Friday, April 27, 2007

The Avocado Company Party

Two words: office party. You'll either see eye-rolling, deep sighs or head-nodding. Yes, it can be dreadful. When I think of the obligatory company party or event, I immediately imagine tech nerds with short-sleeve JC Penney shirts w/ paisley pattterns, Docker's khakis (tapered only), clip-on building access cards and white running shoes. The kind of running shoes that are never sold with a box, but tied together with a plastic strap. Yeah, awesome. Girls drool at this I know. But maybe this is really a misconception of company parties and merely a coincidence that one of my favorite movies is Office Space.

My agency announced that they were hosting a luncheon for us with tacos, rice, beans, salsa and of course guacamole. But a curveball was thrown in as well... there was an Iron Chef Avocado challenge. Nobody budged when they heard that. But the second you mention that cash prizes are involved, the enthusiasm level in human beings is triggered. Not that the world is full of greed or anything.

I figured people would make guacamole, and I wanted to try integrating the avocado as a sub-ingredient and not the core. A few weeks back, my coworker RM and I headed over to a mariscos restaurant nearby. We tried out the ceviche there and loved it. So we asked the owner how she makes her ceviche.

Me: How do you make ceviche?
Maria: Es facil. Vas al mar con un barco y capturas pescados, camarónes, pulpos y conchas.
Me: That's it?
Maria: Sí. Entonces le pones sal y limón y lo guardas en el refrigerador por lo menos cuatro horas.
Me: How are your smoothies here? I saw your sign outside.
Maria: Oh si, nuestros jugos naturales están muy frescos.
Me: Mmm sounds good. Can you make me a seafood smoothie?
Maria: (kitchen sounds halt with cold stares)
Me: Nevermind.

Dialogue provided by Google Translator. Just kidding, Maria was awesome. Totally joked around with us and provided great service. Last time, I messed around with a server, I got shafted.... literally.

Ok, so basically you use lime, lemons and salt to 'cook' the selected seafood. I went for shrimp and scallops. Tossed them in a bowl with garlic, cilantro and the juice of lemons and limes. Sealed them in a bowl and let them party together for at least 4 hours in the fridge. The next morning, I took out the mix, eager to smell the flavors... wow. I just made my nosehairs very jolly.

Shrimp & Scallop Ceviche with Avocado & Lime
I've eaten ceviche from a styrofoam cup (which I love) and I've eaten it this way on a tostada chip. Both will make you happy. I smothered the chip with the ceviche mix which was later flavored with more salt, black pepper, tons more lime, jalapenos and avocados. I gave it to my mexican friend RM to guinea pig it. *drum roll*

RM: "Super-delicioso! I like it spicier and with more lime though."

Blue Crab & Avocado Mulitas
Well I thought I was making quesadillas, but RM corrected me. In fact, when you're not folding the tortilla in half, but stacking it, it becomes a mulita. Whatever, I just hope it f*cking tastes good and nobody dies. I've never tried this before and this was actually my favorite. The sweet crab, salty cheese and creamy avocado turned out to be a culinary ménage-á-trois.

RM: "Mmm. Si ménage-á-tres!"

Avocado Mousse Poke on Wonton Skins
I know I know, but I had to throw this in. This dish is played out but actually got the best response from fellow coworkers. I will never buy wonton skins from Whole Foods - they are horrible.... so floury!

RM: "Muy bueno! Mis pantalones están mojados!"

My coworkers put up some really creative dishes, making this a really fun yet competitive event. Someone made avocado cream pasted in between cookies from avocados, créme frâiche and sugar. Someone else made an avocado soup and served them in coconut cups. And overall, there was a nice spread of avocado-ish dishes. I didn't win but still had a blast. The company party could've been worse. We could've all been forced into a meeting room and forced to sing happy birthday to the boss. And may be not even get a piece of that Albertson's cake.

Thanks for reading.


BoLA said...

Mmm... those all look delicious! I'm *shocked* you didn't win! :(

What ended up as the cash winner???

H. C. said...

the blue crab-avocado mullitas sound like absolute yum!

and I agree with BoLA - someone rigged the contest!

elmomonster said...

WTF?! The ballot box must have been stuffed. If you didn't win with that, then what did? Avocados served with truffles, caviar, and gold?

Jeni said...

I love the pictures D. Sorry you didn't win. I'm still in shock!

R M said...

Actually the winner was 'guac de foie gras' with a shot of "avocado Tequila Spritzer." It was lame.

j! said...

I can't believe you didn't try to make an Vietnamese advocado shake.

Advocado + ice + water (for lighter consistency) + condensed milk (the thick sweet stuff) + plus a bit of sugar.

Ed said...

Iron Chef-ing is always fun although sometimes you end up with some seriously inedible food. Yours look delicious though. you actually cook the shrimp and scallops or are they raw but marinated in the lime juice?

Douglas Cress said...

j! - the avocado shake sounds really interesting - I bet it pairs really nicely with the condensed milk (which can make just about anything awesome).

