Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Elf of a Thousand Faces

Well, we had a bit of a break due to Super Bulldog Weekend!! It’s always a great time to return to Big Solid’s Glory Days with the Boys of Autumn at Mississippi State in the mid-’60’s. Grayer of hair (if the hair is still there) and slower of step; the eyes still twinkle, the laughter is quick, and the stories the same…but who cares? We always enjoy the camaraderie
AND!! This year, at the Football Player Alumni Brunch, Chef Elvis Toncrey and his staff prepared us a LOVELY vegan option--a great guacamole with fresh tomatoes and wheat bread. You can see that we were so excited we didn't think to take a picture until we had almost eaten it up!
Here is Chef Elvis in his SPOTLESS kitchen!
He had a few more vegan tricks up his chef sleeve but we were full with the dish he prepared. We look forward to next year’s elf-fort!! THANK YOU CHEF ELVIS and CREW!!
We actually had started two Ornish-friendly dishes to share but wound up finishing up only one! The one we finished and had for our own meal was Baked Spaghetti Squash with Swiss Chard. First, we have to backtrack just a bit. Remember all those great locally grown (the awesome Two Dog Farm) vegetables from our CSA we had recently? Well, one was a glorious bunch of Swiss Chard...we knew as soon as we saw it that THIS would be the recipe it would be used in! Which is exactly what we did. You know spaghetti squash can be a real pain in the fanny to cut into halves so we pierced it a few times with an ice pick and then microwaved for about 3 minutes. That softened it up enough to halve easily. Then we baked it until the meat was cooked enough to come out like spaghetti!
Then we had most of our 'mise en place' with diced red bell pepper, ground coriander, smoked paprika, ground cumin and minced garlic.
We had already cleaned and prepped our Chard. So we sautéed the onion,
added the bell pepper for a few minutes, along with the spices.
Then came the chard (Gosh it was beautiful!!).
Once the chard cooked down a bit we added the squash that we’d shredded and let the flavors marry.
We served it up with some Plant-based Italian Sausages and mushrooms.
It was SO GOOD! Now for all you Ornish folks, this is a dream dish (without the sausage and mushrooms). Very low in calories and fat PLUS it is absolutely delicious!! As calculated by the My Fitness Pal Recipe Builder, here’s the nutritional breakdown for fat and calories.
You could even add some Boca Crumbles to bump up the substance; those are low in fat as well. OK..SOO! The other recipe that we were going to prepare from the Forks Over Knives cookbook was Penne with Spinach Béchamel. As you know, Béchamel is like the Mother of all White Sauces, typically made with lots of butter and flour (basically a white roux). This recipe made the sauce out of cauliflower and seasonings (onion, nutmeg, garlic, minced fresh thyme). Well, we made the Cauliflower based Béchamel and, to be completely honest, we did not care for it AT ALL. We did everything we could think of to make it have substantive flavor and taste…it just didn’t measure up. So, we tossed it and decided to peruse the book further for more appealing recipes. We’ve also been going back to our Vegan Bowls cookbook and selecting some new dishes/bowls to try. So far, we’ve not had a bad recipe yet. The one we tried this week was Spicy Ginger Polenta Bowl. This is not an Ornish-friendly dish as it does call for the use of oils.
We found a really lovely Polenta (non-GMO, cooks quickly but isn’t instant) at Fresh Market (Mark-up).
We prepared a big ole batch of Chickpeas in the Crock Pot, drained and let dry on a towel. AND, we bought a gorgeous bag of Baby Bok Choy at Mr. Chen’s. While at Mr. Chen’s we also stocked up on King Trumpet, Shiitake, and Oyster Mushrooms. We try to keep a good supply of sautéed mushrooms (frozen) on hand at all times. We knew that just this bowl of Polenta, Chickpeas and Bok Choy would most likely NOT be considered a full meal deal by Big Solid, so we decided to make some King Trumpet Mushroom scallops. If you remember, we prepared those not long ago and went absolutely crazy over them. We fixed the marinade (and next time, we are going to try a bit of a different marinade) and prepped the mushrooms to turn into scallops! These are ready for the marinade.
We then made the Polenta by sautéing some garlic
and adding our go-to chicken bouillon with red pepper flakes.
That was brought to a boil and we slowly added the polenta, stirring all the time. Once it was thickened, we added a bit of non-dairy milk (we almost always use cashew milk for its creaminess) and set it aside
while we cooked the ‘scallops,
and the bok choy that had been halved.
The chickpeas were sautéed in a combination of grapeseed oil and toasted sesame seed oil.
Then we plated or ‘bowled’ it by layering the polenta on the bottom and topped it with the chickpeas, bok choy and our ‘scallops.
Y’ALL!! This was incredibly good. Can’t wait to make it again!! But we also want to explore more of the delicious bowls from this book.
That brings us to the end of yet another Elfin Bloggery from the new and improved Kinky Elfery Kitchen!! And you know what?? This is April's penultimate day and we welcome May on Tuesday as another month slides into history. So, until next Sunday, we wish you a safe, happy, and healthy eating kinda week. And 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. DO EPIC!


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