Sunday, October 21, 2012

vegan mofo :: let them eat vegan! contest, review & recipe

All the recipes I want to make from "Let them Eat Vegan." [Incidentally Pablo, pictured in part, also gives it two paws up]
Tonight, I post with an air of nostalgia, harkening back to the early days of the Blogosphere, in keeping with my Vegan MoFo theme of Back to Basics. When I first became vegan and started my original blog in 2006, plant-based cookbooks and blogs were few and far in between, and pervasive social networking was just a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg's Ivy beleaguered eye. Back then, we just wrote about eating vegan and commented on each others' posts. Today just to keep pace, we blog, tweet our posts, take Instagram shots, add pins of all of the above on Pinterest, and then update our Facebook timelines. [Never mind sleep.]

Over the years, I've seen plant-based "flavors du jour" come and go. But Dreena Burton was here from the start, walking the walk and talking the talk. She was already a vegan superstar in 2006, and frankly, anyone who has written a vegan cookbook or hosted a blog since then has Dreena, and a few other women [notably Jo Stepniak, Bryanna Clark Grogan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero] to thank for developing the foundation techniques and positivity that inventive new vegan chefs have built upon. 

Dreena and I become "blog friends' over the years. I've followed her work with interest, and she's always been amazingly encouraging and generous. My copies of her cookbooks are all dog-eared and full of notes. Since they are mainstays in my massive cookbook library [which I recently culled from almost 200 to about  100], you can imagine how tickled I was when Let Them Eat Vegan! recently came out, with gorgeous photos by the talented Hannah Kaminsky. To celebrate Dreena's fabulous 4th book, I'm hosting a giveaway contest. More on that after the review.

Let Them Eat Vegan! The Review

Triple-Threat Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. Easy to make. Easier to eat!
The first thing I do when I get a new cookbook is to bookmark all of the recipes I want to try first. As your can see from all the Post-Its, I had a hard time deciding what my fledgling recipe would be. I opted for Dreena's Triple-Threat Chocolate Coconut Macaroons. These were a breeze to make, are [mostly] healthy – and as a special-added bonus, they make your kitchen smell like a Yankee Candle store as they bake.


Chewy-gooey. What's not to love?

Smoked paprika sexies up your tahini
I usually like to have some sort of sauce on hand in the 'fridge to perk up salads and veggies. I knew I'd adore the Smoky Spiked Tahini Sauce; tahini is rather smoky on its own, but add the smoked red paprika and whoa mama! So much flavor for so little effort.


Walnut-Pecan Balls. I "smooshed" this one and ate it as a slider.
Next up were the Walnut-Pecan Balls. I made most of them as meatless meatballs, but decided to "smoosh" a few. These became cute little sliders. When you fry these, the nuts become toasted and brim with an impossibly complex woody aroma – divine! I also think mixing up a batch of this "un-balled" would make a fabulous ground beef sub in many recipes.

The verdict? This is Dreena's pivotal work, to date. I love the accessibility of her tasty recipes: genuine, down-to-earth, crafted from whole foods, using ingredients most of us already have on hand. Talk about Back to Basics! And if you are avoiding soy, wheat or nuts, take heart. Dreena went out of her way to include variations for many common allergens and irritants.

Try Dreena's recipe for Walnut-Pecan Balls...and scroll down to enter the contest. You NEED this book in your collection!

Here they are, a-frying on my kickass new stove.

Dreena Burton's Walnut-Pecan Balls

[Paraphrased. See her book for complete recipe with allergy notes and baking instructions]
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup raw pecans
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 cup plus 2 T rolled or quick oats
  • 2 T vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 T tamari
  • 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1-2 T olive oil, for frying
Makes 17-20 balls

In a skillet over medium heat, combine 1 T of olive oil, celery, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 10-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and celery are nicely softened and golden brown, then transfer to a food processor with the remaining ingredients [except frying oil], and process until the mixture becomes crumbly. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Process again to incorporate any larger pieces, and just as mixture becomes sticky and/or forms a ball, stop the processor.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Take small spoonfuls, about 1 T, and form into balls. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high. Add balls. Fry 5-7 minutes (lower heat if burning), shifting pan to turn sides of balls every minute or two to form a golden crust evenly around the balls. Remove from the heat and serve.

The Contest! Closes at midnight on October 25.

I'll announce the winner by week's end. Just leave a comment. Extra chances for those who follow us on twitter: @dreenaburton and @theurbanvegan US and Canadian residents only. Sorry!

UPDATE: To be eligible, I need to also see your comment on my blog. I took down Rafflecopter it was not working correctly :)





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101 comments:

Mary said...

