Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Sweet Potato Elf

Once a year, around this time, something magical occurs in the Greater Jackson MS area. Yes, the wisteria, azaleas, dogwoods, red-buds, irises, and all kinds of fruit trees decorate the lush new greenery of spring with such a color palette that it damn near takes your breath. It occurred to your Elf the other day that the reason WISTERIA is named, well, WISTERIA, is because it makes you wistful for the joy and renewal of spring and memories of growing up in the deep South. It's like you get all wistful and teary-eyed and WHOA...WISTERIA.
AND THEN…there’s ANOTHER BLAST of colors that descend on our area from all points—north, south(er), east and west. You can feel them as they draw nearer, hear their laughter and anticipation, sense the energy that only close friendships can radiate…and then THEY are on US like a blessing at Thanksgiving. Yep, the Sweet Potato Queens have arrived for Zippity-Doo-Dah weekend and take it from The Elf…these girls just want to have fun. For a moment out of time, no matter whatever else is happening in their lives, Zippity is the time to play, laugh, imbibe, eat a LOT, dress up in something outrageous and create yet another set of memories to take home. The brainchild of Boss Queen Jill Conner Browne, best-selling author of multiple Sweet Potato Queen books, this celebration of fun has taken on a life of its own.
But we digress…this is a FOOD BLOG for Pete’s Sake and we have important food stuffs to talk about. BUT THEN, we just have to share some of the fun pictures. Read on McElf and then we’ll get to them.
Our FatFree Vegan recipe this week was Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato (clever of The Elf, huh?) Soup.
Now we understand that not EVERYBODY appreciates or enjoys dishes with curry seasonings but BOY HOWDY, The Elf and Big Solid sure do. This was a really terrific recipe and an easy one to prepare. We’ll take any opportunity to use our enamel coated iron Dutch oven, so this was one. First we sautéed some onions.
Next up was the addition of cumin seeds, ginger, a Serrano chile pepper and the garlic. This was sautéed for another 30 second and the aromas really started to hit.

We then added the broth (remember that chikun bouillon we mentioned last week), the sweet potatoes, some of the curry powder (and we just happened to have the Maharajah blend that Susan likes) and the cinnamon. Let that come to a boil and cooked over low heat until the sweet potatoes were softened a bit.

We then added the cauliflower, chickpeas and tomatoes and 3 cups of the broth along with the remaining curry powder. This time, we halved the Maharajah with some HOT Madras curry AND some cayenne! Yowza! Talk about aromatic!! Big Solid came in and said, “I LOVE the way this smells!”

We like our cauliflower ‘al dente’ so the final cooking did not take long to be ready. We added the peanut butter and were ready to dish it up!!

Pretty soon, we had two empty bowls in front of us and enough left-over for lunch the next day. And, Susan is right when she says that it’s even better after resting overnight! If you are not ‘curry aversive’, please give this one a go. It’s worth it!
OK! We’ll wrap this week’s adventures up with where we started. The Sweet Potato Queens and Zippity-Doo-Dah weekend. But first, if you’ve not read one of Jill Conner Browne’s books, you’ve kinda missed out. So do it. Then you’ll get the WHOLE pitcher of why this weekend is such a masterpiece of joy. Lest we belabor the point…here are some random pics of Queens, Queen wannabes and whathaveyou. AND, there is even an Elfie/selfie with Elf-red who was so excited to be a part of this year’s queenliness. He was so excited to go ridin’ in the car; not so excited about comin’ home (tho it’s hard to tell by the expression on his little face).

 And finally, the Queen herownself, Jill Conner Browne and her court. Jill is the tall one in the middle! Go figure. That gal on her left is a person who is one of my Balcony People...her name is Pippa.
This week we will be ferreting through our 2015 FFVK recipes to find out TOP10 for 2015!! Not sure that will be an easy thing but we already have a couple in mind. And, given your Elf’s propensity to change…who knows! If there are those you feel strongly about, please let us know so we can prepare and relive the love!
Until then…in the spirit of Sweet Potato Queeliness and the joy of laughter, please live large, eat plants (well, try to anyway) and DO EPIC!


  1. Love your blog and Jill Connor Browne. Her books are laugh out loud funny. Everyone should read them. I went to parade weekend years ago. It's kind of like Spring Break for ladies. Had a blast.

  2. Janne,

    In addition to being inspired to stir up this week's very well received FFV recipe, I was inspired to gather up the nearest SPQ book and start reading.

    There is no question that we are living through some truly distressing times, but FAT IS THE NEW 30 provided a wondrous anecdote.

    Thank you for this good bit of feeding both body and spirit.