Sometimes a cookbook will break my heart. Seriously, when I have loved a cookbook from an author, and another comes, and it’s beautiful, I am swept away. “He is back!” My heart pitter pats. And then, and then. The three recipes I test are problematic. Not horrible, but not good, either. I want to say nice things, tell him how handsome he is, how I know how much he tried, give him an A for effort. I know that maybe if I had chosen three other recipes, I might have had a different result. I wonder if I should keep cooking, give him another chance. He means well, he didn’t mean to disappoint me. I know. But still… heartbreak.
The book offers 70 recipes organized in the following chapters: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas Dinner, Holiday Cookies Cakes and Breads, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Passover, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and Birthday Cakes.
I needed chocolate one evening, badly, so I turned to this recipe for comfort: coconut pecan chocolate chunk cookie bars. I had all the ingredients, it seemed easy, let’s go. My first indicator of trouble: the title was “chocolate chunk” but the ingredients indicated “finely chopped chocolate.” Hmmm. The dough was dry and crumbly. I knew, as a baker, it needed more moisture. I double-checked to make sure I hadn’t forgotten something. Nope. I knew, putting it in the pan, it wasn’t going to turn out well. But, I have to be true to the recipes as written, or else I’m not really testing them properly. As I suspected, dry, crumbly, fell apart. Not sweet enough for a cookie. So sad.
Next I tried this recipe, acorn squash with porcini mushroom filling. First, I thought it was odd to wrap the squash in foil, usually you put it cut-side down on a baking sheet to roast it, and it takes 30-40 minutes. The instructions to bake it for two hours seemed well over an hour too long. I did pull them out after about 40 minutes. While they were tender, baking them in foil created steam, making the interior of the squash totally wet. Not a good start to our second date. Next, instead of caramelizing the onions for the filling, they too were boiled. Oh dear. I followed the instructions again, finished the dish, and served it. Wet, soggy, sad. Second date a disaster. Dispirited, I decided to give Mr. Wonderful one more chance.
I love potato pancakes, so what could go wrong with purple potato latkes? I boiled half of the potatoes, as instructed. I mashed them with what seemed like a LOT of olive oil (Half a cup? Really?). I added the grated potatoes. The instructions for forming the latkes were vague… how much brown rice flour should I use? How much oil in the pan? What does a “hot griddle” look or feel like? How large or thick should I make them? If I fry them at high heat for three minutes per side, as instructed, how is that going to cook the raw grated potato? Six minutes isn’t long enough to cook raw potato… and it wasn’t. High heat meant the outsides burned, while the insides were uncooked and gluey. I lowered the heat, but still could not get a good result. Third and final date: Fail. I looked on Amazon, and some other reviewers had similar issues.
What I liked about this book:
As with her other book, Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread, it’s gorgeous. Beautiful layout, lovely photographs, completely appealing. The variety of recipes and holidays is good.
I wasn’t so keen on:
The results. The lack of clear instruction. The results.
Sigh. Not sure I can recommend this one. Sorry Handsome. 🙁
Today’s post is part of our mission to help you rebuild your health through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients, Tuesday reviews, Wednesday essays, Thursday how-to’s, and Flashback Fridays recipe posts plus monthly giveaways on the last Friday of the month. We support Meatless Monday. Check out our new Meatless Monday blog hop.
Here’s the book on Amazon: