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Preview: Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen/ 21st Century Table

Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Vegan Feast Kitchen/ 21st Century Table

Bryanna Clark Grogan’s Vegan Feast Kitchen/ 21st Century Table: The kitchen journal of a vegan food writer.. I'm on Facebook and Twitter (see links in sidebar at right).

Updated: 2018-04-25T03:36:33.724-07:00




Yikes! It's been almost a month since I last blogged!  I'm afraid that I've been a bit preoccupied with changing my diet, cooking and lifestyle somewhat after a diagnosis of pre-diabetes. (You can read a bit about this in this blog post.)1.) I have stepped up my exercise, for one thing, and, 2.) learned the difference between Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load-- see for an explanation and food lists.  (For me, the Glycemic Index/Load type of diet makes more sense than the currently-popular Keto Diet, even the vegan version of it. ) From the above link: "The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. So a low GI food will cause a small rise, while a high GI food will trigger a dramatic spike. A list of carbohydrates with their glycemic values is shown below. A GI of 70 or more is high, a GI of 56 to 69 inclusive is medium, and a GI of 55 or less is low.The glycemic load (GL) is a relatively new way to assess the impact of carbohydrate consumption that takes the glycemic index into account, but gives a fuller picture than does glycemic index alone. A GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. It doesn't tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of a particular food. You need to know both things to understand a food's effect on blood sugar. That is where glycemic load comes in. The carbohydrate in watermelon, for example, has a high GI. But there isn't a lot of it, so watermelon's glycemic load is relatively low. A GL of 20 or more is high, a GL of 11 to 19 inclusive is medium, and a GL of 10 or less is low."It's a slog finding scientifically accurate, up-to-date and readable material on this subject, but here are a few more helpful links, if you are interested (not necessarily oriented to vegans): I've also been educating myself about "resistant starch".  If you haven't heard of this, check it out-- it's a game-changer! finally...4.) I rarely make desserts anymore, except for those special occasions, so I've also been studying how to lower the sugar content (even of "natural" sweeteners) in desserts (and that can affect the structure of baked goods, by the way), and which sweeteners might fit best with my needs, in terms of flavor, health, availability and cost, among other factors.  I'll write more about this in another blog post, but one of the sweeteners I'm using (with caution, of course!) is dates.  For a simple explanation, see"Unlike processed sugar (i.e. white sugar, brown rice syrup, cane syrup, and corn syrup), Medjool dates won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Because of their high fiber content—12 percent of your daily fiber per serving—your body breaks them down slowly, giving you a sustained release of energy without the dreaded sugar crash." (PS: I've been using Deglet Noor dates, but have even successfully used compressed dates meant for baking to make date paste.)But, remember-- you want to keep that fiber, so use whole [...]



It's not so nice out now, but last week we had some sunny, warmish days-- enough to make me think of making a hearty salad for lunch instead of a soup.  It was almost shopping day, so I studied the contents of my refrigerator and freezer for what needed using and/or what was available, colorful and tasty.  I already had some of my staple low-fat balsamic vinaigrette made (see recipe below), so I kept that in mind as well.So, here's what I came up with on short notice. It was easy to throw together and a hit with my husband (and also fed us for two lunches).  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!Printable CopyBRYANNA'S CHEESE-Y CHARRED CORN & GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH GRAPE TOMATOES Serves 41 lb. slender fresh young green beans1 tablespoon dark sesame oil1 medium onion (whatever kind you like-- I used a white one), chopped1 cup fresh or thawed frozen sweet corn kernels1 cup red grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwiseabout 1/2 cup Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below) or similar type of vinaigrette1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite vegan Parmesan substitute (I used EarthIsland/FollowYour Heart)Pick over the green beans, removing stems, and cook until tender, but not limp.  Cook them however you prefer-- they can be steamed, microwaved (in a tiny bit of water in a covered casserole), or brought to a boil just covered in water on the stove, then simmered for a few minutes, u ntil done to your liking.Drain the beans in a colander and run cold water over them until they cool off a bit.  Leave in the colander to drain further.Saute the onion in the sesame oil until they are softened and a little browned around the edges. set aside.Spread the corn kernels on an oiled baking sheet and place about 4" under your oven's broiler.  Broil until they start to char a bit, toss them a bit with a spatula and mound them up a bit in the middle of the pan and broil for a few minutes more.  Set aside.When everything is ready, toss the green beans, onion and corn together in a medium-sized serving bowl with the sliced grape tomatoes and salad dressing.  Divided between serving bowls and sprinkle each serving with some of the cheese.Nutrition FactsNutrition (per serving): 204 calories, 34 calories from fat, 4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 172mg sodium, 458.7mg potassium, 29.9g carbohydrates, 5.8g fiber, 5.4g sugar, 8.3g protein, 5.2 points.****BRYANNA'S BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTEThis is a good basic dressing for many types of salads.  Yield: 1 1/2 cups  Servings: 121 serving= 2 tablespoons1  cup Fat-Free Oil Substitute for salad Dressings OR aquafaba (unsalted chickpea broth from canned or home-cooked) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil1/4 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar (I like Costco's kirkland brand)1 tablespoon red wine vinegar1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 clove garlic, crushed1 teaspoon saltWhisk, shake, or blend the ingredients together well, bottle and store in the refrigerator.Nutrition FactsNutrition (per serving): 50 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 175.5mg sodium, 12.9mg potassium, 2.6g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 1.1g sugar, less than 1g protein, 1.5 points.Enjoy!The kitchen journal of a vegan food writer...For the 21st century we need to learn to cook for ourselves again, and learning to cook vegan can be a bit intimidating. I'd like to help with that, from my kitchen to yours. Bryanna Clark Grogan, author of 8 published vegan cookbooks and The Vegan Feast quarterly cooking newsletter. Moderator of the beginners’ vegetarian forum on[...]



