Sunday, May 10, 2009

Writhing With It

Anticipation, that is.  

I don't know if you all have noticed, but it is definitely new cookbook season.  I was lucky enough to be able to review one of them.  

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook arrived on my doorstep about two weeks ago.  I read through it (yes, I read cookbooks), and then it was left in the backseat of my husband's car.  My initial thoughts were that a lot of the stuff was simple, some of it was plain weird and...all that microwaving??  

Then I realized that this cookbook was actually completely perfect for this time of my life.  No, I'm not living in a dorm with limited space and cooking utensils, but I am definitely short on time.  Anyway, I think I reviewed it with justice, and I was very pleasantly surprised.  

First on the list?  Legume Va-Va-Voom.  

This was a rice based dish with avocado, lentils and peanuts.  The cooking time was pretty much just as long as it took to make the rice.  I made a half recipe, and I definitely had enough for three servings, which was exactly the yield (it always makes me happy when a recipe's yield matches my yield).  This was really good, incredibly filling, and super easy.  Plus, it was kind of different, which was why I made it!  

Next I made the recipe in the book that jumped out at me the most...I just couldn't get it out of my mind, I had to try it.  Called Sham and Cheez, it was, at its heart, a microwaved lump of pancake with fake ham and cheese in it.  Wait, keep reading!!!!!  Okay, well I don't really like fake cheese.  And I don't really like fake ham (or real ham for that matter).  The only fake meat that I almost always like is fake sausage patties, so I used two Yves breakfast sausage patties instead of ham, and I used a zucchini instead of cheese.  Still, the method was the same, and you had better believe that it was completely delicious...especially with some maple syrup on top, and dipped in some mustard.  

This also took all of 5 minutes to make.  It really is microwaved (vegan) pancake mix in a bowl, with the ingredients, and then popped out to give you a big fluffy mound of....goodness.  Are you getting the impression that I liked this?  I mean, I like it now, and I will probably eat it fairly often.  But I could totally see myself making this ALL THE TIME if I were still living in a dorm.  

At this time you may be noticing the clutter that is all over my photos.  I totally just don't have time to clean up, so this gives you an idea of what my life has looked like for the past few weeks.  

I wanted to review one more recipe before I made any kind of official decision on how to review this book, and I went for a side, the Limon Spinach.  This was super super easy.  I made it for my brother and I along with the new Cluckphrey breaded chicken patties from Food for Life (the people who make Ezekiel bread products).  I made them parmigiana style, with some Teese that I bought awhile ago and I just have to tell you...I just don't like processed vegan cheese.  Any of it.  It does melt though.  

Anyway, the point is...the spinach was good!  

And the final point is, I really like this book!  I was very skeptical, a.) because I think the girl on the front looks like a robot, and b.) because a lot of the recipes were stupid easy (think, cut up fruit with vegan yogurt).  But really, a lot of the recipes were innovative, and from what I tried, really good!!     

Some things to note about this cookbook.  I like that they have three separate sections for specific foods that they like:  peanut butter, potatoes, and ramen.  I haven't had the chance to try anything from those sections yet, but there are definitely a few things on my radar like the :  Idaho?  No, YOU da ho Potatoes Au Gratin.  Another thing I like?  Silly recipe names!  

One thing I'm not a huge fan of is the number of recipes that rely on fake meat and/or cheese.  I understand that they're really convenient, but frankly, I have found very few meat substitutes that I like, and even fewer fake cheese substitutes (as in, none..see above).  

Their publication date is officially this Tuesday, May 12th, but I've already seen it at my local Borders!  

And, just for fun, some other books that I saw there that I am dying to get my hands on:  
Ani's Raw Food Desserts (Okay, I already bought this one, you know how I love Ani)
The Vegan Scoop - an entire book of vegan ice cream recipes
Babycakes:  The Cookbook - baking from the famed vegan bakery in NYC
The Vegan Table - by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks and the Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast (which you should download if you don't already)

...and let's not forget that Isa Chandra Moscowitz's Vegan Brunch book comes out this month too!!  Also, did you know that Isa and Terry Hope Romero are coming out with Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar(gotta wait til fall for that one)???  Holy vegan desserts, man.  

So hopefully you're anticipating something out there too.  I've got far too much on my plate right now, that little things like cookbooks are exactly what I need to keep my mind off of things!  


