Chloe Coscarelli, the visionary vegan restaurateur and cookbook author, has had a tumultuous year. She was forced to cut ties with her own namesake chain of fast-casual vegan eateries, By Chloe, which she can't comment on publicly as the case is still an "ongoing legal dispute." That kind of setback and stress might entice some to slink back from the culinary spotlight, but not Coscarelli.
"When you are the boss of your life and things go wrong, you have to think big-picture and keep your eye on the greater reason why you are doing this," she says. "I’m so in love with [vegan] cuisine and really determined to share it, whether it's feeding people or teaching them to cook it in their own homes. That’s all the perspective I need to push through any challenge."
"When you are the boss of your life and things go wrong, you have to think big picture and keep your eye on the greater reason why you are doing this."
In addition to working on a new cafe project in Miami, the California native also just came out with a new cookbook, Chloe Flavor, which she wrote to make her trademark fun, modern take on vegan cuisine more accessible to the home cook next door.
"The book is for everyone," she says. "The goal is to show people it’s a misconception that cooking vegan food is hard. With every recipe, I asked myself, 'Can I cut the ingredients down, can I use pre-cut veggies or pre-roasted beets?' I included my cheats that I use all the time and share all my quick and dirty tricks."
One of those tricks, acknowledges Coscarelli, is adding a touch—often just a couple teaspoons or a tablespoon—of maple syrup to dishes like her cheesy kelp noodles, seitan broccoli stir-fry, and matcha soba with spicy tofu nuggets. "Even just a little dash of maple syrup can really brighten the flavor of a dish. I love adding a little sweet in with my savory," explains Coscarelli.
Interested in trying her matcha soba noodles for yourself? Keep reading for the recipe.
Matcha soba noodles with spicy tofu nuggets
Coscarelli says she cooks up this matcha-infused dish all the time, whenever she needs to get dinner on the table, stat. "Soba noodles are so rich in protein and minerals, you can serve them hot or cold, and they only take four minutes to boil," she says. "You get the sweet and spiciness of Chinese food but the creaminess of an alfredo. It’s a complete dish, really satisfying."
Makes 4 Servings
8 to 10 oz. soba noodles
To make the creamy matcha sauce:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
2 tsps pure maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
For the tofu nuggets:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 16 oz. package extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp sriracha
Thinly sliced scallions (optional)
White or black sesame seeds (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Return the noodles to the pot, off the heat.
2. Make the matcha sauce: In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook for five to seven minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute more, until fragrant.
3. Transfer the mixture to a blender, reserving skillet for later use. Add the cashews, water, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, and matcha. Blend on high speed for about two minutes, until very smooth.
4. Make the tofu: In reserved skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the tofu and cook for about three minutes on each side, until golden all over.
5. Add the tamari, maple syrup, and sriracha, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about five minutes, until the tofu is evenly coated and the sauce has thickened.
6. Over low heat, add the sauce to the pot of noodles and toss to coat, about two minutes, until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Top each serving with tofu nuggets, scallions, and sesame seeds.
Reprinted from Chloe Flavor. Copyright © 2018 by CKC Sales, LLC. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Christina Holmes. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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