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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 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 not very good at making soups yet. I just got married and discovered by husband just loves soups. How about a simple recipe for a yummy soup?


Howdy there Dorothy,

First off I want to wish you an' yer sweetheart a heap of happy years t'gether. It's so nice yer wantin' to pleas yer man with one of his favorite foods. You kin count on me to help you git a steamin' soup on the table in no time at all.

Now you just let me know how he likes this deeelicious creamy soup.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Not until you've tasted this divine soup can you imagine that walnuts could be credited for bringing such rich flavor and creamy texture to a soup. With so few ingredients to assemble, you can whip up this tasty soup in close to 30 minutes and enjoy it for a light lunch along with salad or as a starter for dinner. A hearty bowl of soup and hearty whole- grain bread or whole wheat pita seem like perfect partners. Provide a tasty spread like hummus, and you've got the makings of a terrific meal.


    Yield: 4 servings

    1 cup (240 ml) walnuts

    2 cups (480 ml) chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/2 (120 ml) cup water
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    3 cups (720 ml) unsweetened soymilk
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red miso
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
    Freshly ground pepper

    1 tablespoon veggie bacon bits
    1 green onion, green part only, sliced

  1. Toast the walnuts in a deep skillet over high heat, stirring frequently for about 1 to 2 minutes and remove them to a dish to cool.
  2. Combine the celery, onions, garlic, water, and olive oil in a 6 to 8-quart (6 to 8 liter) stockpot and cook and stir over high heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and transparent. Add small amounts of water as needed while cooking.
  3. Transfer all the vegetables to the blender, or transfer them in 2 batches, add the toasted walnuts, soymilk, miso, salt, tarragon, and pepper and process on low speed for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and process for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the soup is thoroughly pureed and creamy.
  4. Return the soup to the stockpot and gently warm it over medium heat. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of paprika, veggie bacon bits, and sliced green onions before serving.

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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