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Monday, December 28, 2015


Best Blog Tips

I've been refreshing my old sourdough starter lately, thanks to the interest of a couple of friends.  I've been playing with no-knead crusty sourdough bread and will do a post on that very soon.

While refreshing my starter and making extra for my friends, I found myself with too much starter today, but so nice and bubbly and sour that I couldn't bring myself to throw it away.  Since we were expecting company today, I decided to make a batch of sourdough biscuits.  I literally hadn't made them for years.

These are the BEST biscuits-- golden and crispy on the outside and tender and layered on the inside.  Make sure that your starter in active and fresh.  It should be about the consistency of a pancake batter, but full of bubbles.

Fresh, bubbly sourdough starter

Printable Copy

Yield: 12

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup very cold (or frozen) vegan butter (see my homemade palm oil-free vegan "Buttah" recipe)
1 cup fresh, bubbly sourdough starter (see my starter recipe and instructions for use)
NOTE: you may need a few sprinkles of non-dairy milk OR flour

Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Add the cold vegan butter and quickly rub in with a pastry cutter or your fingers until bits of vegan butter are like crumbs.

Pour in the starter and stir with a fork until it is a dough that holds together.  If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour.  If it is too dry, add a few sprinkles of non-dairy milk until it hold together.

On a floured surface (best to use a piece of baking parchment or a silicone mat) pat or roll out the dough into a rectangle about 3/4" thick.  Fold in thirds.  Roll out again and fold into thirds.  Roll and pat into a rectangle about 1/2" thick.

Turn oven to 425 degrees F.  Cut the dough into 12 squares or, with a biscuit cutter, into 12 rounds or hexagons. (You can push the scraps together, fold once and roll out gently, then cut out as many as you can.)

Place the biscuits in a 9-10" round shallow layer cake pan, not quite touching.  Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and let rise for 15 minutes.  Brush the tops with soymilk or spray lightly with oil. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Serve hot or cool on rack and reheat in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per biscuit):  95 calories, 36 calories from fat, 4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 175.5mg sodium, 51.5mg potassium, 12.4g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, less than 1g sugar, 1.9g protein.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Best Blog Tips

Last week I made a batch of my vegan taco filling from one of my older books ("Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause") and we had tacos for two days running.  (I had added some coarsely-mashed black beans to the taco filling this time.) I stored the remainder of the filling, Tofu Sour Creme, salsa and shredded lettuce in the refrigerator. A couple of days later, we arrived home late and I contemplated the contents of my refrigerator, and  spied these leftovers. However, I didn't feel like messing with taco shells this time.  I grabbed some potatoes (locally grown thin-skinned yellow German Butter [Sieglinde] potatoes), scrubbed and poked them with a knife, and microwaved them while I heated the taco filling.

Sieglinde (German Butter) Potatoes
The buttery-tasting potatoes were delicious topped with our taco filling and condiments, and I served a friend's tasty bean salad (made with his home-grown beans) alongside.

This recipe, by the way, includes my recipe for making homemade red chile paste, which is very easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealed jar, for weeks.  

I love it when we can use up good food in a delicious and creative way!

Printable Copy (of both recipes)

(From my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause", slightly revised.)
© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2015
Enough for 12 tacos or tostadas, or 6 burritos.

If you package of taco shells in the pantry, or some tortillas in the refrigerator, this deliciously spicy, kids-of-all-ages-pleasing dinner won't take long.

Your choice of vegan "burger":
3 to 31/2 cups firm tofu, which has been frozen at least 48 hours, thawed, squeezed dry and crumbled
OR commercial vegan "hamburger crumbles" 

OR ground seitan 
OR reconstituted granulated textured soy protein (my favorite is So Soya+ Ground Veggie Burger, which is organic and kosher certified) 
OR the crumbs from Soy Curls (or crushed Soy Curls), reconstituted
Additional ingredients:
1/4 c. Bryanna's Red Chile Paste (see recipe below)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Mix the vegan "burger" of your choice with the Red Chile Paste in a bowl, combining it in well.

In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onion and sauté until it softens.  Add the "burger"/chile paste mixture and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, adding a little water if it dries out too much.

Fill the heated taco or tostada shells, or warm soft wheat or corn tortillas-- we add shredded lettuce or cabbage, a good spicy tomato salsa, avocado, if we have it, and tofu sour creme.

Cooked pinto or black beans, or vegetarian refried beans, are optional.  You could also add some hashbrown potatoes and/or grated vegan "cheese", if you like.

(From my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause", slightly revised.)

© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2015
Yield: 1 3/4 cups

1/2 c. good-quality chile powder
7 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. dried red chile pepper flakes
4 vegetarian broth powder or paste (or enough for 4 cups liquid)
1 T. dark sesame oil 
1 T. unbleached flour or 2 tsp. rice flour
1 T. Marmite (or other yeast extract paste) OR 2 T. red miso 

1 T. water
1 T. salt 
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. dried oregano 
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Best Blog Tips

I used to make my own yogurt all the time.  I made it with my homemade soymilk.  But I've gotten lazy in my old age and have only made it a few times in the last few years-- maybe because we finally got Whole Soy yogurt up here in Canada.  And then, just when we were enjoying it so much, Whole Soy closed down.  So sad!  There aren't that many choices where I live, and the coconut yogurt (which I don't like) and almond yogurt are just way too expensive for my budget. So, recently I've had the urge to make yogurt again, using commercial soymilk instead of homemade (which I do make for drinking and cooking).  After all, 2 L of soymilk only costs about $4 Cnd and, even figuring in the cost of the other ingredients, it's alot cheaper than $5 for 3 cups of Nancy's soy yogurt! 