I apologize heartily for having neglected this blog in the past few months, and for not writing a post for over a month!  There's been a lot going on lately, on top of which, DH and I are just getting over a very long and uncomfortable cold (not the flu this time, but not fun!).One thing that is taking up a lot of my time has been a diagnosis of pre-diabetes!  I almost fell off my chair when my doctor told me this.  It may be an inherited tendency-- we don't know.  So, I've been working up my exercise regime, which I had not been keeping up as well as I should have (especially while sick), and spending much of my time poring over books, websites, and charts to do with the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, and tailoring my already-pretty-good vegan diet to this advice:From"The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Also known as "blood sugar," blood glucose levels above normal are toxic and can cause blindness, kidney failure, or increase cardiovascular risk. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. Low GI foods tend to foster weight loss, while foods high on the GI scale help with energy recovery after exercise, or to offset hypo- (or insufficient) glycemia. Long-distance runners would tend to favor foods high on the glycemic index, while people with pre- or full-blown diabetes would need to concentrate on low GI foods. Why? People with type 1 diabetes and even some with type 2 can't produce sufficient quantities of insulin—which helps process blood sugar—which means they are likely to have an excess of blood glucose. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods is helpful in keeping blood glucose under control.But the glycemic index of foods tells only part of the story. What it doesn't tell you is how high your blood sugar could go when you actually eat the food, which is partly determined by how much carbohydrate is in an individual serving. To understand a food's complete effect on blood sugar, you need to know both how quickly the food makes glucose enter the bloodstream, and how much glucose it will deliver. A separate value called glycemic load does that. It gives a more accurate picture of a food's real-life impact on blood sugar. The glycemic load is determined by multiplying the grams of a carbohydrate in a serving by the glycemic index, then dividing by 100. A glycemic load of 10 or below is considered low; 20 or above is considered high. Watermelon, for example, has a high glycemic index (GI) (80). But a serving of watermelon has so little carbohydrate (6 grams) that its glycemic load (GL) is only 5."So, I'm not making desserts these days, getting used to my morning latte without a teaspoon of brown sugar, using a few dates in my oatmeal instead of sugar on top (dates have alot of fiber, which counteracts the sugar in them), learning about resistant starch and low glycemic grains, and experimenting with making low GL bread with them (adding some bean flour, or okara [soy pulp] from my soy milk making, and/or some vital wheat gluten flour helps, too).  Who knew that converted/parboiled rice carries a lower glycemic load (GL) than brown rice and has? (The process creates resistant starch while protecting most of the nutrition of the whole grain rice.) We are loving parboiled basmati rice! (Here's a fairly simple explanation of resistant starch.)  And my beloved semolina pasta is low GL, especially if cooked al dente and then refrigerated. The resistant starch remains when reheated. Ditto for potatoes. Buckwheat, oats, bulgur wheat, rye and quinoa are also good choices.We already eat lots of vegetables and fruits and protein-rich legumes, soy products, and seitan, and a pretty low-fat diet,[...]



My Lowfat Vegan Mayonnaise, utilizing peanuts, sunflower seeds and/or sesame seedsPeanut and/or Sunflower Seed and Tofu Ricotta Lasagne made with my Peanut and Tofu RicottaAfter almost 11 years of blogging, I must be getting lazy, because I found myself doing fewer and fewer blog posts every month, and then... nothing new, for about a month and a half.But, in the last little while my interest has been sparked again. My current interest is in cutting way down on the amount of  oil and expensive (and potentially ethically and environmentally suspect) tree nuts that I use in creamy vegan mixtures, such as sauces, cheeses, mayo, ice creams, spreads, etc.. My reason is only peripherally due to the fact that we are trying to lose some weight.I know that nuts are good for us and I will certainly use walnuts, pecans, etc., in baking for special occasions or for our weekly treat, but it has bothered me for some time now that so many cashews and coconuts are used in vegan cooking these days.  (Oh, and don't forget about almonds!)It's not that I have anything against cashews per se, but, to quote from this article, "What are the most eco-friendly nuts?" (worth a read): "Cashews are a little trickier. They’re light on the land, providing wildlife habitat and preventing erosion, but the processing stage is much more intensive. Cashews grow primarily in Vietnam, India, and northern Africa, but most are shipped to India for processing; there, workers shell the nuts by hand, sometimes exposing their skin to burns from the caustic oils inside. (Check out this detailed look at the system.) And that’s nothing compared to the human rights abuses suffered by some cashew processors in Vietnam, according to Human Rights Watch. Fortunately, there are some Fair Trade cashews to be had, and I’d go for them whenever possible."  Here is an article about the treatment of cashew processors in India.Note from me: They, of course, are more expensive than non-Fair Trade. (And organic does not necessarily mean fair trade as well.)The other tropical nut that is over-used in vegan cooking lately (in my opinion) is the coconut.  I won't go into the nutrition debate here, but there is an animal cruelty issue with coconut products, as well as human and ecological issues. The following is from an article entitled "Are coconut products bad for the environment?":"...The use of coconut oil grew 780 percent between 2008 and 2012, and the demand for coconut water jumped 168 percent between 2010 and 2013. And if an informal survey of my local yoga-goers and farmers market-shoppers is any indication, the boom is still going strong. So what kind of impact are we having?The first consideration: Everyone’s favorite hairy-on-the-outside, succulent-on-the-inside fruit (sorry, kiwi) comes to us from the tropics — Indonesia, most often, plus the Philippines and India, and to a lesser extent, Brazil, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. So unless you’re currently lounging on an idyllic beach — you lucky so-and-so — that coconut product was shipped a considerable distance to reach you, with all the transportation-related carbon emissions that entails. Locavore eating it’s not.Then there’s the growing of the trees themselves. Fortunately, coconut farming isn’t linked to the kind of deforestation that makes palm oil so devastating to local ecosystems. But those lovely coconut trees can still be grown in a monoculture, which hurts tropical biodiversity and soil quality.And finally, there’s the human rights side of things. As with other cultivators of the tropics (those who produce chocolate, cashews, and coffee, to look just at the Cs), coconut farmers very often toil in terrible poverty — as high as 60 percent of them in the Philippines. Coconut water alone sells for a couple of bucks or more per bottle, but the farmers behind it make as little as 12 cents per coconut. Kind of a b[...]



