“Aren’t you admitting you like meat?”

Project Meal Prep | Aren't you admitting you like meat?

Some people get confused / criticize why vegans and vegetarians eat fake meat. I can see where they are coming from. If we supposedly don’t like meat, why are we eating foods that try to emulate it?

Some people say that the fake meat we have today doesn’t taste much like real meat. Others say they do like meat but are just morally opposed to it, so they’ll settle for the alternative. I think I’m somewhere leaning toward the latter.

When I had the Impossible Burger — which everyone says tastes like meat and which I said I liked — one of my friends asked me “Aren’t you admitting that you like meat?

My answer was, Yes I do like the taste, but not if it’s real meat.

The difference is that when it’s real meat, I know in my mind that it used to be an animal, and not just plants that have been manipulated to taste like meat.

Here’s an analogy I can relate it to: Most people like cheese. If you smelled cheese, you’d be like “yum.”

Project Meal Prep | Aren't you admitting you like meat?

But…

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Project Meal Prep | Aren't you admitting you like meat?

Suddenly you’re grossed out, right?

Well, that’s how it is for me. Does this make sense? Let me know.

Where to eat vegan food in San Francisco

Project Meal Prep | Where to eat vegan in San Francisco

I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’m actually in the middle of moving from San Francisco to London! I quit my job on Friday so now I have more free time and I’m going to try to blog more regularly.

I thought it would be appropriate to write a post on all the restaurants I’ve been eating at over the years. Some of them are little more esoteric and wouldn’t show up in those typical “Top 5 vegan restaurants” lists.

Pork Store Cafe (Haight)

Project Meal Prep | Where to eat vegan in San Francisco

I eat here pretty often since I live closeby, and it’s a relatively popular breakfast place. There’s usually a short line in the morning. Despite the name of the restaurant, there are 2 “scrambled” tofu dishes that are vegan. One of them comes with spinach, mushrooms, and tomato and a side of hash browns. The hash browns are so crispy and good. I always ask them to add avocado too.

Peña Pachamama (North Beach / Russian Hill)

The one time I came here, they were setting up for a live band, which would have been cool if we stayed long enough to see them play. The menu seemed like it had half cooked vegan food and half raw vegan. My friend and I weren’t super hungry so we split the raw sampler, which was yummy. For dessert, we had a raw coconut cream pie and some mint tea. The pie was absolutely amazing and my mouth is watering as I’m thinking about it right now!

Haight Street Market (The Haight)

This grocery store has a deli section that sells prepared foods and sandwiches. I haven’t had any of the prepared food but some of it looks good. I tend to come here on Tuesdays when I’m not at work because of ~* double stamp Tuesdays *~ ! Basically, you can get 2 stamps on your HSM sandwich stamp card (instead of 1). After 8 stamps, you get a sandwich for free!

There are 2 sandwiches that I’m 99% sure are vegan. One is a spicy veggie with veganaise (in the pic above) and the other one is marinated tofu with Italian dressing. You get to choose your own bread and they make it right there in a few minutes.

Nourish Cafe (Inner Richmond)

Project Meal Prep | Where to eat vegan in San Francisco

This place is very tiny and only has 4 small tables inside, and a few outside, but the food is tasty and you can see everyone cooking in the kitchen. I ordered the “Tuna” salad (above) and an apple donut, and both were really good.

Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya (Mission)

Shizen is hands down my favorite restaurant. I’ve talked about it before on my birthday post. I’ve taken so many people there who were skeptical first at and thought it was just going to be raw vegetables but were actually extremely impressed. One of them said he liked it even more than normal sushi!!!

There is always a line, except the one time I went at 4:50pm on a Monday. There was still a line but I was seated right away because there were only a few people ahead of me. One thing you can do if you have to wait is go to a nearby bar or coffee shop. They take your phone number, so just be ready to hurry back when you get a text.

