Sunday, February 26, 2012

Madeira Mushroom Sauté

The "Madeira Mushroom Sauté" (page 372) provided me my first opportunity to purchase and cook with Madeira. (Turns out Madeira is a lot like Sherry, or even Vermouth, so either one of these would also work well in this recipe if you were unable to find Madeira.) Fresh and dried mushrooms are sautéed with shallots and diced tomatoes, and seasoned with parsley and thyme. This topping would be good on any cooked grain, or creamy polenta, or, as I did, spooned over Basic Mashed Potatoes (reviewed below). To keep this oil free, simply omit the olive oil when sautéing the veggies, and use a little extra Madeira, broth, or water.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Basic Mashed Potatoes

In my mind, there aren't many foods as satisfying as "Basic Mashed Potatoes" (page 373). The recipe as written includes just 4 simple ingredients - Yukon Gold potatoes, soymilk, margarine, and salt.  Since I choose not to use margarine or oil when I cook, I replaced this with a little extra soymilk, plus I added a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast to add a richness of flavor to the mash. I also find using vegetable broth instead of soymilk, along with the nutritional yeast, creates a delightful blend of flavors.  What's not to like about mashed potatoes?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spinach & Mushroom Strata

Strata is a layered dish, as the name might imply, and the layers in "Spinach and Mushroom Strata" (page 511) include onion, garlic, cubed bread, and vegan cheese, as well as the spinach and mushroom.  Each layer is moistened with a blend of seasoned tofu and soymilk, and allowed to sit for a while to soak up the liquid before baking. The sprinkling of smoked paprika gives the dish a complex flavor, hinting at the flavors of bacon or ham. This dish seemed hearty enough to serve as a dinner entrée, and that is what I did.  To keep this McDougall friendly, I omitted the oil when sautéing the veggies. It's hard to find an oil-free vegan cheese, but if you can, be sure to use it in this recipe. Also look for a whole grain French or Italian bread to further boost the nutritional value.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lemon-Kissed Blueberry Waffles (or Pancakes)

Since I don't have a waffle iron, I was pleased to see that the "Lemon-Kissed Blueberry Waffles" recipe (page 518) could be used for pancake batter too (as can the other two waffle recipes in this book). Flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour) and old-fashioned oats, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder are blended with soymilk, fresh lemon juice, plus lemon zest, and fresh blueberries (although frozen would work too if fresh weren't available).  I replaced the ¼ cup melted margarine in the batter with an equal amount of applesauce which added tenderness and a touch more sweet, and eliminated 46 grams of fat in the process. I used a non-stick skillet to cook the pancakes, so no additional oil was needed there either. These pancakes are delicious topped with warmed pure maple syrup.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches

After eating several vegan renditions of the classic Reuben sandwich, I can honestly say I enjoy the meatless variety far more than I ever enjoyed the original. The "Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches" (page 107) consist of lightly browned tempeh, drained sauerkraut, and a simple 1000 Island style dressing, on rye or pumpernickel bread, grilled in a skillet.  By using oil-free mayo when making the dressing, and "dry-frying" (browning) the tempeh, you eliminate at least ¼ cup of oil.  Instead of grilling the sandwiches in margarine in a skillet, simply toast the bread in a toaster, then put the sandwich together with the dressing, warm tempeh, and sauerkraut.  Just as delicious, but without any added oil.  These sandwiches are also good using baked tofu or thin slices of seitan in place of the tempeh.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Black Bean Soup with a Splash

"Black Bean Soup with a Splash" (page 159) is a simple purée of black beans, broth, and veggies, livened up with a splash of sherry.  The recipe suggests serving the sherry on the side in a cruet or shot glasses for a fun presentation, and to let each diner "splash" to their liking. I added the full amount directly into the soup, since it was just me and my husband enjoying this.  By leaving the tablespoon of oil out when sautéing the veggies, the entire recipe becomes McDougall friendly.  I like to prepare simple relishes to top puréed soups, so in addition to the suggested parsley, I diced up tomato and green onion as well. You may want to thin the soup down with a little extra broth if you find, like me, it came out too thick. This makes a delightful first course soup, or turn it into a meal by adding a salad and fresh whole grain bread.