PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook comes in. It's got 275 recipes. Click here to buy it.



peta vegan cookbookDescription

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook
Chock-full of vegan recipes that don't require mad cooking skills, much less a stove, PETA's Vegan College Cookbook: 275 Easy, Cheap, and Delicious Recipes to Keep You Vegan at School is guaranteed to help even the most culinary-impaired students whip up delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, desserts, dips, sauces, drinks, dressings, sandwiches, salads, soups, and snacks. Written in a clever, upbeat style, recipes include Butt Ugly Sticky Buns, Hangover Helper, Tofu or Not Tofu-That Is the Sandwich, WTF Wings?, Frozen Frat Balls, Late Night at the Liberry Soy Smoothie, and many more. And the best part is that the most complicated kitchenware you'll ever need is a microwave!

A cookbook that makes it easy for both seasoned vegetarians and newbies to live vegan while keeping up with their classes, PETA's Vegan College Cookbook also features a foreword by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, a crash course in what vegans eat, a cheat sheet that lists all the "cheat" meats and egg and dairy alternatives you could ever want-as well as where to find them-and tips on how to stock your kitchen on the cheap.
336 pages, paperback.

Click here to buy the PETA cookbook.


Vegan Chocolate

vegan chocolateI received an proposal to review a new cookbook -- Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan. The publisher will be sending us an advanced copy to review. But if the teaser images that they sent to us are any indication as to how good these recipes are....  WOW!  Just look at the book's cover. Yum!

The publisher's blurb is as follows:

Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, either full- or part-time vegan eating can include rich, sinful-tasting, and delicious chocolate desserts.

In Vegan Chocolate, you will find better-for-you interpretations of 120 favorite chocolate desserts: flavored chocolate truffles, Brooklyn Blackout Layer Cake, Éclairs, White and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake, Black-Bottom Cupcakes, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Mocha Crème Brûlée, Brownie Crumble Ice Cream, and even Moon Pies made with homemade vegan grahams. All of the recipes are plant-based, some are gluten-free and some are raw, but every single one is absolutely chocolate and made with quality, easily sourced ingredients, without dairy, eggs, and white sugar.

If you aren't familiar with Ms. Costigan, here's a mini-bio from the publisher:

An internationally known culinary instructor, recipe developer, and pastry chef, Fran Costigan is the author of two previous cookbooks, and a graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute. She has been a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan kitchens and teaches courses like Vegan Baking Bootcamp Intensive ® across the country and throughout Europe.

After I get the book, Jane and I will review it. I'm sure Jane will be making several (if not all) of the recipes in the book to try them out. The book is slated to be released until October 2013. If you want to order it in advance, here's a link to Amazon.

Mark Bittman VB6

mark bittman v6 vegan before 6My wife loves Mark Bittman. She has all of his books; reads all of his articles; watches him on TV, etc. If I didn't know better.... never mind....

If you aren't familiar with Mr. Bittman, he is a food writer for the New York Times. He has written several books which we have discussed in the past. If you are interested, there are links to a couple of articles about Mr. Bittman here and here.

He has a new book out called VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … for Good. As the title suggests, it's about eating like a vegan all day, before dinner and then allowing yourself to incorporate animal products into your dinner meal.

If you are interested in buying the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.


Below is an article from the Huffington Post detailing this:

VB6 Was, Literally, What The Doctor Ordered

I was 57, which you know, happens to everyone who is lucky enough to live to be 57 and I was 40 pounds overweight, my cholesterol was 50 points higher than it should have been and my blood sugar was high. I had a conventional doctor who wanted to do things via surgery and drugs and then I went and saw this older guy, who's not very conventional, but is very smart, who I’ve known for a long time and I said, "Here’s the numbers, what should I do?"

He said: "You should become a vegan."

And I said, "You know what I do for a living, I’m not going to become a vegan" and he said, "You’re a smart guy, figure something out."

So I thought, okay, I’m not going to become a vegan, so what can I do to have a more plant-based diet and what can I do to get the discipline I need to execute that? Because anyone can say, Oh, I’m going to eat less crap, I’m going to eat more fruits and vegetables, I’m going to eat less processed foods, less animal products, blah, blah. Anyone can say that, but how do you get it done?

