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Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Elf is Always Greener

We here at the ElfinHaus wonder how many of y’all remember the old TV show ‘That Was The Week That Was’ or affectionately known at TW3. Well, that could certainly have applied here! We have had a really busy and fun week. This blog will be pretty much devoted to our inaugural meals from Green Chef although we do have some other goodies to share.
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Our FIRST Green Chef box arrived last Friday and THANK GOODNESS it was very well insulated. We have been running daytime temps well into the nineties with heat indices in the 105-110 range!
It contained EVERY ingredient we needed to prepare (or as we say here in Missi'ppi', ‘fix’) two meals over the course of three nights. Each meal has the ingredients numbered AND color-coded so you won’t mix them up. Very helpful, as you’ll learn later. Since many of the items are perishable and don’t need to sit in the ‘frig for days on end, we tried to use them as quickly as possible, understanding that Friday and Saturday nights are EAT OUT nights for us. So, we rocked out with the Green Chef’s stuffs beginning on Sunday and ending on Tuesday. That bein’ said, we definitely allowed for adjustments, this Sunday bein’ one of them. We have our VEGAN Gals (the Veganistas) this Sunday—always guaranteed to be not only a delightful evenin’ with good friends but also an opportunity to eat some awesome vegan food!! Stay tuned for a full report next week!! Big Solid will be joining us this Sunday as we will be bidding fond farewell to one of our own…it’s a happy farewell, for sure!!
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OK, we put together our first Green Chef meal last Sunday night (7/16). AND, here’s the first thing we learned. When one’s Green Chef Box arrives and one gets all the ingredients out and put up safely, Put all the meals together as the colors and numbers indicate and THEN store them! Naturally, bein’ The Elf and all, we just threw everything in the ‘frig or on a shelf without a thought in the world UNTIL it came time to locate the listed ingredients for our Artichoke and Pesto Pasta mise en place. Of the eleven ingredients, we could easily locate 8. We TORE up the inside and outside refrigerators MORE THAN ONCE before we finally found everything. WHEW! So, here’s our mise en place: Roasted Red peppers and Kalamata Olives, Cannellini Beans, Grape Tomatoes (with a couple of our own yellows thrown in), Frisée (a cool kind of Endive), Pine Nuts, a Shallot, Parsley, Dairy Free Pesto, and Whole Wheat Orecchiette (pasta).
We toasted the Pine Nuts
and prepared the salad (before tossing and OH BOY, do we love Kalamata Olives).
Next up, we sautéed the shallot we’d diced in a bit of EVOO.
And here’s where we fell off the rails for a bit. We were in such a hurry we forgot the next step of sautéing our artichoke hearts. Alas, it made a wee bit of difference in that we did not get that great crust on the sautéed hearts. Oh well, live and learn TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND SLOW THE HELL DOWN!! So, we added the artichoke hearts sans sautéing along with the other ingredients for our final countdown to plating.
Then, our salad was plated
and our Pesto Pasta served up, complete with our toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.
We LOVED it and thoroughly enjoyed our first Green Chef Elf-fort. So, Monday night, once again we ran amok in the kitchen trying to find yet another eleven ingredients that we’d scattered all over both refrigerators, repeating the commitment to pack up and store the next box with some kind of sense. Our meal for Monday night was Sesame Tofu and here’s the mise en place after we AGAIN finally found everything (note—all items are organic): Tofu, Line, Spinach, Teriyaki Sauce, Scallions, Radishes, Edamame Puree, Shichimi Togarashi (a Japanese 7 spice blend) Tamari-Sesame Marinade, Eggplant and Carrot.
The instructions are very easy to follow, thank goodness.
We did not photograph all the steps this time as you kinda get the drift of things but suffice it to say that this dish was OUTSTANDING with one notable exception. Big Solid does not care one whit about Eggplant (though you’ll see by his finished plate in a bit how he managed to choke it down). The final plating looked like this
and Big Solid’s ‘end plate’ looked like this!
Our final Green Chef meal was prepared on Tuesday evening and the streak of deliciousness just kept right on rollin’. The BBQ Tempeh Kebabs were absolutely delicious. We THOUGHT we’d taken a picture of the mise en place but we didn’t. Nevertheless, there was a southwestern slaw along with some diced sweet potatoes that were roasted. 
The tempeh was cubed and marinated in a great BBQ sauce along with some halved Cremini mushrooms (baby portabellos) and thick sliced yellow squash. The Kebabs were made by threading the mushrooms, squash and tempeh cubes onto bamboo skewers that had been soaked in water to keep them from burnin' up. We even busted out our cast iron stove top grill for this one—and while it doesn’t have ridges to get grill marks, it did just fine.
As the kebabs were grilling we plated the sweet potatoes and topped them with finely chopped roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro and a lovely tomatillo-peanut vinaigrette. The final plating had us excited to get to the table, swill a little wine and enjoy a delicious supper.
So, we can truthfully say that our first week of Green Chefery was so much fun (albeit s-elf induced anxiety) AND really delicious food stuffs, we are eager to put into practice some of the lessons learned from Week One. And, we might also add that the folks at Green Chef are super responsive to questions and very supportive about concerns. We wrote them recently about Big Solid’s disdain for Eggplant (since we saw where it would be on an upcoming menu) and they immediately provided suggestions for alternatives that would provide the same consistency and flavor. If you are interested in sampling Green Chef, you can try this link.
We have also been religiously tracking EVERY CENT we have spent on food this week so we can do some cost analysis (this as we threw out a nice batch of Bok Choy, a half package of lettuce and a whole bag of shredded cabbage that we’d bought and never used). This week’s Green Chef cost was extra low because you get a few free meals with your first order, so we will take that into consideration.
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We've also been busy with some other dishes this week to share. We 'fixed' a pasta dish for a friend using Yellow Lentil Pasta
AND brought a Red Lentil Pasta, Delight Soy Chicken Nugget, Mushroom, and Kalamata olive dish to a lovely dinner in the woods with our good friends, Edwin and Gail Butler. They have been saying we needed to have a vegan meal together…so we finally set a date and pulled it off! They are not vegan or vegetarian but working harder to include more plant-based meals into their menus. We are only too happy to share the variety, tastes and ease of plant-based eating. Here’s Edwin’s plate;
full of good plant based food. Our hosts, Gail and Edwin Butler, are pictured in their lovely front yard. Look Ma! No Mowing!
There were deer galore and we had such a fun visit. Big Solid and Your Elf enjoyed the coolness of the woods ourowns-elfs!Note the Shirt of The Elf.
We look forward to Week TWO of Green Chef meals as well as our Veganista gathering (pictures promised) tonight.
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And finally, Your Elf almost made a dreadful mistake Thursday night by topping off her glass of white wine with EVOO! Blech!
With that, we look forward to sharing life at the ElfinHaus you next week.
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Always remember to Look for the GOOD, be an EXAMPLE of the GOOD, and ACT for the GOOD as HARD as you can, in as MANY WAYS as you can, EVERY DAY that you can. In other words, “DO EPIC”!
Your Elf

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