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Sunday, June 12, 2016

An Elf and Her Money Are Soon Parted

Oh goodness, today’s title could NOT be more apropos…bein’ as how we have recently made some substantial purchases. But, we are so enjoying them and will endeavor to save up a bit more responsibly. Sure.
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We have had so much fun this week and we’ll talk about it later but FIRST, a little FatFree Vegan Kitchen Elfin Magicalness. Remember last week, we selected the Elfy Award winning FFVK recipe for Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Étouffée. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2012/02/vegan-sausage-and-mushroom-etoufee.html
Well, we prepared it on Wednesday night and once again were absolutely THRILLED at the deliciousness. So without further ado, here we go.
The essential part of any étouffée (and gumbo, for sure) is the Roux. Like so many great Louisiana recipes begin…’first you make a roux’. And unless you make a LOT of rouxs (not sure what the plural of roux is, so we’re making a stab at it), you do get that roux makin’ is an art form. We have literally gone through a bag of flour in an elf-fort to make a decent roux. Well, we are here to tell you (as we mentioned in the first report on this dish), this is the BEST roux we have EVER made and it’s completely fat free. Ordinarily, a roux is a mixture of pretty much half oil/half flour with a seemingly unending amount of time stirring…and stirring…and stirring waiting for JUST that right color to show up. And, our usual patience and downright fear of failing, has typically resulted in a roux that is too light and doesn’t have the taste and substance of a nice dark roux. While not foolproof, the dry roux in this recipe is so much easier and heaven only knows, so much better for you. One still has to have the stirring capability and the PATIENCE of JOB to get that nice color. The roux instructions say it takes about 15 minutes of constant stirring to obtain the right shade of brown. The following photos will show from start to finish at 5 minute intervals. We went a slight bit over the 15 minutes but you can see in later pictures that the roux was the perfect color AND consistency.
Wasn't that really cool!! We never thought about how the incremental changes in color were important but this time we watched so carefully to take pictures, it really did make a difference over time. Kinda like watching water boil...it never does when you watch it but look away for a second or two and BAM...it's boiling. Ditto with the roux...don't take your eyes off of it for any time at all or it will go to hell in a hand basket. We pushed it slightly past our comfort zone and finally pulled the plug. Turned out to be good timing. Here's what it looked like when we added the liquid to it and it really became a roux!!

We were so focused on the roux that we wanted to devote our intention totally to it, so we waited until we were happy rouxsters before moving along. So, the onion sauté was next 

followed by the addition of the other vegetable ingredients
 then came the mushrooms (and they were SO NICE)

Followed by the roux. See the nice dark color staring to develop? 

Next was the sausage. We made out own Andouille sausages, compliments of The Gentle Chef's 'Seitan and Beyond' Cookbook. Frankly, we have embellished his great basic recipe by adding a lot more spice/cayenne/ red pepper flakes

Then we added the nice sized slices to the mushroom/roux mixture. 

Doesn't this look AWESOME!! Even through the steaminess?

WE let this simmer for a while and the end result is such a lovely entree. Since Big Solid is not a rice fan, we served it over toast. Never the mind, folks...rice, no rice, toast, no toast, it was absolutely delicious. This truly may be the #1 recipe from last year.

Yeah…yeah..I know, we may say the same thing about any of the remaining Elfy winners. Speaking of which—we are in a bit of a quandary about next week’s Elfy preparation. We are torn between two recipes, so it may come down to a last minute decision. Guess we’ll just have to surprise you! YAY!
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Your Elf went on a little adventure this week for a couple of days. The Memphis Film Festival is not really in Memphis and the films it highlights are primarily the old Westerns of the 60’s as well as other shows of that era. Since we thought of ourselves as either Tarzan or Hopalong Cassidy for the first 5 years of our life, we’ve been to several of these. The Elfin brother (Jud) is a vendor, so it’s a double treat to visit with him and his sweetheart, Suzanne. These are a few pictures from the Festival that you (of a certain age) may enjoy. The final photo is the lineup with pictures of these folks from ‘back when’. 
 Andrew Prine

Parker Stevenson

Robert Fuller

 Ron Ely

Darby Hinton


Alex Cord

Jon Provost

And the attendees also show up in costume!
As you can imagine, eating vegan in the Mississippi Delta AT A CASINO is a bit of a challenge. We tried to steer clear of the costly all you can eat buffets since pretty much the only thing available for The Elf was salad. Most vegetables were either covered with cheese or cooked in meat stuffs. So, the one night we were there, we descended on a famous old restaurant called The Hollywood Cafe—Home of Fried Dill Pickle slices. Here we are in front of the restaurant…Suzanne, Elfin Brother Jud and TE hers-elf. 

We had thought ahead and brought what was left of the Vegan Sausage and Mushroom Étouffée. The server was a bit reluctant to heat it up for us but we ordered a baked potato  and some bourbon, so he was cool.
We also brought vegan pimento cheese and boiled peanut hummus to snack on, so we did just fine. It was so much fun just to visit with Jud and Suzanne as they made and sold mugs and t-shirts to all comers.
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And, finally, we hit the Farmer’s Market yesterday morning early and got home with some wonderful produce from Salad Days and Two Dog Farms. Our favorite vendors!! We hope to bring y’all a lengthy story about them in the near future. A terrific story and group of people. The spaghetti squash you see actually came from The Garden of the Elf!! We will prepare it sometime this week. Since we are not huge fans of tomato sauce, we’ll most likely just flavor with lemon, EVOO and some fresh basil. 

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So, Elfinistas and Elfinistes, another week has flown by. We hope that you enjoy our bloggeriness and will continue to support us. As always, laugh a lot, eat plants, be kind at every opportunity and “DO EPIC”.
Your Elf



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