Jardiniere (Hayes Valley)

Project Meal Prep | Where to eat vegan in San Francisco

Jardiniere is a VERY fancy restaurant. I would definitely come here for a nice date. I think the Impossible Burger might be the only vegan thing on the menu. If you go, make sure to let them know you’re there for the burger (which is delicious). If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, read this blog post.Project Meal Prep | Where to eat vegan in San Francisco

Vegan Burg (Haight)

This is a “fast food” style burger place that has a healthy spin. You can even get broccoli and “hot dog pieces” as a side (instead of fries). If you have to eat alone, it’s great because the restaurant is so casual.

Hella Vegan Eats (food truck)

I haven’t been to this food truck in a while. I used to spot it sometimes at the Civic Center Farmer’s market. I feel like the menu changes a lot, and it’s always very rich and heavy (think fried!) but undeniably delicious.

Gracias Madre (Mission)

Gracias Madre is a vegan Mexican restaurant that has communal seating, so you are either at the bar or at a big table with strangers. It’s kind of nice if you don’t mind talking to other people. The menu is pretty extensive and it’s always busy.

Cha-ya (Mission)

It seems like all of the servers at Cha-ya are older Japanese ladies, which makes me wonder if it’s a family business. There’s quite a variety of food to choose from, ranging from, including sushi, soups, salads and rice bowls. My favorite thing to get is Dengaku (it’s broiled eggplant with this amazing miso sauce)!

Chang’s Kitchen (Inner Sunset)

This is one of the places I order delivery from the most. I grew up on Chinese food, which is mostly meat, so I love that I can have their fake meat dishes.

Om Indian Cuisine (Haight)

This is the other place I tend to order delivery from. I live nearby (technically I could walk there if I weren’t so lazy) so I feel like delivery is SO fast and the delivery people are always so friendly and happy. As with most places, they have an entire “vegetarian” section on the menu, and the vegan items are indicated too. My absolute favorite thing to get is Baigan Bharta, which is an eggplant dish (yes I love eggplant).

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I hope you enjoyed this post and can now eat your way through San Francisco 🙂 Don’t worry, you can burn the calories by walking up and down all the massive hills!

Eating the Impossible Burger

Project Meal Prep | Eating the Impossible Burger

Last night I went out on a mission to eat the Impossible Burger. Currently, they only serve it in 4 restaurants in the world. One’s in LA, one’s in NYC, and two are in San Francisco, where I live — lucky me!!

I chose to go to the restaurant called Jardiniere to get it. It’s a “4 dollar sign” restaurant (aka FANCY A. F.). The burger isn’t explicitly advertised being vegan or vegetarian. To me, this means they’re trying to target the more upscale, meat-eating diners.

I think targeting meat-eaters is the way to go in order to make this catch on. Targeting vegans and vegetarians would be like preaching to the choir.

Project Meal Prep | Eating the Impossible Burger

They have a limited supply of burgers so you have to get a ticket when they open at 5pm. I was actually the first person last night lol (ticket #1). They don’t start serving the burgers until 7:30pm, so I left and came back.

Project Meal Prep | Eating the Impossible Burger

There’s a menu for the burger, which comes with optional beverage pairings. I didn’t get one because I already ordered a cocktail while I was waiting (and I can’t drink that much).

The first burgers started coming out at 8pm, and I got mine at 8:15.

Project Meal Prep | Eating the Impossible Burger

The burger patty was exactly what I expected from what I read and saw on the Impossible Burger website, but I was still blown away at experiencing what food sorcery was done to create such a beef-like burger. The bun and all the toppings were also delicious!

The main ingredient that makes this burger so different is something called “heme“:

Heme contributes to the characteristic color and taste of meat, and it catalyzes all the other flavors when meat is cooked. Heme is exceptionally abundant in animal muscle — and it’s a basic building block of life in all organisms, including plants. We discovered how to take heme from plants and produce it using fermentation…

Project Meal Prep | Eating the Impossible Burger

I mean, it’s pink inside! Like an undercooked burger would be. The texture and flavor were not at all like any other veggie burger I’ve eaten.

