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! 

Skirt Steak Platter

I loved this platter! And it combines a little bit of summer in every corner of it, a juicy sweet plum, a grilled steak, fresh basil made into pesto, relaxed creamy cheese and a perfectly ripe avocado. Enjoy with a nice glass of wine, while the sunset is going down.

  • 12 oz. skirt steak, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 ripe avocado room temperature and halved
  • 1 ripe black plum, halved and pitted
  • 2 slivers of St. Andre cheese, room temperature
  • 2 oz. basil, (about 1 cup tightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Maldon sea salt flakes
  • a little drizzle of olive oil for steaks
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic pear infused vinegar
  • juice of quarter of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Make your basil (almost pesto) chimichurri sauce. Combine the basil, olive oil, walnuts, walnut oil, salt and pepper with a hand blender. This makes 1 cup of pesto. Adjust your seasonings to taste. Reserve half a cup for another use. This is great for a quick dinner when tossed with pasta, just add some good Parmesan cheese. And if your pasta needs to be moistened a little more, add some pasta water. With the remaining pesto add the vinegar, lime juice and the parsley, combine well. Heat up your grill to about 500 degrees. Throw your steaks and plum halves on the grill. Cook your steaks how you like. I cooked mine for about 5 minutes each side and you really have to watch the plums, they grill quickly and get very soft. Maybe about 3 minutes for the first side. You will see the skin start to curl up at the ends and that’s when I flipped it onto it’s skin for a minute or so. They are really delicate especially if you got a good juicy one. Pull the plums off and let them rest. Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Begin arranging your platter. Slice the steak diagonally and fan out, arrange the sliced avocado, cheese and plum on your platter. Scoop some of the pesto chimichurri sauce onto the platter. Sprinkle some salt onto the steak and the avocado. This recipe makes 2 servings, so double and triple as needed. Enjoy!




 

Avocado Egg Breakfast

Ohhh…this is great if you want a hearty breakfast and you love avocados. It’s really good together. The yolk of the egg swimming in the hollow of the avocado. Perfect combined with little bites of breakfast sausage and mushrooms covered in a thick tomato sauce. And I don’t know about you but English muffins make me happy, lol. The nooks and crannies filled with eggy avocado goodness is a good start to the day. I know it’s only Monday, lol but this is great on an easy Sunday morning. Something really yummy to look forward to. :)

  • 1 avocado, halved with the pit removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 breakfast sausages, casings removed
  • 4 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 button mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 English muffins, toasted
  • 2 pats of unsalted butter
  • fresh ground pepper

Add your sausages to your pan, breaking them up. Once they cooked through for the most part, add in your mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they are lightly browned. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook on low heat until the liquids of the tomato release. Once they do, increase the heat to medium and let the liquids evaporate and thicken. Once it’s thickened, you can set it aside. Next, remove your avocado half in one piece, gently run a big spoon in between the skin and the avocado. Once it’s loose you can scoop it out in one piece and place your avocado halves on your plates. Heat up your pat of unsalted butter until it’s sizzling. Break your egg into the butter until it’s set. I always salt it. Maybe it’s my imagination but the yolk always breaks when I try to flip it, without salting the egg yolk. Then flip your egg until it’s set on the other side and it’s done over easy. Take a spatula and remove the egg and place it over the avocado half, with the yolk part sitting in the hollow of the avocado. Repeat with your second egg. Toast your English muffins and place them on your plate, add the sausage and mushroom saute and top with fresh ground pepper. This makes 2 servings. Enjoy!

Rib Eye Steak with Roquefort Cheese

I feel a little guilty expressing how much I like a grilled rib eye steak especially because I was a vegetarian for three years. It was a great experience because it taught me discipline. I stuck to it 100%, no matter what.  And as far as cooking goes, it teaches you to be open and creative. I have an appreciation for eggplant that I may have not had if I wasn’t a vegetarian for some time. It enabled me to create new dishes out of old inspirations. Portabella mushrooms became steaks. Grilled eggplant sandwiches with hummus became a staple and beans were glorified and made delicious. So I don’t mind meatless Mondays or Fridays. But nevertheless, I ended my vegetarian days. And enjoy a steak now and then especially when it’s paired up with buttery avocado, tart fig sauce and pungent blue cheese. Serve with a mixed greens salad tossed with an olive oil vinaigrette and it’s a perfect dinner to share with someone special.

  • 1 or 2 bone-in rib eye steak
  • 1 ripe room temperature avocado, cut into sections
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup fig marmalade
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Roquefort cheese, room temperature

In a sauce pan combine the fig marmalade and the balsamic vinegar, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring often. It will begin to thicken and once done, set aside. Heat the grill until it is 500 degrees. Make sure your steak is seasoned with sea salt and pepper and allowed to rest at room temperature. Spread a little olive oil on your steak before you throw it on the grill. Cook your steak however you like it, rare, medium or well-done. This came out medium-rare, about 5 minutes each side. While your steak is resting, assemble your plate. Drizzle olive oil on your avocado and season with salt and pepper. Add your cheese, fig sauce, steak and enjoy! Have a happy weekend everyone! :)