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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A DAY LATE AND AN ELF SHORT



Happy First Days of Spring Elfinistas!! After a taste of really warm temps over the past few weeks, we are experiencing what some folks down South call “Cotton Britches Winter”. It’s cool enough for long pants, but you can get away with cotton. Or, in some circles, it’s known as “Blackberry Winter” because the blackberry bushes are blooming. As we are wont to say, “It don’t make me no nevermind”…spring is officially here. Now all we have to do is be patient enough for the soil to warm enough to PLANT TOMATOES!!
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Since this little blog of ours is woefully late, we will just ‘git all up in it’ and tell you what a LOVELY meal our FFVK (FatFree Vegan Kitchen) Dublin Coddle with Vegan Irish Sausages was! We actually chose this recipe because of the name…with apologies to Smucker’s, ‘with a name like Coddle, it’s GOT to be good’. And truth be told, it is indeed ‘coddle’ food…comfort food taken to a whole new level.
We made the sausages first and they were really quite easy to put together even though there are lots of ingredients (mostly seasonings). We put all of the herb mixture together to add to the vital wheat gluten and bread crumbs. One thing the Ole Elf learned a LONG time ago was to grate fresh nutmeg. It’s worth the elf-fort. We keep a little teeny grater and whole nutmeg thingies handy at all times.
 

 We are accustomed to making plant-based sausages and meats, so we were excited to try this new recipe. The addition of the toasted bread crumbs, we think, added a consistency to the sausage that was quite firm.  So firm, in fact, we thought we’d overcooked/steamed it and were worried about it being too firm. However, when we realized the sausages would be cooking (coddling, we guess) in the sauce, we realized they needed the firmness to maintain a good texture and not get too mushy. The dough was easy to work with and easy to manage as ultimately divided and steamed.

We let the sausages relax in the refrigerator overnight before preparing the Coddle on St. Paddy’s Day.
We used Golden Potatoes, sliced about a half inch thick. We sliced and browned 5 of the sausages and held one back to eat at a later time, perhaps with breakfast. Anyway, we layered as per recipe guidance in our cast iron/enamel Dutch oven that’s heavy as lead!
We used The Gentle Chef’s Chikun Bouillon recipe for the broth (that stuff is a godsend for broth needs). We did add a touch more Liquid Smoke (a half teaspoon rather than a fourth) and proceeded to bring to a boil, cover and let simmer til things were tender. Then we added the dark beer, Black Mocha Stout. Your Elf is not a big beer drinker but when she does indulge, it’s always a dark beer. This is one of the best dark beers she’s ever had, so she was only too happy to swill down the remainder of the bottle after the ¾ cup was poured into the Coddle.
 The finished product is absolutely delicious and the sausage consistency was excellent.
We had some nice organic kale that we sautéed which added a touch of green to the meal!
We did not make any Irish Soda Bread but had some vegan biscuits instead. All in all, it was a wonderful Irish meal!! The Elf highly recommends!

Our Susan Voisin/FFVK recipe for this week (since remember, we’re a day late and an elf short) is Mushroom Barley Soup with Cannellini
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 One of our favorite meals from the Kinky Elfery Kitchen is also a very easy one…inspired by one of those quickie video things on social media. We LOVE spaghetti squash but hate like crazy to have to cook it. So, we went the microwave route this time and found it to be damn near perfect. We usually cook it too long (oven-wise) and its mush. So, we only microwaved for a minimal time to get the external softness we thought would provide the best results with the actual squash. It’s easier to add time if it doesn’t feel right, for sure. We usually get a smaller squash so nothing goes to waste. The ‘spaghetties’ turned out JUST right…firm and able to handle a quick sauté with some broccoli and precooked Gardein Meatless Meatballs. Though the Elf prefers to make her own plant-based meats, she finds Gardein hard to beat for a quick addition to the overall meal. We opted for a bit of lemon and EVOO instead of a marinara. Enjoyed it immensely and then wished we’d gotten a bigger squash.

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We had originally thought to share some pictures of a ‘new featured’ Burger from The Crossroads Café but since this is a vegan blog, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. But we will describe it. Chef Joe Moorefield got TRULY creative a couple of weeks ago and put together the ‘Tribute to Graceland’ Burger. Yep, you guessed it…a burger dressed grilled banana slices, organic peanut butter, raw cheddar cheese and a whole wheat bun. In the meantime, the E.P.I.C. Cookies continue to sell out almost as soon as we can get them in the display. We have introduced a third cookie we call “Nuts For You”—toasted pecan pieces, toasted coconut and raisins. If you are in the area, drop by and have a great salad topped off by a good ole-fashioned E.P.I.C. (vegan) cookie!
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So, there we have yet another week behind us. We hope you enjoy our fun little stuffs, meals and pictures. Til next week, celebrate spring, laugh a lot, eat plants, and DO EPIC!
Your Elf       

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