April 2009

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Vol. 8, No. 4

Featured Recipes

Garbanzo Spinach Salad

This is one of my favorite salads and very often I eat this right after putting it together.  It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Chilling Time:  1-2 hours
Servings:  4-6

3  15 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups loosely packed chopped fresh spinach
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped
½ cup oil-free Italian or Oriental dressing
several twists fresh ground pepper

Combine beans and vegetables in a bowl.  Pour dressing over and toss to mix.  Season with fresh ground pepper.  Refrigerate for 1-2 hours for best flavor.

Hints:  The recipe for Oriental dressing is found in the April 2008 newsletter.  Oil-free Italian dressings can be purchased in most markets.

Asian Vegetable Noodle Toss

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  20 minutes
Servings:  3-4

Marinated tofu:
1  10 ounce package extra firm tofu (not silken)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
Dash sesame oil

Vegetables:
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ cups trimmed and halved snow peas

Asian Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
½ tablespoon Agave nectar
½ tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed in 1 tablespoon cold water
Dash sesame oil or chili oil (optional)
Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Noodles:
9.5 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Drain the tofu well, cut into cubes and place in a large bowl.  Mix the soy sauce, Agave nectar and sesame oil together.  Pour over the tofu cubes and stir well to mix.  Let rest for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure tofu cubes are well coated with the marinade.  Remove tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon (reserving the remaining marinade) and dry-fry in a non- stick skillet until nicely browned on all sides, turning occasionally with a spatula.  Turn off heat and set aside.

Add the vegetables to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove from water with a strainer and add to the tofu. Mix well.

Bring water back to a boil.  Add the soba noodles and cook for about 4-5 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining tofu marinade into a small saucepan.  Add all the ingredients for the Asian sauce to the saucepan.  Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened and clear.  Remove from heat and pour over the tofu and vegetables, mixing well.

Remove soba noodles from water and place in a large bowl.  Toss with the soy sauce to separate the noodles.  Pour the vegetable mixture over the noodles and toss well to mix.  Serve warm or at room temperature, with Sriracha hot sauce as a condiment, if desired, for more heat.

Hints:  This is a very flavorful and easy way to dry-fry tofu, resulting in slightly crispy cubes that can be used in a variety of dishes.  See recipe below for another use.

Peanutty Tofu Lettuce Cups

This recipe is a bit higher in fat because of the peanut dressing.  This also makes a nice appetizer before an Asian-style meal which would yield more servings.

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  3-4

Salad topping:
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
4 green onions, chopped
½ cup shredded carrot
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
¼ to ½  teaspoon red pepper flakes

Marinated tofu:
1  10 ounce package extra firm tofu (not silken)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
Dash sesame oil

Dressing:
1/3 cup peanut dressing (recipe follows)

1 bunch romaine, butter or leaf lettuce

Hot sauce for garnish, if desired

Combine all ingredients for the salad topping in a bowl.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Drain the tofu well, cut into cubes and place in a large bowl.  Mix the soy sauce, Agave nectar and sesame oil together.  Pour over the tofu cubes and stir well to mix.  Let rest for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure tofu cubes are well coated with the marinade.  Remove tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon (discard the remaining marinade) and dry-fry in a non- stick skillet until nicely browned on all sides, turning occasionally with a spatula.  Place tofu in a bowl and toss with 1/3 cup of the peanut dressing. 

To serve, place some of the tofu in a lettuce leaf, top with some of the salad, garnish with a bit of Sriracha hot sauce, if desired, roll up and eat.

Peanut Dressing

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

½ cup peanut butter
½ cup water
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1-2 teaspoons Sambal chili paste (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender jar and process until very smooth.  Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Roasted Pepper Pasta

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  4

1 pound Tinkyada brown rice spiral pasta
1 bunch green onions, chopped
¼ cup vegetable broth
1  15 ounce can garbanzo beans
1  10 ounce jar roasted red peppers, chopped
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon drained capers
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Place a large pot of water on to boil.  Drop the pasta into boiling water and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, place the green onions and broth into a non-stick sauté pan.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently for 5 more minutes.

Drain the pasta and place in a bowl.  Pour the vegetable mixture over the pasta and toss well to mix.  Serve at once.

Green Papaya Salad

During the McDougall 10 Day Program all the participants go out for lunch at one of my favorite Thai restaurants, California Thai.  They serve us a delicious Green Papaya Salad that is always a requested recipe.  The original recipe for this salad appeared in The New McDougall Cookbook many years ago.  I have updated the recipe slightly for even more flavor. This may be eaten like a regular salad with a fork, or rolled up in the Romaine leaves and eaten with your fingers.  This salad is best served fresh, shortly after putting it together.

Preparation Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  6-8

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2-4 serrano chili peppers, cut into pieces, seeds and ribs removed
6 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 large green papaya
1 carrot
6 green beans
6 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Romaine lettuce leaves

Grind the garlic and chilies in a small food processor or use a mortar and pestle to pound into a paste.  Place the lime juice, soy sauce and sugar in a small jar.  Shake well to mix, then add the garlic-chili paste and shake again until well mixed.  Set aside.

Peel the papaya and clean out the seeds.  Shred the papaya in a food processor or use a hand grater.  Place in a large bowl.  Shred the carrot and add to the bowl.  Cut the green beans in half, then slice into thin strips.  Quarter the cherry tomatoes.  Add both of these to the bowl.  Pour the dressing over and toss well to mix.  Serve on the Romaine lettuce leaves with the cilantro sprinkled over the top.

Hints:  Green papaya is unripe papaya.  The skin is a very dark green and the flesh is a very pale green color to almost white.  It is not sweet and tastes much like a mild summer squash.  You can usually find green papayas in Asian markets because they are used often in Asian cuisine.  Serrano chili peppers are very hot.  Wear rubber gloves when removing seeds and ribs and keep hands away from eyes and nose.

Chu’s Salad Dressing

During the McDougall 10 Day Program all the participants go out to lunch on the first weekend at Gary Chu’s Chinese Restaurant.  This salad dressing is such a favorite and I always get so many requests for this dressing recipe, that finally Gary was kind enough to share it with me.  The restaurant makes this in 7 quart amounts so I have cut it down to a reasonable size for your kitchen. This will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes
Servings:  makes about 1 cup

¼ cup soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
½ cup water

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until well mixed.  Refrigerate until needed and shake before each use.

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