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Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Here's Lookin' at You, Elf"

WOW! It’s the Holiday Season already! Are we prepared? Gosh, we hope so. This is the time of year when plant-based eating can be really challenging and we mean that in two ways. First of all, with all the turkeys, roasts, butter-laden breads, cornbread dressin’s and gravy, and the world of decadent desserts, it’s often difficult to stick to one’s guns and not be tempted to ‘cheat’ a bit. The first year your Elf was totally plant-based, we actually thought we’d take a ‘vegan’ holiday on New Year’s so we could dive into the pork heavy black-eyed peas, butter heavy cornbread, bacon heavy collards and perennial holiday favorites EGG Nog and Boiled Custard laced with Bourbon and Whipped Cream! BUT, we decided that one ‘holiday’ would beget others and soon, we’d be right back into old habits, which is a nice segue into the SECOND way eating plant-based during the holidays can be challenging. We LOVE to challenge ours-elf with veganizing recipes that we love and also finding new recipes to try. This year will be no exception. Gosh, there are SO many great plant-based recipes out there now, it’s become a matter of recipe overload and figuring out just which ones are worth a try. We KNOW what we are preparing this year for our Thanksgiving day at our BFFs (Jesse and MaryEvelyn Dees) so stay tuned for next Sunday’s blog for a full report!!
And speaking of reports, it’s time to share our FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe of the week with you. The title of the recipe is what caught the Elf’s little ole eyes. Potato “Gatto”.
When reading Susan’s description of the recipe, we learned that “Gatto” is an Italianized version of the French word ‘gâteau’ which means cake. And, though this casserole isn’t really a cake, it is layered and therefor looks like a cake. The only substitution we made was the mushrooms. We had some fresh oyster mushrooms on hand and needed to use, so we coarse chopped and sautéed them.
As always, we got our ‘mise en place’ with onions, peas, nutritional yeast, diced roasted red peppers, panko (Japanese bread crumbs), and non-dairy milk (we used cashew).

What you don’t see is the garlic and a big ole pot of potatoes that were cooking away. When they were done, we drained them after reserving some of the potato water just in case we needed to soften up the potatoes when we smashed them with one of the masher things that we can NEVER find until we are about to scream! As Susan suggests, we kept the skin on the potatoes. We sautéed the onion until it had some nice color to it
removed them from the pan to a bowl and then sprayed the pan with Coconut Oil Pam to sauté the garlic and panko crumbs. We started out slowly heating and stirring.
When a nice bown was achieved, we took the pan off the heat and let it sit until ready to top the ‘Gatto’.
We then commenced to smashing the potatoes and adding the diced peppers, mushrooms, and half of the peas.
It’s right pretty, isn’t it!
We then layered about half of the mixture into our prepared casserole, added the remaining peas and then the rest of the potato mixture. This was put in a 400º oven for about 25 minutes before pulling it out and topping with the crumb mixture which we sorta pressed into the potatoes. Back into the oven for about another 10 minutes and it was done. We let it sit for a few minutes before dishing it out.
Oh, we forgot…as you know, we almost always add cayenne pepper to everything we eat (except desserts) so we did sprinkle some cayenne over the top prior to adding the crumb mixture. This makes a very hearty casserole and one we will enjoy for lunch for a few more days.
Now, we mentioned that we’d give a full report of our Thanksgiving dishes next Sunday but we did want to share the FFVK recipe we will be preparing. We made this last year and it was such a hit, we didn’t want to disappoint—Creamy Vegan Broccoli and Rice Casserole. We have some really nice broccoli from our CSA box that we can use and will most definitely use our Mississippi Blue Basmati Rice that we love so much
AND the other FFVK recipe we will add this year is Susan’s 911 Vegan Gravy.
It should pair nicely with our entrée offering. Keeping our fingers crossed on that one! We are also taking a dessert, so next week’s blog will be a blast to write!

We have designated Sunday nights at the Elfin-haus as Taco Night and explore all kinds of plant-based options for tacos. Tonight, we are taking the easy way out and preparing the filling with Kroger’s Simple Truth Crumbles but stay tuned for some interesting fillings to come.

Last night we took some sautéed ‘chicken’ (The Gentle Chef’s recipe) to a restaurant.

Big Solid had his over a baked potato with some mushrooms and vegan cheese (that we also took) and your Elf had some over an entrée salad along with some cheese as well. We both had clean plates and full bellies when we left. Eating plant-based can be very simple and very good.

And our last food elf-fort this week was to make some granola that we had this morning.
We had a bit of a rough week as Larry’s sister, Genora, passed away on Wednesday. We had been to see her Tuesday to say goodbye and we are so glad we did. This was not an unexpected event but painful nevertheless. 

And finally, we wanted to share our favorite
mannequin’s Thanksgiving window. With all the mannequin craze currently, we have the real deal. Presenting VEGAN PILGRIM ANNIE!

It's a wrap for this week...make that a 'vegan wrap'. We wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. And always remember to laugh a lot, breathe deep, love life, be kind and "DO EPIC"!

Your Elf

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