1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to use while cooking

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

finely minced chives for garnish (optional)

thinly sliced apple for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat the flesh of the squash with olive oil and place flesh side down on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the hot oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced by a pairing knife. Take out of the oven and let it cool to the touch. Scoop the squash out with a spoon and set aside until needed. In a large pot heated over medium-high heat, add the butter and olive oil, and stir until butter is melted and starts to bubble. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the apples, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for five minutes. Add the stock, five spice powder, curry powder, and salt and pepper to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Puree the soup in batches using a blender or a food processor. Serve immediately with chive and apple garnishes.

Tip: Switch out the Chinese five-spice powder with garam masala to let the flavors shift in a fragrant direction.

Pork and apple burgers, Coney Island style

When I was a child, I always enjoyed the times my father made burgers. Normally, he grilled them, but every now and then he would take to the stove and make Coney Island hamburgers. Basically miniature meatloaves featuring onions, spices and sometimes green peppers, Coney Island hamburgers were something my father loved in his childhood. The burgers are browned on both sides and then steamed by adding water and covering the pan. This recipe is my ode to my dad's culinary prowess and features pork as the meat, with a heavy dose of apples. The slaw that accompanies the burger is a great complement to the slightly spicy burger.

Makes: 8 servings

For the apple, fennel and celeriac slaw:

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons Dijon

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 tablespoon honey (you can substitute with 1 1/4 tablespoons sugar)

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt