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I’ve Moved and Redesigned Hot Lollies

Hi guys, I now have a self-hosted site on WordPress! A few months ago, yes that’s a long time, I redesigned Hot Lollies and forgot to update you all of the details on this site! When I switched over to self hosting I thought my new announcement post would show up here but low and behold it did not! Yikes! So sorry but I haven’t logged onto this old WordPress site in a while so didn’t realize you would not get my new post…and I’ve done so much since then! Hope you can forgive me! Here’s a snapshot of what my new re-designed site looks like…well not so new but it would be great if you could check it out and let me know what you think! (if you’re already a email subscriber please disregard this message!)

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What I also realized was that if you have followers on a WordPress hosted site then move to a WordPress Self-Hosted site that you no longer receive any notifications of posts, etc. Only email subscribers get the new content! So my apologies if you thought I abandoned my site but I have been busy writing content here at the new and improved Hot Lollies! If you’d like to stay in touch, follow me via social media by clicking on the respective icons on my site…

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or sign up using your email address to subscribe to blog, that way you won’t miss a single post!

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I tell you, I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a techie but man have I learned so much about WordPress and blogging tech stuff over the past few months, shoot, I may be able to teach a class! ha!

Would love to hear from you so come on over!

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Cool and Refreshing Natural Spicy Soda

I gave up soda years ago but I still want a cool, fizzy drink everyone once in a while. To satisfy that craving I make my own soda mixing natural juices with seltzer so I can control the sweetness. It’s a lot easier than you think and much more healthy with none of the added chemicals or preservatives!

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What’s great is you can adjust the amount of syrup you want based on how sweet you like it. Also, the flavor combinations are endless! This ginger hibiscus spicy soda doesn’t burn as you might think but does give the drink a nice kick that will perk you right up. I also made lime ice cubes for a little added tartness.

hibiscus-soda

Making simple syrup is easy, just equal parts sugar and water and heating it up until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Just think of all the natural flavors you can add. Get a little creative too and make a mojito soda by infusing mint leaves and limes when making the syrup or ginger and basil! It’s a wonderful alternative to the sugary stuff that’s out there now!

Spicy Ginger Hibiscus Natural Soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
handful of dried hibiscus flowers
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, smashed
2-3 slices of serrano chile
seltzer water

1. In a saucepan on medium heat add sugar and water and stir. Add the hibiscus flowers, ginger and serrano chiles and continue stirring until all the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil then remove from stove and let mixture cool off.

2. Strain mixture so you are left with just the syrup. In a tall glass, add ice, 2 ounces of syrup and top with seltzer.

Store the remaining syrup in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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New York Style Jalapeno Pretzels

One thing I can’t resist when I go to the mall are those soft, buttery, pretzels from Auntie Anne’s. You know the ones, the smell hits you way before the pretzels come into view. They’re not the healthiest and covered in butter but they’re my little indulgence to get me through the next couple of hours of shopping. My favorite are the jalapeno pretzels so naturally I had to try my own version!

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These are more “New York style” pretzels rather than the chain’s version and much healthier too. No greasy, oily film covering them. I like the mall pretzels but something about making your own feels so much better eating!

pretzel-dough

These pretzels are soft and chewy and have just enough heat to keeps things interesting. They’re best when they’re fresh out of the oven and even better with spicy mustard!

soft-pretzel

You’re probably thinking “oh, I have no time for this”, but really, you do! With just a few simple ingredients to mix, a little time for the dough to rise and another few minutes for baking and voila, a New York style pretzel you didn’t have to travel all the way to city to get! That simple.

Jalapeno Soft Pretzel
makes 6-8 pretzels

adapted from Martha Stewart

1 tsp of dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, salted
1 jalapeno, stem removed & chopped
2 tbsp baking soda
sea salt

1. Mix the first three ingredients and add warm water until mixture dissolves. Set aside until yeast mixture gets foamy.

2. In separate bowl mix flour and nutmeg then mix butter in with fork until mixture appears like crumble. Use fingers to mix if that’s easier.

3. Slowly add yeast mixture into flour and stir. Add chopped jalapeno peppers and mix with hands until you form a dough. Knead the dough until smooth and not sticky. Cover with plastic and let the dough rise for an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.

4. Cut dough into 6- 8 pieces and roll out each into a long log. Shape each into your desired shape and place on a oiled baking sheet. Let the dough rise again for another 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 45o. Add baking soda to a pot of water over high heat and let boil. Boil each pretzel, a couple at a time and set a rack to drain.