Why am I writing about making vegan "bacun grease" when I advocate eating pretty low-fat?  Well, I do try to use as little fat as I can, but I'm not a totally "no-fat" cook and the tastier the fat, the more flavor you get even in a small amount-- which is why a little good olive oil or roasted sesame oil goes a long way in a simple dish. This fat packs even more of a punch, so you don't need much of it to really satisfy some of your pre-vegan cravings. (No-- I wouldn't spread it on toast, but you might, and I hear that French toast is yummy when browned in this type of cooking fat. )Uses?? Here are some ideas: Scrambled tofu; as the fat in gravy; in bean dishes and BBQ dishes; rub on the outside of baked potatoes before baking; to cook hash browns and potato pancakes; on steamed or sauteed greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage; as the oil in fried rice & vegan "warm bacun dressing"; to saute mushrooms and onions; to grease the pan for making cornbread.You've probably heard of the commercial vegan version of this, and I'm aware that there are  quite a few copycat versions online. However, from a quick peruse, most, if not all, utilize coconut oil. I have a jar of organic, fair trade coconut oil in my pantry, but it's going to last me a long time because I use it mostly for making my homemade Cake Release.**Why don't I use coconut oil in this recipe**? Please read this blog post to learn about the dire environmental and animal issues involved in the massive coconut oil production that feeds this relatively new fad of using coconut oil in everything. (I always thought this obsession with coconut oil was too good to be true, and it is, but the environmental and animal issues are so sad and unnecessary.)And then there are the nutritional concerns: If you used coconut oil instead of the cocoa butter and vegetable oil, the fat profile would be high in saturated fat: 1.76 g mono unsaturated fat, 1.54 g polyunsaturated fat, 8.33 g saturated fat  (for 1 tablespoon)Comparison, per tablespoon, with my version, which is high in the healthier fats:12.4g total fat, 5.7 g mono unsaturated fat, 3.24 g polyunsaturated fat, 2.7 g saturated fat "But, I thought that coconut was the healthiest fat and has all sorts of healing properties!" you say. Not so fast! I know that many vegans check out the videos of health and nutrition by Dr. Michael Greger, author of "How Not to Die", and I'd like to recommend that you check out his videos on coconut oil usage: also his 4-part series on oil-pulling, which starts with this video-- links to the other 3 parts are below the video.)Anyway, bottom line, this is so easy and inexpensive to make, tastes so delicious that you don't need much of it, and has so many possibilities for flavorful cooking, that I hope you will give it a try!Printable CopyBRYANNA'S HOMEMADE LOW-SATURATED FAT VEGAN "BACUN GREASE"Yield: 18 tablespoonsCAUTION: Don't melt "Bacun Grease" at high temperatures-- it burns easily.  After you add it to the pan, use medium heat at most and don't walk away.  After you add and mix with the food you want to sauté, you can turn the heat up a bit.  It depends on your stove (my large burners are super-hot), so you'll have to use trial and error with your stove.Oil Mixture:1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted steam-deodorized cocoa butter, either wafers, or small chunks (should be pale or light-beige-y yellow, with no chocolate odor)1/4 cup toasted Chinese sesame oil1/2 cup canola oil (you could use high-oleic safflower or sunflower oil instead, if you lik[...]



This is my first blog post in a month!  I've been taking a bit of a rest from blogging in the last few months, but am feeling more inspired since the New Year.My husband, who was born and raised in Quebec City, has been requesting that I make the sort of French-Canadian baked beans that he was used to back home in Quebec, but vegan, of course.  And no brown sugar or molasses; just real Canadian maple syrup for the sweetener. The Quebec version of this common North American meal is also not quite as sweet as what I grew up with in the USA.  I hope you'll enjoy this as much as we did! It makes alot, but leftovers can be frozen.Just in case you wondered:DIFFERENT WAYS TO SERVE BAKED BEANS: 1.) We like ours with just a green salad or cooked greens, and crunchy artisan bread or cornbread. Braised cabbage would be a great as a vegetable side dish, too.2.) Some good vegan sausages or sliced vegan “ham” or vegan “bacon” alongside would be good.  Or seitan “ribs”, perhaps?3.) Leftovers are great as “beans on toast” or baked bean “Sloppy Joes”.4.) Try them on top of split baked potatoes, or split baked sweet potatoes.5.) Coleslaw makes a good side dish with baked beans.6.) Pickles on the side?7.) Heat leftover beans with chunks of veggie hotdogs or spicy vegan sausage.8.) Corn on the cob!9.) If you like beans for breakfast, serve with some scrambled tofu and hash browns.Printable Copy (Includes Chili Sauce recipe)BRYANNA'S FRENCH CANADIAN-STYLE VEGAN MAPLE BAKED BEANSServes 10-12Ingredients:4 cups (about 2 lbs.) dried small white beans or navy beans (which are also called white pea bean, Boston bean, Yankee bean or fagioli, depending on where you live), (Other possibilities are cannellini beans--also called white kidney beans or fazolia)-- OR Great Northern beans OR marrow beans)1 large onion, chopped1 cup real maple syrup (preferably the darker kind-- Grade B)3/4 cup bottled chili sauce (the spicy, sweet-ish sauce-- Heinz makes it), or use a favorite tomatoey BBQ sauce, or the easy homemade recipe* at the end of this recipe)2 tablespoons Chinese toasted sesame oil1 tablespoon mustard powder (such as Coleman's or Keen's)1 tablespoon fine saltOPTIONAL:  1/4 cup of vegan “bacon bits” or 1 cup of chopped vegan “ham” or “bacon” of your choiceInstructions:Soak the beans in lots of water overnight.  The next day, drain them in a colander.  Place the soaked beans in a large Dutch oven or oven-proof pot with a fitted lid. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let stand, covered for 1 hour. After an hour, if there is not about a 1/2-inch of water over the beans, add some to that levelTurn your oven to 300°F.  (I use my counter-top oven for this job-- saves energy.) While it heats up, add the remaining ingredients to the pot of beans and mix gently to distribute evenly.Cover and bake for 4 hours.  Check after 2 hours and add some water if the mixture looks too dry.  (Do the same when they are fully-cooked.) You don't want the beans swimming in liquid, but you don't want them to be dry either.*EASY HOMEMADE CHILI SAUCEMakes about 11/2 cupsThis sauce is great baked on top of a vegan meatloaf, and it can also be used in homemade Thousand Island Dressing, on burgers, vegan "ribs" and "hot dogs". 6 oz. can of good-quality tomato paste (I used Kirkland organic.)1/2 cup water1/2 cup golden syrup, agave syrup, maple syrup or brown rice syrup1/2 cup cider vinegar2 tsp. onion powder1 tsp. chili powder1 tsp. salt1/2 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (here's my homemade recipe)1/4 tsp. ground allspice1/8 tsp. EACH ground cloves, garlic granules or powder, and chili flakesa few grindings of black pepperMix the ingredients together well in a 1-quart saucepan.  Bring to a low boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until thickened (almost the consistency of ketchup-- it will thicken  a bit more a[...]



