Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black & Green Olive Tapenade

“Black & Green Olive Tapenade” (page 9) is an easy appetizer that can be whipped up in just a few minutes, and is especially good if you have access to a fresh olive bar in your local grocery or natural foods stores. I learned that the word “tapenade” actually means capers, one of the ingredients in this spread, and if you leave them out, you’ll still have a delicious olive spread, it just won’t be authentically tapenade.

It can’t get much easier than this – combine the capers, olives, lemon juice, thyme, and black pepper in a food processor and process until finely chopped. At this point the recipe calls for the addition of olive oil, ¼ cup to be exact, to be added to the chopped olives and blended until the mixture is a smooth paste. But I wasn’t at all worried about omitting the oil altogether, after all olives are the source of olive oil, and chopping them up in a food processor will release a measure of oil into the mix. (A quarter cup of olive oil contains 477 calories and 54 grams of fat, so it’s no small thing deciding to leave this out.) By contrast, 1 cup of black olives only contains about 15 grams of fat, and ½ cup green olives about 8 (these are the amounts called for in the recipe). This of course, if you purchase olives not cured in oil. If you do, be sure to rinse them thoroughly first. You may want to add a bit of water to the food processor while it’s running, in place of the oil, a tablespoon at a time, to reach the desired consistency.

This spread is very rich, and a little definitely goes a long way. It is excellent on fat-free crackers, toasted bread, or stuffed into mushroom caps.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Omit the olive oil all together. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, to the food processor while it’s running if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  • If your olives are cured in oil, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ginger-Peanut Tempeh

Browning tempeh oil-free can definitely be a challenge, and if you’re like me, you may have to decide you’re going to end up with something a little different from the original recipe intent. Such was the case with “Ginger-Peanut Tempeh”, (page 301), which called for browning previously steamed diced tempeh in a skillet using two tablespoons of oil. In all likelihood, this would have kept the tempeh cubes intact, as intended, but what I ended up with was more of a tempeh scramble, especially since the addition of each new ingredient required more tossing and stirring in the skillet. Not a bad thing, necessarily, at least I didn’t think so. This dish was quite flavorful with red bell pepper, garlic, green onions, fresh ginger, peanuts, and cilantro, all seasoned with a combination of soy sauce, sugar, and crushed red pepper. I ended up serving it over brown rice, and thought it would also have gone well with mashed potatoes, or grilled yams.  Bright steamed greens on the side made for a complete meal.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Instead of frying the tempeh in oil, use a very good quality nonstick skillet and “dry-fry” it.
  • Use the same nonstick skillet and a little broth, sherry, or water to sauté the veggies.