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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, oh me oh my!

 

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I’ve been excited by and obsessed with straw­ber­ries recently. Espe­cially local and organic ones. Straw­ber­ries are so fab­u­lous for so many rea­sons. Here are a few:

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Obvi­ously these ben­e­fits aren’t lim­ited to Cal­i­for­nia straw­ber­ries. The Ontario straw­ber­ries I used in this pie are just as sweet and fabulous!

What goes bet­ter with sweet straw­ber­ries than the tart­ness of rhubarb?! Rhubarb also has many health benefits.

5 ways rhubarb will boost your health
1. Rhubarb con­tains antiox­i­dants like lycopene and antho­cyanins, help­ing to fight off dis­ease.
2. It appar­ently can help lower cho­les­terol, boost­ing your heart health.
3. Rhubarb stalks are a good source of fibre, ben­e­fit­ing your diges­tive health.
4. It con­tains vit­a­min K, an essen­tial prop­erty that helps with blood clot­ting, pro­tect­ing the bones and help fight­ing off liver and prostate can­cer.
5. Rhubarb is also a good source of vit­a­min C (great for a healthy immune sys­tem), cal­ciumpotas­sium and mag­ne­sium.” (Payne, 2011, Canadianliving.com) 

So why not marry these two in a beau­ti­ful pie?!

Don’t mind if I do.

Straw­berry Rhubarb Pie

(Fill­ing recipe adapted from Bön Appetit retrieved from epicurious.com)

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 Ingredients

Crust:

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 cup vegan mar­garine ( I used Earth balance)

• 1 table­spoon of sugar

• 1 tea­spoon of salt

• 3–4 table­spoons of ice water (or more as needed)

Fill­ing:

• 3 1/2 cups of trimmed rhubarb sliced about a 1/2 inch thick

• 3 1/2 cups of straw­ber­ries, tops removed and halved

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup brown sugar

• 1/4 cup cornstarch

• 1 tea­spoon of cinnamon

• pinch of salt

Extras:

• a few table­spoons of non-dairy milk for brush­ing on pie crust.

Instruc­tions

1.  Crust: Whisk flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add vegan mar­garine and begin to work mar­garine into the flour. Con­tinue to cut the fat into the flour until the con­sis­tency resem­bles cornmeal.

2. Sprin­kle in ice water table­spoon by table­spoon, mix­ing in with your fork (or you can use your hands!) until it forms a dough. Sep­a­rate dough into two flat disks and wrap in plas­tic wrap. Chill for at least 30 min­utes to an hour in the fridge.

3. Fill­ing: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all fill­ing ingre­di­ents in a medium to large bowl.

4. Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured sur­face. Then trans­fer it to a lightly greased pie tin/dish. The dough should cover the tin/dish with a bit of overhang.

5. Pour your pie fill­ing into the pie crust. Note: You may want to pour out excess liq­uid that col­lects in your pie fill­ing before plac­ing it in your crust.

6. Roll out sec­ond disk of dough and cover the fill­ing. Fold the over­hang­ing dough onto the top disk of dough and pinch with your fin­gers or press with the tines of a fork to make it look pretty.

7. Make four slits in the top of the pie to let steam escape dur­ing bak­ing. Brush pie with some almond, soy, coconut or dairy-free milk of choice.

8. Place pie in the oven for 20 min­utes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 1 hour and 25 min­utes. It may seem long but trust me it’s worth it!

Note: You may want to place a cookie sheet with tin­foil under your pie plate as the fill­ing has been known to bub­ble over in the cook­ing process.

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Oy Vegan!

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Vegan in Miami Beach

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Just returned from a quick get­away to Miami Beach with my hus­band. Though it was brief we had an awe­some time. We laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, vis­ited the Jew­ish Museum of Florida, danced to some Samba, caught a drag show on Ocean Drive, and had some very tasty vegan eats!

Here’s a top 5 list of the best vegan food in Miami Beach:

5. Sushi Samba

Sushi Samba Miami Beach on Lin­coln Road is a Peru­vian, Brazil­ian, and  Japan­ese fusion restau­rant and good news for us veg­ans as there’s a sep­a­rate vegan menu! You just need to ask for it when seated. This place is a bit pricey as it is in the touristy area of Lin­coln Road but the ambiance is fun and the servers are very friendly. We ordered a num­ber of dishes off the vegan menu. They were quite good. We also ordered drinks. Watch out for the cock­tails, they really make the bill add up!

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 Sushi Samba inte­rior. They have out­door seat­ing as well.

