Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Tahini Broccoli Slaw

My quest for the perfect slaw recipe seems to be never ending. This is the 6th of 9 slaw recipes in this book that I’ve tried so far, and each one is slightly different spin. The “Tahini Broccoli Slaw”, page 75, introduced me to packaged broccoli slaw. I’ve seen it in the grocery store for years, but never bought any until now. I’m a broccoli fan, and I actually enjoy the munching on the raw stems, so I felt confident I would like this salad. The tahini based dressing makes it rather rich, and I found a little went a long way. The salad ingredients consist of premixed broccoli saw (which includes a small amount of shredded carrots and red cabbage) and green onions. The dressing is tahini, miso, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. The topping is roasted sesame seeds.

As Robin Robertson often does with these recipes, she used one of the ingredients in several of its forms, in this case, sesame. There was the tahini (sesame seed paste), sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds. Although I normally eschew oil in my cooking, I do make an exception for sesame oil and use it on occasion as a condiment. This recipe called for 1 tablespoon, I cut that down to 1 teaspoon. I also thought ¼ cup of sesame seeds would be too much, so I used just 2 tablespoons. These adjustments still yielded a very rich and creamy mixture.

My quest continues!

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • You can leave sesame oil out completely if you want, or cut it way back and still enjoy the strong flavor.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Two-Potato Soup With Rainbow Chard

“Two-Potato Soup with Rainbow Chard”, page 158, is elemental and rustic. Made from simple earthy ingredients – onion, leek, potatoes (red and sweet), and rainbow chard – the flavors are deep and satisfying. It also goes together quickly without a lot of fussy preparation. Sauté onion, leek, and garlic (I used sherry in place of olive oil), add the broth and potatoes, and when all the veggies are tender, throw in the chard. The broth you use can make a big difference, so select one you know will satisfy. In my experience, chard, like spinach, doesn’t have to cook long at all. Adding the chopped chard to the soup after the potatoes are done, stirring a few times, then covering the soup and setting it off the heat for a few minutes is really all it takes. The recipe has you cooking the soup for another 15 minutes after adding the chard, but that would have been too long for my tastes, I like my greens to be a little less cooked down. However, 15 minutes might be necessary if you substitute kale or collard greens for the chard, as you might want to do. The leftovers held up well, and we enjoyed this soup for lunch leftovers later in the week.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Instead, use a nonstick soup pot and/or replace the oil with water, broth, or sherry.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Carrot-Ginger Dressing

I love salad dressing, and if you have a pretty good blender on hand, the endless possibilities of ingredients guarantee a never ending adventure. Anything goes, really, it’s all about what flavors you like, and what a particular dressing will taste best on. The “Carrot-Ginger Dressing”, page 100, is a good example of using fresh ingredients to whip up a zesty dressing that is good on any raw vegetable salad you can imagine. You might have all the ingredients on hand already – carrots, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin. The recipe also includes 2 tablespoons of oil, but I left that out altogether, adding a little bit of water as needed while blending to obtain the right consistency. I used it on tossed green salad made from dark leafy green lettuces, a great combination.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil, and if necessary, add a little water to obtain desired consistency. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Persian Noodles & Lentils

If you are looking for something a little different, even a little exotic, you might want to try the “Persian Noodles & Lentils” (page 214). Boldly seasoned with middle eastern spices such as coriander, cumin, cayenne, and allspice, and decidedly sweet with ½ cup of dates in the mix, the flavors of this noodle dish are unique. I was intrigued by the complexity of textures (soft and chewy pasta, grainy lentils, crunchy walnuts) and contrasting flavors (sweet, spicy, hot), and the more I ate, the more I liked it. The recipe as written calls for three tablespoons of oil, used to sauté the onions, garlic, walnuts, dates, and spices, but I used light broth instead with excellent results.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a nonstick skillet, and replace the oil with water or broth.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Tempting Tempeh Chili

“Tempting Tempeh Chili”, (page 300), takes a vegan approach to traditional meat-and-bean chili, with tempeh stepping in for the carne. The traditional flavors of chili (chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic) are combined with pre-cooked tempeh, pinto beans, onion, and bell pepper, then mixed with crushed tomatoes. The chili is simmered for 45 minutes to blend and develop the flavors (and I find setting the completed dish aside for a couple of hours further improves both texture and flavor), then topped with minced fresh cilantro. If you haven’t cooked with tempeh before, this would be a good introductory exploration. The recipe is easy to follow, and the flavors of the chili are readily absorbed by the tempeh. Don’t forget to pass the toppings at the table. I used hot sauce (the recipe as written has very little spice heat), fat free plain yogurt (in place of sour cream) and diced red onions. Warm corn tortillas, or fresh cornbread as the recipe notes suggest, would both make good side dishes. The one tablespoon of olive oil for sautéing the veggies was easily omitted, and I didn’t have to change anything else in this recipe.

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a nonstick skillet, and replace the oil with water or broth.