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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, .

Dear Aunt Nettie,

I've gone vegan for about a year now, and I'm not sorry one bit. There is a however, though. I really miss creamed soups like crazy, especially cream of mushroom soup. Is there a way to make it vegan?



Howdy do, Michelle,

I knows what them hankerin's is like darlin'. I hears it all the time from folks jes missin' their favorite dishes they left behind. But child, you don't have to put that deevine soup in yer past--you kin put it right back on the table by adjustin' a few o' them fixin's.

Now you jes give a look-see at them ingredients, make yerself a shoppin' list, and git out that ole soup kettle. I jes know yer gonna have a mighty fine bowl o' soup tonight!

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie


    Mushroom 15 dried shiitake mushrooms
    3 C. (720 ml) boiling water

    1/2 lb. (225 g) cremini mushrooms
    1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
    1 clove garlic, finely minced
    1 T. extra virgin olive oil
    3 T. water

    1/2 t. marjoram
    Pinch of each thyme, oregano, rosemary
    3/4 t. salt
    1/8 t. ground black pepper
    1 T. Bragg Liquid Aminos
    1 medium carrot, shredded

    1 12-oz. (340 g) pkg. soft silken tofu
    1 C. (240 ml) unsweetened soymilk

    2 T. cornstarch
    2 T. water

  1. Put shiitake mushrooms into a medium-size bowl, pour boiling water over them, and soak for 1 hour.
  2. After soaking, snip off stems from shiitakes and discard. Reserve soak water. Put the mushrooms into the food processor and process into small bits. Transfer to a stockpot.
  3. Wash crimini mushrooms and process them along with the onions into small bits in the processor. Transfer them to the stockpot along with minced garlic.
  4. Add olive oil and water to stockpot, and sauté over high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Measure soak water. It should measure at least 2 1/4 cups (540 ml). If less, add water to make up the difference. Add soak water to the stockpot along with marjoram, herbs, salt, pepper, Bragg Liquid Aminos, and shredded carrot.
  6. Cream silken tofu and soy milk in the food processor and add to stockpot. Cook over medium high heat until soup begins to simmer. Gently simmer about 5 to 7 minutes to harmonize flavors.
  7. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl or cup and stir to a runny paste. Add to bubbling soup a little at a time until thickened to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve. Makes 6 hearty servings.

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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