Sunday, September 24, 2006


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The above picture is a portrait of my Peruvian (paternal) grandmother, Clotilde Roncagliolo de Urbina, painted in the 1950's by my mother, Eve Tonge Urbina. I have it hanging on my wall, but one of my Peruvian cousins recently asked for a copy of it, which is why I took a photo of it. My mother was a professional portrait artist and her father, Gilbert Tonge, was a well-known California artist and muralist.

Spice Island Vegan, who has met my mother, wondered what my mother looked like when she was young (see photo of her now, at age 88), so I'm adding (Sept. 25) a photo I came across recently of the Urbinas when my family visited Peru in 1954. I believe this was taken at Christmas.

My parents are on far right of the picture, my father, Alejandro, standing, and my mother sitting in front of him (she's very obviously the non-Peruvian!). My grandmother is in the very center, holding a baby (I don't know who this was). I (age 6) am in the second row, third from the left, with barrettes in my hair; my sister Karin (age 7) is in the first row, far right.

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Our sister and brother kitties, Tina and Ringo. Ringo looks oh-so-dignified, doesn't he?

Now for the food...I'm not going to tease you with more newsletter stuff, which is mostly what I have been cooking. Below are photos and descriptions of some of the more simple meals we've been having this week:

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Chikn Pot Pie

This is a recipe from the Dec 04/Jan 05 Vegan Feast newsletter, but I used a biscuit topping-- actually, plain version of the scone dough I posted here. I used only 1 T. sugar, and no additions except a tsp. of dried basil.

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The filling consists of SoyCurls, which are tender TVP-like morsels made from the whole soybeans (and they really have the taste and texture of chicken), with a creamy gravy, green soybeans, sweet potato, etc.. The original recipe calls for fennel and leeks, but I didn't have any, so I used celery and onion. It was still good!

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Actually, my husband goes nuts over it!

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Grape Focaccia

This is a recipe from the Oct/Nov 04 Vegan Feast newsletter, but you don't really need a recipe. I happened to be making pizza that day, so I made extra dough just to make this with some organic grapes I was given. It's one of my favorite Autumn treats! Basically, use your favorite pizza or focaccia dough (if you use pizza dough, make it thicker than a pizza), let it rise for 1/2 an hour in the pan, then "dimple" the dough with your finger tips and place grapes on top (green or red, preferably seedless). I squish the grapes in my hands a bit to make them exude their juice. Then sprinkle with sugar-- it can be coarse if you like. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Eat hot...yum!

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Italian Sausage Stew

This was a real spur-of-the-moment thing. I just sauteed a sliced onion, orange bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, a few mushrooms, lots of garlic, and two sliced Tofurkey Italian Veggie Sausages in a little olive oil with 4 medium garden-fresh tomatoes (two red and two yellow). I simmered it for about 10 minutes. I added about 1/2 cup of dry red wine, a handful of fresh basil, and salt and pepper. At the last minute I added some sliced sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives, but I think that was overkill. It was actually a bit too rich-tasting! The leftovers made a geat bruschetta topping, though!

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Red lentil and Tofu Curry with a sort of Indian-style "salsa".

This was a recipe I copied down from a June 1999 Gourmet magazine a long time ago and always meant to try. It was pretty quick to make, and I served it with basmati rice and a sort of Indian "salsa" made from red and yellow diced tomatoes from our garden, green onions, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and homemade plain soy yogurt (that was good!).

The curry was pretty dull, so I jazzed it up as I went along. It was tasty in the end, and certainly cheap!

Printable Recipe

Serves 2 or 3 with rice

1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2" piece of ginger, grated
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup split red lentils
3 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. firm tofu, in 1/2" dice
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. EACH curry powder, ground cumin, salt, mustard powder, paprika
1/4 tsp. EACH ground cloves and coriander
pinch cayenne (or to taste)
a small cinnamon stick
2 T. lemon juice

Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in the first T. oil until the onion is softened. Add to the red lentils, wit the water and first 1/2 tsp. salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the red lentils have softened.

