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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dances with Elves

It seems like we had just pushed the ‘publish’ button on the blog site when lo and behold, it’s time to do it again. The Elfin kitchen has been busy doin’ lots of fun stuffs this week while KEEPIN’ to her pledge of ONE grocery trip a month (notwithstanding those items we cannot find at our local Kroger). Some things have been yummy and some things have been mediocre and ONE thing was a damn near disaster (salvaged on a wing and a prayer and some brown sugar). First things first, though…our EXPERT (and that would be Susan Voisin’s awesome site of FatFree Vegan Kitchen) recipes for this past week were fun and good.
As we have been doing lately, we prepared two FFVK recipes this week—trying to keep things on the lighter side. Our fist recipe was Roasted Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas and Potatoes
with the added bonus of the Fat Free Balsamic Raisin Dressing which is embedded in the following recipe
This was a warm salad made ever so yummy by the dressing. Too bad we’d already used up our crop of asparagus from the garden/yard but asparagus are plentiful right now and we found some nice smaller and tenderer ones.  We roasted the asparagus, small wedges of onion and a large clove of elephant garlic (the original recipe calls for 2 to 3 cloves of regular garlic, but we had this on hand, so gave it a go)
 added the chickpeas and potatoes
 made up the dressing (and I’m here to tell you that stuff is AWESOME!) Actually, that clove of roasted elephant garlic is mashed up and whisked into the dressing for a little extra sumthin’ sumthin’
 and mixed it all up (more at room temperature than actually warm)
Next up was the TLT sandwich (Tempeh, Lettuce and Tomato)
We marinated thinly sliced tempeh (your own choice and there are some really good ones out there now)
 picked some lettuce from The Garden of the Elf and made up a really nice sandwich on whole wheat bread.

We enjoyed both of these recipes and would more likely go with the salad again than the TLT…and that’s primarily because we LOVE the Bacun (see the post of 5/10). However, since the Bacun is not gluten free and tempeh is, this recipe makes a very worthy sandwich.
Our EXPERT selection for the coming week is Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu
We love Thai food and will look forward to this recipe!
Other kinky cookery this week consisted of a FABULOUS looking recipe from The Minimalist Baker
So we thought we’d give it a go for the great staff and tireless workers at the Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi. While the recipe says it’s a one bowl bread, there are a LOT of ingredients that go into that one bowl. In the Elf’s elf-fort do get über-organized, we got all of our ingredients out, measured in little plastic shot glasses (for the smaller amounts) before diving into the actual preparation. WELL, as the stirring and whisking and adding of the ingredients all commenced, we felt damn near Martha Stewart-ish UNTIL we reached for the little cup thingie that had the baking powder and salt. We picked up the container of sea salt (it’s a small white ¼ cup container) and dumped it in the batter INSTEAD of the actual ingredients. OMG!! Was The Elf ever upset…said a number of words that were not Elf-worthy and then proceeded to figure out what to do. Fortunately, we had not stirred any of this catastrophe, so we decided to try to remove the EXCESS salt. Also fortunately, the salt container was not FULL. Slowly and meticulously, we scooped as much of the excess salt out as we could and plunged forward. When the batter was mixed, we tasted it and OF COURSE, you could taste the salt…so we whipped out some additional brown sugar and added enough to have a decent tasting batter. Then we held our breath until the bread came out of the oven, cooled and was sliced. Now we aren’t sure what the ‘real’ bread is supposed to taste like but this was pretty darn good. We sure were glad and we hope the folks at ARF enjoyed it as well. Holy cow—what a feeling when The Elf realized what had happened!!
Since that FFVK Balsamic-Raisin Dressing was such a hit, we decided to steam a couple of really nice artichokes one night and paired the artichokes and Balsamic-Raisin Dressing with the Za’atar Roasted Chickpea salad for a light evening meal. We found a substantial supply of the Za’atar at the Mediterranean Grocery locally.
This week, we also received a long-anticipated cook-book!! Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen! We had pre-ordered it months ago and are delighted to finally get it. There will be some awesome aromas headed toward our olfactory places.
  Saturday night, we went to the Strawberry Cafe here in downtown Madison MS. They have a lovely spinach and walnut stuffed portabello entree that is vegan (other options such as goat cheese and/or chicken are available). It was delicious. So NICE to have restaurants now including vegan entrees!! Thanks Strawberry people!!
Lastly, we always enjoy our little backyard garden and this year is no exception. We don’t have a large variety of stuff growing but do have two kinds of zucchini, some tomatoes (heirlooms), lettuce, white radishes, cilantro, basil and okra. There is just something really fun about picking food you grew yourowns-elf!
And finally on this Memorial Day weekend, we include a picture of Mail Order Annie as she celebrates graduations of the Class of 2015 AND the sacrifices of the thousands who made it possible for graduations to occur.
 Y’all have a safe and meaningful weekend and remember to breathe deep, laugh a lot, eat plants and love life.
~~The Elf~~

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