Friday, May 26, 2006

Cinnamon Swirl

I baked these up for Mother's Day brunch two Sundays ago. This recipe was posted over a year ago (and it's printed in Ripe #4) but I've made some changes and taken pictures. This is another good example of coconut oil saving the day as a replacement for unhealthy margarine. Wanna know more about why coconut oil's so great? Read this article.

Cinnamon Swirl Biscuits

Mmmm! Here's a real impressive brunch or tea time treat. If you're serving more than three or four people you may wanna make a double batch.

1 1/2 cups light spelt flour
1/3 cup non-GM cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, cold (like Omega Nutrition's or Orphee's)
2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp. cider vinegar + organic non-dairy milk (or filtered water) to make 1/2 cup

2 tbsp. organic unrefined coconut oil, softened
2 tbsp. Sucanat, evaporated cane juice/organic sugar or brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 425oF. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper (or oil lightly) and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and soda, and salt. Cut in the coconut oil (use a pastry cutter or two knives) until the pieces of marg are sort of pea-sized.
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Mix in the "sour" milk just until all the flour has been absorbed. On a clean, floured surface, shape the dough into a 8"x6" rectangle. In a small bowl, combine swirl ingredients. Smear this on the dough.
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Roll it up...
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...and slice into 10 - 12 even pieces. Place them swirl-side up on the cookie sheet, and reshape each biscuit as needed. Assuming some swirl mixture oozed out (like it did here), dollop it on top.
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Bake for 12 minutes. Best served warm.
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Friday, May 19, 2006

Local leeks

My good friend and food co-op produce manager Michael came over to make me dinner last Friday (what a treat!). Along with some other amazing organics he brought these locally wildcrafted wild leeks.
wild leeks

I got out my brand-new carbon steel wok and we got to work.

First Wok Stir-fry

bowl with messy apartment
Check out that messy apartment backdrop!
Note: It's pretty hard to write up a stir-fry recipe as I do it all by feel. Know these measurements aren't exact and adjust as you need to.

Marinated Tempeh:
1 240g cake tempeh, sliced into 1/2cm strips and halved width-wise
2 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
3 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp. filtered water
1 tsp. each ground cumin and corriander
a pinch of cayenne

4-6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch wild leeks, sliced thinly
1 large red pepper, chopped as desired
a couple handfuls snow peas, tips removed
2 cups chopped baby bok choy
unrefined non-hydrogenated coconut oil or cold-pressed olive oil, for frying
3-4 tbsp. raw unhulled sesame seeds
toasted sesame oil, to taste


Chop tempeh and place in a medium (non-metal) bowl. In a small bowl, combine mariade ingredients. Pour over tempeh and allow to sit. Prep vegetables.

In a large frying pan or wok, heat a tbsp. or two of oil over medium-high heat. Toss in the tempeh with the marinade, and arrange with a spatula so that all the pieces are lying flat. Cook on one side till they start to brown - about 4 minutes. Flip pieces onto other side and cook some more (possibly drizzling on an extra tbsp. of tamari). Remove tempeh from pan and set aside.

Add more oil (about 2 tbsp.) to the wok or pan. Throw in the mushrooms and bottoms of the leeks (not the green tops, save those for another minute or two). Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. Drizzle in a couple tbsp. tamari. Throw in the red pepper - cook for two minutes more. Throw in the snow peas
bok choy, and wild leek tops. Stir to combine. Cover with lid and turn off heat. allow to sit for a minute or two before uncovering and tossing with sesame seeds and a drizzling of sesame oil (this is one of those oils you're not supposed to heat).
in wok

Serve hot in a bowl on its own (topped with the tempeh of course), or on a bed of cooked brown rice, quinoa or millet.

sitting down to eat

If you've made it this far in the post, please take a moment to say 'hi'. Comments have been dwindling these days and I miss hearing from you! (Is it that I'm boring you?!) Thanks.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Click it #2 - Making food politics fun

I've just started my EcoNutrition course. We're discussing food safety in class tomorrow so I figured it's a good time to introduce three fun and informative cartoons you really ought to check out if you haven't already.

What is The Meatrix

What is The Meatrix and The Meatrix II: Revolting

I never really got into The Matrix (I watched the first one, thinking the whole time that Carrie-Anne Moss was gonna take her clothes off and when she didn't I felt a little let down), but these little cartoon spoofs are sure to get even the least politically-inclided joe you know to consider the underbelly of factory farming in an entertaining way (and they're not trying to convert you to veganism, don't worry).


and Dani just pointed this one out to me too: Store Wars - it's great!
Grocery Store Wars
Sunday, May 14, 2006

Click it #1 - for Hip Mamas

I don't know how often you make it down to the bottom of the page, but there are a lot of great links down there that are really worth a moment of your time - if I do say so myself.

exacto-cut by Nikki McClure

As it's Mother's Day today - I thought I'd draw your attention to these great sites - for you, or a hip mama you know.

