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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,

My husband just loves mushrooms and is always asking me to make a mushroom dish. I have a few recipes, but I need some fresh ideas and thought you could help.


Well Howdy there Deanna,

You bet yer mushroom caps I kin help. Why, I thinks I loves mushrooms almost as much as yer hubby does. How 'bout stuffin' 'em with somethin' like an Italian Bread Salad, only better 'cause I done perked up the recipe. Now you jes take one taste, and I'll betcha you'll be dancin' the tarantella. Nice thing 'bout this recipe is y'all don't even have to cook them mushrooms or nothin' that goes inside neither. These mushrooms make a dern good starter. They's even fun to bring to a pot luck! I surely hope y'all enjoy 'em.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Capture the flavors of southern Italy and northern Spain in one tasty, no-cook appetizer that instantly beckons with its good looks. Combine whole wheat bread, walnuts, and pungent Spanish olives with red wine vinegar, stuff the combo into a mushroom, and you've got one delicious morsel full of brassy life. These special mushrooms are best served the same day they are prepared.


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    12 to 14 large button mushrooms, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) in diameter

    2 slices whole wheat bread

    1 medium tomato, de-seeded and diced
    1/2 cup (120 ml) walnuts coarsely ground in a nut mill
    1/3 cup (80 ml) diced sweet onions
    1/4 cup (60 ml) minced Spanish olives
    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 or 2 leaves green leaf lettuce
    1 or 2 sprigs parsley

  1. Wash the mushrooms and pat them dry with paper towels. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb to remove the stems. Set the stems aside to add to a future recipe.
  2. Break the bread into small pieces and put them into a medium bowl. Moisten the bread by pouring warm water to cover over the pieces. Then drain thoroughly and squeeze the bread dry.
  3. Add the diced tomato, walnuts, onions, Spanish olives, vinegar, garlic, and salt to the moistened bread and mix well. Stuff generous portions of the bread mixture into the mushroom cavities.
  4. To serve, line a serving dish with lettuce leaves, arrange the mushrooms on top, garnish each with a tiny sprig of parsley, and enjoy a nutty good starter.

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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