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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 an/or get her cooking advice, .


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:
YAM AND NUT BUTTER SOUP

Fiftieth in a series of articles

BY AUNT NETTIE

Howdy there darlins',

Well, I can surely see we're enjoyin' the fruits an' veggies of another mighty fine harvest season. Why, t'other day I was at the farmstand an' what did I see but a handsome stalk o' bright green an' fat l'il ole Brussels sprouts. I decided right then an' there I was a-gonna come back next week an' buy me one o' them. I kin almost taste 'em now--but no, I jes set my mind ta stir me up some fixin's with them tiny cabbages next week--an' that's what it's gonna be.

This week my veggie garden's got me mighty busy keepin' up with them tomaters, 5 kinds o' lettuce, kale, an' my very speshul taters, too! An' Oh! my, my, them sweet an' bright orange taters ever'body calls yams is jes a-settin' on my countertop an' waitin' with the patience of a saint fer me ta make 'em inter my fav'rite soup. So that deelicious kettle o' soup's gonna cost me near ta nothin'.

Even if ya buy them yams at the market, they's not gonna cost a heap o' dollars and that nice pot o' soup kin go a fur piece fer not much money.

It's gonna feel mighty nice ta have some of' them nice sweet yams from the new harvest. I know, I know, they's been around all year long jes like a heap o' other veggies, but them jes ain't the same as a fresh new crop, they ain't. This here fall season's the proper time fer folks to be eatin' them yams, sweet 'taters, an' all sorts o' squashes --an' my true testimonial is this-- they even tastes better in October than they did June, an' that's the truth!

So, that's why I jes love this fall season-- Why, this week I done bought me some nice big pomegranates--ain't seen one o' them since last October, I ain't. Cain't you jes imagine how purty them l'il pomegranate seeds would look jes a-floatin' on top that nice bowl o' Yam an Nut Butter Soup an' lookin' bright as a pansy--yesiree, it's a mighty good way ta make that bowl o' soup look perky.

Well darlin's, I surely hope y'all enjoy this mighty fine kettle o' soup an save enough o' yer hard earned dollars to have a l'il fun, too.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie



This kettle of soup, enriched with the addition of wholesome peanut butter, can fall into two categories: an appetite teaser that will serve twelve to fourteen guests, or a wholesome entrée for six hearty appetites. Offer guests a small starter by serving the soup in attractive teacups. As a main dish, begin with a salad and serve a generous portion of soup along with whole grain bread. This is one of the delicious recipes from Zel's cookbook The Nut Gourmet.

Yam and Nutbutter Soup

YAM AND NUTBUTTER SOUP

Yield: 6 servings as an entrée; 12 to 14 servings as an appetizer

    1 medium onion, chopped
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    4 cups (1 liter) regular or low-fat soymilk
    3 cups (720 ml) peeled and chopped yams

    1/3 cup (80 ml) unsalted peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

    Garnish
    1/2 cup (120 ml) canned corn, drained
    Paprika
    Pomegranate seeds

  1. Combine the onion, water, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt, and pepper, in a 6-quart (6 liter) stockpot. Cook and stir over high heat, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are softened.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the soymilk and yams. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, or until the yams are softened.
  3. Use an immersion blender to process the soup in the stockpot, or put the soup in the blender in batches. Process until smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the stockpot.
  4. Add the nut butter, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to the stockpot and whisk until well blended and creamy. Gently warm through over medium heat.
  5. Carefully spoon the soup into teacups, small dessert bowls, or soup bowls, and garnish with a spoonful or two of the corn heaped into the center, a dash of paprika, and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

Note: If the soup is a little too thick for your liking, simply thin it with a small amount of extra soymilk and adjust the seasonings.




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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