Friday, October 28, 2011

Red Pepper, Mango, & Avocado Relish

The "Red Pepper, Mango, & Avocado Relish" (page 571) just bursts with flavor and color.  I can't think of anything you couldn't put it on - chips, grains, crackers, chilies, veggie burgers - you name it!  The directions say this relish is best if used shortly after it's made, and I had to agree.  The ingredients start to break down rather quickly in appearance and texture, although the flavor remained vibrant when I ate what was left over the next day.  The other ingredients include red onion, ginger, jalapeno, cilantro and fresh lime.  Happily, I didn't have to make any changes to keep this relish McDougall compatible.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Retro Potato Salad Redux

I could probably eat potato salad everyday.  It ranks high on my list of comfort foods, and I have my own favorite preparation that has replaced the Miracle Whip, egg-laden version of my youth.  The "Retro Potato Salad Redux" (page 67) comes very close to my own version, and if you use an oil free vegan mayo (store-bought, or homemade), this is not only comfort food, but healthy food as well.  This rendition puts a vegan spin on the traditional preparation, but you won't notice anything lacking.  Boiled potatoes, celery, onion, pickle, seasoned and dressed, this is a definite hit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Orzo, White Beans, & Tomatoes, with Lemony Spinach Pesto

The "Orzo, White Beans, and Tomatoes with Lemony Spinach Pesto" (page 201) presented me with my first "how am I going to make pesto without oil?" challenge. I'm by no means a pesto expert, but all the varieties I've seen and tried seem to be heavy on the olive oil, as is this recipe, which calls for a full ¼ cup!  I had been avoiding all the pesto recipes in this book for fear there was really no way around the oil dilemma.  But this recipe looked so good, and if the pesto didn't work using veggie broth instead of oil, then the worst that could happen would be I'd have to throw it out.  I decided to take my chances.  As luck would have it, my experiment was a success, and I made an absolutely delicious oil free pesto!  I used about 6 tablespoons of veggie broth to replace the oil, and blended this with spinach, garlic, pine nuts, and salt.  This delightful blend is stirred into cooked orzo, cannellini beans, and cherry or grape tomatoes.  It is such a pretty dish, with the bright red of the tomatoes a beautiful contrast to the pesto green orzo.  The recipe calls for 1 ½ cups dry orzo, which translates to about 4 or more cups cooked.  I cut the amount nearly in half to keep the dish saucier, and the flavors more intense.  I will no longer shy away from the pesto recipes!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Some-Kinda-Nut Burgers

I love veggie burgers, on a bun, with all the fixins', so I have really enjoyed trying the burger recipes in this book - five so far, out of eleven. "Some-Kinda-Nut Burgers" (page 120) calls for 1 cup of unsalted mixed nuts, any kind you want.  I opened my freezer and pulled out all my zip locked packages of nuts and seeds and ended up with a dab each of walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds.  You certainly don't have to use that many different varieties of nuts and seeds, but I had them, so I used them.  In addition to the ground up nuts, the rest of the burger contains onion, carrot, gluten flour, oats, peanut butter, and a few herbs and spices.  As usual, I omitted the oil when sautéing the veggies.  The recipe says this will make four burgers, but I ended up with six.  Probably this is a matter of taste, and how thick you like your burger patties.  I served them on whole wheat rolls with mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. This is definitely rich food, but if you make six burgers like I did, the amount of nuts (including the peanut butter) per burger breaks down to just over 1 ½ tablespoons each.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cucumber Cashew Soup

One of my friends on the McDougall forums suggested I try the "Cucumber Cashew Soup" (page 183), and I'm glad I took her advice.  This is a rich and elegant chilled soup, perfect for the very hot summer day that I made it.  It is so simple to prepare, but is sure to impress anyone you serve it to.  The soup consists of blended cashews, garlic, soymilk, cucumbers, green onions, and lemon juice, topped with snipped chives (or, if you don't have chives, more green onion works well as a garnish, too).  There were no changes necessary to keep this McDougall friendly, although it is plenty rich with the cashews.  My friend recommends cutting the amount of cashews in half, or more, for a lighter version.  I might try that next time I make it. (Check out the McDougall website at