Sunday, December 13, 2015

"From Elf to You!"

Well, my goodness but the week does go by—especially during the holiday season. It’s been so unseasonably warm down here in Dixie that’s ALMOST been hard to get in that cozy, snuggly spirit. HOWSOMEVER, the joy of the season prevails, decorations go up (sometimes REALLY EARLY), traffic gets really weird and families make plans to unite. It can be a stressful time of year as well, bringing out the Grinches in us all – what better way to deal with all that emotional upheaval than TO EAT SOMETHING GOOD! Well, you’re in luck because our Expert (that would be Susan Voisin and her FatFree Vegan Kitchen site) and The Elf (that would be moi) teamed up this week for yet another superb rendition of one of her great recipes. So, here we go!
Our recipe this week was Spaghetti Squash Santa Fe Casserole and boy, did we pick a winner.
As we told Susan, it did not come without some tense moments but, hey! What’s the Kinky Elfery Kitchen without a tense moment or two? First we got our ‘mis en place’ with our ingredients. The Elf wants to thank Chef Skye Michael Conroy for insisting via his recipes that this concept be a staple practice in food preparation. When The Elf fails to get the ‘mis en place’ in place, there is invariably and ‘elf-up’. A quick word about the ingredients…the original recipe calls for the use of black beans, a traditional bean in southwestern cooking. But, black beans and Big Solid are NOT A GOOD MIX, so we substituted navy beans.

We sautéed our peppers and onion, such a colorful sight. We were already happy.

And then, we added the beans, spinach and ground chili pepper. We used HOT chili pepper and tossed in a bit of Chipotle ground chili pepper as well

That was followed by the squash that we’d pre-cooked in the microwave and already scraped out. We must admit to slightly over-cooking the squash but the microwave sure does cut the time it takes. Next time 8 minutes on high will be sufficient instead of the 9 we actually did.

This is just a closer view of the previous picture. We like to show the stuffs up close and personal.

We made a slightly larger amount of the cornbread topping just to be sure we covered the casserole nicely and threw it in the oven.

The final version from the oven…and this is where we got a little tense. The topping wasn’t browning like The Elf thought it should so we left it in a bit longer. It did crisp up around the edges but we were still worried it would not be done. Oh, what fools we were. It turned out great…probably because we let it sit for just a few minutes after taking from the oven. In any event, we loved it!! And we highly recommend it. It is easy and excellent. So, thanks to the Expert for a recipe well done.
Next week’s recipe will be “Dreena’s No-Fu Love Loaf”…whew! That’s a mouthful! Looks like comfort food to The Elf which means side dishes of cauliflower mashed potatoes and other good stuffs!
Tonight is our Vegan Gals night at Gigi’s. We’ve been havin’ a LAST NIGHT there for the past couple of months. Seems like Gigi and Kevin’s plans to move were put on hold for a bit so we have ONE MORE time together. We have agreed that instead of presents, we would all make donations to charities on behalf of each of us. So, we’ll gather yet again and have a wonderful evening of great vegan food and mellowship J. We are making recipes that have been group favorites so tonight The Elf is making Ethiopian Cabbage.
Here’s a previous picture of the Ethiopian Cabbage

and Oatmeal Crème cookies (aka Little Kiki’s).  

These are veganized versions of a crème filled oatmeal cookie…will try to post the recipe soon.
And last, but not least, two of our ‘friends’ from last week have something to share with you this holiday season…at least we hope they do. “Cluck You” wants to wait to have the airways all to herself.

In the meantime, breathe deep, laugh a lot, eat plants, love life and ‘DO EPIC’. And speakin’ of “Doin’ EPIC”, does The Elf have a surprise for y’all soon!!
T. Elf

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