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Sunday, January 10, 2016

'ELF DAYS A WEEK'



You know, crafting blog titles from The Beatles songs is not as easy as one would think. We here in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen feel confident that our readers make that transition without too much difficulty. It’s been a busy week and we managed to crank up the new convection oven to bake 13 dozen cookies in about an hour. WHAT FUN!!
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Our FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe for this week (gosh! That seems like a year ago!) was the Mushroom and Tempeh Gumbo.
If you recall, last week Your Elf was whining about her ability to make a decent dry roux that was dark and tasty. Well, if you haven’t had a chance to visit The Elf’s Facebook page, we’ll walk you through the preparation and you can see for yourowns-elf.
Ever since Skye Michael Conroy (aka The Gentle Chef) instructed folks to be sure to follow the practice of ‘mis en place’ (that means getting all your ingredients together, prepped and ready to go), The Elf has done her dead level best to get her ‘mis en place’ before plunging headlong into cookin’. How many times have we gotten about halfway through a recipe before discovering that we do NOT have all of the ingredients in the Elfin Pantry. Actually the first thing we did was to cube our tempeh and make the marinade for it. The marinade was a combination of the Seasoning Mix and some soy sauce (we used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos).
 And to show you just how The Elf was a bit compulsive about this, we got a RULER and measured the tempeh so our cubes would be reasonably equal. Probably won’t do that again. Anyway, here’s the tempeh all equally cubed and soaking up the goodness of the marinade.

Then we got our ingredients together and chopped, sliced or whatever they needed to have done to them, wrapped them up and set them aside. Elfin truth be told, we wanted to make damn sure that we gave ours-elfs plenty of time to made the roux JUST IN CASE we had to make it MORE THAN ONCE or TENCE.

After what seemed like an ETERNITY of standin’ and stirrin’ the flour, it slowly began to gain some color. That’s where we usually get scared and bail on the standin’ and stirrin’, winding up with a roux that is the color of taffy rather than the deep rich brown that is so much a signature of gumbo (along with the okra, of course). So we sucked it up and kept on until we got the color Susan suggested. Once again, her showing a picture of the color was extremely helpful. The next two pictures show the actual flour after it was removed from the Dutch Oven and the lovely dark color of the roux once it was blended with stock.
 

 We actually used a dry base from The Gentle Chef’s newest book titled Seitan and Beyond. 
It’s called Instant Chikun Bouillon Powder; we keep a good supply of it on hand and use it in place of vegetable stock. It’s a quick, tasty and easy fix to trying to keep liquid stocks on hand.
We sautéed our chopped veggies and then added the mushrooms as the cooking was now a full blown elf-fort to the finish. After the veggies got the right consistency, we added the roux (SO EXCITED!!) and let that cook for a while. Then the final ‘piece d’resistance of course is adding the okra.

Then it was just a matter of polishing off our pre-dinner cocktail, adding just a touch of file and dishing it up. It was most delicious and we encourage anyone who’s a gumbo lover to give this a try. Just because you eat plant based doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good gumbo.

The recipe we have chosen for this week is one we’ve had our eye on for a while and have ALMOST done several times—Golden Potato and Tempeh Casserole.
And don’t forget that Susan Voison’s site, FatFree Vegan Blog is just a terrific place to get great recipes that she’s developed and/or has tried. AND, the best part is that there is little to NO use of added fats.
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We made a really nice little plant based sausage this week as we continue to explore the recipes from Miyoko Schinner’s book, The HomeMade Vegan Pantry.
Smoked Apple and Beer Unsausages just sounded very interesting, so we hopped on it one afternoon before realizing that it took a bit more time than we actually had. But, Big Solid’s patience held out and we eventually got to our real supper (these ‘unsausages’ needed to rest in the fridge for a while before eating to help them firm up). Anyway, we will make them again soon and take more pictures. We did take a few so here goes. The dough is rolled into sausage sized links, wrapped in foil and steamed.

After spending the night chillaxin’ in the outside fridge, they are ready to be unrolled and cooked however you want.

We sautéed one to savor with some of our favorite Pale Ale (Hi-Wire out of Asheville NC) and coarse, tasty mustard (Lusty Monk). We are not big beer drinkers but sometimes, you just enjoy a good craft beer.
By the way, that beer glass that has The Elf’s initials engraved on it is called The Beerhopper. It’s the patented invention of my baby brother, Jud. As you can see, it IS in the shape of a hops. Quite clever, we think.

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And that’s about it for this really chilly Mississippi January day. We’ve got some good stuffs coming up over the next few weeks that we’re TOTALLY excited about.  Should be happening for the January 24th blog!! Til next week, y’all breathe deep, eat plants, laugh a lot, love life and DO EPIC!!
The Elf

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