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Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Sllk Elf out of a Sow’s Ear

We apologize for missing last week. We have had such a busy time lately that we have barely been able to breathe. It’s been graduation week and so many of the staff at the Cafe are high school seniors, we’ve been assisting in their absence. That being said, let’s roll for today!  Keep your fingers crossed as we are doing this whole blog on the ElfMac, including pictures and links.
For our return to our FatFree Vegan Kitchen Elfy winning recipes for 2015, we’d selected the Sante Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole. As Justin Wilson, the famous Cajun chef and down home philosopher, would say, “We’re here to tole you”—that first time was no fluke. It was just as good this go around as last and one we will no doubt revisit yet again.

As before, the only change we made was to substitute pinto beans for black beans as Big Solid’s system doesn’t seem to be able to handle the black bean. We ALMOST made a significant mistake when thinking of substitute beans…we thought we’d try edamame. At the last minute, we chickened out and went with the pinto beans.  We first baked our squash, cooled it and then obtained the ‘spaghetti’. We had such a big squash, we had a half to play with during the week. We then got all our vegetables sautéed in a large skillet

Added the spaghetti squash and seasonings

Stirred it into a casserole and topped it with the cornbread crust. You’ll see a top view where we dusted it with a healthy amount of cayenne pepper and then a little ‘hot’ smoked paprika and into the oven it went. 

Your Elf swears that we could have eaten the WHOLE thing at one sitting, it’s so good. In fact, Big Solid had forgotten that he liked casseroles until we revisited this one. So, we’ll just keep re-affirming this newfound joy.
We are also delighted that Susan Voisin, MS FatFree Vegan Kitchen hers-elf is home safe and sound after a wonderful trip to the British Isles. It was a wonderful time but now she’s home and ready to work more FFVK magic. Our ELFY winning selection for this week is an awesome some…Pasta Fagiole with Cranberry Beans and Kale. It’s a hearty soup that we can have for supper on nights when things are rushed and there is no time to prepare a big meal. And, who needs a big meal at night anyway. Soup and salad or soup and sandwich works nicely. Here’s the link.
Last week, we also tried a bit of an experiment with a cabbage we’d gotten from Salad Days at the local Farmer’s Market. It was a spur of the moment attempted copy-cat of a Sichuan cabbage that Chef Joe prepared at the Crossroads Cafe. We did not have a quality Sriracha sauce BUT did have a really good Sambal. So, we sautéed the cabbage in large pan sprayed with coconut oil spray.
Then we added a small amount of Toasted Sesame Oil, stirred that in well and added the Sambal to taste.
 It was delicious. We also sautéed some of our Gentle Chef Chikun Shreds. 

We were also able to share one of our favorite vegan soups with the patrons of the Cafe. It’s called Tomato and Fennel Soup with Plant-based Italian Sausages.
 It’s from Vegetarian Times a while back but here’s the link.
We used our own home-made Plant-based Sausages made from The Gentle Chef’s awesome cook book Seitan and Beyond. It was nice to see it on the menu and even Chef Joe gave it a big thumbs up! We did have to correct some spelling stuffs, but no matter…the taste was not altered.
And, here’s what we have on tap tonight! Looks at these gorgeous beets, both Golden and Candy Stripe, the Rainbow Swiss Chard and the fun patty-pan squash. We may even have to whip up some of The Elf’s excellent vegan cornsticks!! 

And finally, Elfinistas and Elfinistes, what’s summer without a garden. We are slowly but surely getting some action with our tomatoes and other offerings. The spaghetti squash and cucumbers are blooming, the potatoes are sprouting (second round), the okra is growing nicely and the zucchini looks great. The beets look a bit scraggly but maybe we’ll get a few good beets out of the ground. It’s just SO much fun to watch stuff grow and be able to go outside, pick it and eat it. 

And in the interest of making the most of your grocery shopping experience, we managed to snag a lot of sale items today. We will cook and freeze the mushrooms, clean and halve the peppers, and section the fruit to freeze for smoothies. 
So, until next week, we wish you a happy life, full of energy and laughter. Remember to eat plants, live The Golden Rule and “DO EPIC”!
Your Elf

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