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Tofu dish with mushrooms

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Egg­plant skew­ers on Peru­vian corn

 

4. Tray­more at Met­ro­pol­i­tan by COMO

We had the plea­sure of stay­ing at a newer hotel, for­merly known as the Tray­more, now called Met­ro­pol­i­tan by COMO. It was a beau­ti­ful bou­tique hotel in the Art Deco style with a pri­vate beach and a fab­u­lous menu with many vegan items. Ask for their COMO Sham­bala menu. While not com­pletely vegan, it fea­tures a num­ber of well­ness juices and  raw and gluten-free options. The staff at this hotel was super friendly and accom­mo­dat­ing. If you let them know you’re vegan, they will make sure to make you some­thing fab­u­lous. There are three vegan options for break­fast, one being the scram­bled tofu which I ate two of the three morn­ings we were there! Also, try the Mus­cle mylk. It seri­ously tastes like cin­na­mon toast crunch.

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 Fresh fruit

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Scram­bled Tofu

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Inte­rior at Tray­more Restaurant

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Lobby at Met­ro­pol­i­tan by Como

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Relax­ing on the beach!

3. Maoz Vegetarian

Maoz Veg­e­tar­ian is a falafel grab n’ go chain that I’ve vis­ited in other inter­na­tional loca­tions. A few years ago we ate at Maoz in Ams­ter­dam. It’s clean, kosher, and very tasty. I ordered the falafel salad combo with avo­cado and egg­plant. Then I was able to serve myself from a big salad bar to add top­pings. Things that are vegan are clearly labelled as such which is nice. They also have fresh juices and vegan desserts.

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Inte­rior of Maoz veg­e­tar­ian with salad bar

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Falafal Salad. I really loaded up the toppings!

2. Indo­ma­nia Restaurant 

Indo­ma­nia is a small local restau­rant located on 26th Street just south of Collins Avenue. It’s an Indone­sian Dutch restau­rant that had such amaz­ing reviews that we decided to check it out on our first night in Miami. They had a lot of veg­e­tar­ian options and all we had to do was let them know we were vegan and they were able to make us a plethora of dishes. We ended up order­ing the veg­e­tar­ian (made vegan) Rijsttafel which means rice table. It was com­posed of about 20 dishes and they were all fab­u­lous! I highly rec­om­mend this place. The flavours were beau­ti­ful and reminded me of south­ern Asia. The décor was trendy and com­fort­able and the servers were lovely.

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Gado Gado, yel­low rice, and white rice with coconut shavings

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Corn frit­ters, tofu and tem­peh skewers

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Another close-up. You can see the sam­bal here.

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So tasty! 

1. Esco­pazzo

We ate at here on our final night in Miami Beach. Located on Wash­ing­ton Avenue, I had read about chef Gian­carla Bodoni who we had the plea­sure of meet­ing after our meal. Esco­pazzo fea­tures organic Ital­ian fine din­ing.  We called ahead and asked if they could accom­mo­date veg­ans and they said, “absolutely!”. We ended up order­ing the 5 course vegan tast­ing menu with wine pair­ings. It was truly deli­cious. We asked them to sur­prise us and we were extremely impressed by what we received. All the ingre­di­ents were fresh, the dishes well-seasoned, the por­tions were just right and the wines were amaz­ing. The servers were atten­tive, out­go­ing, and knowl­edgable. The chef was lovely and we talked to her about our meal. The food here really reminds me of the food I had in Italy; fresh and deli­cious. I highly rec­om­mend Esco­pazzo if you’re in the Miami area. It’s also a short walk to Ocean drive if you want to make a night out of it after din­ner, which we did.

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First course– Avo­cado and tomato tartare 

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Sec­ond Course– Broc­coli soup with vegan cheese

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Lovely wine pairings!


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Third course– Pasta with mushrooms

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Fourth course– Pesto risotto

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More wine pairings


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Dessert– fresh straw­berry sorbet

All in all, it was a lovely trip! If you’re look­ing for some­thing vegan in Miami Beach, I would def­i­nitely check out the restau­rants on this list! There were some places that I wasn’t able to visit that I def­i­nitely will the next time I come.  I’ve heard that Choices Organic Café in down­town Miami is good. Also, if we had had more time, we might have dri­ven to celebrity-endorsed Sub­lime Restau­rant and Bar in Fort Laud­erdale as well.

Oy Vegan!

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Green Tea Chatz. Episode 2. SNACKS ONPLANE!

Hey veg­ans and vegetarians!

Ever won­dered what to bring with you while trav­el­ing by plane? While vegan options are more read­ily avail­able on planes these days, they are usu­ally lack­ing in flavour and freshness.

In this episode of Green Tea Chatz, Jamie explains what snacks and prod­ucts she might bring for a short or long flight above the clouds.

