Sunday, February 26, 2017

Don't Bite The Elf That Feeds You

Another week in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen has come and gone—in an instant it seems! So without further ado, let’s get on with our fun stuffs for today. As you know, this is our swan-song week for our ‘The Expert and The Elf’ project that we started OVER TWO YEARS AGO
with a brief hiatus to catch our collective breaths. If you read the inaugural blog, you’ll hopefully see that we have most certainly benefitted from the organizational, recipe building, and supporting skills that Susan has help us develop. Not to mention the awesome meals that her recipes and site have provided. So, if you are not a follower of Susan Voisin’s awesome site Fat Free Vegan Kitchen,
then by all means, check it out and see for yourowns-elf. For our last FFVK recipe, we selected a very simple yet delicious pasta dish called Pasta all'Arribbiatta.
We love cooking recipes that challenge with lots of ingredients and some labor intensity. BUT for the most part, we are of the KISS mentality when it comes to everyday cookin’ by Keepin’ It Simple Stupidhead. This was prepared on our Wednesday (Anything Can Happen Day) and we’ll go into more detail as we arrive at Wednesday. In keeping with our weekly menu, let’s take it by by day. And, BTW, we are really enjoying this way of eating right now. It gives us a menu for the week with room to add one recipe that is new to us while keeping our favorites (with some variations) to count on.

Sunday is, so far, Taco Night. Last week we didn’t include a picture of our tacos because, seriously, how many times can you look at a taco. This week we combined cooked brown lentils with some Boca crumbles for the filling and spiced it up with an additional boost from chipotle chili powder. We toasted the Taco shells;
 then shredded and washed the Hearts of Romaine lettuce.
We also had made a TON of Cowboy Caviar, so actually place some of it on the filling too.
We topped with some Guacamole that was ‘loosened’ up a bit with some while wine vinegar. It was YUMMY!!
We have already selected our topping for tonight’s Tacos, so hopefully it will be different enough to photograph!

Monday is All Veggie Night which usually consists of finding the freshest organic produce we can and figuring out a way to make it not only delicious but also different enough in textures to stay interesting. Well, boy Howdy, this week’s grouping turned out to be awesome. We sautéed kale and some wonderful oyster mushrooms with some dark Organic Tamari we found at Mr. Chen’s Oriental Grocery.
Then we had one of our FAVORITES…Cumin Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Potatoes.
Y’all! If you’ve always been one of those folks that says ‘UGH!’, “GAG!’, and/or “NO WAY!’ to Brussels Sprouts, all we can say is “TRY THIS, YOU’LL LIKE IT!
We also roasted a nice large cauliflower that we’d broken up into smaller florets and coated with a chile paste called Sambal…very spicy! Vegans and plant-based eaters need to be sure to read the ingredients on the Sambal label as sometimes it is made with fish products. You’ll see cauliflower in the final plating photograph. AND, you cannot have vegetables in the South without corn-sticks, which we have down to a vegan art-form (even if we do say-so).

Tuesday Night is Baked Potato Night and we always look for variations on the topping theme. This week, thanks once again to Mr. Chen’s awesome stash of mushrooms, we sautéed a TON of shiitake mushrooms
to add to our typical steamed broccoli, shredded Daiya cheese and sautéed plant-based chicken shreds.

Wednesday is Anything Can Happen Night. And here’s our final FFVK recipe for this season, Pasta all'Arribbiata (link included above). As you can see by our ‘mise en place’, the ingredients are few. Here we have our whole grain pasta (we used fusilli as we had it on hand), our favorite Muir crushed tomatoes (we could NOT find the canned Roma tomatoes that the recipe called for, so substituted these), Italian parsley from our own little herb garden, an added ingredient of some mushrooms that we HAD to use or throw away, one clove of Elephant Garlic and Red Pepper flakes.
We sautéed the garlic, red pepper flakes for a bit in less than a teaspoon of olive oil and then added the mushrooms.
We then added the crushed tomatoes and let the sauce simmer a bit to absorb the flavors. While the sauce was mellowing slowly, we cooked the pasta. We were certainly more cognizant of our pasta cookery than in our last elf-fort that went astray, so kept careful watch on the ‘early al dente’ texture and drained it before adding to the sauce. We stirred the pasta/sauce together to get a good coating, added the chopped parsley  and plated. The first picture you’ll see is Big Solid’s plate. He chose to grate and add some Daiya cheddar to his serving along with a couple of pieces of The Gentle Chef’s plant-based chicken shreds left over from Baked Potato Night.
The next plate is that of your Elf…we stayed with our vegan parmesan.
This recipe is so easy and so delicious, it will no doubt be on our rotation for nights we need something in a hurry or have surprise company. The red pepper flakes impart such a nice heat…we loved it.

