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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cooking with Cat Cora

On Saturday, I got to meet Iron Chef Cat Cora at Macy’s and it was totally awesome! Now, I’m not one to go gaga over celebrities, but when they turn out to be as darling as Cat Cora, I can get a little excited.

I’m in The Blog Pantry, a group of female bloggers here in the Twin Cities that get together, share ideas, and celebrate successes in blogging. When I was invited to a cooking demonstration at Macy’s with Cat Cora, I thought it would be pretty neat. Then I heard that we’d be able to meet Cat Cora and sit front row at her demonstration so I ditched my other plans (congrats on graduating, Justin!) and headed to Macy’s.

At the event, we got group and individual shots with Cat and had a little small talk. She hasn’t been able to explore the Twin Cities much, but did dine at Lucia’s the night before and enjoyed it. Here’s our group shot:

I got an individual pic too, but as you can tell from the group shot, my camera settings were a bit off. Everything just happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to change from the macro settings. Boo.

Once we were seated, we sipped on Watermelon Margaritas (sans alcohol) and watched the cooking demonstration.

I was in awe over Cat Cora’s amazing success in her career. She has three cookbooks, several restaurants (with more on the way), she’s the only female Iron Chef and still manages to be involved at the White House with the Chefs Move to Schools program with Michelle Obama. Did I mention she has four young boys at home too?

During the cooking demonstration of Chili-Lime Flank Steak Tacos and Grilled Pineapple and Cherry Ambrosia (a couple recipes from her newest cookbook), Cat talked candidly about her approach to cooking (go with the flow and use what you have), answered questions with ease and encouraged us to experiment when grilling. She mentioned grilling avocados, which was something I never considered until now.

You can probably guess what I did soon after returning home, right?

Yep, I threw some avocados on the grill! I cooked them for just a couple minutes, enough to get some grill marks and then put them in the fridge to cool down before turning them into guacamole.

Try it yourself! The recipe below is loosely based on the tableside guacamole served at Tejas and I used my best guess at measurements as I usually just “add to taste” when I’m making it for myself. The grilled avocados lend a slightly smoky flavor, but if you’re short on time, skip the grilling.

Grilled Guacamole

2 avocadoes, halved
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved
2 tbsp tomato, chopped (I used 3 cherry tomatoes)
1 small shallot, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 wedges of lime, squeezed
Pinch of salt
5 dashes green Tabasco
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

Preheat a charcoal grill. Place avocado and jalapeno cut side down on grill over medium-high heat. Grill 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Remove and place in the fridge to cool slightly.

Once cooled, mash avocados in a bowl and add jalapeno (chopped), tomato, shallot, cilantro, lime juice, salt, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust ingredients.


  1. Yummy! Love avacado - never thought of grilling them, either! Looks like fun! :)

  2. JEALOUS. I love her (and all things Iron Chef, really), and it's inspiring to see where she's going!

  3. If you love those grilled avocados, you should grill off slices of tomato and onion next time you make salsa or bruschetta. The summer that I discovered how amazing it could taste I think I must have done it once a week until I was utterly worn out from the flavor. Use thick slices of perfect tomato and sweet onion, brush them with a little oil and place them on a smoking hot grill. The onions need a little time to soften, but the tomato cooks up nice and fast- leave it on the grill without turning until the edges soften, then remove it. You'll fall in love.

  4. I was supposed to go to that event and then at the last minute I found out my work event wouldn't be finished in time. I was beyond disappointed. :( But I'm glad I got to read a little bit about it!
    Grilled avocado guac sounds amazing!

  5. Awesome!! Great spending time with you at the Cat Cora event(as well as this past week at Local D'Lish---we're getting out a lot aren't we?) Next time I'm shopping for men's navy blue gym shorts...I'll think of you! LOL ~Chris Ann

    P.S. You totally rock at Aebleskiver making too!

  6. Whoa whoa whoa. Best Saturday ever. Can't wait to try this on the Sassy Sarah grill. Thanks!


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