Enjoy!

Oy Vegan!

What snacks do you bring with you when you travel? Com­ment below!

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Green Tea Chatz. Episode 1. THE BEST VEGAN COOKBOOKS!

Wanna know what the best vegan cook­books are??? Check out today’s episode of Green Tea Chatz!

From her large col­lec­tion, Jamie show­cases her favourite vegan cook­books from over the years high­light­ing some of her favourite recipes in each cookbook.

 

 

Do you agree with her selec­tion? Do you dis­agree? Com­ment below!!!

Oy Vegan!

 

 

 

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Canada, STOP THE SEAL HUNT!

 

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So far, as of April 28th, the offi­cial num­ber of harp seal pups who have been killed from the Cana­dian Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans is 35,049.” (Read more info on harpseals.org)

The mass killing of these baby seals in March and April every year is bru­tal, unnec­es­sary, and, for all the cap­i­tal­ist thinkers out there, not even eco­nom­i­cally beneficial!

This info-graphic gives you the quick facts:

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Just because we don’t see this hap­pen­ing in front of us, doesn’t mean we don’t have a respon­si­bil­ity as cit­i­zens to call our coun­try to put an end to it.

Watch Rebecca Ald­worth of Humane Soci­ety Inter­na­tional off the coast of New­found­land a few weeks ago.

 

As a Cana­dian, I’m embar­rassed that we are so behind the rest of the world. Please, stop this sense­less killing.

Oy Vegan!

 

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Pesach 2014– What to make!

Pesach is quickly approaching!

Here are five tasty look­ing recipes that I am excited to make for Passover this year. Whether you are hav­ing a fully vegan seder (kudos to you if you are!!!!!) or are bring­ing a dish to a large gath­er­ing, you want to impress. These recipes might just do the trick. Let me know which ones are your favourites!

1. The Best Shred­ded Kale Salad. This is EXTREMELY tasty. I’ve made this for lunch quite a few times and I can never just eat one bowl. So you might want to dou­ble the recipe. It’s that good.

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2. Per­haps this Por­to­bello, Spinach, and Potato Matzo Mina with Basil Wal­nut Pesto and a Cashew Béchamel Sauce will float your boat.

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 3. Or how about a sim­ple, gorgeous-looking, Roasted Beet Salad with Mint.

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4. These Vegan and Gluten-Free Stuffed Pota­toes are a nice addi­tion to any seder meal.

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5.  Of course, a clas­sic Vegan Matzo Ball Soup with Spring Veg­eta­bles is a great starter.

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Gutt Yon­tiff!

Oy Vegan!

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March Green Smoothies

Happy March!

It has been a bru­tally long and cold win­ter here in Toronto. That being said, the sun seems to be shin­ing today! So nat­u­rally, I thought I would share some of my favourite green smooth­ies with you to help you get cen­tred and healthy as you day­dream of spring.

The first smoothie I’m shar­ing I got from Dr. Melissa West. I believe she got it from Vic­to­ria Boutenko… in any case, you can watch a vid of Dr. West mak­ing it below. It’s super sim­ple to make and it is seri­ously like liq­uid green magic. When I drink this, I swear I feel health­ier and hap­pier! It’s magical.

Thus, I will lov­ingly re-name it:

Liq­uid Green Magic

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Ingre­di­ents:

• 1 cup of kale

• 1 cup of mint leaves

• 1 red apple sliced

• 1/2– 3/4 cup of mango

• 1/2 cup of strawberries

• 1 cup of water

Instruc­tions:

1. Place every­thing in a blender and blend on high until desired con­sis­tency is reached.

2. Enjoy!

 

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For another green smoothie that is nat­u­rally sweet and easy-to-love, try the Sham­rock Sababa!

Sham­rock Sababa Smoothie

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Ingre­di­ents:

• 1 cup of spinach

• 1/2 cup of mango

• 1/2 cup of pineapple

• 1 ripe banana

• 1 cup of water

Instruc­tions:

1. Place every­thing in a blender and blend on high until desired con­sis­tency is reached.

2. Enjoy!

Here’s to the com­ing of spring and to good health!

Oy Vegan!

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 Sakura taken in High Park, Toronto (Photo by Jamie Arfin, 2012)

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The Ethics of Research!

Just wanted to share this very inter­est­ing arti­cle on ani­mal test­ing fea­tured in The Times of Israel by Shamayim V’Aretz Insti­tute founder and CEO, Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz.

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Oy Vegan.

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Happy 2014!!!

