Guacamole in a Pumpkin

I can eat an avocado drizzled with olive oil and topped with sea salt and be a happy girl, really happy girl, lol. I have a deep fondness for avocados. And as many times as I’ve made guacamole, each time it comes out different. Guacamole is great because you really can’t mess it up, provided you have perfectly ripe avocados and complimenting ingredients. At times, it’s loaded with fresh tomatoes, other times, I can’t get enough cilantro in the mix, topping whole leaves, on the green mound of goodness. Sometimes, I want a lot of heat and add some minced jalapeno pepper. Other times, I’ve wanted just a little heat and have added some long hot pepper or Sriracha sauce. At times, thinly sliced scallions and extra crunchy sea salt is all I need. This last time I made it, I made it pretty simple, wanting chunks of avocado with a little cilantro. Come Halloween time, guacamole takes on a whole new look when piled into a pumpkin, looking like a little bit of a monster mash, lol. Serve with plantain strips and tomato wedges on the side. Enjoy right away!

P.S. For optimum enjoyment of your chips, don’t leave them in the dip, they get soggy!

  • 1 2-pound sugar pumpkin
  • 5 small ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot, rinsed under hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • plantain strips
  • a few tomatoes, chopped

Draw a squiggly line around the top of the pumpkin for the opening with a pencil. Fixing it along the way as needed. Take a small utility knife and lightly score the design. Go in again with your utility knife to make the cut of the opening a little deeper. Make small movements with your knife as it can slip, so slower is better when cutting the opening for the pumpkin. Next, take a small utility saw or pumpkin saw and cut into the opening, going around one more time, if needed, until the lid comes off easily. Be really careful when handling the utiility knife and saw. *Remove the seeds and also a little bit of the inside of the pumpkin so you don’t have pumpkin threads with your guacamole. Set your pumpkin aside. Begin making your guacamole. Juice 1/2 the lime and let your shallot sit in the lime juice for 10 minutes. Drain the shallot and squeeze dry, discarding the lime juice. Next, combine the avocado, cilantro, shallot and salt in a non-reactive bowl with the remaining juice of 1/2 the lime. Mash with the potato masher until well combined. And off course add more cilantro or lime juice as needed!

*Toss the pumpkin seeds with a little olive oil and sea salt or any seasoning you like and roast at 425, until light brown, stirring occasionally. Enjoy! 

Grilled Belgian Endive Salad with Cilantro

After the bacon & margarita, a girl needs a salad, lol. And I love Belgian endive, I think they are just beautiful. But they can be a little bitter, so I decided to grill them. Dowsing them with olive oil cuts the bitterness, and grilling it mellows them out, transforming them into layers of smoky, oily deliciousness on a plate. Enjoy! :)

  • 4 heads of Belgian endive, heavy for their size, leaves tightly packed
  • 4 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • olive oil, and 1/3 cup reserved for dressing
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime

Cut your endive heads in half lengthwise, and drizzle with olive oil and top with salt. Grill cut side down for about 5 minutes, so there are some nice grill marks, I had the heat on high. When your endive is done, remove from the grill, and make your dressing. Combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, agave syrup, lime juice and a little salt (I was tempted to add tequila, lol). Stir in your cilantro. It will be very thick dressing. Arrange your endive lettuces on a plate and top with your radish slices. Drizzle your salad with the dressing, and additional olive oil. This serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course. It is complete with some poached shrimp, adding some sweetness to the salad.