Friday, August 29, 2014

Black Bean & Corn Burritos

Nothing could be easier for a quick meal than the "Black Bean & Corn Burritos" (page 127), and likely you have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. Sautéed onions, mashed black beans, corn, and salsa tucked neatly into tortillas, and lunch (or breakfast, or dinner!) is ready. The recipe calls for cooking the onion in oil, but that isn't necessary, just use a little water instead. Feel free to add a few more condiments to the burritos - I included shredded lettuce and sliced avocado to mine. Delicious!
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
 üOmit the oil when sautéing the onion. Use a little water, sherry, or broth instead.
üUse whole grain, oil free tortillas. I find the Ezekiel brand of whole grain sprouted tortillas a great choice.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Lime-Cilantro Dressing

There is no end to what can go into a salad dressing, once you step outside the limited realm of Ranch/1000 Island/Italian/Blue Cheese. While these standard choices are good, especially when made vegan and healthy, there is so much more that can constitute a dressing or dip. Consider the case in point, "Lime-Cilantro Dressing" (page 103). This dressing was so good, I was using it on everything, including salad, steamed asparagus, wraps, as a topping for Mexican food, and putting a sour cream-like dollop on my chili. The base for this dressing is vegan yogurt, but since this can be hard to find, and it isn't always made with the purest ingredients, I opted to use homemade Tofu SourCream instead. Mixed into the yogurt (or sour cream) is fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, a smidge of sugar, ground cumin, and cayenne. I also added a fresh clove of minced garlic, as it seemed to be begging for this, at least to someone like me who is kind of a garlic fanatic. I opted to pulse everything together in the blender to really infuse the flavors throughout, but the recipe just has you mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Although the notes mention this is best used on the same day it is made, I kept it around for a week with no deterioration of quality or flavor. Quite surprising to me, this recipe did not call for any added oil - a definite bonus!
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü     No changes necessary! J

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Miso Soup

"Miso Soup" (page 152) is a simple, yet elementally pleasing soup popularized in recent years in Japanese and sushi restaurants. Although this may be relatively new to us, it is a staple in Japanese cuisine where it is consumed daily, even for breakfast. At times I find myself craving the soothing salty broth of miso soup, it seems to be just the thing I crave when feeling a bit under the weather. The basic recipe is just water, and miso paste (fermented soy beans), with maybe some soy sauce. Additional add-ins can include tofu, green onions, mushrooms, sliced carrot or daikon, and sea vegetables. This rendition stops with mushrooms, green onions, and tofu, and the end product is delicious simplicity. Happily, the recipe as written had no added oil, so no changes were necessary to keep it McDougall friendly! J

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü     No changes necessary! J

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grilled Tofu With Tamarind Glaze

"Grilled Tofu with Tamarind Glaze" (page 289) is bursting with flavor, and is best served with something that will soak up the spicy sauce, such as rice, quinoa, potatoes, or cous cous. The sauce is comprised of sautéed shallot, garlic, and fresh tomatoes (fresh really makes a difference!), simmered with tamarind concentrate, spices, and sweeteners, and eventually puréed in a blender until smooth. The end result is a deliciously spicy and smoky barbeque-style sauce (an entire tablespoon of smoked paprika is used here), and there is enough extra to save for other uses after you use what you need on the tofu. (You won't be sorry, either, I found myself putting this on grilled potatoes, veggie burgers, scrambled tofu, just about anywhere you would use ketchup or barbeque sauce.) The tofu is marinated in the sauce for at least two hours before either grilling, sautéing in a skillet, or baking in the oven (all options are mentioned in the recipe). I chose to bake it in the oven on a baking sheet, using parchment paper to prevent sticking, set on top of foil for easy cleanup. Note: If you can't find tamarind, an easy substitution is mixing equal parts fresh lime juice, molasses, and vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the olive oil when sautéing the veggies. Instead, use a nonstick skillet and/or water, broth, or sherry as a sauté liquid.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lemony Edamame Dip

The vividly colored "Lemony Edamame Dip" (page 14) is made from edamame (fresh soybeans) and frozen peas, with the addition of herbs and spices to bring it to life; the base recipe benefits even further from spicier or more flavorful add-ins, such as chiles, more lemon and cayenne, or savory herbs. While I have to admit this wasn't my favorite dip (I found the texture somewhat grainy, and the flavor too mild), it did present well on flavorful crackers, as did a scoop added to the top of a mixed green salad. I'm not sure if adding the oil to this recipe would have helped the texture, but I'm guessing in this case it might have. Maybe next time I'll try adding in a dollop of tahini as an emulsifier. If nothing else, this is a very pretty dip!
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the olive oil when processing the mixture, adding in water as needed to achieve a blended consistency.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spicy Mushroom & Hot Pepper Calzones

I'm in love with pocket meals - samosas, calzones, pierogi, empanadas, pasties - you name it, if it comes wrapped in a warm-from-the-oven pouch, I'm bound to like it, no matter what's inside. Pockets stuffed with savory fillings take sandwiches to a whole new level, and "Spicy Mushroom & Hot Pepper Calzones" (page 133) are no exception. Calzones are decidedly Italian, are in fact, pizza folded into itself, and typical fillings would be the same as those you find on top of "unfolded" pizza. The dough is the same as you'd use for pizza (or bread), a simple yeasted bread dough of flour, water, yeast, and salt. The filling in these particular calzones is a delicious combination of sautéed mushrooms, garlic, hot cherry peppers, and tofu. The only problem with these delightful hot pockets is that it is almost impossible not to eat the entire batch in one sitting!
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü  Use an oil-free pizza dough, as the one called for in this recipe, from this book: Basic Pizza Dough, and use whole wheat flour, or at least a 50-50 blend of whole wheat and all purpose (white) flour.

ü  Omit the oil when sautéing the mushrooms. No sauté liquid is really required, as mushrooms release their juices as they are cooked, providing all the moisture you need.