I make alot of hummus for snacks, but one day I wanted a change of pace-- a spread that is easy and fast to make, with what I had in the house.  I came up with this cheese-y spread and my husband went nuts over it and some omnivore guests did, too.  It is very yummy!Ordinarily, I would have made this with extra-firm silken tofu, but I didn't have any in the house, so I used medium-firm ordinary tofu, which I pressed in my tofu press.  When there was about 3/4-inch of liquid on top the the tofu, I weighed it and it weighed 12.3 ounces, exactly as much as a box of silken tofu.  It worked just fine in the recipe and costs quite a bit less than silken tofu.There are a few tofu presses on the market-- I have a Tofu Xpress, which takes a 1 lb. block of tofu: For pressing more tofu at once, I have a small (1.6 L) inexpensive Japanese pickle press, similar to this one, which can press 700g/1.5 lbs of tofu at a time.  This is the model I have:I know it looks flimsy, and, when I posted once about this on Facebook, people had a hard time believing that it could handle pressing tofu-- but it does just fine! I've seen a picture (which I cannot locate now) of a pile of tofu squares being pressed in a large round Japanese pickle press.NOTE: If you don't have a tofu press, here's a link with three other methods to extract some of the liquid from tofu.  Oh, and don't pay attention to any advice that says you can only press firm tofu.  I press medium-firm tofu all the time.This is what medium-firm tofu looks like:"Medium-firm tofu has a rougher texture than soft—curds are visible—but will still crack with handling. It can have a droopy appearance due to its moderate moisture content, and it's a good choice for dishes that don't require much manipulation, like braising or boiling. Because there is more whey in medium-firm tofu, it may break up during vigorous stir-frying, and pan-frying can lead to sad, deflated tofu planks."  Photo and quote from RecipeBRYANNA'S CREAMY, SEEDY TOFU "GOAT CHEESE" SPREAD Servings: 6Yield: 1 1/2 cups This is a rich tasting, nutritious and inexpensive spread, enjoyed by vegans and visiting omnivores alike. It's even better after refrigerating for a day or two, so you may want to double or triple the recipe. We love it with flat breads, celery sticks, rye crisp crackers, or pita crisps. 1 lb. of medium-firm tofu, pressed down to 12- 12.5 oz. and drained OR 1 box (12.3 oz.)    extra-firm SILKEN tofu 1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and well-drained 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds, soaked with the sunflower seeds (see line above) OR 1 heaping tablespoon tahini1 tablespoon    light brown miso  (or a little more to your liking)1 tablespoon    lemon juice  (or a little more to your liking)1/2 tablespoon    nutritional yeast flakes  1 large clove    garlic, crushed  1/2- 3/4 teaspoon    salt   OPTIONALS (1 or both):2-3 large sun-dried tomatoes in oil, rinsed, drained and chopped  2 tablespoons    minced chives or green onions (just the green part)  Place everything except the Optionals in a food processor and process for several minutes, or until the mixture is VERY smooth. You may have to stop the machine and loosen the mixture from the outside walls of the processor bowl towards the middle with a spatula once or twice. If using, pulse in the sun-dried tomatoes and chives briefly, just to distribute. Scrape into a covered container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.Nutrition FactsNutrition (per 1/4 cup serving): 154 calories, 93 calories from fat, 11.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 305.3[...]



My dinner tonight:Steamed green beans, the sourdough bread I baked this morning (with a bit of my homemade vegan Butter-y Spread) and a vegan Italian omelette, or frittata, with mushrooms, red peppers and onions, made with Earth Island (or Follow Your Heart in the USA) "Vegan Egg" and their Vegan Parmesan Grated, plus a few of my own additions-- I'll recount what I did with my experiment after I brag about my crusty bread. DH Brian is visiting family in Montreal and Quebec City, so I'm on my own for a few days. Yesterday, I decided to refresh my two jars of yogurt-based vegan sourdough starter (my starter recipe and instructions here) languishing in my refrigerator. I discovered that one can ferment 2 one-quart jars of starter in the Instant Pot on the Yogurt function. It takes only 4-6 hours-- faster than my usual method of placing it in the oven with the oven light on. I ended up making four jars of fresh starter with some of the old starter fresh warm soymilk and flour (two jars went home with my friend Holly), and using the remaining old starter in a flatbread dough and dough for a crusty sourdough loaf. Somehow, I couldn't bring myself to throw any of it out.                               Bubbly fresh sourdough starter.The flatbread came out pretty well, but not very nice looking, so no photos. But I my crusty no-knead 1/2 whole wheat sourdough bread was a success!  I used the crusty bread recipe from my blog here: made a few changes--I used a whole cup of sourdough starter (I figured that it would be a bit weak, since it was old, so perhaps more would be better) and I added 1/4 tsp. instant yeast to the water, just in case. Otherwise I followed the recipe as given. I baked it in a preheated stoneware "cloche" made from a Pampered Chef 11" deep dish pizza baker covered with an upside-down 12" Pampered Chef baking bowl (got the two of them for about $13 at a thrift store-- see picture of a similar set-up above). There are other ideas for pans in the blog sourdough bread blog post linked to above. The crust was really improved in this stoneware-- dark and crackly.  Okay, now about that omelette, or fritatta... I and two of my vegan friends were excited to finally aquire some of those cute little egg boxes with the "Vegan Egg" powder in them (it took a while for this product to be available in Canada, under the brand Earth Island:Our first impression of a "Vegan Egg" omelette, following the directions given by the company, was positive, though it seemed a bit too firm.  It set up so fast-- pretty amazing!  So, for a couple of weeks I have been meaning to play around with this to have a more tender and slightly more tasty version.What I did, to make one large omelette for two (I'll have the leftovers for beakfast) and my plan was to blend the Vegan Egg with the ice-cold water called for, and some medium firm tofu to tenderize it.  I also added some egg-y smelling black salt (Kala namak-- it's actually pink, BTW) and a little nutritional yeast.The results were very good-- tender, but easy to remove from the pan.  As you will see in the recipe below, I baked it as a frittata rather than cooking it on the stovetop, but I plan to try the stovetop method for a regular omelette next time.Here's what I did:BRYANNA'S "VEGAN EGG" OVEN-BAKED ITALIAN OMELETTE (OR FRITATTA) WITH VEGETABLESServes 2Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven heats up, place a  lightly oiled 10" cast iron skillet or pie pan in the oven.Slice and saute the vegetables you want to use-- I used a small onion, a medium-sized red bell pepper, and 3 medium sized cremini mushrooms, all thinly-sliced and lightly salted. I actually cooked them on a cookie s[...]



