Saturday, January 31, 2009

Karmany Yoga

A new donation-based yoga studio is about to open in Dallas! Karmany Yoga (formerly Bend Studio) will offer various types of yoga including Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Yin, and Tibetan Heart with some of the city's finest instructors. The Grand Opening is set for Monday, February 2 at 6:00PM. Mark your calendars and dust off those mats! 

5014 McKinney Avenue
(214) 564-7772

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Italian Wine Cookies

I stumbled upon this accidentally-vegan recipe for Italian wine cookies and knew I had to try it. They have a beautiful lilac color, and I can't even begin to explain how delicious they are! Do yourselves a favor and put these on your to-do lists pronto.

3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons evaporated cane sweetener (plus more to coat)
1 cup red wine 
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, and sweetener in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add red wine (I used a zinfandel) and vegetable oil. Start mixing with a fork, then knead with hands. 

Roll small pieces of dough between hands to create logs, then shape into spirals (2-3 inches in diameter). Coat spirals with additional sweetener and place on cookie sheet.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (or until slightly brown). Let cookies cool completely before enjoying with a good cappuccino...or a glass of wine!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Fish

On those occasions when large, bustling crowds are not your scene, The Fish Restaurant and Sushi Bar in West Village East may just be the place you're looking for. Nestled on the strip between Brooks Brothers and Grimaldi's, The Fish offers fabulous vegan fare and a serene ambiance perfect for libations and deep conversation. The chic eatery's creative martini list and healthy selection of wines are only part of why I love this place! I had the opportunity to catch up with one of my oldest friends, Sam (who now lives in Korea), over dinner and cocktails at The Fish. We started out with a few appetizers and a quite potent, but delicious house martini. As I often do at most Asian restaurants, I ordered the seaweed salad and a vegetable sushi roll for starters (I really do need to branch out). Both were beautifully served...and in a swiftly manner.  So swift, in fact, that we didn't even get a chance to look over the rest of the menu before our server returned with the opening dishes. My buttery textured vegetable roll was perfect--light on the crunch and heavy on the avocado! 

Not overly sweet or spicy, the seaweed salad had a subtle brightness to it. Topped with carrot curls and garnished with sliced cucumber, the salad acted as a wonderful palate cleanser for the final course. I selected the vegan-friendly Vegetable Udon Soup for my final course. The soup, which varies in vegetable content daily, always includes Japanese udon noodles and shiitake mushrooms lightly drowned in a savory vegetable broth. This visit's soup consisted of asparagus, snap peas, napa cabbage, and baby bok choy.

Our entire dinner experience at The Fish was fabulous! We were in and out in less than an hour (on a Friday night!), leaving plenty of time to sample some great wines next door at Cork. Other perks at The Fish: complimentary valet and happy hour all day Sunday!

3636 McKinney Avenue, Suite 150
(214) 522-0071

Monday, January 19, 2009

Simple Vegan Migas...Brownsville Style

I spent much of my childhood watching cooking shows, experimenting in the kitchen, and gossiping with my grandmother while she prepared some fabulous meals! Not terribly exciting, but I grew up in Brownsville, Texas, after all. My grandmother is from a small Mexican village, where simplicity is valued, and native cuisine is a concoction of indigenous foods with a Spanish twist. One of my favorite breakfast dishes growing up was my grandmother's simple, yet delicious migas! Grandma prepared her migas with freshly made corn tortillas, scrambled eggs, and a few Latin spices. Not overloaded with flavors, the simple dish made it possible for all of my family members to dress the dish to our own liking. My mother and aunt Sylvia usually topped theirs with a salsa picante and cheese (chilaquiles style), and my brother Michael and I often picked out most of the egg (we had a funny thing about eggs) and topped the remainder with ketchup...don't knock it 'til you try it. A recent conversation with my mother about the dish inspired me to create a vegan version for myself...ketchup included! The dish is quite simple. 

Migas Base
4 corn tortillas (cut in small squares)
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch sea salt

6 oz Mori-Nu Extra Firm Tofu
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 small garlic clove (minced)
1 pinch cumin powder
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

In a small skillet, sauté tortilla squares until lightly crisp. In a separate skillet, combine scramble ingredients and sauté evenly. Combine all ingredients and top as you wish...get crazy, even! 

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Many omnivores I know are apprehensive about eating tofu (maybe it's the texture or general fear of the unknown), so when my omnivorous friend Marc commented that one of his favorite meals is a curry tofu hot pot at Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant, I knew I had to check the place out. My friend Christopher and I met up with Horacio, Marc, and Ty at the BYOB joint last night for food, wine, and conversation. Upon entering the quasi hole-in-the-wall, we were immediately seated and handed a cork screw. I took the opportunity to contribute a bottle of Becker Iconoclast Cabernet Sauvignon (thanks for the heads up, C&S) to accompany our dinner, and Ty contributed a nice Argentine malbec.

We ordered several appetizers and enjoyed our wine as we studied the extensive menu. I was overwhelmed with the many vegetarian and vegan dinner options! Christopher ordered a lemon grass tofu rice bowl, Marc ordered his curry tofu hot pot, and I ate a spicy vegetable and tofu stir fry. The kitchy-cool dining room catered to a diverse clientele including posh ladies who lunch, young hipsters, and design industry professionals. And I was especially excited to see some fellow Spiral Diner regulars in the crowd! Dinner was fabulous and über cheap...$15 each, 20% tip included. I was so happy with my dining experience last night, I immediately e-mailed my friends Bret and Jenn to plan a follow-up visit to Mai's.

Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant
4812 Bryan Street
(214) 826-9887

Friday, January 16, 2009

Raw Coconut Brownie Bites

After meeting so many inspiring people in the raw food community in 2008, I decided to actively explore living foods on a much more conscious level this year. While I have no intentions of giving up cooked foods, coffee, or red wine (which is raw!), I do plan on following a healthier vegan diet in 2009. To kick off my plan, I'm trading in my typical chocolatey sweets for these subtly sweet raw coconut brownie bites. 

1 cup raw pecans (soaked)
1 cup raw walnuts (soaked)
1 cup dates (soaked/pitted)
1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
3/4 cup raw agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (non-alcohol)
1/3 cup distilled water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons raw coconut shreds (plus more for topping)
2 cups flax seed meal

Combine all ingredients (except coconut shreds and flax meal) in a large food processor. Mix until smooth consistency is reached. Combine mixture with coconut shreds and flax meal in a large bowl and thoroughly mix by hand. In small parchment cups, place a dollop of brownie mixture in each cup. Gently pat down mixture and top with coconut shreds. 
Place all cups on one dehydrator tray and dehydrate on 105 degrees for approximately 7-8 hours. Keep in mind that not all dehydrators are created equal. Dehydrating time may vary, depending on speed and/or desired texture.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dharma in Dallas

Sri Dharma Mittra is returning to Dallas! For those unable to attend last year's workshop, don't miss the opportunity to participate in this life changing event with one of the greatest yogis of our time! 

For more information, click HERE.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


The subject of Sunday brunch usually brings to mind dishes like eggs Benedict, French toast, and cleverly named omelets, none of which are options on a vegan diet, so I've become quite accustomed to settling for boring and/or fatty side dishes just to join my friends for Sunday mimosas. Luckily, that is not the case at Taverna! Having learned of their $5 bottomless mimosas and bellinis, and remembering past vegan adventures at other Lombardi restaurants, Sara and I were excited to catch up over Sunday brunch at Taverna's Knox-Henderson location. Although Sara's vegetarian diet allowed her to order from the brunch menu, we both ultimately ordered a fantastic butternut squash gnocci dish from Taverna's regular lunch menu. My Gnocci di Zucca, normally drenched in an Asiago cream sauce with fresh sage, was prepared with a tomato and basil sauce and served with a large focaccia flat bread topped with rosemary and olive oil. We both added a salad of mixed greens that was well worth the additional $2. Sara selected a full bodied chardonnay to accompany her meal, but I decided to stay true to my Sunday ritual and chase my meal with bottomless mimosas! 

Check out Taverna's locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin for weekly specials.

3210 Armstrong Avenue
(214) 520-9933

Sunday, January 4, 2009

La Duni

I realize the new year has already officially begun, but, working in the public school system, MY new year starts at the start of the new semester. With that in mind, I was happy to catch up with friends over lunch and adult libations at La Duni in Highland Park after my Sunday morning yoga class. Split on the decision between red or white wine, Marc and I shared a bottle of the vegan-friendly Montes Reserve Malbec, and Christopher and Horacio shared a bottle of an Italian pinot grigio. Initially, my plan was to order several accidentally vegan à la carte items (black beans, fried yucca, and mashed avocado), but I ultimately decided to pair my malbec with the Tomates con Palmitos (sans cheese), a beautifully presented salad of sliced tomatoes, mashed avocado, and tender palm hearts topped with a pleasantly fruity balsamic vinaigrette. While other vegan dishes can be made upon request, this salad makes for a wonderful post-workout meal...especially if that meal includes a nice red wine!

4264 Oak Lawn Avenue
(214) 520-6888

4620 McKinney Avenue
(214) 520-7300

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Swiss "Chicken" Enchiladas

I recently took a road trip to Austin with some friends and was lucky enough to sample some great vegan Tex-Mex food. Consequently, I returned to Dallas with a craving for more, so I decided to pull out an old favorite. Feel free to get creative with fillings. The basic recipe works well with baked tofu, tempeh, or any other meat alternative. For a healthier twist, try using a variation of mushrooms or hearty greens.

10 small whole wheat or multi-grain tortillas

Swiss Sauce
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
8 oz tub of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Enchilada Filling
2 tbsp high-heat oil such as sunflower or canola
1 large red onion (finely diced)
1 large green bell pepper (finely diced)
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds (or 1 tsp ground cumin powder)
2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz diced seitan
4 oz tomato puree
½ block (5 oz) shredded Follow Your Heart Monterrey Jack Cheese Alternative
sea salt and pepper to taste

Additional ½ block shredded Follow Your Heart Monterrey Jack Cheese Alternative
Smoked Spanish paprika

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Set tortillas aside in a relatively warm area to make more pliable upon filling.

In a medium blender or food processor, combine canned tomatoes/green chillies and sour cream alternative. Process until consistency is even in color and texture and set mixture in the refrigerator.

In a large skillet, sautée diced onion on medium heat until onion is almost translucent. Add bell pepper, cumin, garlic, and red pepper flakes until bell pepper becomes a bright green color. Add seitan and increase heat to med-high, constantly stirring to brown seitan evenly. Add tomato puree and 5 oz. shredded cheese alternative. Mix thoroughly until “cheese” is mostly melted. Remove skillet from heat and turn heat off. Add sea salt to taste and mix thoroughly.

Lightly coat 2 small roasting pans with high-heat oil. Fill tortillas with enchilada filling and roll taut, placing tortilla folds at the bottom of each pan. Repeat process until all tortillas have been filled. Generously coat filled tortillas with Swiss Sauce. Top evenly with the remaining shredded cheese alternative. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Set oven to broil and watch enchiladas closely. Broil ONLY until cheese alternative is lightly browned and melted. Remove pans from oven and lightly sprinkle with paprika.