Thursday Night is Taco Salad Night. Big Solid  looks forward to the Taco Nights almost as much as he does Thanksgiving (his favorite holiday), so as it stands right now, this will continue for a while longer. No doubt we will begin to deviate from this after a few more months and maybe come up with a SOUP night or something cool like that. Heck, we can always have Taco Salad for lunch! Since we made a barrel of Taco Filling, we had plenty on hand for our salad.
So, that was our WEEK of suppers in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen.

As we were looking at our menu for this past week, we also had a hankerin’ for the Hot ’n Sour soup from the Isa Does It cookbook.
The time we made it before, we LOVED it. AND, we had the ingredients on hand…even those dried Woodear mushrooms that we’d driven ALL over town to find the first time. Well, we bought enough to have some on hand, so we had NO EXCUSES! And we made it. Here is the ‘mise en place’ for the soup which consisted of Toasted Sesame Oil, Organic Tamari, Rice Vinegar, Fresh Ginger, Bamboo Shoots, Angel Hair Coleslaw which is obscuring the Sambal, Minced Garlic, the Woodear ‘shrooms (we used two packs), Extra Firm Organic Tofu, Scallions, and Cremini/Baby Bella mushrooms.
What you don’t see is the plant-based broth that we used. The recipe calls for vegetable broth and we used our Gentle Chef plant-based Chicken Bouillon. The hardest part of this recipe is gathering the ingredients. Once all those are found and readied, this recipe comes together so very nicely and is DIVINE!! SEE!!
Last time we made this, we swapped out the Sriracha for the Sambal because we liked the flavor of the Sambal more. Well, this time, we wanted even MORE heat, so we added a tablespoon of the Sriracha as well. OH BOY!! Next time we make it, we will INDEED make a double batch. It’s THAT GOOD!!

So, it’s the end of another fun-filled cookin'-up-a-storm week with your Elf. As we close this week's bloggeriness, we wanted to share a picture of the little ‘Rememberin’ Tree’ that stands sentinel on a nexus corner of two neighborhoods. We love this little tree placed to remember lives lost during 9/11, one of whom was a relative of a neighbor. As winter is giving way, swiftly we might add, to spring, our little ‘RT’ is getting a jumpstart on turnin’ green. We sure hope that we don’t sustain a severe cold snap and damage this little tree’s elf-forts at welcoming a new season. Enjoy.
And, as always…remember to Look for the GOOD, be an EXAMPLE of the GOOD, and ACT for the GOOD as HARD as you can, in as MANY WAYS as you can, EVERY DAY that you can. In other words, “DO EPIC”!
Your Elf


  1. Janne, this is my first time seeing your blog and I just want to say that it's fantastic! It makes me sad to know that is the only one I may see. I love these recipes here and the fact that you've put up a whole week at once...that makes it so nice to meal plan for the week.
    I do hope that you will allow access to your previous blogs, and that perhaps will resume them at some point in some way.
    Sincerely, Jenn Marie

    1. Thanks. If you are on Facebook, you can access the blogs via my The Elf in the Kitchen facebook page OR try this link to find them all. And thanks for your vote of confidence.

      How did you find it?
      Your Elf

    2. You an also sign up to be notified via email when the blog is published. Look at the very top of the blog on the right hand side where is says Email Subscriptions (right under the grass). You an click on that link and sign up with your email.