Monday, March 19, 2012

A New Cookbook to the Rescue!

I'm still a little miffed over the naked tofu incident.

When we got home that same day, sitting on my back steps was a delivery (NOT from Amazon, I am still boycotting them) of yet another cookbook that I had ordered.  I haven't purchased any new cookbooks in a few months, I had to put a semi-moratorium on them since no one stepped up and had an intervention with me on my cookbook addiction.  I ripped into the box, knowing full well that it was the cookbook I ordered.

I purchased a book called "Chloe's Kitchen."  It's described as "125 easy delicious recipes for making the food you love the vegan way."  I am a fan of Chef Chloe Coscarelli, and have been since the first time I saw her on television.  I was watching Food Channel (of course) and saw her competing on an episode of Cupcake Wars. The cupcakes she prepared were beautiful, and she really won over the judges, taking top honors.  I remember watching that segment thinking 1) wow, she's so young and seems so nice! and then 2) WOW... look at those cupcakes she is making!

I was pretty much hooked.

I began following her through social networking.  She posted pictures of lovely food she made, all vegan, and began posting recipes.  I began trying more and more of her recipes.  Usually they work out very well (baking is always an issue here, its not just her recipes, I just usually have to tweak any baking recipe for our climate conditions in the Keys).  The ingredients in this new book tend to be more commonplace than some cookbooks want us to buy (seriously, um, where should I find some of those ingredients fancy chefs insist I use?)

So, where am I going with this?

My last post talked about the table next to us being served creme brûlée while I was pushing the naked tofu that had been served to me around my plate.  The other happy vegan commented to me that creme brûlée was a favorite of his before he went veg.  As for me, I don't think I've ever had creme brûlée in my life.  I may have, but if I did it wasn't that great because I have no recollection of it.  So, as I flipped through my Chloe's Kitchen book, if you haven't guessed by now, I came upon her recipe for vegan chocolate creme brûlée.  I ran to the other happy vegan and told him, and said I was going to make it asap.  He actually ran downstairs and came back up with a torch.  I couldn't help but laugh.

I made the vegan chocolate creme brûlée.  We torched it last night and had it for dessert.  Dinner was whipped up in about 15 minutes, consisting of organic salad, organic pasta, organic vegan meatless meatballs I had in my freezer, and some garlic bread.  And, the creme brûlée for dessert.  It was fun to torch the tops, and the dessert was fabulous.  As we gleefully cracked the tops of our desserts, we both at the same time mentioned the naked tofu yet again.

Here's some pictures of our creme brûlée!

I didn't have small enough ramekins, so I used small condiment dishes.
The torching begins!

Oooo, how exciting.... the caramelizing is starting to happen!

The final product! It was absolutely delicious!

Chef Chloe's creme brûlée is made with only 6 ingredients, all very basic items you can find in the grocery store.  I am baffled that some chefs find it impossible to prepare and serve food they would actually want to eat if they were vegan, when in a span of about 15 minutes, I prepared a wonderful meal, and managed to have a dessert with very easy to find items.

When I was on line posting on social networking with friends about my naked tofu experience, subsequently saying I was going to make the vegan chocolate creme brûlée, a friend suggested I send a copy of Chloe's Kitchen to the chef who sent the naked tofu to me, along with a note that said "maybe this will help."  I couldn't help but laugh, but there's more than a grain of truth in the sentiment.

I think this new cookbook is a great step forward for anyone looking for an introduction to recipes that will help you increase your plant based eating.  Anything you feel is not particularly "healthy" (for example if something is fried), you can easily figure how to modify (bake instead of frying for example), or simply skip a recipe if it doesn't appeal to you.  This book gives us a very affordable selection of vegan recipes, with ingredients that are typically found on a grocer's shelf or already exist in your pantry.  Plus there's lots of photos of the food.  I really enjoy books that provide photos of the recipes, instead of expecting me to pour through the equivalent of an encyclopedia of recipes.

I say kudos to the author, as well as a huge heap of "thanks."  I'm looking forward to eating my way through this new book, and am pretty sure this one's going to become a staple in my "quick and easy" collection.


  1. I have ordered Chloe's Kitchen on your recommendation! Only because you have not published one yet. Since enjoying our Valentine's Getaway at Deer Run I've been slowly incorporating more Vegan dishes into our diet. Not sure if we'll ever go whole hog in (Excuse the expression) but we're shuffling our way in that direction. What other books do you recommend for the Timid Vegan Wannnabe?

    1. Hooray for "shuffling" in the right direction! I have so many cookbooks its actually bordering on "scary"; but I cannot help but tip my hat to authors Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for (among their other books) "Veganomicon" which is billed as "The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook." I would agree with that description! There's a fantastic web site at which when you look at it, you'll see how great it is. Increasing your plant based eating will immensely help our poor planet, all the tortured animals, and YOU! Keep at it, and things can only get better for all!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Still Shuffling