Fried Eggplant Sandwich with Pop-Soul

Eggplants are fantastic and so versatile. Similar to mushrooms, they provide a texture that can easily be used in place of meat. This is an easy recipe for a solid sandwich that has a slight “comfort-food” vibe, but isn’t an incredibly heavy meal either. You can dress it up with tons of veggies to give it a fresher, lighter taste…or go further down the path of comfort fooding and add some caramelized onions, mushrooms, and extra cheese.

Eggplant Sandwich Scan



The Grooves

I wanted to pull together a playlist that complimented the combination of the fried “comfort” food aspect and the crisp, refreshing side of the sandwich. Pop-soul seemed to be a great fit. The organically raw and emotional vocals have a soothing, comforting vibe while the upbeat and sometimes dance-able rhythms keep it lighter and less intense. Also, with soul re-emerging yet again into pop music, it’s pretty cool to listen and compare original soul, such as Motown, with the newer soul – or at least heavily soul-influenced – acts that have been infiltrating the modern music scene within the last few years.

The Grub

If you are an avid GWG follower, you may have noticed the “sandwich scan” photo of this particular recipe from our Instagram. I’ve been meaning to post this for a while and this seemed like a good time. We’re starting to crave those warmer and more comforting meals with the temps dropping, but some of us are still trying to eat relatively light before we start gorging ourselves over the holidays….which are starting tomorrow for a lot of us.

EggplantIngredients (for 3-4 ‘wichs):

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-3 Tbs milk
  • 1.5 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • A few pinches of salt and pepper
  • oil for frying
  • mayo
  • bread (6-8 slices)
  • cheese of your choosing
  • fresh veggies for toppings (I used sliced cucumber, chopped tomatoes, and lettuce)


  1. Slice eggplant in thin strips longways and remove the skin if desired
  2. Place slices in warm salt water after slicing for 5-10 minutes*
  3. While slices are soaking, pour flour into a shallow bowl, whip eggs and Fried Eggplant Stripsmilk in another shallow bowl, and mix breadcrumbs with spices in another shallow bowl
  4. Remove eggplant slices from water and pat dry.
  5. Bread eggplant strips by dipping into flour, then egg wash, and then breadcrumbs. Set breaded pieces aside on plate or tray for frying.
  6. Heat oil in skillet and fry breaded strips until golden brown. Whenever I’m frying anything, I layer the items in between paper towels to catch some of the excess grease.
  7. Toast your bread, spread on mayo or other sauce of your choosing, stack up the strips,
    cheese, and veggies.


*This is supposed to help lower the alkaloid levels found in Nightshade veggies. Cooking helps as well. If you’re not sure whether or not your guests are sensitive to nightshade, be sure to remove ALL of the skin.

New Album Alert: Inside A Dream by The Werks

The Werks officially dropped their 4th studio album, Inside A Dream, today and it is fantastic! You can stream it for free and DL for purchase on both Bandcamp and SoundCloud. It has a great theme (Dreams..if you didn’t pick up on that yet) and showcases both their impressive musicianship and the wide spectrum of sounds they’re known to deliver.

If you’re in Columbus, they’re having an Album Release Party tonight at The Newport. They’re also playing The Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland tomorrow night. If you’re unfortunately not in either of those places, check them out next time you have the chance because they are incredible to see and experience live.

Welcome the (Dead) Weather with an easy cucumber dill snack

Cucumber dill

Vegan snacking at it’s best… Rye bread with just mayo, cucumbers and dill.

I found a new grocery store in Columbus this week. It’s called Lucky’s Market, and I’m obsessed. It’s motto is “Organic for the 99%” so you definitely get an idea of what you’re getting into when you go there: halfway between a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods’ store layout and options, but with Trader Joe’s prices. I loaded up on lots of delicious foods, but I’m especially intrigued by Hampton Creek’s “Just Mayo”. I saw a writeup about the upheaval they’re causing in the egg industry and wanted to see what’s up. They advertise as a more earth friendly alternative and claim that one jar of Just Mayo over another brand saves an entire bathtub of water. I try to be better toward mother earth, but so many times I feel like the idea that I can be “eco-friendly” and “budgeting” at the same time is impossible! (Or, since we’re a food blog, eco-friendly and budgeting go together like oil and water? Haha! Dad jokes for days….). Anyways, to sum up this story, color me impressed by Hampton Creek. Or if you’re not ready to part with your traditional mayonnaise just yet, feel free to use that in the recipe.

