Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Goodbye PB&J, hello PB&More!

Going from carnivore to herbivore has its moments. Even now, I am tempted by the fragrance of rotisserie chicken at the deli counter and sometimes day dream about chopped liver. Just because I've gone veg doesn't mean I don't like the taste of meat! Though my values and my taste buds clash, my values generally prevail.

Here's a baby step you might consider on your way to a meatless diet: Instead of eliminating the meat, try increasing the number of vegetables you consume at every meal. Go for five a day -- and really give it the old college try. It's not as easy as it sounds. Eventually, the vegetables will displace the meat and you'll wonder why you ever felt that a meal wasn't a meal without a slab of flesh on the plate.

I'm also a fan of sneaking the veggies into unlikely places. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently released a new cookbook, PETA's Vegan College Cookbook, and their Bunny Butter Spread does exactly that. You make it by grating a carrot into a bowl containing enough peanut butter for one sandwich, along with a few raisins and a little orange juice. Slap it between two slices of bread and you're done.

Peanut butter has an assortment of strange bedfellows. As a kid, my grandpa sometimes fed me peanut butter sandwiches on crispy Italian bread between whose slices he slid concentric circles of sweet Spanish onion. And though I've never tried it, I imagine that peanut butter and chile peppers is probably a nice combination, too.

The PETA cookbook has an entire chapter (20 recipes) devoted to peanut butter. While I enjoyed the Bunny Butter Spread and I'm eager to try the Super Quickie Peanut Sauce -- which combines PB with lemon juice, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce for slathering over steamed veggies and tofu -- I'm a lot less interested in The Nut Job Salad, which pairs our hero with Italian dressing. Yechhh!!
Experienced cooks may find PETA's new book to be frustratingly simplistic, but if you're brand spanking new to cooking or just don't like to cook, but want to move in the direction of a healthier diet, its 275 recipes are worth investigating.

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