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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Elfin Haste Makes Elfin Waste

Happy LAST day of July 2016…it will never come around again, so we here at the Kinky Elfery Kitchen hope you made the most the previous 30 days as well as what’s left of this one. We have a VERY busy blog today, so let’s just get right to it!!
Our recipe this week from Susan Voisin’s awesome site and blog FatFree Vegan Kitchen was Savory Swiss Chard Pie. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/06/savory-swiss-chard-pie.html
And we can already predict that this will be an Elfy Winner for 2016. It was not only delicious but LOTS of fun to make and not labor intensive at all. The most time was taken up by just getting the ‘mis en place’.
 
(An Elfin aside here—stay tuned further in this blog for a prime example of how NOT to do a ‘mis en place’). Before we started gathering all our ingredients together, we threw this gorgeous bunch of Swiss Chard in the sink to clean. We saw a Rainbow Chard at the grocery but it just didn’t have the freshness that this did.
 We chopped up those lovely red stems as well as the remaining chard.
We would ordinarily spin it in the salad spinner thingie but the recipe specifically said not to dry the chard. So, we just cut into smaller pieces, also as instructed. We also started cooking some really lovely golden beets to have as a side dish.

Next up, we sautéed the onions and sliced stems to soften them up a bit. 
After the stems and onions were cooked down, we added the Swiss Chard leaves and let those wilt.
And, boy howdy, do they wilt. Initially, as you can see, the skillet was overflowing but after just a few minutes, the chard was a mere shadow of it’s former self.

We made a nice thick sauce out of the silken tofu, cashews and other ingredients and poured/spread it over the chard that we’d placed in a ceramic pie pan.

The pie was placed in a 375º oven and baked for about 30 minutes. 

After resting another 10 minutes, we sliced it and enjoyed the heck out of it! 

Big Solid LOVED it! The beets were also a big hit. We parboiled them until they were ‘al dente’ and then transferred to a small sauté pan to finish with a maple syrup balsamic glaze. 
These dishes were absolute joys not only to eat but also to prepare. We LOVE to cook but for some reason, this Savory Swiss Chard Pie just stole our little elfin heart.

So now! What’s up for next week from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen…we have two recipes selected but not quite sure which one it will be. It’s between Creamy Curried Kale and Chickpeas
OR Simple Cabbage and Chickpea Soup with Fresh Basil.
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OK, remember earlier we mentioned an event in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen about how NOT to do a ‘mis en place’. Well, this one’s a doozey! Y’all know that your Elf bakes vegan cookies for the FABULOUS Crossroads Café in Ridgeland MS. Well, we kinda got in a bit of a hurry the other mornin’ making a double batch of our vegan oatmeal cookie dough. We then split that base dough to make whatever cookies are running a bit low. This week, it was Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Toasted Pecan and Coconut. We just whipped that dough right up, split it and added our final ingredients of the toasted pecans/coconut to one of the dough amounts and chocolate chips (we use the vegan mini-chips) to the other. Since the chocolate chip cookies are more popular, we usually divvy the dough up roughly 2/3 to 1/3. As we were adding the last ingredients, we noticed that the consistency of the dough was pretty soft but figured it was the new buttery flavored Spectrum shortening instead of the regular Spectrum. So, we covered the dough and placed in the refrigerator to firm up a bit. As we closed the refrigerator door, we happened to spot a bowl on the counter and our little Elfin Heart just broke…it was all the DRY INGREDIENTS that were supposed to go into the cookies. ACK!! What an Elf stupidhead!! We thought about trying to divide the flour between the doughs but decided not to…just too risky that the proportions would not be right and the cookies would not be up the Elfin standards. So, we THREW IT ALL OUT AND STARTED OVER! You can bet your sweet bippy (remember that phrase?) that we will NOT EVER forget the flour again. We wondered what would have happened had we not spotted the lonely bowl of flour stuffs on the counter. We think we would have had ONE BIG COOKIE in the pan because there was certainly nothing to hold them together. GOOD GRIEF, Charlie Elf!
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Next week, in addition to the FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe, we have a couple of recipes we located on Facebook (you know those cool videos that speed up a recipe prep and look SO good). We veganized one of them and the other is vegan. We’ll let you know how they turn out because the videos look SO good!
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We are VERY happy to feature a story about the MS Blue Rice family. After meeting them last week and buying some of the rice, we can truthfully say we are fans. So, read on about this terrific farm family who celebrates preservation of natural resources, producing foods that are healthy without the use of pesticides and fungicides.

IN LAWRENCE’S OWN WORDS
I am Lawrence Wagner and I’m 23 years old. I grew up in the small town of Sumner, MS which is  located on the Cassidy Bayou, the longest bayou in MS. Even our drainage ditches are beautiful reminders of Nature's glory.
It’s also where our Missimati Bayou Bouquet gets its name; that wonderful fragrance that meets you when you open the bag of our rice. I went to Mississippi State, where I got my degree in Agricultural Business. My family consists of my father (the farmer), my mother (elementary school teacher), my 22 year old sister, and me.

Farming has always been a part of our family's life and I will be the 11th generation in our family to continue that tradition. We have been milling rice for about two years now and recently made a business out of it in April. Before we had a real market to sell our rice in we gave much of it away to ministries such as Palmer Home, the Stewpot in Jackson and several other ministries local to us. We still do. Earlier this spring we shipped 3.5 tons of rice to Honduras. This article was a feature about our farming family and how we do what we do.


MS Blue Rice is special because it is grown with nature while keeping in mind the needs of an increasing population. We use very little herbicide and no pesticides and fungicides. We only use 50% less fertilizer than conventional farmers because of our unique system. We love this picture of water rushing in to our fields.
In short we farm with the nature's rhythm, lending to and taking from nature. It truly is a circle of life out here. The Geese rising in the photograph below only attests to the beauty of our Delta land and our commitment to preserve it as both a most extraordinary farmland as well as a wildlife paradise.
Another reason our rice is special is because it is identity preserved. When you get a bag of our rice it is all of one single variety, meaning even cooking characteristics and flavor, versus a store bought bag where there could be several different varieties mixed inside. The variety we use also contains 15-20% more amylose than your average rice, meaning it has a lower glycemic index.
Oh, and we call it blue rice because of the blue gumbo clay in which it is grown and, of course,the Mississippi Delta being the birthplace of the 'blues'.

Folks can buy our product on our online website http://mississippibluerice.com/
and several different stores throughout MS and TN. If any one has questions about our products please feel free to call us at (662) 375-6100, e-mail Lawrence@mississippibluerice.com or contact us via our Facebook page (MS Blue Rice).
The thing I want people to take away most from this article is the way we grow our rice and why. 
Our ecologically grown rice is the finest quality, freshest, tastiest, healthiest, non-glutenous, non-GMO, trait's preserved, ecologically and environmentally sensitive rice you can buy.  It is grown with mostly natural inputs with no fungicides or insecticides in a system that matches conventionally planted rice yields and far surpassing our organic rice yields.   Unless noted, our rices possess higher amylose levels and associated resistant starches than is generally found on the shelf, lending itself to slower digestive rates and generally lower glucose loads.  It travels very few feet from our highly fertile and organic fields to our highly sanitary and Kosher certified small on-farm rice mill-the shortest path from rice paddy to plate runs through our farm. 
You will find our fresh milled ecogrown Delta Belle Long Grain Rice cooks loosely and not sticky, with an aroma that is buttery with faint vanilla notes, and with kernels that roll about your mouth during the chew; it has an even and lightly springy bite, and with a light sweet front palate and finishing with a buttery taste.  Our ecogrown Beulah Land Tan and Beulah Land Medley Long Grain Brown Rice cooks with buttery and grassy aromas, along with a faint nose of caramel and honey; it yields a chewier, springier, and firmer bite, with a nutty and faint mushroom taste on your palate's front and a vaguely sweet, earthy, and buttery finish.  Our Original Mississippi Middlins Rice Grits cook quickly and absorb flavors most readily for the hurried chef, and when cooked al dente, have a delightful bite and texture that nicely melds with broths, cheeses, sauces, and gravies.  If you prefer aromatic rice, please try our ecogrown Missimati Bayou Bouquet Fragrant Brown or White rice; they also possess sweet and buttery aromas and tastes, along with heavy popcorn and slight lightly toasted coconut and rose aromas.
All of our rice is delicious served by itself, or can preeminently be integrated with delicious fashion into your favorite recipes, such as seen here. Pictured are Kudzu, Sweet Potato, Peas and Missimati Summer Southern Rice Salad 
and Minted Mesopotamian Missimati Rice Salad.
And YES, the Elf can attest to the ease of cooking and the wonderful taste of MS Blue Rice. In fact, we are totally converted to it and will use it exclusively in all of our recipes that call for rice. Meaning, we will use the Brown Beulah Land Tan, Beulah Land Medley Long Grain Brown and our personal favorite, the Missimati Bayou Bouquet Fragrant Brown.
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And to round out the blog, we had an interesting conversation with someone who reads us every week who mentioned that many times she tries to leave a comment, only to be directed to sign into Google. We are not sure how to deal with that, so please, if you have comments we want to be sure to see them. Until we can get some assistance in how to make commenting easier, please leave a comment on our Elf in the Kitchen Facebook page or email your Elf at jswearen@gmail.com.
Many thanks for your support and readership. We sure do have fun with this and hope we an be of some impact on moving our readers to try more plant-based meals and foods. ’Til next week, we wish you a joy-filled seven days, full of laughter, smiles and kind deeds for others. And always remember to “DO EPIC” (thanks to Kim Holden for such a powerful phrase from such a powerful book. If y’all have not read her wonderful book Bright Side, it’s amazing).
Your Elf


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