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Sunday, July 31, 2011


Best Blog Tips   Aug 1, 2011: My publisher announced that he received the first copies of my new book-- very exciting!

 This version was made with a frozen 3-berry mixture.

I promised (on FB and Twitter) to post this recipe today, so here it is!  This frozen treat is so easy, nutritious, inexpensive, light, and not-too-sweet-- and at the same time, delicious and creamy.   It’s quick to make, too, because using frozen berries means you don’t have to wait for the mixture to chill before freezing it!  Just blend it up and pour it into your ice cream machine! Perfect for lazy days of summer.  One of those inexpensive little manual ice cream makers with the metal insert that you freeze (like a Donvier) works just fine with this, so you don’t need an electric one, though that works fine, too. You could also freeze the mixture in ice pop molds (here's another brand, and another, and the super-duper deluxe model!).

This is the electric model I have: Cuisinart Pure Indulgence™ 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker
Makes about 5 cups
This recipe is definitely a "keeper"!
1 lb. medium-firm tofu, drained and crumbled (or use 1 1/3 [12.3 oz.] boxes extra-firm silken tofu)
1/2 cup nondairy milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
a pinch salt
*2-3 tablespoons vodka, rum, brandy or orange, lemon or berry liqueur
*AND/OR 1 tablespoon Instant ClearJel (see info about this and where to buy below) OR 3/8 teaspoon Xanthan gum or Guar gum
(*These 2 ingredients are optional but recommended [one or both] because they help prevent the mixture from freezing rock-hard, and the liquor also adds flavour.)

3 cups frozen berries (I used a 3-berry mix of raspberries, blueberries and marion berries from Costco)
NOTE: If you don’t have a heavy-duty blender (such as a VitaMix) that will puree the berry seeds so that you can’t discern them, you’ll have to first puree the frozen fruit in a blender or food processor and then press the mixture through a sieve to leave the seeds behind. (Using a manual mouli or food mill with the finest holes might work too.) Set it aside in the refrigerator.
Place all of the ingredients EXCEPT the fruit in a blender and blend until VERY smooth.  Add the frozen berries (either whole, or pureed--see Note above—depending on the strength of your blender) and blend well again until the mixture is smooth.

Quickly scrape the cold mixture into your ice cream machine and follow the directions for your machine.  (We ate some of it straight out of the machine—if you close up the machine and just let the mixture sit for 1/2 an hour or so, it will further firm up.)
Scoop the frozen “soygurt” or what you have left!) into a 1-quart (or two 1-pint) freezer container, cover, and freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts (Analysed according to a yield of 5 cups/10 servings; made with medium-firm tofu, soymilk; and Instant ClearJel, but no liquor)
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 123.3 calories; 17% calories from fat; 2.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 38.0mg sodium; 102.2mg potassium; 22.4g carbohydrates; 1.5g fiber; 19.4g sugar; 21.0g net carbs; 4.2g protein; 2.4 points.


Cooking Tips
A while ago, I started playing with my gelato recipe from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen". I wanted to make it richer-tasting, easier to make, and with more servings. One of the things I did was to use Instant Clearjel® instead of the cooked tapioca flour mixture that I generally use (tapioca thickens the mixture instead of eggs, and it has better mouth feel than cornstarch). This eliminates cooking the starch mixture, which means the whole thing takes less time and it doesn't take so long to chill the gelato mixture before freezing..

Instant Clearjel® is a modified corn starch, which simply means that it is precooked, used to thicken recipes. And the vegan ice cream made with it does not crystallize, or get rock-hard. It's creamy, and has no starchy mouth feel.

For clump-free, smooth results: " is best when first combined with dry ingredients, before adding liquid. It will begin to swell or thicken as soon as it is added to water, milk or juices; it will impart a smooth, short texture when fully hydrated, reaching its full thickness within 5-10 minutes (without requiring any cooking). Instant Clearjel® can be used in cooking as well. The viscosity will increase slightly upon heating. It has excellent heat and acid resistance and can be used in acid containing foods and in those applications where heating is required. It has good cold temperature storage stability, making it particularly well suited for refrigerated and frozen foods."®

America's Test Kitchen recommends it for fruit pies, BTW.

It isn't available on store shelves-- here in Canada a few years ago I had to get 11 lbs. of it from a bakery supply company (Snowcap), but maybe a bakery would sell you a smaller amount (this will last me for life!). You can now order it in Canada from the Viva Granola online vegan store (Montreal) or Gourmet Warehouse (Vancouver) 

In the US, you can mail-order it from


Thursday, July 28, 2011


Best Blog Tips
The Peruvian Flag

Peruvian Independence Day, Peru’s independence from Spain won by Jose de San Martin, is actually a 2-day holiday on July 28th and 29th: Fiestas Patrias Peruanas. Peru has a new President (who recently signed into law the banning of wild animals in circuses in Peru!) and perhaps a new lease on the future!  (Since my father was Peruvian, and I have many relatives there, I certainly hope so!)

