Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hot August Elf

With apologies to Neil Diamond, 'Howdy and welcome to HOT AUGUST ELF!!' August in Mississippi is the time when damn near everyone in the state wants to be anywhere else where the temperature is below 90 and the humidity is as well…it is so incredibly hot and humid. We are among those and will talk about that later. So, let’s review the week in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen and our third week of Green Chef meals.
Last Sunday night, we prepared the Chard Wraps..primarily because chard is a vegetable that does not store well (at least the leaves) and needs to be consumed fairly quickly to keep it from becoming wet noodley. So we got our mis en place (remember that everything is organic):  Portobello Mushroom, Black Rice and Farro, Thyme (not one of my favorite herbs), Applewood-Porcini Spice Blend, Snap Peas, Basil-Pine Nut Spread, Chard leaves (stems removed), shredded Carrots, Edamame, White Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Fennel.

A quick word here on how we kept the Chard leaves fairly fresh from Friday’s delivery of the Green Chef box until Sunday supper time preparation. We took the Chard out of its original packaging, wiped it down to dry it off, took out the tough stems, and rolled the remaining leaves in paper towels. This was then placed in a loosely sealed plastic bag and refrigerated with the rest of the ingredients. The recipe was a bit on the complicated side (at least for Your Elf), so we focused more on getting it prepared correctly than taking photographs along the way. The final result was a pretty tasty Black Rice, Farro, Edamame, and roasted Portobello salad, topped with the White Balsamic Vinaigrette. The Chard leaves were filled with a mixture of the shredded raw carrots, thinly sliced fennel, and roughly chopped thyme. They were ok…I’m not a fan of wraps so this was not really my favorite meal. However, Big Solid thought them quite nice. Here’s the final plating.
Monday, we prepped for the Black Lentil and Orzo Salad with Grilled Veggie Skewers. The mis en place looked like this: Yellow Pepper, Vegan Pesto, Grape Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, Parsley, Bamboo Skewers (there’s a story here you’ll see later), Pine Nuts, Italian Seasoning, Black Lentils, Orzo, Garlic, Shallot, and Zucchini.
This was also a recipe that took some focus as we broke one of the skewers getting it out of the bag-you can see the 'broke spike' in the picture next to the zucchini. SO, a frenzied search for our old metal shish kebab skewers of old ensued and we found ONE. AND, the matchup of veggies (grape tomatoes, zucchini slices, and pepper squares didn’t quite equal out. We had way more zucchini slices and pepper square thingies than tomatoes…NONETHELESS, we persevered and got the skewers on the grill..only to find that the zucchini slices did not allow for the peppers and tomatoes to touch the surface. So we just rocked on and cooked them a bit longer.
The real winner in this meal was the Black Lentil and Orzo Salad with sautéed artichoke hearts…it was delicious and there was plenty of it to make for a filling supper. Our final plating looked as such…see what we mean about the salad!!
Tuesday night, we had the final GC meal of the week, a Mushroom Tostada. Here’s our mis en place (and once again there’s a side-story): Roma Tomato, Cremini Mushrooms, Frisée (remember, it’s part of the endive family), Yellow Cornmeal Tortillas, Avocado, Ancho-Cumin Spice blend, Lime, Red, Yellow and Green Peppers, Black Beans (stay tuned), Cilantro-Lemon Tahini Sauce and Long Grain Rice.
We diced up the mushrooms and peppers for a sauté…easy peasy.
We substituted our own recently prepared black beans instead of utilizing the can that was sent and here’s why. Big Solid has a bit of an intestinal issue with black beans that have NOT been soaked for at least 36 hours; he has a tender little tummy. So, better safe than sorry…we used our own beans. The directions called for the black beans to heat and then be mashed (ala refried beans) with lime zest.
The final plating looked quite nice with the avocado fan, the frisée salad and rice topped with the cilantro-lemon tahini dressing. The tortilla did not toast well and was tough, so we pulled it and crumbled some Tostitos over the top. It was very, very good!
The rest of the week was spent cooking for some friends who have been in the hospital and others we share food with from time to time. We prepared a REALLY BIG Pasta salad to share using whole wheat and red lentil pasta, broccoli, cremini mushrooms, seared cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and some Gentle Chef Chik’n Shreds with a light EVOO/lemon dressing.
Also, we 'fixed' a Yellow Lentil Cauliflower and Coconut Curry we have been wanting to try for a while. It is delicious IF you are a coconut and curry fan.
Here is the link as well.
Frankly, we are not as big a fan of the yellow lentil pasta as we are the red lentil…but, heck, you may love it.
And that brings us to the end of the week. We had ‘regular ole’ vegan fare of Baked Potato topped with Broccoli and good stuffs on Wednesday and Taco Salad (Big Solid’s Favorite meal) on Thursday. We also wanted to share Your Elf's FAVORITE breakfast...whole wheat (sugar-free) toast with a half mashed up avocado and fresh tomato, salted and peppered.
Along with a cup of double strength Peet's Major Dickason's Extra Bold coffee and the word puzzles in the mornin' paper, life is good in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen.
Next week’s Blog will be out on Saturday, August 12 as Your Elf and Big Solid will be takin’ to the mountains of Asheville, NC to escape the MS heat. You can bet your sweet Bippy, we will have some great food pics and places to share with you when we return. In the meantime, 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.

Your Elf

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