I wanted a simplified version, with less thickeners than I had used before and without using added soymilk powder, which gives the yogurt a chalky mouth feel and taste.  I thought of using raw cashews, which would add rich flavor and mouth feel, as well as their own thickening power. I'm so glad I thought of that-- I don't know why it took me so long!

This yogurt is the creamy kind, which my husband likes best.  You could strain it by hanging it in a cheese bag (like this)if you want a thicker, more concentrated yogurt.

Some important info before you start:

NOTE about non-dairy milk: There are many types of non-dairy milk on the market now, but I use soymilk because it is the most nutritious (7 g protein per cup, compared with 1 g in 1 cup of Silk almond milk). I now blend it with some soaked raw cashews to make yogurt for added creaminess, and they add some thickening power, too. (I have not tried this yogurt with other non-dairy milk.)

I use what is usually called "Original", NOT Unsweetened, soymilk. I know that many people balk at the fact that "Original" contains sugar, but that is because dairy milk naturally contains sugar, and if you don't add a little it doesn't taste like milk. To give you some perspective, there twice as much sugar (12 g) in 1 cup dairy milk than in Silk Organic Original Soy Milk (6g).

Sodium content: 1 cup Silk "Original" contains about 105mg sodium and 1 cup of various types of cow's milk contain between 98 and 103mg sodium. (Silk almond contains 160 mg sodium.)

You will need a blender, a fine sieve, a 2L microwave-safe batter bowl/pitcher (see photos below for the ones I have-- one is Pyrex and one is stoneware), a medium whisk, a microwave large enough for a 2L batter bowl, a slim spatula, a stick/immersion blender, a candy thermometer, measuring utensils, an incubation set-up (see Tips below). EVERYTHING needs to be scalded with boiling water before use!

Stoneware and Pyrex batter bowls:

So, here's the new recipe:

© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2015
Servings: 18
Yield: 9 cups

1/2 cup raw cashews
2 Litres (8 1/2 cups) Original (NOT unsweetened!) Silk Organic Soymilk from UN-opened carton (use 2 quarts if you are in the USA-- it will just be a little less yield) (OR your favorite non-dairy milk, but I have not tried any others) 
(See Note above about unsweetened vs original)
2 Tbsp tapioca starch (or tapioca flour-- it's the same thing)
1 tsp agar powder
1/4 cup cultured soy yogurt for a starter, or about 2 tsp. dairy-free powdered live yogurt starter/culture (see Tips below)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum

IMPORTANT: Scald all of your utensils with boiling water and set aside.

Pour boiling water over the raw cashews to cover in a heat-proof bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Drain in sieve.

Blend the soaked, drained cashews in the scalded blender jar with 2 cups of the milk from an UN-opened carton (replace cap on the carton until next step), the tapioca starch and agar powder until VERY smooth.

Pour the blended mixture into the batter bowl. microwave on High for 2 minutes. Whisk well and whisk in the remaining milk until thoroughly mixed and smooth. (You can use the immersion blender if you prefer, but don't let it get too frothy.)

Insert the candy thermometer into the mixture and check the temperature. It will probably be at least over 120 degrees F. You want to get it down to 90-105 degrees F before adding the starter. Cover the bowl loosely with the lid or a clean cloth (not touching the milk mixture). Let it cool down on the counter or in the refrigerator. Check the temperature frequently (washing and scalding the thermometer each time). When the temperature is in the correct range, add the starter and the xanthan or guar gum, whisking with a freshly-washed-and-scalded whisk or immersion blender until smooth. Don't let it get too frothy.

Pour the mixture into your prepared incubating container(s) [see Tips below about incubating methods] and cover. Incubate for about 7 hours. If you incubate longer and the mixture sort of "rises" and separates a bit, you will have to blend it again and it won't be as firm, but will be just fine.

Refrigerate overnight and enjoy! Save 1/4 cup for the next batch.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1/2-cup serving): 76 calories, 40 calories from fat, 3.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 48.5mg sodium, 184.1mg potassium, 6.5g carbohydrates, 1.2g fiber, 3.2g sugar, 4.1g protein.


Either use non-dairy yogurt, such as Nancy's (in Canada) or Wildwood (in the USA) 

OR in the USA:


#1.) You can use 3 wide-mouth quart jars with screw-on lids (the plastic lids, preferably) and place them inside an inexpensive Styrofoam cooler or a camp cooler (clean the inside well!) along with 2 quart jars of boiling water (with lids-- and the jar should not touch the yogurt jars). Warm up the cooler with the jars of hot water while you get the yogurt ready. Place the cooler cover firmly in place and cover with an old heavy blanket. You may have to add more hot water to the jars halfway through the incubation time.

#2.) Use a non-electric yogurt incubator, such as the Yogotherm, which has a 2-quart plastic container nestled in a Styrofoam liner inside of a canister. (I insulate this with blankets on the outside as well.)

 I have an older one, which looks like this-- sometimes you can find them in thrift stores.

3.) If you prefer a glass jar, check out the Euro Cuisine 2L Yogurt Maker. They sell a glass jar that fits into the machine in place of the plastic one that comes with it.

#4) Use stainless steel thermos bottles: Almost fill wide-mouth thermos bottles-- such as two 32 ounce bottles-- with boiling water, cover loosely and let sit for 10 minutes.  Pour out the water and add your inoculated yogurt mixture at the right temperature.  Secure the lids and wrap the thermoses in two or three terry towels, or a small quilt. Set it in a warm, draft-free place for required time.

+1) Oops! I forgot one-- evidently the new Instant Pot, among other things, functions as a yogurt incubator. PS: I'm getting one for Christmas, so I will update if there are any changes needed when made in the Instant Pot.