What a classy looking book this is! It’s got an embossed cover and a little badge mentioning Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. This book is printed by Simon and Schuster who generously sent me a copy for review and will be sending a copy to one lucky reader. More on that later.
After the Intro (which includes info on gluten-free and soy-free cooking), the recipe chapters begin. Small Bites has a very nice array of Asian, Mexican, and Italian appetizers, with a few more “American” style recipes thrown in, such as Crispy Potato-Leek Patties with Lemon Dill Dip.
Chapter 2 is Soups and Salads. Again, there is a good variety: from a curried soup to a mandarin salad to a California chipotle chop salad.
The third chapter is Simply Vegetables and is just that. This chapter would be the most helpful for someone new to vegan cooking, with recipes such as Classic Roasted Vegetables, Teriyaki Wok Vegetables, and Sea Salt and Vinegar French Fries, which are baked (and are on our menu for tonight).
Next up: Eat With Your Hands. Sandwiches, pizzas, and a taco recipe appear here. There is also a recipe for Avocado Toast. This recipe is very simple, almost too simple, until you think back to before you tried it yourself. This and Chloe’s Favorite Five Minute Salad may look skimpy on the page, but are likely to be a revelation to some new to this style of eating. The cookbook wisely includes recipes like these as well as some for more experienced cooks.
Oodles of Noodles is exactly what it says. Again, Chloe has a diverse selection. This chapter includes her favorite recipe in the book, Peanutty Perfection Noodles, and I look forward to trying them.
The Main Event chapter really has my mouth-watering. It’s got takes on the standbys, such as piccata and scallopini, but so much more! The Moroccan Bistilla intrigues me. There’s even an Indian Buffet Trio that is so tempting. This chapter also has the first dish I tried from the book, Mongolian BBQ Seitan. It was outstanding.
The next chapter is Cupcakes and More. You probably don’t need my input on this one, but it looks incredible. This is followed by a Basics chapter to help you fill in the blanks from previous chapter.
With outstanding photos, a lovely tone and many delicious sounding recipes, this book is a winner. Just like Chloe. (Yes, after reading this book, I feel I can call her Chloe: it’s got that kind of chatter and I’m feeling like we’re almost friends).
When reviewing a book, I like to try at least three recipes and generally choose “mainstream” ones so that I can compare them to the other versions out there. I’ve already said how we loved the Mongolian BBQ Seitan. For the record, I only used 1/3 of the agave called for because I knew it would be too much for us. While I liked the Best-Ever Baked Macaroni and Cheese, I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. However, it was Jim’s, so that says a ton. (Here, I omitted the agave). For a side dish, we had the Garlicky Greens (made with swiss chard) and thoroughly enjoyed them.
So… in writing this review, I realized that I’m the kind of person who has to try the vanilla ice cream first in an ice cream book. I figure if that’s not good, nothing else will be. What about you? Do you go for a standard to gauge a book, or just jump right in? Answer that and you’ll have a chance to win a copy of this book shipped straight from the very generous publisher. United States shipping only, please. Good luck! Random.org will pick the winner next week.
Also next week: I’ll be back with a recipe. Don’t forget Food Network Friday, March 9th.
3/6 Update: The contest is closed. Thank you very much to all who entered. Congratulations, Peggy!
3/9 Update! Redraw! No word from Peggy so the book is for Caitlyn.
3/12 Update! The book goes to Jocelyn, thanks to her fast facebook reply.