Dead Vegetable Soup

1 1/2 cups oldish onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup celery nearing retirement, chopped
1/2 cup little old sweet peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
dash of cayenne
bay leaf
1/2 cup potatoes, in chunks
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
2 cups elderly vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, summer or winter squash, leeks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplant, peas, green beans, corn, carrots), chopped
6 cups stock or water
1 teaspoon tamari
1 tablespoons dry red wine
1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cranky parsley, chopped
freshly ground pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
freshly baked croutons made from stale bread, optional

Pick and choose among your favorite vegetables and spices--just follow the directions as to when to add them so they don't become overdone.

In a soup kettle, sauté onions, garlic, celery and sweet peppers in olive oil about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add salt, paprika, basil, thyme, cloves, cayenne and bay leaf to the mixture. Add potatoes and carrots, continue sautéing about 8 minutes. Add remaining vegetables except tomatoes; sauté another 5 minutes.

Add boiling stock or water, tamari, wine, lemon juice and simmer another 10 minutes or so--until all the vegetables are tender. Top with chopped tomatoes, parsley, a few grinds of pepper, Parmesan cheese, croutons and serve immediately.

 Makes 4 servings.

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