So I thought, you know what? I don’t have the discipline to become a vegan. I don’t even want to become a vegan. Suppose I impose this rule that I’m vegan until dinner time? So I started to do this. And I have a very close collaborator and I told her about it and she said, “That sounds awesome, I’m going to do that too."

Why 'Before 6?' Because It's More Social

There is no science to the "before 6" part. The science is more plants; the strategy is VB6, so why dinner? The answer is: because we like to have fun at night. It’s completely pragmatic. If I say to you, I want you to eat all your protein in the morning -- all your carbs, I want you to have pasta with carbonara at 7 am, I want you to get all that stuff out of the way and then I want you to eat fruits and vegetables for the rest of the day, what happens when you go out at night with your friends? A) you’re going to have a drink, which means your willpower is already shot. And B) your friends are going to start teasing you, which means you’ll say "Ok, fine, I’ll have a hamburger." Whereas now, you’re going out with your friends and eating and drinking like normal, or you’re home with your family and eating and drinking normally. It just makes sense to me. And if I’m wrong, we’ll know it. The book will tank, people will say I’m an idiot.

It Really Worked!

My collaborator and I were pretty strict. We eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. That’s what we eat during the day. No white bread, no white rice, no animal products and no junk food.

She started calling it VB6, which I thought was very funny. And we kept doing it and it wasn’t hard. It really wasn’t difficult, because the thing is: It’s sort of like fasting -- anyone can fast for a day. On the other hand, I got to eat as much as I wanted. So sometimes I’d find myself in a really hungry place and I’d eat two bananas or three apples. And then every night, I was eating whatever I wanted for dinner. As it happened, over the months, I found that my dinners were getting more moderate. I just generally eat less than I used to.

So, after some number of weeks doing VB6, I weighed myself and I’d lost 15 pounds. And I thought, "Well that’s pretty good." I mean, 15 pounds! So, I just kept doing it. And then I waited another month or six weeks and I’d lost 30 pounds. And I thought, "this is ridiculous, this is really great." And then I lost another five pounds.

I’ve gained some of that back. So I’d lost originally 36 pounds and I’ve gained 10 of that back, but this is over six years. So, I think that now, I just eat less because my body is kind of defending this new weight, which is much lower. I mean, I was over 210 and now I’m below 190.

People Compare VB6 To 'The 5:2 Diet' For Good Reason

It’s the rules! All of these things are strategies for executing this one thing: You gotta be disciplined some of the time. We know what the science is, we have to move more toward a plant-based diet. And that’s the point, so of course I want to sell books, but whatever strategy works for you -- whether it’s VB6 or 5:2 or whatever. I happen to think this is easier because every day you get your meal that is completely satisfying to you.

Cheating Is Okay

I cheat all the time -- I didn’t cheat today. I should say: I cheat every day because I put half and half in my coffee or I start the day with a cappuccino.  I’ll go out and have pizza for lunch with the office. Or if I go visit my parents, I’ll have bagels and lox with them.

There’s a lot of room for cheating involved here. I really mean this: The idea is to change the proportion of stuff in your diet. How much you change it is up to you: VB6 will change it by 60 to 70 percent, which is a LOT. But if you change it by 20 or 30 percent or you do VB6 for 6 days a week and the seventh, you don’t do it, who cares? You’re going to know if it’s working --- you’re going to know if you’re cheating too much, if nothing changes in your body and you thought it would, you’re probably cheating too much. If you do the VB6 thing, you’ll be eating fewer calories because you’ll be eating less calorie-dense food. And that means you’ll lose weight.

We Should Think Of Dieting Like We Think Of Exercise

Exercise is an important comparison because if you’re an exerciser and you go through a period of a week or two where you don’t exercise, you go back to it. You don’t say I’ve become a non-exerciser -- you just go back to it! And VB6 or any other discipline like this has to be the same thing. You can be VB6 for a month, two months or three months and then you can have a week where all hell breaks loose and things fall apart. Why would you say, I’m done? I failed? You haven’t failed -- you took a week off, big deal! It’s just not that big a deal.

