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Saturday, October 22, 2011

THE URBAN VEGAN'S NEW BOOK, "CELEBRATE VEGAN"

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The promise of a new book by Dynise Balcavage, the Urban Vegan, has caused eager anticipation among fans of her blog and her first book The Urban Vegan.  The complete title of her new book is Celebrate Vegan: 200 Life-Affirming Recipes for Occasions Big and Small, and it delivers!  Dynise covers 48 holidays, divided into the following categories: New Year's Celebrations (from four cultures); American Celebrations (the usual ones, plus Martin Luther King day and Festivus, the festival for nonconformists, of Seinfeld fame); nine International Celebrations; Religion-Based Celebrations (from Candlemas to Eid al-Fitr); Milestone Celebrations (from birth to burial); and seven fun Everyday Celebrations.  Dynise likes to surprise, so be prepared.

Consider her Lunar New Year Supper, for instance, featuring Lemon-Champagne-Braised Baby Bok Choy, Tofu with Broccoli and Black Bean Sauce and, for dessert, Mandarin Orange Upside-Down Cake (“a fun twist on a classic American dessert recipe”-- indeed!). Or, from the American Holidays section, the Martin Luther King Day "Soul Food Fit for a King" supper, sometimes traditional and sometimes darn right  innovative: Sweet Mint Tea, Thai-Centric Creamy Mac (“not your grandma’s mac and cheese”), Dirty Rice and Lemon-Cornmeal Diamonds.


In this book, the "Heartfelt Linzer Cookies" are for Valentine's Day, not Christmas!

Guy Fawkes Day, a British Holiday with a long and rather violent past, inspired "Kinder, Gentler Bonfire Fare", featuring London Particular (a split pea soup), Indian Shepherds Pie, and Pimm’s Cup (a British cocktail). I made the Indian Shepherds Pie for dinner a few nights ago. This recipe is a brilliant idea, given the long relationship of the British Empire with the Indian sub-continent, continuing to this day with the large Indian population in the UK.  Dynise described the dish as a sort of  "deconstructed samosa", which is very apt.  I used the cauliflower option in the filling because cauliflower, pea and potato is a popular samosa filling.

The spicy filling features tempeh, which my husband claims to dislike, but I had some in the freezer, I had everything else in the house to make this dish, and I decided to take a chance.  The dish was calling to me, and, besides, I like tempeh, and I don't have it very often. This has a happy ending, though. I didn't tell him that the dish contained tempeh until he had tucked in and started going on and on about how great it was!

  The spicy tempeh and vegetable filling.




                      Indian Shepherds Pie




The festive and unusual Christmas Eve "Feast of the Seven Grains" is the vegan equivalent of the traditional Pan-European "Feast of the Seven Fishes"-- genius! In the Everyday Celebrations section, the "Tailgate Party" features Spicy Seitan Wings, pretty traditional, but wait-- there's a surprising Cumin-Harissa Dipping Sauce and Chocolate Popcorn to finish.  And then comes the "Raw Celebration": Zucchini “Linguine” with Lemony Spinach Pesto, Truffle-Stuffed Dates and Ruby Red Cocktail.

 Zucchini “Linguine” with Lemony Spinach Pesto

That's just a small sampling of the original menus and recipes that go with them.  Traditional sometimes, but always with a (sometimes quirky) twist.  You'll have fun with the food in this book, and so will your guests.  As an added bonus, Dynise has included a list of online resources, a recipe index by category, and some reassuring information on "veganizing" traditional recipes, baking without eggs, and much, much more.  You're going to love this book!

Enjoy!

68 comments:

Amey said...

Wow, it looks amazing! I love what a thorough review you gave! It's nice that she's included so many holidays beyond just the usual basics. How cool. I'm always a sucker for holidays, even the ones I don't really celebrate. My most favorite though is probably Persian new year, my adopted holiday that I love so much!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

My favorite holiday is (American or Canadian) Thanksgiving - I love food,cooking and hangig out with family - what can I say?

(You can send a message to my blog or Facebook)

radioactivegan said...

Thanksgiving/Christmas are my favorite eating-holidays because the dishes shared there are most prominent in my memory. I'd love to have more vegan options at both of these!

^_^ said...