The Grooves

Keeping it simple this time. The Dead Weather has a new album out called Dodge and Burn, and you should listen to it when you get a chance!

The Grub

I doubt you need a recipe to follow when the directions are simply “take a slice of bread and load it with toppings!” but here’s an idea just in case :)


Ingredients for a delicious vegan snack!

Ingredients for a delicious vegan snack!

  • A hunk of bread (I used Jewish rye)
  • 1 tsp mayo (or vegan mayo)
  • 2-3 slices cucumber
  • Sprinkle of dill
  1. Spread your mayo on your hunk of bread.
  2. Layer slices of cucumber on top of your mayo.
  3. Sprinkle everything with dill.
  4. Eat to your heart’s content.

Cajun sweet potato hash – Ca c’est bon!

Cajun sweet potato hash

Cajun sweet potato hash with mustard sour cream.

To quote Michael Scott, “It takes a big man to admit his mistakes, and I am that big man.” Or in my case, a woman. My mistake: I’ve been using the terms “cajun” and “creole” interchangeably, and I recently learned that they aren’t exact synonyms. I know both use spices pretty extensively, but that’s where my general knowledge falls apart. The line between creole and cajun can be a little difficult to explain, even to native Louisianans, but there are certainly more differences than I had originally thought. So, this post is my attempt to correct my mistake and learn just what separates the two cultures and their cooking styles. According to most news articles attempting to explain the difference between Cajun and Creole, it’s easiest to look at the history of the two peoples.

 ”A Creole takes three chickens to feed a family. A Cajun takes one chicken to feed three families.” Alex Patou

The term “cajun” described French colonists who settled in the Acadia region of Canada. During the French and Indian War, the British expelled the french settlers in this region, moving them to either the 13 colonies or deporting them to Europe. Those who moved to the colonies, ended up settling along the swampy bayous in what is today Louisiana. Being rural and poor, Cajuns were resourceful and cooked with what was easily available, unlike Creoles. Cajun food tends to have fewer ingredients than Creole food, especially lacking in diverse ethnic imported foods.

“Creole” described upper-class French and Spanish settlers, who ruled the city of New Orleans. Because most Creoles had money, they were able to import more foods and didn’t rely as heavily on the local lands. Also, their most famous dishes usually have a laundry list of ingredients (looking at you Remoulade sauce).

The Grooves

Once again, I had no idea that there was a difference between Creole and Cajun music! Just like with food, the distinction between the music styles can be a little blurry. Current bands from both styles tend to have heavy bluegrass and folk influence. But, I’ll leave it up to an expert, creole fiddler Cedric Watson, to explain the differences.

Even though differences exist, music can bridge divides. This fascinating New York Times article details the life of Amédé Ardoin, or at least as much of his life as is known. He was living in Louisiana in the early 1900s, and he would play for black and white audiences, creoles and cajuns alike. The article explains that his music bridged the strong racial divide enforced in Louisiana at the time.

But back to current day musicians…. many bands coming from the bayou tend to mix creole and cajun sounds. So this playlist is a mix of both.

The Grub

After reading about the Louisiana food scene, I’ve decided my sweet potato hash is cajun: there are few ingredients, but green onion is one of them, and there’s delicious, delicious pork.


  • 2 sweet potatoes (chopped)
  • Bacon strips (diced) – I used 3 strips
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 green onion
  • Emeril’s cajun spice blend (recipe here)
  • Oil for cooking as needed


  1. Start cooking diced bacon in a large skillet.
  2. As the bacon fat starts to separate, add the diced sweet potatoes and yellow and green onions. (Depending on how many bacon strips you used, you may need to add oil. You want the bottom of the pan coated.)
  3. When the sweet potatoes and yellow onions start to soften (5-7 minutes) add the spice blend.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
cajun sweet potato hash

Step 3: All ingredients but cajun spice blend.

cajun sweet potato hash

Step 4: Spice blend added!

