This week's book: Chloe's Kitchen

So my first cookbook pick for spring was not terribly springy, but after spending 30 minutes looking through the book in the store, I found I couldn't leave without it. Chloe's Kitchen, by Chloe Coscarelli, has a lot of recipes that look promising, and while I never trust a cook who is thin as a toothpick, that doesn't mean that there's not potential here. Paul made the comment that Chloe is like the Giada of vegan food...he has a point. She's quite pretty and has tiny hands.

My first two forays into cooking with Chloe were the spinach artichoke dip and the Bastilla, a Moroccan pastry dish. One was super simple, the other somewhat more involved. The dip turned out pretty well. I'm not usually a fan of tofu based dips, so it's not a surprise to me that I felt a little middle-of-the-road about this one. It tasted good, but it was not a terribly "convincing" alternative for my meaty/cheesy in-laws. The bastilla, however, was excellent. Full of Moroccan spices like cinnamon, ginger and turmeric, this flaky pastry dish was a satisfying easter dinner entree for the vegetable inclined.

I'm always a bit hesitant to work with filo dough because it is so delicate and I am so not...but this was no problem. Chloe's instructions were spot on, easy to follow, and the final product was actually pretty, looking something like this one. The filling's base was crumbled tofu mixed with onion, mushroom and spices. This was alternated in layers with an almond/sugar blend that offered a complimentary sweetness to the dish. I got the sense as I was making Chloe's version (spelled bistilla?) that I could swap out just about any filling and this would turn out to be beautiful and delicious.

A couple other recipes I plan to try from this book are as follows:
  • Tomato-Basil Bisque with Pumpernickel Croutons
  • Orange Crispy Tofu
  • Mongolian BBQ Seitan
  • Pineapple Not-so-fried Rice
  • Jalapeno Cornbread Poppers with Whipped Maple Butter 
  • Minted Couscous with Arugula, Butternut Squash and Currants

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