Full Ingredient List:
Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (heme protein), Yeast Extract, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12.

I strongly believe that if you served this at a BBQ, no one would know it’s not meat. I wish I could buy it at the grocery store right now.

I’m so excited at getting the first taste of what I believe will be the future of meat. I truly think that in 10 years, mainstream meat products (as well as egg and dairy products) will not have once come from a living animal. Whether that’s lab-grown meat or whether we’re food sciencing the shit out of plants, I’m not sure. Either way, I’m thrilled that this is the future we’re heading toward.

My experience with using VeganEgg

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I saw VeganEgg at the grocery store a few weeks ago and was SO curious about it, so I picked one up. I thought it was funny how it came in an egg box considering there probably aren’t egg-shaped balls inside — or maybe there were? I had to know.

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Inside is actually a plastic bag with this yellow powder. I guess they wanted the box to be egg-shaped to help people associate it more closely with real eggs?

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The powder is composed mainly of something called Algal:

“Algal” simply means an ingredient is derived from algae. Whole algal flour and algal protein are plant-based ingredients, produced from native microalgae originally found in the Netherlands. This algal flour and protein naturally contain high levels of healthy lipids, carbohydrates, and micronutrients. These nutrient-dense microalgae also contain all essential amino acids and are a great source of dietary fiber.

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2 tablespoons of the VeganEgg powder + 1/2 cup of water is the equivalent of 1 egg.

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It actually smells like eggs, but with a much stronger egg smell. When I was baking with it, the batter smelled really egg-y and I was worried that the final baked product would still have the egg smell, but it actually went away.

I made pancakes, which turned out well, and I also made mini muffins, which did not cook all the way.

The muffin recipe called for 2 eggs, which meant 1 cup of water + 4 tablespoons of VeganEgg. The volume of liquid in 2 eggs is WAY LESS than 1 cup, so the batter was too liquidy and the muffins never cooked all the way through.

I learned afterward in a forum that you have to actually REDUCE the amount of water if you’re subbing for more than 1 egg.

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I also tried making scrambled eggs as suggested on the box. They didn’t really have a flavor but the texture was quite rubbery. I don’t know if I would eat it again by itself, although it seems like other people have had positive experiences.

Overall I think VeganEgg is a really neat invention and I’m going to continue experimenting with using it in baked goods now that I know what I was doing wrong.

Meal Prep Sunday | Project Meal Prep

On Monday night, I went to a knife skills class at Sur la Table, which is a cooking supply store.

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How Abbi on Broad City feels about Bed Bath and Beyond is how I feel about kitchen supply stores.

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Abbi dancing with an employee at Bed Bath and Beyond

Having been cooking for a few years now, I didn’t think I would learn as much as I did in this class. For example, my way of cutting bell peppers was so inefficient. I’m really glad I took that class, because I think I’m going to be able to chop fruits and veggies much faster (and safer) than before.

I used to not like eating oranges because the pith is sometimes really thick, but we learned how to cut oranges so that you just get the inside and now I love oranges.

We got a break in the middle to shop around the store and got a discount for being in the class, so I bought this apron that was in the sale section.

breakfast-muffins

Anyway, for breakfast this week I had the intention of having green smoothies, but in the middle of the week I decided I wanted something more substantial that I could chew. I found a recipe for these baked chocolate oatmeal breakfast muffins on Chocolate Covered Katie‘s website. They taste like dessert and are so yummy. I added coconut flakes to the recipe.

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If you saw my previous blog post, you’ll have seen a recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Sausage Pasta. That’s what I had for dinner. I used 2 squashes and that filled 4 large mason jars, and then I kept the sauce in a separate giant container. I thought it made a really good dinner, not too heavy but satisfying.

Halloween is upon us! I am planning to make some vegan treats for 2 parties that I’m going to. What are you planning on making??

