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Sunday, December 20, 2015

DOIN’ “ELIF-IC”



In a brief departure from pulling our blog titles from Beatle songs (we ran out of movie titles), we want to offer The Elf’s spin on the phrase DO EPIC©, the copyrighted phrase from the marvelous book Brightside by Kim Holden. BECAUSE, we’ve had a truly EFLF-IC week in the Kinkey Elfery Kitchen. And what better week to do that than the week before Christmas when everyone’s heads, hearts, hands and nerves are spinning in a million different directions. So, let’s get on with it and re-live this week of “Doin’ ELF-IC”.
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This week’s The Expert (that would be Susan Voisin) and The Elf’s recipe selection from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen was Dreena’s No-Fu Love Loaf. An odd title but we thought we’d give it a whirl.
Well, it was delicious and not labor intensive at all. We are firmly committed to the ‘mis en place’ concept of getting all your stuffs together before commencing to cook. First we got all the dry ingredients together 

We had already cooked the lentils and, in our case, the steel cut oats. 

So next we took our wet ingredients, combined them with lentils and remaining dry ingredients. We then squished it all up til it was ready to go into a loaf pan that we were careful to line with parchment paper (too many experiences with stuck loaves to disregard that instruction!)

And then our loaf was oven ready. This picture does not show a topping of ketchup and ho’made vegan Worcestershire sauce that we spooned over the top of the loaf before putting in the oven. 

Alas, we were on another planet when it came time to take a picture of the final version, which we served with cauliflower mashed potatoes and Cole slaw. We actually polished the loaf off last night as an adjunct to our ELF-IC FAIL that we will share with you momentarily. It’s a terrific recipe!
Our FatFree Vegan recipe for this week of Christmas is going to get a workout as we have more than one opportunity to prepare it. And, given Susan’s most recent post to her FFVK site, it’s a no-brainer. The Pear Spice Upside Down Cake looks wonderful and doesn’t contain a lot of fat to weigh us down. Can’t wait to try this one! 
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Last Sunday, we gathered at Kevin and Gigi Carter’s for our THIRD FINAL vegan gathering and we ended like we started…the original FOUR. We each brought crowd favorite dishes to celebrate our time together and wish Kevin and Gigi the best as they being new lives in Dallas (maybe). So, we had Gigi’s awesome black bean and sweet potato enchiladas.

Leslie’s awesome stuffed mushrooms

Misty’s balls (well, that’s what they are!) and her yummy pinwheels

 
The Elf’s Ethiopian Cabbage
 

And her signature crème filled cookies, this time including mocha filling

The evening was lovely, if not nostalgic and we closed it out with our final (maybe) group shot. From left to right, Misty, Gigi (our hostess with the mostess always), The Elf, and Leslie.

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Two things we prepared this week that we wanted to share. We were so impressed with the Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas at Gigi’s, we decided to make them for ourownselves. So, we did. The recipe comes from an awesome cookbook called Oh She Glows 
We combined our sweet potatoes, small red beans (as Big Solid doesn’t tolerate Black Beans), and coarsely chopped spinach for our filling.

Got all that all nice and cooked down.

 And baked in whole wheat tortillas. They were AWESOME!!

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Having a Daddy who was from New Orleans, we naturally grew up eating great food, not the least of which was/is gumbo. The Elf’s preference was a good hearty duck and Andouille Sausage gumbo with a rich dark roux. We have been trying to veganized that for a while now with the main issue NOT being the meat alternatives but the actual roux itself. It’s an epic process of slowly turning flour and oil into a deeply colored base WITHOUT burning the flour first. And those of you who have toiled over an iron skillet with a wooden spoon (and ultimately expression), KNOW that the tipping point between just the right depth of color and BURNED is a millisecond. So, we opted to try a store-bought roux to see if it would work. Well, the answer is clearly NOT! That being said, we thankfully only made half a recipe and are now tinkering with ways to address the bitterness of the roux. Thanks to many of y’all for making some good suggestions that we will try. But the bottom line is that we will not use a store-bought roux again…our best elf-fort will be to strap on that apron, grab that spoon and skillet, put a book in our ears and commence to stirrin’. We used The Gentle Chef’s Chikun Shreds and Andouille Sausage recipes for our meat analogues and must say that they are worthy of making a first class vegan gumbo.

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Next up, we made vegan cottage cheese for use in a recipe that we will long remember as a complete catastrophe (coming up next). This is from The Gentle Chef’s cookbook titled The Non-Dairy Formulary. I don’t have his permission to share the recipe at this point but will ask him. In the meantime, here’s the link to his site. He has an amazing talent for making plant-based alternatives for dairy and meats. You’d never imagine!
In any event, here’s what the final version looked like. It tasted darn good on its own.

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And, at last, the ELF-IC FAIL of the week! A few weeks back, we saw an amazing looking recipe for Vidalia Onion Upsides Down Broccoli Cornbread.
Several vegans online also saw it and between everyone, figured out a way to veganized it (hence the vegan cottage cheese). Others tried and made it look great. The Elf, however, was NOT one of those. We did what we thought was the right things, see? We got our dry ingredients together...

We prepared the onions in the iron skillet with the vegan butter...

We combine our dry with our cottage cheese and broccoli...

And that’s when things began to fall apart. When we combined the dry/wet ingredients, the wet wasn’t NEARLY enough and there was an abundance of cornmeal/flour that just could not be incorporated into any kind of batter. So we whipped out the non-dairy milk and tried to add just enough to get a batter that we could spoon into the now nice and hot skillet. And we did.

It LOOKED good but in the back of the wee Elf’s wee mind was a little nagging concern. This ain’t gonna cook right. It baked and it baked the suggested time but we KNEW that wasn’t enough. So we baked a bit longer and let it sit the suggested time. When we turned it over, it was quite lovely.

And then, we sliced it only to find NO CRUMB at all but a mushy mess. Interestingly enough, we had some extra ‘batter’ that we spooned into a prepared iron corn stick thingie. Those were really good although the crumb was still not, well, a good crumb. It’s a sad time to have to toss such an elf-fort away but alas, we had to. It was, frankly, awful. So, we are re-grouping and gonna do it OUR WAY next time…’cause it’s a really great concept. In fact, we may even do it TONIGHT!!
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So there  you have our DOIN’ ELF-IC week! We are looking forward to a big week ahead…my goodness, it’s THE WEEK of Christmas and we have much to anticipate. Dinner with the kids and grand kids on Wednesday, Christmas morning vegan breakfast and mimosas at Santa’s house, our traditional Pajama Christmas dinner with the Dees and one other event that I’m sure will be a blast. So, while ‘Cluck You’ wanted to say a few words this week, he’s been shelved for a bit. We at the Kinky Elfery Kitchen wish you and yours the very best of holidays and we also remember our military who are not able to be home. Think of them and wish them out of harm’s way.
Until next week, our last week of 2015, we share our hope that your will DO EPIC© every day and bring joy to your universe.

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