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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 need a great tasting and very colorful pot luck dish to bring to a summer party. I don't have a lot of time to spend at it because I work all week and have to do shopping and cleaning on the weekend. Is there anything that might fit into my schedule?

Busy gal,

Well Howdy there Anita,

I kin see y'all got yer hands full, but don't you fret none, child, 'cause when yer out doin' yer shoppin' jes pick up a package o' them glass noodles at a Chinese or Japanese market, or maybe yer regular market has 'em. Then all's ya do is boil 'em up, an toss 'em together with a heap o' nice fresh veggies. Now, that weren't so bad an' that bowl o' salad is gonna look mighty purty sittin' on the potluck table.

Dependin' how many folks is comin', y'all might need ta double or even triple the recipe. But that's not trubblesome neither. Well, darlin', I sure hopes yer nice recipe makes them party folks mighty pleased.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

A recipe that looks as good as it tastes, this Asian influenced salad is ideal for summer entertaining. It comes together quickly and can even be made the day before, giving the salad a marinated quality.


    2 ounces (55g) dry yam noodles*
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    3 cups (720 ml) shredded green cabbage
    1 cup (240 ml) snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
    1 medium carrot, shredded
    1/2 of a red bell pepper, cut into thin julienne
    1/2 cup (120 ml) raw macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
    4 button mushrooms, sliced
    3 green onions, chopped
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
    1 tablespoon maple syrup

    1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
    Sprig of fresh cilantro or basil

  1. Fill a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan two-thirds full with water, add the salt, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Plunge the yam noodles into boiling water, and keeping the water at a gentle boil, cook for about 10 minutes or until the noodles are transparent and very soft. Drain in a colander and cut noodles with a knife or scissors into manageable lengths. Toss them into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except sesame seeds and cilantro, and toss well to blend the flavors. Transfer the salad to an attractive serving bowl and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and a sprig of fresh herbs. Makes 4 servings.

* Yam noodles are available in Asian markets

To make the salad even heartier, cut 1/2-pound (225g) of extra-firm tofu into chunks. Toss them into a skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cook over high heat, tossing frequently for about 4 or 5 minutes until golden brown. The skillet will run dry, but keep tossing the tofu over high heat until it turns a warm golden brown.

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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