Oh wow, everything sounds and looks so yummy! My favourite holiday is easter: a week off, chocolate and baking hot cross buns, what more could you want! :)

Cranky Little Apricot said...

I love Thanksgiving, not so much for the holiday itself, but for the kinds of foods and the weather of late fall. What's not to like about cranberries, pumpkin, and spices?

phoenix said...

Amazing giveaway! May I ask if it's international? Anyway, my favourite holiday is Halloween (although it's still not celebrated very much around here), and I love everything featuring pumpkin (sweet or savoury).

Chester Scotties said...

My favorite holiday is Christmas Eve mostly because we've combined several cultures into our celebration - some of us are Greek, some Irish and some Polish. My husband came here from Poland in 1988 and introduced us to a traditional food that has become my favorite, his mushroom broth-based borscht. Vegan and delish! And like most peasant foods there is no waste because we use the mushrooms from the stock to make pierogies and serve them with steaming mugs of ruby soup.
I see I ran on a bit! Would love to have Dynise's new book; followed her blog for years and love her recipes.
Fily Wolczek, filiovw@ gmail.com

Day By Day said...

I love Thanksgiving - a time for family and friends without as much commercialization as Christmas.

Dawn said...

Bryanna, between your new cookbook and Dynise's new one, WOW. Holidays will never be the same again!

I think my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, though I also love Halloween (if you count it as a "holiday.") The fall weather gives us the opportunity to use our ovens freely again, and mine definitely gets a great workout. I couldn't pick a favorite dish if I tried!

Hope all is well!
XO

Teslaca said...

Thanksgiving is easily my favorite holiday. I like it because it's not centered around a particular religion and everyone can participate and enjoy it. It's also a great way to show off the wonderfulness of vegan foods. I love hosting and having everyone enjoy foods they may not otherwise try or make.

kittenwithawhisk said...

While I love the coziness of being with friends and family at Thanksgiving and the beauty and wonder of the Christmas season, it's Halloween that gets me the most excited. I love the idea that people (big and small) can be whatever they choose for a day. The excitement of thinking about a costume brings out the child in everyone. I love the crispness of the night air, carving pumpkins and the feeling of mischief all around us. Its such a sweet way to celebrate autumn. For food, I make vegan vampire cupcakes, "finger" foods, ghost punch and some crazy cocktail that follows the theme. Halloween is a lighthearted and fun celebration for everyone without the stress of the big holiday season!

Lauren said...

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I like it because it's a chance to bring everyone together, eat good food and, usually, show a bunch of omnivores that veg food is delicious and perfect for holiday gatherings. It also feels a lot more relaxed than any other holiday.

Tania Katherine said...

I'd love to celebrate the little events in my life like our upcoming mood with some sweet vegan food. We can't ever figure out what to make though! So frustrating! I want to work on making the big events big and the smaller events bigger.

Becca said...

This book looks fantastic!

My favorite holiday is Halloween. I think it probably has something to do with nostalgia; getting to wear costumes and go trick or treating with friends and then getting to watch scary movies. FUN! This is the only time of year when I enjoy watching scary stuff. Since it's kind of near the holidays and it is a holiday dedicated to sweets, I like to consume sugary goodness this time of year.

rebeccastar at gmail dot com

Heather said...

I love Urban Vegan! My favorite holiday has become Thanksgiving. I love the autumnal feeling in the air here (North Carolina) during that time, chilly but not frigid, the hearty foods, the smells of pumpkin, sage, thyme, cinnamon. The family and friends... it's all wonderful!

Anonymous said...

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Sage stuffing is my favorite food. I love the fall and change of seasons with family gathered around the table. There is no greed involved only gratitude.

Michelle Engle
jmjs_engle@yahoo.com

Rachel said...

I love Thanksgiving - fall foods are fantastic =) I love using pumpkin and squash and particularly enjoy making corn bread stuffing every year.

Beth said...

What a great giveaway! I think Christmas has to be my very favorite holiday. I love everything about it -- the white Christmas lights everywhere, Central Park covered in snow, the department store windows all decorated for the holidays, lots of presents(!) and, of course, family and lots of delicious food to share! My favorite tradition around Christmastime is to turn on some Christmas music (Aimee Mann's One More Drifter in the Snow is my current favorite :)) and bake lots of vegan Christmas cookies for everyone. It reminds me of when I used to bake cookies with my mom and sister when I was growing up. I can't wait until December!! :)

Jane Plass said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too. It's a time to share food and memories with family. This year will be special because my 10-month-old grandnephew will be celebrating his first Thanksgiving with us!

lburrell said...

