The Chicago Diner Cookbook
by Chef Jo A. Kaucher
Review by Jennifer Santoyo
In the beginning stages of my path to veganism, I was recommended a restaurant to try, called The Chicago Diner in Chicago, IL. Although it was about 45 minutes from home, I decided to give it a try, as I was willing to try anything that wasn't a typical meat & potatoes restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised by their menu-full of almost all-vegan choices, including decadent vegan desserts. Almost as exciting was the rack of Chicago Diner cookbooks, featuring many of their most popular menu items!
The cookbook gives an interesting look at the history of the restaurant owners, as well as the restaurant itself. The book also features convenient lay-flat binding, which means not having to resort to placing kitchen items on the book pages to keep it open while cooking. Although a few of the recipes in the book are lacto or lacto-ovo vegetarian, most recipes are vegan or can be altered to be vegan.
The Chicago Diner Cookbook features many of the restaurant's famous appetizers, including artichoke dip, and one of my favorite recipes, Olive Tapenade. This spread is addictive and tastes excellent with crackers or bread. Other sections of the book include breakfasts and breads, and an impressive soup section with seventeen recipes. Minestrone has always been a favorite in my house, and this recipe is one of the best yet.
With sections on salads, dressings, entrees and desserts, this cookbook has everything you need to plan a great meal from beginning to end. I also highly recommend the Cocoa Cake. Although it called for quite a bit of maple syrup, I was more than pleased with the results. The maple syrup actually gives the cake a richer, more full-bodied flavor. Whether you've had the opportunity to try these selections first-hand, or you're just looking for some great new recipes, this is definitely a must-have for your kitchen!
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