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Sunday, January 21, 2024

2015 Chili Cook-Off ~ People’s Choice Award - Texas Style

Authentic Texas-style chili contains no beans and is usually made with diced beef. Some purest use only beef and spices in their chili. We use brisket that has been smoked for 24 hours. Once the brisket has cooled, it is finely diced before being added to the remaining ingredients.

2 pounds (or 1 kilo) smoked brisket (“Pecho” en español), shredded and trimmed of fat. We smoke the brisket for 12 hours and then finish it in the oven for another 12 hours. (If you don’t have brisket, you could use ground beef, browned and drained, or chuck roast (posta) that has been diced into ¼” cubes. You will need to increase the liquid smoke to 1/3 cup.
1 pound Italian sausage, browned and drained
1 medium onion, diced small
1 – 14.5 cans of diced tomatoes
1 – 6 oz. cans of tomato paste
2 cups of chicken stock
¼ cup liquid smoky broth from the brisket, with all fat dripping removed. Alternately, you can use “Colgin Liquid Smoke” sold in most grocery stores, including AutoMercado in Costa Rica
1 cups of water
½ pint of Pace salsa picante (medium) or 1 can of La Costeña Salsa Mexicana
1 tablespoon of beef stock concentrate 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoon masa (corn flour) dissolved in ½ cup of water for thickening
2 tablespoons homemade chili powder (more, or less, according to taste)

Brown the ground sausage and drain.  Add the meat and sausage to the pot with all the onions, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, beef concentrate, salsa, garlic, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a steady boil, stirring frequently for at least an hour.  Mix the masa (corn flour) with enough cold water to create a thick batter and add it to the pot.  Simmer for 4 hours, or more.
Top with grated cheddar and diced onions before serving. Corn tortillas or chips go great with a bowl of chili.

Yield ~ 1 gallon

*Homemade Chili Powder
4 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili de árbol powder (Tree chili is a small Mexican Chili with a woody stem that is sometimes called bird’s beak chili.) 
2 whole chipotle chili peppers with stems removed, minced, and ground to a powder (Chipotle chili is a smoked Jalapeño chili pepper used primarily in Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking.)
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons fresh finely minced oregano
1 tablespoon fresh ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground clove
4 tablespoons Hot Chili Powder (Purchased from Ingredients: Chile Pepper, Salt, Cumin, Oregano, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper, and Crushed Red Pepper)

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Peppermint Bark


18 ounces dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips)

18 ounces white chocolate chips

1 cup crushed candy canes or hard peppermint candies

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract divided.


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

2. Melt dark chocolate in a microwave-safe dish for 45 seconds.  Stir, then continue to heat for 10 seconds, stirring in between, until completely melted.

3 Stir in ¼ teaspoon of vanilla.

4. Pour melted dark chocolate onto parchment paper and spread evenly to about ¼ inch in thickness and chill in the refrigerator/freezer while preparing the white chocolate.

5. Melt white chocolate chips in a separate bowl in the microwave following the melting instructions above. If the chocolate should start to seize, you can fix it with a teaspoon of coconut oil.  

6. Add ¼ teaspoon of vanilla and ½ cup of the crushed peppermint candies to the white chocolate and stir to combine. 

7.  Pour white chocolate on top and carefully spread it over the dark chocolate. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup crushed peppermints. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until hard. Cut pieces with a sharp knife.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Pineapple Cranberry Barbecue Sauce



2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil

1/2 cup minced onions (sweet yellow or red)

1 garlic clove, pressed

500 grams of fresh or frozen cranberries, or 1 16oz can of cranberry relish

500 grams of fresh crushed pineapple

½ cup ketchup 

1 cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt (optional to taste) 


1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet.

2. Add the diced onions and garlic and cook till translucent (about 4 minutes). 

3. Add all the other ingredients to a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a low simmer. 

4. Add the onion and garlic and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

5. Many of the cranberries will burst open and if you want you can use a potato masher and mash the berries into the sauce.

This sauce is great on pork ribs, in place of gravy, and in sandwiches.

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