Saturday, August 10, 2019

Not the Poor Woman's One-Pot Recipes

Thursday, August 8, 2019, it was National Zucchini Day, so I thought it was a good time to share some results of recipe testing done by our own Chocolate Coconut Acolyte (Lisa). Healthy Eating One-Pot Cookbook by Lauren Keating is a book that I wanted to try and keep but since one of the chocolate recipes involves zucchini and a pan style that I do not own while the only other chocolate recipe involves coconut, I knew I needed to pass it on to Lisa to test out for us all. I was sent a free copy of this book by Callisto Media in the hopes that I would review it; no other form of compensation was received in exchange for my sharing my honest experiences (or in this case, one of our assistants experiences).

First, my opinions on this cookbook and then the report for our own Lisa.

I've never thought of myself as lacking kitchenware or cooking gadgets but this cookbook made me feel POOR. Of the six one-pot cooking pans this book uses, I only had two of them: Sheet Pan and Slow Cooker. I do have Skillets of several sizes but they cannot go into the oven because of the handle. Who out there really has an Air Fryer, Dutch Oven, Electric Pressure Cooker, plus the three I've mentioned? Not only is that several fairly large pots but you'd also need the kitchen space for them. Both pots and space require money to acquire. Cookbook economic bias is something I'll be calling out more and more as The Chocolate Cult continues because this blog is for everyone who loves chocolate not just the upper middle or upper class.

The positives of this cookbook are several however. I love that the type of pot you need is shown in the upper left or right hand corner of the recipe. I also like that most of the recipes are only one page because they are relatively simple, assuming you know the techniques required in the recipe already. Eight of the nine chapters have recipes and the variety is fairly wide. While everyone reading this blog probably wishes there were more chocolate recipes, I'm fine with there only being two because this isn't a dessert nor a chocolate cookbook.

Let's see how Lisa's recipe testing turned out:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Cake is a nice dark chocolate brown color but has a rather off-putting scent that reminds me of a barbecue grill. The scent may be due to the cake being made in an iron skillet that’s been well used over many years. The texture is very moist… almost wet. The instructions called for a bake time of 18-20 minutes. At 20 minutes the center wasn’t set. I gave it another 10 minutes and the cake tester came out clean but the texture was still very moist and not what I’m used to in a cake. I let it cool completely as instructed but it would not come out of the pan on its own, even after running a knife around the edge. However when I cut it, the piece did come out cleanly. As for the taste, it’s sweet but not particularly chocolatey. I can definitely taste the maple syrup but otherwise it’s just a sweet generic baked good. Note: the author says to cut this cake into 6 pieces but I cut it into 8 and they were still generously sized.

Would I make this cake again? No. It uses too many ingredients (almond flour, maple syrup, whole wheat flour, coconut oil, Celtic salt, etc.) that I don’t normally keep in my kitchen. I felt blessed that I had most of these ingredients on hand from a previous review. But even without this, I would still pass. There isn’t enough chocolate flavor to make me want to eat it.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
The cookies look like a lump of oatmeal with coconut and chocolate chips in it. And they scent is in line with the sight. Only when I sniffed a cookie that had a larger ratio of chip to cookie did I actually smell chocolate. There is a bit of resistance when I first bite in but then the cookie gives way as I would expect an oatmeal cookie to do.The center is softer but tastes like a lump of oats. It was only after I got a bite which had coconut or chocolate in it that it wasn’t so bland.

The instructions call for rolling the dough into balls and placing them on a cookie sheet. No mention was made of needing to flatten them into cookie shape. I expected the dough to spread as most cookies do but these didn’t. Hence the oatmeal lumps. I might make these again since I have surplus ingredients and this time try flattening the cookies before baking to see if that makes a difference but I wouldn’t do it if I had to buy more stuff. Note: the author says this recipe yields six cookies but I got eight generously sized dough balls from it.

To piggyback on what TammyJo has said about the book, I was less bothered by the number of pans but I own most of the ones called for. I gave in to the siren song of the electric pressure cooker two years ago and while I love mine, it’s not as fast as they’d like you to think on certain foods. However gaining this appliance meant I could get rid of my slow cooker since it will perform the same function so there was no net loss of cabinet space. I’d love to have an air fryer as I have friends who swear by them but I have no place to put one that wouldn’t require relinquishing valuable counter space. Also there is the aforementioned complaint about expensive ingredients called for in this book. If you normally cook this way, have at it but for me and my simple tastes, they aren’t worth the money. Add to that, your body doesn’t know the difference between coconut oil, butter or shortening. It’s just fat. Same with sugars and starches.

Now for the good things to say. The recipes were easy to follow. The page was separated into two columns. The left column contains the ingredients and the right column is the instructions.It’s well laid out and easy to follow. I noticed that the ingredients were listed in the order in which they would be added to pan which was great. More pictures would have been helpful but may not be a dealbreaker for everyone.

The recipes themselves were easy to follow. The page was separated into two columns. The left column contains the ingredients and the right column is the instructions. It’s well laid out and easy to follow. I noticed that the ingredient were listed in the order in which they would be added to pan which was a help.

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