Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kundalini Yoga at Rutgers Gardens

Please join me in a blissful kundalini yoga practice at the beautiful Rutgers Gardens in New Brunswick, NJ on June 2nd from 4 pm - 5 pm.  The class fee is $15 per person and will be donated 100% to the Gardens. This is truly a sacred place for me and I would like to share it with you in this magical way.  Beginners are welcome! Open yourself up to the experience of your own breath, mantra, and meditation.  

For more information, refer to the flyer below.   WAHE GURU!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blossom Cafe (West Village, NYC)

I cannot express just how excited I am that Blossom - yes, that Blossom, the vegan goddess of 9th  Ave. in Chelsea, is opening up in my neighborhood!  The West Village comes up short with vegan restaurants, unlike the nearby East Village but we now have one more!  Actually, technically, they will be open as of 6 p.m. tonight for dinner...Finally, a gourmet vegan restaurant practically next door!  Can't wait to try it... I just walked by and it looks very nice when I peaked in, with those doors that open onto the street so it's almost like you are dining outdoors enjoying this lovely Spring day (but you are not actually dining on the sidewalk)...

Guess where I will be for my birthday next Monday night (and possibly before then if I can't wait)...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cinnamon Snail UPDATE for immediate release

After two full years, finally The Cinnamon Snail food truck is fully permitted for NYC. We will be serving many neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn starting this Thursday 12/8/11 with an appearance for brunch and lunch in Midtown West.
The exact location will be announced via social media when we are parked.  Folks can follow us on Twitter @veganLunchTruck or on Facebook at
Expect visits from The Cinnamon Snail in the FiDi, Flatiron District,  Midtown, the LES, Williamsburg, Green Point, and other areas on Manhattan and Brooklyn in the following weeks.

Our season is over on Xmas (noooo), but we will be back from our winter hibernation sometime around Valentine's Day (weather permitting).

The Cinnamon Snail has been mostly in Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark and Red Bank, NJ for the last two years. Hoboken is passing a new vending ordinance, which will make it completely unaffordable and difficult for food trucks to operate. So their loss in NYC’s gain! 


The Cinnamon Snail is a 2010 and 2011 vendy award nominee.

The Cinnamon Snail won the 2011 vendy award for their vanilla bourbon creme brulee donuts.
We were named the #1 vegetarian street food in America by PETA.
Named as one of the top ten food trucks in the country by in 2010.
Nominated for the 2011 VegNews Veggie Awards.
Nominated for PETA’s 2011 Libby Awards.
Featured on the Cooking Channel, New York Times, Time Out NY, Vegeterian Times, Veg News, Asbury Park Press and probably on the FBI’s most wanted list (of places to eat of course).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cinnamon Snail Press Release


The Cinnamon Snail vegan organic food truck is hitting the streets of

the Big Apple!

The Cinnamon Snail is the country's first organic vegan food truck,

started by Chef Adam Sobel on Valentine's Day 2010. Since the truck's

opening, it has been serving Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark and Red Bank, NJ.

It has taken about two years, but now the truck is licensed to

operate in NYC. Chef Sobel plans to serve Manhattan and Brooklyn four- to five

days a week, as well as remaining loyal to his fans in New

Jersey a couple days a week, too. Service to NY will start in the 2nd or 3rd week

of November 2011.  Updates, specials, featured pastry items, and schedule can 

be found by follow the truck on Twitter

@veganlunchtruck or on

In 2010 the Cinnamon Snail was:

-voted as one of the 10 best food trucks in America by

-a finalist in the 2010 Vendy awards (the Oscars of street food)

-featured on the cooking Channel

-featured in the New York Times, & Time Out New York;

In 2011 the Cinnamon Snail was:

-the winner of the 2011 Vendy Makers Mark award for their vanilla

bourbon crem brûlée donuts

-named #1 vegetarian street food in America by PETA

-featured in Vegnews, &Vegetarian Times magazines

The Cinnamon Snail is planning to experiment with serving different

NYC neighborhoods throughout the week. The initial places you will

find the truck are: Flat Iron district, Lower East Side, Williamsburg,

& Green Point. Some locations will be for brunch and lunch, and

other locations will be dinner and late night locations.

If you want to suggest a neighborhood or location, please contact the snail team


The Cinnamon Snail features a menu of breakfast items, gourmet

sandwiches, raw food, and fresh vegan donuts and pastries. The award-

winning donuts are made daily, and like the rest of the menu

are made with 100% organic ingredients. Even the oil used for frying

the donuts is certified organic. The breakfast and sandwich menu

change seasonally and rely on locally-

sourced ingredients on flaky, perfect French baguettes and organic

spelt bread.

A couple of the most popular breakfast items on the truck are:

-fresh fig pancakes with chamomile blood orange syrup and pine nut butter-chipotle seitan breakfast burritos (smoked chili grilled seitan with fresh jalapeños, marinated kale, scrambled tofu, and chipotle aioli)

A couple of the most popular luck items are:

-Lemongrass five-spice seitan with curried cashews, wasabi mayonnaise,
arugula, and Szechuan chili sauce on a grilled baguette.

