Kale: King of the Leafy Greens?

November 25, 2006

In the kingdom of leafy green vegetables who reigns supreme? To answer this important question I researched the nutritional properties of the six most regal leafy greens: kale, collard greens, mustard greens, swiss chard, spinach, and romaine lettuce. While spinach ranks first for calcium content at one quarter of recommended daily value per cup (RDV/C), with collard greens a close second, kale dominates in terms of vitamin K with a whopping 1,327.6% RDV/C!1

In honour of King Kale,2 I present a simple but satisfying recipe: Steam a bunch of kale and dress with garlic sautéed in canola oil, and capers and lemon juice. As with all great art, the secret is in the proportions: there should be a subtle hint of caper, lemon, and garlic in each bite.


Next installment in this series: The Joy of Nutritional Yeast Flakes

2 Admittedly an inappropriately patriarchal moniker, but necessary for the visual and aural alliteration that is sooo irresistible.


Restaurant Review: Vegetarian Haven

November 24, 2006

Nestled within Toronto’s restaurant intensive Baldwin Street, Vegetarian Haven serves a delicious and nutritious vegan lunch and dinner. Over a recent lunch, I had the ‘souper dumpling’ dish, a large bowl of soup with tofu-filled dumplings, mushrooms, and bok choy ($8.99). My co-author went for the “sizzling seitan steak” ($10.50, and yes, it actually sizzles upon arrival), which he described bluntly as “excellent”. This restaurant’s specialty is certainly seitan, which is luxuriously soft. For those with a sweet tooth, their berry pies (I’d go blueberry) are a wonderful ending (or beginning) to a night on the town.

therecreationalvegan rates this restaurant ‘great’. In terms of value for money (VfM), dishes are packed with food. This is especially true for the daily specials, which are shown to customers upon introduction. Fruit is often integrated into the meal, which we find doesn’t happen often enough. Ambiencely speaking, the restaurant looks beautiful, but not pretentious – “a table for one please” is perfectly acceptable.

Rankings (out of 5 avocados):

Deliciousness: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif

VfM: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpg

Fruit in meal: Yes

Ambience: avocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_full.jpgavocado_half.gif

Vegetarian Haven, 17 Baldwin St. Vegan, although milk is, in addition to soy milk, offered with coffee. Average main $11. Complete dinners for about $20. Unlicensed.

Coming soon on therecreationalvegan

November 24, 2006

We are very excited to let you know what’s on the horizon (next month or so) for this blog.

  • Consensual sex is definitely vegan, but what about condoms? Our guest vegan sex columnist explores…
  • therecreationalvegan is expanding to include a travel section! The authors are travelling, and will provide vegan-related commentary from across the globe. vegetarian95 is heading to Vancouver, while therecreationalvegan goes to Shanghai and Beijing.
  • More Toronto restaurant reviews!

Self-sufficiency: Part I

November 22, 2006

Bird flu, SARS, terrorist attack, aggressive campaign by the eggplant industry to destroy its competition – there are any number of possible scenarios which could result in a temporary vegan food shortage in Toronto. Chaos would likely ensue, leaving herbivores everywhere to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, in a dog eat dog world, the recreational vegan will not fare well.

That is why in this two part series the authors discuss how they are preparing. Today we discuss the lemon orchard being grown in Vegetable95’s apartment.

Lemon trees are a good choice as they are easy to grow (just put the seeds of a lemon in some dirt, keep the dirt moist, and give them plenty of light) and willLemon trees allow you to avoid the ravages of scurvy in a famine. Depending on the average age of the trees in your orchard, you should have enough lemons for yourself, or a large portion of Toronto (citrus limon can reach 10 to 20 feet in height according to this). QSB estimates suggest that vegetable95’s orchard should produce an average annual yield sufficient to feed himself and a few others in 8 to 22 years, if current trends continue. (note: estimates are not based on fact) And they look nice in the apartment too.

Squirrel hair… makeup brushes?

November 22, 2006

I didn’t think I’d ever post a fashion related comment on this blog, but here it goes. I was dragged into the makeup store Sephora on the weekend, and stumbled upon squirrel hair makeup brushes. Apparently, “the super soft squirrel-hair bristles distribute powder perfectly“. To quote my co-author,definitely not vegan‘. Now, I have heard of pony hair brushes, but never squirrel. This raises two questions in my mind: (1) Is there a squirrel farm out there?; and (2) Ethically speaking, is this better, worse or the same as using pony hair? I will definitely be exploring the speciesism issue more.

[Picture forthcoming]

So if eggplant isn’t useful, can I still order 668’s #91?

November 16, 2006

My co-author recently posted an article with a comprehensive argument that eggplant does not provide any nutritious value at all. I buy the argument, and as a member of the QSB will continue this important research. But I refuse to let that stop me from ordering Cafe 668’s delicious fried eggplant with black bean sauce. It may be the best eggplant dish in Toronto (yes, I said that) and makes wonderful company to the restaurant’s tofu and soup items.

Eggplants fried with black bean sauce and thai basil, $9.99 at Cafe 668. 668 Dundas, west of Spadina.

Debunking the Eggplant Myth

November 16, 2006

New converts to veganism need to be very conscious of the nutritional content of what they eat. Every vegan who fails to eat properly provides fuel for annoying anecdotes told by skeptical carnivores. These anecdotes vary with each telling, but usually sound something like this:

“You’re vegan? I knew a vegan once. She became very ill and her doctor told her to eat meat. Once she did, she felt much better. How do you get enough protein?”

To prevent myself from contributing to stories like this, which grate on the ears of healthy vegans everywhere, I am embarking on a continuing series of nutrition related posts. Today’s topic: Eggplant – do we really need it?

An informal survey conducted by The Recreational Vegan’s Quantitative Strategies Branch (QSB) suggests that many Torontonians believe that eggplant is a good source of nutrients. I contacted (read googled eggplant nutrients and found an article edited by) Jaime Ackerman, registered dietician and nutrition associate for Ohio State University Extension in the College of Human Ecology. What I found will shock many readers: eggplant is mostly water and does not contain a significant source of any nutrient.

Conclusion: it appears that many Torontonians have fallen victim to the marketing ploys of the eggplant industry. Eggplant – do we need it? No.

Next installment in this series: Kale – King of the Leafy Greens?