July  2004

Vol. 3    No. 7

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There are a lot of varieties of gazpacho: white, red, yellow, and green; Spanish, Mexican, Tex-Mex, Italian, and even fruit-based gazpachos. The word "gazpacho" translates into English as ‘salad soup’, and what better way to describe this refreshing veggie delight? I make and serve many varieties of gazpacho during the warm summer months.  They keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days and are a simple, cool meal with a loaf of bread and/or a salad from my garden.

Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: 13 minutes
Chilling Time: three hours

1 pound fresh mushrooms, cut in half, then sliced
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup thinly sliced onion wedges, separated
8 tomatoes, chopped (reserve as much juice as you can)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup ketchup
1 ½ cups hearts of palm, chopped ( 14.5 ounce can, drained)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
several twists freshly ground pepper
hot sauce to taste

Place mushrooms in a large non-stick frying pan with ¼ cup of the vegetable broth or water, and the soy sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Remove from heat, drain, reserving the liquid, and set aside in a large bowl.

Place the remaining ¼ cup of the vegetable broth or water in the frying pan with the onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about three minutes, until onions are translucent and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add to mushrooms.

Place tomatoes and their juice in the frying pan with the lime juice and the ketchup. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Remove from heat and add to mushrooms and onions. Add hearts of palm and cilantro. Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least three hours to allow flavors to blend.

Before serving, taste the chilled soup and add several twists of freshly ground pepper, hot sauce to taste and about two to three tablespoons of the reserved liquid from cooking the mushrooms.

Hint: This is better if you make it a day ahead of time and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.


Store all potatoes in a cool dark place.  Fifty degrees is ideal.

Baked potatoes are a simple yet versatile meal.  They can be eaten plain or with a wide variety of toppings.  Potatoes may be microwaved if you are in a big rush, but the flavor and texture of the potato won’t be nearly as delicious as those baked in an oven.  Our favorite potatoes for baking are the large brown-skinned russet variety. 

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Scrub the potatoes well and prick them all over with the tines of a fork.

Bake potatoes directly on the oven rack, for one hour. They will be fluffy and delicious.

Never bake in aluminum foil.  It makes potatoes pasty, instead of dry and fluffy.  If you like potatoes this way, make sure you wrap them in parchment paper before using the foil.

Make extra potatoes for leftovers.  Store unwrapped in the refrigerator.  Eat them cold or reheat in the microwave.

Topping Ideas:
Salsa or barbecue sauce
Tofu sour cream and chives
Baked beans
Pea soup or bean soup
Fat free dressings
Almost any bean recipe goes great over baked potatoes. 

One of our favorite toppings for baked potatoes is Mushrooms McDougall, found in The New McDougall Cookbook. (recipe follows here)

Hints:  Sweet potatoes are also delicious when baked.  They should be baked at a lower temperature, about 350 degrees, for 45-50 minutes.  Prick them all over with a fork and place on a baking tray in the oven.  (Or place on the oven rack and put a baking tray on the shelf underneath to catch the drips.)  Eat plain, either warm or cold, or try them topped with baked beans.  Use the Barbecued Bean recipe from the August 2003 newsletter; or open your favorite can of healthy fat-free baked beans, heat, and spoon over the top of the sweet potato.


Russet potatoes make fluffier mashed potatoes, while Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn or thin-skinned red or white potatoes are denser and heavier in texture. Three pounds of potatoes will yield approximately 6-8 servings. Peel, simmer over low heat until tender, and mash, blending with warmed soy milk. (Or save some of the cooking water and use that to moisten the potatoes.) Add salt and pepper to taste. I like to mash my potatoes using a hand-held electric mixer.  Don’t use a food processor to mash potatoes - the potatoes turn into a starchy paste within seconds.  Potatoes are also delicious when they are cooked and mashed with the skin on. It adds some color and texture to the potatoes when eating, and it also saves a lot of preparation time.

Variations on basic mashed potatoes:

1) For garlic mashed potatoes, cook six peeled cloves of garlic with the potatoes.

2) For roasted garlic mashed potatoes, cut the top off one head of garlic, drizzle 1 tablespoon vegetable broth over cut portion, wrap in parchment paper, then tightly wrap in aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Cool.  Remove from wrapping, invert over bowl, and squeeze garlic out of the cloves.  Add to potatoes while mashing.

3) For colorful mashed potatoes, add cooked vegetables while mashing.  Try carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, kale or spinach (well drained), broccoli, or celery root.

4) For herbed mashed potatoes, add fresh chopped herbs after the potatoes are mashed.  Try parsley, dill, chives, cilantro, basil, or another of your favorites.

5) For green onion mashed potatoes, add one cup of chopped green onions to soy milk while heating, then add to potatoes while mashing.

6) For spicier potatoes, add one to two tablespoons of spicy brown mustard while mashing, or try two tablespoons of prepared wasabi.


Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings:  4-6

1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 to1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 to 9 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the oregano, rosemary, paprika, cayenne, mustards and garlic into a smooth paste in a bowl.

Add a few potato chunks at a time and coat with the mixture; keep adding a few chunks at a time until all potatoes are coated.  Spread out on two nonstick baking sheets and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Hints:  Try using smoked paprika in this recipe.  Vary the seasonings used to suit your tastes.  I have been making many variations of this recipe over the years.  This recipe was originally found in The New McDougall Cookbook with slightly different ingredients.  This one is our current favorite.


I have recently rediscovered this old favorite of ours.  We like this plain, on baked potatoes and on burritos.  It is really quick if you buy presliced mushrooms!

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

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
 fresh ground pepper to taste

Place water in a large pan or wok.  Bring to a boil, add mushrooms, green onions, garlic and chilies.  Cook and stir for a minute or two, then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until all liquid has been absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.

Serve rolled up in a burrito shell with fresh salsa; use on top of beans in a Mexican-style burrito; or serve on top of baked potatoes. This is wonderful on almost anything!

Easy Tomato Sauce

This recipe was contributed by Mary Duffield. She shared it with me last month during our program and it is so quick and easy that it makes a fast summer meal.  Even the shopping list for this dish is quick and easy.  She says it is delicious over pasta, polenta, baked potatoes, and rice or try it over vegetables like steamed spinach, cauliflower or green beans.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  20-25 minutes
Servings:  4

2 large onions, cut in half, then sliced into rings
1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
2  15 ounce cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
1  15 ounce can diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers
4 small zucchini, cut in half, then sliced into chunks
Place the onions and water or vegetable broth in a large saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften slightly.  Add the canned tomatoes and their liquid and cook for 15 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until tender.

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