Saturday, July 19, 2008


Best Blog Tips

What kind of lettuce is this?
This morning DH went to the Denman Is. Saturday Market, which is held on the grass outside of our Recycling Center. We have eaten up all of the lettuce we planted (more is coming), so he bought an enormous lettuce, pictured above. I decided to showcase this in a luncheon salad, and had the taste for something Asian, so, the recipe below is what I came up with and we ate every scrap of it! It's open to adding or using different lettuces, greens (maybe the ubiquitous organic mixed baby greens) and other veggies, so, be my guest!

I wondered what type of lettuce this was, never having seen it before. It felt like an iceberg lettuce, but it was so pretty, with it's dark green and red leaves. So, after lunch, I looked it up and it IS in the "Crisphead" lettuce family-- it's a "Red Iceberg" lettuce! The seeds seem to be widely available online, and, obviously, it grows well in Canada!

It was much nicer than an ordinary iceberg lettuce-- maybe because it was organically home-grown, and we could also use the pretty outer leaves, which you usually never see.

I have to tell you about a new little gadget I got when I was in California-- a Messermeister Pro-touch Julienne Peeler. It was inexpensive and looked like it would be so handy for making julienne carrots, zucchini, etc., to pretty up summer dishes. And, I do love it! It's easier to use than a mandoline or an electric gadget, for this purpose, anyway.

Cuispro, Oxo Good Grips, and Kuhn Rikon also make julienne peelers, but the owner of the kitchen store in Healdsburg, CA where I bought it said she liked the Messermeister best, so I took her advice, and have no complaints. A very handy tool to have in your kitchen!

So, I hope you're having a great summer! The weather here is just perfect-- sunny and warm, but with a nice breeze most of the time. Before our trip to California (with a stop in Vancouver), we had a lovely visit to Salt Spring Island, a little south of us, where DH has family. If you get a chance to visit Salt Spring, it is beautiful!

Here is that recipe, and I hope you enjoy it!

Printable Recipe

Servings: 4 
This was a last-minute invention using what I had in my refrigerator, which included a beautiful Red iceburg lettuce, grown organically here on Denman Island.

4 cups reconstituted Soy Curls™ (4 oz. dry)
2 tablespoons (approximately) potato starch (or use cornstarch-- you can get organic)

(PS: If you don't have Soy Curls, use any vegan chicken substitute that you like, cut into thin strips.) Read about Soy Curls, where to buy, and how to use here.
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (I used Kikkoman Lite)
1/2 tablespoon dark sesame oil (Chinese, roasted)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Chinese  five-spice powder
1 dash Asian hot sauce (such as Sriracha)

Sesame Dressing:
1/4 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil Chinese, roasted)
2 tablespoons sugar or alternate
2 tablespoons lightly-toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger 
1 large green onion (green part only), chopped

8 cups (approximately) shredded or torn lettuce leaves or salad greens of your choice (washed, spun and crisped before tearing-- Note: I like the Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner)
1 or 2 tablespoons oil
1 large green onion, green part only, chopped 
any other veggies that you like-- I used sliced English (edible peel) cucumber

Mix together the marinade ingredients and mix well with the Soy Curls™ . Set aside.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Assemble your lettuce and other veggies on 4 plates before you cook the Soy Curls™.

Spread the Soy Curls™ on a platter and sprinkle with the potato starch. Mix well to coat. Add more starch if you think it needs it.

In a large seasoned wok, stir-fry pan, or hard anodized or nonstick skillet, heat the oil. When it's very hot, add the Soy Curls™ . Spread them out and let them start to brown on the bottom, then stir and toss until they are golden-brown all over. Sprinkle with the green onion and toss.

Distribute the Soy Curls™ evenly over the salad plates, and then drizzle with the dressing (whisk the dressing before drizzling on each serving).  Serve immediately!

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving)
: 300.6 calories; 51% calories from fat; 18.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 699.6mg sodium; 328.9mg potassium; 27.8g carbohydrates; 5.1g fiber; 9.6g sugar; 22.7g net carbs; 12.9g protein; 6.8 points.

Bon Appetit!


chow vegan said...

That looks so good and summery! :-)

Binx said...

I still haven't tried soy curls... if I see them, I will definitely buy them! You always make them look so good.

aimee said...

Thanks for this recipe! I'm always looking for interesting ways to use my soy curls! And you look quite a lot like your mother!

Erin said...

That lettuce looks really nice! The salad too. And the picture of your mother is a gem.

Nancy G said...

you hooked me and I ordered the julienne peeler...I live in an rv and am always looking for easy small things to use. I think this will be perfect. Have you tried it with zucchini? I also loved your food at the McDougall three day? Does your Chinese cookbook recipes use much oil in them? I have it on my wish list at Amazon but always like to ask first....

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Nancy, I reduced the oil considerably in most of the recipes. However, there are instructions for "Dry-Frying" on p. 122, which will help you convert stir-fry recipes to lower or no fat. One suggestion is to use 1 tsp. of roasted (Asian) sesame oil only (the text says "roasted vegetable oil", but that's a typo!), which gives you the most flavor.

Nancy G said...

thanks! Will order it next...I always lean towards the asian flavorings! My favorite lunch is hot and sour soup!!!

robotslingshot said...

I've got to get one of those gadgets!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks for the tip about the red iceberg lettuce. I'll be looking for the seeds.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful family photos!

spiceislandvegan said...


I have that julienne peeler but didn't know how to use it. I feel so stupid now. After I saw your picture in this blog, I tried it last night on carrots and it works. Wow, am I ignorant or what? he he.... I bought it from Pampered Chef a few years ago. Took it home and tried to follow the instructions that was so complicated. Didn't work so I threw it in my kitchen drawer. Maybe it was the instruction that confused me. I thought that this is so funny learning it from your blog. I love it! I am going to use it now.

I love your picture with your mom and sister. A great family!



Louisa said...

THANK YOU for the tremendous contribution you have made to promote vegan cooking, environmental protection, and kindness to animals! I'm making this salad, and followed the instructions to mix all the marinade ingredients. Then four steps down, it says to sprinkle the soy curls with potato starch, and heat the oil in a frying pan. I already mixed the potato starch and oil in with the marinade. It's not a big deal, but I thought you may want to list the potato starch, oil, and green onions separately. Thank you again and best wishes to you!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Louisa, thanks so much for pointing out that efrror! I have just corrected that! All the best, Byanna