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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, .

Well, Howdy-do to all you Veggie Folks,

All this week I been nearly jumpin' three-foot in the air, 'cause I'm so tickled pink 'bout the heirloom tomaters I been pullin' off my vines. They's so sweet 'n juicy I jes couldn't wait ta tell ya, y'all jes got ta try 'em. Now, mind, y'all walk yerself over to the farmers' market, an' no matter what they cost, y'all jes got ta buy some--even if it's only one that you kin afford. You don't even have ta do anythin' to 'em. Jes cut that l'il ole tomater inter quarters an' eat it like it was a juicy peach. You kin slice 'em an' put 'em in a sandwich or chop 'em an' add 'em to the top o' yer salad. Whatever you do with them tomaters, it don't matter--you'll jes love 'em. I tell you, I was nearly raptured up when I tasted my first ripe tomaters this week!

Now, if y'all want ta do somethin' speshul with yer heirloom tomaters, why, you kin turn 'em inter a salad dressin.' Now, y'all go buy some, ya hear?

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Heirloom Tomato

    3 C. (about 1 1/4 lbs.) (.75 liters) chopped yellow/orange heirloom tomatoes
    1 generous sprig fresh basil leaves
    1 t. salt
    1/8 t. cayenne
    2 cloves garlic
    1/4 C. ((60 ml) + 1 T. apple cider vinegar
    1/2 C. (120 ml) organic canola oil

Put all ingredients into the blender, and blend a full minute until mixture is creamy. Pour into a narrow neck bottle and shake well before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Keeps about 5 days. Makes 3 1/2 cups (840 ml).

The version below is oil-free and ideal for anyone wanting to eliminate the added calories from the typical oil-based dressing:

    3 C. (about 1 1/4 lbs.) (.75 liters) chopped yellow/orange heirloom tomatoes
    1 generous sprig fresh basil leaves
    1 t. salt
    1/4 t. + 1/8 t. xanthan gum*
    1/8 t. cayenne
    2 cloves garlic
    1/4 C. (60 ml) + 1 T. apple cider vinegar
    2 t. balsamic vinegar (optional)

Put all ingredients into the blender, and blend a full minute until mixture is creamy and slightly thickened. Pour into a bowl and serve with a ladle. Store leftovers in an airtight plastic container. Keeps for about 5 days. Makes 3 cups (.75 liters).

* Xanthan Gum
A powdered natural carbohydrate that is used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer in hot or cold foods and is soluble in water. I find it ideal for thickening oil-free salad dressing. Xanthan gum is produced by a culture fermentation of glucose and micro organisms called Xanthomonas Campestris and is free of wheat, corn, gluten, fat, and dairy products. The USDA lists no known toxic effects. Look for this powder in natural food markets

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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