• The Cyborgoisie Issue
    The Cyborgoisie Issue
    Small plates

    We need to feed ourselves once and a while to keep the gears sweaky and moving. Here's a guide to cooking and eating for the Young, Broke, and Restless.


    Olivia Starkie is a West Coast girl living the broke eastern life in Brooklyn, New York. When she is not food service hustling, she can be found cooking, writing, making visual art, sitting in sun patches in the park, riding the train for fun, or eating bagels.

    Avocados 2

    Photo by author

    Small Plates

    A Letter to Some Roommates in the Fashion of R. Kelly’s “Real Talk”

    ... And Three Heat Wave Avocado Recipes

    Dear Roommates,

    Do you know what I did this weekend, for fourth of July? I went out of town to relax and get away from y’all
    Who was there? All my friends. We were in a poooool
    Wait a minute, I get back to hot concrete hell
    on Sunday evening and what do I find?
    Get the fuck…man, you know what?

    Guys I’m not about to sit up here and argue with you about who’s to blame
    Or call names, real talk
    See roommates, only thing I’m trying to establish with you is not
    Who’s right or who’s wrong, but what’s right and what’s wrong
    Real talk
    Just because I go away for the weekend
    Doesn’t mean you can steal my food and all my beer out the fridge
    Tell me roommates,

    Were there other beers there?
    Was there other food in there?
    Well, tell me this

    How the fuck you think you can steal my food then
    When the whole fridge packed?
    Wait a minute! Let me finish what I’ve got to say
    I’ve lived with you two months and
    You know I have no funds
    And that I can’t afford to eat more than two meals a day
    (And sometimes only one)
    Real talk

    Like last week I came into the kitchen
    Just trying to have a good time
    And you were there with your bourgeois Chemex
    Using my milk for your motherfucking iced coffee
    Don’t you think I have enough bullshit on my mind?
    Real talk, hold up

    Didn’t I just spend a bunch of money
    To buy avocados the other day, hmm
    So I could have food when I got back from vacation
    Real talk

    Gave who some damn money?
    You ain’t give me some damn money
    So why you stealing my avocados
    Is you tweakin’?
    You see what your problem is
    You think you can eat what I bought
    On my extremely tight budget even though
    You have a high-paying job you got through ‘connections’
    But what you eat
    Don’t make me shit
    Real talk

    I’m too broke for this bullshit, I’m getting my stuff
    And moving the fuck up out of Greenpoint
    To live with friends who don’t raid my section of the fridge

    You ain’t gotta worry about me no more
    And the next time your ass get hungry
    Go eat your own damn avocados
    You gon’ burn what?

    Roommates, I hope you burn my motherfucking toast
    That you helped yourself to with your triflin’ ass, you bogus
    Subway, get your consistently late trains on-schedule and take me home
    Or at least to the grocery store
    I’m losing my motherfucking mind.

    Three Recipes for Avocados (That Have Not Been Eaten By Roommates) On A Very Hot Day

    Best Guacamole

    • 4 large, ripe avocados
    • 1 small (or half of a large) white onion, diced finely
    • 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, finely minced (you can take out the seeds if desired, but leave them in for extra heat if you like spicy)
    • juice of 1-2 limes (to taste)
    • ¼ to ½ cup cilantro, de-stemmed and roughly chopped (adjust to taste, or leave out if you are one of those unfortunate people whose taste buds can’t accommodate cilantro)
    • salt to taste

    Halve the avocados, remove the pits (save one pit and put to the side). Scoop the fruit out of the skins into a large bowl. Using a fork or a potato masher, mash up the avocados to your desired consistency (I like my guac not completely smooth, but not super chunky either – mostly smooth with some bigger pieces of avocado still visible). Add lime juice, onion and cilantro and the peppers, and stir to incorporate. Taste. If it needs more cilantro or lime, add more. Finish with salt to taste. Be careful not to salt too aggressively – the guacamole should be lightly salted, not extremely salty. It should be a cooling accompaniment to salty foods. Stick the reserved avocado pit in the bowl with the guacamole to keep it from turning brown as fast.

