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Peace Meal Supper Club #16: Unbound

Peace Meal Supper Club #16: Unbound celebrates the efforts of women worldwide who are working for the benefit of animals. Scientists, psychologists, educators, demonstrators, organizers–these dedicated individuals are helping erase the distinctions between us-and-them, between human and non-human, between kindness-for-one versus kindness-for-all. It is a big order to fill.

The title “Unbound” is in reference to the Unbound Project, a multimedia and book project by acclaimed photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur (We Animals, The Ghosts in Our Machine) and Dr. Keri Cronin (Department of Visual Arts, Brock University). It is a worthy project for PMSC to support, so this edition of PMSC will be on-the-road, in St. Catherines, ON. As usual, diners will pay as they wish on a sliding scale, and those funds will be used to give the Unbound Project an early lift.

The menu will focus on four women in particular:

Patty Mark is an Australian activist and the founder of Animal Liberation Victoria. She is also credited with being the originator of “open rescues,” a form of direct action in which animals are removed from harmful and exploitative situations by activists who do not conceal either their actions or identities.

Lek Chailert is the founder of the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for elephants in Thailand. She is also the founder of Save Elephant Foundation, an organization dedicated to ”providing care and assistance to Thailand’s captive elephant population through a multifaceted approach involving local community outreach, rescue and rehabilitation programs, and educational ecotourism operations.” There have been numerous documentary films made about Chailert’s work. In 2005, Time magazine named her “Asian Hero of the Year.”

Dr. Aysha Akhtar is a neurologist and public health specialist whose work explores and explains the connections that exist between human health and the wellbeing of animals. Her book, Animals and Public Health, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.

Anita Krajnc is the co-founder of Toronto Pig Save. She has recently made international headlines for giving water to thirsty pigs on a slaughter truck during a Toronto Pig Save protest in the summer of 2015. She is facing criminal charges. Her trial date is set for August 2016.

Course 1:
Pikelet ~ Ginger Pumpkin Dumpling ~ Macadamia Cream Sauce

Course 2:
Tom Kha ~ Lemongrass-Smoked Tofu

Course 3:
Cape Cod Croquette ~ Lemon Basmati Rice ~ Winter Ratatouille ~ Sauce Verte

Course 4:
Lemon Cheesecake ~ Raspberry Coulis ~ Brownie Crumble

To learn more about the project, and the four women being featured on this PMSC menu, please visit the Unbound Project. It is only fitting that Jo and Keri speak to you without my being an intermediary.

Update, 1/26/16: Jo and Keri have included Peace Meal Supper Club #16: Unbound in the Field Notes for their project. It’s a lovely review with photos of the food, the people, the fun:
http://www.unboundproject.org/field-notes/peace-meal-supper-club-unbound

Here are a few photos, most courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur herself.

Happy Holidays, 2011

I just finished teaching a workshop focused on happy & healthy eating for the holidays. This workshop featured recipes which I developed specifically for this year’s holidays, along with nutritional instruction from Donnalynn Civello. You might enjoy these for your own holiday celebration.

Why not welcome your guests with a nice Vanilla Bean Holiday Nog? This egg & dairy free rendition is rich with memory and celebration.

When it’s time for the meal, offer your friends and family this fabulous main course: Chorizo Stuffed Kale Leaves, Quinoa Stuffing, and Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole. The Pumpkin & Hemp Seed Pesto is a tasty and concentrated accompaniment to each item on the main plate, so put a generous dab so your guests can have a little in each bite.

Follow the main course with a bit of Spiced Apple Cider, paired with some nice Molasses Spice Cookies. Or perhaps a decadent Pecan Tart?

If your guests are staying overnight, consider a late breakfast of Baked Oatmeal, with Orange Creme Anglaise and Cranberry Compote.

Happy Holidays!

 

Vanilla Bean Holiday Nog
Yields: 4 Servings

1 quart almond milk
1 cup coconut-based vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 banana
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3 tablespoons dark rum, optional

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend till completely smooth.

Serve with dusting of nutmeg, cinnamon, or cardamom.

 

Chorizo Stuffed Kale Leaves
Yields: 4 Servings

1/2 pound tempeh
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 kale leaves

Crumble tempeh in large bowl. Add fennel seed, smoked paprika, ground cumin, cayenne, sea salt, and tamari. Mix well.

Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and tempeh, and sauté until tempeh has lightly browned. Remove from heat.

Carefully trim kale leaves so that they can be rolled around filling. Add 1/2 to 1/3 cup of tempeh to a kale leaf, and roll lengthwise.

Place filled leaves in a steaming basket. Steam for 6 to 10 minutes. Serve while still hot.

 

Pumpkin and Hemp Seed Pesto
Yields: 1 cup

3/4 cup pumpkin seed, raw or toasted
1/4 cup hemp seed
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place pumpkin seeds into a food processor. Process briefly to break down the seeds.

Add remaining ingredients, and process into smooth uniform mixture.

 

Quinoa Stuffing
Yields: 4 Servings

1/2 cup pecans
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sage
5 dried figs, diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat oven to 350°.

Toast pecans in oven for 15 minutes. Chop and set aside.