6. Sprinkle pretzels with sea salt and place back on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown.

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Spicy Crispy Chicken Breasts with Kale Salad

Crispy and crunchy chicken without deep frying? Of course, just follow this quick and easy recipe for crisp, hot and spicy chicken breasts. It’s a more healthy alternative to frying, doesn’t require much prep time and is tender and juicy.

breaded-chicken

The key to achieving that crispy texture is to double dip chicken in the wet and dry mixtures.  Browning the chicken on stove top with just butter and finishing it in the oven maintains that crunchy texture and also doesn’t leave with the oily mess you get from frying, never mind the extra fat too.

sauteed-chicken

Since white meat tends to get a little dry, soaking the chicken in the milk mixture for several minutes will also give you a tender and moist piece of chicken.

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Serve it on a bed of kale salad for a healthy dinner.

Spicy Chicken Breasts and Kale Salad

2 chicken boneless breasts
1 tsp Adobo, divided (found in supermarket Spanish food section or bodega)
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pequin pepper flakes
salt & pepper
1/2 stick butter

1. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp of Adobo and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Set three shallow bowls in front of you and in first bowl add the flour. In the second bowl beat the egg, add milk and season with salt & pepper and mix. Add the bread crumbs to the third bowl, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, the pequin pepper flakes, the remaining Adobo seasoning and mix well.

3. Dip the chicken in each of the bowls starting with the flour first. Coat the meat with flour on both sides. Then add the chicken to the milk mixture and let it sit for about five minutes. If you have a little extra time let it soak in the milk mixture and leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Lastly, dip chicken in the seasoned bread crumbs until well coated.

4. Repeat step 3 except don’t let chicken soak in milk just dip quickly and cover in bread crumbs.

5. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat, add butter. When butter has melted, saute the chicken until you get a nice brown color on both sides.

6. Finish the chicken in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and let it rest for a couple of minutes. Slice chicken and serve over kale salad.

Feta & Red Onion Kale Salad

Chop a bunch of kale greens and toss with a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, thinly sliced red onion and crumbled feta cheese.

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A Spicy Culinary Experience in NYC

I took the World of Chiles class at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC a couple of months ago and still thinking about the wonderful food we made. It’s a great way to learn how to make all those spicy recipes you drool over but never imagine making yourself. It’s also much easier when you have helping hands, especially when the recipes are challenging and include dozens of ingredients, many of which you may not even stock! Dishes like lamb vindaloo, chiles en nogada or spicy seafood laksa are all amazingly delicious dishes but also pretty ambitious to take on oneself. Here’s a peek into our little feast…

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We used a variety of chiles and spices and made eight dishes between fourteen of us. We were chopping, dicing, mixing, stirring, grilling, sipping cocktails and when it was all said an done we feasted on Chiles en Nogada…

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And spicy jerk chicken…

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jerk-chicken

Lamb vindaloo…

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And spicy Korean beef BBQ that we then had in romaine lettuce wraps…

korean-bbq

Sichuan cucumbers made with the mouth numbing Sichuan peppers…

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And the labor intensive seafood laksa…

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seafood-laksa-pot

seafood-laksa

laksa-wine

We also made a spicy guacamole with fruit which was a different but the flavors worked well. Then for dessert a guajillo and chipotle pepper chocolate ice cream that was super rich and creamy!

The chef surprised us all with this spicy martini made with pepper vodka, a splash of vermouth, a little brine from the olives all shaken vigorously and served in a martini glass with a jalapeno stuffed olive. It sounds spicier than it really is but it’s actually mild with a nice peppery finish.

pepper-martini

I’ve taken several courses at the ICE and let me tell you they’re no walk in the park. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and really get into it because for three hours you’ll be working hard and maybe sweating a little if you get stuck with stove/oven duty. The fun part is you get to reap the benefits immediately with a nice cocktail! The dishes all looked beautiful and were so tasty. Definitely a class to take if you love spicy foods. The only thing I would change is I’d add more chile peppers to the dishes because if you’re signed up for a chile pepper cooking class you’re expecting some heat! 🙂 There was so much food left over that we also got to pack a few containers to go. I’ll post some of the recipes in a future post so stay tuned.

