Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden Gazpacho

Gazpacho tastes like summer, and "Garden Gazpacho" (page 179) is full of ingredients that might come out of your very own backyard garden -  fresh plum tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, celery. This light tomato-based soup, served cold, is the perfect starter to a summer meal. The base of the soup is blended vegetables, with enough chopped (unblended) vegetables to keep it interesting, and with as much zing as you want, depending on the type of tomato juice you use and how much Tabasco you add. I especially liked the garnish of fresh parsley and kalamata olives! For some reason the recipe calls for adding two tablespoons of olive oil to the soup, but I left this completely out and didn't feel anything was missing.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü     Omit the olive oil, no substitutions needed.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I admit, I have been avoiding the quinoa recipes in this book (there aren't all that many), and if you have been following my blog, you may have read my earlier review of Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Tomatoes. As I stated there, I'm just not a big fan, but in the spirit of preparing all 1000 recipes, sooner or later I have to address the ones that use quinoa. Recently I got a new kitchen appliance called the Instant Pot (an electric pressure cooker/rice cooker/slow cooker/steamer), and I'm not saying that this has totally changed my opinion of this grain, but when I used the Instant Pot to prepare the quinoa for the "Mediterranean Quinoa Salad" (page 89), I have to admit, I liked it more than I ever have in the past! J There were enough other players in this salad to make it interesting, and this particular preparation reminded me of tabouli with the chickpeas, tomatoes, green onion, and cucumber. But the list of ingredients doesn't stop there. Add to that cured olives, toasted pine nuts, and fresh basil, not to mention the dressing, and no wonder I liked this salad! The vinaigrette style dressing calls for ¼ cup olive oil, but I completely omitted this without any substitutions and had excellent results. With the moist ingredients (tomato, cucumber, and olives) you hardly need anything else to "dress" the salad, and it is flavorful enough to stand on its own, although a squeeze of lime is a nice addition.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil in the dressing. No substitution is necessary.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brown Rice Salad with Black-Eyed Peas

If you are looking for new ways to serve black-eyed peas, the good luck dish for bringing in the New Year in the American South, you might want to try the "Brown Rice Salad with Black-Eyed Peas" (page 85). The dish is labeled as one of the "Fast Recipes", meaning it can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, but this is only true if you already have cooked peas and rice on hand. Otherwise, plan ahead. The other ingredients in this salad include red onion, celery, roasted pecans, and fresh parsley, all of which is dressed with oil-based vinaigrette, if you follow the recipe as written. Naturally, I looked for a way to get around the oil-laden dressing (it calls for ½ cup!), and decided to use light vegetable broth in place of the oil. I still mixed this with the cider vinegar and herbs and spices called for to capture the intended flavors. This alternative worked very well, providing plenty of moisture to the salad, especially since cooked rice tends to soak up the wet ingredients. I enjoyed the contrasting textures in this salad - crunchy (onion, celery, pecans), chewy (rice), and soft (black-eyed peas).
 Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü   Use light vegetable broth in place of the oil when preparing the dressing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Penne with Chickpeas & Rosemary

Pasta is fast food, and when you are looking for something you can put together quickly from food you probably already have in the pantry, "Penne with Chickpeas & Rosemary" (page 210) will fill the bill. Just six ingredients (not counting salt and pepper), and dinner is on the table in about 30 minutes or less. I didn't have penne on hand when I decided to make this, but I did have ditalini, the small tubular pasta often used in pasta salads, and decided this would work fine. A sautéed and warmed concoction of rosemary (or any other fresh or dried herb if you're not a fan), garlic, diced tomatoes and chickpeas is added to the cooked pasta and that's about all there is to it.  

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü   Omit the olive oil when sautéing the garlic and herbs and use a bit of water or broth instead and/or a nonstick skillet.

ü   Use whole grain pasta.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Corn Muffins

"Corn Muffins" (page 408) are really nothing more than cornbread in a muffin cup, and make a great accompaniment to most any bean dish. Just a handful of simple ingredients go into these muffins (flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soymilk, sugar, and salt), and they are in the oven in no time at all. The recipe does call for 3 tablespoons of oil, but I omitted that and used ¼ cup apple sauce instead. I opted to line the muffin tin with paper liners rather than oiling the muffin tin. Note: the muffins tend to stick to the paper liners initially, but the longer they sit, the easier the paper peels away.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose (white) flour.

ü Omit the oil and use ¼ cup applesauce instead.

ü Use a non-stick tin, or paper liners, rather than oiling the muffin pan.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Maple-Baked Rice Pudding with Dried Cranberries

You will find the "Maple-Baked Rice Pudding with Dried Cranberries" (page 475) in the dessert section of this book, but I prepared it for breakfast, as I love hot rice with sweetener and soymilk for morning fare. This dish requires cooked rice, so you will have to plan ahead a bit, but otherwise you'll find this is a super simple dish to prepare. Cooked rice is combined with soymilk, maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cranberries (or raisins) and baked in the oven until hot and slightly thickened. You might want to start slow with the sweeteners and taste the mixture before adding the full measure. I omitted the sugar altogether, as the maple syrup and dried fruit made the entire dish plenty sweet. The recipe doesn't specify white or brown rice, but I used brown. Wonderful hot out of the oven, or even at room temperature, but the rice tends to stiffen a little if served cold.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü     Use brown rice instead of white.