Monday, November 22, 2010


Best Blog Tips

 Winter is upon us already-- not what we like here on the West Coast (unless it's on a mountain)!

On the weekend I pulled out my old cooking notebooks.  I have ten that I kept from 1996 through mid-2008, handwritten, and full of recipes I was working on, menus we enjoyed or that I planned, my thoughts and opinions on all things culinary, recipes I wanted to try, food science tidbits, quotes from authors, etc..  It was quite interesting reading through the first two and I'm going to keep going, and perhaps share some things on this blog.  I realize that blogging sort of takes the place of the notebooks now, but not entirely, and I should really start one up again. Writing by hand is a totally different experience, and those thoughts and recipes aren't lost inside of a hard drive.  I can pull the notebooks out and bring back memories of many meals, experiences and milestones in my life.

But I still have one more that predates those nine-- one started in January of 1973, when I was a young mother of 3 and we were embarking on crazy homesteading adventures!  Here are some photos of the pages, all stained and, yes, actually yellowing!

It's written in pencil and is full of the recipes I used regularly, with some nutrition info of the times (protein was all-important!).  I can see that I was flirting with vegetarianism at the time, but it took me awhile to get there!

One of the recipes I made frequently in those days (it was quick, cheap, and good with the soups, bean pots and stews we often had) was biscuits.  The one I liked in those days was adapted from the old Tassajara Bread Book.  It contained eggs, though.  Over the years that I have been a vegan (about 22 now) I have tried and developed many biscuit recipes.  I have made them with Earth Balance and oil, low-fat, high-fat, even no-fat!  But, these days, we only have biscuits a few times a year and I make a veganized traditional biscuit.  Too much fat for our usual diet, but an occasional guilty pleasure!  But I thought that I'd make a batch to go with the stew we brought to have dinner with friends.  (Actually, my post on guilty pleasures prompted me to make them this time!)  We had leftovers with marmalade!  So here is my current favorite-- NOT low-fat, but worth the occasional foray down memory lane!

UPDATE: Here is my latest biscuit recipe from May 2012. It utilizes sifted whole grain flour and homemade baking powder.

Makes 11 to 12 biscuits

2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon unbleached organic sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
generous 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegan butter (such as my homemade palm oil-free Buttah)
Vegan “Buttermilk”:
1 tablespoon lemon juice + soy, hemp or nut milk to make 1 cup

Heat the oven to 450ºF.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Cut up the Earth Balance into chunks and add to the bowl.  Work them into the flour mixture to make pea-sized pieces. Pour in the Vegan “Buttermilk” and mix together until just combined.  Turn the dough out onto a sheet of floured baking parchment or a floured silicone mat. Pat the dough out into a circle about 3/4” thick.  Cut the dough with a 2 1/2” round biscuit cutter without twisting the cutter in the dough.  Push the scraps gently together and gently pat down again.  Cut as many more biscuits from the scraps as possible.  (Do not over-work the scraps or they will be tough.)

Place the biscuits close together (edges touching) on a small greased cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve hot!  Leftovers can be warmed in a toaster oven.

Stay warm!


Danie said...

Your notebooks look like art. They're great. I'm excited for the biscuit recipe. Thanks for sharing.


Brenda W. said...

I was amazed at the weather you're having!! I checked your area on WeatherUnderground and was even more shocked at the temperatures!! So cold!

I even found a webcam right on Denman Island. Link is here.

But, on to the subject of your post: I was so impressed at all the note taking you've done over the years, and keeping those notes!!

What a treasure to go through in later years!

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Brenda, that webcam is courtesy of a vegan friend! The weather is crazy! In Toronto it's 15 degrees C above zero!

Brenda W. said...

Bryanna .. as small and "intimate" as Denman Island's population seems to be, I was curious if you knew whose webcam this was! How neat that not only do you know the folks, but that they are vegan as well!!

KitteeBee said...

ms. bryanna! i am really enjoying your notebook postings...


James said...

Reading your recipe book notebooks would be fascinating! I love how detailed all your books are; it's wonderful to know about the story surrounding the recipe or the dish, rather than simply the dish itself. Thank you for sharing :)