I often fail to run for two weeks at a time in the winter. It doesn’t make me not a runner, it makes me someone who is not running right then. The diet thing is the same: I failed to eat VB6 say a day a week, it doesn’t mean I’m not doing it, it just means I didn’t do it.


Again, if you are interested in buying the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.


Betty Goes Vegan

A few months ago we were offered a copy of Betty Goes Vegan for review purposes.  Jane agreed to cook up three recipes and we'd review them. In the meantime, we've suffered a series of unfortunate events, including a disaster with our refrigerator which resulted in a lot of eating out. (So far 2013 is not starting out to be our best year; not the worst either, but not the best by far!)

Anyway, the first recipe Jane made was the Limoncello Bundt Cake.  Yum.  Instead of making it in a bundt pan however, she made it in two separate loaf pans, one for us, and one for me to bring to the office.  It wasn't the prettiest cake she's ever made, but it was a huge hit with everyone.  Having grown up in the NY metro area, we both had fond remembrances of the lemon cakes our friends nonnas would make.  This is a more-than-satisfactory vegan version of that treat.  Although, for us, it is more of a refreshing summer treat. (I know I took a few pictures of this cake... but I can't find them anywhere!!!)BGV - Champagne Risotto (2)

Next we had the Champagne and Hazelnut Risotto with Vegan Chicken.  Another hit for us.  Jane has always wanted to try her hand at risotto, but was always intimidated, thinking it was a lot of work.  Betty promises that this is a superasy dinner that anyone can use to turn any night into date night...  But supereasy?  Jane didn't think so. Risotto requires constant attention, so if you're looking for a quick weeknight fix, this isn't the recipe for you.  But the dish was creamy with complex tastes. However, I'm not so sure you need to crack a bottle of champagne for this one.  White wine will probably more than do the trick.

BGV - Quiche Lorraine (2)Last night, Jane made Quiche Lorraine, although she cheated a bit and used a store bought vegan whole wheat crust.  The quiche was delicious.  It was my favorite of the three recipes.  I loved the smoky taste to it.  Jane's been making vegan quiches for a while.  She makes a really good version with onions and asparagus, but this is truly reminiscent of the quiche I had growing up.  Some of you may be too young to remember but there was a book published in the early 80s entitled "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" -- but I am here to reaffirm that they do, and it's not just because their wives make them...  I hope Jane makes this often.

The cookbook is a lot of fun. The recipes are interspersed with a bit of trivia.  For instance, did you know that there is no Betty Crocker, but rather she is a creationg of a Gold Medal/General Mills advertising campaign?  We didn't.  Some of you may take issue with the fact that most recipes rely on mock meats, but you can always make your own seitan to sub in.  This is a great book for the new vegan.  It's not scary and it doesn't call for ingredients you can't find in your local grocery store.

Jane is very excited to try the Chai Tea Cashew Ice Cream and the Green Lentil and Leek Shepherd's Pie. I've hinted to Jane that I'd like her to try the Cheezy Jalapeno Corn Bread next time she makes her chili.   Many of the recipes bring back memories of our childhoods...  They have 9 different Whoopie Pie recipes. I'm really hoping Jane will make me some!  First I have to convince her that we have to buy a Whoopie Pie Pan.

Vegan Lasagna

Mmmm, Vegan Lasagna

I'm a fan of the vegan brownies and vegan banana nut chip muffin recipes in The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  So when we found out that she had a new cookbook out,  The Vegan Table, I rushed right out to get a copy.  (Okay, I ran to the computer and ordered it... but isn't that the same thing?)

The first recipe we tried was the less than successful Matzoh Ball Soup recipe I wrote about in my last post.  But I know this author has some excellent recipes in her repertoire... so I begged Jane to make the Vegan Lasagna.  She's got a few other things earmarked to try.  But since she likes to "surprise" me, I couldn't tell you what she's got planned.

Back to the lasagna.  YUM!!!!  We've already had it twice, and we haven't had the cookbook for a month!  We get three dinners out of this.  We wound up using  a slightly smaller pyrex dish, so Jane used a tad less pasta, but didn't cut down on the sauce and filling.  We've found the first serving is a little wet.  The second meal has the perfect level of moisture, and we tend to need a bit more sauce for our third dinner.

