Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Potato & White Bean Salad with Roasted Red Peppers

I can't think of a single potato preparation that I don't totally love. Potatoes really are one of my most favorite foods, and potato salad in particular ranks high on my list. But I really had to get creative with the "Potato & White Bean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper" (page 69) in order to keep this dish oil-free. The recipe as written calls for 1/3 cup olive oil; this is a significant percentage of the ingredients to simply omit without finding something else to take its place. I had some Tofu Sour Cream (page 574) in the fridge, and thought this would make a nice substitution for the oil, vinegar, and mustard dressing this recipe called for. Granted, this does change the nature of the dressing rather significantly, but I have to say, using the sour cream was an absolutely delicious solution to my dilemma! The remaining ingredients are simple and healthy foods: potatoes, roasted red bell pepper, white beans, green onions, and capers. Initially I was skeptical about the beans, wondering if they would meld nicely with potatoes, but I was delightfully surprised at how perfect this union was, as if these two ingredients were made for each other. If you don't want to take the time to roast the red peppers yourself, using the jarred variety works very well (ask me how I know… J). This unusual but delicious potato salad will now become a regular addition to my potato salad repertoire.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Instead of using the oil-based dressing in the recipe, try substituting Tofu Sour Cream or fat free vegan mayonnaise.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Creamy Cashew Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Peas

When a hot creamy casserole right out of the oven is calling your name, you might want to try the "Creamy Cashew Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Peas" (page 221). This isn't a dish to make on the spur of the moment, as it requires extra preparation for the CreamyCashew Sauce (page 551), precooking the fettuccine, sautéing the veggies, time in the oven (40 minutes), and another 10 minutes of resting time once it comes out. But if you plan accordingly, and plan ahead, you will be rewarded with a delicious casserole elegant enough to serve to guests. Shallots and mushrooms are sautéed in sherry, mixed with peas, the cooked pasta, and the cashew sauce, topped with ground cashews and breadcrumbs, and then baked until hot and bubbly. Add a mixed green salad and some crusty French bread, and your meal is complete! I used just 8 ounces of fettuccine (instead of 12) and found this to be more than enough pasta for the amount of sauce.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü  Use a non-stick skillet and omit the oil when sautéing the veggies; just use the sherry that is already called for in this recipe as the sautéing liquid.
ü   Use whole grain fettuccine.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Creamy Cashew Sauce

"Creamy Cashew Sauce" (page 551) is incredibly rich, thick, and creamy. It's hard to believe that there are no thickening agents per se in this recipe, and that the cashews are responsible for the thickening quality in this vegan version of béchamel. Raw cashews are ground to a fine powder in a high speed blender, to which nutritional yeast and soymilk are added (along with salt and cayenne to taste). This mixture is heated and stirred on the stove until it becomes hot, thick, and bubbly. It thickens rather quickly, and you might find, like me, that you will need to add additional soymilk for a thinner sauce. (The recipe also mentions this might be necessary.) Use this sauce anywhere you would use a béchamel or white sauce, such as over pasta, sautéed veggies, or in "Creamy Cashew Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Peas" on page 221. 
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü No changes are necessary, although I'm sure Dr. McDougall would advise using this sauce sparingly since the cashews make it a very high fat sauce.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Deconstructed Hummus Pitas

One of the fun things about working my way through these recipes is finding myself closing in on certain sections of the book. For instance, in the Sandwiches, Pizza, & More chapter, there is a sub-section of 20 recipes called Sandwiches & Wraps. I realized as I made the "Deconstructed Hummus Pitas" (page 116), I had nearly wrapped this section up. There are now only 3 recipes left to try here, although some of them have already become regulars around my house (have I mentioned before how much both my husband and I enjoy sandwiches, at any meal?). The idea behind these wraps is to create the flavor of hummus but leave in some texture; to this end, the chickpeas are mashed with a fork rather than puréed in a food processor, then mixed with all the usual hummus ingredients: garlic, tahini, and lemon juice. Grated carrots are a surprise addition, adding even more texture, as well as a splash of color. This delicious filling is then spooned into whole wheat pita bread along with fresh sliced tomatoes and spinach leaves. If you are a hummus fan, you will definitely love these wraps!

"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü     No changes necessary! J

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ginger-Molasses Bread with Blueberries

Recipes for baked goods, even vegan baked goods, typically include oil of some kind: canola oil, coconut oil, even margarines or shortenings. For those of us attempting to avoid all added oil in our diets, the dessert and bread categories can be quite challenging. This cookbook contains 12 recipes for quick beads, and all but one, "Ginger-Molasses Bread with Blueberries" (page 404) contain oil. I wondered briefly if this was an inadvertent omission, but soon enough I just celebrated the fact that the recipe as written was oil free! The unique combination of ingredients does result in an extra moist bread, and is likely the reason no oil was included. Flour, sugar and cornmeal are mixed with a blend of molasses and soured soymilk (to produce a buttermilk effect), ginger provides a mellow zing, and blueberries (fresh, frozen, or dried) add flavor and another level of complexity. This bread was delightful, and quite reminiscent of old-fashioned ginger bread. I was thinking next time I might make a lemon sauce to drizzle on top.

"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Instead of all-purpose (white) flour, use either whole wheat pastry flour, another whole grain flour, or a blend of whole wheat and white flour.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Broccoli Sauté With Tofu Feta

A substitute for feta cheese probably isn't something you would expect to find on a vegan diet. Let's face it, there are certain animal based "foods" that just don't seem to lend themselves to a vegan alternative, and cheeses in general often fall into this category. But you will be delightfully surprised when you try the "Broccoli Sauté with Tofu Feta" (page 358). This dish starts with lightly steamed fresh broccoli which is then cooked and stirred in a hot skillet with red bell pepper, garlic, and green onions, then seasoned with capers, parsley, and lemon juice. The finishing touch is the tofu feta (click here to see how I made this), which needs to be prepared about 30 minutes in advance in order to allow the flavors to develop. The outstanding combination of flavors in this vegetable side dish takes basic steamed broccoli to a whole new level!
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the olive oil when sautéing the broccoli and veggies; instead use broth, water, or sherry and/or a non-stick skillet.
ü Follow my suggestions for making the feta oil free by clicking here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

"Roasted Red Pepper Hummus" (page 11) is the third (out of four) hummus recipes in this book that I've tried, and I've liked them all. I pretty much like any and all hummus, even when the recipes stray from the traditional preparation of garbanzos, tahini, and lemon juice. This particular version is very simple, consisting of puréed garbanzo beans, fresh garlic, roasted red peppers, and fresh lime juice. Salt and a pinch of cayenne are added for the finishing touch and to bring out the other flavors. The recipe gives instructions on how to roast fresh red peppers, but I took a short cut and used the jarred variety. This recipe not only has no added oil, no tahini is called for either, making this a truly fat-free hummus, not to mention totally delicious!

"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü     No changes required!! J