-Provencal white wine grilled tofu, with white truffles cashew cheese,
kalamata olive tapenade, arugula onion and fried sage leaves on a
grilled baguette.
Gillian's note:  I am so thrilled by this news; I've been wishing the Snail served NYC for as long as I've lived here.  Now, my dream will soon be a reality!  

If you have not checked out the Snail, you must do so ASAP.   Dishes are vegan, organic, creative and inspiring.  It's a foodie's dream and hard to believe that it all comes out of a truck.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vote in the latest poll!

Just wanted to call your attention to the Poll Question on the right-hand side of the screen.  It's not too prominently displayed (even though I recently moved it up).  Please vote - I want to hear from you!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Namaste! Vegan Indian dinner

Okra masala

Sweet coconut chutney

Fragrant coriander chutney

Dinner is served...

There's nothing quite like cooking with friends and sharing a cozy meal.  I just love it!  Thank you to Zita and Mio for helping prepare the meal and for your lovely company.

This was my first foray into Indian cooking and I used recipes I collected while traveling in India earlier this year.
On the menu was: coconut chutney and coriander chutney with whole wheat naan (the naan was bought at Whole Foods and not homemade), and okra masala.  For a decidedly un-Indian dessert, we had my vegan banana bread and the inaugural batch of vegan chocolate hazelnut butter with organic salted pretzel sticks for dipping.  Quite an eclectic combo, yes!

In preparation for this meal, I went grocery shopping at Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights, Queens - a mecca for Indian food, spices and so much more.  More on the restaurants in this neighborhood another time.  This was the only place to get fresh okra, not to mention every single other item on my list.  By the way, the E train subway station in Jackson Heights (Roosevelt Ave) actually smells like Indian spices - it doesn't get much better than that!

The Recipes:

Coriander Chutney
50 grams coriander leaves (we used almost all the leaves from one bunch of coriander)
1/4 green chile
1 pinch cumin seeds
1/4 t. salt
1/2 lemon or dry mango powder

Serving Size: about 4 (there are no serving sizes on my Indian recipe cards, so this is based on our actual cooking)
1. Wash the green chile and cut off the stems
2. Wash the coriander leaves
3. Blend the coriander, cumin and green chile together in a paste
4. Add salt and squish (yes, it says "squish") the lemon over the top, then stir.

We used both the mango powder and the lemon juice.  It was not the right consistency with just the mango powder alone.  We needed the liquid from the lemon to further break down the leaves into smaller pieces and to form a paste.

At Patel Brothers, I was overwhelmed by the (two) choices of green chile sizes - small or medium.  Rather than leave it to guess-work, I asked a friendly customer who informed me that the smaller chiles are spicier so that made the decision easily enough - I bought the medium-sized chiles to be on the safe side.

The finished product was delightful on our naan.

Coconut Chutney (from Vegetarian Indian Cooking, by Manju Kumari Singh):
1 cup grated coconut, dry roasted on a pan (at 250 degrees for 5-10 minutes)
2 green chiles, chopped (seeds removed if you don't want too much spice)
2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup water
salt to taste
1 cup coriander or mint leaves, chopped (we used mint)
2 T. lemon juice

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth paste.  Store in the fridge.

Easy enough.

Serving size: (again, none is listed on the recipe) - seriously, this recipe made a mountain of chutney, so let's say 100. :)

This was very good, nice and sweet but if anything, just a tad too onion-heavy for me.  I do love coconut chutney; it's usually my favorite part of a dosa meal.  If I make it again (and I will, assuming at some point I will run out of leftovers), I would only use one onion or maybe even none.   It made for a perfect appetizer on warm naan.

Okra (bhindi) Masala:

1/2 kg. okra, chopped (do not use the ends)
1 large onion, chopped
1 t. cumin seeds
2 green chiles, chopped (seeds removed if you don't want too much spice)
1/2 t. dried mango powder
1/2 t. red chili powder (I thought I had some at home but turned out I only had cayenne, which we used but it was milder so I feel like we essentially skipped this ingredient)
1/2 t. turmeric powder
1/2 t. coriander powder
salt to taste
1. T. coriander leaves, chopped
2 T. cooking oil (I used canola)

1. In a karachi (not sure what that is but we used a large frying pan as you can see in the photos), heat the oil and cumin seeds
2. After cumin seeds start to sizzle, add onions and cook until onions are golden brown
3. Add okra and cook for 5-7 minutes
4. Add all the powders and salt
5. Stir gently for 8-10 minutes
6. Garnish with coriander.

