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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, click on Aunt Nettie below:

Aunt Nettie

Dear Aunt Nettie,

With some special holidays coming up, I need to spruce up my menu with something new in a vegetable dish that's not too complicated. I'll bet you have something up your sleeve.



Howdy there Clara

Well, darlin', you jes know I always got a heap o' ideas 'bout cooking them vegetables an' I think yer gonna kick up yer heels when ya git a taste o' roasted onions an' anise all cooked an' sittin' purty in a dish. Why, them flavers jes hits them taste buds like sweet love in spring. An' mind, them onions is good cancer fighters--an' did y'all know they kin help ta lower blood pressure, too? An' all's ya do is cut 'em up, put 'em on a bakin' sheet, an' let yer oven do the rest. Cain't git easier than that, now, can it! 'Nother nice thing 'bout this recipe--ain't no fat in it--no, not a drop!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Yield: 4 servings

    3 large onions
    3 anise bulbs, cut into 8 wedges, then into 2-inch (5 cm) lengths
    1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil,
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
    2 tablespoons minced garlic
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    1 or 2 sprigs of fresh herbs for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5) and line a large jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Peel the onions leaving the bottom stem ends intact. Cut the onions into eight wedges and put them into a large bowl. Add the anise and red bell pepper to the onion bowl.
  3. Combine the basil, dill, mint, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl, toss well, and add them to the onions and anise. Mix well with a wooden spoon and transfer the vegetables to the prepared jellyroll pan.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and roast 20 minutes. Uncover and turn the vegetables over. Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are tender when gently pierced with a fork.
  5. Adjust seasoning, transfer to an attractive serving dish, and garnish with a sprig or two of fresh herbs and a dusting of paprika.

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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