Cajun sweet potato hash

Serve it up!

The Sound of Substance: Smoked Chops, Potatoes, and Kraut with Hearty Jams

The Sound of Substance: Smoked Chops, Potatoes and Kraut with Hearty Jams

Oktoberfest may be over, but we eat German food all year round at GWG. These pork chops with potatoes and sauerkraut are pretty easy to whip up too so it’s great for a busy weeknight. It’s also arguably healthy and very substantial – especially with the kraut (& trendy might I add). Now that the temps are dropping, it’s a great time to bust out warm and hearty meals packed with nutrients.

I scooped up the smoked pork chops from the Fresh stand at the Tremont Farmer’s Market and the sauerkraut from Rita’s at the West Side Market. Easy, healthy, hearty, AND local!

The Grooves

Since this is a pretty substantial meal, I thought some hearty grooves were in order. I threw together a quick playlist of songs with a lot of oomph, vigor, and power. For me, certain songs just have that “hearty” quality:  passionate and heavy rhythms and drumming, vocals filled with vitality and spirit, and generous, robust instrumentals.

The Grub

Due to the small number of ingredients and the fact that the chops are already partially cooked from smoking, this meal really is easy and quick to prepare. I typically add a side of cucumber salad to a dish like this – both the vinegar and sour cream dressed varieties compliment the rest of the meal very well.

Ingredients:The Sound of Substance: Smoked Chops, Potatoes and Kraut - Ingredients

  • 2-3 smoked pork chops
  • 4-5 large onion slices (halved)
  • 7-9 redskin potatoes (quartered)
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 16 oz. sauerkraut
  • salt, pepper, and oil for cooking


  1. Begin lightly frying onion slices and potato quarters in oil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. After about 10 minutes add kraut and caraway seeds. Season more with salt and pepper if needed. Add kraut later if you prefer less-fried kraut.
  3. After about 5-7 more minutes, add pork chops and continue to cook until they are warm – you will notice that will begin to brown ever so slightly. Note: they have been thoroughly smoked so they do not need to be cooked very long.

The Sound of Substance: Smoked Chops, Potatoes and Kraut - Potatoes and Onions Cooking The Sound of Substance: Smoked Chops, Potatoes and Kraut Smoked Pork Chops, Saurkraut, and Redskin Potatoes

Sauces and Jams: Almond Pesto with Italian Patchanka Music

pesto sandwich

Mmmm… Pesto, tomato and mozzarella cheese sandwich.

For years, I thought I hated pesto. I tried to give it a few shots, after all, pesto is always on my favorite carbs– pesto on a pizza, pesto on some pasta, pesto on a sandwich, etc. My taste buds simply weren’t having it. Then, I reached a day of enlightenment: it’s the pine nuts that aren’t meshing with my palate. A restaurant had different pesto options, having me choose between pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts. When I finally had pesto made with almonds, I finally understood why people love putting this condiment on everything!

The Grooves

While I tried to come up with a playlist for this post, I realized that I don’t know much about Italian music. The little musical trivia I did know started and ended with “isn’t opera Italian?” So, for better or for worse, I skimmed over this wikipedia page on Italian contemporary music. I visited Italy with my family back in 2010, so I had the tourist-version of the country’s history: Italy was unified in the 1860s but each region still had a very distinct identity. But the meaning of that statement doesn’t really sink in when I was flying around the back seat of a cab and trying to snap pictures of the Colosseum. Also, my high school world history class told me that Facism was bad. But my 15 year old self missed the connection that fascism pushed toward a national identity, which meant losing much of the traditional music of the various regions. (Google helped me find a research paper on the relationship of fascism and music, should you be so inclined to study up on the topic.)

Jump from this history lesson to modern day, and it turns out some artists are creating a genre called Patchanka. And it sounds kind of awesome! It mixes traditional music with punk, ska, reggae, and funk.

