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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 bought pumpkins galore for Halloween for the kids. Now what do I do with them?

Your friend,
Darlene



Darlene, you li'l darlin',

Now don't you fret none. With Halloween behind y'all, I figured there'd be some folks just a-starin' at a few o' them bright orange punkins that never got 'round to bein' carved inta Jack o'lanterns--ya might jes call 'em the leftovers o' Halloween. Of course, it leaves ya puzzlin' 'bout just what ta do with them ole punkins that are takin' up space on yer kitchen counter.

My solution--why, jes make a pot o' soup! Nothin' feels more satisfyn' when them chilly autumn nights come along

I chose a pie punkin fer this speshul soup. That's 'cause Farmer John, the farmer who owns the farmstand close by, recommends them cute li'l pie punkins fer their meatier innards, but, actually, any punkin will do. Now, jes remember ta set out a bowl fer me--I jes love homemade soup.

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


Pumpkin PUMPKIN PARSNIP SOUP

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 pie pumpkin or other pumpkin, about 3 1/2 lbs

7 cups (1.75 liters) water
3 large parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 sticks cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup (120 ml) quinoa
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) water

3 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup (240 ml) water

1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
Dash nutmeg

  1. Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Lay the pumpkin half on a cutting board cut side down, and cut 1-inch (2 1/2 cm) slices. Lay the slices on their sides and remove the skin cutting downward with a firm chef's knife. Cut the pumpkin into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks and put them into a large stock pot.
  2. Add the water, sliced parsnips, cinnamon sticks, salt, and pepper to the stockpot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until softened, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water to remove its bitter saponin coating. Combine the quinoa and water in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and steam 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is softened and all the water is absorbed.
  4. Put the carrots in a deep skillet with the water and cook over high heat until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. When the pumpkin and parsnips are softened, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the food processor. Process until they are completely pureed. Return the puree to the stockpot and add the cooked quinoa and carrots and thin with additional water if soup is too thick.
  6. Add the maple syrup, allspice, cinnamon, and salt to taste. Cook another 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve steaming hot with a dash of ground nutmeg.





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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