  1. Ooooh! Wow! I don't own a single vegan cookbook. I only got 1 vegetarian cookbook as a present a while ago but I've never bought a vegan one for myself. I do go through then when I see them in bookstores but never bought one yet. Maybe you're right about all the time saving ideas you can get from some of them.

    That zucchini pancake looks great! Now that I have a microwave again, I might try something like this!

    And that girl on the cover definitely looks like a robot! Maybe it is! lol!

  2. Everyone is reviewing this cookbook lately! And it sounds good-but I probably won't buy it because 1) i don't own a microwave and 2) i dislike fake meat and cheese. cute idea though, and i think a lot of people would enjoy it! Those zucchini pancakes are so interesting!
    I also had no idea Food for Life makes patties! I'll have to grab a box if I see them at whole foods.
    I can't wait to buy Vegan Scoop. Wheeler's ice cream is absolutely amazing! I'm so lucky he has a shop here in Boston! and i just bought an ice cream maker, and it needs to be broken in! Oh summer will be grand!
    Good luck wrapping up school!!

  3. I'm so freakin excited for the new cookbooks! My b-day is coming up too. *hint hint* just kidding! haha

    Those zucchini pockets sound so AMAZING! Do you think you could send me the recipe via e-mail, I promise I won't tell ;)

  4. cool cookbook, but i like cooking with actual pans!! i need the babycakes one though.

  5. Everyone seems to agree that microwave cooking's not so hot for adults, but I can see that this book would be a lot of fun for new vegans or college kids. I'm actually going to post the recipes that you mentioned on

  6. I've also seen this book at the store and was wondering about it... Thanks for your thoughts! I'm up to my ears in cookbooks to review as well, so I'm thinking about having a "cookbook week" on my blog... We'll see!

  7. I get so excited when new vegan cookbooks come out. I want to buy all of them!

  8. FYI...Vegan Brunch went on sale today. Just bought one on Amazon!

    And this PETA book would have been so perfect when I lived in a college dorm coughtencough years ago. The girl on the front does look like a robot, but a hot robot.

  9. i did a review as well... i totally dug the super simpleness of the recipes. sometimes i don't feel like get all smancy-fancy, and i love that this is so easy!

  10. Wow! How do you get to do book reviews. I should get a copy of this for my office. I run a residence hall and am sort of the resident vegan guru. I have some of my faves on the shelf to help guide students trying out veggie-ness.
    Hope you're well!

  11. I am cracking up at the part about the girl on the cover looking like a robot...

    Great review of the cookbook, and I am anxious to check out some of the other ones you have listed. I recently bought Ani Phyo's Dessert book, and even though I haven't tried any of the recipes, every single one looks delicious!!

  12. I love that you're making recipes from the book already! They look great. There are definitely some that I want to make as well.

  13. OMG Cheezly is great. Teese definitely has it's great uses when melted (binding agent, pizzas, etc), but Cheezly just has a more "cheese" like taste and texture to me. Definitely worth buying online to try.
    And thank you :) I do my best.

    Haha when I was reading your post, all I could think about was the Sham Wow! guy from the infomercial. He should promote this book.

  14. you are so right.... she does look like a robot!

  15. Very interesting- Microwave cooking is definitely a handy thing in a college dorm, for sure! I can see how it might be useful for that specific audience. Thanks for the thorough review!

  16. Hi! I just found your blog via Vegan On Stage. Do you know of any gluten free "chicken" products? I haven't been able to find any.

  17. I really enjoyed the review! I have seen this cookbook all over the blog world!

  18. I was also purusing Borders and saw many of the books you mentioned. Do you dehydrate? Does Ani's book have much of that? I really want a raw desert book that has cookie/cake like things, for the carb nut in me, that don't require dehydrating. I just wanna mix and eat (or refridgerate... that's okay, too).

  19. i just heard about peta's vegan college cookbook and i've been contemplating on getting it or not.
    i have access to a kitchen now, but its true..easy-ness is always a good idea, dorm room or not!
    plus your pictures have totally pursuaded me..they look so delicious!
    oh and yes i am SOO super excited for the new cookie cook book from Isa & Terrry!! I'm sure it will be amazing, like their others. :)

  20. Owo,,
    i like veg food ..

    good one ...
    Good luck!!!