Saturday, May 31, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

Even though the "Roasted Vegetable Frittata" (page 509) is found in the Breakfast and Brunch chapter of this book, I cooked it one night for dinner, served alongside a tossed green salad. In my opinion, there are many dishes that are not totally meal-specific, which can be easily interchanged. This is one of those dishes, especially since there are several steps involved in the preparation, and I find I don't like to spend that much time making breakfast. The first step is roasting the vegetables - yellow onion, Yukon Gold potato, yellow bell pepper (see the golden theme here?), and mushrooms. This step takes about 30 minutes and then you are ready to start assembling the frittata itself. In order to omit the olive oil required for the traditional roasting method, I placed the prepared veggies in the baking dish with a couple tablespoons of water, and then covered the pan with parchment paper and foil. This works well and you end up with baked rather than roasted vegetables, but to me, there really isn't that much difference, and it allows me to omit the oil completely. Blended tofu and seasonings are combined with the roasted veggies, and everything is put back in the oven for another 30-minute bake, with a 10-minute rest before serving. To my delight, I found the leftovers to be the perfect food for breakfast the following morning! J
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil when "roasting" the vegetables. Instead, use 2-3 Tablespoons of water, and cover the baking dish with parchment paper and foil. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Zucchini Walnut Fritters

"Zucchini Walnut Fritters" (page 385) combines freshly grated zucchini, potato, and onion with finely ground walnuts, and just a sprinkling of herbs and spices into a batter that you cook in a skillet like pancakes. I've made fritters of one kind or another many times over the years, yet I am always surprised that the seemingly loose batter actually comes together, coalesces, once you start cooking the fritters in a hot skillet. If you use a good non-stick skillet you will not need to use any oil at all to "fry" the fritters. The natural oil in the walnuts allows them to brown up nicely on their own. These would be delicious along side mashed potatoes and gravy and steamed veggies.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü  Omit the oil when "frying" the fritters. Use a good non-stick skillet with no added oil. If you don't have a nonstick skillet, you will have to add a very thin layer of oil to your skillet - put about a teaspoon of oil in the hot skillet, swirl it around, then carefully wipe out any excess with a paper towel.

ü  Use whole wheat pastry flour in the batter, as opposed to all-purpose (white) flour.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spinach Manicotti with White Walnut Sauce

If you are looking for a novel presentation for manicotti, you will want to try the "Spinach Manicotti with White Walnut Sauce" (page 228). The filling ingredients may be quite familiar, a tofu-based ricotta cheese mixed with spinach and shallots. But what makes this recipe different is the unique sauce, consisting of ground walnuts, more tofu, nutritional yeast, and soymilk. The closest I can come to describing this is to compare it to an Alfredo style sauce, but really, it is quite unique and stands on its own. Once the manicotti are cooked, stuffed, and covered with the sauce and breadcrumbs, they are baked in the oven until hot and lightly browned. This dish is quite rich, and you might find one or two manicotti per serving is enough to satisfy.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü  Omit the olive oil when sautéing the shallots. Instead, use a non-stick pan and/or water, sherry, or light broth as a sauté liquid.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Butterhead Lettuce & Walnut Salad with Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette

"Butterhead Lettuce & Walnut Salad with Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette" (page 50) is a wonderful starter salad for any meal, especially when both butterhead lettuce and raspberries are at peak freshness. The list of ingredients is short: lettuce, walnuts, onion, and raspberries, topped with a vinaigrette of blended raspberry jam, vinegar, and walnut oil. (I substituted ¼ cup water for the oil, and in order to thicken the dressing up a little, I added 1/8 teaspoon of guar gum as well.) There is the theme of twos going on here - two kinds of raspberry (fresh and jam), and two kinds of walnuts (fresh and oil). I love how so many of these recipes use a food in its various stages and this salad is an example of that concept.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü   Omit the ¼ cup of walnut oil in the vinaigrette and use water instead.  Thicken with a bit of guar gum if desired.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Chocoloate Sauce

Not every dessert has to include white flour and/or some sort of fat. Point in case: "Chocolate Sauce" (page 497).  A simple sauce consisting of liquid sweetener, cocoa powder, soymilk, and vanilla extract, warmed and stirred together to dissolve all the ingredients. However, the question still remains, what will this most delicious sauce be used on? That's where you might have to be careful! The first time I made this sauce, I used it to improve the taste of some rather tart strawberries, so all-in-all, not too rich for a dessert. The recipe notes suggest putting the sauce in a plastic squeeze bottle and using it garnish plated desserts for a fancy presentation. I liked the squeeze bottle idea, and it worked superbly for decorating my strawberries!

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

 ü     No changes necessary!  J

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pesto Presto

This cookbook is full of pesto recipes, and I am thoroughly enjoying trying them all! There are nine  recipes in the Pasta and Noodles chapter, and six more in the Sauces, Relishes, and Condiments chapter. I found the "Pesto Presto" in the Sauces chapter (page 565), and it was, as promised, a very quick pesto to prepare. This is a basic pesto recipe consisting of garlic, pine nuts, basil, and in this case, miso (for non-miso fans, salt can be used instead). As with all pesto recipes, this one calls for a hefty amount of olive oil (1/3 cup). Instead of oil, I used about ¼ cup very light vegetable broth with excellent results. Per the recipe notes, this pesto is good on pasta, in salad dressings, soups, and stews. I used it on cooked fettuccini. Delicious!
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the 1/3 cup of olive oil and use a light veggie broth instead.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fettuccine with Puttanesca Pesto

Before trying some of the numerous pesto recipes in this book, I never realized how easy it is to make! I am now beginning to look at pesto-tossed pasta as an option for those times I need to throw a quick meal together. The "Fettuccine with Puttanesca Pesto" (page 202) puts a slight spin on the traditional basil, pine nuts, and garlic combo by adding tomatoes, green olives, and capers (that's the Puttanesca part) to the blend. As far as I'm concerned, this combination was a stroke of genius by the author, who needed to come up with a way to use her bumper crop of basil. The complex flavors are deeply satisfying, and I’ll be making this unique version of pesto often. I completely left out the 1/3 cup of olive oil (and the accompanying 71 grams of fat!) by using a bit of light veggie broth to thin down the pesto. I found I didn't need much, maybe only a couple of tablespoons, as the tomatoes added a lot of liquid. I also didn't need to add any additional cooking water from the pasta (as the recipes calls for) to the pesto, since it was already the right consistency. The recipe calls for cooking a pound of fettuccine; I only used half that much (8 ounces), as I prefer a smaller ratio of pasta to sauce than most recipes call for. This seemed to be the perfect amount.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü     Omit the 1/3 cup of olive oil and use a light veggie broth instead, as needed.