Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Elf Abides Thanks to The Expert!

Y’ALL!! Before we launch into our Expert and Elfin cookery adventures, there are a few things to share with you.

FIRST!! You have NO IDEA how excited and THRILLED we were when, on Monday morning, less than 24 hours after we’d posted our blog last Sunday, there were roughly 1100 ‘hits’!! WE had to look at the number twice and just squealed over to Big Solid to LOOK!!  We KNOW that having Susan Voisin’s support has been a HUGE catalyst for this and we’ll take it and run with it. We love plant-based cooking and if this little blog can influence or help, all the better. So a REALLY BIG Elfin ‘Thank You’ (we know that’s an oxymoron but you get it) to all of you who read The Elf.
The Elf got herself a CARD!!
SECOND..toward that end, we have taken your comments seriously in terms of trying to make this blog more reader friendly. We are trying to find someone to tutor us in the fine art of 'bloggery', making it easy for you to follow The Elf and to expand our readership. So, in the meantime, as we work toward better 'bloggering', we’d be obliged if you’d help spread the word and share us with your buddies.  We HAVE added a couple of things to the blog that should be helpful (THANKS to THE EXPERT, SUSAN VOISIN)—we now have a link for email subscriptions to the blog as well as an RSS feed. We also think that we MAY have fixed the capability to comment. If you try to comment on this blog and it won’t work, please e-mail me at to let me know.

And THIRD, for those of you who are new to this blog, we DO have a FaceBook page of the same name, so if you’re interested in daily updates from The Elf, please find and ‘like’ our page. It would be AWESOME if our little FB page got the same number of likes as we got hits this past week!!
FFVK Veggie dogs…recipe of the week
If you follow The Elf in the Kitchen FaceBook page, you’ll know that we had a great time with our EXPERT recipe this week…FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s version of a hot dog.
The hot dogs turned out great…and tasted like, well, HOT DOGS!! Even as we were making the dough and adding all the seasonings, we could really smell the ‘real’ hot dog aroma. That smell really permeated the kitchen as the ‘dogs’ were steaming. The texture was nice and firm and the flavor was very very good.
Dry Ingredients All Set Up
Pre-rolled veggie dog dough

Ready for the Mouth
You’ll also notice that our attempt to make hot dog buns in which to place these lovely hot dogs was something less than the desired result. HOWEVER, we did seem to invent/bake or otherwise come up with the MOTHER OF ALL HOTDOG BUNS. The fault was ours, mostly, as the dough was lovely albeit very soft. We had no sense of how small or big to make the buns for the final rising and the recipe directions were a bit confusing, so we just did the best we could. The directions indicated two baking sheets would be needed but gave no indication of how many buns per sheet or how big the buns should be as they went for the second rise. Consequently, two baking sheets wound up with 6 buns each. They LOOKED small when set aside for the second rise—BUT—holy moley, they did grow up! And they sorta fell while baking because we misread the baking time and cooked them longer than directed. So there will be no link to the recipe until we figure out how to make it ‘more better’.  All that being said, the buns actually turned out to be really good for a panini or sandwich. And when it came time for our ‘hot dog’ dinner…we just sliced the top off and used it by itself.
Seriously!! Big BUNS!!
Baked and Flat but Still Delicious!
Soo—that brings us to our EXPERT recipe for next week. This one is a no brainer. It’s St. Patrick’s Day week, so something cabbagey is most definitely in order. Without hesitation, it’s gonna be the FatFree Vegan Kitchen version of cabbage rolls.
We realize this is a challenge, especially since we’ve NEVER made cabbage rolls before. We understand it’s damn near an art form…so we are gearing up for the challenge. We may even have to dispense with our audio book that usually keeps us company in the kitchen and FOCUS on the task at hand.
You know, we have long believed that the best way to change the world is one person at a time. This week we had an interesting spin on that idea and here’s how it went down.  We were getting a much needed haircut and chatting with the operator about my brother and his sweetheart’s upcoming visit for Zippity Doo Dah weekend. We mentioned how we’d been cooking up a storm in advance so we’d be able to spend quality time together.  As she was snipping away, she asked if we’d be eating vegetarian and we, of course, said yes…but mentioned it was vegan. She then clarified by saying, “So you don’t eat eggs?”
“Nope”…so then she said,
“Well, what DO you eat? If you don’t eat meat, chicken or fish and then no eggs or cheese, what else is there?”  

COWABUNGA!! What an opportunity to share what a great eating experience vegan cuisine can be!!  So, we whipped out our cell phone and showed her some pictures of the plant-based items that we prepare and consume. She was truly amazed that instead of a bale of hay and a seaweed smoothie, she saw ‘REAL FOOD’ that LOOKED good. For instance:
Zucchini Noodles, Shredded Chikun and Broccoli
Harissa/Maple Sausage Biscuit
Shredded Chikun Salad ala TEFF LOVE Tempeh Salad

Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
'Cheery Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
By the time we'd shown some of these pictures, this lady wanted to try a vegan dish or two. So I invite all folks who are not vegan to go vegan for ONE day. If you need any ideas, tips or otherwise delicious plant-based menu ideas, by all means, give us a heads up. You can e-mail us (see e-mail address above), post on our The Elf in the Kitchen FaceBook page or our personal page as Janne Patterson Swearengen. Feel free to peruse any of the past Elf posts for links or go to any of the great Vegan sites on FaceBook or the internet (via Google) such as these (just a sampling):
We continue to solicit stories from any of y’all who became vegan as a senior citizen…we’d love to feature your journey.

Whereas most days of the week are ‘cookery’ days, we reserve Sunday as ‘wordery’ days where we complete the blog, make lists and take time to enjoy a book (and yes, the Elf's nickname is Kiki).
Elfin 'Wordery'
So, y’all have a wonderful week ahead (HAPPY St. Paddy's Day!!) and join us again next Sunday for another enchanting and riveting culinary experience with The Elf in the Kitchen. So, that’s a vegan wrap for this week.  Til next Sunday, y’all, breathe deep, eat plants, laugh a lot, and love life.
The Elf


  1. Where can I find the recipe for the harssa/maple sausage biscuits, please?

  2. I use The Gentle Chef's recipe for his maple/sage sausage. I am not a big sage fan and we LOVE spicy stuffs.. so, I added some harissa (2 tsp) and doubled the maple syrup. I can't reproduce RGC recipes because they are proprietary. You may be able to find on his blog. Thanks so for your comment and let me know if you need more info.