Having grown up in New York, on Sicilian-style Italian cooking... lasagna, ravioli, baked ziti, we tend to shy away from the veganized versions of these foods.  Cheese is just something that doesn't usually work.  But I can heartily recommend this recipe for even a cheese-loving omnivore.

Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup

In the past I've written about certain foods we haven't been able to successfully "veganize" -- no matter what other people might say. One of the things we'd pretty much given up on was a Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup, but then two things happened... 1) We picked up a copy of The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau; and 2) a reader sent us a recipe she'd developed that worked well for her. So we tried both.

Unfortunately, Goudreau's recipe completely fell apart.  The matzoh balls looked more like gelatinous lumps, and I didn't care for the taste of the gelatinous lumps at all, so we won't be trying it again.  But I have faith that there will be other recipes worth making.  The cookbook looks divine!

The good news is Ellen A. from Connecticut''s recipe worked out well for us.  We actually had matzoh balls that resembled matzoh balls.  Jane thought the taste was a little off... but neither of us has had authentic Matzoh Ball soup in years, so who are we to judge.   Also the matzoh balls were a little dense, so Jane will be using a bit of seltzer in her next batch.   Anyway, below is Ellen's recipe verbatim.  If you're still on the lookout for a vegan matzoh ball soup, I recommend giving this a try.

Start with a box of Streits' or Manischewitz matzo ball mix. For eggs - use egg replacer powder. The matzo ball box comes with two envelopes. For each envelope they ask for 2 eggs however this needs to be tripled....the equivalent egg replacer for 6 eggs per individual package. Whisk the mixture. Add the oil as directed. (do not increase amt. ) Whisk again.Then add the contents of one envelope of matzo ball mix. If the batter seems to be a bit loose, add 1-2 tablespoons of matzo meal. Combine well. Leave the bowl in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Remove - roll into 12-15 balls. Reduce your large pot of boiling water to a simmer. Gently place balls in water and cover tightly. (there must be no rolling boil). Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool. Refrigerate. Reheat in the soup.  (Jane used a vegan "chicken" soup powder she found at Whole Foods.  It tasted surprizingly like Chicken Soup.)

By the way - my daughter Maribeth Abrams is the author of  Tofu 1-2-3, the book and the DVD. Her next book is out in a month - the 4 ingredient Vegan. both available at major book stores. We are always experimenting with new recipes.

Mark Bittman And Less-Meatarianism

mark bittman food mattersIf Jane ever leaves me, I'll know where to find her. She'll be back in NY looking for Mark Bittman. She loves the man, even if he's older than the typical male who might turn her head. Why does she love him? Well, there's his cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. She religiously reads his blog, Bitten (he's not the only one writing posts), and column, The Minimalist, in the NY Times.  But more importantly, she loves his message -- "eat less meat." Bittman is not vegan, nor is he vegetarian, but his message may do more to get the average person to consider eating vegan occasionally than appealing to peoples' ethics.

Bittman's new book, Food Matters, talks about the importance of eating less meat, and how that trumps every other action: eating locally, eating organic, eating "humanely" processed animal product (if there is such a thing).  He talks about the 60 billion animals that are killed annually to produce food, and how that is conservatively estimated to double by 2050.

His message to omnivores is to be a "less-meatarian,"  and vegetarians should strive to be "less-dairytarians."  And we should all strive for incremental (and therefore, sustainable) changes.

This is so do-able for everyone.  If you've been trying to convince the people in your life to go vegan, you probably haven't met with much success.  But THIS message doens't require any major "sacrifice."  We can save 6 billion animals if every human cuts down their meat consumption by 10%.  (And 1 billion if we get Americans to eat 10% less.)  10% doesn't seem like an unattainable goal.

Vegan Matzoh Ball Soup

In honor of Chanukah, and the first day of winter, Jane made the matzoh ball soup recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. This is the second time she's made this recipe. The first time, the matzoh balls disintegrated.  The recipe suggests refrigerating the matzoh ball mixture one hour to overnight.  We were both excited about the soup and so, after the hour was up, Jane made the balls and then the soup.  What we got was not-so ball soup, or rather a gelatinous mess at the bottom of the soup bowl.  That was very disheartening as we both loved matzoh ball soup in our pre-vegan life.  We'd been rather hopeful about this recipe since many people have expressed real enthusiasm over this recipe.

