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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, .


Editor's Note: Instead of Aunt Nettie answering individual questions, she has decided to address a number of requests from people who want to save money on the food budget and still enjoy healthy dining. This is one of a series of money-saving tips and recipes designed to stretch those slim dollars.

As an example of Aunt Nettie's impressive, penny-pinching ability to save, she still has some depression glass dishes and bowls in the cupboard--they're the real thing and she still treasures them.

In future issues of Vegetarians in Paradise, Aunt Nettie and her niece Zel will offer more money-saving recipes for the most extreme skinflints along with suggestions to help bargain-hunter foodies seek out cheap fare that still brings good cheer to the table.



RECESSION GRUB:
FRESH TOMATO SOUP

Twenty-ninth in a series of articles

BY AUNT NETTIE


Howdy there Darlin's,

Well, we're gitten ta the end of summer and the end of some of my favrite summer fruits and vegetables. But there's still plenty of good pickin's left at the farmstands and farmers' markets that's cheap enuff ta make good eats an' stretch them dollars.

Farmers always have a few tomaters that's gone soft an' cain't sell at the regular price. Now that farmer would cry if'n he had to toss them tomaters in the garbage, but he knows that if'n he offers 'em up at a good cheap price, why plenty o' customers would buy 'em.

This is the purfect time ta find that box o' soft tomaters that sell good an' cheap. They's purfect fer a nice warm or cold tomater soup. Buy the whole box if the price is right an' put them tomaters ta work in the soup kettle.

I knows that makin' soup sounds like lots o' fussin' but I kin tell ya true this soup is so easy, why anyone in the family kin whip this up an have it ready fer dinner before the hour's up. I'm not just a-pullin' yer leg, darlin's--any whipper-snapper in the house kin git these fixin's together.

Now, if'n that box o' tomaters is really big, why just double the recipe an' put half of it inter the freezer. An' when that autumn chill comes on, why you'll be good 'n' ready with a nice kettle o' soup fer yer family.

I surely do hope you kin find that purfect box o' soft tomaters.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie



FRESH TOMATO SOUP

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    2 medium onions, chopped
    2 medium carrots, diced
    2 ribs celery, chopped
    5 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed

    12 medium tomatoes, stemmed and cut into 8ths
    1 quart (1 liter) vegetable broth
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

    1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    Pepper
    Pinch cayenne, optional

Garnish Suggestions:
    Vegan Parmesan
    Chopped green onions
    Chopped peanuts
    Chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, or dill)
    Fresh or canned corn kernels
  1. Combine the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in an 8 to 10-quart (liter) stockpot and water-sauté for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are transparent and softened. Add small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables.
  2. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and tarragon and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes.
  3. In batches, transfer the soup to the blender and process until fully pureed. Alternatively, use an infusion blender to blend the soup in the pot.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a pinch of cayenne to spice it up if desired. Serve immediately or chill and serve when ready. This soup also makes a delicious cold soup. Garnish with one or more of the suggested items and enjoy.



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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