Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday and Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen (Book Review)

When I took a look back through my food photos this week, I noted that many of them reflected recipes I had made from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics. So I decided I had better just combine my review of this amazing new cookbook with my What I Ate Wednesday post.

My love affair with Italian food began when I met my husband-to-be back in high school. More specifically, when I met his Italian mother. She introduced me to homemade gnocchi, fresh lasagna, canning of tomatoes and pasta of all shapes and sizes. If eating pasta is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen is my newest cookbook obsession. It's Italian comfort food with a twist - it's all vegan. Chef Chloe Coscarelli includes handy directions for making the recipes allergen- and gluten-free too. What keeps me coming back to this cookbook so often is that the recipes are simple to make. I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen on busy weeknights (or on weekends either for that matter). But I want to produce healthy meals that taste really good. And that's what Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen delivers.

I would recommend this book to vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. These recipes are not strange or intimidating. Your meat-eating family may not even notice the absence of meat. With familiar-seeming recipes such as garlic bread sticks, pesto mac 'n' cheese and penne with sun-dried tomato cream sauce, the book allows you to serve a healthy, appealing meal to suit everybody.

Chloe's recipe for pasta in pink sauce is one of my new faves. It is incredibly quick and easy to prepare. In fact, as long as you soak your cashews ahead of time, this tasty meal can be ready in under 15 minutes! Add a green salad and you are good to go. My daughter loved this recipe too. (My son currently doesn't like any of our food.)

I made Chloe's recipe for hummus pomodoro one night before dinner. It's made with white beans instead of chickpeas and it's super quick to whip together. The addition of tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar on top make it feel truly special. I probably ate a bit more than I should have! The book suggests pairing the hummus with "pizza crust" - wedges made with pizza dough. That sounds like an awesome plan, but we were having pizza for dinner, so I served the hummus with Food Should Taste Good sweet potato crackers instead.

My family still likes cheese on their pizzas, so I made Chloe's crumbled "sausage" and "mozzarella" pizza just for me. Lots of yummy leftovers! The "sausage" is made primarily with walnuts and mushrooms. I admit I over-processed them in the food processor, so then I had some trouble cooking the mixture in the pan. It was kind of mushy and stuck to the pan. But once I managed to get clumps of it onto the pizza base, it cooked up nice anyway. You wouldn't know that I screwed up.

The "mozzarella" sauce is a genius mix of cashews, lemon juice and a few other simple ingredients. I hadn't soaked the cashews for long enough (and I don't own a Vitamix!) so you can see little chunks of cashews still in the sauce. It didn't spoil my enjoyment. This pizza is extremely filling. (Or it could have been all the hummus I downed before dinner!)

I got great results from Chloe's Tequila Tempeh Fettuccine too. Only I used spaghetti because that's what we had. Thank goodness we had a tiny bit of tequila in the cupboard. It was silver instead of the gold the recipe calls for, but who really cares, right? I am always hesitant to use tempeh since the first time I had it at a restaurant many years ago and found it gross. But it turned out very nicely in this recipe, giving a nice texture and flavour to this special pasta dish. This is a bit more complicated than some of the other pasta recipes, but well worth the extra attention.

And on to the few things we made this week that weren't from Chef Chloe. I made this chunky miso vegetable soup from Isa Does It one night after my son got a tooth extracted (Braces here we come!). He was less than appreciative. I think it was because of the abundance of cauliflower. Well, my husband and I liked it anyway. The addition of miso to the broth adds a nice flavour.

My husband also made the tofu stroganoff recipe from Isa Does It this week. We LOVE this recipe. Put some cashews to soak earlier in the day and this thing whips together quickly. Plus it's delicious! And did you notice it includes pasta again? You can't go wrong.

On the breakfast front, things haven't been that exciting lately, but I did enjoy a peach, strawberry and banana smoothie one morning.

Have you tried any of Chloe's cookbooks?

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  1. Oh wow, this is going on my wish list immediately!!!

  2. That all looks fantastic! I haven't got any of the Chloe books but I should rectify that!

    1. I have a feeling you would really like them! :)

  3. Replies
    1. Ha ha. Food pictures do that, don't they? ;) Jo

  4. That's an impressive week of eats, and that cookbook sounds fantastic. I looove pasta... And I think after reading this I'll have to make some promptly :)

    1. Oh my gosh, I could have pasta every day!! :)

  5. everything looks amazing! i have to get this!