I've fielded many lunchtime questions. Talking topics delicious is beyond an occupational perk -- it's a lifestyle pleasure. More often than not, however, the conversation goes something like this:
Friend/Family Member/Eager Eater: So, you talk about food a LOT. Do you cook all the time?
F/FM/EE: sharply inhales Ooooh. deeply exhales
And I hear:
"I cook every day. On Saturdays, I make my own nut milks, sprout chickpeas, spit-roast whole pigs on."
More often than not, people assume that they should talk veggie to me though the occasional bacon-makes-everything-better comment finds me too.
I also hear: "I never cook. I just don't have time."
Or that, "cooking takes time."
I won't lie. Healthy cooking does take a lot of time.
Except when it doesn't.
If you've got the energy, patience and those savory hours to spare, make a huge meal. And if you don't, make something small and uncomplicated.
Simple sandwiches are a good option though they do not have the glam allure of a more complicated meal.
When I am pressed for time, I make avocado toast. It's exactly as it sounds -- toasted whole grain bread, a smooth spread of avocado and then a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil, salt and red pepper. All the ingredients are prepared in the time it takes to toast the bread and there is barely any cleanup. And this simple lunch staple serves as a full meal.
As an after-school snack for children, swap the olive oil for a drizzle of honey and replace the red pepper with some coarsely chopped almonds -- reminiscent of crunchy peanut butter without any of the added sugar. And since avocados contain fiber, folic acid, potassium and vitamins B and E, it's a meal you can feel good about serving to your loved one.
I love the spiciness of crushed red pepper sprinkled over the creamy, sweet avocado. If you're serving children, swap out the olive oil for honey and the red pepper for coarsely chopped almond.
Servings: 1 as a meal, 2 as a snack
1 ripe avocado
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1 lemon, cut in half
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon coarse sea salt
crushed red pepper flakes
1. While the bread is toasting, cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit with the back heel of your knife or a spoon.
2. Spread 1/2 the avocado on either slice of bread. Squeeze lemon juice on top, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Serve and enjoy.
Mallory Stuchin, a native Manhattanite, is the food editor for joonbug.com. She is also a natural foods chef and has worked for Mario Batali. Her writing has previously been featured in The New York Observer, Glamour and Maxim, as well as other publications in New York and Los Angeles. Mallory has also studied Ashtanga yoga in Mysore, India and has taught classes at PURE Yoga and New York University. You can follow her on Twitter @malstuch.