Crispy Eggplant + Orange Salad

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Shopping is an activity I detest.

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Unless I’m with my mother and she’s paying, of course.

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But honestly moms just have this innate skill that the Lord infuses in them the moment they conceive. They can choose clothes for their daughter that said daughter would never pick out herself and they turn out to be the daughter’s very favorite clothes.

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I’m simply lost without her shopping guidance. I spent three hours shopping for a dress this weekend. Three hours of my life I could have spent doing 1.8 million other things like bingeing a show, reading a book, exploring a new hobby, learning a new language, working on my excel spreadsheet of America’s top airports, etc. I went to NO JOKE 11 stores. Everything was either a frumpy sack on me or $300. I needed Susan there to dig through the sale bins & pull out the gem among the rocks. And isn’t it the MOST typical that I was shopping v specifically for a dress, so the world conspired against me to put nothing but adorable sweaters in my path? It’s cruel and unusual!

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So, the next best thing – I made her online shop for me & ordered a dress she picked out. Boom.

 

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups of arugula
  • 1 eggplant, peeled + cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. of flax meal
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 orange, cut into lil pieces
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • Place eggplant cubes in a colander + sprinkle with some S, coating on the lil cubes – let water release + drain for about 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a food processor, combine spinach + 1 cup of aurugla + basil + pumpkin seeds + nutritional yeast + garlic + S+P, process on low + slowly add in 1/2 cup of olive oil until well combined, refrigerate until ready to serve
  • Add flax meal + 1/2 cup of warm water to a bowl, set aside for a few minutes + add breadcrumbs to another bowl, add red pepper + some S+P to it
  • Pat dry the eggplant cubes, then a few cubes at a time, dip into flax egg bowl + then breadcrumbs, place on a lined baking sheet
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing once in the middle of cooking
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a lil skillet over medium heat
  • Add shallot + S+P, cook for 4-5 minutes
  • To serve, arrange some arugula on a plate + top with eggplant + quinoa + orange + olives + shallots + pesto
  • Get a bite of every lil component on your fork + do the same for your sweetie + wrap your arms around each other like you would with champagne + then feed each other until your arms fall asleep

Corn + Avocado Panzanella

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A thing I excel at is karaoke.

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And just generally being the life of the party.

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This last statement is false except when I am surrounded by all of my friends in a foreign land like I was this weekend.

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If you consider Boston a foreign land, that is. A dear friend got married this weekend and like 15 of our closest pals descended on MA for the affair. It’s a rare occasion that we all get together considering jobs, families, spouses, babies, life, bills, etc. I cannot even put into the words the fun that was had, but I will try by summarizing our first night: We end up at a hole in the wall pub that all of the girls are like umm is this going to be OK, not sure about this aesthetic. We walk in and this place is BUMPING, man. It is THE place for young professionals on a Thursday after work. They have a jukebox playing Who Let The Dogs Out and other similar classics. Since we’re grooving so hard, we get the brilliant idea to karaoke…….at 7:30pm. Lucky us there’s a karaoke bar around the corner. We sang probably 16 of the 20 songs that were performed while we were there – everything ranging from Tina Turner to Dashboard Confessional, really impressing the crowd with our range. Of course, I concluded the evening with an Adele solo, as I do.

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I left my voice in Boston and now sound like an 80-year-old chain smoker.

 

 

Time: 45 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of whole wheat sourdough, cut in cubes
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup of basil, chiffonaded
  • 4 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • S+P, to taste
  • Lime, for serving

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Toss bread with 1 tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P
  • Arrange in an even layer on a lined baking sheet, bake about 10 minutes or until toasted to your desire
  • Meanwhile, combine remaining olive oil + vinegar + mustard + shallot + garlic + S+P
  • In a big bowl, combine corn + avocado + tomatoes + jalapeno + red pepper + basil + S+P, toss to coat
  • Add bread + dressing, toss to coat + serve with lime
  • Find a comfy chaise lounge to retire on and hire some cabana boys to spoon feed you this while simultaneously fanning you

 

Dressing from here!

Mango Chile Lime Salad

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I am a nomad, a wanderer, an earth child, one with mother nature.

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Perhaps a little extreme, but I do feel akin to an adult Dora the Explorer these days.

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We went to Asheville, NC this weekend and bopped around. Every single time we go to a new city, I am reminded that I am my best self when traveling for fun. Allow to overshare.

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One – because I know I’m going to get some fresh selfies with my boo thing. Two – I LOVE going to places where there is 0 chance I’m going to run into any human being I have ever encountered. Can you say liberating?! Three – I get to debut new outfits to an entirely new audience. Strangers are the only people I trust. Four – I like pretending to be a local wherever I go and acting like I have a clue what I’m doing. For instance, when exiting an establishment and heading to the next, one must always be prepared to immediately turn left or right. Do not lolly gag outside of the place of business asking your travel bud where to go. FAKE IT UNTIL YOU FIND SOMETHING KEWL. Five – all the new tastes in my mouth from all of the delightful, local restaurants. If you travel and go to the Chili’s….we need to have a conversation. I just love traveling around the hunk of land we call America with my man. Even better that we get to live all over the doggone place and move every couple of years to get a feel for everything. I really am obsessed with not knowing where we’re going to be next or for how long.

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Unless they send us to the middle of nowhere Iowa or something, then I’m OUT.

 

 

Time: 45 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • Juice of 1 orange + zest of 1/2
  • 3 tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. of sweet chili paste
  • 2 tbsp. of cilantro
  • Arugula
  • 1/2 a red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 avocado, sliced thin
  • S+P, to taste

How to:

  • In a food processor, combine mango + orange juice + zest + lemon juice + vinegar + ginger + chili paste + cilantro + S+P, process until smooth
  • To assemble salad, arrange arugula on a plate + top with some red onion + some cherry tomatoes + some pumpkin seeds + some quinoa + some avocado + drizzle with dressing, repeat with remaining ingredients
  • Serve chilled
  • Pick up a fork in each hand + scoop together large heap, slingshot at face as if your mouth is the bullseye

 

Salad dressing adapted from here!