Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Year of Living Elfishly

On July 1 of this year, your Elf will celebrate TWO YEARS of being totally plant-based! And, while we can ‘fess up to being challenged on occasion (e.g., those Duck Chips at City Grille look amazing and from the moans of gustatory delight from Big Solid, they ARE amazing), we can also truthfully say that staying true to the commitment of eating a vegan regimen has not been difficult at all.  Little did The Elf know that taking the 28 Day Vegan pledge at Dr. Neal Barnard’s presentation on June 30 2013 would result in such a solid resolution.
So now we look forward to year THREE with a renewed energy to explore more plant-based culinary excitements, be an example of how plant-based eating can impact one’s health and psyche and offer continuing support and encouragement to anyone wishing to go plant-based/eat vegan – even if it’s one day a week. Like Mikey says, “Try it, you’ll like it”. It’s not just weeds and seeds, as any follower of this (and the hundreds of other vegan blogs and Facebook pages) will note.
And also, after this week’s FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe undertaking, we will be taking a hiatus from our THE EXPERT AND THE ELF’s version of Julie (The Elf) and Julia (The Expert aka Susan Voisin). Since we initiated this exploration of Susan’s expertise in early February 2015, we have made/cooked, baked or otherwise prepared 23 recipes. This week’s selection, Spinach and Artichoke Pie, will make 24 -- we think.
The recipe we prepared this week was quite lovely and we had a great time making it. Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
This was a tad labor intensive but so much fun, it hardly seemed like elf-fort. Who’da thunk that brown rice would make a worthy pie crust OR that you could put together a really decent quiche without eggs? Well, you can…see!
First, we got all our ingredients together to MAKE SURE we had everything we needed. The small amount of non-dairy milk is already in the VitaMix if you can see it.
Then we made the ‘egg’ filling using extra-firm silken tofu and some other good stuffs like turmeric and spicy things. This mixture also served as a binder for our brown rice crust.
The brown rice crust was prepared from pre-cooked brown rice that had cooled somewhat. We added some of the quiche mixture (3 Tablespoons) to it along with some Vegan Parmesan cheese and then mashed it all amongst the pie pan that had been sprayed with olive oil.
 It went into a 350° oven for about 8 minutes. Since we were using a glass pie plate, we kept a close eye on it. Turned out quite nicely!
 Next we sautéed our veggies like instructed and placed them in the bottom of the cooked crust spreading the remaining quiche sauce over it.
 We placed our asparagus spears in a sunburst and popped it back in the oven for about an hour. And THEN…VOILA! QUICHE!! And Big Solid, who is about as real a man as you’d want to find and The Elf plowed into it.

This would be a marvelous lunch, breakfast or supper dish. We enjoyed it for supper with some hash-brown potatoes and decided the elf-fort was worth it.
As we mentioned, we’ll be making the Spinach and Artichoke Pie for our FFVK recipe this week and then take a bit of a hiatus for a while to give Susan some breathing room. We anticipate returning to our THE EXPERT and THE ELF experience in the fall when we can start delving into seasonal fall vegetable recipes and the wonderful soups and stews that fall temperatures have us craving.
Now, amongst our other kinky cookery for the week, we made our customary oatmeal cookies for the great folks at ARF/MS (Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi) and then decided to try making them as a larger cookie. There will be a big event in August to help raise funds for this wonderful No-Kill shelter and The Elf will donate vegan cookies for sale. And who wants to buy a little bitty cookie…so here you go. These are COOKIES!! 3” in diameter and just as yummy as the smaller version. Oatmeal Walnut Raisin 
 And Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
 And lastly, our week wouldn’t be Elfin complete without making at least ONE batch of Bacun. This stuff is addictive! Here we have two views of the Bacun as it is oven ready.
Top view with freshly ground pepper and side view to see the 'layers'.
 Next is the finished product sliced but not yet pan fried.
 And the side view again showing the 'layers' or striations.  The cooked up version will be ready for a home grown tomato!
We hope that those of you who follow Susan and her wonderful blog FatFree Vegan Kitchen ( and have been entertained by The Elf in the Kitchen will continue to follow us until we rejoin our FFVK project in the fall.
 Now THIS week in the Elf Kitchen, we will be very busy plotting, preparing and pursuing vegan excellence with two big parties for this weekend. We’ll be preparing special vegan delights for our Vestal Vegan gathering on July 3rd AND the same for a carnivore extravaganza at the home of our BFFs at their traditional Fourth of July cookout. We always try to take something that is enticing to the non-plant-based palate both savory and sweet just to show that plant-based eating is delicious and beyond! Next week, you’ll see what The Elf dreamed up and did! Until then, y’all, breathe deep, eat plants and love life.
The Elf

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