How do these gorgeous buffalo wings tie in with one of my favorite fitness events ever? I promise, there’s a connection – you just have to keep reading. 😉
In 2015, I was one of the lucky people that got to participate in the inaugural ‘Dare to Bare’ event in San Francisco, the flagship outdoor charity event for the MOVEMEANT foundation. (You may remember this little Q&A I did with the super awesome Jenny Gaither here.) This incredible organization helps girls and women across the nation find self-confidence, self-esteem and positive body image through fitness and physical movement, for the ultimate goal of realizing their own power and strength.
The Dare to Bare premise is simple: attendees to come face to face with their own body insecurities by the simple act of wearing a sports bra (without a cover up), and instead, celebrate things more important than physical perfection with a day focused on strength and wellness in every sense. It’s super inspiring to be around people who come together to support each other in this quest to be their strongest selves. I wasn’t able to attend this year’s event in San Francisco, but I do want to spread the word about the Dare to Bare event, taking place in New York City on October 2. If you are in the Tri-State area, I highly encourage you to sign up!
In addition to three SoulCycle rides (one of them led by Olivia Ward from Season 11 of NBC’s Biggest Loser), the entire day will be filled with activities to get your blood pumping:
- Cardio Capoeira with trainer Brett Hoebel from more recent seasons of NBC’s Biggest Loser
- Pop-up class with Jill Dailey, founder of The Dailey Method (the class which started the barre movement!)
- Bootcamp for Everyday Athletes with Alex Silver-Fagan of Women’s Health “Next Fitness Star”
- A Caribbean-style/Zumba dance class taught by the Herman brothers, choreographers for Kat Deluna, Alicia Keys and Chris Brown
That’s just a small sample of what’s going on at Dare to Bare NYC – here’s the full schedule!
And, with all of that awesome moving and shaking happening, you are going to need something to eat! The Movemeant Foundation has partnered with Adam Sobel of the acclaimed cookbook, Street Vegan, to serve up plant-based eats from his food truck, Cinnamon Snail. And before you raise an eyebrow and say, “Vegan food?” Heck, yes! I love introducing my friends to plant-based options that are satisfying and delicious – after all, food is fuel, and we should be able to enjoy eating in a healthy way. Below is Adam’s recipe for the tasty wings shown above, from his book!
Beer-Battered Habanero Buffalo Wings with Roasted Garlic Ranch Dip
Many people don’t know that blocks of tofu actually have wings, and if you aren’t careful removing them from the packages, sometimes they fly away to a heavenly tofu sanctuary high up on an edible cloud made of ranch dip.
One of the really nice things about making something like this out of tofu is that you can make them any shape and size you like. I like to form them into smaller nuggets, which gives you a higher ratio of spicy, textured crust on each piece. You can make it as an appetizer, but it can even work as a component of a meal. Try serving it for din-din with stewed collard greens, vegan mac ’n’ cheese, and Coconut Mashed Yams (see page 166 of the book). It’s pretty much the best meal ever, and I want to eat it every day.
For the roasted garlic ranch dip
8 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
²⁄³ cup vegan mayonnaise
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 dill pickle, minced
1 minced scallion, light green and white parts
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
For the beer batter
1 cup vegan beer
¼ cup unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1¹⁄³ cups all-purpose flour
For the wings
²⁄³ cup canola or safflower oil, for frying
One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu
¹⁄³ cup all-purpose flour
¹⁄³ cup habanero hot sauce, or other thick hot sauce of your choice
2 tablespoons finely minced red onion (optional; for garnish)
3 tablespoons micro radish greens (optional; for garnish)
Make the dip:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the garlic cloves in the olive oil in a small bowl, and spread them on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the garlic for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow the garlic to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the garlic and oil to a blender along with the mayonnaise.
Blend on high speed for 45 seconds, until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice, mustard, agave nectar, pickle, scallion, parsley, and dill and pulse a few times to incorporate, just until you have a dip speckled with bits of fresh herbs and pickle throughout. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make the beer batter:
Whisk the beer, soy milk, vinegar, mustard, evaporated cane juice, paprika, thyme, salt, and flour in a medium bowl until well combined.
Make the wings:
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cut the tofu into about 20 pieces (of whatever shape you like). Gently toss the tofu in a medium bowl with the flour, until all sides are well coated.
Working with 3 or 4 pieces at a time, submerge the tofu in the beer batter, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, and quickly place them into the hot oil. Fry in batches, making sure that the tofu pieces aren’t touching one another while they cook. Once the pieces have turned golden brown on the bottom side, flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the tofu pieces and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
Toss the tofu pieces in a small bowl with the hot sauce (using more or less, depending on your heat tolerance). Serve family style or on small plates, with the ranch dip in a ramekin on the side, and garnish with chopped parsley. Sprinkle with the minced red onion and microgreens, if desired.
I know that Dare To Bare is an event held only in NYC and SF – but it doesn’t have to stop there. You can become a part of this fantastic organization and the spirit that drives their mission. Here’s a final message from The Movemeant Foundation:
Dare To Bare is a live event that empowers us to face our fears around our physical appearance in celebration of what’s more important: our physical strength, our emotional health, our mental grit. But Dare To Bare is so much more than that. We are expanding our efforts by turning it into a national movement that asks women and girls an important question:
What if we dare to overcome the insecurities we have about our bodies and about ourselves? What if we instead chose to bare our vulnerabilities in an effort to conquer them? Could we reveal the most powerful version of ourselves?
Yes. We can transform the way we see ourselves. We can shed the unrealistic expectations of what our bodies should look like. We can uncover ways to feel extraordinary in the one body we’ve got.