How better to celebrate than with food!  Peruvians love their cuisine and enjoy their food!  And it is a very delicious and unique cuisine-- gaining popularity in North America, too. Although the native diet was traditionally heavily plant-based, over time, with the influx of other cultures (Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African...), it has become not-terribly-vegan-friendly. I am working on that!  I have "veganized" about 30 Peruvian recipes and have a long list to get through!  (Delicious work!)

(According to, "The Inca diet was mainly vegetarian based and involved them eating vegetables such as potatoes as their staple diet. Although potatoes were the main source of food for the Incas other food such as quinoa, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes and manioc were also heavily involved within the Inca peoples diet.")

Here are four Peruvian, or Peruvian-inspired, recipes (and there are others on this blog-- just go to the recipe links page and use your browser's search or find function to look for "Peruvian") for you to try.

My low-fat "Salsa de Mani" on my vegan chorizo-stuffed seitan cutlets. (The cutlet recipe will be in my new book.)

Printable Recipe


Yield: 2 1/2 cups

This is a recipe I have been working on for some time in order to veganize it and make it lower in fat (the original recipe contains not only peanuts, but fresh cheese and enough oil to make it qualify for a type of mayonnaise!).  The final recipe is not only simple and inexpensive to make, but delicious! I developed it to accompany vegan Chorizo-Stuffed Cutlets for my now-defunct newsletter, The Vegan Feast, but it is also delicious on any type of "chickeny" seitan, tofu, vegan “chickeny” strips, or Soy Curls; on seitan kebabs; or on roasted or steamed new potatoes.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow (or orange) bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
water as needed
8 oz medium firm tofu (or firm or extra-firm silken tofu)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or 2/3 cup roasted unsalted peanuts)
1 cup Bryanna's Eggless Low-Fat Mayonnaise (or Spectrum Light Eggless Vegan Canola Mayo or Reduced-Fat Vegenaise)
1 tsp Peruvian yellow pepper paste (aji amarillo paste) OR Sriracha hot sauce, or more to taste
1/4 tsp salt
freshly-ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and sauté the peppers to soften a little, but not brown, over medium heat.  Add the sugar and a few tablespoons of water.  Cover and cook until the peppers are soft and the water evaporated.
Place all of the ingredients, including the cooked peppers, in a blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. 
Taste for seasoning.  NOTE: This sauce can be made ahead (store refrigerated) and reheated gently.  If it gets too thick after chilling, thin it with a little soymilk or water.

Nutrition Facts (using extra-firm silken tofu and my homemade low-fat vegan mayo)
Nutrition (per 1/4 cup): 140.8 calories; 63% calories from fat; 10.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 199.7mg sodium; 163.0mg potassium; 7.8g carbohydrates; 1.2g fiber; 3.2g sugar; 5.8g protein, 3.5 points.

 Photo by Linda Long

Printable Recipe

Serves 6
Adapted from a recipe my book "The Fiber for Life Cookbook".   
            This unusual Peruvian dish, made with whole wheat kernels, or wheat berries, was given to me by my cousin Rosario (Charo) Urbina Musso.  She just gave me an idea of the ingredients, and I consulted an old, badly translated Peruvian cookbook of my mother’s for more help.  This is what I came up with, and I like it very much.
          Charo says that the wheat kernels we get here are not the same as the “trigo” available in Peru .  Trigo is a bit smaller than our wheat, and you may be able to find it in a Latin American grocery store (UPDATE: I found some at Killarney Market in Vancouver, BC), but I have made it with cooked soft wheat berries, and it tasted fine to me.

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
(you can add a few drops of roasted sesame oil too, if you like)
1/2 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow hot pepper) paste OR Sriracha sauce
1 1/4 cups trigo or wheat berries (soft wheat, if possible), soaked in 4 cups water overnight, and then cooked in the soaking water  until tender (50 to 60 minutes) 
NOTE: Save the cooking water
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup grated vegan “mozzarella”-type cheese (Daiya, Tofutti, Vegan Gourmet, or Sheese)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Saute the onions until softened.  Add the garlic and tomatoes, along with the chile flakes.  Saute for several minutes.  (This is what Peruvians call the “sofrito”.)  Add the cooked wheat and potatoes and  stir-cook for several minutes.  Add some of the wheat cooking water if it’s too dry.  Stir in the cheese and parsley, and taste for salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.
If you like savory foods for breakfast, the leftovers are delicious in the morning!

