Sunday, March 31, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Fans of Brussels sprouts will really appreciate the "Roasted Brussels Sprouts" (page 359), and it may even convert non-fans. I have always been a fan, though, and enjoy finding new ways to cook them. Preparation is quick and easy. After briefly steaming the halved sprouts, simply moisten, season, and bake in a hot oven until tender. The recipe calls for olive oil, but I used broth instead, and the end result was fantastic.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü     Substitute flavorful veggie broth for the olive oil.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Garden Salad Wraps

If you are fond of veggie wraps, the "Garden Salad Wraps" (page 112) will be sure to please. The veggies consist of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions, and green olives. Sautéed tofu, seasoned with soy sauce, adds chew and substance, making these wraps ideal for a light lunch. The biggest hurdle was working around the 6 tablespoons of olive oil the recipe calls for (716 calories, and 81 grams of fat). Two of the tablespoons are used to sauté the tofu, but this isn't necessary if you use a non-stick skillet. The remaining 4 tablespoons are part of the dressing, along with vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper. Because the veggies themselves contained a lot of moisture, I found I really didn't need to come up with a substitute for the oil, and I just left it out completely. These wraps were quick to assemble, and even quicker to eat! J
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü     Use whole grain oil free wraps.
ü     Omit the olive oil when sautéing the tofu and preparing the dressing, as described above.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

California Pasta Salad

The "California Pasta Salad" (page 91) is inspired by three California crops - avocados, walnuts, and Meyer lemons. If you aren't familiar with the Meyer lemon, this variety is somewhat milder and sweeter than most, and is favored for those times when you want all the lemony goodness but not so much of the tart. When I made this salad, we were staying in the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas, where the Meyer lemon is known as the Valley lemon. I don't know for sure if these are the same variety or not, but the Valley lemon is very sweet and mild, like the Meyer, so it worked perfectly well in this recipe. The recipe calls for penne pasta, which I like for the nice chewy texture. The other veggies include red bell pepper, carrot, green onions, and kalamata olives. The lemon juice is part of the dressing, which also calls for 1/3 cup olive oil. In case you're interested, 1/3 cup of olive oil packs a walloping 71 grams of fat and 630 calories. Even divided among 4 servings, that is a lot of fat and calories, especially when you take into consideration this salad also contains olives, walnuts, and avocados. The way I got around the olive oil was to add a cup of chopped fresh tomatoes instead. This not only provided moisture for the salad, it also added color and flavor, without an iota of fat. Fresh basil is added at the very last, a delicious touch. This is a fantastic salad, but one to reserve for special occasions if you are going easy on the high fat plant foods.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü  Use whole grain penne pasta, or some other variety of whole grain pasta if penne isn't available.
ü  Omit the olive oil and use fresh chopped tomatoes instead as dressing, along with the lemon juice.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Garden Vegetable Stew

The one rule for the "Garden Vegetable Stew" (page 324) states that the vegetables be garden-fresh, from your own garden, a friend's, or from a Farmer's Market. I admit, not everything in my rendition followed this rule, but I did my best and used all the fresh produce I could find. This is a scrumptious stew, just bursting with color and flavor. The vegetables included onion, carrot, potatoes, bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, corn, and peas. Lightly seasoned, and cooked in veggie broth, this stew would be delightful year round, using whatever is freshly harvested.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the olive oil when sautéing the veggies. Instead, use a non-stick skillet and/or a little water, broth, or sherry as the sauté liquid.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Asparagus Edamame Bisque

Any time I see the word bisque in a soup recipe, I know it will be creamy, delicious, and elegant, as is the "Asparagus Edamame Bisque" on page 167. This very simple puréed soup consists of sautéed and simmered leeks, shallots, edamame, and asparagus, and is very quick to put together. Seasoned with just a hint of cayenne for subtle warmth, and garnished with black sesame seeds, parsley, or asparagus tips, you have a delightful starter dish for a more elaborate meal, or a great soup that stands on its own for lighter fare.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü  Omit the olive oil when sautéing the veggies. Instead, use a non-stick skillet and/or a little water, broth, or sherry as the sauté liquid.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chickpea & Vegetable Curry

My husband just isn't a curry fan. I've tried many ways to sneak a curry by him, but even when I change the name of a recipe, thinking he won't notice if I don't tell him, he figures it out. He'll walk into the kitchen and say, "Is that cumin I smell?", or, "How much turmeric did you put in that?", before he's ever tried a bite.  But in the spirit of never giving up, I did prepare the "Chickpea & Vegetable Curry" (page 258), hoping this would be the curry dish that would steal his heart. Although he still wasn't wooed over, he did say "its not so bad". Hey, this is progress! Baby steps, but progress! However, I enjoyed this dish very much. It is bursting with vegetables, like onion, carrot, potato, and peas, seasoned with garlic, ginger, and the usual array of curry spices (cumin, coriander, ginger, curry powder). Raisins and coconut milk lend a sweetness that counterbalances the heat and spice. This is everything a wonderful curry dish should be! I prefer not to use coconut milk because of the high saturated fat content, so instead I used rice milk flavored with coconut extract. This worked out very well.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü  Omit the olive oil when cooking the veggies. Instead, use a non-stick skillet and/or a little water, broth, or sherry as the sauté liquid.
ü  Substitute an equal amount of soy or rice milk flavored with ½ teaspoon of coconut extract for the 13.5 ounces of coconut milk.