I packed my suitcase those first days in March, anticipating that I wouldn’t really “come back home” again until today. A lot can happen in two months, and there were many things that didn’t happen according to plan. We didn’t finish the race in South Africa like we’d planned. We raised more money than we thought we would in our Qhubeka fundraising efforts than we ever thought we could. I did have the chance to fly back to Boulder long enough to do laundry and check my mail after all, but I didn’t anticipate just how much I missed being home in Boulder, how lucky I feel to call this place home and to be included in the circles that I am in my hometown.
Before moving back to Boulder, I lived for several years in the Bay Area and so I have a geographic foundation that I’m always building upon, making it a fun place to have in one’s back pocket and an easy place to get to know more deeply. Each time I visit, I appreciate the distinct personality of the neighborhoods more, my cycling maps get more extensive, and reveal more places I want to explore on my bike. My map of culinary curiosity grows too; each restaurant I visit or dish I try seems to leave another niblet in the breadcrumb trail for me to follow, both on my next visit and when I get back to my kitchen to unload all the edible souvenirs, food photographs and food notes I’ve captured along my way.
On this trip, I came to realize that the collision of urbanity and serenity, and the creativity they create in this place combine to be (perhaps) the only place powerful enough to distract me from my readiness to return home to Boulder. So, perhaps it was perfect that I spent this last week of being “away,” bouncing between delicious places; first in Napa Valley, collaborating, cooking and cycling through valleys filled with history and culinary tradition, I moderated a panel on Women, Food, Wine + Cycling and had the chance to meet, collaborate and ride with the chef at this incredible restaurant, this legendary bike racer and activist for women’s cycling, and this one too!) Then, I drove up to the North Coast to work, catch my breath and soak the salt, the wind and the oceanscape into my being. From there it was down into San Francisco to get a little nibble of the city before celebrating some very dear friends, and then flying home for the summer. These past months of living out of a suitcase have been intense, and while I’ve found myself in some beautiful places, it’s difficult to truly unwind while working on the road. I always anticipated this time spent with inspiring people, in beautiful places, riding exquisite roads and eating exceptional flavors would be fruitful and fun, but I was surprised by how refreshed, inspired and excited I was to come home and unpack all the California vibes in the apartment.
I really hadn’t *cooked* anything in my kitchen since I left in March, and it makes me smile to think that the first thing I wanted to pull together was a practice in “non-cooking;” this riff on the simple and simply perfect avocado toast we had at Salumeria in the Mission one afternoon for lunch alongside fresh spring salads in the courtyard, our table and shoulders bathed in an unusual amount of springtime sunshine in the city. While some may say that avocado toast “is so 2015,” I disagree and particularly when a slice this interesting, crunchy, fresh and bright can be assembled in a few moments (and is perfect for forward thinking mother’s for this weekend at brunch – ahem!) I hadn’t even been to the market yet when I discovered all the ingredients I needed in the pantry (whose contents had been all but forgotten while I was away,) and you could beef + beautify it with a quick trip to the farmer’s market. What’s different? Roasted red peppers, toasted pepitas, bright lemon zest, deep and toasty sesame seeds with some nori flakes and a sprinkling of herbs for good measure. I liked the seeds + nuts as an addition so much I’ve played with different asian-style dukkah mixtures (this coming soon!) but for the time being I’ve included some suggestions for which nuts and seeds to use for the toast to get your daily dose of crunch in.
Ok, notes here. Roasted red pepper really makes this one unique, and you could roast the pepper yourself or buy roasted red peppers in the pasta/condiment aisle at your favorite well stocked grocer. You can also buy toasted pepitas and toasted sesame seeds but this only takes a few minutes and I suggest roasting a bit extra of each to sprinkle on whatever your heart desires later (also, you’ll use it for asian dukkah in a week or so. Ahem.) Your toast will be #overthetop if you make a quick trip to the asian food market or the asian aisle at your natural grocery store to pick up furikake and togarashi. I promise its worth the trip but if you’re entirely too stubborn, just settle for chili flakes.
I hope that you enjoy this one, and that it’s non-cooking method get you out and into the growing sunshine, content with wherever you are — preferably home, inspired and surrounded with good people who also think avocado toast is The Jam. (Because if not, what are you doing with your time exactly?!) : )
Oh! One last thing – I’ve updated my little file on all the best of the best in San Francisco with these latest finds. If you’re interested in perusing my picks, click here. xo – L
- *makes two slices of toast*
- two slices fresh sourdough bread
- 2 just ripe avocados
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted and seeded
- juice of one lime
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
- 2 tablespoons each white and black sesame seeds, toasted
- togarashi or chili flakes (to taste)
- toasted nori or wasabi furikake (available in the Japanese section at any Asian grocer)
- dill flowers and edible herbs (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and, when to temp, toss the red pepper (coasted in a small amount of olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil) in for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool, then deseed and slice. Set aside
- On a rimmed baking sheet, gently toast the sesame seeds and pepitas until just fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Slice open the avocados and remove the pit, then scoop the flesh into a small bowl and gently mash with the juice of the lime, the olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Toast the slices of bread, and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Place the sliced roasted red pepper on the toast, and dollop generously with the avocado mixture. Then, sprinkle with your desired amount of pepitas, sesame seeds and furikake. Finish with a little sprinkling of togarashi or chili flakes and the edible herbs.