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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'm cooking a special Valentine dinner for my boyfriend and thought it would be cool to come up with a little appetizer that's red. I know I could probably put together some sort of salsa but that's not too special. I'm counting on you, so help! Help!

Valentine Cooker

Well, Howdy there Valentine Cooker,

Darlin', I jes loves yer spirit! It's mighty speshul that yer cookin' up some homemade victuals fer yer sweetheart an' I knows in my heart he's gonna see yer makin' that fancy meal jes fer him.

I have the purfect appetizer fer that spechul dinner an' it don't cost an arm an' a leg neither. I call's 'em Bleeding Sweetheart Johnnies an' they's mighty easy fixin's, too.

I kin see yer boyfriend is a lucky man an' I'll bet my cast iron skillet he knows it. If'n he don't, why you kin whomp him one with that skillet!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

The eyes send their first impression of what they see to the brain. These appealing little stuffed cherry tomatoes are sure to whet the appetite at first glance. The Onion Dill Tofu used to fill the tomatoes is versatile enough to become a sandwich filling, a tasty topping for baked potatoes, or simply a delicious spread on your favorite whole-grain bread.


Onion Dill Tofu Spread

    1 14-ounce package firm tofu
    1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced dried onions
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    1 pint cherry tomatoes

    Sprigs of fresh dill
    Pine nuts
    1 leaf greenleaf lettuce or redleaf lettuce

  1. To make the Onion Dill Tofu Spread, rinse and drain the tofu, break it into chunks, and place it into the food processor.
  2. Add the dill, dried onions, lemon juice, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and process to a thick, creamy consistency.
  3. Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes. With a small, serrated knife or a grapefruit spoon, scoop out a portion of the top to create a cavity for stuffing.
  4. Use a pointed teaspoon to stuff the Onion Dill Tofu Spread into the cavity of each tomato.
  5. Garnish the top with a tiny sprig of dill and stand a pine nut upright into the center. Then arrange the stuffed tomatoes on a lettuce-lined platter. The spread makes 2 cups.

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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