Eggplant Po’Boys

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This recipe was inspired by Killer Poboys in New Orleans. I was reading their most recent menu (because that’s something I do in my spare time) and was instantly excited by their vegan option. Each individual ingredient was original and all together it sounded like a sandwich I could totally get on board with.

I think that’s what I love about vegan and vegetarian cooking so much – it encourages a different level of creativity, inevitably making vegetables taste more interesting and satisfying.

Now, a po’boy is really just a sandwich. But in New Orleans it’s a sandwich on a fresh pillowy baguette. It’s almost certainly one of those things that people claim cannot be replicated outside of the city due to the water – like bagels in New York or sourdough in San Francisco, I tend to believe these dough-related myths.

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Sesame Chili Soba Noodles with Kale

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I’ve been a dedicated – and admittedly uncool – brown-bagger for as many years as I’ve been working a full time job. More than just the limited food options nearby, I bring my lunch to eat healthy and stretch my paycheck.

This is the sort of dish that makes it easy to bring your lunch to work. Quick to make, packed with toasty sesame and warm chili flavors, and effortlessly vegan. It’s all about making meals play double duty – you know, cook once, eat twice.

I made this soba noodle dish after a Sunday shopping excursion when I returned home ravenous. I whacked it together in a few hasty minutes and gobbled it up even quicker.

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Za’atar Chickpea and Grain Salad

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I always seem to be carrying too much stuff.

I take public transport to work, so everything I need to make my day comfortable, I have to carry on my shoulders. I’ve begun to consider a backpack but there’s part of me that’s too vain to do that. It’s the part of me that used to work at a fashion magazine. She feels shame from even thinking about a backpack.

The other part of me is all, girl, get yourself a backpack and stop complaining!

For now, I’m still rocking my awkward too-heavy leather handbag and extra tote bag combo because I still need all of the things every day.

I need entertainment, so there’s usually a book (please don’t start talking tablets – I like my books with tangible and sometimes pre-owned paper pages.) I need to be protected from the elements and office air conditioning, so there’s always a cardigan and/or scarf, sunglasses and sometimes an umbrella. I need to be hydrated during my 50 minute commute, so there’s usually a water bottle an occasionally a coffee thermos.

And, of course, I need to be well-fed. There are a few decent lunch options around the office, but I prefer to bring my own most days. And snacks. I need the snacks.

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Sometimes organizing a lunch to bring can be annoying in the evening when all I want to do is plant myself on the couch and eat popcorn by the fist full. But most often, I like to see it as an opportunity to get creative with new spices and combinations of vegetables, grains, cooking methods and textures.

This salad was one of those finer combinations. I made a big batch of it on a Sunday night. We had it as a side dish with baked snapper that evening and I had it for lunch the following two days. It held up perfectly.

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Red Lentil Dahl with Kale

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Even in summertime I crave comfort dishes. I’m talking warm, heavily spiced bowls of things that might make you sweat a little when you eat them. I dunno. I’m aware that no one likes to sweat whilst eating, but I’ll take it over eating chilled soup. Gazpacho? I just…can’t. I’m sorry. (Not sorry.)

You know I’m game for a massive minimal-cooking-required salad, but homegirl needs a cooked meal several times a week, regardless of the weather. It’s something about sitting down at night to eat something that has a story. Something that’s been chopped and sautéed and simmered.

I love experimenting with cuisines that I find a little intimidating, it’s like facing your fears in a totally contained and inconsequential way!

Whatta rush.

Since I’ve been cooking, I’ve found Thai and Indian cuisines to be among my favorites to make at home. Mostly because they involve big vats of stew-like concoctions that can be custom-made to involve heaps of vegetables, tons of flavor and spice, and require being mopped up with rice and/or flatbread. (In general, I enjoy mopping my food up with carbs. It’s satisfying and delicious.)

Plus, a good curry paste can’t really let you down.

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Kale, Pea and Feta Frittata

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Look at that.

I made you breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Eggs are my favorite cure-all any time of the day. They make a salad, a piece of toast or leftovers into a meal. In short, eggs are always appropriate. Which is, uh, more than I can say for myself.

We love a good egg around here. Cheap and wholesome, they ensure that a vegetable-based dinner will be satisfying for both Fabes and I. Best of all, a perfectly poached or over-easy egg will take a bowl of creamy polenta, pasta or risotto into decadent-town.

This frittata was a surprising hit. Garlic-y kale, salty feta and the gratifying pop of green peas is super simple, and my kind of perfect. It’s got greens, protein and some excellent flavor.

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Vegetable Paella

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So 2013, this is happening!

Resolutions are in full force – are you sticking to yours so far?

I took a look back some of my cooking goals for 2012 to see what I actually accomplished.

Making my own yogurt didn’t happen, and I definitely need to learn more of my Dad’s seafood secrets. But I did make frozen things and, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve made a paella that I’m happy to share with you today.

Please please please tell me you’re not on a juice cleanse. Then you wouldn’t be able to eat paella with me.

The thought of a juice cleanse brings back memories of my job as an advertising assistant for the most serious of all fashion magazines. Picture irritable, high-powered women in an underfed, over-caffeinated state. Juice and stress and terror go hand in hand in hand in my brain. Just say no.

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Pan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

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Merry post-Christmas!

You look lovely today, btw.

I could have brought you a cookie recipe but that just seems wrong now. I can’t be bothered to turn on the oven, let alone throw measuring spoons and flour sifting into the mix. Ugh.

For me it was a Christmas filled with warm days, mangoes, pavlova, prosecco mimosas by the pool and lots of ham. Not too shabby.

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