Spaghetti Squash & Sausage Pasta Meal Prep Recipe

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We’re in the midst of ALL-PUMPKIN-EVERYTHING season, so what better time than now to post a recipe using spaghetti squash!

I like preparing squash by microwaving it first to soften it, because I don’t trust myself enough to cut through one without the knife slipping and accidentally stabbing myself.I’m not particularly weak or anything so I don’t know how other people cut through raw squashes.

Serves 4 (if you are really hungry) to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 package of Italian Field Roast sausages*, sliced into 1-inch coins
  • 2 T pesto
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • vegan cheese (optional topping)

Prepare the “noodles”:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

To make the squash easier to cut through, microwave each one at a time for 5 minutes each, turning them over halfway through.

Let them cool for 10 minutes, or until they are cool enough to handle.

At this point, the squashes should be soft enough that you can cut through them with a knife somewhat easily. If not, microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Cut each squash in half and place on two baking sheets, rind side down. Bake for 50 minutes.

Prepare the sauce:

In the meantime, sautée the sausage in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the tomato sauce and pesto, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a light simmer.

Assemble:

Once the squash is done, let them cool for 15-20 minutes, or until it’s cool enough to handle. Take a fork and scrape the flesh of the inside to get the spaghetti and collect in a large bowl. If the squash cooked all the way, you should be able to get everything all the way to the rind.

Mix some of the spaghetti “noodles” with the sauce, top with vegan cheese, and serve.

Stored separately, the sauce and noodles will keep in the fridge for 1 week.

* You could also use a package of vegan ground meat.

Meal Prep Sunday – Week of Oct 9

Meal Prep Sunday | Project Meal Prep

I just realized that I haven’t done a meal prep post in 2 months!

A few weeks ago I was on vacation in Vietnam and it took me a while to get settled back into my routine, but now I feel like I’m back to normal.

Here are two vegan dishes that I came across frequently while I was there, and that I really enjoyed:

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Morning glory greens
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Tofu with tomato sauce

The photo of the greens were taken at the family home of someone who was serving us a private dinner. It was really impressive and delicious!

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I also ate a lot of dragonfruit and had the opportunity to try mangosteen. It was delicious but I didn’t have a knife so eating it was kind of an ordeal.

On to what I made this week…

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This is a basic chia seed pudding made with almond milk. I made it on Sunday and left in the fridge without the fruits (pear, pineapple and strawberries), which I kept in a separate container. In my experience with overnight oats, for some reason they start to go bad if they’re mixed in. I didn’t have to add any sweetener because the pineapple was already sweet enough.

I found a blog called Vegan Miam that specializes in Asian vegan recipes, and lo and behold, they had a recipe for one of my favorite Chinese dishes, ma po tofu.

I went on a morning-long hunt for this spicy bean paste that’s important for the recipe, and it was very worth it (even though I accidentally bought one that was extremely spicy).

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Normally the dish is made with pork, but this recipe subs in seitan instead. I was sweating my ass off every time I ate this because of how spicy it was, but it’s so good.

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Bell pepper, cucumber, carrot peelings, cilantro, avocado, tofu, and mint.

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For dinner, I cut up some veggies and tofu in advance to make fresh spring rolls, not following a recipe. The last time I made fresh spring rolls, it took forever because I had to fry the tofu. This time, I just bought a package of already-marinated tofu and baked it for a few minutes.

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The last time I pre-rolled everything, I had to wrap each roll in damp paper towel to preserve the moistness of the rice paper, and the paper towel ended up sticking to the rice paper.

This time, I soaked the rice paper sheets and rolled them at dinnertime. It didn’t take that long because I wasn’t trying very hard to do a good job LOL. As long as I can pick it up and eat it, I don’t really care.

 

Tomorrow night, I’m going to a knife skills class at Sur La Table. The class was on sale so I paid half price, woohoo. I’m excited because I have the worst cutting skills and I’m surprised I haven’t cut off a finger yet. Have a good week 🙂