My favorite holiday is the Jewish Festival of Weeks (Shavuot). It comes in late may or in June just when the delicious local early fruits and vegetables are in season. It celebrates the giving of the Torah and often has a wedding theme symbolizing the relationship between the Jewish People and the Torah. Traditionally dairy foods are served. I love the challenge of creating and serving vegan versions of blintzes, cheese cakes and a vegan wedding cake decorated with organic roses.

anonymousme said...

I love Xmas - especially Xmas AM. We make muffins and have mimosas while we open our presents. My mom makes Marmalade Mogul Muffins once a year for this occasion, and last time I figured out how to make them vegan! This year I made my own marmalade, and can't wait to try it in my (renamed) Magnanimous Marmalade Muffins!

Sjh

Beth said...

My favorite holidays is Christmas because the tree smells soooooo good!

Ryan said...

Halloween is my favorite holiday. We love to make anything sweet and spicy... Mexican hot chocolate, chai latte cupcakes, etc.

Aunt M said...

Another vote for Christmas Eve. After Mass, the Sisters invite us into the convent to enjoy cookies and cocoa with them. Their company is a beautiful gift!

Josiane said...

This book sounds great! It's always nice to have fresh ideas (or a new take on old standbys) when comes time to cook for the holidays!

It's funny that the first person who commented mentioned the Iranian New Year, as that's one of my favorite too! Ever since I went to Iran (twice!), all things Persian have a special place in my heart. I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to celebrate No Ruz with Iranian friends here a few years in a row, and really enjoyed it.

Kate said...

I love Thanksgiving because my kids always have the day off from work, are home from school on break etc. We all cook different dishes together, and beginning last year we had a granddaughter with us too! I'm looking forward to her enjoying the feast even more this year!

Jody said...

Thanksgiving seems to be a popular favorite! Mine, too!
I have a savory sweet potato dish with greens that I love to make any time of the year, but is particularly nice at Thanksgiving, when sweet potato dishes are often overly sweet! It's got nutmeg in it that gives it a nice, earthy flavor!

Laura said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. My husband and I spend a long weekend camping in Yosemite, and cook Thanksgiving dinner over the campfire.

KellyC said...

I love Christmas! I always have and now that I have a little one, it's even better because I get to watch him get all excited and make his list. We always make gingerbread cookies and sugar cookie cut outs on Christmas Eve for Santa and his elves as one of our favourite traditions.

Tammy said...

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Since I became vegan, it's been especially fun to have a big community dinner with local friends. My favorites are mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie -- and in recent years I've finally realized that I don't have to wait until the holidays to eat these foods, so have been having them year-round. I also enjoy the Tofurky roast. My recent discovery is to forego baking it; I cut into thick slices and pan fry it. Makes an excellent addition to a brunch feast or dinner, and I like the crispy finish from frying it.

Tammy said...

I also wanted to add... Bryanna, have been reading your blog for awhile now. Belated note - I enjoy your posts. Thanks so much for sharing!

lizlemonnights said...

I absolutely love Thanksgiving! It's my favorite holiday because it's one that's just about a great home-cooked meal and enjoying it with family. I actually really love the potstickers (my mother is Japanese) we have every year. Yay!

Courtney said...

My favorite holiday would have to be Christmas, just because my family is spread all over the country and that is the one time we all come together. I love the sentiment and feeling of Thanksgiving, but I am not always with family on the holiday, so for no other reason than seeing my family, I would definitely have to say Christmas :-)

I would love to win the book--it sounds fabulous!

Courtney

VeggieLow said...

My favorite holiday is New Years' Eve. I love the mood around new years - everyone is hopeful and excited about what's to come... it's time for new and exciting things, new beginnings, and letting go of bad things in the past. I LOVE (vegan) food, so why not celebrate my fave day with exciting, appropriate food! I like to go cook new, exciting things to ring-in the new year. I usually make a great dinner the night of new years eve that includes some of my favorite foods from the past year... some repeat recipes and enjoyable drinks (it IS new years eve hah). Then on New Years day, I make a HUGE brunch with entirely new recipes... and invite all my loved ones (new and old) to join me. Sigh, my favorite day of the year... and food is such an important part of it!

