CERRITOS, Calif. — The “Too Hot Tamales” — celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger — treated members of the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council to unique avocado dishes featuring products from sponsors of the organization’s luncheon April 24.

Hot Tamales heat up FPFC luncheonSelected attendees were able to sample:

  • A “Bloody Maria,” which is a tasty beverage the pair calls an “aptail” — a combination appetizer/cocktail — that features celery, jicama and a California avocado garnish;
  • Quinoa fritters stuffed with California avocado; Field of greens salad with Tasti-Lee brand tomatoes from Deardorff Family Farms, Litehouse blue cheese dressing, Davis Lewis Orchards pepita vinaigrette and California avocado; and Crispy chicken with Frieda’s sweet potato apple mash and California avocado escabeche.

The “Too Hot Tamales,” who serve as spokeswomen for the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission, are restaurateurs (they own Border Grill Restaurants and the Border Grill truck), cookbook authors and TV personalities.

As they conducted their cooking demonstration, they shared tips and observations about the world of food.

Feniger, who said the two have “always been huge produce people,” said emphasis on flavorful food in restaurants has spread from the kitchen to the bar, where produce is becoming increasingly common in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Milliken joked that their Bloody Maria contains so much produce that she considers it “a health drink.”

When making a salad at home, she advised, add balance by including ingredients that are crunchy, delicate, sweet and bitter. And balance the colors, too, Feniger suggested.

Use a bowl that’s twice as big as the salad you’re making and keep knives dry, especially if you’re cutting something acidic.

Hot Tamales heat up FPFC luncheonAsked to name their favorite chef, both agreed on Julia Child.

Child was a teacher and educator who was humble and “progressive about food,” Feniger said.

The pair announced plans to open another restaurant in mid-July at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

The recipes featured in the demonstration will be posted on the avocado commission’s website, californiaavocado.com.

The luncheon was at the Sheraton Cerritos hotel.