Wish­ing you all a happy and healthy new year filled with excite­ment, love, bal­ance, com­pas­sion, and magic! The pics below were taken at Ele­phant Nature Park on my recent hon­ey­moon in Thai­land. It’s a beau­ti­ful ele­phant sanc­tu­ary just out­side Chi­ang Mai. I hope to share more about vegan Thai­land in the upcom­ing months. Here’s to less­en­ing the suf­fer­ing of our fel­low earth­lings in 2014!

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Oy Vegan!

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Chanukah party for the ages and Vegan Challah recipe!

Chag Samaech fel­low veJEWtarians!

I real­ize I haven’t writ­ten in a wee bit. This has to do with catch­ing up after hold­ing a vegan wed­ding, going on our hon­ey­moon and attempt­ing to get back into the rhythm of life once again amidst the hol­i­days. Yes, Chanukah was early this year. Tonight is the eighth and final night and as such I wanted to  share some of the high­lights from the past eight days includ­ing an awe­some Chanukah gath­er­ing we threw with a totally vegan menu. I’m also very excited to share a recipe for vegan chal­lah that I made and served at said bash. (It got a lot of compliments!)

Enjoy!

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The first and sec­ond nights were filled with prepa­ra­tion, menu plan­ning, and clean­ing lead­ing up to our big Chanukah weekend.

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The third night came and with it a spe­cial Chanukah gath­er­ing at our place. Plenty of wine was con­sumed, toasts made, drei­dals spun, and food gob­bled up!

The Menu

Vegan Latkes

Apple­sauce

Sour Cream

Steamed Green beans in gar­lic, chilli oil

Greens with creamy lemon vinaigrette

Vegan Chal­lah served with hum­mus and baba ghanoush

Cook­ies n’ Cream cup­cakes with but­ter­cream frosting

Because I was low on time, we pur­chased Earth Island’s Non-Dairy Soy Sour Cream. I usu­ally make my own from soaked cashews but I’m happy to report that Earth Island’s prod­uct was a really good sub­sti­tute. All the party-goers couldn’t tell the difference!

And now for the challah!

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Vegan Chal­lah

Makes 2 challahs

Adapted from Tante B’s recipe

Ingre­di­ents

• 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 (1/4 ounce) pack­ages dry yeast

• Egg replacer– equiv­i­lant of two eggs worth

• 1/2 cup veg­etable oil

• 1 table­spoon salt

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 2 cups warm water

Glaze
• Soy creamer

• poppy seeds (optional) or sesame seeds (optional)

Instruc­tions:

1. First mea­sure out all your ingredients.

2. Now from the 1/2 of cup sugar take 1 table­spoon of the sugar & com­bine it with the yeast and the warm water (you know you have the right tem­per­a­ture of warm water when it’s the same tem­per­a­ture as the inside of your wrist).

3. Keep your bowl in a warm place while the yeast dis­solves for 10 minutes.

4. After the yeast has dis­solved (it’s nice & foamy) add to it the rest of the sugar, salt & 3 1/2 cups flour. Mix well.

5. Add egg replacer & oil.

6. Slowly start mix­ing in most of the remain­ing 3 1/2 cups of flour. The dough will become quite thick.

7. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured sur­face& knead for approx­i­mately 10 minutes.

8. Add only enough addi­tional flour to make dough manageable.

9. Knead until dough has acquired a “life of its own”; it should be smooth & elas­tic, spring­ing back when pressed lightly with your fingertip.

10. Place dough into a large oiled bowl turn­ing the dough once so its oiled on all sides.

11. Cover with a damp tea towel & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punch­ing down in 4–5 places every 20 minutes.

12. Write down what time you started so you don’t for­get when the 2 hours are up & set a timer every 20 min­utes. Punch­ing down is fun!!

13. After the 2 hours, turn your dough onto your work­ing surface.

14. Now comes the form­ing part. I did the six braided method. Check out this video on how to braid a six strand challah!

15. Pre­pare your bak­ing sheet lin­ing it with parch­ment paper.

16. Pre­heat oven to 375°F.

17. Once braided, place on bak­ing sheet.

18. Now let the chal­lah rise for 1/2 an hour.

19. After the chal­lah has risen glaze gen­er­ously with soy creamer and sprin­kle with poppy or sesame seeds.

20. Put in pre­heated oven & let bake for exactly 25 minutes!

21. Turn off oven & leave Chal­lahs in for exactly another 10 minutes!

22. Enjoy!!!

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I made a sesame and pop­py­seed chal­lah with this recipe and they were both well received!

All in all, it was a magic-filled Chanukah sea­son. Please enjoy some other Chanukah pics!

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Wish­ing every­one a very happy Chanukah!

Oy Vegan!

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