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Easy Brunch Recipe: Roasted Chiles and Vegetable Frittata

Oh my, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted here. So sorry to have abandoned you so just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here! 🙂 I’ve just been so overwhelmed with work, home repairs, travel and wait for it……redesigning this blog!! Woo Hoo! Within a few weeks I’ll be able to share with you a brand spanking new Hot Lollies blog that’s bright and lively with great new spicy content to go along with it. I’ll still keep posting here until I make the switch over to the new design so please don’t go anywhere! You see, I even made a roasted chiles and vegetable frittata for you! How can you resist a spicy, hearty frittata?

baked-frittata

I saw this episode of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa a while ago and immediately went online to bookmark this frittata recipe. I love Ina’s recipes. She makes the most luscious comfort foods look so easy to make. I don’t always get a chance to watch her show but this episode featured all the things to make with cheese so clearly I had to drop everything!

Ina made a bacon and Gruyere grilled cheese, a rib-eye steak with Stilton cheese sauce, a coconut cupcake with cream cheese frosting but what really hooked me was a roasted vegetable frittata. Tender pieces of lightly season roasted vegetables tossed with an egg and cheese mixture and baked to perfection! It’s a great way to start your Sunday morning with a bright and peppery egg dish. The chile peppers add nice heat that isn’t overwhelming and really lets the vegetable and cheese flavors come through.

I spiced up the recipe and also substituted a few things to make it just a little healthier. I switched the half & half for 2% milk and cut back on the oil by just drizzling a small amount to roast the vegetables. The original recipe also served twelve so I quartered the recipe and made them in ramekins instead of a cast iron skillet, you know, for portion control. 😉

egg-mix

frittata

Roasted Chiles Vegetables and Frittata
serves 2

recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1/2 small zucchini, 1 inch dice
1/4 red pepper, 1 inch dice
1/4 green pepper, 1 inch dice
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 small cubanelle pepper
1/2 jalapeno, diced
habanero-infused olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1-2 tbsp fresh Parmesean cheese, grated
1 scallion, chopped
2-3 slices of habanero pepper, diced
2 tbsp Gruyere cheese
1 tbsp butter
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, spread zucchini, peppers (except habanero) and onion on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and toss around until nicely coated. Heat for 10 minutes then add the garlic and toss again. Heat for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven.

2. Turn down oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat the eggs, add the milk and beat again. Stir in the Parmesean cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

3. Melt butter in a saute pan, add the scallions, habanero pepper and cook until soft. Add the roasted vegetables and mix well.

4. Spoon the roasted vegetables into two ramekins until each is 3/4 full and top off with the egg mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes then top each with the Gruyere cheese and baked for a couple of minutes until cheese is melted.

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Products for Spicy Food Lovers

It’s true that the more spicy foods you eat the more of it you’ll crave. It’s the endorphin rush many experience after having chile peppers that keeps them going back for more. The sweat beads building on your forehead, the runny nose, and teary eyes somehow isn’t so bad when that natural rush comes over you. You kind of forget you’ve been stung or just don’t care because the flavor and the feeling is so good!

  spicy-products1

1. Think Geek – Butch T Scorpion dried pepper 2. Fire Box Spicy Gummy candies 3. Heinz – Jalapeno Ketchup Add some to your burgers or give your french fries a kick of heat!

These product finds will definitely get the juices flowing in anticipation of that first kick of heat. Of course some will delivery more heat than others but just watch out for those angry looking dried peppers above, they are nothing to be messed with! That there my spicy foodies is a Trinidad Butch T Scorpion chile pepper, one of the hottest in the world. There are a couple hotter than this (Moruga Scorpion, 7-Pot Douglah) but this may be hot enough for most. The Butch T packs the heat of about 6-7 Habanero peppers so you be the judge, it’s all about what you can handle! Crush it up and add it to pizza, pasta sauce and just about anything you want.

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4. Mike’s Hot Honey (image credit: cool material). 5. Tabasco Jelly Belly jellybeans 6. The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens

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Spicy Pinterest Finds for Cinco de Mayo

There are some great recipes and ideas to be found on Pinterest. I really have to watch myself on that site otherwise it’ll be hours of time spent gawking at gorgeous recipes you’d love to make but may never have the time! That’s why I like sifting through loads of them to bring you simple and easy recipes that meet my spicy requirements and get us all back to cooking! Try these great looking recipes this weekend for Cinco de Mayo and celebrate Mexico with lots of spice!