None of the pictures showed up for me! I'm sure they're all drool-worthy, however.

urban vegan said...

Oh no, Mary! What browser/operating system are you viewing in? I tested on Mac Firefox, Chrome and Safari and they all worked. So sorry. Maybe clear your cache? Her recipes are droolworthy :)

MarkTwain said...

I love Dreena's stuff! So good! Thanks for the review and giveaway!
hopefully you can get my email from my profile? martielou at gmail

MarkTwain said...

I also follow you on twitter! both Dreena and your blog!

Kittee Bee Berns said...

I don't own any of Dreena's book, but I borrow them from the library! I'd love to bring one into the family more permanently!

xo
kittee

Jamee Palmer said...

I very much enjoyed your review of Dreena's book. These recipes and photos are mouth-watering, and as you said very accessible, which I appreciate as a new vegan cook. I'd love to win a copy!!

Megan said...

OMG. Those cookies need to be in my mouth!

T.M. said...

I laughed when I saw all the post-its...I do the same thing. Most of my cookbooks look like a porcupine!
I also follow on Twitter.

Space.Clown said...

This book sounds awesome! I've only made about 5 recipes from ED&BV, but I was looking through it today and there a bunch more I want to make. {email: bravedancer [AT] sbcglobal [.] net]

Hannah said...

Can't go wrong with any of Dreena's recipes, so even though I haven't made those cookies before, I can already imagine how incredible they taste! Thanks for the shout-out; photographing this cookbook was pretty much my dream job, so I'm glad that others can enjoy the results too. :)

Andrea said...

You're right. I need this book. We actually have one of Dreena's recipes in the oven right now, and the house smells grest!

Andrea said...

I already follow you on twitter.

Andrea said...

I already follow Dreena on twitter.

mooxinator said...

There are very very few foods that I am not a fan of. Pecans are currently on that list. Still willing to try this recipe in hopes my taste buds have changed. In case they haven't... any ideas what would be a good substitute besides doubling the walnuts?

Also one can never have too many cookbooks. *crosses fingers*

kmm22 said...

need those sliders now!

Tina. said...

All of these sound great! Would love to own this book.

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

AAHHHHHHHHHHHH@*$&HNabecje(kK(kko9&j that is my over-excited comment because I WANT THIS SO MUCH!

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

I follow you on Twitter already

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

Oh snap, not meaning to SPAM your page. I meant I follow BOTH of you. Ignore the post above ^^^

Jan Scholl said...

I am heading over to Amazon to check out Dreena's books. And what is up with Chrome tonight? Annoying!

Yoga and Zumba® with Gaileee, E-RYT `n` Licensed Zumba® Instructor said...

Mmmm, death by chocolate! Lovely!

Gaileee

Yoga and Zumba® with Gaileee, E-RYT `n` Licensed Zumba® Instructor said...

Oh I follow Dreena (ha ha Weegans) and theurbanvegan with the twitter name of "yogawithgaileee" Woo Hoo!

radioactivegan said...

I love Dreena Burton's cookbooks - they're all great as far as I can tell!

Vegenista said...

You (& Dreena) had me at chocolate macaroons! I am a lover of so many bloggers & cookbook authors, & I have cookbooks by you, Hannah, Isa & Terry - but still nothing by the fabulous Dreena! I was honored & astonished when she retweeted my roasted veggie taco recipe last month! I would love, love, love to finally have one of her books! I follow you both on twitter (I'm @vegenista)! Yay!

Amey said...

what a wonderful review! I already have this book for myself (so no need to enter me in the contest). I really love Dreena's books and I can't wait to start exploring this one. Of course I totally support your decision to start with one of her cookie recipes - she makes the BEST cookies!! :)

lea said...

After seeing those pictures, I need to add this book to my collection! Those cookies look soooo good!

urban vegan said...

Hmmm...I would think any kind of nut--perhaps almonds? Hopefully Dreena will weigh in.

urban vegan said...

What happened, Jan? Someone else said they could not see the photos...but most people could.

urban vegan said...

She certainly does make the best cookies, Amey. I've always said she needs to just do a cookie book, already!

Jessica said...

Since going vegan a little over a year ago, I am starting to build up my cookbook collection. This book is at the top of my list! These pictures look amazing. Can't wait to try this recipe. I also follow you both on Twitter. My name is avocadokitchen.

coconutandberries said...

Somehow Dreena slipped my radar when I first became vegan but now I'm familiar with her and her recipes I wish I knew about her earlier. Her recipes are so accessible and the perfect blend of healthy/indulgent in my opinion. I'd love to win a copy of her latest :)

(If this is an international giveaway..I'm in England!)

coconutandberries said...

