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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 married into a family of chocoholics--they just can't get enough of the stuff! Do you have a favorite chocolate dessert I can surprise them with for Christmas dinner?


Howdy there, Marlena,

Well, darlin', I surely do have a speshul recipe fer yer bunch o' chocoholics. I plumb got lucky when I come up with this recipe I'm gonna give ya. An', yes, it's purfect fer yer Christmas dinner.

I started out tryin' ta make jes a plain ole chocolate sauce, an' when I took it outa the fridge next day, why I figgered I was losin' my mind. 'Stead o' sauce, it up an' turned inter somethin' more like frostin' cept it was lots creamier.

An' when I tasted my accident, why I started frettin' an mutterin' 'bout how was I gonna make a sauce outa this! That's when my kinfolk tasted it an done tole me I made the best truffle they's ever tasted. So I simmered down an' stopped frettin', an' got to work makin' a toppin' ta go with my accident.

Puttin' them two together, the cranberry toppin' an that chocolate, why they was tastin' like I was sittin' up there with all them angels an' was mighty pleased 'bout it! I think yer gonna like this dessert mighty fine, an' it's fixin's ya don't have ta fuss all day with.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


    2 C. (.5 liters) soymilk
    3/4 C. (180 ml) + 2 T. evaporated cane juice

    8 oz. (225 g) dairy-free unsweetened chocolate

    1 t. vanilla extract

  1. Combine soymilk and evaporated cane juice in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved, about 1 or 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium.
  2. Add chocolate and stir continuously until chocolate is completely dissolved, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  3. Cool slightly and add vanilla.
  4. Pour the mixture into a high speed-blender and blend until thick and creamy.
  5. Spoon into 6 small dessert cups or long-stem wine glasses, leaving at least 1/2-inch (1 cm) of space at the top. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to firm it.
  6. At dessert time serve the cups of chocolate truffle, and pass the Cranberry Syrup to spoon over the top. Serves 6.

Cranberry Syrup

    2 C. (.5 liters) fresh whole cranberries
    1 C. (240 ml) + 2 T. evaporated cane juice
    2 C. (.5 liters) water
  1. Combine the cranberries, evaporated cane juice, and water in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Bring it to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Turn heat down to medium, and simmer 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Cool 10 minutes, then pour it into the blender and process until smooth. Pour into a small pitcher or an attractive serving bowl, and refrigerate until well chilled. Stir vigorously just before serving. Makes 3 cups (.75 liters).

An alternate way to enjoy the chocolate mixture is to serve it warm as a creamy mousse immediately after preparing it.

Leftover Cranberry Syrup pairs well with almost any fruit. Us it as a dipping sauce with wedges of fresh fruit or spoon the syrup over fruit salad. Pancakes and waffles make an ideal base for the syrup as well.

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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