meet in your kitchen | Stephanie Le’s Japanese Inspired Avocado Toast
by eat in my kitchen
When I started my blog back in November 2013, I didn’t really have much of an idea of what was going on in the food blog scene. It was all new to me and I was curious to see what it would be like to write about my food and share a recipe every day – my chosen task for the first 12 months of blogging. So in the beginning, I focussed a lot on my own work, but then, in the cold early days of 2014, I began to discover more and more bloggers, their approach to food, their recipes, and their style of writing. It was a whole new world to me. And when I saw the food photography on some of these pages, I knew I had to improve considerably behind the camera!
One of those blogs caught my attention at first sight. I Am A Food Blog is written by Stephanie Le from Canada. Her dishes sound and look delicious and the photography is just stunning. It didn’t surprise me in the least bit that she published her first cookbook, Easy Gourmet, in the same year I ‘found’ her. There are three things that strike me in Stephanie’s work: Her easy way of cooking – it’s not fussy at all – her unique, clean style of presenting her creations, and the fact that the world meets in Stephanie’s kitchen. You can find Canadian classics next to Chinese, Japanese, British, French, or Mediterranean dishes. It’s all comfort food, it’s all yummy, and, most of the time, it’s relatively quick and easy to prepare. The young cosmopolitan woman likes to travel the world, literally, but also in her cooking.
Camping is one of Stephanie’s latest, re-discovered travel adventures and her Camp One Pot Beef Stroganoff leaves no doubt that she’s a pro in the wilderness. The recipe she shared with me would also be a great snack for this lonely life, out in a tent, unplugged and cut off from civilization: A Japanese inspired Avocado Toast. For those days when even a camper needs a special treat.
Japanese Inspired Avocado Toast
This toast is perfect when I have a sushi craving but also want avocado toast. I love a crunchy toast base and the roast-y saltiness of laver pairs perfectly with creamy avocado. The salty ikura are tiny pops of brightness and the sesame seeds add a bit of nuttiness. Seriously good!
Makes 10-12 toasts
toast or baguette 10-12 thin slices
baby arugula 1 handful
laver (roasted seaweed) 6 pieces
ikura (salmon roe) 1-2 tablespoons (leave out the roe for a vegetarian version)
toasted white and black sesame seeds
Place the avocado on a cutting board and cut lengthwise, in the middle carefully, rotating around the seed. Twist half of the avocado off and remove. Place the remaining half (with the pit) on a dish towel and carefully tap your knife into the pit so that it wedges itself in. Twist the knife and remove the pit. Place the avocado, cut side down on to your cutting board and peel off the skin. Cut into 10-12 thin slices.
Top slices of toast with arugula, half a piece of laver, 2 avocado slices, a bit of the ikura, sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
When did you start your food blog I Am A Food Blog? What got you hooked on writing about food and recipes?
My husband and I started I am a Food Blog in 2012 – it was after our other food blog, where I cooked through the entire Momofuku cookbook. Cooking through Momofuku is where I learned to love blogging – taking the photos, working through recipes, and sharing stories.
You just started a camping series on your blog. What do you love about camping? What are your favourite camping spots?
Camping is just fun – it’s always hard for me to unplug and stay away from the internet. I’m pretty much addicted. So camping is a fun (and enforced) way to take a break from the internet. My husband and I hike, sit around the fire, have heart-to-hearts and generally appreciate nature. We love camping along the West Coast – all of the National and State Parks in the US have really nice sites, but they book up fast.
Can you give us some catering tips for life in a tent?
Cooking while camping isn’t really a wing it sort of thing, so make sure you’re prepared. Make a list and check it twice! I like to measure out ingredients before hand and I also like to collect tiny condiments (like tiny ketchup packets) so I can bring them along. It’s best to also consider cooking fuel – recipes that don’t take a long time to cook are best.
Which city in the world inspires you the most when it comes to food culture and why?
I love Japan and Japanese food, so I’d have to say Tokyo. And the beauty of Tokyo is that they have myriad of other types of cuisines too, so it’s very inspiring. I love their attention to detail.
You live in Vancouver, Canada, what do you like about Canadian food?
I love that Canada is multicultural. We have so many different people from different cultures here that there is a very diverse food scene, especially in Vancouver. I think everyone thinks of poutine (crispy fries topped with squeaky cheese curds and gravy) when they think of Canadian food and I have to say, I do love it. When I don’t have poutine for a while I definitely crave it. It’s a guilty pleasure.
You call your husband your chief taste-tester, do you also cook together with him?
Yes! We actually work on the blog together – he designed the site and takes photos as well. He’s actually the one who taught me to take photos. He doesn’t cook for the blog, mostly just for us, family and friends. He’s really good at things that take a long time, like soups and stews.
Did cooking and food play an important role in your family when you grew up? When did your love for the kitchen and its creations start?
I actually didn’t like food much when I was a little kid. I was super picky. Although I remember having a play kitchen that I was obsessed with. My mom gave it away when I was at school one day and I was devastated. My mom cooks a lot, both now and when we were little, so I think I learned my love for cooking from her, through osmosis.
What was the first dish you cooked on your own, what is your first cooking memory?
To be honest, I don’t remember what the first thing I cooked on my own was. I do remember baking cupcakes at day care, being extremely proud and bringing one for my mom to try.
You’re going to have ten friends over for a spontaneous dinner, what will be on the table?
It would definitely be a DIY type meal: maybe tacos, or Vietnamese vermicelli bowls, or build your own salad. Something like that. I like interactive meals where everyone can make things to their individual tastes.
What was your childhood culinary favourite and what is it now?
I loved cereal when I was a kid. I used to eat it exclusively. Now, it would be entirely too difficult to choose, I love so many things. I could never give up noodles, that’s for sure.
Do you prefer to cook on your own or together with others?
I would say I like cooking with others, but my husband wouldn’t agree (laughing). I do love collaborating, but maybe I’m not so good at it?
Which meals do you prefer, improvised or planned?
I like both! I like the casualness of improvised meals, but if I feel any sort of pressure at all, I will need to plan because I’m a planner. I think the best of both world would be having an extremely well stocked fridge and pantry so that I could improvise without constraints.
Thank you Stephanie!