Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Baked Penne Florentine

This is another oldie but goodie recipe from Mary McDougall.

My changes:
Pasta - my family hates whole wheat pasta so I use regular semolina.

Spinach - I use a full bag of it and rarely defrost and squeeze it, preferring to just dump the whole bag into the bowl with the hot pasta.

Miso - I just omit it because nobody in this area sells it and for the one or 2 recipes I use that include it, it's not worth the mail order purchase. In fact, I don't use this version of ricotta cheese (cashews, white beans and flavorings) at all but prefer to use the tofu ricotta from Vegan With A Vengeance very similar to the one this person uses.

So, to be honest, I don't really use Mary's recipe, just use it for its idea of Baked Penne Florentine. But here is hers, anyway:

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Baked Penne Florentine

Recipe By     :Mary McDougall
Serving Size  : 6     Preparation Time :0:00
Categories    : Beans                           Main Dish
                Pasta                           Vegan

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  8             ounces  pasta -- uncooked whole wheat penne
  10            ounces  frozen chopped spinach -- thawed
                        and squeezed dry
     1/4           cup  vegetable broth
  1                     onion -- chopped
     1/2           cup  cashews -- raw
  1 3/4           cups  water
  1                can  white beans -- (15 ounce) drained
                        and rinsed
  1         tablespoon  soy sauce
  1         tablespoon  white miso
  2          teaspoons  lemon juice
     1/4      teaspoon  dry mustard
     1/4      teaspoon  cayenne
     1/2           cup  whole wheat bread crumbs

Drop the pasta into a pot of boiling water and cook until just barely tender, about 6 minutes.  Drain, place in a bowl and add the spinach.  Mix very well.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the onion and the vegetable broth in a medium non-stick frying pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onion has softened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

Place the cashews in a food processor and process until finely ground.  Add half of the water and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining water, the cooked onion, beans, soy sauce, miso, lemon juice, mustard and cayenne.  Process until very smooth.  Pour this over the pasta and spinach and mix well.  Transfer to a covered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

  "This is a delicious baked pasta dish that our grandson, Jaysen, really likes.  I serve it to him the way it comes out of the oven, but I like to top mine with a bit of Sriracha Hot Sauce for a little kick.- Mary McDougall"
  "McDougall newsletter"
  "December 2003"
                                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 383 Calories; 7g Fat (16.5% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 64g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fiber; trace Cholesterol; 465mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 4 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat.

NOTES : Hint:  This may be prepared ahead and refrigerated until baking time.  Add about 15 minutes to the baking time.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Potatoes In the Funny Papers

The Six Chicks strip for today, December 16, 2012:

Just add another dollar per pound to get urban NJ prices, though, $2 more for the organics.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lentil Meatballs

I have been watching videos on Everyday Dish TV since its inception many years ago. I even bought their DVD, which I can no longer find for sale on the site or elsewhere except used. When some of the recipes went behind a paywall, I spent the money and bought a yearly subscription, because there are very few sites out there with videos of how to make tasty, many times low-fat, vegan foods. I even renewed my subscription, and I don't renew that many things nowadays, even letting most of my print magazines lapse!

The latest goodie from the website I've made is Sarah Matheny's Lentil Meatballs:
Lucky for you people it's not behind the paywall and can be nabbed by everyone.

In the video, Sarah says she uses the already-cooked packaged lentils, IIRC from Trader Joe's, or maybe Whole Foods. Of course, this is weight, not volume. It took a whole lotta web searching and finally me digging out my rusty old kitchen/postage scale that only goes up to a pound to find out that my freshly cooked and well drained lentils come to a cup and a half for 8 ounces in weight. When I made them I used 1 cup of plain old Goya lentils to 2 cups of water and they made a tad under 3 cups total. I used half and put the rest in the freezer for the next time I make these.

I always have plenty of old-fashioned oats on hand.

She calls for reconstituted dry sun-dried tomatoes, not the oily ones in the jar. I also keep a supply of these on hand and started soaking them about a half hour before I started making the meatballs.

