Extraveganza Paperback – Jul 6 2009
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ExtraVeganZa is an exquisite compilation of recipes that push the boundaries of vegan cuisine. The book presents over 250 tantalizing savory and sweet vegan recipes, including:
- Appetizers, spreads, snacks and dips
- Soups, salads, dressings, toppings and sauces
- Rice, grains and legumes
- Main dishes, side dishes, casseroles and pastas
- Breakfasts, buns and breads
- Cakes, icings and glazes
- Pies, pie crusts and "cheesecakes"
- Puddings, mousses and fruit gels
- Cookies and squares
- Sweet loaves, brownies, cobblers, crumbles and oddballs
- Beverages and frozen treats
Adding unique flair, ExtraVeganZa highlights the elegant presentation of dishes using edible flowers and fresh herbs as garnishes, as well as natural foods as alternatives for food dyes, producing some rare colored treats for the eye. An edible flowers glossary and a special section on natural food dyes helps the reader experiment further.
Also unique is the philosophy of the book. An important milestone in vegan cuisine, it incorporates the larger scale vision of growing your own food or at least knowing where it comes from, and creating a more sustainable lifestyle. At the author's organic farm and B&B, they grow as much food as possible for themselves, their guests, farm workers, restaurants and the local community.(2005-11-30)
About the Author
Laura Matthias is a field biologist, B&B owner-operator, and organic farmer. A long-time vegan, she has researched the nutritional value of foods, worked in a vegan restaurant and cooked vegan food as a personal chef for clients with dietary sensitivities.
Top Customer Reviews
The recipes are simple and if you know anyone with special food needs, like gluten free diets, or meat or dairy free, this is the one. And the greatest part is that even if you aren't trying to cook without these food "staples", it still stands up...there are such wonderful combinations of flavours, herbs, fruit and nuts which are both surprising and wonderful. No need to serve those dishes nobody but the most die hard vegan wants to eat...they appeal both visually and gastronomically no matter what your preferred diet is.It is also a great way to introduce a new way of eating and cooking if that is your goal. New Society Publishing is a great publisher and have created an enjoyable as well as earth sustaining cookbook. You can't lose by buying this one for yourself or as a gift. You will no longer wonder what to cook or add to the meal when your vegan friends come over.
The introduction is fun to read, and the whole book makes me want to book a vacation at the author's bed & breakfast on Vancouver Island.
I really feel like this book has greatly improved my life & food creativity.
Also, the printing format is really readable. The title font is pretty, and beautiful artful photos.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Pros: Good recipes, good flavors, some unique flavor combinations (think lavender and chocolate). Not the typical vegan cookbook--you'll find interesting and easy to make main dishes and wonderful desserts. Recipes are easy to follow and every one that I've made has come out. I especially like the cookie recipes--they make 30 to 45 cookies per recipe--a nice quanity (3 to 4 sheets), are easy, and tasty. The cookies and baking section are wonderful!
Three Cons: 1. There are a few editing errors. The Lavender Chocolate Chip cookies don't have water in the ingredient list and the directions mention water (but not the maple syrup mentioned in the ingredient list--I just used the maple syrup and they came out great). Another cookie recipe has almond in the title and hazelnuts in the ingredients. 2. The cookbook assumes a general competency in the kitchen--this isn't the book that will give you all the great kitchen tips or tell you about the ingredients. 3. There isn't a breakdown of nutrition or calories for the recipes.
And why a 5? It's a great cookbook. I've had it for a month and it is one that I keep coming back to. The cons aren't very significant--I mention them because if corrected the book would be stellar.
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