Tag Archives: cookbook

Good Morning, Vegan Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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I am exceptionally lucky to have met my partner, James, but I am also incredibly lucky that, as part of the package of falling in love with this great guy, I get to spend occasional time with his terrific folks. Down-to-earth, witty, loving, and considerate, it’s no wonder great parents like them produced such a lovable kid.

James’s mom, Nancy, is an awesome cook (as well as a phenomenal knitter). A lot of moms, when confronted with a child’s decision to adopt a vegan diet, might freak out or panic about what to serve them. Any trepidation Nancy might have had about James’s vegan tendencies have long since been eschewed in favor of veganizing old favorites, as well as seeking out new recipes to throw into the mix. Her efforts have delivered delicious vegan dish after delicious vegan dish. (Just goes to show you that you don’t have to live a diet to cook for the diet. All you need is a willingness to try out new ingredients and adapt what you already know about cooking and baking into an unfamiliar realm. The basic skills still apply.)

On a recent visit, Nancy showed me a new addition to her cookbook collection: Chloe Coscarelli’s Chloe’s Kitchen. Don’t know who Chloe Coscarelli is? Neither did I, but apparently she took the top prize on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Her stuff is all vegan, thus her success on a Food Network reality cooking competition has allowed her to leap-frog other established divas of the vegan cookbook scene.

Okay, I wasn’t exactly being fair-minded when I first started looking at the book. Cookbooks from TV stars tend to disappoint. Either the recipes are fairly simplistic dishes with exotic touches (usually hard to find or rare ingredients) or they’re extraordinarily complicated (more complicated than I suspect they even have to be). There’s also an incredibly annoying tendency to put the persona of the chef before the food itself – so instead of mouth-watering photographs of dishes you can’t wait to recreate, there are irritating shots of the smiling, doe-eyed cook laughing with friends, holding a cupcake or cookie, or standing near food that one presumes she has just whipped up, in between photo shoots and loving life.

Yes, I’m simply not a fan of this type of cookbook. Chloe’s Kitchen, however, offers more than a cursory glance at its contents might suggest. Yes, there’s the requisite ‘wholesome girl-next-door chef’ shots, plus a pretty grating introduction and bland writing throughout…

BUT I am always willing to overcome my prejudices to try out a promising recipe. Having long searched for an appropriate vegan replacement for my favorite meatloaf recipe, Chloe’s tempeh loaf recipe was too tempting not to attempt.

I’m a fan of the policy that one good recipe can make a cookbook worthwhile. If that policy holds, then Chloe’s Kitchen should be on every vegan’s cookbook shelf, based off that tempeh meatloaf alone. The result was so delicious, it warranted another round with the cookbook. Because Chloe is first and foremost known as a vegan baker, I decided to give one of her desserts a try.

I changed some of the proportions on this cookie recipe. Most notably, I was not able to easily locate instant espresso powder, so I used instant coffee instead. It worked just as well and added a little extra buzz to a sugar-packed, delicious cookie. Plus, when a baked good has coffee in it, you can practically call it breakfast. At least I did.

Cinnamon Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 cup vegan margarine
– 2 tbsp instant coffee (Finely ground, if possible. Cheap is OK – I used Taster’s Choice packets from Family Dollar)
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
– 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
– Granulated sugar for sprinkling

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper or foil. (Note: aluminum foil will brown the bottoms of the cookies faster.)

– Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

– Using a mixer, beat together margarine and instant coffee until well combined, then add powdered and brown sugars. Beat until blended thoroughly. Mix in flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time.

– Stir in chocolate chips.

– Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll into semi-round disks. Roll each disk in granulated sugar. Place on baking sheet 2-3 inches apart.

– Bake cookies about 12-14 minutes or until edges are browned.

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Good Morning, Sunday Seitan Hash!

Don’t you love Sundays?

The best feeling on coming home from the Strip District loaded down with groceries is knowing that for at least a week straight, I’m going to have nearly everything I need to make some really decent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Sunday mornings are particularly pleasant, as I can wake up when I want and leisurely go about fixing a big brunch. And more often that not, by the time I get out of bed, my mind is already fixated on exactly what it is that I want to make.

This Sunday morning, I was focused on a lentil-based faux sausage. But after a look on the internet and through a few of my vegan cookbooks, I couldn’t find a decent base to start from, so I shelved the idea as a project to work on this week, and opted instead to work off of a tasty vegan seitan sausage recipe from Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan (top notch in offering good starter recipes), and to accompany my planned hash, I added a spinach salad with an adapted dressing recipe from The Garden of Vegan.