Instead of Kalamata olives (too expensive and only come in a big can around here) I used a plain old 2.5 ounce can of sliced black olives, store brand. Instead of chopping I tossed them into the food processor and gave a quick pulse after everything else was mixed and pulsed up.

And lastly, I rarely have fresh herbs around here and today was no different, so no fresh basil. Instead I used a heaping teaspoon of dried basil leaves. To be honest, the next time I make this I'll be sure to have fresh basil at the ready, because it could have used the bit of bulk the fresh would have given.

Like Sarah, I used a cookie dough scoop to make these meatballs, and got 17 out of the recipe. After baking for 15 minutes I took the tray out to flip them over and was a little disappointed to find them still pretty mushy and had to use a butter knife to scrape the soft stuff off the parchment paper and squish it back into the now flipped meatball. Instead of putting them back in for a total of 20 minutes that the recipe called for I left them for 25. Here's the result:

You can see the bits of tomato and olives in the finished product, as well as the oatmeal bits. They did firm up quite a bit in that last 10 minutes of baking, and maybe when they're cooled they'll firm up even more. Of course, they're not as firm as a store-bought or gluten based meatball, but a heck of a lot better than most other vegan meatball recipes I've tried over the years, and if you leave out the olives, they're even McDougall MWLP safe.

They're now in the fridge, awaiting our usual Saturday night pasta dinner. I won't tell my husband these are home made and see if he can tell.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Creamy Scalloped Potatoes

It's no secret I own dozens of cookbooks, both McDougall-friendly ones and some not-so-friendly. Bryanna Clark Grogan's (Almost) No Fat Cookbook falls closer to "friendly" than not, because just about every recipe can be made to eliminate the small amounts of oil she uses.

The following recipe for Scalloped Potatoes comes from that book and was shared on-line by a member of the McDougall forums here. I know Bryanna prefers people ask permission before posting her recipes so I'll just leave that link instead of posting the recipe here myself.

It's a favorite of ours, and really simple to make up after a busy day bringing cars in for winterizing and finding out you need all new brakes and repairs to the brake fluid doohickey, shopping for last minute Christmas gifts for a 29 year old who has everything, and decent wrapping paper. Who ever heard of a Walmart that only had one display box of really cheap paper and nothing else? Yesterday was my husband's last pool day off for the year and we wound up spending a good chunk of it looking for decent gift wrap and wound up in the Hallmark Store, where we got their top quality paper on sale. I told my husband that if we ever win the lottery, look out, because I'll be spending a good chunk of our winnings at that place! 

Back to the casserole. Instead of thin-slicing russets by hand, I buy 2 bags of frozen McCain's sliced potatoes. Instead of AP flour I sprinkle the taters with white whole wheat, and use loads of freshly ground black pepper. Instead of adding salt with each layer of potatoes I just put the shaker on the table, as Dr. McDougall advises. Sometimes I also sprinkle paprika but didn't this time. 

I use a bit more nooch than the recipe calls for - closer to a half cup than a quarter - and homemade rice milk instead of soy.

Here's the leftovers. I didn't get a chance to take a photo last night when it was fresh out of the oven because by the time we sat down to eat we were all starving.

Doesn't this look yummy? Okay, maybe it doesn't look that great, but it is truly delicious.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dr. Fuhrman Lecture from Plant-based Foods: Diet as a Tool for Change at the National Conference to End Factory Farming

 Interesting lecture, although I don't agree with 100% of what he believes. You can tell Dr. Fuhrman never suffered from hypoglycemia - bouts of blood sugar drops into the 40's (Yes, that low) only 4-5 hours after the last meal, whether it was high in starches, sugar, meat or a wheelbarrow full of greens. Actually, ESPECIALLY if it were a very low calorie one full of greens.

And I do find it possible that the Skipper could live on Gilligan's Island, eating everything the other castaways ate, and not lose weight. I know MANY fat people who eat the same or less than others and remain fat, especially women of the Skipper's age bracket.