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Sunday, October 11, 2015

One Flew Over the Elf’s Nest

Well, we have to make up for lost time as we did not present you with a blogalicious entry last week. So, we’ll do out best to entertain you today. We’ve been in kind of a cooking slump, doldrum, recession, lurch, droop and/or sag lately and the past couple of weeks are no exception. HOWSOMEVER, we have also been focused on baking stuffs to sell and raise money for our MOST FAVORITE ANIMAL SHELTER, The Animal Rescue Fund of MS (ARF/MS). So, maybe those offset each other. So let’s look back at the past week and see what and who The Elf has been lollygagging around with.

The MOST fun thing was getting this really awesome apron from my brother, Jud and his Sweetie Suzanne.
Isn’t it cool? The other cool thing in this picture is the bottle of Butter flavor EVOO from J Olive—rapidly becoming one of The Elf’s favorite stores.

  Big Solid Elf-boy has been hankerin’ for soup as the days get a bit cooler (and then a bit warmer as we EVER-SO-SLOWLY-TRANSITION-TO-FALL!) Seems like one day it’s seasonably cool and the next we are in the 90’s. Anywho, we made one of our favorite recipes from my most excellent resource buddy, Susan Voisin and her awesome site/blog FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

It’s a wonderful soup called Brussels sprouts and Shiitake Mushroom Soup.

You know, a few years back, when The Elf and BSE (Big Solid Elf-boy) were still learnin’ each other’s culinary do’s and don’ts, the phrase Brussels Sprouts was pretty much taboo—that being a ‘don’t from BSE. NO MORE…he is now a big fan and it was this soup that helped propel him into an ‘attaboy’ with his vegetable eatin’ insight. So, we first sautéed up some onions

while we roasted some Brussels sprouts

added some shiitake mushrooms along with some sliced portabellas we needed to use or lose.

Next up we simmered all this and some brown rice in a rich simmering broth (The Gentle Chef’s Porq simmering broth)
and wound up with a delightfully delicious, filling and very nutritionally sound soup.  

 We’d also seen a really yummy sounding idea for savory roasted sweet potatoes online, so we tried those out as a side dish. The Elf sliced her onions a bit too thin and they got really crispy instead of well-done BUT that actually added a bit of intensity.

There are a couple of options here…you can either check out and possibly join The Gentle Chef’s Facebook page where he gives some recipes out (this being one of them).

OR google ‘savory roasted sweet potatoes’ for lots of ideas. Just remember to be alert to ingredients that may NOT be vegan (e.g., butter) if you go the google route. And no week at The Elf’s house/kitchen is complete without at least one recipe of Chikun Shreds that we adore.

The Elf takes them to restaurants with her to add protein and substance to salads. One of our GO-TO meals, when The Elf has failed to find anything appealing or doable in 30 minutes is a Tofu Scramble and this week was no exception. Thankfully, blocks of tofu (primarily Nasoya Organic NonGMO extra firm) occupy a considerable portion of the ‘meat’ drawer of the fridge, so we always have it on hand. AND the addition of the GOTTAHAVEIT Tofu Press makes squeezin’ the water out of the tofu a breeze.

So, we just gathered up all the veggies in the fridge that needed a body to fuel, put them in a plastic Ziploc bag and drizzled some Harissa infused EVOO from J Olive over them. Then we got the skillet REALLY REALLY hot and seared them to get a nice crust, added the squished up tofu, some more spices (powdered Harissa, turmeric and a bit of black salt to give it an eggy flavor) and voila! SUPPER.

Our new elf-fort of the week was again from The Gentle Chef’s Seitan and Beyond Cookbook called Grillin’ Burgers. We have a ‘burger night’ at least once a week and have primarily depended on The Simple Truth vegan burgers you can find at Kroger. They are good, convenient and all you do is cook ‘em up. But, we’ve been wanting to try a homemade burger and this looked like a good find. It’s somewhat labor intensive but well worth it as you get 6 decent sized burgers that you can freeze in pairs for 3 weeks’ worth of ‘burger nights’. We don’t do links to Chef Skye Michael Conroy’s recipes or copy them as they are proprietary. He has been gracious to give us permission from time to time to post (i.e., Bacun 5/10/15 blog) but we’d never post without his consent. As you can see, the burger LOOKS like a burger and tastes really good. The Elf will need to work on her technique to get a bit softer consistency but that just means we get to try them again and eat them likewise.

Last night, we had our first Vestal Vegan night in a long time and this time it was an expanded version. Our little group of 4 gals who have had a blast cooking vegan stuffs decided it was time to expand, so we did. And it was SO much fun. Pictured is Seitan ala Teronja from The Elf,
Savory Sweet Potato Balls from Misty, a marvelous pesto dip from Laura, Chocolate/Cream Cheese Monkey Bread from TE.

Not pictured, primarily because it was gone before the camera had a chance to capture it, was Gigi’s Guacamole (Holy Mouthgasms!). The evening was so fun but bittersweet as Gigi Carter (founding member and vegan supreme) and her husband, Kevin, are moving later on in the year. We are figuring out how to have ONE MORE VEGAN night before they get away. Here are Gigi (left) and Misty.

And, GOSH…that’s it! Glad to get caught up on the kinky Elfery cookery. As October winds its way toward Halloween, Annie wishes to remind everyone that it IS Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Awareness covers so much territory…but in the mind of The Elf, prevention is a key. Prevention being many things—such as, doing your homework understanding that a plant-based diet is a huge factor in the prevention of cancers; self-examination to detect any abnormality early; yearly mammograms; and limiting alcohol intake to name a few. It was early detection that probably saved The Elf from a world of hurt. And, recognizing also that sometimes no matter what we do, cancer happens..then awareness goes in a multitude of directions. There are resources galore out there and again, do your homework to choose the best resource for you.

And as always, until next time, remember to breathe deep, laugh a lot, eat plants, love life, and (a new one) DO EPIC!

1 comment:

  1. The Monkey Bread was absolutely fabulous last Friday night! Can't wait to see what's in store next time!