Fast forward to yesterday in the grocery store.  Jane grabbed a box of matzoh meal.  I asked what she was planning on making with it.  She replied, "I think it's time to try the matzoh ball soup again."  This time she used extra firm tofu and refrigerated the mixture over 24 hours.  (We decided the previous failure was due to the 1 hour refrigeration.)  As they were cooking the matzoh balls floated; they sank when we removed the lid from the stock pot... as expected.  But even though the matzoh balls held together, we were both unimpressed with the taste.

Over time, I've learned there are just some things you can't veganize.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining... perhaps that would have been a complaint last year when I was trying to acclimate to my new way of eating.  But over this last year and a half, Jane and I have discovered some really wonderful dishes we might never have tried otherwise.  I'm just not sure we'll be trying to veganize matzoh ball soup any time in the near future.

Anyway, we wish a happy Chanukah to all of our readers who are celebrating tonight.

Vegan Asparagus Soup

RFDs Asparagus Soup

I've been going to the farmers market to get my produce ever since I moved to California.  Over the years I've noticed a change in the "seasonality" of certain produce, notably strawberries and asparagus.  They used to be available only in the spring.  But not anymore.  The local growers have figured out how to make these items available year round.  Shockingly, the strawberries taste like strawberries, not fake looking strawberries with ae pale white interior that I used to get when I lived in New York.

This week, we picked up asparagus.  We knew it would be a warm week, and Jane had it in mind to make us asparagus soup.  She used the recipe from the Real Food Daily Cookbook, instead of her usual vegan cream of asparagus soup recipe.  I can't honestly say which I prefer.  This soup is more complex than Jane's recipe, with many more spices, while hers is more true to the flavor of asparagus.  I can say however, that the asparagus we had was very fibrous.  In any event, the soup was wonderful.  We rounded off our meal with the end of a loaf of potato bread and a gigantic salad.

Top 10 Recipes – Take Two

Hi All -- It's Jane writing tonight. Well, I finally got around to making the Thai Coconut Corn Soup from Vegan Express, by Nava Atlas. Lane and I love Thai food, and this looked like an old favorite of ours, Tom Ka Gai Soup. ranked this recipe number two in their list of top 10 vegan recipes of 2008, so I've been meaning to get around to it. Actually, I'm planning on trying all ten, but don't seem to be overly motivated these days.

Normally, I try to follow a recipe to the letter the first time I'm making it. Of course, I taste as I go along, so there is the odd occasion when I'll decide to modify a recipe on the first try, especially if the recipe is heavy on an ingredient I don't particularly care for. Tonight, however, I made an outright error. I mistook my container of white pepper for the container of curry powder I was looking for (don't ask me how, since my spices are clearly labeled and every one of them has it's own place). Luckily, I don't love curry powder in significant quantities, so I only put one teaspoon in the pot (the recipe calls for two). It didn't smell overwhelmingly of curry, that was promising. I taste-tested to see if I should add the second teaspoon... And where did that heat come from? Then I looked at the spice container in my hand and lo and behold... "White Pepper." Oy! So, I added the curry, but only one teaspoon... that was enough. And then I omitted the red curry paste as I thought the soup might be too hot if I included that ingredient. (We had red pepper flakes which I put out, like they do at the Thai restaurants we frequent.) Finally, the recipe calls for a red bell pepper, which I thought I had, but it was ready for the compost pile. I didn't tell Lane about my faux pas until after he'd eaten it and given it his seal of approval. I'm not sure the red bell pepper is even necessary, but it would certainly make for a more interesting picture.

So, I didn't quite make the recipe as written, but the soup I made was delicious and oh so easy. And it only took about 20 minutes to get together. I think it will be even better, next time, when I make it correctly. If you're interested in giving it a try, here's the link:

Recipe for Thai Coconut Corn Soup.

Cheers -- Jane