I already follow you on twitter

coconutandberries said...

I already follow Dreena too.

Erin Mullaney said...

Hey I follow both of you on twitter. I absolutely ADORE Dreena's book "Eat Drink and Be Vegan" and I use it constantly. Two of my go-to recipes that I make on an almost weekly basis: Thai Chick-un Pizza and Banana Cream Pancakes. Everything I've made from her cookbook is delightful, simple and a crowd-pleaser.

Erin Mullaney said...

P.S. My twitter handle is @_erin_rachel

Brynne said...

I follow Dreena on FB

RochelleK said...

This is the only book by Dreena that I don't have yet. I would love a chance to win it! I make things from her cookbooks all the time. I most recently made her rice crispy treats and took some into my son's teachers. His vegan teacher was so delighted, as she was lamenting just the day before that she can't buy them to eat on her diet. =D

RochelleK said...

I already follow you on Twitter

RochelleK said...

And... I follow Dreena on Twitter too, of course!

Cadry said...

I love Dreena's work and would be happy to add her newest book to my collection!

Cadry said...

I follow you on Twitter!

Cadry said...

I follow Dreena on Twitter (and Facebook, actually)! :)

Abby said...

I follow Dreena, but (gasp) have yet to purchase her cookbook. I'm not that creative of a vegan cook and stick to the staples, but I would love to try it out. She's gold.

Kristine said...

I downloaded a preview on Amazon, but of course would love to win a copy! Very new to this eating lifestyle and will take all the help I can get.

Glo said...

I'd love to add this cookbook to my limited collected of vegan books.
Thanks for the opportunity.

Morgan said...

Would love to win a copy! Just discovered Dreena through her book "Viva Le Vegan" and everything out of it has been a success!

Esther said...

I need another cookbook like I need a hole in the head, and yet...I would love to add that to my collection!

Esther said...

Following you on Twitter!

Esther said...

Following Dreena on Twitter!

Lydia Paterson said...

This Dreena Burton cookbook looks amazing. Thanks for the giveway chance!

Jennifer Manriquez (Bankrupt Vegan) said...

This is awesome! I have one of Dreena's cookbooks, Viva Le Vegan, and I use it several times a week. It's always the first book I grab off the shelf when I want to flip for recipes. I would **LOVE** to have more of her books! I also follow both of you on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @bankruptvegan.
Thanks for the giveaway!

Dreena said...

I agree with Dynise, almonds would be my first choice as a substitute for the pecans. You could also sub more walnuts, but the pecans are naturally sweeter/more buttery. I'd say (maybe?) try them with the pecans first, because the flavor isn't really prominent, they just add a subtle sweetness. But, if you really find them unpleasant, then yeah, go with almonds in combo with the walnuts. :)

Dreena said...

! agree with Dynise, almonds would be my first choice as a substitute for the pecans. You could also sub more walnuts, but the pecans are naturally sweeter/more buttery. I'd say (maybe?) try them with the pecans first, because the flavor isn't really prominent, they just add a subtle sweetness. But, if you really find them unpleasant, then yeah, go with almonds in combo with the walnuts. :)

Dreena Burton said...

I agree with Dynise, almonds would be my first choice as a substitute for the pecans. You could also sub more walnuts, but the pecans are naturally sweeter/more buttery. I'd say (maybe?) try them with the pecans first, because the flavor isn't really prominent, they just add a subtle sweetness. But, if you really find them unpleasant, then yeah, go with almonds in combo with the walnuts. :)

Marisa said...

Oooh, I would have a chance to win this cookbook! Of course, cookbooks are my Kryptonite...

Faith Thomas said...

My family is new to vegan eating- I would love to try the recipes in this book!

Faith Thomas said...

I follow Dreena on Twitter (@faiththomas)

moonsword said...

Thanks for the superyumful recipe! I glimpsed at the book's index and there is a whole chapter on burgers!! goodgolly I would so love to try Chickpea Pumpkin Seed Burgers and Too-Good-To-Be-Tofu Burgers and Pan-fried Falafel Patties...oh, all of them! Many thanks! :)

Molly G said...

I love Dreena's cookbooks but I do not have this one yet! I have only heard wonderful things about it, though, and would love to win a copy.

Molly G said...

Also, I follow you and Dreena on twitter!

Terri said...

Would love to win this cookbook! Trying to transistion from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one and would love an extra resource :) Love both your's and Dreena's blogs; so many great ideas; I have a hard time keeping up!

Terri said...

