Book: Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way
Author: Chloe Coscarelli
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I recently checked out Chloe Coscarelli’s new book Chloe’s Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way from my public library. I’m a fan of her blog and heard good things about this cookbook so I dove in and made several recipes over two weeks. Here’s a rundown of the recipes I tested.
Penne alla Vodka with the Best Garlic Bread in the World: This was my favorite. I made the garlic bread twice – once for our omnivorous friends to go with a stew I made. Everybody loved it. The Penne alla Vodka was so good too. I made it with Dreamfields penne for fewer carbs. The sauce was excellent and was possibly even better the next day. It’s fast so it could be a weeknight meal. Using the hand blender to blend the cashews and water together made it really easy and the cleanup was pretty painless that way too.
The Christmas Kitty salt shaker presides over the delicious garlic bread.
Mongolian BBQ Seitan: This one was kind of a miss. It wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t make the seitan part again. The sauce was good although I’d made something very similar on my own before out of ingredients in my fridge so it was nothing revolutionary. Her seitan recipe from the back of the book wasn’t great. I had never made seitan before but I followed the directions perfectly. The only thing that might be user error is how I sliced it. I tried to slice it thin but it was still kinda chunky. If I had used a vegetable peeler to shave the seitan that might have resulted in a better texture. It was on the rubbery side but it also didn’t taste like much even though it cooked in a tasty soy sauce/vegetable broth for over an hour.
Tomato-Basil Bisque: Robbie said it was the best tomato soup he’s ever had and he’s a tomato soup connoisseur. I have to agree with him. I’m kinda picky about tomato soup and sometimes find it a bit gross but this one was excellent. The recipe is easy – roughly chop the vegetables, roast them, then combine everything in a stock pot and use the hand blender to get it to the right, smooth consistency. I think this would be a much bigger hassle if you had to pour it in batches into a blender as the recipe suggests. Hand blender is the way to go!
Fettuccine Alfredo: Another very easy weeknight recipe. I sauteed some zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, baby carrots, and cauliflower in vegan margarine to go with it. I also used Dreamfields linguine instead of real fettuccine to make it healthier/low carb. It’s creamy and delicious like real Fettuccine Alfredo but I didn’t feel like I needed to take cholesterol medication after I ate it. I have leftovers I’m looking forward to for lunch.
Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese: I made the stovetop version of this recipe from her blog. It’s identical up until the point where you sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake it. It’s fast and tasty but definitely not my favorite vegan macaroni and cheese recipe.
Overall, I give the book four out of five stars. I deducted a star mostly because it’s light on the photos. There are no photos at all of several of the recipes which is kinda lame, in my opinion. I read a lot of blogs and love that I can see photos of every finished dish and often step by step photos for the recipes I make. She clearly hired a food photographer for this book and has included several photos of herself so I don’t see why there can’t be at least one color photo for each recipe. We need to know how the finished product is supposed to look! Also, the index is not great.
Everything I tried was a great success except for the Mongolian BBQ Seitan. Now that I’m the proud owner of a bag of vital wheat gluten, I’ll be trying out other seitan recipes and would happily use her Mongolian BBQ sauce/stir fry idea to go with it once I find one we like. She explains everything clearly so it’s not difficult to follow the directions and get the same results in your kitchen. She also uses fairly “normal” ingredients that I’m able to get at my grocery store. The only thing she called for that I’ve never seen before is canned lentils. Only dried lentils ’round these parts. Another thing I like is how she names her recipes so arrogantly – “Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese” and “Best Garlic Bread in the World”. She’s the cocky rapper of vegan chefs.