Author Archives: charlieatcisco

About charlieatcisco

Charlie is the online community strategist at Cisco, and enjoys cooking in his spare time. I've created this blog because many of my friends have asked me to share some of my recipes.

Elote Appetizer from Elote Cafe Sedona


  • 6 ears corn, husks intact
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon cholula brand hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • pure ground red chili pepper, for garnish
  • crispy tortilla chips, for scooping


  1. Over a medium-high grill, roast the corn until the husks are well charred, about 5 minutes. Turn occasionally so as not to burn the side contacting the direct heat.
  2. Set the roasted ears aside until cool enough to handle, then shuck them.
  3. Cut the kernels off the cob.
  4. When ready to eat, mix the mayo, hot sauce, lime juice, pepper, salt and chicken stock in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the corn kernels and warm through,.
  6. Pour into a bowl and garnish with the cheese, cilantro and ground chili.
  7. Serve immediately with crispy tortilla chips.
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Mexican Food


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Salted Chocolate Caramels

These caramels are easy to make and great to prepare as a treat or as a special gift. You can also pour the caramel mixture into silicone ice cube trays for perfect square treats that pop out easily.

Yield: 81 1-inch square caramels

Unsalted butter, for greasing pan

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light agave necture

1 teaspoon salt

9 ounces 62% semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fleur de sel (or sea salt)

Cut a 9 x17-inch piece of parchment paper. Lightly butter a 9x9x2-inch pan and line it with the parchment paper, letting it extend evenly over two opposite sides.

Stir together the cream, sugar, agave, and salt in a pot with a heavy bottom, and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Stir until temperature reaches 220˚, then continue to cook until the mixture reaches 250˚. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Note: Do not stir above 220˚ otherwise caramel crystals will form around the spoon and create an undesirable texture.

Add the chocolate and stir with a heatproof spoon or spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a small offset spatula.

Once the caramels start to set, sprinkle the fleur de sel (or sea salt) onto the surface. Allow the caramels to cool at room temperature until firm, at least 2 hours.

Lift the caramels block from the pan, using the parchment paper “handles,” And place on a cutting board. Dip a knife in hot water, dry and cut the caramels into 1-inch squares, heating (and drying) the knife as necessary.

Store the caramels in an airtight container.

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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Desserts


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Pickled Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese

This is an outstanding dish with steak.

1 head of red cabbage (sliced 1/4-1/2 inch thick)
1/4 cup of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of goat cheese
Salt to taste

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan
  2. Add the sliced cabbage, sugar, butter, salt, and vinegar. Cover for 30 minutes and gently stir occasionally to avoid burning.
  3. Remove lid and cook until liquid at the bottom is almost completely reduced
  4. Serve warm and top each serving with a spoon full of goat cheese.
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Sides


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The Best Turkey Burger Ever.

In my quest to eat healthier, I decided to try and tackle one of my favorites, the grilled cheese burger. Traditional I focused on flavor. 80/20 ground beef, salt and pepper, topped with crisp bacon and smothered in melted sharp cheddar cheese. Here’s a turkey burger that actually keeps it promise of being a suitable substitute to the traditional beef burger.

20 oz. Ground Turkey 93/7 (this means 93% white meat, 7 % dark, the extra lean turkey will leave you with a dry flavorless burger)

1/2 Cup of Part Skim Ricotta

2 Tablespoons or Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard

1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1/4 teaspoon of Fresh Ground Pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well constituted. Divide into 4 even balls, and flatten each into 1/2 inch thick paddies. Cover and leave in the refrigerator until grill is hot.

Heat grill to high on one side, leaving another side cool. Oil the grill or spray with non-stick spray. Grill each burger with the lid closed for 6-8 minutes on each side, then transfer to cooler side of the grill, add cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar), close the lid and continue to let cook for an additional 4-6 minutes. The internal temperature of the burgers should read 160-165 degrees and the juices should run clear. Let the patties rest for 5 minutes, loosely covered with foil before serving.

From Light and Healthy 2010, pg. 169.

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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Grilling



Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Agave Lime Dressing

Found this on and slightly modified it for a dinner party yesterday.

by Pam on July 23, 2009

When looking for a tasty salad on the Internet I came across this one from Jehan Can Cook. It sounded perfect. I love all the ingredients and flavors used so I was really excited to try it. It was so quick and easy to make and tasted fantastic. We all really loved this salad. The dressing was delicious and the salad was filled with great textures and flavors. I will make this dish over and over again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Mexican Food, Sides


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Chile Verde Pork

This recipe is great for cold winter Sundays and pairs great with my Z Tejas Style Cornbread.

30 Hatch Green chiles, roasted
5 pounds pork shoulder
4 medium white onions, chopped
10 whole garlic cloves, crushed
4 bay leaves
4 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
28-oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, and the juice (I like San Marzano)
4 cups water
1.5 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon, Base Chicken
Flour Tortillas (I like buying the uncooked torillas, found in the refrigerated section, and cooking in a non-stick skillet right before serving)
Sour Cream, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and coarsly chop, set aside.

Remove the fat from the pork shoulder and cut the fat into small pieces. In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, fry the fat until crisp, 4 or 5 minutes, and then remove the chunks of fat from the pan.

Sweat the onions and garlic in the same saute pan, cooking them in the residual pork fat. Cut the pork shoulder into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces, add them to the pan, and saute until browned. Add the bay leaves, oregano, cumin, tomatoes, and Hatch chiles. Simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes. In the meantime, heat the water and chicken base in a medium saucepan and then pour it into the chile.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or until tender. Remove the bay leaves.

Serve in bowls, and garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro leaves. I also served homemade pinto beans on the side.

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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Mexican Food


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Z Tejas Style Cornbread

Z Tejas is a small chain of restaurants that serve a sort of texmex fusion cuisine. The food is surprisingly tasty, and they make the best cornbread. This is a sweet cakelike northern-style cornbread rather than a thinner southern style, but it’s my favorite.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup creamed corn
1/4 cup frozen corn
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
pinch salt

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, add dry ingredients.

Lightly grease a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet. Pour in batter. (I preheat the skillet while I’m making the batter.)

Bake at 375 for 16 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Bread, Mexican Food


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