your garden, or homegrown cucumbers will be the focus of your salsa.

Choose from the items below to create your own recipe.

Diced fruit (summer, winter, or tropical)
Diced vegetables for crunchy texture (celery, jicama, bell peppers, radishes, kohlrabi, turnips, snap peas, sweet onions, red or green cabbage, green onions)
Minced garlic
Minced ginger
Minced chiles
Chopped fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, sorrel, thyme, tarragon, oregano, dill)
Lemon juice, lime juice, or one of many varieties of vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Summer Fruits: Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, grapes, cherries, figs, strawberries
Tropical Fruits Year Round: Mangos, papayas, pineapple, coconut, avocados, kiwi
Winter Fruits: Apples, pears, oranges, tangerines, persimmons, kumquats, Asian pears

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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