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 235.3 calories; 16% calories from fat; 4.4g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 37.0mg sodium; 598.6mg potassium; 43.3g carbohydrates; 7.6g fiber; 3.0g sugar; 35.7g net carbs; 8.9g protein; 4.3 points.

 Mushroom Cebiche (Seviche)

BRYANNA'S PERUVIAN-STYLE MUSHROOM CEBICHE (say-bee-chay) (Cebiche de Hongos)
Servings: 6
            As many of you probably know, cebiche (or seviche) is a way of "cooking" food without heat-- usually raw fish, but sometimes vegetables. The acid from the lemon or lime juice "cooks" it. My Peruvian father used to take us out for "afternoon tea" in Lima when we spent some months there ,and we little girls would have pastries, while he ate cebiche. Here's my vegan version of this popular appetizer.  NOTE: Peruvian límones are somewhat like key limes-- less acidic than lemon, but more acidic than our limes-- so a combination of lime and lemon juice is a good substitute.

1 lb    whole white button mushrooms (cut in half if too large for "bite-size")  
1 cup    fresh lemon juice (or organic bottled, if necessary)
1 cup    fresh lime juice (or organic bottled, if necessary)  
2 medium    red onions, sliced into 1/8th " slices and separated into rings  
2 cloves    garlic, crushed  
1 tsp    salt  
   pepper to taste  
   slivers of 1 fresh or canned whole Peruvian hot yellow pepper (aji amarillo) or rocoto or habañero chile  
2 average    orange sweet potatoes (about 24 oz., total) steamed or microwaved until tender  
4 ears    yellow sweet corn, cooked  
2 small heads    crisp lettuce, cleaned and dried  
2 pickled or roasted    red chili peppers, seeded, and sliced into strips (or roasted red bell pepper)  
   chunks of ripe avocado  
Mix the mushrooms with the rest of the salad ingredients. Marinate (in refrigerator) 1 to 4 hours.

Cut the sweet potatoes (unpeeled) into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Cut the corn into 2-inch chunks.

Arrange the lettuce on a large platter. Arrange the salad on the lettuce. Surround the salad with the sweet potatoes and corn, and decorate with the red pepper slivers (and optionals, if using)
 Nutrition Facts (they include the sweet potato, corn, lettuce)
Nutrition (per serving): 204.2 calories; 3% calories from fat; 0.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 393.7mg sodium; 979.6mg potassium; 48.3g carbohydrates; 7.8g fiber; 11.2g sugar; 40.5g net carbs; 7.2g protein; 3.4 points.

#4) And last, but not least, a recipe using quinoa, the Mother Grain of the Incas...

Printable Recipe

 Servings: 8
2 cup    dry quinoa (Many brands of quinoa are pre-washed these days, so you don't have to rinse the grains first-- this is the brand I use [Costco carries it, too].)  
4 cups    boiling water  
1/4 tsp    salt  
1/3 cup    fresh lime juice  
1 tablespoon    aji amarillo paste (Peruvian hot yellow pepper paste) or Sriracha sauce  
1/3 cup    extra-virgin olive oil  
2 medium    medium cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (I use the edible peel variety)  
1 large    ripe, firm tomato, cubed  
4    green onions, thinly sliced  
1/3 cup    fresh parsley, minced  
1/3 cup    fresh cilantro or basil, minced  
   Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste  
2    heads lettuce, cleaned and shredded  
GARNISHES:  (any or all)
   Tofu "Feta"  
   2-inch chunks of cooked sweet yellow corn on the cob  
   1-inch chunks of avocado tossed in lemon juice  
   2-inch chunks of cooked, peeled sweet potato  
   wedges of fresh tomato
Toast the quinoa in a heavy, dry skillet until slightly golden.  Add the quinoa to the boiling water in a 1 qt. saucepan along with the salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Let stand off the heat for 10 minutes.  Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and chill.
Whisk together the lime juice, chile paste or sauce, olive oil, oil sub and salt to taste and set aside.
Combine the quinoa, cucumbers, tomato, green onions, parsley, and cilantro or basil and mix gently. Pour the lime dressing over the top and toss again. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
To serve the salad, divide the shredded lettuce between 8 individual plates, mound the salad on top and garnish with any or all of the suggested garnishes.
 Nutrition Facts (NOT including the garnishes)
Nutrition (per serving): 268.4 calories; 38% calories from fat; 11.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 126.5mg sodium; 646.8mg potassium; 36.3g carbohydrates; 4.2g fiber; 2.7g sugar; 32.1g net carbs; 7.2g protein; 5.5 points. 

PS: a post on Peruvian ingredients.

¡Felices Fiestas!

And a little extra-- an entertaining and educational video (disclosure-- not vegan):