This creamer is suitable for those with nut allergies.After almost 11 years of blogging, I found myself writing fewer and fewer blog posts every month, and then... nothing new, for about two months.But, recently, my interest has been sparked again.  My current interest is in cutting way down on the amount of oil and expensive (never mind potentially ethically and environmentally suspect) tree nuts that we  use in creamy vegan mixtures, such as sauces, cheeses, mayo, ice creams, spreads, etc.. My reason for this concern is only peripherally related to the fact that we are trying to lose some weight, as well as paring down the food budget.I know that nuts are good for us and I will certainly use walnuts, pecans, etc., in baking for special occasions or for our weekly treat, but it has bothered me for some time now that so many cashews and coconuts are used in vegan cooking these days. (Oh, and don't forget about almonds!)Do I have your attention??I have been writing a new blog post with my explorations on the above subjects, so stay tuned in the next few days, if you are interested.In the meantime, here is one of the successful recipes that has come out of my exploration of these concerns... a rich-tasting, creamy vegan coffee creamer.  I was very fond of So Delicious Coconut Original coffee creamer-- good mouthfeel, not too sweet-- but it is no longer available in Canada.  We drink Silk soy milk, but I didn't care for Silk creamer-- too sweet.  So, here is what I came up with for occasions when a creamer is needed-- not only in hot drinks, but to drizzle on fruit crumbles and crisps, or hot cereal. This homemade creamer is so easy to make and very inexpensive because it utilizes cheap, nutritious, plentiful and surprisingly versatile raw shelled sunflower seeds instead of nuts. You can control the sweetness, it's smooth and creamy and doesn't separate. (And, according to , 85% of the North American sunflower seed is still produced in North and South Dakota and Minnesota.)Printable CopyBRYANNA'S RICH VEGAN SUNFLOWER SEED CREAMERYield: 1 3/4 cupsServings: 142 tablespoons per servingVARIATION: For a"Cooking Cream", omit sugar and vanilla.1 1/2 cups "Original" soy milk, or other creamy plant-based milk (NOT canned coconut milk)1/4 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds, soaked for 15 minutes in boiling hot water3 to 4 tsp unbleached granulated sugar (or to your taste)1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)pinch saltDrain soaked sunflower seeds well.  Add all the ingredients, including the soaked seeds, to a high-speed blender.  Cover and start on Low speed, gradually turning it up to the highest speed.  Blend for several minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.NOTE: I recommend that you strain the creamer through a nut bag before going to the next step.Pour into a 2-cup bottle or jar with a secure lid (best to scald with boiling water first).  Refrigerate. Shake well before use. The creamer should be used within about 5 days.Nutrition Facts (calculated using 4 tsp. sugar)Nutrition (per 2 T. serving): 33 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 34.7mg sodium, 50.5mg potassium, 3g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 1.8g protein, 1 point. Enjoy! (and stay tuned)The kitchen journal of a vegan food writer...For the 21st century we need to learn to cook for ourselves again, and learning to cook vegan can be a bit intimidating. I'd like to help with that, from my kitchen to yours. Bryanna Clark Grogan, author of 8 published vegan cookbooks and The Vegan Feast quarterly cooking newsletter. Moderator of the beginners’ vegetarian forum on[...]



