I apologize for the impromptu month-long break that I took from this blog. Unfortunately, personal but mostly national/global events have led me to have to take a step back and get my thoughts and emotions in order. To keep this blog as apolitical as possible (which is difficult as I am a very political person), let’s just say that I am… disappointed with recent election results. I am even more disappointed at a lack of empathy some people have towards vulnerable groups that, I believe, are justifiably scared. I fall into a few of those intersections, though I also acknowledge my privilege in other ways.
While browsing my now hyper-politicized social medias, I saw an image of a protester holding a sign reading “put an avocado on racism so white people will pay attention”. I had to laugh at that, because the sentiment is so utterly true. Avocado is trendy, avocado toast is even trendier, and you see countless photos of various avocado derivatives whenever you scroll through everything from Buzzfeed to The New York Times (the latter of which received backlash for suggesting a recipe for guacamole replacing avocado with peas — how blasphemous). It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is a certain…demographic that is particularly invested in avocado and its permutations. I am very active in the “foodie” Instagram culture, enough to be able to notice a general trend of privilege and disconnect from issues afflicting other portions of the population. This isn’t to say that this is necessarily these peoples’ faults – it’s easy to fall into social bubbles and completely natural to want to belong and thrive. To be candid, I developed this fancy-schmancy avocado toast knowing full-well that it would probably be popular in that bubble. Why, when I posted a teaser photo of this on my Instagram, that post got more likes than any of my other photos. In light of all that’s happening in the world right now, it is kind of funny how much people care about avocado toast.
I am struggling to overcome my own apathy at this dish that I developed pre-November. It seems almost…greedy. Selfish. What does a trendy avocado toast matter when faced with fears of human rights violations and climate change proliferation causing a collapse of agriculture (and cultivation of the ever-loved avocado, amongst more crucial foods) and millions of climate refugees? You may or may not agree that these are real concerns, but I do believe that certain current events do warrant some discussions.
This blog started as a passion project for my love of cooking and photography, though as I have continued to learn and grow, I have come to realize that it is not enough for me to continue as I have been. While I will most certainly continue to develop recipes and [try to] take pretty pictures, I want this blog to also be a place for my voice and a place to facilitate discussion on some difficult subjects. Plan on seeing some more journalistic style posts in the future, and some discourse on diversity, environment, food sovereignty and other subjects that I believe are necessary to add into the food media world.
For now, I’ll just tell you that while I am rather morally opposed to this avocado toast, it certainly is a wonderful take, pretentious as it may be. It’s got pickled tomatoes and poached eggs and the avocado is served over an artisanal (or bougie, let’s be honest) slice of toast. I use some of the pickling liquid from the tomatoes in the avocado mash. There’s crispy lemon zest as well.
I will end on a call to action — not anything grand or revolutionary, but rather a call for empathy. Even if you don’t feel scared, if you are of an opposite political leaning and believe that recent events will be ultimately positive, please at least listen to those who think otherwise. No one truly knows what will happen in the future, but many people are scared, and we need to listen to and love and protect each other.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
–Martin Niemöller (imprisoned in a concentration camp for publically speaking against Adolf Hitler)
Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
Rind of one lemon, cut into thick strips
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 leaves basil, julienned
Heat together all of the ingredients except the tomatoes, basil, and garlic in a small saucepan, stirring all the while until the sugar dissolves and the liquid comes to a boil. Let cool for 15 minutes.
In a heat proof jar or other container, add in the tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Pour in the pickling liquid, stir, and cover tightly. Let the tomatoes pickle for about 8-10 hours at room temperature.
Crispy Lemon Zest
Rind of one lemon, sliced into thin matchsticks.
¼ cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
Sea salt, to taste
Heat oil in a small sauté pan over high heat. Add in the lemon rinds and fry for about 20 seconds. Take out the zest onto a plate with paper towel. Blot off the excess oil and season with a pinch or two of sea salt.
Reserve the lemon-infused oil.
Avocado Toast Mash
2 teaspoons pickling liquid
juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons chopped chives
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 thick slices good quality bread (I used a multigrain from my favorite bakery)
2 teaspoons lemon oil (reserved from crispy lemon zest)
4 poached eggs (method below)
Pinch of paprika
More chopped chives
Crispy lemon zest
Mash avocado, pickling liquid, lemon juice, and chives with a fork to your preferred chunkiness. Stire in salt and pepper.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add in the oil and spread with a paper towel to evenly distribute. Toast the bread for about 4 minutes, flip, and toast for another 3 minutes. You want the toast to be a nice golden brown.
To assemble: spread some of the avocado mash onto a slice of toast. Carefully place on the poached egg and sprinkle with paprika. Throw some pickled tomatoes and crispy lemon zest on with your own artful flair. Garnish with chopped chives.
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat a medium saucepan filled with water over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low so that the water is just simmering (you don’t want any rolling boil!). Stir in the white vinegar.
Disclaimer: I highly recommend only poaching two eggs at a time – this is the most full-proof way to ensure proper poaching.
Crack each egg into a ramekin (or don’t, but this way you will ensure that the yolk stays intact). Swirling your spoon, create a vortex in the simmering water and immediately drop in one egg. After about 10 seconds, drop in the second egg. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the whites have solidified but the yolk is still very running. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs onto some paper towel to blot out excess water. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Repeat with the remaining eggs.