    Serve with chips, tacos, quesadillas, Huachinango a la Veracruzana (the best red snapper you’ll ever eat, if you get the chance to try/make it), et cetera. Or, if you’re like me, eat it off of a spoon. Real talk.

    Avocado, Blood Orange, and Fennel Salad with Toasted Mustard Seeds and Anchovy Vinaigrette

    Salad ingredients:
    • 1 – 2 ripe avocados
    • 1 blood orange (or tangerine or navel orange)
    • 1 bulb of fennel, top fronds and stalks removed
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    Vinaigrette ingredients:
    • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1 oil-packed anchovy filet (or two, if you love anchovies)
    • 2 tsp – 1 Tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
    • ¼ c vinegar (I like a mix of red wine and balsamic)
    • juice of ½ a lemon
    • ½ c olive oil (I like to just pour some oil in, taste, and add more if it’s too acidic. You want the olive oil to neutralize the acids from the vinegar and lemon, but not so much that the dressing becomes oily and bland.)
    To prepare the dressing:

    In a mortar and pestle (or in a food processor or with some blunt object), smash together the garlic and the anchovies until they form a very smooth paste. This will take a while, so just be patient and keep pounding. When you’re done, add the mustard and mix together. Add the vinegar and, using a whisk, mix everything up. Add the lemon juice and whisk again. Next, add about half of the oil. Whisk the dressing, and taste. If too acidic, add the rest of the oil. Taste again. Add more oil, and, if desired, more mustard to taste. The end product should be salty, vinegary, and complex from the anchovies, almost like a Caesar dressing without the egg component.

    To prepare the salad:

    Halve and then quarter the avocados. Slice either lengthwise or into cube-like pieces and place in a bowl.

    Slice the fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Slice the bulb very thinly crosswise and toss in with the avocados.

    Peel the orange. Cut it in half, and slice thinly crosswise. Throw in with the other ingredients in the bowl.

    Set a small skillet (preferably cast-iron and not nonstick) on medium to high heat and add the mustard seeds. Watch them and stir or shake them in the skillet to toast. When the seeds begin to “pop” (literally—they’ll start jumping in the pan), they’re done. Remove from heat and pour them over the salad ingredients in the bowl.

    Dress the salad lightly, and stir gently so as not to mash the avocados. Taste, add more dressing if you like, and garnish with a bit of freshly ground pepper. Serve and eat.

    Open-Faced Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Baby Arugula

    • 1 or 2 slices of your favorite bread, toasted (I prefer a crusty bread for this sandwich, but any kind you like is fine)
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 4 hard-boiled eggs
    • 1 tsp fresh oregano, destemmed and roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp fresh thyme, destemmed and roughly chopped
    • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • splash of red wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp mustard (the kind with seeds is best)
    • 1 tsp capers
    • olive oil
    • handful of baby arugula

    A note on how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs: Immerse eggs in a pan of water and heat on high until at a rolling boil. As soon as the water boils, cut the heat to low and put a timer on for seven minutes. Allow eggs to boil until the timer is done. Take off heat immediately and run under cold water. Allow to cool before peeling.

    Peel eggs and put into a bowl. Mash with a fork – you’re not trying to get them smooth, but definitely broken up. Add the herbs, vinegar, mustard and capers and mash some more, until you’ve got an egg salad that’s at your desired level of chunkiness. Taste. Add more mustard or salt as desired.

    Halve the avocado and spread with a knife onto your toasted bread. You want the avocado to be kind of smashed onto the bread to provide a base ‘spread.’ Drizzle with olive oil (you don’t want a lot – just a little. Put your thumb over the opening of the bottle to prevent too much oil from coming out when you pour.)

    Spoon desired amount of egg mixture on top of the avocado. Garnish with baby arugula. This sandwich is so good. So, so good. Real talk.

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