Simple Seitan Sausage

Ingredients
Seitan
– 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tsp sage
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 tsp turmeric

– In a mixing bowl, combine vital wheat gluten and spices. Stir in water, then knead dough for about five minutes. Cut seitan into bite-size chunks and set aside.

Ingredients
Sausage Stock
– 2 cups water
– 2 tbsp soy sauce
– 1 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1 tsp sage
– 1 tsp onion salt
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper
– 1/2 tsp basil
– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
– 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
– Fennel (optional)

Bring all ingredients to a boil, then add gluten chunks. Reduce the heat and cover with a lid, simmering for 50 – 60 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes, until stock has mostly reduced.

Sunday Seitan Sausage Hash

Ingredients
– Seitan sausage
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 green bell pepper, chopped
– 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
– 1 sweet potato, diced
– 2 tsp black pepper
– 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
– 1 tsp onion salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the 2 tbsp olive oil to an 8×8 casserole dish. Add the vegetables and seitan, then the spices, and toss until everything is evenly coated. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Stew! Stew! Stew! Part Two! Two! Two!

 

Andalusian Stew with Polenta from 30 Bucks a Week

I woke up and there was freaking snow on the ground. Seriously! On the ground, on the cars, on the rooftops. Snow! A fairly thin dusting, but still! That means only one thing: Time for more stew!

– The great 30 Bucks a Week blog linked to this New York Times recipe for Andalusian Cabbage Stew w/Polenta. The picture alone makes the article/recipe worth investigating, but it also further proves my theory that I don’t cook/eat cabbage nearly enough. Plus, this recipe gives me a good excuse to continue my experiments with polenta. Win/win!

– Kerry at Click and Cook has piqued both my stew and spice interest with her Indian Meatball Stew with Curried Cucumber Yogurt. A vibrantly colorful stew, I love how this mixes hot and cool flavors. Hmm, I wonder if it would work with lentil-balls…

– There are many dishes that I can’t really imagine as vegetarian or vegan, and Brunswick Stew is one of them. If you’re a meat-eater and are feeling like a ton of protein, check out a version of the recipe on Tales From Twisty Lane. Make sure to add the okra!

– Rock your roots! Dreamin’ It Vegan celebrates the last day of Vegan MoFo with the root vegetable extravaganza, Frosty Stew, a recipe borrowed from From Animal Crackers to Wild West Beans, a vegetarian cookbook focusing on recipes for the whole family, babies and children included. Ooh, and vegan peanut butter cookies too! These look especially delicious.

– Finally, thanks to Forever, Matryoshka because she reminded me of the terrific chopotle stew from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vegeance. The Matryoshka blog version is Buccaroo Stew, and it’s definitely worth a hoot and a holler.

Good Morning, Amy!

Amy Sedaris has a new book out, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, containing much the same design and sense of humor as her first pseudo how-to guide, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. If you haven’t had a chance to check out I Like You  yet, absolutely do. It’s filled with a zany sense of can do in any host situation, whether you’re hosting a reception for a funeral or a discount movie night for your friends. While the tone and look is firmly tongue-in-cheek, there’s also a lot of really good, effective ways of decorating and setting up a party, not to mention an array of fantastic recipes (some, admittedly, with less than impeccable directions, but that’s not really the point). For anyone who loves hosting and has a bit of a warped sense of humor, this book is a must have. I know that as soon as I have a little extra money, I’ll be picking up her new, crafting-focused book and be on my way to making crafts for Jesus and bunnies.

And did I mention funny? If you’re not familiar with Sedaris’s former series, Strangers With Candy, now is the time to catch up, at least if  you have a decent digital cable package: LOGO, the network that specializes in GLBT programming, is currently running episodes from all three seasons. Or you can just go ahead and buy the DVDs, cause if you’re like me, you’re going to want to anyway. (Also, if you buy the complete series, it comes in a commemorative trapper keeper.)

In addition to being unbelievably hilarious and a top-notch domestic maven, Sedaris is also a killer guest on talk shows, cooking shows, etc. I’ve included a few clips of her, as well as a surprisingly cute video she did for Microsoft.

Also, check out this great AVClub  interview with her, posted just from this past Wednesday.