Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tailgating, Cuban Style

My day job has nothing to do with cooking. I work in marketing, PR, communications, etc. My day job has everything to do with marketing our company’s brands and working to create new ideas for our advertising clients. My colleague, our creative director, thinks that The Project is cool, so when faced with the opportunity to pitch a client with a multimedia campaign that included TV commercials for tailgating tips, he thought it would be a great idea to use me as his "chef".


So after plenty of weeks of avoiding eye contact and direct questions, I finally gave in and agreed to do this.

Tailgating video shoot

And, in the true way that I do things, I prepped until four in the morning, right before my "chef" television debut. Good thing that our creative director’s better half is a makeup artist. I was going to need the help.

I was asked to come up with a menu that would be great for tailgating. So, I went with Guacamole (oh, so, not what you think), Deviled Eggs (pretty impressive) and Fritas (which I had made last year, but they’re just so good I had to include them). Easy enough.

Recipe #324: Guacamole

guacamole ingredients

First of all, this recipe is odd. It’s one of the worst I’ve made and it’s not that it’s gross, it’s just odd. You take a pineapple and slice it in half, lengthwise, which I actually had to pull up on YouTube because I had no idea how to really cut a pineapple and gut it.

scoop out pineapple

You take the pineapple guts you took out, cut them up, mix it with avocado, cream cheese, mayo, salt and pepper. Then, you put the pineapple guac back in the pineapple you gutted out.

The recipe is easy, the result is kind of icky. And, since I was prepping the night before, I was majorly stressing about how to keep the guac from turning brown. I put the avocado pit in the guac and kept the guac in a plastic container. I wrapped each pineapple with plastic wrap and hoped that wouldn’t turn brown. They fared well, so indeed the tricks worked.

final pineapple guacamole

Recipe #178: Florecitas de Huevos Rellenos (Deviled Eggs)

deviled eggs ingredients

This, too, was an easy recipe. I had pre-boiled the eggs a day earlier so that didn’t take up time during marathon prep night. The yolks are mashed up with deviled ham and mayo, then topped with olives, which gives these deviled eggs such a nice flavor. I had never made deviled eggs before and I will tell you that this recipe is definitely one to make again.

I don’t have a pastry bag so I used a plastic bag and cut one of the ends off.

pseudo pastry bag

It piped into the eggs easily. My friend, Alex F., has a good tip that I’ll use next time: mash the yolks and all the ingredients inside the plastic bag so you have less cleanup to do. I had mashed everything in a bowl and then transferred it into the bag, which works also, but the less cleanup, the better.

Another trick is to take a sliver off the back of your egg white in order to keep it steady for filling and displaying. No wobbly serving platter.

slice the back

And then, the Fritas. I had made Fritas back when I first started The Project and since it was a recipe I had already gone through, I decided to play around with it and add some chorizo. Adding chorizo was a great idea, but I have to find a way to grind it up finer. I put the chorizo through the food processor which gave me little chorizo disks that I blended into the meats. The taste was great, and the visual for the commercial was awesome – all the grease rendering in the skillet was pretty.

fritas done

So, as football season comes upon us (since I’m so backlogged in my blogging), this post’s timing couldn’t be better.

Hope you have fun making these recipes. But please, prep smarter. Don’t stay up until four in the morning before a football game. There won’t be a makeup artist around and you’ll probably be asleep by kickoff. And that, isn’t the way to enjoy a football game. Besides, if you’re asleep, no one will tell you how good your food is. And that’s no return on your 4 a.m. investment.

food set


  1. Well, now I will be craving your fritas at Fins time...maybe your adv peeps need to target the stadium with the idea of a new concession area 'Fins' 4Cs'(Cocina de Christina Cuban Corner) and if they don't buy, the new Marlins stadium will.
    So cool that you are doing this ... hispanic heritage alive!

    P.S. -- Guardame one frita, please!

  2. Que viva lo nuestro! I'll set aside one for you next time for sure.