Bring water or stock to boil, add quinoa, then lower to simmer. Simmer for 12 minutes, or until quinoa is done. Drain excess water and set aside.

Warm olive oil in heavy-bottomed sauté pan. Add mushroom, onion, celery, garlic, rosemary, oregano, and sage. Sauté until onions are beginning to caramelize.

Add figs, pecans, sea salt, and thyme. Mix thoroughly and sauté for 3 minutes more.

Turn off heat and thoroughly mix in quinoa.

 

Roasted Sweet Potato Casserole
Yields: 4 Servings

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Heat the oven to 450°.

Roast sweet potatoes for 40 minutes, or until soft. Remove, let cool, and take off peel. Mash to a uniformly smooth consistency.

Reduce oven to 375°.

Whisk together the cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, vanilla, orange juice, and sea salt. Mix into the sweet potatoes.

Lightly oil a 9×9” baking pan. Fill with the sweet potato mixture.

Mix together the maple syrup and walnuts. Spread over the top of the sweet potatoes.

Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes.

 

Spiced Apple Cider
Yields: 4 Servings

1 quart apple cider
2 sticks cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole clove
1 inch ginger, sliced thinly

Place all ingredients into heavy-bottomed soup pot, and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.

Strain and serve warm.

 

Molasses Spice Cookies
Yields: 2 Dozen

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup olive oil
3/8 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Form quarter-sized rounds of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool completely.

 

Pecan Tart
Yields: 1 10″ tart

1 10″ pie crust, pre-baked
2 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup rice syrup
1 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons flax meal
1/4 cup arrowroot, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
Heat oven to 350°.

Toast pecans in oven for 15 minutes.

In heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine maple syrup, rice syrup, soy milk, vanilla, and sea salt. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring often.

Vigorously whisk in the ground flax meal and dissolved arrowroot.

In large bowl, combine syrup mixture with pecans, and stir thoroughly.

Pour into pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°, or until bubbly and browned.

Let cool thoroughly before slicing.

 

Baked Oatmeal
Yields: 8 Servings

3 tablespoons flax meal
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup goji berries
1/2 cup tart cherries

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 9×9″ cake pan or individual ramekins.

Mix together the flax meal and water. Set aside for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and sea salt.

In another small mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and almond milk until combined. Add the soaking flax meal and stir to incorporate.

Add the liquids to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Fold in the fruit.

Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow the oatmeal to cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Can also add orange or lemon zest, dried apricots, figs, or fresh berries.

 

Orange Crème Anglaise
Yields: 1 cup

1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 pinch turmeric
1 tablespoon agave nectar, optional
2 tablespoons arrowroot

Combine first six ingredients in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk arrowroot into an equal amount of water. Whisk this mixture into simmering milk. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Refrigerate and let cool completely prior to use.

 

Cranberry Compote
Yields: 6 Servings

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup raisins
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 pinch sea salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

Place orange juice, raisins, cinnamon stick, maple syrup, and sea salt in a saucepan over low heat.

Simmer slowly till reduced by half.

Add cranberries and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until liquid is thick and syrupy.

Cool before serving.

My Neighbor, The Stapler

My neighbor, The Stapler, is one of my favorite people here in New York.

She’s as unassuming and uncontrived as one can be. Her considerable intelligence is apparent to those who wish to engage in conversation, but it’s not flaunted needlessly. Her compassion is deep, her connection to animals is unfathomable.

I’ve seen her laugh till she cried. She’s had me laughing just as hard. We have given each other the gift of being ourselves, devoid of agenda and politics and motives. We have a way of simply ‘being’ when we happen to be in the same room.

Thanks to her, I had the unique experience of giving homeopathic remedies to a chicken using chopsticks. I held that same chicken while The Stapler fed her with a tube. Not the most pleasant experience for the poor hen, but it kept her alive.

I helped The Stapler bring in a lamb that had been injured, so that it could spend a warm night indoors. The lamb and we shared a salad from my garden, a communion to which I will return over and over again, drawing out its fuller meaning as I am able to comprehend it.

She and I made a trip to Brooklyn this past autumn, and shared the horrific experience known as kapparot, both of us feeling the juggernaut of cultural momentum behind institutionalized abuse and slaughter. It is accurate to say that this experience has enriched my life also, as it has helped me understand the scope of what we are trying to do—and will serve as a reminder to set reasonable expectations for progress.

These and other experiences–from taking in a convalescing doe and her bunnies to trying to save a possum that we had tragically struck in the road—have expanded my life. That Stapler has been integral in each of them.

I came to this sanctuary to peacefully do my work. I was happy to put my energy into something as compassionate as teaching people how to eat without the use of factory-farmed animal products. I knew I would learn a lot of things just by being here, and that has proven to be true.

The things I’ve learned from The Stapler come in such gentle ways. They are subtly offered, innocuously hidden in phone calls: “Hey, Kevin, can you help me take Jimmy to the vet?”

The answer to that was “yes,” as will be my response to all similar questions. When I open myself to the opportunities she presents, I open myself to learning from her depth.

Look for these and other exciting staplers at your local retail outlet.