Meanwhile, heat the second T. of oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the tofu and all of the spices (except the cinnamon stick). Sate until the tofu is coated with the spices.

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Stir the tofu into the lentil mixture and add the cinnamon stick. Simmer at medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture cooks down to a thick stew-like mixture, being careful not to let it scorch. remove the cinnamon stick and discard, and stir in the lemon juice before serving.


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Anonymous said...

Wow, that art picture looks like you! She is beautiful!

Great food and thanks for the recipes (again). You are so wonderful to share the way you do. Really appreciate that generosity!

Harmonia said...

Everything sounds so neat! Oh! I posted about your 20 minutes... book today. Can't wait to try a bunch of stuff from there! The painting is wonderful! Very beautiful!

spiceislandvegan said...

Wow, she is beautiful! I see the resemblence in you. Do you have a picture of your mother Eve when she was young? She must be beautiful too. You have good genes.

Your cats are adorable.

I can't wait to get back into stew and holiday cooking.


Mary French said...

Today I made Buddah's "Chicken" from your "Authentic Chinese Cuisine" Book, because I wanted to try yuba. I've never cooked with yuba before. It was really good. The recipes in your book sound great. I can't wait to try more of them.

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks for the picture, Bryanna! Your mom is beautiful too!

What a big family in Peru.


Harmonia said...

Hi! I have a few questions about Calcium Carbonate Powder...

In the20 minutes to dinner book I noticed it was listed as an ingredient a few times. Is there a taste? Does that ingredient activate other ingredients or flavors used in those recipes? Is there a subsitution I could use by chance or omit with the same or near results? Please educate me...I'm lost when it comes to this ingredient. :) Thanks!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Harmonia, you can just leave it out-- it's just for extra nutrition if you want it. It doesn't have a taste, though.

Harmonia said...

Thanks Bryanna! I appreciate it!!! ;)

Mick said...

Dear Bryanna: I made the red lentil and tofu dish last night (3/27/07) and it was absolutely delicious. I have made your lemon pudding cake as well. Just wanted to let you know that you are a fantastic cook and I love using your recipes. Keep up the good work, and thanks for your willingness to share! Best, Mick

Aarwenn said...

Hi Bryanna,

Two things: 1. Your feed is all rumpled, possibly in a space warp--hence why I just came across this post. Sage said it was your newest one!

2. Your pictures are GORGEOUS! And your mother, seated, in the photograph, looks exactly like you--or rather, you look like her. Thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous parts of your past.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Aarwenn! I think this cameup on the feed because I corrected a date in the text!

Jeny said...

Hi Bryanna,
I have a painting I have had for over twenty years. I always thought a Chillean Women painted it and it was unsigned. Today I pulled the frame back and discovered EVE TONGE URBINA. It matches the painting style of the portrait of your Grandmother. It is of a group of children and the eldest is holding a golden egg.
Can you tell me anything about this painting?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Jeny! I remember that painting! I think she got the idea from an illustration of some sort, or a card. I talked to her today and she doesn't remember it well and asked if you could possibly take a picture of it and send it to me-- it might jog her memory. (She is 90 and in pretty good health, etc., but she's painted many, many paintings!)

I think the children are Peruvian, because my father was from Peru. My parents lived in a Chilean co-op housing unit for some time in Vancouver-- perhaps that's where you acquired it and why you thought the painter was Chilean. Or, if you ever attended any fund-raiser at my aunt Jonnie Rankin's house, maybe you got it there (she was married to Harry Rankin and was my mother's sister).

My mother was an artist all her life from a young age and her father was a well-known artist in California. He taught her the technique of painting on gold leaf. She thinks that picture might be on gold leaf and asked you to see if the egg is luminous in certain lights and is smooth to the touch.

All the best, Bryanna