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Feliz Navidad Fiesta

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Earlier this week, I had the great pleasure to cook for some very friendly folks at a party hosted by local homebuilder Caleb McCaleb. We had a great time. I prepared Salpicon, a favorite in El Paso, Brie and chicken quesadillas, guacamole, and two kinds of salsa. For dessert, we had Smore Bars with Dark Chocolate Gravy Here are the recipes:


1 12 pound brisket

1 onion

6 cloves garlic

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 cups beef broth

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 cups olive oil

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 7 oz. can chipotle in adobo

Juice of 1 lime

2 cups diced cheddar cheese

1 cups diced green onion


Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Place brisket fat side up in a roasting pan with onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Put the stick of butter on top of the brisket and seal the top with foil. Cook 10 hours or until internal temperatures is 180 degrees. Let cool an hour then shred into fine ribbons.

Mix oil, vinegar, chipotle and lime into a vinaigrette.

Combine all ingredients and serve in warm tortillas, tortilla cups or wonton cups.


Chicken and brie quesadillas

16 oz. brie, peeled and diced

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1/4-inch cubes

2 green onions

1 teaspoon chile de arbol powder

Half a stick of butter, sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ cup of dry white wine

1-2 tablespoons chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

6 large flour tortillas

Fry the chicken in butter on high heat until it’s browned. Add green onions and soy sauce and cook down liquid. Add broth and cook down. Add salt, pepper and chile, then deglaze pan with wine. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a griddle to medium high heat. Melt a slice of butter on the griddle and spread. Place a tortilla on the griddle, placing a large spoonful of chicken and several cubes of brie on one side. When the cheese begins to melt, fold the uncovered half over the covered half. Flip once the bottom is golden brown. When the entire tortilla is golden brown, remove and set aside. Continue until you’ve run out of filling. You may want to keep warm in the oven. Slice the tortillas into wedges and serve with your favorite hot sauce.

Salsa Roja

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 large clove garlic, peeled

2-5 fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles

¼ cup cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon salt

Half an onion, chopped

Black pepper to taste.


Place onion in food processor and chop. Remove to folded towels and wring out any liquid. Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor. Mix salsa with onions in a bowl, adjust salt and pepper.


Salsa Verde

2 lbs tomatillos

1 full bunch of cilantro, stalks and all.

3-8 serrano or jalapeno chiles

Juice of 1 lime

3 sliced green onions

Salt and pepper to taste.


In a large pot, boil tomatillos 10 minutes and allow to cool. Cut out stems and combine with remaining except for onions ingredients in a food processor. Important: Store overnight in the refrigerator and add onions before serving the following day. Tomatillos need a little more time to blend with other ingredients. Onions are best added just before serving as they can overpower when left in too long.



2 ripe avocados

2 peeled garlic cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ of an onion chopped

1 roma tomato chopped

Juice of half a key lime

Optional ingredients: fresh chiles, chopped cilantro leaves.


Using a mortar and pestle, mash salt and garlic into a paste. Peel avocodos and scoop into a bowl with garlic paste remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.


Smore Bars


14 whole graham cracker boards, crushed (2 1/4 cups crumbs)

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla


1 jar (7.5 ounces) marshmallow cream (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons milk

1 cup mini chocolate kisses

3 whole graham cracker boards, broken up

Heat oven to 350.

Crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter in small bowl until the graham crackers are moistened.  Press evenly in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.  Refrigerate until the crust sets.  About 30 minutes.

Brownie: Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter in bowl and microwave on high 1 minute at a time until melted.  Stir until smooth.

With a hand-held mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the eggs and sugar until well blended.  Reduce speed to medium and gradually add the melted chocolate-butter mixture to the egg mixture, beat until smooth, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally.

Stir the flour and salt into the egg mixture.  Stir in the vanilla until smooth.  Scrape brownie mixture into the crust lined pan.  Bake at 350 oven for 30 minutes. 

Topping: While the brownie layer is baking, whisk together the marshmallow cream and the milk in a small bowl until well blended and smooth.

Once the pan is cool enough to handle, pour marshmallow topping over the brownie layer and spread or tilt the pan to cover the top completely.

Sprinkle the mini kisses over the marshmallow topping.  Then scatter the crumbled graham crackers all over the top.


Dark Chocolate Gravy

12 oz. dark chocolate chips

1-½ sticks butter

½ cup light corn syrup

1 cup heavy cream


Heat syrup and cream to 180 degrees, mix in chocolate until thoroughly combined. Fold in butter.

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