Tag Archives: avocados

Turkey Day Trials 2014

16 Nov


While October seemed to have sluggishly ambled by, November has been no joke – it’s already half-way through the month and only a week and a half away from the biggest foodie day of the year. Already, Christmas decorations, songs, sales, and Santas have inundated the stores, almost like Thanksgiving is that afterthought of a day firmly arriving to devote its purpose solely to the day after, when all the crazy shopping happens.

Really, people?

Let’s slow down for a moment and savor this season. It’s fall. Beautiful leaves, filling foods, and get-togethers lending perfect excuses to have just that one more glass of wine. For me, aside from the food, Rob has safely made it back from a deployment, creating another reason to celebrate. But this year, I’ve taken a different approach.

Lately, I’ve been inspired by small gatherings, simple entertaining, and outrageously good tastes. So, I’ve been creating small bites that are perfect for giant, festive entertaining, or just a special holiday dinner for two. My mom will attest that since I was old enough to chew, my favorite foods were the traditional turkey, stuffing, and cranberry dinner tastes. So for me to step out of the traditional American turkey day box is a little uncouth.

But go with it. Try it. You’ll be surprised – I was!

Try my Pumpkin Seed and Pomegranate Guacamole. Guac? On Thanksgiving? Oh come on, the avocado needs some holiday love, too. Especially with so many meatless options these days, this is a perfect stand-alone dip, elegant atop a crostini, or the silent hero in a leftover cranberry, lettuce and guac sandwhich. It’s creamy, with a roasted bite from the pumpkin seed oil, plus a surprising tang of sweetness only known by the pomegranate.

This guac is great and extremely versatile. Dress it up with a pairing of champagne, or make it comfort food extraordinaire while enjoying on the couch watching football. It is fancy enough to be a holiday-party-go-to, comforting enough to be a pot-luck favorite, and simple enough to whip up for a festive fall evening for two. No, it’s not a turkey, and no, it’s not stuffing. But in our house, this is definitely going to be a new Thanksgiving tradition.



Pumpkin Seed & Pomegranate Guacamole
(this recipe serves 4, but alter ingredients to make as much as you need!)

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
  • Juice ½ lime
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • ¼ tsp roasted pumpkin seed oil
  • ½ tsp pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds
  • s&p

In a large bowl, use a fork to combine all ingredients except for the pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Season to taste with s&p (I always find that I need a bit more pepper than expected when working with avocados). When well combined, top with the pepitas and pomegranate seeds. Serve as is with chips, or shmear on crostini, or slather on a sandwich for a perfect holiday-inspired meal! Enjoy!

Kelly’s Guac

10 Jun

There is this standing joke in my family regarding my husband and food.  He’s 100% Irish; meat and potatoes to a T.  By this point, I’ve got him eating white fish and some sushi, and the argument into the world of beets still remains.  But there is this thing that he does with new foods, which to this day is still a source of entertainment for my family and me.

A few years ago, after my Grandpa’s funeral, my whole Mom’s side of the family was settled in at my Aunt Regina and Uncle Tom’s house for the needed, and frankly expected, decompress after a highly emotional weekend.  The TV was on some agreed upon sitcom, gin and tonics were flowing and standing at the ready, and my Uncle Bob (a self-proclaimed master griller) was making dinner.  Maybe it was more like constructing dinner with full scaffolds, or staving-artist-inspired composing dinner – time ticked on, on, and on, and the fam was growing increasingly hungry.

Our sitting around chit-chatting started to incline (or decline, depending on your personal half-glass) towards being plain boisterous.  So my cousin, Kelly, who has the joyously natural instinct to make sure everyone is happy at all times, ran to the kitchen.  Minutes later, she returned with a big bowl of her homemade guacamole and chips.  While she would have been fine without any recognition, the cheers she received did not go unnoticed, and everyone dove in.  Including Rob.

“Wow, Kel!  This is awesome!”  My mom, being a lover of all things avocado, exclaimed. The oohs and aahs surrounding Kelly’s guac circled the room.

“Ah, thanks Aunt Susie!” Kelly’s Long Island inflection clearly came through.  “I made it myself!”

Rob looked at me, “This is great!” His eyes only got that big when ogling at helicopters.

“Kelly, how did you make this?” I inquired – seriously, it was the best guac I’ve ever had.  Still is.

Kelly revealed her secret recipe, of which I’ve been making ever since.  But there was another secret in the room – Rob.  There’s my at-the-time boyfriend, diving into the bowl of creamy green goodness, devouring it.  He licked his chops.  He licked his fingers.  He would have licked the bowl if he weren’t trying to impress my extended family.

Years later, through our courtship and engagement, and like most couples do, we had a date spot.  Every Friday we were together, we would go to Javier’s and have our fill of beyond-good Mexican food and margaritas, including guacamole.  At one point, as Rob was eating the guacamole like he had enjoyed it in the womb (this is actually true for me – Mom kept me fed well with Chimicangas and guac en utero), he proceeded to casually reveal to my mom and me how his first time even seeing guacamole was that night in Long Island waiting for my Uncle’s dinner.

Looking at my mom’s crinkled brow, raised eyebrows, open mouth, and cartoonish question mark over her head, I could only imagine what my face revealed.  WHAT?!  If he had said that mid-marg-sip, the spray would have been good enough for primetime TV.  We are not talking about foie gras here.  First of all, who in this nation that lives remotely close to a Taco Bell does not know about guacamole before they are 26, and second, WHAT?!  For years he’d been eating the stuff like rest of us.  We never would have guessed his christened-to-the-avocado moment was Kelly’s guac.  Frankly, we would have celebrated it more.

While funny by itself, Rob’s ability to fool us into his oh-I’ve-been-enjoying-this-food-all-my-life is not limited to the avocado.  Pigs in a blanket have also been revealed, as well as one of my favorite (and most cooked) foods, poached eggs.  But as summertime is right around the corner, and keeping true to Rob’s newly indoctrinated family tradition, we shall have guacamole.  Just like the “old” times.

Kelly’s Guac (make as much as you want, but the following is good for 2-4 people) 

  • 3 ripe (soft, but not squidgy) Hass avocados 
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp (or a sprinkling to-taste) garlic salt 
  • 3-5 dashes Tabasco sause. 

Scoop out the inner green flesh of the avocados into a medium bowl.  Juice in the lime (prick with a fork before squeezing, if necessary), add the garlic salt, and the Tabasco sauce.  Note: Tabasco sauce has a high vinegar content, so start with a few dashes and add more to taste.  

Mash, mix, and stir together with a fork – I purposefully and specifically use a fork here because it gives a creamy, yet slightly chunky texture.  

Dip your favorite chip, and ENJOY (for the first time, or the hundredth!)  

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