GARNISH: Herbed garlic Croutons, 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley and 2 T lemon peel, or grated Parmesan cheese, optional.
In a Dutch oven or 4-5 qt saucepan, melt margarine. Add celery, garlic, and onion. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add vegetable stock, peas, and white pepper. Over med heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Transfer mixture to bowl of food processor. Cool slightly. Puree.
Return mixture to pan; add milk and nutmeg. Heat through, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Top each serving with garnish if desired.
VARIATION: Stir in 1 carrot, steamed and sliced, additional whole peas, or sauteed and sliced mushrooms.