Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Call of the Elf

Well, here it is Tuesday again, and we are rockin’ the blog already. Lots to talk about and more to come! So sit back and enjoy…we sure hope the Powers That Be at Facebook will understand that this is not SPAM!! We aim to provide good information about living the plant-based life and share our own journey. We also love to feature people who are much more talented that we are at developing recipes, providing great information and opportunities for growth in plant-based eating.
We are making a concerted elf-fort to EAT MORE SALADS! As a result, we prepared two versions of Susan Voisin’s (FatFree Vegan Kitchen) Balsamic Raisin Vinaigrette:  the regular recipe and one of her suggestions to spice it up a bit using spicy mustard. We know we've included the link before, but just in case, here it is:
For our mustard, we used another local talent’s mustard.
Lauren Rhoades has made quite an impact on the fermented foods community with the introduction of her business, “Sweet and Sauer”.
This  mustard is ‘out of this world’ good and added a great flavor to Susan’s already good salad dressing! In fact, we are meeting Lauren at the local Farmer’s Market Saturday to pick up two quarts of her Preserved Lemons!! We’ll have a great time finding recipes to incorporate them!
In any event, we use a combination of greens and then pile on whatever we can find in the ‘frig that would add substance and nutrients to the salad. We had some green lentils, tomatoes (the great Salad Days hydroponics), topped with the last few slices of our Eggplant Bacon and the Mustardy dressing. It was delicious and didn’t weigh you down.
So, remember a week or so back, we mentioned getting Kathy Hester’s cookbook, Vegan Cooking in your Air Fryer? Well, this week, we knuckled down and selected a recipe to try. We LOVE fried/crispy tofu, so we found her recipe titled “Crispy Tofu with Broccoli and Carrots”. We had the Tofu, we had the Broccoli, so we dove in. What we did NOT have was the carrots. Well, that’s not entirely true, we DID have some carrots but they were in no shape to be utilized in a recipe, so we tossed them in the compost and forged ahead. We found some Cremini mushrooms and Sweet Onion, so decided to go ahead with the recipe and substitute the ‘shrooms and onion. We prepared her stir-fry sauce (the book has the recipe for that as well and it is WELL WORTH MAKING) and got our tofu pressed. We have the BEST tofu press EVER!!
We, thankfully, had everything else, so got our groove on with cutting the Tofu into cubes and dusting with organic cornstarch. In fact, as is the Elf’s penchant, we read the directions wrong and over-dusted with cornstarch. Not to worry, though we DO know next time to use the instructed amount!
We got all our veggies cut up and ready to go as well,
so all we had to do was take a big gulp and fire up the Air Fryer (AF). Gosh! This machine reached the designated temp in like NOTHING FLAT and we tossed the ‘over-dusted’ Tofu cubes in the basket. We also had some Two Brooks Brown Basmati Rice (another great MS find!)
cooking on the stove top. After five minutes, we checked the Tofu and shook the basket to make sure all sides got an equal opportunity at crispiness, returned the basket to the AF, and cooked for another five minutes. Here are our results!
We knew the veggies would not take long to cook, so as soon as the Tofu was done, we started the Stir-Fry. We added the mushrooms and onion first with most of the Stir-Fry Sauce and let that cook a bit.
Then we added the broccoli along with the Tofu and the remainder of the Sauce (to which a bit more cornstarch had been added to thicken with the heat).
IT WAS SO GOOD!! We served it over the Brown Basmati and slurped it right up!!
This will be one of our go-to meals as it’s easy to prepare. All we need do is always have the ingredients on hand (carrots). We almost ALWAYS have fresh broccoli and mushrooms in the there you go!! What a great meal. Here is the link to Kathy’s website where you’ll find all kinds of great plant-based recipes, including AF specific as well as other cookery stuffs, e.g., Slow Cookers, InstaPots. We contacted Kathy via Facebook to ask a couple of questions; listen up, she is totally responsive to messages and we appreciate that oh so much!
Ever since we made the Plant-based Chicken/Sausage Gumbo a few weeks back, Big Solid has been suggesting we do it again. Well, we whipped up some Andouille Sausages and they are now waiting for the opportunity! The hardest part of making gumbo (to Your Elf anyway) is making the roux. Remember that we do a dry roux to cut down on the amount of fat. Well, we found a recipe for a BAKED dry roux…still takes about the same amount of time but one is not chained to the stove stirring constantly.
We selected this recipe (there are several) because it had a good picture to show the color but most of the ‘baked’ roux recipes say the same thing. We decided to half the recipe so if it DID NOT turn out well, we’d have only wasted a cup or so of flour. So, we preheated out oven to 400 degrees and added one cup of all-purpose (King Arthur) flour to our iron skillet.
After about 30 minutes, we pulled it from the oven, gave it a good stir and returned it.
We then began pulling it every 15 minutes until we got as close to the color pictured as possible. We could have probably gone another 10-15 minutes but we chickened out. If we don’t get the rich color like we did before, we’ll know to let it go a bit longer but for now, this will suffice.
From what we understand, you can put this in a glass jar until needed. THAT’S great too!!
Last night, we were eager to get back into the AF! So, we grabbed a beautiful head of cauliflower, 'floretted' it, spritzed it with some EVOO, and threw it in the AF basket. Fifteen minutes later, we pulled the basked, shook it up and returned for another ten. And VOILA!! Crispy Cauliflower!
BUT, we didn’t stop there. We whipped out the Fire Walker “Running with the Reaper” Extra HOT Sauce and sprinkled it over the cauliflower. My goodness it was good!!
While perusing the Farmer's Market after picking up our Preserved Lemons, we ran across THIS!
Fresh and locally grown 
Turmeric! Isn’t this GRAND!
And JUST LIKE THAT—another week has come and gone! We hope you’ve enjoyed our little bloggery (and we hope Facebook doesn’t take this one down like last week).
In the meantime, remember always 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


  1. So glad you liked my recipe and it's always perfect to sub a veggie you have on hand. You might even find a better combo, but you have to promise to tell me! <3

    1. Will do!! Thanks for your response...can't wait to try another recipe this week!