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Monday, June 15, 2015

Elf on a Hot Tin Roof

Sorry for the delay. We spent the day yesterday driving up to Oxford MS (home of Ole Miss—‘hotty-toddy’!) to visit Big Solid’s sister, Genora. She’s in a nursing home there and we surprised her. She really appreciated the visit!!
 Before we get into OTHER STUFFS about foods, friends, and elfin cookery, we want to be SURE to talk about the FatFree Vegan Kitchen (aka THE EXPERT, Mississippi's own Susan  Voisin) recipe we selected and cooked this past week (June 7-13). See The Elf is all discombobulated with bein’ a day late!
Anywho!! We prepared The Monterey Frittata 
and we are here to tell you that this is a MOST MAGNIFICENT meal!!
We gathered our dry ingredients
 Then we squished up our tofu (we cut the tofu in blocks, threw it in a gallon freezer bag, sealed it and used our hands to mash or squish to the textures we like (beats mashing with a fork) and then added the seasoning mix, green onions and artichoke hearts.
 Then we cooked up some ‘shrooms, garlic, and peppers
When those were cooked per recipe directions, we halved it and put half in with the tofu mixture in our freezer bag. We put the tofu mixture in a large skillet and smoothed (or flattened) it down like a big tofu pancake
While that was cooking for about 10 minutes, we prepared the ‘Cheez sauce’ and it thickened up so nicely and was damned good to boot!!
 When the frittata had cooked up and the ‘Cheez’ sauce was ready, we placed our tomatoes and the other half of the mushroom mixture over the top and then poured or drizzled the ‘Cheez’ sauce over it. When that was done, we added the sliced black olives and let it cook until the tomatoes were done.
 And here’s what our skillet looked like when The Elf and Big Solid had gone for extra heppin’s…we call this picture “Frittata Gone Wild” because we went WILD for it.
 There’s really nothing else to add about this because it was so good. We MAY add some cayenne to it when we make it again OR even try a layer of baked tortilla chips before adding the ‘Cheez’ sauce…but the bottom line is this dish is absolutely awesome.
So, what’s up for this week (June 15-21)?  Well, we ran across this great looking recipe and will prepare it…Cumin Infused Vegetables and Chickpeas over Quinoa 
HOWEVER, we may consider another base besides Quinoa. Now I KNOW quinoa is a yummy and very nutritious grain BUT Big Solid is NOT a quinoa sort of guy—SO, it may be a wild or black rice grain that we go with. In any event, this looks quite lovely and very healthy.
You know how sometimes life hands you an unexpected gift? A serendipitous happening that has a long lasting impact on your life? Well, this week, that was evidenced by ‘spend the night company’…Tim and Kathy Benner. In 2010, Big Solid and I took our first cruise and it happened to be an Alaskan Inside Passage cruise. Joining us were my cousin and her husband from TN (Jerry and Sandra Vance). Well, Big Solid and I signed up for an excursion known as the Mendenhall Glacier hike when we docked in Juneau. That morning, as are many mornings in Juneau, it was raining. We were prepared with our ponchos and headed to the site to meet our guide. Well, our guide was Kathy Benner and she proceeded to take a group of about 9 of us on a most wonderful hike through the woods to see the Mendenhall Glacier. As we hiked, we talked and the more we talked the more the connection between Kathy and us solidified. When we parted company at the end of the hike and returned to the ship, we made vows to ‘stay in touch’ and thanks to Facebook, that has been easy to do. For lo these 5 years, the friendship has grown and lives shared. So, last week, Kathy said they were going to be in the south (they have since moved to PA for Tim’s work with IBM) and could swing by MS for a visit, if convenient for us. We were ecstatic!! We had only met Kathy on the hike and we eager to meet Tim. So they arrived on Thursday and we dined vegan. The Elf prepared tofu scallops and pasta as well as vegan Red Beans and Rice with plant-based Andouille sausage. Tim and Kathy are not vegan or vegetarian but were more than willing to give these dishes a try.
Red Beans and Rice (we did use brown rice)
And Tofu Scallops from The ‘V’ Word
This photograph is from The 'V' Word's site and not our actual preparation. Truth be told, we ate them up before I even THOUGHT about a picture!
We ate a lot, laughed a lot, talked a lot, cried some, ate some more (dessert was cookies and three sorbets), talked some more, laughed some more and vowed to meet again in Alaska. They long to return (as it seems anyone who has ever lived there does) and when they do, we will visit them. The Northern Lights are on The Elf’s bucket list so no excuses!
Our ‘family snapshot’—The Elf and MiniPearl, who is camera shy; Big Solid and Belle, who is giving us the evil eye, Kathy and Tim who are spontaneous, fun and solidly friends
So, there you have this week’s Elf…and it’s indeed heating up in Dixie. We are now in the 90’s daily and that will stay for a LONG time. Now you know why we go somewhere cool in August. We have some cool recipes to try this week in addition to our EXPERT (that’s Susan Voisin and her fabulous FatFree Vegan Kitchen) selection for the week. Thanks for hanging with us; so until we meet again…remember to breathe deep, eat freshly grown and local plants, laugh a lot and love life.

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