March 2004

Vol. 3     No. 3  

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Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes
Servings:  Makes 2 ½ cups

1 onion, finely chopped
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
2 ¼ cups cold water
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Place the onions and mushrooms in a pan with ¼ cup water.  Cook and stir until very soft, about 5 minutes. Mix the remaining water with the soy sauce and cornstarch.  Add to the pan and cook, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens.

Hints:  Start out with less soy sauce and add more if you desire.  Seasonings may also be added, such as parsley flakes, oregano, thyme or basil.


by Roberta Joiner

During the March 2004 McDougall Program, our alumni cooking instructor, Roberta Joiner, made this delicious appetizer during her class.  Everyone loved it, so I asked her to share it in the newsletter.  This can be put together quite quickly using prepared products, or you can make most of the layers yourself and assemble it later.  Either way it is bound to be a hit at your next party!

Preparation Time:  30-60 minutes
Servings:  variable

The layers are: Mashed Beans, Avocado Salsa, Tofu Sour Cream, Salsa, Olives & Cilantro

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
1-2 jalapeno peppers, veins & seeds removed
1-2 tablespoons southwest seasoning (see hints)
salsa, to taste and thin as desired
cilantro, to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  May be heated, if desired.

Avocado Salsa (recipe in June 2002 newsletter)
Or use packaged Guaca Salsa-guacamole and green salsa mixed (see hints)

Tofu sour cream (recipe in August 2002 newsletter)
Mild, medium or hot salsa as desired 
1 small can sliced black olives
Chopped cilantro

Layer the ingredients in the order given.  Start with the beans, then spread a layer of the avocado over the beans, then a thin layer of the tofu sour cream, followed by a thin layer of the salsa, some olives, and a sprinkling of cilantro.  Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Hints:  Any of your favorite bean dips would work in this recipe.  Bearitos makes fat free refried beans with green chilies already added. Southwest seasoning can be found in many specialty markets or it may be ordered online from Penzeys Spices.  Penzeys is one of the best places to buy spices and seasonings.  They have a mail order catalog or they are online at  Some people like to heat the bean layer before layering on the other ingredients.  You can make your own guacamole salsa by adding salsa to fresh guacamole.  Or try the Broccomole or the Garbanzo Guacamole recipes in The New McDougall Cookbook.  By using less avocado and more tomatoes and salsa you can reduce the amount of fat in the guacamole.  AvoClassic makes a Guaca Salsa-a mixture of avocado and green salsa with half the fat of regular guacamole.  (Available in some Safeway stores in the frozen food department.)  There are quite a few tofu sour cream recipes in vegan cookbooks.  Most are made with soft silken tofu.  Be sure to use the reduced fat variety. Or use the recipe in the 2002 newsletter.  Roberta likes to add 1000 mg of crushed vitamin C to her tofu sour cream because it gives it a nice tangy flavor.  Most salsas are acceptable, choose according to your tastes.  The olives may be omitted, if desired, as well as the cilantro.  A sprinkling of grated soy cheese could also be added over the top, if desired.  Baked tortilla chips can be difficult to find.  Guiltless Gourmet makes some that are low in fat. Tostitos Baked Tortilla Chips are also available in some areas.  You can also make your own baked tortilla chips:  buy soft corn tortillas, cut into wedges with a scissors and place on a dry baking sheet.  Bake at 250 degrees until crisp, about 20-30 minutes.  Store in an airtight bag.


I have received several requests lately for a ranch dressing, usually questions about whether there is an acceptable one in a bottle.  Unfortunately, there is not one I can recommend at this time.  However, for those of you who miss having a ranch-style dressing for salads or dips, I think you will be pleased with this recipe.  This will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  makes about 2 cups

1  12.3 ounce package Mori-Nu Lite silken tofu
1/3 cup tofu sour cream (recipe August 2002 newsletter)
½ cup water
2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon chives
1 teaspoon dill weed
½ teaspoon garlic powder
pinch dry mustard
several twists freshly ground pepper
dash salt

Place the tofu in a blender or food processor and process briefly.  Add remaining ingredients and process until very smooth.  Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until use.

Hints:  Add a tablespoon or two more water for a thinner consistency, if desired.  Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Flavors will intensify during refrigeration so it is best to make this ahead of time.


The original for this recipe can be found in the December 2002 newsletter.  However, it requires fresh corn and a lot of time and effort.  I have modified the recipe to use frozen corn, which saves a tremendous amount of time, but doesn’t sacrifice any of the delicious taste.  Bake this in a covered casserole dish.  It may be made ahead of time and refrigerated until baking.  It reheats well and is delicious the next day.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  1 hour
Resting Time:  10 minutes
Servings:  4-6

5 cups frozen corn, thawed
½ cup masa flour (for tamales)
¼ cup vegetable broth
1  4 ounce can chopped green chilies
1 to 1 ½ cups shredded soy cheese
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the corn, masa flour and broth in a food processor.  (If you have a small processor, do this in batches.)  Process until fairly smooth.  Scrape into a large bowl.  Add chilies, shredded soy cheese and salt.  Mix well.  Turn into a casserole dish.  (To prevent sticking, lightly oil the dish first with a small amount of oil on a paper towel.)  Cover and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with salsa on the side, or make a sausage topping with a package of ground soy meat mixed with a package of taco seasoning (see December 2002 and June 2003 newsletters for more details).

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