If you open our freezer, you most certainly be attacked by a falling bag of frozen vegan meatballs. Strangely enough, they are not mine. I keep them on hand for kids. They love them in their lunches, for snacks, or sliced up on sandwiches. I buy them frozen because I could not keep up with production level necessary for their consumption. It is logical then that I would be tempted by Sweet-and-Sour Party Meatballs from Chloe’s Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli.
Chloe’s claim to fame is as a vegan winner of Cupcake Wars. Her cookbook, however, isn’t just cupcakes. She provides a multitude of recipes, from starters to desserts, as well as some useful basics like how to make your own seitan. Throughout the book she provides useful tips like how to make things ahead, planning menus for special occasions, and general cooking tips. It’s a pretty cookbook filled with colorful pictures of the food.
If I had a criticism it would be that there are almost as many pictures of the lovely Ms. Coscarelli doing highly posed things like eating salad in pajamas (no way I’m eating salad in pajamas–I eat salad where people can see it and think I don’t sneak cookies out of my kids stash) or squeezing a lime in an off the shoulder top. Yes, she’s beautiful, but I really don’t need those types of pictures. Also, her recipe for simple salad is silly. I know how to put lettuce and some veggies in a bowl with rice wine vinegar. A full page dedicated to it is unnecessary.
Her meatballs are delightful. Tangy sauce makes them something more than your average meatball. They would make a particularly good pre-Christmas dinner snack or party food. For those with dog-loving friends, I have also included her recipe for dog treats. While they certainly received the Perdita Paw of Approval, I will probably stick to my normal pibble treats for less fancy occasions.
- Meat-eater husband and kid approved
- Kid friendly
- Fill a large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of a steamer basket. Using a knife or your hands, break tempeh into 4 pieces and place in the basket. Cover and steam for 20 minutes. Check the pot occasionally and add more water if necessary. Steaming the tempeh will remove its bitterness.
- In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Reserve skillet for later use.
- Add steamed tempeh, lentils, walnuts, flour, basil, salt, and pepper to the onions in the food processor. Pulse until the walnut pieces are very fine and the mixture comes together. If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands. Adjust seasoning to taste. With the palms of your hands, form the mixture into 1-“ balls.
- Heat oil in non stick skillet over medium high heat, and pan fry meatballs in batches, adding more oil as needed. Rotate the meatballs with a wooden spoon so that they brown on all sides. Remove meatballs from the pan using 2 forks or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Transfer to serving platter and spoon Sweet-and-Sour Sauce on top.
Peanut Butter Dog Treats
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of water, plus extra as needed
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 TBS blackstrap molasses (I used maple syrup)
2 cups vegan carob chips
- Preheat the oven to 300.
- Mix together flour, water, peanut butter, and molasses with a spoon until combined. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water so that they dough comes together and is moist.
- Put the dough on a floured surface and press with your hands until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out the threats and place them close together on a large baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the treats in the oven overnight or for several hours to harden.
- When treats are dried and cool, melt the carob chips, if using, in a double boiler or the microwave. Dip half of each treat into the melted carob and set them on a rack to dry. Store in a container for up to two weeks.