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Sunday, September 25, 2016

To Every Elf There Is A Season

What a week it has been! We’ve been not only busy bakin’ E.P.I.C. cookies for the Crossroads Café, but also WORKING at the café until some replacement staff can be found. AND, we will continue this week as well. The Elf has enjoyed her time working as the café is a great place. Not only is the food awesome but the staff/customers are also.
We perused many of Susan’s recipes this week from her awesome FatFree Vegan Kitchen site before finally settling on one.
We’ve been in the mood for a burger, complete with bun. We typically go the Boca or Simple Truth route but this time we opted to go from scratch. This recipe hit home with our thinking, so we gave it a go…Savory Lentil-Mushroom Burger.
Heck, the description alone was worth the elf-fort! And we had all of the ingredients on hand!! Always a plus. AND, it’s really easy, comes together quickly (patty wise) and then firms up when baked. That was another plus…no frying and worrying about them falling apart in the pan. So, limited pictures but they were quite tasty. As a matter of fact, your Elf enjoyed a second one as a bedtime snack without the bun! We cooked the lentils (al dente so they wouldn’t be all mushy) and as always with lentils, we cook more than we need because we can always eat this with rice as a nice lunch meal. We chopped the onions and then added our quartered ‘shrooms to the food processor for a finer chop. We cookies our onions oil they began to brown and then added the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. We sautéed according to directions until they were soft. We confess that we always keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge so that was easy!
When the softness was JUST RIGHT, we removed from the heat and placed back in our Cuisinart along with the lentils. The recipe also calls for a chia seed/water mixture that is allowed to sit for a bit and become gelatinous, kinda like an egg. That was also added to the lentil/mushroom mix along with some good ole ‘old fashioned oats’ to bring the mixture to a soft but firm consistency. The other seasonings were also added during the processing/pulsing. We added one seasoning, a half-teaspoon of Hickory Flavored Liquid Smoke to give it just a bit of smokiness. All this came together quite nicely and was allowed to sit for about 15 minutes to absorb flavors and ‘gel’ a bit before being forming into patties. This is where a lot of lentil/oat burgers are problematic as they either tend to be too soft or too dry (mostly the former) and do not hold their shape well. HOWSOMEVER, after the time to ‘substance up’, forming the patties was a breeze. Our oven was pre-heated to 375º, so it was ready. And in they went for about 35 minutes. We let them cook a bit longer because when we poked them a bit at 30 minutes, we just sensed they needed a bit longer. Worked out GREAT! Here’s what they looked like fresh from the oven.
All that was left to do was to pile on a bun with some lettuce and condiments (we COMPLETELY forgot to do the chipotle mayo!!) and chowed down. They were absolutely delicious and we highly recommend!
Now, for the coming week, your Elf has a LOT on her plate (pardon the pun)…yet, we anticipate a slight break in the heat of summer that has seemed to have an iron grip on Mississippi!! With that break, meaning instead of highs in the mid-90’s, we anticipate the low 80’s with lows in the low 60’s!! That’s tantamount to WINTER temps nearly! So, there will be fall in the air and when it turns cool, we always think SOUP!! Our selection for the coming week will be Susan’s marvelous Mushroom-Barley Soup with Cannelloni Beans and Cabbage.

One other ‘news item’ that we are tickled about. Big Solid, aka as Poppy Elf, has made the move to being vegan. We are so excited for him and the impact this will make on his health and well-being. He’s in good health at 73 but would like to lose a little weight and see if he can get off the cholesterol and blood pressure medications he’s been on for years. That would INDEED be terrific!! He’s already been on the verge for a while, since he eats vegan at home BUT reading John McDougall’s book The Starch Solution has really resonated with him. Coupled with his increased understanding of the plight of animals in factory farms, circuses, zoos and water tanks, he said “I’m in”! YAY! NOW! This will add some extra fun to FRIDAY and SATURDAY nights since those are nights we typically dine out--like this past Friday.
We are going to explore more options in our area where we can find and/or bring some vegan options with us. Case in point…last night (Saturday), we decided on Mexican. We found a restaurant that had good ratings AND a relatively quiet ambiance, Mexicali Taqueria Grill.

We absolutely detest a restaurant where you cannot have a conversation due to the noise level. Your Elf even went by the
Mexikali Taqueria Grill earlier in the day to grab a menu and ask the management if we could bring our own vegan cheese and sour cream (cashew cream from Oh She Glows!) They were more than happy to oblige, so we had a lovely meal of vegetable fajitas with our own cheese/sour cream. We will indeed add them to our restaurant rotation. We are also doing to explore other ethnic options such as Thai, Indian, Japanese, and Greek rather than feel confined. So, you can follow our dining adventures outside the Kinky Ellery Kitchen as well as in!!

We have a special week coming up and you’ll hear all about it next Sunday!! Can’t wait to share it with you. Until then, y’all remember to eat plants, laugh out loud, be kind and DO EPIC. 

OH!! We almost forgot…The Elf in the Kitchen’s blog is now on Tumblr. We aren't sure what we are doing yet, but it’s a start.

Your Elf

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