A good friend of ours was coming over for coffee this morning, so I wanted to bake something simple but yummy.  I've had a hankering for cornbread lately, but I haven't been baking at all lately, mostly because of the heat.  However,  it was a bit cooler this morning, so I thought I would make some muffins-- a-little-bit-sweet cornmeal muffins to go with the coffee and satisfy my craving at the same time. They turned out well-- just sweet enough, nice and moist, not high in fat, and with a bit of coconut crunch.The whole wheat pastry flour, which is lower in gluten than regular whole wheat flour, and the wetter batter, results in a very tender and moist muffin, despite the smaller than usual amount of oil.Printable CopyBRYANNA'S SWEET & TENDER VEGAN CORNMEAL MUFFINS WITH COCONUT & RAISINS (WITH VARIATIONS)18 large muffinsThis is a variation on my favorite Yankee-style cornbread. It’s moist and corny, high-fiber and low in fat.DRY MIX:2 cup fine cornmeal1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour2/3 cup soy, chickpea or pea flour1/2 cup granulated unbleached organic sugar2 tsp. baking powder1 1/2 tsp. salt1 tsp. baking sodaWET MIX:2 tablespoons lemon juice2 cups + 6 tablespoons nondairy milk  1/2 cup aquafaba (chickpea cooking broth) OR unsweetened smooth applesauce 1/4 cup oil ADDITIONS:1/2-2/3 cup fine shredded coconut1/2-2/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries, or other chopped dried fruit  VARIATIONS: If you like, use 2/3-1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans instead of coconut; and/or use 1-2 c. fresh cranberries or blueberries instead of the dried fruit.            Turn oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 18 muffin cups (preferably) with my Homemade Cake Release or oil.Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together well in a large bowl. Whisk or blend the Wet Mix ingredients together and add to the Dry Mix, along with the coconut and raisins or dried cranberries, etc.. Mix briefly. The batter will be wetter than most muffin batters, but don't worry! Ladle the batter into the greased muffin cups. The batter will be right up to the tops of the muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a clean toothpick.Place the muffin pans on racks and let sit for about 5 minutes, then release the muffins and serve warm.Nutrition Facts (Made with aquafaba and  1/2 cup each coconut and raisins.)Nutrition (per serving): 183 calories, 49 calories from fat, 5.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 253.7mg sodium, 256.9mg potassium, 30.9g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 9.9g sugar, 4.4g protein, 5.3 points.Enjoy!The kitchen journal of a vegan food writer...For the 21st century we need to learn to cook for ourselves again, and learning to cook vegan can be a bit intimidating. I'd like to help with that, from my kitchen to yours. Bryanna Clark Grogan, author of 8 published vegan cookbooks and The Vegan Feast quarterly cooking newsletter. Moderator of the beginners’ vegetarian forum on[...]



 Even though I am part Italian, I only discovered rapini a decade or so ago. Being partial to "bitter greens" (which include arugula, radicchio, mustard and turnip greens, sorrel, young dandelion greens and curly endive), I was attracted by this "new" vegetable when I first saw it in a grocery store. Rapini, which is also called 'broccoli raab" or simply "rabe”, only slightly resembles broccoli. It has tiny bunches of broccoli-like blossoms on long stems in the midst of large spiky leaves.Unlike common broccoli, which is from the cabbage family, rapini is related to turnip, but it grows in the same way as broccoli, except that it's ready to harvest earlier and can be grown all year round in temperate climates. The flavor is pungent, with a slightly spicy bite, which makes it a great foil for bland ingredients, such as white kidney beans, pasta, rice, polenta (Italian cornmeal) and potatoes. It can take seasonings that have big flavors, such as garlic, spicy vegan sausages and hot peppers. Try using it in lasagne, stuffed savory crepes, ravioli filling, stuffed pasta shells, quiches and soups. I love it so much that I actually crave it sometimes!Italian cookbooks as far back as the 14th century included rapini recipes. The classic Italian preparation is to braise it in olive oil and flavor it with garlic, anchovies (I use miso instead!) and bread crumbs; or simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. The blossoms, leaves and stalks are equally edible and flavorful. Rapini is one of the easiest vegetables to prepare. The stalks tend to grow to an equal thickness, making even cooking a snap.In supermarkets, rapini comes in bunches of 1 to 1 1/4 pounds. Look for slender, crisp stalks, bright color, fresh-looking leaves and relatively few opened buds. Plan on 3 to 4 servings from each bunch or 2 servings per bunch if you plan to use it as part of a main dish-- with pasta, for example. Store it in zipper-lock bags in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to a week. Because it is usually eaten cooked, you can also blanch it for 2 minutes in boiling water, "shock" it in ice cold water, drain it and freeze it in this semi-cooked state for future use in recipes.Before cooking, rinse the greens well in plenty of cold water. Trim only the end of the stems and discard them (there is very little waste with rapini!). Cut the rest of the stems, leaves and tops crosswise into 1 to 2-inch lengths. Some cooks like to blanch the rapini before cooking (see paragraph above), to reduce its bitterness, but I don't bother with that unless I want to use the plain, cooked rapini in a recipe. I like that slightly bitter edge!Rapini is a also nutrition powerhouse, by the way. It is low in calories (only 25 in a cup!) and sodium and has no fat or cholesterol. What it does have is plenty of vitamin A (110% of the Recommended Daily Value), vitamin C (130% of the RDV) and vitamin K, as well as potassium and folic acid. Potassium, along with folic acid, fiber and the bioflavonoids found in the cruciferous vegetables may help prevent the risk of stroke. Rapini also provides iron and calcium and like other cruciferous vegetables, contains nutrients, compounds and antioxidants that appear to have cancer-fighting benefits.Fortunately, there are many delicious ways to enjoy rapini, and there are several other recipes on this blog:Mediterranean-Style Bean Stew with Rapini & Vegan SausageItalian-Style Cannellini (White Kidney Beans) with Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)Farfalle (bowtie) Pasta & Rapini with Italian Walnut SauceTagliatelle with Rapini, Onion, Chickpeas & Creamy White Bean Flour-Based Vegan BechamelTortino di Patate (Layered Potato Casserole with rapini, onions, vegan Italian sausage,and vegan cheese.)The following recipe (from my book "Worl[...]



