I don’t always serve pumpkin pie for desert at Thanksgiving. Sometimes I make a pumpkin cheese cake, muffins, or this spicy soup with an island taste. If you don’t want to use pumpkin, any winter squash will do. Use butternut, acorn, or Hubbard, or for preparation ease, use canned pumpkin puree.
Now let’s go wild and whip up a fancy-dancy dessert from something no one else uses for that purpose. The lowly—but elegant—avocado is actually a fruit, so let’s treat it like one for this refreshing, healthy, and surprising dessert.
4 avocados, just turning soft, not fully ripe
1 medium mango, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound strawberries, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup honey mixed with 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat a well-oiled BBQ grill to medium-high, 300-400 degrees F.
Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and carefully remove the seed. Brush the exposed flesh with the honey-olive oil mixture, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place (do not refrigerate).
Chop the mangos and strawberries and mix them with the vinegar, orange juice, and lemon juice, let rest at least 20 minutes so the ingredients can blend. Stir occasionally.
Spray your grill very heavily with PAM or another grilling spray.
Grill the avocados skin side down directly on the grill for 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin begins to lightly char and take on grill marks. Re-spray the grill and brush the flesh side of the avocados again with the honey-oil mixture and place the halves flesh side down on the hot grill for another 2-3 minutes.
With a spatula carefully remove the avocados from the grill and place them on a serving plate covered with a bed of lettuce, two halves per person. Fill the seed cavity with the mango-strawberry salsa, generously dribbling some on the top of each half. Serve with a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh and salsa.
I discovered the most delicious radishes in Kabul and developed a minor obsession with this spicy ingredient, which lead me to develop the following recipe:
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups radish (use either quartered red radishes, or sliced and quartered daikon radishes)
1 cup white wine
½ cup pecans or walnuts, quartered
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly chopped ginger
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
Heat the butter in a pan. When it has melted, add the radishes.
Sauté until they sizzle in the pan, then pour in about ½ cup of white wine.
Add the pecans or walnuts to the pan, along with the brown sugar. Sauté for about 10-15 minutes, adding more wine as it is absorbed.
Add the brown sugar and ginger, then sauté another 2-3 minutes.
When the radishes are soft, remove from heat, toss in the blue cheese, top with parsley and serve warm.
Heat scale: mild
These pakoras are some of the easiest Indian snacks to make. I collected this recipe at the Shikarbadi Hunting Lodge outside of Udaipur. You can use any vegetable you like, but I recommend the softer vegetables such as peppers, eggplant, onions, and thinly sliced potatoes.
Since poblanos make some of the tastiest chiles rellenos, it makes sense that they fry up deliciously. Why not dip these rings in guacamole?