The Grub

Traditional pesto with pine nuts has a history Madre's herb plantsstarting in Liguria, Italy. However, it looks like there are different forms of pesto across Italy— pesto de noce (walnut pesto) is big in Northern Italy, while pesto rosso (sundried tomato pesto) is big in Sicily. Now that I see there are different varieties of pesto, I don’t feel so bad deviating from traditional pine nuts.

My mom has quite the little herb garden going. She trimmed a few bunches of basil and kindly allowed me to use most of it to make a batch of almond pesto. The nice thing about pesto is that there are no hard and fast measurements… just do what you feel like doing. That being said, the majority of the final product will most likely be basil.
Almond Pesto Ingredients


  • 1 bunch of basil (I used about 3 oz.)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup almonds (I used toasted almonds)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender/food processor.
  2. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.
  3. Enjoy!

Grooving and Grubbing in the Big Apple

In mid-June, I went to NYC for a long weekend to visit one of my best friends. (If you follow GWG on insta, you probably saw some of our foodie pics already! She also adores food and music and…IT’S NYC WE’RE TALKIN’ HERE…so obviously some major fooding and musicing was in order. In fact, when others asked me what I did there, I honestly and accurately replied that I ate virtually the entire time and went to a few concerts in between because, apart from drinking and sleeping, that’s primarily what went down. Check out my breakdown below of the glorious local grub and grooves.

The High Line

The High Line

{Local Grub}

MAD PROPS & NOT PICTURED:  The impressive and delicious spread of snacks, handpicked by my friend’s coworker, that we enjoyed during the NY Phil’s concert in Central Park (videos and pictures below) my first night in town. Now for those of you who know me well, know I love a good snack sesh and really respect fellow snack-enthusiasts who know JUST what to get for a particular event. Berries and brie, tropical salsa and chips, wine – to name a few.


  • Lenwich – I’m a big ‘wich lover so maybe I’m biased, but this place provided a solid post-travel meal to kick-off my NYC adventure. They have so many options – all looking good – deciding was stressful, but the one pictured below did not disappoint.
  • Absolute Bagels – I also happen to be a huge bagel fan. NYC bagels really are better so getting a great bagel was at the top of my list. Delicious. Highly recommended if you’re ever in the city.
  • The Smorgasburg – Take me back there please. We tried as many things as we could, sharing samples from a wide variety of vendors. A little glutinous? Probably. Necessary considering the circumstances? Very. So many fantastic stands – I could do an entire post on this afternoon itself and would still struggle with what to include. Therefore, below is a short list of my top three:


  1. Dough Doughnuts – Where to begin? The amazing texture of this doughnut below me away. It was like biting into a big, cushy cloud. And they nailed that unique, tropical flavor. I’m not even a huge doughnut fan, but this was one of the favorite things I ate all weekend.
  2. Brooklyn Wok Shop – Each of the dumplings we sampled were fantastic. It included duck confit, pastrami, and garlic chive taro mushroom dumplings. All wonderful.
  3. Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque – This mini pulled park ‘wich was so well balanced, juicy, and satisfying. The peppers and cukes provide a hint of refreshing taste and the meat itself was very tender and well-sauced.

{Local Grooves}

Some of my favorite musicians are from NYC – which shouldn’t be surprising since it’s one of the US’s timeless hotbeds for musical talent, spanning multiple genres – but none of them were in town. However, no complaints here because we were able to check out some fantastic music regardless. As I mentioned above and the pictures display, we went to two very enjoyable shows and to make it even better, they were both FREE!

The NY Phil put on a beautiful performance. I don’t listen to classical music nearly enough and this was a great reminder. Simply perfect for my first evening in the city, complete with a great view of the skyline, delicious snacks, and fireworks following the performance. They played Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture; Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto No. 3, Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1911 version); and Ravel’s La Valse.

On Saturday night we checked out the bands playing at the Summer Stage. I missed Lettuce by one weekend, but it worked out well because it allowed us to discover a new and also kinda funky band out of London:  JUNGLE. So, obviously they’re not “local”, but the concert series is! They were wonderfully dancey and fun – very fitting and enjoyable for a summer night. Check out the pictures above and the videos below (my apologies that they’re a little shaky and the NYPHIL video’s low volume =/ it was tough to properly film where we were at, but I still wanted to include some footage.)