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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Expert Recipes and Elfin Cookery

This has been a particularly brutal winter for us deep in the Heart O’Dixie…we MAY have some days below freezing and an occasional snow every 5 to 10 years but THIS WINTER has not been kind. We had our SECOND icing and icky slickery day this past Tuesday (March 3rd). The northern part of the state even got measurable snow…again. Well, the Elf hunkered down and made it work by, well….cooking.

For our Expert and the Elf dish this week, we certainly did pick a winner. It was the FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Tofu and Vegetables with Lower-Fat Thai Peanut Sauce. Of course, what’s an Elf dish without some kind of miscue, mishap, or other mayhem that seems to be an ‘elf-mark’. This was no exception. Susan’s wonderful recipe calls for fresh basil leaves. And I THOUGHT I had put that on my once a week grocery list but what….NOT! And I’m bound and determined to stick to the once weekly grocery visit. I did have some fresh cilantro so I used that instead of the basil (apologies to Susan). The cilantro worked fine as Big Solid and the Elf are cilantro lovers. Many folks aren’t, so the BASIL should be the herb of choice—THAT’S WHY IT’S IN THE RECIPE!!
Steamed veggies
Bubbly and yummy peanut sauce
Final dish--almost ate it all before the picture!!
The selection for this week’s Expert and the Elf dish is a bit different. I’m going to make the FatFree Vegan’s version of a ‘hot dog’ and even attempt to make vegan hot dog buns. So, come next Sunday, you MAY see just the FFVK hot dog OR the FFVK hot dog in a BUN!
Big Solid and I have managed to stay pretty much in line with our Sunday, Monday and Tuesday meals of soup and grilled ‘cheese’, stuffed baked potato with cheesy cauliflower sauce (compliments of FFVK), grilled vegetables or zucchini noodles with peanut sauce and/or left-over FFVK from last week. Unfortunately, we had NO FFVK left to polish off on Sunday night as we ate the whole recipe on Wednesday night! The Tofu and Vegetables with Lower-Fat Peanut Sauce is THAT GOOD!
Stuffed baked potato with cheesy cauliflower sauce!!
My brother and his sweetheart will be joining us in a few weeks to party down and generally engage in frivolity and fun for the Sweet Potato Queens Zippity-Doo-Dah weekend. I want to be as prepared as can be so I’m not in the kitchen cookin’ all the time and can join in the fun. So, I am working ahead and freezing all the stuffs that can be made ahead. So, there is now a double batch of vegan sausage rolls, a double batch of The Gentle Chef’s Shredded Chikun, and a double batch of plant-based Andouille sausages (again, The Gentle Chef).  These ‘sausages’ will be used in a GIGANTIC batch of one of our most favorite dishes in the world…Red Beans and Rice. From last week's elf-forts we also have biscuits and cornsticks. This week we’ll also be working on some additional breads to freeze.
Vegan 'sausage rolls'
First batch of biscuits to freeze

Vegan Cornsticks for the freezer

Shredded Chikun as prepared
Sauteed Shredded Chikun is SO GOOD!! Tastes like chicken!
Plant-based Andouille Sausage--very spicy!!
If you’ve not heard of or are aware of The Sweet Potato Queens or Zippity-Doo-Dah weekend in Jackson MS, you’ve missed a terrific happening. It’s all about laughter, having a great time, and raising money for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital. Her Royal Highness Jill Conner Browne, THE Sweet Potato Queen, reigns supreme all weekend and it’s a blast. 
Y’all have a wonderful week ahead and join us again next Sunday for another riveting culinary experience with The Elf in the Kitchen as we hopefully get BEYOND this chilly winter and barreling headlong into spring. So, that’s a wrap for this week…make that a vegan wrap. Til next week, y’all, breathe deep, eat plants and love life.
The Elf


  1. Tofu and peanut sauce will be happening soon here! I'll use PB2 (powdered peanut butter made by Bell Plantation and reconstituted with water) to lower the fat more...

    1. I never thought about the PB2 and I actually have some. What a great idea to cut it even more. Thanks for your comment!!