avocado tahini toast

This recipe was inspired by an avocado toast I had when I last went home to Ann Arbor. I got potato tacos (which, incidentally, were good as hell) and a side of avocado toast with tahini and cucumbers, which turned out to be an absolute monster. The bread was so thick, it was too big to fit in my mouth vertically. I was uncomfortably full after the meal, but I couldn’t get that avocado toast out of my head… It was love at first bite! (Has anyone thought of that joke before? Highly doubt it!) The nuttiness of the tahini complemented the subtle sweetness of the avocado, and the creamy textures of the tahini and avocado were interrupted perfectly by the crunch of the cucumbers. The only thing I wished for was some heat, so I added some red pepper flakes and cayenne to my version. This is perfect brunch food because it doesn’t take you to a painfully full place (unless you also eat it with a full plate of tacos) but it does keep you full until din din. Try not to get too big of a head for making yourself fancy avocado toast though (ha ha!).

The picture here is an earlier version of the toast in which I just sliced the avocado instead of mashing it; I also ate half before I remembered I wanted to take a pic. Anyway, not that important. This recipe is extremely flexible, so live your dreams.  And if anyone is in Ann Arbor looking for a hawt bite, check out Avalon Café and Kitchen! Their food is so good—I highly recommend their potato tacos, avocado toast, and shakshuka. Continue reading avocado tahini toast

recipe test: shiitake bacon

Recently, I made a soup that called for small chunks of ham. Instead of ham, I decided to try making shiitake bacon to top it. I’d had it at restaurants, and it’s incredibly good: smoky, crispy, caramelized, and salty, it makes an effective and delicious vegan vehicle for umami.  It’s also truly simple and quick to make!

No, it does not taste exactly like bacon, but it can replicate some of the key things that bacon brings to a dish: the crispy meaty texture, the smokiness, the saltiness, and the umami-ness. I chose to use it to replace the small amount of ham because it was comparable in size and texture; a larger ham hock, for example, would also give you some gelatin from the bones, so this would not be a good replacement for a larger, meatier meat.

This was was a great complement for my tangy, creamy soup (I will post that recipe soon!), and would be great on a salad, on sandwiches, mixed with roasted veggies like brussel sprouts, or in an omelette/scramble-type dish. And probably in a lot of other things too! It’s so yummy!  Continue reading recipe test: shiitake bacon

fuck a fake leftist

Thanks to Cosmo’s prolific readership, many of us may have already read at least one analysis of the two progressive white men who recently commented on the politics of abortion and reproductive justice, arguing that, to win elections, Democrats should back off on abortion to appeal to segments of the population that typically vote Republican. One of these men was a professor of theology* at Boston College (and is from Ireland, a notoriously anti-abortion nation); the other was Bernie Sanders (who is from America, also a notoriously anti-abortion nation) (LOL!).

But these are just a couple of misguided left wing white guys! It doesn’t mean there’s a deeper problem.

Sike!!!! Racism and sexism have been problems in leftist movements led by white men since modern leftist movements have existed.  Leftist movements were supposed to be spaces that were supposed to be more progressive than the “real world.” Unfortunately, it turned out to be impossible to leave the real world behind, especially when the power structures of that world were recreated within the movements, with white men leading and expecting people of color and women to do caring labor without credit. Identity politics were created in response to the oppression that existed within those movements.
Continue reading fuck a fake leftist

chickpea mushroom toast

I knew I was going to like “Mushrooms and Garbanzos on Toast with Cider and Thyme” before I tried it. It hits a lot of my favorite food tastes and textures: crispy bread, browned mushrooms, tart vinegar, sautéed shallots, fresh herbs. I was right. It’s so delicious.

I’ve made it 5 times in the last two weeks. It’s so easy and quick, it tastes amazing, it’s filling and feels hearty, it’s cheap, it’s vegan. I’ve made a few of changes to mine from the original recipe on Food52, sometimes for taste, sometimes for budget: I use fresh rosemary instead of thyme, sherry cooking wine instead of hard cider, onion instead of shallot, corn starch instead of arrowroot starch, baby bella mushrooms instead of shiitakes, added garlic, and I don’t have poultry seasoning so I use a combination of spices to replace it.

That sounds like a lot of changes, but the spirit of the food is the same. You should play around with it too and find the yummy toast that speaks to you!  You could add non-dairy milk to make it creamier; you could increase the proportion of liquid to make more gravy; you could change up the spices; you could add vegetable stock; you could do this with lentils; you could change the kind of mushroom. You can do anything! You’re in charge.

Enjoy! Continue reading chickpea mushroom toast

“get out” and the myth of interracial liberation

Nobody needs me to write about how great Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” is (it’s been done, better than I could have). But holy shit, it is incredible on every level. Powerful and nuanced political messages, well-developed characters, an exciting and emotional narrative, just the right number of jump scares, gut-twisting suspense. It’s got everything. Go see it.

Beyond the obvious merits of the film, one thing that I loved was its pretty clear assertion that interracial relationships (and, implicitly, interracial mating and babies) cannot be counted upon to liberate anyone.  I think it is becoming increasingly clear that putting all hopes for an anti-racist future in interracial coupling and multiracial babies will assuredly lead to failure, but it is still a pervasive myth that having interracial relationships and giving birth to multiracial children are, in themselves, anti-racist actions.  Rates of interracial marriage are often used as a proxy for racial progress (always focused on white interracial marriage); the beauty of multiracial babies is touted as some sort of hallmark of both physical and social evolution. Continue reading “get out” and the myth of interracial liberation

on the importance of names and jimmy kimmel’s sweet embrace of white supremacy

I can’t count the number of times people have mispronounced my last name. (Hiyama. Hee-YAH-muh.) I’m shocked if someone says it correctly the first time. My 93-year old grandpa has pronounced it wrong on purpose for a lot of his life so he doesn’t have to constantly correct people.  It’s really not hard to say once you know how to say it, and people generally get with the program quickly, but there is still something that feels crappy about having to explain myself and how I came to be whenever my last name comes up.

Our names beget our personhood and confirm our existence.  To have a name that is consistently fucked up by other people is to always feel like you’re abnormal, other, less. You feel simultaneously conspicuous and invisible. Everyone notices the difference, but nobody sees beyond it. In the United States, family names are important, but as an unapologetically individualistic nation, our first names are even more essential to our being. So as much as I identify with that experience of people mispronouncing my last name, it is a wholly different experience to not only have people mispronounce your first name but also to make fun of it.  And while anyone can have a name that is tricky to pronounce by American English standards, names are racialized and the mockery is certainly a racialized experience. Continue reading on the importance of names and jimmy kimmel’s sweet embrace of white supremacy

foodie face masks

Using food as a beauty product is very ~hawt~ right now, and I, too, have been swept up in the foodie beauty zeitgeist. What makes me feel more unjustifiably self-satisfied than smearing yogurt on my face and knowing that I “made” my face mask myself (store-bought ingredients notwithstanding)??  Absolutely nothing! If you also want to get in on this trend and feel like a fresh Stepford wife, read on. Continue reading foodie face masks