Saturday, August 25, 2018

Breakfast Parfaits

“Breakfast Parfaits”, page 526, are fun, festive, and delicious. Even though if feels like you’re having dessert for breakfast, these parfaits are full of whole grains, nuts, and fruit. It is the perfect way to start the day, and with this on the menu, you can happily look forward to breakfast. While the dish can be prepared in a bowl if you wish, the parfait glasses do make a pretty presentation and add to the fun factor. The layers consist of granola, a puree of nut butter-banana-maple syrup, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, sliced banana, and blueberry. I was able to get two layers of each into the glasses, and topped it all off with fresh strawberries.

This dish can be altered in several ways, depending on what’s in season, what you have on hand, what you like most. Any dried fruit can stand in for the cranberries, try almonds or cashews instead of walnuts, vary the fruit choices, sprinkle with flax or chia seed, use yogurt instead of the nut butter mix, use cooked oatmeal along with, or instead of, the granola. The possibilities are endless! I added a splash of soymilk to my glass to soften up the granola, adding yet another layer of goodness.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • No changes necessary!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Spicy Eggplant & Tempeh Stuffed Pasta Shells

With just a few ingredients (but a bit of preparation), the “Spicy Eggplant & Tempeh-Stuffed Pasta Shells”, page 229, is both elegant and pleasing. As with all the recipes using tempeh, you start out by cooking the block of tempeh for 30 minutes in a pot of simmering water. This is done to mellow out the flavor and aid digestion, and while I do normally start with this step, there have been many times I’ve skipped it, and everything comes out okay. You can simmer the tempeh while baking the eggplant, and cooking the pasta, combing several steps and saving a little time. It is so easy to bake a whole eggplant, and once its done the skin comes right off, leaving you with a soft and creamy filling. (Line your baking sheet with parchment paper so you won’t have to oil it.)

The steamed tempeh is ground in a food processor, along with garlic (I tripled the amount, using 3 cloves), red pepper flakes (I doubled the amount, using ½ teaspoon), and salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, bread crumbs can be added at this point to firm up the filling. This simple, yet meaty and delicious filling is stuffed into cooked pasta shells, topped with marinara (oil-free homemade (see recipe here), or store bought), and baked in the oven until heated through. Top with oil-free vegan Parmesan or Parmasio (see review here).

A big green salad and a loaf of rustic sourdough bread will turn this into a delicious dinner.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil when baking the eggplant. Simply line the baking dish with parchment paper to prevent it from sticking.
  • Use oil-free marinara, store-bought or homemade.
  • Use oil-free Parmesan, or home made Parmasio. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Spinach, Walnut, & Apple Soup

As the recipe notes state, the “Spinach, Walnut, & Apple Soup”, page 173, is light, which makes it a perfect first-course soup for dinner, or paired with a sandwich for lunch. The notes also correctly call this soup luscious, because even though this has a quite delicate consistency, the flavors are rich and satisfying. An unusual blend of sautéed onion, apple, apple juice, spinach, and walnuts are further simmered in broth, and seasoned with sage and allspice. This mixture is puréed, and finally a cup of soymilk is added to the pot. Each serving is garnished with toasted walnuts and diced apple, and since I had chives on hand, I added a sprinkle of those as well.

While this soup was likely meant to be more thin than creamy, I decided to thicken it with a flour and water mixture to make it more hearty (½ cup water, ¼ cup flour, blended smooth, then added to the simmering soup, stirring to incorporate and thicken).

The deep green color was inviting to the eyes, and the flavors were pleasing to the palate. The walnuts and apples added a nice layer of texture as well.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies, using water, apple juice, or broth instead.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Lemon Pepper Marinade

It is so easy to turn simple tofu (or tempeh, seitan, or even veggies) into something bursting with flavor with a sauce such as “Lemon Pepper Marinade”, page 576. A few simple but powerful ingredients go a long way to transform everyday food into something quite special. The flavor stars in this marinade include lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, garlic pepper, coriander and cayenne. To avoid using the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, I substituted 2 tablespoons of water and added 1/8 teaspoon of guar gum for thickening. I used this to marinate diced tofu, which I later cooked in my air fryer, resulting in crispy and oil free chunks of tofu. Healthy, and delicious!

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Use water instead of olive oil, plus 1/8 teaspoon of guar gum to thicken the marinade