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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, .

Hi Aunt Nettie,

My husband and I are hosting a Christmas party for his office and wondered if you had any good ideas for an easy vegan spread that we can serve on those little pumpernickel cocktail breads--something colorful with a touch of red and green for the holiday.

Your friend,

Marlene P.

Howdy there Marlene,

Well, darlin', o' course I got a deelicious spread that's gonna look as purty as a picture fer yer party. It's easy fixin's an' you kin even make it the day b'fore the party. Then, an hour or so b'fore yer folks comes, y'all jes spread it on the bread an' add a tad o' color with some chopped up red bell pepper an' them stuffed green olives. Yer gonna have 'em beggin' fer yer recipe--you jes wait an' see!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Artichoke Spread


    1 pound (450 g) extra-firm tofu, drained and rinsed
    1 (14-ounce) (396 g) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained, liquid reserved
    3 cloves garlic
    1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons artichoke liquid

    1/3 cup (80 ml) plus 1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper
    1/3 cup (80 ml) plus 1 tablespoon diced stuffed green olives

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the red bell pepper and green olives in the food processor and process to a smooth, creamy consistency.
  2. Transfer the spread to a medium mixing bowl and add 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the diced red bell pepper and 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the diced green olives. Stir well to distribute them evenly throughout the spread.
  3. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with the remaining red bell pepper and green olives. Sprinkle with a dash of paprika and serve with crackers, toasted whole-grain pita wedges, or cocktail breads. Makes about 3 cups (720 ml).

To create appealing canapes, place a heaping teaspoon of the spread on slices of pumpernickel cocktail bread. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. To garnish, place a slice of stuffed green olive in the center and sprinkle a few diced red bell peppers over the tops. Finish with a tiny sprig of fresh dill. Makes about 40 to 50 canapes.

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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