Tag Archives: food network

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.

Tofu Meuniere


I spent most of the week sick with a pretty wicked cold which wiped out every bit of my appetite from Monday through most of Saturday. I ate to keep up my strength, but I lacked my characteristic zest for the meals I was eating. Even my standby favorites like Piaquadilo’s Cajun corn chowder and the vegan buffalo seitan wings from Spak Bros. did little to inflame my senses. I was congested, my throat was sore, and the idea of eating food, let alone preparing it, seemed like a chore.

This past week, while I was sleeping and moaning and spending as little time in the kitchen as possible, Nicole of Yum Yum posted her preparation of a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, Chicken Meuniere with Tomato-Parsley Sauce. I could tell I was finally coming out of the fog when, upon reading Nicole’s entry, I thought to myself, “Well that looks delicious. And I bet it would be totally easy to veganize.”

So Saturday, when the urge to cook started to creep back into my brain, I looked over the original recipe. The term “meuniere” refers to the process of dredging the fish, chicken, or whatever protein you’re using in flour before baking or frying. It’s a classic rustic Italian dish that is easy and quick to prepare, and for as few ingredients as it calls for, it’s an incredibly flavorful dish.

Based on the contents of my cupboards and personal preferences, I made a few variations, including substituting basil when I could not seem to locate my large canister of parsley. Also, because I like a thick sauce, I added some of the dredging flour to the roux. If you want a lighter, less creamy sauce, just skip that step.

Don’t forget some good crusty bread and a fresh green salad to go along with this dish. It’s a very refreshing dinner for a warm spring or summer night.

Tofu Meuniere

Ingredients

For tofu
– 1 pound tofu, cut into eight even slices
– 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp poultry seasoning
– 1 tsp garlic pepper seasoning
– Oil for frying

For sauce
– 4 to 5 Roma tomatoes, diced
– 1/3 Kalamata olives, chopped
– 2 shallots, sliced thin
– Zest of a small lemon
– 1/2 cup white wine
– 1 tbsp basil

– To prepare the tofu: Mix together flour and seasonings. Dredge each piece of tofu in the flour mixture until both sides are well-coated. Heat oil in a large pan, then add the tofu slices. Fry until lightly browned, then flip. Once all slices are cooked on both sides, remove them from the pan and keep in a lidded container.

– For the sauce: Using the same pan, add the tomatoes, olives, shallots, zest, white wine, and basil. Simmer for five minutes. If thickening, add a tablespoon of the flour mixture used to coat the tofu. Stir and cook until thick (but not too thick), then remove from heat.

– Plate the tofu, then cover with the sauce.