Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tempeh Tantrum Burgers

The "Tempeh Tantrum Burgers" (page 118) are the first listed in the "Burgers" section, and the 9th one I've tried so far out of a total of 11. I've totally enjoyed this section, as I'm a big fan of veggie burgers in general, and happy to have so many options that don't utilize TVP (texturized vegetable proteins, usually soy). I really liked this preparation, it was hearty and chewy, and held up well on a bun (along with all the assorted condiments added afterwards). Along with tempeh, the burgers are made with onion, walnuts, oats, and assorted seasonings. Everything is combined in a food processor and shaped into patties (again, as is usually the case, the recipe calls for 4 patties, but I got 6, as I like them a bit thinner). The recipe instructions say to fry the patties in 3 tablespoons of oil, but I omitted the oil completely and just browned them in my non-stick skillet. These will definitely be showing up on my menu again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's getting easier and easier to find most of the "unusual" ingredients I cook with, even without having to search out natural food co-ops, yet one item that still seems to be hit and miss when I'm not near a Whole Foods or Sprouts, is vegan parmesan cheese. But now that I've found the recipe for "Parmasio" (page 193), I'll never have to worry about this again! A blend of toasted sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, and salt ground to a powder in a food processor, Parmasio stands in perfectly wherever parmesan is called for in a recipe. Robin Robertson named this for the Japanese condiment, Gomasio, made from sesame seeds and salt. The nutritional yeast gives it the cheesy component. You'll never miss dairy-based parmesan if you have Parmasio on hand.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chilled Carrot Soup

The "Chilled Carrot Soup" (page 183) was perfect the day I made it, which was a couple of weeks ago, when it was still quite warm outside. (Today, the second day of Autumn, and the weather has turned decidedly cold here in Northeastern Michigan.) I have enjoyed the chilled soups in this cookbook, and wanted to make all 13 of them before the end of the summer, but only got through five. Now I have something to look forward to next summer! This recipe was very easy to keep within my oil-free guidelines by simply omitting the oil when sautéing the vegetables. The soup itself was a breeze to make, just simmering onion, carrots, tomatoes, and seasonings in broth until everything was tender, than puréeing and chilling. After the soup is completely chilled, fresh lime juice and coconut milk is added, along with a garnish of minced basil or cilantro (I used basil). If you are avoiding coconut milk because of the high fat content, especially the saturated fat, do what I do - substitute 1.5 cups of soymilk (or other non-dairy milk) mixed with ½ teaspoon of coconut extract. This works really well, adding creaminess and coconut flavor without the unhealthy fats. Tip for making this recipe a little easier: unless you buy your carrots shredded already, there is no need to shred them before simmering them, since everything ends up in the blender anyway - just cut them into chunks. This was an elegant soup that went perfect with the Rice Salad with Cashews & Dried Papaya.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rice Salad with Cashews & Dried Papaya

The "Rice Salad with Cashews & Dried Papaya" (page 84) is a tropic delight! If you have cooked brown rice already on hand, this salad comes together very quickly. Toss the rice with roasted cashews, green onions, and sliced dried papaya. Toss with the dressing, and you're ready to go. The dressing calls for 1/3 cup oil, which I omitted. Instead, I added a little extra lime juice (along with the ginger and agave nectar) and that was enough to moisten the salad sufficiently. I am so used to eating the food I prepare with no added oil, the thought of adding that amount to a salad really sounds overwhelming to me! Leftovers held up well, so we were able to enjoy this over the course of a couple of days.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chickpea-Tomato Wraps

So far I have loved every wrap recipe in this book, and the "Chickpea-Tomato Wraps" (page 114) are no exception. A quick and easy meal, especially nice on hot days when cooking something on the stove or in the oven is unappealing. Mashed chickpeas are mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, celery, onion, and parsley, then moistened with mayonnaise and spicy mustard. Wrap this up in the flat bread of your choice (flour tortillas or lavash flatbread is suggested in the recipe) along with lettuce leaves, and dinner (or lunch) is on the table in no time at all. If you are using marinated sun dried tomatoes, be sure to rinse the oil off before adding to the recipe. Use vegan oil-free mayonnaise, and whole grain wraps to keep things as healthy and McDougall friendly as possible.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tempeh Cacciatore

"Tempeh Cacciatore" (page 300) is the vegan answer to this normally meat based dish. Browned tempeh is stewed with onion, bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, wine and Italian style seasonings. If you are a tempeh fan, you will love this preparation, as tempeh is the main star in this dish. To keep it McDougall friendly, I omitted the oil when browning the tempeh and veggies; no other changes were necessary. This can be served over noodles, rice, or potatoes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

White Bean Salad with Fennel & Avocado

Bean salads are great on hot summer days, and the "White Bean Salad with Fennel & Avocado" (page 77) is especially delicious. So many wonderful flavors - sweet tomatoes, pungent kalamata olives, creamy avocado, the distinct taste of fennel, and the tang of red onion - all blend delightfully with any variety of white beans (I used cannellini, the first choice offered in the recipe). The dressing for this calls for a vinaigrette style mixture, including ¼ cup olive oil (around 50 grams of fat!), but I omitted the oil and the lemon juice, and instead just moistened the salad with the juice from one lime. The tomatoes add some moisture, and the avocado adds creaminess, so I didn't miss the oil at all. I also added fresh minced garlic, a nice touch if, like me, you love garlic on just about everything! J

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chilled Avocado-Tomato Soup

The "Chilled Avocado-Tomato Soup" (page 182) was another wonderful recipe that required no adjustments to keep it McDougall friendly. Just a handful of ingredients (garlic, avocado, tomato, and tomato juice) whipped up in the blender, chilled 2-3 hours, with a last minute addition of fresh avocado and basil leaves, plus a few seasonings. Perfect on a hot summer day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rainbow Slaw

I'm always thrilled when I find a recipe that I don't have to alter to fit into the McDougall guidelines I've adopted for my way of eating. "Rainbow Slaw" (page 74) is one of those recipes, and one of nine slaw recipes in this book. Of the four I've tried so far, this one is my favorite. I mentioned before that I'm more a fan of creamy coleslaws as opposed to vinegar based ones. Rainbow Slaw is definitely a creamy style slaw, using vegan vanilla yogurt for the dressing. The veggies include cabbage, carrot, fennel, and green onions, while the fruit (yes, fruit!), consists of a pear or apple (I used an apple) and dried cranberries. The sweet flavors provided by the fruit and vanilla yogurt made this into more of a fruit salad than not. I really loved this salad, and I might make a double batch next time, as it keeps very well in the refrigerator.