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.

Rustic Italian Soup

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Rustic Italian Soup ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“I was offered a free villa in Hollywood, but I said no thank you, I prefer to live in Italy.”Ennio Morricone

I love to make wholesome vegetable soups like this one to have for lunch throughout the week because they are chock full of energy-and-health-promoting vitamins and minerals. When you make soup yourself instead of buying it in cans you are eating fresher, more nutrient-dense foods and you know exactly what ingredients you are putting into that pot of soup. When you cook your soup from scratch you can ensure that it contains no industrial chemicals, pesticides, and weird food additives, and if you’ve made too much you can always freeze it for later. Here’s a great article called The Truth About Canned Soup, from Rodale News. I  realize that most people take advantage of the convenience of canned foods sometimes, myself included. I just try to cook from scratch as much as possible. It is also very economical to cook your own soups at home. It seriously costs pennies on the dollar compared to the canned stuff. Continue Reading »

Potato Tire Harvest

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Potato Tire Harvest ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”Marcus Tullius Cicero

I found the idea for planting potato tires in the excellent book The Urban Homestead, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. Their potato tire instructions are also available here.

Planting potato tires in your garden is great for a lot of reasons. For one, you are putting old tires to good use and keeping them out of the landfill. Secondly, you are growing some of your own food, which is a rewarding and educational experience. I didn’t even know what a potato plant looked like until I planted potatoes myself! Thirdly, potato tires allow you to grow a lot of potatoes in a small space. And finally, since you are planting the potatoes above ground in tires, when it comes time to harvest you won’t have to break your back digging into the ground to pick your potatoes. Instead, you can just pull off the topmost tire and sift through the soil to find your yummy taters.

This is a low-cost, low-maintenance project which can be undertaken almost anywhere with adequate sunlight. We hid our stack of tires in the hedges in our front yard… on a city street! We had a bountiful harvest from our single, three tire stack. We were able to make plenty of homemade, homegrown mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, and oven fries, and I must admit that these fresh potatoes were the best I’ve ever eaten.

Potato Fact: An Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from a single plant in 1974.

Summer’s Bounty Veggie Soup

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Summer's Bounty Veggie Soup ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.”Abraham Maslow

This wonderful, nutrient-dense soup is from Cookin’ Crunk by Bianca Phillips, page 70. I always get excited about cooking with okra because I haven’t done it much in the past. Now that summer is in full swing there is okra available at my local market, so I just had to make this soup, which contained pretty stars of sliced okra that made the soup nice and thick. We forget to get fresh corn (drat!) at the store so we substituted frozen shelled edamame, which worked out just fine. I will definitely be making this one again before summer’s end!

Okra Fact: Okra originated somewhere around Ethiopia, and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians by the 12th century B.C.

Tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine

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Tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”Epictetus

We slow-cooked this sweetly-savory recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester (page 123) to perfection, and served it alongside wild rice and braised yellow chard. I love pretty much anything cooked with alcohol and this port-imbibed dish is no exception. This is one of my very favorite entrees. It is grain, wheat, and gluten-free, a cinch to prepare, and mouthwateringly delicious.

Fig Fact: Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into itself. The seeds are drupes or the real fruit. Crazy!