Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mango & Snow Pea Salad

It's really the peanut dressing that makes the "Mango and Snow Pea Salad" (page 58) a standout creation. Definitely a bit on the high-fat side from the peanut butter, and the chopped peanut topping, but a little really does a long way so no need to over dress. The salad consists of romaine lettuce, snow peas, mangos, carrots, and cucumber, with each vegetable adding a range of texture, color, and flavor. This is a very flavorful salad that can also be transformed into a main dish meal with the addition of cooked noodles. The recipe was within McDougall guidelines as written, so no changes were necessary.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Orange & Fig Salad with Walnuts & Dried Cherries

The "Orange and Fig Salad with Walnuts and Dried Cherries" (page 98) is a great salad to make in the autumn or winter when you are most likely to find fresh or dried figs and seasonal oranges. The coconut and walnuts make this salad reminiscent of ambrosia, and turns an ordinary fruit salad into something very festive. The dressing is a simple splash of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar. I found the fruit sweet enough that the sugar was unnecessary, so you might want to taste first before adding. No changes necessary to keep within McDougall guidelines. J

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chocolate-Almond Butter Truffles

If this book had a chapter for candy, then the "Chocolate-Almond Butter Truffles" (page 443) would surely belong there. This delightful dessert should be reserved for very special occasions, as rich as it is, but one truffle goes a long way to satisfy any sweet tooth craving. Not to mention a chocolate craving - there is a double dose here coming from melted vegan chocolate chips and cocoa powder, which is held together with creamy almond butter, and sweetened with confectioners sugar. The finished truffles are rolled in chopped toasted almonds, and refrigerated briefly to firm them up. Pure delicious decadence! The recipe uses a little soy milk in the mixture, and I found I needed to use a little more than called for to help hold the truffles together. It helps to moisten the formed truffles with a few drops of soymilk before rolling them in the almonds as well to allow the almonds to stick better.  And one last note, I almost ran out of almonds before I ran out of uncoated truffles, so you might want to add a couple of Tablespoons to the ½ cup called for.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spinach Salad with Almonds, Fuji Apples, & Figs

What could be easier and more delicious than fresh salad of spinach, slivered roasted almonds, figs, and apples, topped with a light dressing? The "Spinach Salad with Almond, Fuji Apple, and Figs" is just that - easy and delicious. The dressing as written called for olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar and sugar.  Instead of that, I used fig-infused balsamic vinegar, sprinkled on individual servings at the table.  Any good tasting mild balsamic vinegar would make a great stand-alone dressing on this fruity salad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Curried Pumpkin Soup

In late Autumn, I baked a pumpkin and ended up with about 10 cups of pumpkin mash, which I froze in 2-cup containers. Since then I've had my eye out for pumpkin based recipes, and the "Curried Pumpkin Soup" (page 172) caught my attention. This soup is not overly curried, and you can use a hot or mild blend, depending on your preferences. Vegetable stock, pumpkin puree and coconut milk form the broth, along with minced onion, garlic, and ginger. Since I avoid coconut milk due to the high saturated fat content, I substituted 1.5 cups soymilk flavored with ½ teaspoon of coconut extract. This is a great replacement that still adds creaminess and flavor to the soup. Once ladled into bowls, the soup is topped with optional toppings of minced parsley, mango chutney, and roasted cashews.  I omitted the oil when sautéing the veggies, using a little broth instead.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Apricot-Walnut Balls

If you are looking for a dessert made from fruits and nuts, the "Apricot-Walnut Balls" (page 444) will fill the bill.  Just five ingredients (dried apricots, walnuts, sugar, vanilla extract, and shredded coconut) are rolled into sweet confections that resemble little snow balls. You can also vary this recipe by using any combination of dried fruits and nuts, so there are endless possibilities. No cooking required, and quick to assemble.  These are quite rich, but I found eating just one satisfied my craving for sweets.  No changes were necessary to keep this within the McDougall guidelines.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mediterranean Artichoke Sauté

"Mediterranean Artichoke Sauté" (page 354) is a warm dish, bursting with a medley of flavors - artichokes, red bell pepper, shallots, capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, basil. Does this look like the makings of a wonderful salad?  To me it did, and I actually found I enjoyed this dish better after chilling it overnight and serving it cold.  The sautéed vegetables are topped off with white wine, and is really the only dressing necessary to bring together all the flavors.  I omitted the oil, and just used the wine and water as the sautéing liquid.