December 04, 2011
If you follow the Urban Vegan blog (and you do, right?), you know that Dynise Balcavage provides her readers with clever, beautiful and delicious recipes that are usually surprisingly easy to prepare. You can cook the recipes for every day meals, but feel perfectly comfortable serving them to dinner guests. In her second cookbook, Celebrate Vegan: 200 Life-Affirming Recipes for Occasions Big and Small, Dynise shares her collection of elegant but (mostly) easy, vegan, seasonal recipes, for celebrating special events from around the world. She's covered everything from the most typical U.S. celebrations to holidays like Timkat, the Ethiopian Epiphany, for which she provides recipes for Ethiopian collards, mini injeras and spiced lentils. Accompanying each recipe or group of recipes, is a short, informative discussion about the holiday, as well as chatty, personal anecdotes that weave Dynise's vibrant personality into the menus.
I was one of the lucky recipe testers for Celebrate Vegan, so I can tell you first hand how good the recipes are. I made the three Ethiopian dishes mentioned above, and they were great. Here are photos of some of the dishes I've tried, and the holidays associated with them.
Cinnamon-date scones - Snow Day (Hey, why not treat a snow day as a holiday?)
Paté aux champignons éxotiques - Bastille Day
Cecina - World Vegetarian Day
Mushy peas (OK. This one wasn't my favorite, but my husband liked it.)
Hot and sour carrots and lentils - New Year's Day
Tofu with broccoli and black bean sauce - Chinese New Year
Mega-Israeli salad - Hanukkah
Spicy tomato-lemon dressing - Girls' Night In
(You can find recipes for the hot and sour carrots and lentils, and the tofu with broccoli and black bean sauce in the sneak peek feature for Celebrate Vegan on Amazon.)
To make your recipe choices especially relevant to your needs, Dynise has coded the recipes as fast, frugal, kid-friendly, make ahead or omnivore-friendly, and marked them with icons for easy identification.
If you'd like to win a copy of Celebrate Vegan, leave a comment on this post, and I'll randomly choose a winner Dec. 11.
UPDATE: This contest has ended and a winner has been selected.
Full disclosure: I received two free copies of the cookbook from the publisher, and I'm giving one away. I earned my copy by participating in the recipe testing. I was not required to write a review. I am not an affiliate of this company. All opinions are my own.