*Hip Mama - a super and resource-laden site for progressively-minded parents
*Mamaphonic - this web zine "offering monthly content from emerging writers and poets" is an off-shoot of Hip Mama
*Ayun Halliday is a hillarious and intelligent writer who dedicates a lot of her time to chronicling the events of her life with her children. She has a long-time zine, East Village Inky, (which you can order through me here), three books (my most favourite being The Big Rumpus) and she has a regular spot as Mother Superior in BUST magazine.
*Wee Welcome - now I've never been through this site before, but they list info for Mamapalooza going on today at the Lulu Lounge here in Toronto.

If you have any related sites you recommend, please let us know!
Friday, May 12, 2006

Fruit market

I think it might be fair to say that fruit is my favourite food group.
Fruit is wonderfully nourishing, and a super source of water, easy-to-use natural sugar, fibre, and vitamins.

The trick with fruit though is knowing when to eat it.
As it is easy to digest, it moves though your upper digestive system quite quickly - in about 20 minutes (as opposed to other foods that can take a few hours). So with that in mind, it makes sense to eat fruit alone, or at the begining of a meal. When you eat fruit (especially raw fruit) with grains, proteins or fats, or at the end of a meal, it sits in your stomach, waiting for all the other foods to move through, and ferments. This can lead to acidity in your system - the root of a whole wack of health problems.

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Payayas and pineapples are a good source of digestive enzymes. I've been really into papayas with lime juice first thing in the morning (after my lemon water of course). I then take the fleshy side of the peel and rub it on my face because the enzymes also have an exfoliating action. (Rub on, allow to dry for a minute and rinse off with warm water.)

Now, have you ever noticed that the bottom half of many fruits is sweeter than the top? It's a result of the sugars that are relatively heavy and settle out in a greater concentration near the bottom. Find the end of the fruit where the stem had been attached to identify the top. My mum taught me this with grapefruits when I was little - she'd always generously give me the bottom. I keep this in mind when eating kiwis - I eat the top/more sour half first and end with the sweeter bottom.


There's a lot to be said for eating locally. But when it comes to fruit at this time of year, we don't have much to chose from in this climate. While you shouldn't be loading up you cart at the grocery store with items from countries you've never been to too often, but I think we should feel free to indulge in organic tropical fruit (or even California berries) or occassion.

Enjoy either of these recipes for breakfast, or as a snack throughout the day. (If you want it for dessert, eat it an hour after your meal.)

Tropical Fruit Salad

Prepare mango, banana, kiwi, pineapple, lychee, papaya and pomelo, chop into bite sized pieces. Put in a large serving bowl and drizzle with lime juice and coconut milk.

Local Fruit Salad

Refer back to this recipe later on in the year (mid-to-end of summer) when you start seeing these fruits at farmers markets.
Prepare apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and melon, chop into bite-sized pieces. Toss with lemon juice (which should keep the tree fruit from turning brown with oxidation) and serve.
Friday, May 05, 2006

You can make friends with salad

Almost five years ago, I worked at an all boys camp in the Haliburton Highlands. Newly-turned-vegan me, and close to 300 omnivorous boys. Yikes. My veganism was the source of much heckling that summer, and I have a very distinct memory of walking through the crowded dining hall to the kitchen for my "special" dinner one night while the entire room bellowed at me "You don't make friends with salad! You don't make friends with salad!" (I was up on my pop culture enough to know that the song was part of the episode on the Simpsons where Lisa goes vegetarian.)

I used to think that making a salad your meal was downright unfeminist. How can we really be nourished by a bowl of lettuce leaves with maybe a pale wedge of tomato or two, and the dressing on the side? Women have appetites, and they need not be ashamed to eat a decent meal! was what I thought. I have since taken a more creative approach though. Salads are not limited to greens, and they're a great way to get some fresh organic living foods into your diet, especially now that it's spring - the weather's milder (so there's less of a need for warming foods) and there'll be better produce in the shops and markets as the months roll on into summer.

satisfying salad
baby spinach and arugula, with red peppers, grated beets, flaxseed oil, lemon juice, grilled tempeh and sunflower seeds

Here are a whole bunch of tools to build yourself some amazing meals:
* Start with a lovely bed of fresh greens - and be sure they're organic. Try mesculun mix, baby spinach, arugula, mache, or fresh chopped romaine, red lettuce, or spinach. You could also start with very lightly steamed (like just 2 minutes here) kale or Swiss chard.