Would love to win this cookbook! Trying to transistion from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one and would love an extra resource :) Love both your's and Dreena's blogs; so many great ideas; I have a hard time keeping up!

The Social Vegan said...

I already follow you on Twitter (and G+ where I found this link) & would love love love this book!

Amber said...

I'm a fan of Dreena...she's actually how I found you. There are a wide range of vegans, and Dreena is my style. She uses primarily whole, unproccessed foods (vs. fake cheese or meat), and enough convenience items to make her way of cooking realistic. Plus, I love that she's a mom and addresses many of my concerns as a mom. Thanks Dreena...and Urban Vegan. :)

Liv said...

I'm probably the only vegan on the planet without one of Dreena's books - pick me, pick me! :)

The Tasty Vegan said...

The pictures are definitely droolworthy! I really hope I win so future drooling serves a purpose...

(followed on twitter and pinterest as theTastyVegan and ElDoolittle!)

Courtney said...

I don't have any of Dreena's cookbooks--I have always wanted to see them!

Courtney

Amanda said...

I wish Dreena would do an all cookie book too! What a great idea. Her soup recipes are some of my favorite go-to's also, particularly her "One Wild Chick" from ED&BV.

Robin Jamison Hernandez said...

I seriously need this cookbook . . . just ask my family ;)

Carla Anderson said...

Delicious! Walnuts are so great for savory beany burgers. It's also nice to see a veggie cookbook with soy alternatives!

BarefootEssence said...

I too have been following Dreena for ages. Her eat, drink and be vegan was my first vegan cookbook when embarking on the adventure and journey. She made it seem so easy through her cookbooks. Had I picked up some other cookbook on that first vegan step, who knows how it would have ended up!

Alorinna said...

This looks great! I follow both on Twitter :D (@alorinna)

Crystal said...

Let Them Eat Vegan!!!!!

wendy said...

The cookbook looks great!

Chasity said...

Oh my goodness! I already love Dreena and her books, but this review makes me want her new book even more! I follow you both on twitter :)

Elizabeth said...

Good lord, those photos look amazing. I don't know why I look at vegan blogs right when I get to work when the only food on hand is canned nuts and tea. Just followed both of you on Twitter as ebrion.

Amanda said...

I agree that Dreena should write an all cookie cookbook, that is a great idea. Her soups are also fantastic, especially the "One Wild Chick!" from ED&BV.

kelly g. said...

You had me at "cookies"!

debbie stevenson said...

Yippee so hoping this time my comment comes out. soo want this cookbook
love your blog is gorgeous

Anonymous said...

hello

Cara said...

Following you guys on Twitter. Now I am going to have to get this book whether I win or not. Yum.

jenni said...

first vegan cookbook i had was dreena's and my go to cookie recipe is her peanut better cookies :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

Delicious walnut/pecan balls, decadent cookies...and all I can think about is that smoked paprika tahini sauce!!! :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

Haha, I was thinking the same thing, only pondering a sub for the walnuts, because they are on my "not a fan of" list. :) I usually sub pecans for walnuts, but since they are already in it, I think cashews would probably be my next choice.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I already follow you on Twitter. :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

I'm following Dreena now, too!

Eva said...

The walnut pecan balls look great! As does the cookbook :)

and_i_say said...

I've seen so many of her recipes on Pinterest! I'd love to win a copy of this book.

and_i_say said...

I have seen so many of her recipes on Pinterest, so I'd love to win a copy of this book.

Laura said...

The macaroons look great!

Laura said...

I follow you on Twitter (@bitemevegan)

Beth said...

What a great giveaway! I love Dreena's recipes -- especially her cookies and hummus! -- and would love to win a copy of Let Them Eat Vegan. :)

Beth said...

Following you on Twitter!

Beth said...

Following Dreena on Twitter!

Sophie said...

Oh I've been meaning to get the book! It looks awesome and as a new Canadian, I think it's my duty to get all vegan Canadian cookbooks :) Thank you for this opportunity!!!

snarkyvegan said...

Balls! More balls! Must have more balls!

snarkyvegan said...

I already follow you on twitter.

snarkyvegan said...

AND, I follow Dreena fo shizzle.

Unknown said...

I have a few favorite Dreena recipes; her Mac Oh Geeze is INCREDIBLE and amazing, the Vegveeta dip is divine, but to be honest most of the time it's her hummus or baked chipotle yam fries that make everyday appearances.

Unknown said...

oh ps that was erica (Gawkylu!) in portland ;) i added some capital letters for fun.

Maya said...

I'd love to try this book. I recently became familiar with Dreena (and your blog!), so I'd love to see what her cooking style is all about. I'm also following on Twitter @mayahenderson.