Lorraine

Lorraine came to live with me 2 weeks ago, having been brought here by a mutual friend. She’d injured herself trying to start a fight, as she had done several times before, and it seemed like she just needed a safe place to convalesce. So I let her move in. Perhaps hanging out in a warm kitchen, with good food and mellow company would help her mend not only her bruises but also her fighting ways.

She’s been great company right from the start. We cohabitate well, and not once has she tried anything with me. I don’t expect her to: she doesn’t have issues with men. Her issues are all female-based. I know better than to get in to the middle of all that. She knows where the problem is. She doesn’t need me getting on her case about it.

Sure, I have encouraged her to be nice, but that’s all. I don’t make a big deal of it. She came here to heal, so my words to her are of that nature. The bellicosity in her blood needs serious therapy, not well-intentioned rambling from me.

We have greeted each other first thing every morning, politely, warmly, even affectionately. We have signed off each night the same way, as I pass her bed on the way to mine. I make sure she is comfortable, and that all her needs have been met, and then say goodnight. Half asleep already, she’ll mumble the same to me.

Between “good morning” and “good night” there is a lot of activity. As I work in the kitchen, she’ll be right there watching me, wanting to help, but not sure what to do. She follows me if I leave the room, and stays near the work island if she knows I am coming back. Her curiosity has taken her all around my work and life. Needless to say, we have bonded in just a matter of days.

We have talked a lot. She can chatter non-stop at times, getting things off her chest, needing me only to listen. I have chimed in with a word or two when she’s been open for it, but mostly I’ll just nod or gave quiet assent.

Trouble came a few days after she moved in. For some reason we still don’t understand, her right leg stopped functioning. I first noticed it when she was sitting awkwardly. She tried to cover it up, but there was no way she could control that leg, and it just splayed out so very un-lady-like. It looked a bit comical, but this wasn’t something one should laugh about. It was obvious there was a problem.

Our mutual friend Abbie, being more familiar with medical matters than I, took her to the doctor a time or two for tests and observation. At this point, we still don’t have an answer.

And as we’ve waited, her condition has worsened.

She was able to limp around with some agility the first few days. Her curiosity was still high, and she expressed the same interest in my work. But there was a sudden deterioration a few days later, and then another.

On a day or two, I’ve taken her to the garden with me while I worked there. How she has enjoyed that! Even with the pain of her debilitation, she would play and dig with gusto in the beds. As I watched her the first time, I saw what an extraordinary being she really is. Beneath all that domestication, underneath all that careful and targeted breeding which produced her line of fighting chickens, down in her heart and soul she longs to be back in the jungles of India. She scratched and flitted her way through one bed, then the next, then another, catching worms and bugs and nibbling on tomato leaves. With temporarily renewed vigor, she became a flaming streak of burnt orange, shooting across the path, through the drainage ditch, and over to the defunct potato tower. More crickets and mealworms!

Lorraine in Greenhouse
Lorraine in Greenhouse

She rested for a while there, then wandered back over to where I was working. The fresh air and natural foods gave her the ability to be her social self again, and we chatted as I finished clearing the beds. She napped again in some tall grass, then I tucked her under my arm for the walk back up to the house.

Today, I noticed another bothersome development: her left leg is now showing signs of dysfunction, and her overall strength is failing. Her chipper voice has given way to what can best be described as resigned sighs. I fear she might be gone soon. But I am happy, extremely happy, that we’ve had time together. She had a warm place to rest and heal, and as the weather turns colder I realize just how deep a blessing this must be for her.

Not to mention a blessing for me, too. I stated earlier that we bonded, and I wasn’t just saying that. We’ve truly enjoyed being around each other. She followed me around the house because she really wanted to be where I was. She really knew when I was leaving the room for a while—in which case she’d follow me—or if I were leaving for only a moment—in which case she’d wait for my return. She didn’t just casually watch me as I worked. She was attentive.

I learned her vocabulary pretty quickly, those unique sounds for “I’m hungry,” and “I need to get out of the pen now,” and “Can you put me back into the pen?” Lots of “Hey, watcha doin’?” and funny sounds that would equate to the human “Yikes!” And she has various ways of chirping her delight.

She has always said “hello” every time I’ve passed by, and I have done the same. And now, sadly, “hello” is more frequently replaced by “Can you help me?” The last few days, her requests have become more frequent, and convey such thoughts as, “Please move me. I’ve relieved myself but can’t get away from it.”

Her balance is gone now, and she flounders just moving across her pen to get a drink. I know she is saddened by her loss of elegance. Truly, she has been such a gorgeous and elegant bird. She still preens, trying to keep herself together the best that she can. She’s going with dignity and the closeness of concerned friends.

The last couple of evenings, I’ve made it a point to have dinner right next to her. I’ve talked to her and told her how beautiful she is, and what a great spirit she has. She’s chirped back as best she can. Her “hello” as I pass by has lost its strength, but not its depth.

As I put her to bed this evening, I told her once again that it’s been such a pleasure getting to know her. I thanked her for her trust in me. She replied in kind.

Lorraine is asleep now, and I will be soon.

I’ll listen for her soft “hello” in the morning, but I must be willing to accept silence.