I promise you, this is the LAST and FINAL version! First there was my "Buttah", back in 2012 (was it really that long ago?!), which was a solid product, spread well, but would stay in a block like dairy butter. Then, earlier this year, I developed two different versions for two different posts of an easier "Butter-y Spread", made with less cocoa butter (or coconut oil as a possible alternative) than what was used in "Buttah", a sort of "tub butter", if you will. I used the method for vegan soy mayonnaise (developed by Seventh Day Adventists many years ago)-- dripping liquid oil into soymilk, which contains lecithin, an emulsifier-- but the minus the vinegar. The last version that I blogged about-- an amalgamation of the two earlier posts (which I have since removed)-- was in May of this year. It was good, but I still wanted a slightly firmer version and an easier method. Back in June of this year, it occured to me that maybe the new "mayonnaise" method might work with my old Buttah recipe, and would definitely be an easier, less fuss method for a firmer product. I figured that it might also coagulate better so that there would be no danger of separating and having to stir it while it firms up in the freezer, which happened about half the time. I also checked the cocoa butter percentage of the three products (the original "Buttah", the "tub version'"of Buttah, and the new Butter-y Spread), in order to see which recipe contained the least amount of cocoa butter while still producing a fairly firm product. My reason for this concern is that cocoa butter is very expensive in Canada now, partially due to the low Canadian dollar, and partly higher postal fees to the USA. I prefer to use cocoa butter instead of the easier-to-obtain coconut oil because it is a great deal lower in saturated fat than coconut oil, and it produces a more solid product, being a very hard product. It turns out that the original firm version of Buttah contained 3.02g cocoa butter per tablespoon, the tub version of Buttah contained 2.3g per tablespoon., and, surprise, surprise, the new Butter-y Spread contained 3.6g per tablespoon! I realized that, since the new Butter-y spread contains less liquid oil, the cocoa butter content is actually higher per tablespoon. So, I tried using the ingredients for "tub version" of Buttah, rounding the weight of the cocoa butter in the recipe out from 81.6g to 82g, and using the new "mayonnaise" blender method from the new Butter-y spread recipe. (The amount of monunsaturated fat-- the most important kind-- in this recipe, made with cocoa butter, is more than twice the amount as the combined saturated and polyunsaturated fats.) I also further streamlined the Butter-y Spread by adding all of the ingredients except the oils into the blender with the soymilk right at the beginning, so that I didn't have to add them later-- it works just fine and saves a step! So, this worked beautifully and the result was actually more firm that the original "Tub Buttah". It also worked better in baking, since it has a higher overall fat content than the softer Butter-y Spread.My friend Brenda Wiley again experimented with my new recipe and reported back. She gave me some good advice about describing the method, and the salt content. (She used Whole Foods brand Original Soy Milk.) Many thanks to Brenda!!I hope you will give this new, easier method a try! PS: WHY PALM OIL-FREE? It's important-- trust me! For information on the palm oil problem, ingredients and equipment, and about the different types of fats, see this page. And here's a recipe for palm oil-free and trans-fat-free shortening, as well.)Printable CopyBRYANNA'S PALM OIL-FREE VEGAN BUTTER-Y SPREAD FOR EATING, BAKING, AND COOKING (NEW, EASY, CRUELTY-FREE )© Bryanna Clark[...]



It's been a long time since I last blogged.  I guess I just needed a break.  I'm happy to say that some inspiration is returning and I've been playing around with veganizing some more Peruvian recipes.  (In case you're new here, my father was Peruvian and I still have family there.)My Abuelita's (Grandmother) house in Miraflores, Lima (it is now a restaurant).My late father, Alejandro Jaime UrbinaThe Urbina Family in Lima, Christmas 1954; Abuelita in the center, my father in the back row on the far right, standing behind my mother; my sister Karin on the far right in the first row, on the floor; and I am just behind one of my little cousins, who is third from the left on the floor.Peruvian food is delicious and colorful.  It is a heady mixture of the cooking and foodstuffs of the indigenous people, the invading Spanish, African slaves, and immigrant from Italy (the second largest European group in Peru after Spanish), China and Japan.  I've veganized a number of Peruvian recipes on this blog and in workshops, but still have a long list to get through. (If you type "Peru" in the search bar of this blog, all of my Peruvian food posts will come up.)Sometimes it can be difficult to find Peruvian ingredients outside of large cities, so it's not unusual for me I have to improvise, while striving to preserve authentic flavor. (I live on a little island off of Vancouver Island on the West Coast of British Columbia.) I do my best and try to stock up on authentic Peruvian condiments, etc. when I make one of our infrequent trips to Vancouver.  Anyway, on to the recipe! Peruvians love seafood, and the following recipe is a vegan version of a well-known and popular Peruvian rice and seafood dish.  (Rice was brought to Peru by the Spanish, by the way, and is served at almost every meal, often in the company of the indigenous potato!)  I hope you enjoy it!Printable CopyBRYANNA'S ARROZ CON CONCHAS VEGETARIANAS(PERUVIAN-STYLE RICE AND VEGETABLES WITH VEGETARIAN "SCALLOPS") Serves 4This makes a satisfying light supper on its own, or an excellent side dish for a more elaborate meal. I use less fat than they would in Peru, by the way.1-2 tablespoon olive oil and/or vegan butterabout 24 vegan "scallops"-- made from mushrooms, tofu or gluten-based "Sea Meat" **(See below recipe for making mushroom scallops; see this page for how to make tofu scallops, and see this page for how to make my "Sea Meat" scallops.)1 tablespoon olive oil1 medium onion, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed3 tablespoons Peruvian aji amarillo paste (See Notes at end of recipe for where to purchase and also a possble substitute.)1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels (In Peru these would be large white kernels, but I use North American yellow corn kernels.)2 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced small1 cup thawed frozen green peas (or thawed shelled frozen edamame [green soybeans])2 cups "Sea Stock" (vegan "seafood" broth-- see recipe below)1/2 cup dry white wine, OR 1/4 cup Pisco (Peruvian grape brandy) or dry sherry3 cups cooked long-grain rice (This can be a white rice such as basmati or jasmine, or a brown version of either one, or converted/parboiled rice.)1 cup EACH diced red bell pepper and orange bell peppersalt to tasteFor Serving:chopped fresh cilantro, or Italian parsley, or a mixture of mint and basillemon or lime wedgesFirst of all, heat the vegan butter and/or oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet.  Add the "scallops" and saute until they are lightly browned.  Remove the "scallops" from the pan and set aside.Add the next 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened.  Stir in the aji amarillo paste (or su[...]