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I'm all over that avocado crab mulita. Seriously, I can't believe you didn't win with that. :(

I made guacamole myself yesterday so I guess I'd be one of the uninspiring ones. :P

Anonymous said...

It is not a good idea to eat any acid foods (lemons/tomatoes/etc.) in styrofoam. Unfortunately some of the plastics actually are dissolved and you end up ingesting them.
Also, never microwave in any plastic or styrofoam (unless maybe those TV dinner food trays(?)) for the same reason (However I avoid them all together just to be sure. I don't even like to put boiling or super-hot water into those styrofoam soup bowls - just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Use tempered glass or ceramic in the nuker.

One Food Guy said...

D. you didn't win? Seriously, I don't think I can read your blog anymore. Okay, maybe I can, but you were robbed.

Guac de foie gras and and avocado tequila SPRITZER? Weak. Although it was probably the ta-kill-ya that one it.

One Food Guy said...

Sometimes I'm an idiot. WON it.

joanh said...

the pictures made me hungry!!! what won??

avocado milk/shakes are big here, though i can't stomach it..

j! said...

@Douglas Cress

The shake is creamy and smooth as hell. I think it's a better spring drink than summer.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Just got back from Coachella and my body is completely destroyed. Sorry for the late response.

Bola, arigato, the cash prize was like $100! But we all got $25 iTunes cards for participating.

HC, thanks I can't wait to make that for J soon - she's all about crab, cheese and flour.

Elmo, it's all for fun. I'm not sure that I could even afford those ingredients without taking out a loan from the bank haha.

J, no worries - I had a blast. I make crab mulitas for you soon.

RM, thanks for being my guinea pig.

j!, that sounds great. do they serve that any restaurants in LA, SGV, or OC? thanks for stopping by.

Ed, i know what you mean. on the original Iron Chef, not that bobby flay mess, it was inevitable to see an ice cream made with the theme ingredient... even if it's salmon roe. for the ceviche, everything is raw... the lime/lemon juice kill off any bacteria in the seafood. i've had some ceviche that included pre-boiled shrimp for a better crunch. marinate for at least 5-6 hours. thanks for stopping by.

Doug, condensed milk anything is awesome. As a kid, i'd eat white toast w/ a light spread of condensed milk. the best.

WC, thanks, try it out, it's easy, quick and delicious. too 'mexican' for ppl like Sandra Lee - you won't see it on her show unless it's already pre-frozen.

Anon, thanks for the tips. Don't worry, at the rate I eat, I'm not worrying about any plastic in my system.

OFGuy, hey man. thanks. we have bbq's coming up during the summer and i'm going to enter.

JoanH, hello how's taiwan? you can find the avoshake at the nightmarkets? i didn't see them b/c i was too busy eating other things.

Chubbypanda said...

Pass it on down. =D

I'm bummed. I thought you'd win for sure. How about an avocado flan next time with lime caramel sauce?

The Guilty Carnivore said...

That's some tasty looking vittles. Who won? I think you were robbed. I demand a recount!

j! said...

You've said that you live in the SGV. I've had the shake in three places. One in some place in Santa Ana, a Vietnamese sandwich place on the corner of Valley and San Gabriel Blvd, and the pho place in Alhambra on Valley (across the street of the old Carl's Jr). I think it's called Noodle City (not Planet).

s'kat said...

Holy crap! My co-worker's idea of a food party tends to revolve around purchased cookies, purchased cakes, purchased donuts, and purchased cold cuts.

Your mulitas look kick-ass!

susan said...

what a coincidence! i made ceviche at coachella. :D your food looks delicious as usual.

Deborah Dowd said...

Wow! If yours were not the best recipes you must have culinarily gifted coworkers! All of these sounded great. what a great idea for a work party- but working at a physics lab.. I am not sure if I would want to see what some people might bring!

ellen said...

everything looks great.i don't think poke is over-done, i order it every chance i get!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

CP, thanks. That avo-flan actually sounds like a really good idea. My next thing is to try the avocado shake the people here are praising.

GC,thanks. All for fun.

J!, yeah noodle city, i've been there. Thanks for the listing.

S'kat, if those party foods were entered in this contest, i would've lost for sure. People like what they are used to right? Thanks!

Yoony, i hope you guys ate that ceviche immediately. The sun in coachella is like a giant heat lamp.

DebDowd, for sure everyone was really good in the competition. I'd be interested to see what people would bring at your company.

Ellen, thank you.

Tatiana Calixto said...

Dear Eat Drink and Be Marry

My name is Tatiana Calixto and I'm a lecturer in Spanish at University of Michigan.

I teach "A Museum of the Andean Region". For this semester's final project, my students are building a virtual museum of this region. This is a pedagogical activity with the only purpose of learning and sharing what we know about different aspects of the region with the public at large. In no way we are seeking profit.

We request your kindess and allow us to use your picture of Scallop and Shrimp Ceviche on this page.

Your courtesy will be properly mentioned on our website.

I'd love to send you a link of it, but it is still under construction, but we will let you know when it is posted or at a stage when the use of the picture makes sense to the audience.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you and thank you so much.

Enjoy your day.

Tatiana Calixto

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