Sunday, December 16, 2018

Moroccan Spice Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew

“Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew”, page 262, is a colorful and boldly spiced stew that can stand alone, or be served over a whole grain of your choice. The vegetable medley alone is enough to impress – carrots, onions, celery, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans. Add to this a blend of exotic spices, including ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and the mixture really comes alive. One thing it didn’t seem to have, though, was a hot spice, so I added two tablespoons of chile paste to the pot. This might be too spicy for some, so if you decide to turn up the heat, start with a little at first, and add more if necessary. I served this delicious stew over a bed of whole wheat couscous the first night, and for a leftover lunch, I added a little broth and served it as a thick soup/stew. The only adjustment I made was to leave out the oil when sautéing the vegetables. Healthy, pretty to look at, delicious to eat. What more could you ask for?

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the vegetables. Use a non-stick pot and/or replace the oil with broth, water, or sherry. 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cherry Vanilla Nice Cream

In the early days of my transition to a plant-based diet, finding vegan ice cream in the market was often difficult, if not impossible. I didn’t have an ice cream habit, but on certain special occasions, it was definitely something I wanted to include in the mix. While dairy free sorbets and fruit juice bars are nice, if what you want is ice cream, they just don’t quite fit the bill. If I was lucky, I might be able to find Tofutti, the closest thing to a dairy based ice cream on the market for a very long time. But now, I can’t even keep track of all the vegan ice creams available, and I don’t always have to search out a specialty store to find them. There is a drawback to this, though. Most of the ice creams on the market, even the vegan ones, are high in fats, saturated fats, and sugars. The solution, of course, is to make your own, where you have control over the ingredients.

This cookbook has four recipes for Nice Creams with six additional variations, enough to satisfy anybody’s particular ice cream cravings. Initially I was avoiding this part of the cookbook because all these recipes call for an ice cream maker, something I don’t have, and likely won’t have as long as I’m living and traveling full time in a 5th wheel trailer. But along the way, I discovered a workaround for making delicious and creamy vegan ice cream using pre-frozen ingredients and my VitaMix blender. While my rendition of the Nice Cream recipes in this book will stray far from the original preparation instructions, the flavors will all be present and delightfully delicious. (Robin provides a very thorough primer on making her Nice Creams in this section, very worth taking the time to read.)

The first recipe I tried was the “Cherry Vanilla Nice Cream”, page 492. The basic ingredients listed are arrowroot powder, thick vegan milk or cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and pitted cherries. Using this list as my ingredients guide, I used frozen cherries (2 cups), 1 frozen banana, ¼ cup soaked cashews (soak for at least an hour, then discard water), ¼ cup pure maple syrup, and soymilk as needed. Put everything except the extra soymilk into a high speed blender, and process until completely blended, smooth, and creamy. If necessary, stop the blender to push down unblended ingredients, and to add soymilk, a little at a time if the mixture is too thick. The cashews add richness, and the bananas contribute to a smoother texture. Not quite as rich as a full fat version, but delicious and satisfying all the same.

If this is too much to eat at one sitting, place the leftovers into a freezer container, and save for another day.

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