Wasabi Plant Burger at The Plant Cafe

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Wasabi Burger at The Plant Cafe ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Yes, a cheeseburger and fries is probably my favourite meal. But I don’t eat ground beef anymore.”Eric Schlosser

Once in a while we actually go out to eat, ha ha! One of my favorite spots in San Francisco is The Plant Cafe. 99% of what they serve is organically-grown, and most items on the menu are vegan or can be made vegan. The Plant makes a really great veggie burger called, appropriately, the Plant Burger. Here’s a description of the Plant Burger from The Plant’s menu:

Plant Burger - Served with sides of mixed greens, roasted potatoes & pickles. All Plant burgers are topped with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato & vegan aioli on your choice of focaccia, whole wheat sourdough, or a bun. Patties are made in-house from lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews & bulgar wheat.

I always order the Wasabi Plant Burger, which is topped with wasabi raspberry aioli and sauerkraut. Usually I order it on focaccia but I forgot this time and so it arrived on wholewheat sourdough, which was actually just as good. I enjoyed this with a Blue Bottle soy latte.

Hamburger Fact: The hamburger “debuted” in the US at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sweet and Sour Smoked Tofu

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Sweet and Sour Smoked Tofu ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” — Chinese Proverb

I loooove good Chinese food and this Sweet and Sour Smoked Tofu recipe From Kathy Hester’s wonderful cookbook The Vegan Slow Cooker (page 118) delivered.

Brimming with smoky tofu, pineapple, bell peppers, onion, broccoli, and a thick sweet and sour glaze, this was just right for lunches this week. It was delicious served over brown rice.

Sweet and Sour Pork Fact: Sweet and Sour Pork originated in Canton in the 1700s. Why not try this smoked tofu version instead? It’s saturated fat and cholesterol-free, and pig-friendly. ;)

Baked Beet and Carrot Latkes

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Baked Beet and Carrot Latkes ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.” — Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

These savory little root vegetable latkes are from Annie & Dan Shannon’s Betty Goes Vegan, page 466. These were easy to prepare and ever so tasty. Made using beets, carrots, potatoes, and onions these are baked, not fried like latkes are typically prepared, which makes them that much healthier. We served them with Sour Dressing from Vegan Deli by Joanne Stepaniak, page 123, and a chopped chive garnish.

Latke Fact: The word “latke” itself is derived (via Yiddish) from the Russian/Ukrainian word латка meaning “patch.”

Purple Passion Fruit

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Passion Fruit ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Sometimes you’ve just got to grab an apple – or grapes, or strawberries. Something that’s healthy but maybe a little bit more adventurous, if you can see fruit as adventurous.”LL Cool J

When I found some beautiful, fragrant purple passion fruits at my local grocery store I just had to try them. I’ve never eaten passion fruit before and the smell was intoxicating, like perfumed fruit punch. I later learned that they smelled of Kool-Aid to me because passion fruit is often used in juice mixes to enhance their aroma.

I had no idea what these little gems were going to look like when I cut them open, and boy was I was surprised by what I found. The peels are full of orange gel-encased seeds. To eat passion fruit, you scoop the seeds out with a spoon (leaving the white rind behind) and swallow them whole. Apparently this is because the seeds are bitter when chewed. Although sweet-smelling, these were surprisingly tart. This wasn’t a bad thing though, as they tasted magical and marvelous!

If you think passion fruit is interesting-looking, check out passion flowers!

Homegrown Baked Potato Bar

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Baked Potato Bar ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”A.A. Milne

Maybe it has something to do with my Irish roots, but I LOVE potatoes! My husband Keith and I decided to put our homegrown red potatoes to the test via a vegan baked potato bar, and they definitely passed!

We baked our potatoes, broiled some Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds on top and added dairy-free butter, roasted broccoli, fried smoky tempeh bacon, ground black pepper, and my favorite sour cream substitute, Joanne Stepaniak’s Sour Dressing recipe from Vegan Deli, page 123.

Keith claimed he’d already had more than his share of baked potatoes during his college years, since as a vegetarian that’s about all he had to choose from at his school’s cafeteria, but he couldn’t get enough of our baked potato bar!

Potato Facts: The potato is was first domesticated by the Andeans of South America at around 500 B.C., and the Inca grew thousands of varieties of potatoes.