Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I never cease to be amazed at how a handful of simple ingredients can be transformed into a world-class bowl of soup, and most especially in creamy soups. "Cream of Broccoli Soup" (page 169) contains just onion, potato, and broccoli, cooked tender and puréed, and made "creamy" with the addition of soymilk. Each serving is garnished with sliced kalamata olives, an unusual and delicious touch. This soup is the perfect start to any meal, and would please even the pickiest of eaters.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü  Omit the oil when sautéing the onion. Use a nonstick soup pot and/or a little water, broth, or sherry for the sauté liquid.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Austrian Noodles & Cabbage

"Austrian Noodles & Cabbage" (page 213), or krautfleckerln as it is known in Eastern Europe, is a simple dish consisting of onion, cabbage, and linguine. Cooked linguine is added to sautéed onion and cabbage, and seasoned with caraway seed and a pinch of sugar. The recipe calls for the addition of two tablespoons of margarine to the final mix, as well as oil for sautéing the veggies. Because this is the only liquid in the dish, a substitution was necessary, and I used about ½ cup mild vegetable broth to replace the oils. This is a simple dish that goes together quickly using ingredients you don't have to go shopping for. The recipe notes suggest serving this with baked tempeh and cinnamon-laced applesauce.

"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a nonstick skillet and/or a little water, broth, or sherry for the sauté liquid.

ü Use whole grain linguine.

ü Omit the margarine, and instead add ½ cup broth to the final mixture of linguine and vegetables.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bell Peppers Stuffed with White Beans, Mushrooms, & Walnuts

Bell peppers are the perfect stuffing vegetable. Sturdy and large, these colorful "cups" go with just about anything you can come up with to tuck inside. I used to think the only stuffing for a pepper was a concoction consisting mostly of white rice and ground beef. No more! The "Bell Peppers Stuffed with White Beans, Mushrooms, & Walnuts" (page 335) is a simple yet elegant combination of ingredients that take stuffed bell peppers out of the mundane and into something quite special. Besides the beans, mushrooms, and walnuts, the mixture also contains onion, garlic, parsley, and breadcrumbs. As the recipe states, you can use any color combination of peppers you want - all of one color, or mix and match for a rainbow effect. As in most recipes for stuffed bell peppers, this one has you pre-cooking the peppers in a pot of boiling water prior to stuffing and baking them. I skip this step because to me, the peppers come out too soft in the end. Instead, I load the stuffing right into the raw pepper halves prior to the bake. This will yield a slightly crunchy pepper, which is the way I prefer them.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a nonstick skillet and/or a little water, broth, or sherry for the sauté liquid.

ü Use whole-grain, oil-free breadcrumbs. Panko crumbs are usually a good option, but check the label, as some brands have begun adding oils to the ingredients list.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fresh Cherry-Vanilla Bread Pudding

"Fresh Cherry-Vanilla Bread Pudding" (page 480) was my first experience making a dessert using fresh (as opposed to canned or frozen) cherries. It was a little daunting preparing the two cups of pitted and halved cherries, as I don't have a cherry pitter, but the worst thing that happened was my fingers turned red! J It didn't take as long as I thought it would to split and pit the cherries, and once that was done, the rest was a breeze. Pieces of cubed bread are covered with the prepared cherries and topped off with a blend of soymilk, tofu, sugar, and vanilla extract. Lastly coconut is sprinkled over all and the pudding is baked in the oven. The most surprising thing about this delightful dessert was how the cherries turned a sort of bluish-purple during the bake, and how they dyed the bread this color as well, almost the color of blueberries. I like fresh-fruit based desserts because they tend to be healthier than most, and this was no exception. The one change you could make to make it even healthier is to use whole grain bread instead of white.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Use whole grain oil free bread for the "cubes".

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sesame-Soy Breakfast Spread

I used to be a fan of bagels and cream cheese, and am always on the lookout for a healthy substitution for the dairy-based "schmear", now that I eat a plant based diet. Mostly it's hummus that graces my toasted bagels, but now I can also add "Sesame-Soy Breakfast Spread" (page 526) to my list of favorite toppers. I actually thought this spread was like both cream cheese (because of the tofu and nutritional yeast) and hummus (because of the tahini). A squeeze of fresh lemon juice also gives it the tang you would expect in both cream cheese and hummus. The recipe calls for 3 teaspoons of oil (a combination of flax and sesame oils), which I omitted altogether, without substituting anything in their places. The tahini contains "built in" sesame oil, and tofu is creamy as well, so I didn't see any need to add additional oil to this spread. If you find it is too dry without the oil, you can always add a little water to moisten it up a bit. Some tahini is very thin,while others are much thicker, so you may have to adjust accordingly.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil altogether; if the spread is too dry, add a tablespoon of water to moisten it up.