Also, these shots are great. I am so gonna hafta grab this book!

Soozle said...

My favorite holiday is Christmas, as it's the only time of year I get to see some relatives! One of my favorite dishes that come with the season are cabbage rolls!
sbabij2 at shaw dot ca

Lisa said...

Oh wow. The photos and the food look amazing. I think my favourite is Lunar New Year - mainly because my family all get together and celebrate with food. Yum - dumplings, steamed buns, vegetables all different ways, moon cake (vegan versions)... I could go on forever :)
ljbright at gmail dot com

foodfeud said...

My favorite holiday (to cook for) is Easter - fresh vegetables are finally coloring the plates, veganized recipes are always inventive - subbing for the lamb and eggs! - and it's a wonderful, uplifting time.

Mattheworbit said...

Hi Bryanna,

What a fantastic and involved review, thank you! I love Urban Vegan's recipes from the first book and am eagerly awaiting her new book (much like I eagerly awaited yours! - btw, how amazing and easy is your Chocolate Shoo Fly Pie?)

I just wanted to note a correction - the new title is called "Celebrate Vegan", whereas the *old* one is the longer title you mention in your review... Thanks! Matt

Stephee said...

I think my fav holiday is St Pattys day, to make vegan versions of all the traditional irish foods of my heritage!

Bev said...

My favorite holiday is Easter when we (in Ontario) can start thinking spring. Tofu turkey and dressing from my tattered copy of The (Almost) No Fat Holiday Cookbook have been our holiday staple for many years.
Bev
bnfarrell@rogers.com

HeatherD-H said...

My fave is Thanksgiving because I have for the last 7 years met each year with a group of friends to celebrate a totally vegan potluck Thanksgiving dinner and it is just such a wonderful tradition I look forward to it each year!

Gabrielle said...

I'm so excited about a new Dynise book!

My favourite holiday is (Canadian) Thanksgiving. I like it because our tradition is pretty much just...food, and while there are things I like to make each year (often some kind of seitan roast, ALWAYS Brussels sprouts in some form and other roasted veggies), I don't feel like I can't break from tradition and make tamales one year and paella the next.

Wonderful review, Bryanna!

Lexi @ A Spoonful of Sunshine said...

I love Christmas because it's always spent with my entire family at my house. SO much fun!

Lauren said...

My favorite holiday is Rosh Hashanna. I love to celebrate by cooking for all my friends. There were very specific foods I used to enjoy as a kid, when I was not vegan. I have now figured out how to adapt each of the older recipes and can still enjoy them as an adult!

Rachel K. E. said...

I love Halloween because of the pumpkin goodies and horror movies!

I think it needs more turbinado. said...

My favorite Holiday is Christmas. My favorite thing to make; vegan cinnamon rolls with vegan royal icing. It's a great pair, perfect for making the night before, popping in the oven, then serving to those who will probably be eating turkey later in the day. It gives me great joy to share great vegan food to my meat eating family.

She who cooks... said...

I love Thanksgiving! I love to serve vegan pumpkin bread and vegan apple pie and watch everyone go...WOW, this is vegan???
I'd love to win a copy of Dynise's book.....it would help me on my quest to have everyone in my family eat less and less animal products! :)

Jamessina said...

My husband says he doesnt like tempeh either, and then created a beautiful mustard basted tempeh dish that is to die for!
Favorite holiday- thanksgiving- as my mostly omnivorous family comes together and uses only earth balance and veggie broth in every dish, creating a beautiful vegan friendly potluck meal that all can enjoy!

Devery said...

I think my favorite is Valentine's day, as much as I love having a vegan thanksgiving. Becoming vegan taught me how to cook, and the biggest reason I think I became vegan is my husband: falling in love with him opened my heart so much it opened my heart to animals as well and I couldn't be an omni anymore! Besides in February it's wayy too cold to go outside! So this year I'm planning to make seitan bourguignon, curry coconut red lentil and sweet potato creamy coconut curry soup, roasted brussels sprouts, and the rosewater pistachio cookies from Veganomicon served w/ coconut bliss. <3

Lori said...