What do I mean by "cruelty-free"?  Read on...**NOTE: This is an amalgamated, revised and updated version of my two previous posts on making this easy and delicious homemade vegan Butter-y Spread. Some of you may know that I devised a palm oil-free (and coconut oil-free) vegan "butter" (which I call "Buttah") back in 2012.  I devised it as part of my plan to eliminate palm oil from my diet for environmental reasons and also for the animals harmed in the growing worldwide industry. (You can read all about it here and the printable recipe is here.) "Buttah" is a solid product which can be used in baking and as a spread, or for cooking. Though I use it sparingly, we love it and it has been a hit with vegans and omnivores alike.Here's the "but" part-- My "Buttah" is made with oil and cocoa butter (organic and steam-deodorized so that it doesn't smell like chocolate).  It only needs a small amount of cocoa butter compared to liquid oil (which makes the fat profile healthier than most spreads). But cocoa butter, and especially organic and fair trade cocoa butter, is getting more and more expensive and the steam-deodorized organic block type that I have purchased in the past is getting hard to find.  With our low Canadian dollar, it is really expensive!I have some of that cocoa butter left and I will use it for "Buttah" to use occasionally in (and on) special baking.  (I use oil- sometimes frozen-- and much less than most recipes call for, in my pie crust.) But I wanted a spread for toast or pancakes, and no commercial vegan spread that I can find does not contain palm oil or a derivative or two.  One day it occurred to me that I should try the old method (which I believe originated with Seventh Day Adventist vegans many years ago) of making a vegan mayonnaise by drizzling oil into some soymilk while blending, then adding the appropriate seasoning. Evidently, the natural lecithin in the soymilk enables the oil and soymilk to coagulate into a creamy, spreadable mass.  (I had made this in the past, but now use my very lowfat vegan mayo, which can be made with only 1/4 cup oil for a slightly-over-2-cup batch, or with 1/4 cup of certain nuts instead of extracted oil.)So, I tried making a "butter-y" spread using that method, adjusting the flavoring, of course, and adding a bit of liquid lecithin and vegetable gum powder to make it less apt to separate. It worked! This new spread looked to be a winner-- a.) inexpensive, b.) quick and easy to make, c.) keeps well, and d.) tastes yummy, with a good mouthfeel.But I wanted to also make a soy-free version for anyone allergic to soy, so I tried it with almond milk and also with a low-fat coconut-based unsweetened creamer, and it didn't work as well, simply because only soymilk contains the lecithin that seems to be the key to thickening this product. However, with slightly more lecithin and vegetable gum (guar or xanthan), which I included to keep it it from separating so easily, it worked out reasonably well.However, I then decided to try using solid coconut oil in place of 1/4 of oil in an attempt to make the spread a bit more solid and less apt to separate. It was definitely an improvement!Truth to tell, I prefer not to use coconut oil very often, despite the craze for it, because of the saturated fat. (No, I am not convinced that saturated fat is good for us! See this article and this one, and also this column from vegan RD Ginny Messina.) There are also many concerns with coconut oil producion, of which most people are not aware. Photo from this articleWe vegans try to "do no harm".  But, when the "developed" wor[...]



You may have noticed that I don't post many dessert recipes.  That's because, though we're not "on a diet", we are of a certain age and need to "watch our weight', as the saying goes.  So, we generally only eat desserts at other people's tables, or when we have company. And I try to go easy on the fat in my dessert recipes, without ruining the texture and flavor of the dish.We had dinner with some old friends last week, and I brought this pie for dessert.  It's actually a recipe (slightly altered) from one of my old cookbooks, Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause (not my biggest seller I must say-- due to the anti-sot hysteria of the last decade or so).  The filling is a richer version of the Tofu Chocolate Mousse in that book.Our hosts (not vegans) LOVED this pie!  It's really a winner-- easy to make, and so silky, creamy delicious. It's a low-fat as I could make it, but certainly lives up to expectations!Printable CopyBRYANNA'S VEGAN CHOCOLATE CREME PIEYield: 1/ 10" pie; 10 servingsEasy to make and richly delicious without excessive fat. NOTE: Nutrition facts are for the pie without the whipped creme topping. See Tips below for calorie and fat counts for toppings.Filling:1 cup unbleached sugar7 Tbs strong liquid high-quality coffee, preferably espresso9 Tbs unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder1 cup (6 oz.) dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips24.6 oz extra-firm SILKEN tofu-- that's two 12.3 oz. boxes.2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract2 pinches salt3 Tbs rum, or a liqueur or flavored Italian syrup (used for special coffee drinks)-- coffee, chocolate or orange liqueur flavorsNOTE: You could use the grated zest of 1 large orange instead of the liquor or syrup, if you prefer.Crust:One pre-baked and cooled 10" pastry crust (my standard lower-fat vegan recipes here and here) or your favorite crumb crust (I prefer the pastry crust).Variation:For Chocolate-Banana Creme Pie, place sliced ripe banana over the crust, spread on half the chocolate filling, another layer of banana, and then the remaining filling.Place the silken tofu, vanilla, salt and liquor or syrup (or orange zest) into a large food processor or high-speed blender. Set aside. Now, mix the sugar and coffee in a small saucepan and stir over high heat until dissolved. Lower the heat to medium or medium-low and stir in the cocoa until a paste forms. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Use a silicone spatula to scrape the chocolate mixture into the food processor or blender, on top of the other ingredients. Process until VERY smooth.Spread the mixture evenly in a pre-baked and cooled 10" crust of your choice (you may have a bit leftover for tasting).  Chill thoroughly.Before serving, top with your favorite non-dairy creamy whipped topping, such as So Delicious CocoWhip! or (in Canada) Gae Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream. Both products are delicious and much lower in fat and calories than whipped canned coconut milk. (See Tips below recipe for calorie and fat counts and website links.)Nutrition Facts (See Tips below for topping suggestions & links, and calorie/fat content of toppings.)Nutrition (per serving without whipped topping): 296 calories, 91 calories from fat, 10.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 248.8mg sodium, 282.4mg potassium, 42g carbohydrates, 3.5g fiber, 21.4g sugar, 9.1g protein, 8.8 points.(This was calculated using regular Mori-Nu Extra-Firm Silken Tofu.)TIPS:Whipped Toppings:So Delicious CocoWhip! contains 60 calories and 4g fat per 1/4 cup. Gae Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream contains 30 calories and 2g fat per 1/4 cup. According to this pretty standard recipe for whipped canned coconut milk, 1/4 cup contains 126 calories and  [...]