Steve invited his friends from work–Lockheed-Martin, for a casual dinner party.
He asked me to make steak tacos, a chile-spice rubbed steak in fresh tortillas with roasted tomato salsa, pico de gallo, and fresh guacamole. No problem with that menu. I decided to have a guacamole bar for appetizers, inside the house, and then go outside for the tacos. I wanted to serve them straight from the grill, like street food, so each taco would be hot and fresh. For dessert I was told I had to make my Mexican chocolate cake for Bonnie, one of his co-workers who really likes this cake. I also wanted to make another cheesecake. Alexandra, my daughter, cleaned up the patio and we bought some new candles for the tables. I hung some white Christmas lights and with the beautiful fall weather the patio was a great gathering place. I set up the big gas grill off to the side, added some hickory chips to the grill for good smoke flavor, and set up a large table next to the grill. On the table was my chef knife, a large cutting board and all the “fixings” for the tacos, including the salsa, shredded lettuce, avocado salsa, and a container for tortillas, silverware, plates and napkins. I used sirloin steak for fajitas, a cut available at Central Market, which is perfect for fajitas or tacos. I also used Central Market flour and corn tortillas. They make the flour tortillas daily so they are always good. The steak had been marinating for 6 hours in the spice rub and lime juice. It grilled beautifully and as it was resting I started grilling the tortillas right on the grill on a Mexican tortilla griddle. Each person got a freshly grilled tortilla and hot thinly, sliced steak. This was very casual way to eat but I wanted to food to be hot and fresh, the way you’d get it from a street vendor. Judging by the comments, everyone loved the food!


Guacamole bar with guacamole, goat cheese with herbs, sweet and spicy pecans, applewood smoked bacon, pickled jalapenos, roasted tomato salsa, cotija cheese, homemade flour tortilla chips.
Green chile cornbread

Steak tacos
Beans with chorizo

Turtle cheesecake with salted caramel and Guittard chocolate

4-5 large Haas avocados, mashed roughly
2 cloves garlic, mashed to paste
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 T fresh lime juice

Goat cheese with herbs
8 oz plain goat cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely minced
1 tsp fresh basil, minced
1 tsp fresh dill, minced
1 T finely chopped cilantro
1 T milk
Mix together, add 1/4 tsp Kosher salt or more to taste. Form into a round disk using plastic wrap. Chill until serving time.

Sweet and spicy pecans
2 cups pecan halves
2 T butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
salt to taste
Melt butter in skillet. Add pecans, the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until pecans are well coated and mixture has light carmelized. Be careful, it will burn fast if you’re not watching.
Place mixture in baking pan and bake for 3-5 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Roasted tomato salsa
6-8 medium fresh tomatoes, stemed and cut in half
4 cloves garlic
1 onion, quartered
2-3 jalapeno peppers, split in half
Place a T of oil on a large sheet pan. Roast all in oven at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour.
Process in blender of food processor. Add 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, process again.
Season with salt and pepper.

Steak tacos
4 1/2 pounds sirloin for fajitas (or skirt steak)
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp ancho chile powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chipoltle seasoning (or chipotle chile powder)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 T vegetable oil
Mix all spices together, rub on meat, place meat in large zip loc bag and add lime juice and oil.
Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Take out 1 hour before cooking.

Beans with chorizo
1/2 lb fresh chorizo
1 lb pinto beans, freshly made or canned
1 T vegetable oil
2 T ancho chile powder
2 cups Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup or more vegetable or chicken broth
Mash bean and add broth to made puree. Set aside. Heat pan and add chorizo. Brown chorizo and cook until done. Set aside. Using same pan, add 1 T oil, then the mashed beans and chorizo. Mix and cook over medium heat. Add the cheese and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I am posting a photo of the turtle cheesecake but not the recipe at this time.