And then throw on:
* chopped fresh herbs: parsely, cilantro, dandelion greens
* grated carrots, beets, cabbage, ginger root and garlic
* chopped or sliced snowpeas, baby bok choy, cumcumbers, bell peppers, scallions, wild leeks or red onions
* fruit - an option that's not considered too often, but pieces of strawberry, pear, apple or orange can be really nice
* sprouts (go organic, or grow your own - I'll do a tutorial soon) - mung beans, alfalpha, sunflower, quinoa (sprouted quinoa is a complete protein, did you know?), lentils and other seeds, grains and legumes
* beans (sprouted, cooked or canned) - chickpeas can help make very satisfying salads
* marinated and grilled tempeh, tofu, or eggplant
* a sprinkling of raw seeds or chopped nuts - sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hempseeds, walnuts, and almonds

There are so many variations, I'm sure you'll find some favourites.

We can't forget dressing though. This is a good time to get in your daily dose of essential fatty acids (EFAs) for good immune system function (amongst other things) - just drizzle on some cold-pressed flaxseed or hempseed oil (and follow by squeezing on some fresh lemon). I also recently learned that because beta carotene (a precursor for vitamin A) is water soluble and vitamin A is fat soluble, you need to eat fat at the same time as your brightly coloured vegetables in order to absorb the vitamin A.

Beautiful Balsamic Vinaigrette

Reducing balsamic vinegar gives it a sweeter and more intense flavour. I predict this dressing will become a staple in your kitchen - it has in mine.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup cold-pressed oil - flax, walnut or extra virgin olive
1 clove garlic, grated or pressed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Pour vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until reduced by about half. Pour into a small bowl and drizzle in oil while whisking with the other hand to make an emulsified mixture. Stir in garlic, salt and pepper. This dressing's especially lovely served over fresh organic baby greens with chopped heirloom tomatoes and crumbled organic feta, or with strawberries and chopped almonds (or whatever other salad suits your fancy). Store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week.

Ginger Salad Dressing

1/4 cup cold-pressed olive or flaxseed oil
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp. rice or cider vinegar
1 tbsp. evaporated cane juice, honey or other natural sweetener
2 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp. grated or minced ginger root
several dashes cayenne or hot sauce

Combine ingredients in a jar. Cover and shake. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week.

House Dressing

I adapted this tasty recipe from the House Dressing at an intentional community in Oregon that I visited a few summers ago.

1 cup cold-pressed olive oil (or even better - 1/2 flax oil, 1/2 olive)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup tamari soy sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 - 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
a handful of raw sunflower seeds
1 tsp. dried dill weed

Toss all ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth. Pour into a clean bottle or jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Makes about 2 cups.

Sunflower Dressing

I adapted this from Ruth Tal Brown's Juice for Life recipe.

2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup grapefruit juice
3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup filtered or spring water

Give all ingredients a whirl in the blender for 2 minutes. Serve over salad.
Thursday, May 04, 2006


Oh geez, what happened to last Friday?
I had something planned and everything, but I was preparing to go away for the weekend, and I guess time just ran away from me.

I went with my mum to Montreal to scope things out with the feeling of yes, I really am moving here come September. I met with some lovely naturopathic doctors who I'd like to work alongside (see what they're about here and here) as well as the primary teacher at the shiatsu school I plan on attending in the fall, and the owner of a great vegan restaurant called Aux Vivres. I dropped off more zines at L'Arterie. Oh and of course there were visits with friends, like Alison, Sarah, and Anna of Ripe #4 cover grrrl fame.
Even with all the various career paths I'm considering (holistic nutrition, food writing, and eventually shiatsu), none of them look like they'll be insta-money makers. I am somewhat terrified that I am going to be poor for a looong while yet. I'm just going to keep repeating my Louise Hay affirmation to myself: "Money comes easily to me doing things I enjoy." (The power of the mind is an amazing thing.) And here's what you can do to help on that front: keep writing all those lovely comments on my recipe posts. Pleeeeaaase. Hopefully they'll be able to help convince a publisher that there really is a market for my cookbook.

When I got home there was a message from one of the Hillside organizers. Turns out they want me to run a Detoxification for Womyn workshop at the festival at the end of July. I'm really looking forward to it. Hillside is this music festival that's been going on in Guelph for over two decades, and last year it just exploded in popularity. Chalk it up to their musical line up - The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle, The Hidden Cameras, The Be Good Tanyas, Buck 65, Geoff Burner, Cuff the Duke, The Weakerthans, Stars and Gentleman Reg all played. This year they've confirmed Feist, The Hidden Cameras, The Constantines, Final Fantasy, Cuff the Duke, and
Sarah Harmer, but even with 40 more bands to announce the tickets are selling out at a break-necking speed. Anyhow, it's happening just after I get back from Scotland and I'm really looking forward to it. July's stacking up to be a great month.

"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.


about the blog:

about the cookbooks:

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!



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