Bryanna Clark Grogan

Bryanna Clark Grogan

Posted December 11, 2009

Published in Food, Lifestyle

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Read More: articinal bread, bread, crusty bread, focaccia, julkage, no-knead bread, vegan sweet yeast bread, whole wheat bread

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Some of our vegan "Thanksmas" feast

I'm getting ready to head off to Vancouver for the weekend, and then down on the train to Seattle for a few days to work with David Lee on the Field Roast book, which is behind schedule! So, I won't be blogging for a week, and I'll leave you with a mish-mosh of events, pictures, and food!

First of all, our vegan "Dinner Club", I guess you could call it (which consists of 5 vegan couples of a certain age, who get together randomly a few times a year to share good vegan food and converstaion, and music, etc.) got together at the end of November for what our hostess, Ellen, called our vegan "Thanksmas" feast. Here are some images from that lovely dinner! Ellen is Scandinavian, so their home was warmly decorated and very Christmasy, and she went all out with vegan versions of family Christmas treats!

Christmas candles

Fireweed's delicious seitan rolls (in the 40's and 50's, these would have been called Seitan "Birds"!)

Rudy's mashed potatoes and a bowl of lovely Denman Island squash

Pelka and Robs's delicious Brussels Sprout Salad with walnuts, beside the squash bowl

Another delicious winter salad from Pelka and Rob, this one made with red cabbage and pecans

My contributions-- Tofu Pot Pie and Sage and Onion Bread Stuffing (I also brought homemade Cranberry sauce. Recipes here.

An overloaded dinner plate!

Ellen's berry dessert topped with soy "ice cream" and a vegan truffle!

Vegan Scandinavian treats and truffles made by our lovely hostess!

Boy, were we full! (Or "full-top" as DH claims they say in Quebec!)


We had some friends over last week and I served my Italian-American-style lasagna, but,instead of using my usual vegan bechamel sauce, I used my newly-purchased shredded white vegan Daiya cheese, which I bought from the Karmavore Vegan Shop in New Westminister, BC (by mail).

Everyone raved over it and I liked it, too, but I think I used too much! It was so rich that I think I willuse half bechamel and half Daiya next time. Our omni guests couldn't get over it!

With the meal, we had wine, a lovely salad brought by 2 of our guests (avid gardeners), some braised butternut squash with basil, garlic and olive oil, baguettes, and then an Italian-style Apple Tart from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen:

An Innovation:
I made some almond milk to accompany our tea and coffee-- actually it was more like almond cream. I also needed a topping for the tart, so I left the alomond pulp in half of the creme and straine the other half. I squeezed the pulp I had left from straining to get all the almond creme out, and then I added the pulp back to the other half of the recipe. (I had sweetened the creme slightly with maple syrup before straining.) The result was a thick, cloud-like, very almondy-tasting topping that everyone loved, and asome nice smooth, pourable creme for our hot beverages.


This took place last weekend. We didn't stay too long-- too crowded! That means it was well-attended, of course, and why not? It's always full of friends, food and wonderful arts and crafts. Our friend Leticia won the prize for the "Best Display" and we happened to be there when she was presented with it. She and her friend Tosha make wonderful handmade olive oil soaps-- chocolate, elmongrass and lavender, chai tea...they smell so good!




Vegan chef Tal Ronnen uses these "Chik'n Filets" in his new book, so I thought I'd give them a try. I made a sort of scaloppine with white wine and mushrooms-- very quick and easy.

They were good, meaty texture, etc., but I think I like my own seitan cutlets better!



Well, I did bring my camera, but forgot to ask my friend Holly, who was being my kitchen slave for the evening, to use it! But I had lots of dough to bake off at home the next day, so below are pictures of what I made in the class. (Everything I made in the class got eaten or taken home by the students, along with the recipes, of course!

Crusty No-Knead Artisinal Bread

Another loaf of Crusty No-Knead Bread with the Apulian Focaccia (recipe below)

A loaf of vegan Julekage (Scandinavian Christmas bread with cardamom and fruit) made with my Vegan Low-fat Sweet Dough. (The original recipe is fat-free, but if you want a slightly richer dough, use only 3/4 cup of mashed potatoes and add 1/4 cup of Earth Balance.)

To make the Julekage, add to the dough: 2 tsp. ground cardamom, 1 tsp. almond extract, 1/2 cup chopped mixed dried fruit, and 1 cup raisinsor dried cranberries. Follow the directions for braiding the dough as in the Greek Easter Bread at this blog post (pictures included). For wreath breads , form the braids into two rings, each on one nonstick or lightly-oiled baking sheet. For Julekage, leave the loaves in a long braided loaf shape, each on a baking sheet. Brush the loaves with soymilk before baking as directed. Serve plain (I like to shine the plain loaves up with a mixture of 1/2 soymilk and half maple syrup, warmed together-- don't boil it!), or iced with a plain powdered sugar glaze or one of the sweet glazes in the post about Greek Easter Breads. Iced loaves can be decorated toasted flaked almonds, if you wish.

Last, but not least, my 100% Wholewheat Bread

Printable Recipe

Makes 1 large focaccia

This is a potato-based dough from the Italian region of Apulia (Puglia) is fluffier than normal focaccia dough, but still nice and chewy (unlike the awful stuff you get in a lot of restaurants!). I add bran and flaxseed for more fiber and nutrition--added to the unbleached flour,it doesn't have that "wholewheat" heaviness.

You can make this in the food processor-- instructions in the recipe.

8 oz. russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
(IF YOU ARE IN A HURRY, you can microwave cubes of potato in about 5 minutes with a bit of water--covered--OR you can use 2 c. instant [can be organic] mashed potato flakes mixed with 1 and 1/3 c. boiling water)
1 and 1/2 tsp. active dry baking yeast (if you use instant yeast, use only 1 tsp. an d mix it with the flour mixture)
1 c. plus 2 T. warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Flour Mixture:
3 and 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/4 c. ground flax seed
1/4 c. wheat bran
2 tsp. sea salt
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse (kosher salt)--1/2-1 tsp.
(or you can use tomatoes and garlic, or whatever you like on focaccia)

About 20 minutes before you are ready to make the dough, boil the potatoes until tender, drain, and mash or press them through a ricer. Use the potatoes while they are still warm but not so hot as to kill the yeast; they should be about the same temperature as the yeast water.

If you are making this by hand or in a stand mixer,
stir the yeast into the warm water in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Let stand 5 minutes. Add the oil and mashed potato. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the Flour Mixture ingredients. Add the Flour Mixture to the bowl in two additions, and mix until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is velvety, firm and slightly sticky. If kneading by hand, you can knead the dough on a silicone mat or a large piece of baking parchment and oil your hands. Avoid adding anything more than a sprinkling more of flour.

If you want to use a food processor,
mix the flour, salt, bran and flaxseed in the processor bowl. While the machine is running, add the mixture of water, dissolved yeast, oil and potato until the dough forms a ball on top of the blade. If it's too dry to come to a ball, add water a few DROPS at a time until it does. Process 30 seconds.

First Rise:
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shaping and Second Rise:
Punch down the dough and roll it and pat it into a rectangle to fit a well-oiled 11 by 15" pan cookie sheet, and stretch the dough toward the edges. Cover with a damp towel, let sit for ten minutes, and then stretch a bit farther to the edges. Cover again and leave until doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

Preheat the over to 425 degrees F. Just before you are ready to bake, dimple to dough with your fingertips. Brush with the olive oil sprinkle the salt (or other topping) over the dough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove from pans and serve warm, if possible.

Enjoy! See you next week!