I love this book - everything from the clever name to the mouthwatering pictures to the liberal use of lavender and did I mention that the recipes are delicious too?
The author, Laura Matthias, has quite a story. She was a field biologist raising a young son and wanting to escape the city. When she found a rundown organic farm with a funky house, she jumped at the change to move to the country. With lots of help, she got the farm up and running and then decided to open a Bed and Breakfast where she could serve gourmet breakfasts made from her own farm fresh produce. This cookbook is made up of many of the dishes she serves at the B & B - and lots more.
The appetizers include Spinach Balls, Artichoke Heart Dip, Spicy Stuffed Avocados and lots more that I can't wait to serve at my next party. Since I was reviewing this book in the winter, I was happy about the all the delicious soups to choose from. I made the Spiced Red Lentil, Potato Parsnip and the Sweet Pepper Corn Chowder. We liked them all but the favorite of the kids was the Red Lentil while I especially liked the Chowder - made with coconut milk and jalapeno peppers.
I didn't have a chance to try any of the salads (like I said, it's winter) but there are some great choices like Mint Beet, Tuscan Bean, Pad Thai Noodle, and Sesame Spinach. Side dishes also sound good - like Coconut Cilantro Rice and Lemon Curried Lentils and Potatoes. I just bought the ingredients for the Black Bean Sweet Potato Almond Burgers and my kids can't wait for me to make the Smoky Baked Beans.
I did get to try a couple of entrees. The Vegan Pad Thai was very good - more peanut buttery than the authentic dish but a real hit with my family. The Baked Kabocha Squash with Savory Stuffing was perfect for our holiday dinner and I'm still looking forward to trying the Root Vegetable Pot Pie and the Friendly Shepherd's Pie.
I'm baking my way through the wonderful assortment of muffins, buns, and breads offered. So far, we've made the Apple Walnut Spice Muffins but I want to try the Lemon Lavender Blueberry Muffins next. Speaking of lavender, the Lavender Chocolate Chunk Cookies were amazing. Really amazing. Really, really amazing. I almost always try the chocolate chip cookie recipe in any cookbook I review and this is the first vegan version I really feel I can rave about. If you like thick, crisp chocolate chip cookies (which my husband for one much prefers over the chewy kind), you will love these. I happened to have guests over the day I tried them and they were gobbled up in no time. (Darn, I was hoping for leftovers!)
Okay, I'll go on with my review before I start drooling. There are lots of other goodies like pies, cakes, tarts, brownies, truffles, puddings, "cheese" cakes, baklava - okay, I really am drooling now. I think I'll go do some baking - and you, don't you need to be heading to the bookstore to get a copy for yourself?
Recipe as seen on [...] by Cathe Olson