Last week to celebrate the year – and finish off our company sales meeting – our affable CEO Barry Augus had us all over to his place for a potluck of sorts. Chris Alvarez our VP of Sales had grill duty and was fixing up chicken and steak. Jamie Chilberg, our NorCal rep, was mixing up the Margaritas and “keeping them comin’”. The rest of the team was responsible for everything else. I say it was a potluck “of sorts” because there was one catch: each item had to contain at least one of our own products: Tequila, Cocktail-Ready Agave Nectar or Margarita mix. The company sprang for all the ingredients and all the cooking was done in real time. Prizes would be awarded. Let the cook-off begin.
We all carpooled over to Barry’s in the late afternoon and found a kitchen full of ingredients waiting for us. Sensing the potential for “crowded BART rush hour” conditions I strategically dove in early to complete my dish. 20 minutes later, my cooking was done and I could focus on my three favorite pastimes: eating, drinking and carrying on.
It was a great evening – 1 part Thanksgiving feast, 1 part kitchen laboratory, 1 part Tales of the Cocktail. While there was some winging it most everything turned out as planned. And some of the creations were down right yummy and worth sharing. Here’s some of the crowd faves:
Tequila-Marinated Shrimp (via Better Homes & Gardens) by Pamela Smith, Controller
Shrimp dredged in Tequila, garlic and lime. Yum!
Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Rinse shrimp; pat dry. Set aside. In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat; add onion and garlic and cook about 3 minutes or until tender. Add shrimp and tequila; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque, stirring occasionally.
Transfer shrimp mixture to a bowl. Add lime juice, cilantro, and salt; toss to mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain before serving. To keep these tongue-tingling shrimp well-chilled during a party, place them in a bowl nestled inside a larger bowl of ice.
Makes 10 to 12 appetizer servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare as above. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain before serving.
Banana Cream Pie with Sweet Walnut Cream Crust (via Raw Epicurean.net) by Ned Cartmell, Marketing Manager
OK, this looked a bit weird on the table but it tasted great. I would recommend a little whipped topping to dress it up.
Also Phylum Husk powder is soluble fiber, which is a good additive if you want to stay regular; otherwise completely unnecessary here. The young Ned opted out of this ingredient.
Sweet Walnut Crust:
For Sweet Walnut Crust:
Place the first three ingredients in the food processor and process into a moist meal. While the processor is running slowly pour in the agave until the mixture turns into a ball. Press sweet crust into a 9-inch pie dish to form pie crust.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Cut bananas into ½ rounds.
Pour the cream filling into the sweet pie crust. Top with sliced bananas in a circular pattern for a pretty presentation. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Avocado Chipotle Dip by Eric Rubin, Founder and Brand Director
What can I say? Eric’s a master with a food processor.
In a bowl or food processor, mix all ingredients except green onions. Transfer to a serving bowl and mix in green onions. Add salt to taste. Chill until flavors meld, about 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips and sliced cucumbers.
Tequila Citrus Cranberry Relish by Parker Trewin, Director Marketing
I did a version of cranberry sauce recipe that my cousin Dana Towle Wigton gave me (thanks schweets!). I had it years ago while visiting her in Maine over Thanksgiving. I loved it and have been making it every year ever since. I mixed it up by substituting nectar for sugar and adding a kick of Tequila. (If you want to get really crazy add a teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper. Finishes it off with some heat.)
Boil water. Reduce heat to at least medium. Add ingredients. Stirring frequently, wait for cranberries to pop and the mixture to thicken. (About 10 minutes.) Remove from heat. Chill to room temperature. Serve.
Zesty Shrimp and Avocado Salad by Nicole Morris Vegas/Colorado Regional Market Manager
And saving the best for last, this audience favorite and winning entry was flown in from Vegas. Fresh and delicious!
For the salad: Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. In a large bowl add the romaine lettuce, corn, zucchini, and shrimp and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the romaine lettuce, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Coarsely chop the grilled lettuce and add it to a large salad bowl. Grill the corn and zucchini for 2 minutes on all sides until crisp-tender. Remove the kernels from the corn and add to the salad bowl. Chop the zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Grill the shrimp until the meat is opaque and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the chopped shrimp, butter lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado to the bowl.
For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and Tres Agaves Cocktail-Ready Agave Nectar until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Garnish the salad with tortilla strips and serve. Serves 4.