Sunday, October 30, 2016

An Elf Is An Elf Is An Elf

My goodness y’all, it seems like FOREVER since we last blogged, so there is much to talk about! We did indeed visit some of Big Solid’s friends at The Villages in Florida and had a wonderful time. It was our first road trip together since Big Solid has gone full tilt plant based, so it was kinda fun to discover what we could eat on the road. More about that Later!! AND, we’ve been ever so busy in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen since we returned.
But FIRST, we have to reach back to the week of 10/17 to fill you in on our FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe for that week, Pasta with Chard and Chickpeas.
Well, like we said in the last blog, this recipe has just about EVERYTHING in it we love…pasta, chard, chickpeas and portabellos. We did adjust the pasta a bit; we had about three boxes of pasta that, combined, would make up the correct amount of pasta. So, we just used three different pastas—penne, rotini and small shells. Worked out great and we were able to clear out some room in the pantry for, yep, MORE PASTA!

So, while our pasta was cooking, we sautéed our onion,
added the garlic and mushrooms,
and red pepper flakes (and yes, we doubled that amount).
Next up was the tomato paste and chickpeas.
We took some of our reserved pasta water and added it to the chickpea mixture and then stirred in our chard (OH WE SO LOVE CHARD!!)
We let that cook for a bit and then added the pasta(s). And for the final burst of flavor, we added the freshly squeezed orange juice. We LOVED it!
In fact, we took it on the road with us (we did have leftovers) and used it to supplement a salad we ordered at Subway! We found a really interesting recipe to try for the coming week..Somen with Tofu and Asparagus in a Chinese Dressing! An Asian twist to pasta, for sure.

Now we mentioned our trip to The Villages in Florida and how we veganized our eating experience. Well, introducing the Cooler of the Elf--we don't leave home without it!
Our hosts were really concerned about meeting our food needs. We told them NOT TO WORRY…we usually bring a lot of stuff with us AND we can almost always find restaurant food..heck, if they have a salad bar, baked potato or a pasta, we can work with that easily. We loaded our CotE with our non-dairy creamer, vegan cheese, the left-over pasta from Susan’s recipe of the week we just talked about, oatmeal, dairy free milk, and plant-based sausages and chicken. We stopped at a Subway for lunch, one we are very familiar with in the McLain MS area. What your Elf did not know is that Subway now has a chopped salad!! WE LOVE A CHOPPED SALAD!! We both ordered one and dug around in our cooler for some cheese and pasta to throw on top of it.
Quite a lovely little meal in the middle of nowhere! And during our visit, we were indeed treated to a delicious Mexican restaurant with some excellent vegan options; an exquisite restaurant with a fabulous salad bar; a wonderful Italian restaurant that went above and beyond to prepare a lovely pasta primavera and grilled portabello and pasta dish; a delicious Thai restaurant that had several vegetarian options that were easily made vegan. We had sautéed some of our ‘chikun’ and sausages to take with us and offered samples to our tablemates.  Alas, only one took us up on the offer BUT she said, “this tastes like chicken” and “the Andouille sausage was way too hot for me but it was good!” It’s aways fun to introduce folks to plant based meats and watch skepticism turn into a big smile and acknowledgement that it does taste good!

Monday, we hit the kitchen running to bake cookies for the Crossroads Café. We knew they would be out, so that was our first priority. Two dozen each of Oatmeal Walnut Cranberry and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. While they were cooling we went to the grocery to stock up for the week. Other activities from the Kinky Elfery Kitchen this week include:

This was so easy we halfway expected it to be sorta ok..but it’s really good. Very spreadable and tasty.
Then we made a whole batch of the Savory Lentil and Mushroom Burgers just to have on hand for a quick sandwich or snack. (See Blog 9.25.16) We love these great little burgers so much; this time we added a half cup of crushed walnuts to get some more crunch.
Next up, we made two soups to tide us over for lunch/suppers the rest of the week. We LOVE this Fennel/Tomato soup from Vegetarian Times and use our own plant-based Italian sausages instead of store bought. Many folks do not like fennel because of the anise taste. And truth be told, your Elf is not an anise/licorice fan BUT this soup is delicious.
We sautéed our fennel
and added our sausages and fennel seed. The recipe calls for 3 sausages but we used four…what the heck. When the sausages are kinda browned and bits are sticking to the pan, we deglazed with dry vermouth.
Yes, we also doubled that amount from two tablespoons to four…again, what the heck. It adds a nice flavor and gets all those bits incorporated into the soup.
We use our own ‘chikun’ bouillon (The Gentle Chef again) and organic crushed tomatoes. We grow our own Italian parsley, so no problem there. It’s an easy soup to make and very very good. And for those od us who are calorie conscious, it's relatively low in calories.
Next up, we made a Mushroom Hot and Sour soup from Isa Does It by Isa Moscowitz.

Your Elf LOVES Hot and Sour soup and spent many of her traveling years sampling as many variations as we could find. BUT, when we saw this recipe, we had to give it a try. It’s good but we think when we make it again, we will kick it up with additional heat and rice wine vinegar as well as cornstarch to thicken it. Here’s the finished product!
In fact, we just had a nice bowl of it…yummy!

Thursday is our second cookie baking day, so we had another four dozen to deliver around 2:00 p.m. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip
And Oatmeal Walnut Cranberry

Remember what a fit we had over the Subway Chopped Salad? Well, we found one of those chopper thingies (just google subway chopped salad and you’ll find several options) and ordered it. SEE!!

Thursday night, we had the Swearengen version of a chopped salad and used FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Fat Free Balsamic and Raisin dressing to top it off AND a bowl of the Fennel Tomato Soup! Light but very delicious meal!

Also Thursday afternoon, we picked up our CSA box of vegetables from several local farms in the area. HOLY MOLY!! We got turnips/turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, heirloom tomatoes, two kinds of squash, and cucumbers. We used one of the heirloom tomatoes in our chopped salad and stored the rest. Friday, we busted out the greens and squashes. While it’s a bit labor intensive to wash and prep the greens, it’s SO WORTH it for fresh vegetables. We combined the turnip greens and mustard greens and cooked them.
Sautéed the squashes along with some onion to use for anyway we wanted to eat them…great to have on hand to top a baked potato or salad.
AND, we prepared the collards by sautéing in coconut oil with sliced mushrooms and a bit of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. This little Elf ate damn near the WHOLE PAN!. Collards all piled up to cook

Collards cooked down with 'shrooms! SO GOOD!

WHEW!! It looks like we are caught up for the past two weeks! Thanks for hanging in there with us. We look forward to a bit less frenetic week or at least not quite as busy!

So, until we meet again in NOVEMBER!, remember to laugh a lot, practice kind stuffs, eat plants, and DO EPIC! HAPPY HALLOWEEN from GLAMOUR MUMMY ANNIE!
Your Elf!

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