I love Thanksgiving because my family always gets together this day and I love the flavors of fall - cranberry, squash, pumpkin and apple - and love to cook with them.

J. O. Miller said...

My favorite holiday for cooking is the 4th of July because by mid-summer, the farmers markets are just starting to get lots of great veggies and treats that make whipping up hearty salads and grilling up veggies for casual friend bbqs and family get-togethers so much fun.
xoxo

Carrie said...

I'm going to go with Christmas, just because it's the only holiday where I travel home and get to see my family

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

My favorite holiday is probably X-mas, mainly because of all the cookies I get to bake! :)

Nichole said...

I love Thanksgiving. It's not about gifts or celebrating a single person, it's just about being together and having a good time! It's usually my brother and I along with whomever has no where else to go--always a good time. I'm usually in charge of it which is fun too. I mix up the menu every year, but usually stick with the appetizer, one main (last year I made Dreena Burton's chickpea tart; so good, might make that again) with several sides, and a fantastic dessert.

I'm so excited that it's coming up again!

TejasJJain said...

My favorite is diwali (Indian festival of lights).
It is easy to get vegetarian Indian recipe but vegan dessert is tough...As we consider cow as mother, it is close to impossible to make anything without clarified butter (we do not eat egg)...I am always looking fro ideas and ways where I can make vegan dishes ...specially dessert.

moonsword said...

My favorite holiday is July 4th because it's summer (yay!) and because all of my favorite foods are in season...blueberries, blackberries, all kinds of other berries, peaches, apricots, melons, figs, etc. I love making vegan cream cheese hand pies, usually strawberry, lemon and blueberry flavors...always a hit! :)

Megan said...

My favorite is Thanksgiving, because I always get free reign on the menu, and I get assistants!

Anonymous said...

My family created a holiday, we call Thanksmas. It's right in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all head down to Florida to my folks house, it's the one time in the year that we can all be together. We always eat too much, one of my favorites is wild rice stuffing.
cdbuteyn@yahoo.com

KleoPatra said...

I cannot wait to get my hands on this cookbook!! I love all the holidays, especially Chanukah. I have great memories of my late Mom spoiling my sisters and me with silly little gifts for eight nights (and yes, in her memory, we still have been known to give each other socks!)

afkjl said...

Halloween is my favorite holiday. It's the one holiday during the year where it's 'okay' for me to give in to my morbidity. And, the candy selection (sweettarts)is much better for splurging off-diet.

Lee Ann said...

Easter - you can eat all the chocolate you want.

Semilla said...

Foodwise, I love Thanksgiving the most. Everything is delish! Celebration-wise, I LOVE Halloween! I serve stuffed pumpkins for dinner and usually add themed cocktails too.

janet @ the taste space said...

My favourite holiday is Easter. Not sure why.. probably because on Good Friday no one should be eating meat anyhow!

Diana @ VeggieNextDoor said...

My favorite holiday is my Birthday. Since I host the party at my place, I get to make it 100% vegetarian. This year I hosted a Vegetarian Potluck so all the guests had to try their hand at a meatless dish.

Anonymous said...

I love Halloween the most because of the spooky stories/ jokes/ poems I can share with my children, as I steal their candy....mwah, hah, hah!
esltutoring@yahoo.com

vegAnn said...

Any holiday is cookie worthy! Cant beat Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Jacqueline said...

I love Halloween, however Thanksgiving is close to my heart because it is one of those holidays that gets overlooked because it falls between Halloween and Christmas. It is THE time when we give thanks for all that we have whether it be the people in our lives, our health, having a home, work that satisfy us and provides for us. I love making roasted root vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes and yukon gold potatoes and rutabagas. Brussel sprouts, haricot vert, and kale. Stuffing and dressings, homemade rolls, pumpkin and sweet potato pies, turtle cheesecake.

susie Q said...

I'm a big fan of Christmas but for me, this year, Thanksgiving takes the cake because I'll be going home for Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in 8 years! And bringing my (Irish) husband with me for his first ever. I'll be the lone veggie at the table but I'll be contributing lots of vegan plates to the table to show them all how good it can be. Thanks! Book sounds amazing. Susie [susieq@bust.com]