Serving size: 3-4 large portions

Don't forget the salt like I did.  It really does help with the flavor, otherwise, it is a bit bland.  We added it at the table and all was good.  This was really delicious and satisfying, with a nice mix of subtle flavors.  Ayurvedically-speaking, okra is a perfect food for fall since it is slimy and therefore good for those dry vata constitutions!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan Divas cupcakes

So scrumptious!  Can you see the flecks of gold?  It was a beautiful cupcake and received rave reviews from everyone who tasted and devoured them.
Shining beauties!  A pure delight for my taste buds!
I had one of those deal coupons from Living Social for eight vegan cupcakes (I think three big cookies were another option) and I could not wait to use it.  It works a bit differently than most deals, meaning you have to send them an email and the Vegan Divas let you know when to pick up the loot so don't expect them right away, as it does take a few days - four in my case.  The pickup location was at The Plaza Hotel.  I wish the exact pickup location within the food hall was specified because I was wandering for a bit until I asked at the FC Chocolate Bar counter (other dessert businesses had no idea what I was talking about when asking for vegan cupcakes).  Fernanda (one of the "divas") tells me I have found the pickup location for Vegan Divas delicious treats.   It happens to be a traditional French patisserie.  I do have a weakness for French pastries and everything looked delectable and so artful there.  As it so happens, there are a few vegan options there such as coconut macarons and certain donuts.  She soon hand-delivers the bag of eight cupcakes to me and to my surprise, they are all chocolate.  I expected more variety but certainly was not disappointed with chocolate.

As you can see in the photos, they are beautiful so I could hardly wait until I was home to taste them (but I did)!   They are incredibly moist throughout, which is amazing for vegan cupcakes, which tend to be on the dry side.   There is no way you could tell these were vegan creations.  The cupcakes were outrageously scrumptious, both the frosting and the cake, and so pretty with flecks of gold laced into the frosting.  My favorite part aside from the eating aspect is their products are sweetened with maple syrup, evaporated cane juice and sucanat - yah for natural sweeteners!  

Check out the nearest locations to you that carry Vegan Divas products on the website:

I know which store I will be headed to to get my fix. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate hazelnut butter (recipe by moi)

Okay, I admit I am obsessed with this stuff - specifically, Justin's organic and fair-trade brand, which is notoriously hard to find at Whole Foods.  I should know -- I've been known to ransack the shelves at two stores in a given day.  And at $10 a pop, it's really not the best habit.  So, I decided to make my own.  I didn't measure the ingredients, which is my favorite way to bake/cook but I have approximated the amounts, below.

Recipe (approximated):
3/4 c. hazelnuts
1/2 c. grapeseed oil
1/2 c. Theo's sipping chocolate (organic and fair-trade chocolate from Seattle)
 1/4 t. vanilla (alcohol-free)
pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt

All the ingredients are from Trader Joe's except for the chocolate, which is my not-so-secret secret ingredient.  You can substitute the semi-sweet dark chocolate chips from Trader Joe's.

Dry roast the hazelnuts for 5-10 minutes at 250 degrees.  Cool.

Place the hazelnuts in a food processor.  Puree.  Add the oil and pulse.  Add the chocolate, vanilla and sea salt.   Pulse again.

Taste.  Smile.  Share.

The salt is essential -- I tasted pre-salt and it was lacking something.  Salt makes the chocolate flavor sing!   Notice there is NO ADDED SUGAR in this recipe.  The only sugar is what is already in the sipping chocolate.   If it is not sweet enough for you (maybe you are used to Nutella, which is way sweeter than Justin's), just add some sucanat, molasses or even turbinado sugar (Trader Joe's sells the latter).  Whatever you do, don't add refined white sugar (or brown sugar, it's just as bad), please!  Your body will thank you...

It's delicious, not overly sweet and so easy to make.  Dip salty pretzels into the chocolate-y goodness and you are in business.  Or, if you are like me, just use a spoon. ;)

The star ingredients

Close-up of the luscious mixture

Even closer -- gritty goodness.

I will continue to experiment with the recipe, as I so love to do and may use coconut flakes, dried cherries or cinnamon in the future so stay tuned for yummy updates.  Also, I want to cut down on the oil and substitute some unsweetened applesauce in its place. I may even replace the Theo's chocolate with an unsweetened variety so that I can control the amount of sugar.  I would use a liquid sugar like agave nectar for the desired consistency (or pureed raisins or dates) rather than Sucanat/molasses granular sweeteners.  Can't wait to get some feedback on my initial batch and experiment some more!  As always, I will share the love!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unnecessary Sweetness Cooking Blog

My friend, Zita has this wonderful cooking blog, Unnecessary Sweetness, where she cooks a healthy vegetarian meal each week for 52 weeks. She also captures the whole process on video    I enjoy her blog very much and had the pleasure of appearing as a guest chef on her cooking blog and video recently.  We cooked macrobiotic millet and vegan banana bread together.

Thank you, Zita for having me and thank you, Mio for the camera work - good job!

Check it out here!

My 2010 post on vegan banana bread can be found here:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New moon

It is time to set your intentions for this moon cycle. Look within and plant the seed and then watch it flourish.