You can also check out my Spicy Mexico board on Pinterest for other great finds!!

Cinco-de-Mayo-Roundup

1. Tequila Lime Halibut Tacos from Use Real Butter. 2. Tomatillo Salsa Verde from She Wears Many Hats. 3. Mexican Paletas from Pineapple and Coconut. 4. Michelada – Spicy Beer from HGTV. 5. Mexican Pizza from Fitness Magazine.

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A Hot Sauce Festival for City Folk

I attended the first annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo last weekend held in Brooklyn’s East River State Park. The event was a huge success giving hot sauce companies, small and large the opportunity to share their creations with us city folk! It was the perfect event for tasting and purchasing difficult to find hot sauces. I’m usually skeptical of buying sauces online if I haven’t had the opportunity to try them or come recommended from a trusted source so this was a nice treat.

signage

The general tasting was held outdoors but a little extra loot got you access to the indoor VIP events, great food, vendor awards and plenty of libations.

hot-liquor

This Cayrum rum hails from the Dominican Republic and made with honey and ginger for a nice spiced up flavor. I can definitely see this in my tea next time I’m sick, in mixed cocktails or just over ice! A great spicy premium tequila to try is Tanteo made with real jalapenos for very natural tasting, spicy spirit. Most others spicy liquor distillers choose artificial flavoring but this one delivers on both the taste and heat. I also caught a Michelada competition…you see where my priorities are!

michelada-contest

Unlimited drinks, live music, unlimited food and all the hot sauce you wanted could be had in VIP area. The general admission got you access to to the hot sauces in the outdoor booths with a great view of the city. Not bad for only $10!

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A couple of good sauces here…Dirty Dick’s, Guyank, Heart Breaking Dawn’s 1498…

hot-sauces

That Rogue High River Sauce made with scorpion moruga chile, one of the hottest in the world, hotter than the ghost pepper, was killer! I had to try it and amazingly you could taste the sweetness up front for about the first 10 seconds and then BAM! A one-two punch to the face! It’s probably best to leave those super hot sauces for last to save some of your taste buds. So best advice I can give is to pace yourself and walk around with a cold dairy product like ice cream or cheese to neutralize the heat, it really does help!

defcon-horseradish

Ooh Defcon sauces, that Habby Horse hot habanero is AMAZING! Will be grilling with that one and also adding it to some deviled eggs. If you want a great flavored, well balanced, spicy, sweet, tangy HOT sauce, pick up one of my favorites, Cajohn’s bourbon infused chipotle habanero hot sauce.

hl-cj-sauces

Here are a few more great sauces…High River Sauces Tear’s of the Sun, Delcastro NYC hot sauce, and Surge of Sandy, which was a collaboration with Cajohn’s to help benefit Born to Hula hot sauce company after hurricane Sandy’s devastating blow to their NJ location. Be sure to pick some up if you want to help them rebuild, hot sauces also make great gifts too so get a few.

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nyc-hotsauce

sandy-hotsauce

Needed to fuel up with an awesome beer bratwurst with a little Bajan mustard hot sauce.
beer-brat

There were sweets to be had as well. I had to pick up the Madison Chocolatiers West spicy chocolate caramel sauce which would be great drizzled over ice cream, stirred into a smoothie or for dipping strawberries. Peppers.com, the huge hot sauce distributor/sellers also showcased their spicy salt water taffy, a collaboration with Delaware’s Dolle’s taffy company. Look for the spicy peanut butter taffy for an awesome treat! There weren’t too many others but hopefully next year you’ll see hot lollies there! 🙂

spicy-sweets

The day was gorgeous, a little windy and chilly for this time of year but plenty of warming elements here. I could have easily overdone it with all the sampling, surely a few more would have put me over the edge but one thing I could appreciate and did many others was the strategically placed ice cream vendors!

ice-cream-sandwiches

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On A Spicy Food Mission In NYC

Finally made it to Mission Chinese in NYC and it was everything I expected, mouth numbing, spicy, delicious food with surprisingly complex flavors. Don’t be afraid of the spices, the dishes aren’t overwhelmingly hot but the ones I tried did make my nose run a little and  that’s not a bad thing.

First up was the spicy chicken wings. Perfectly cooked and coated with a dry spice that sneaks up on you after a few bites. Just push aside those hot chile peppers on top, which seem to be more of a garnish or be daring and munch on a couple but I’d skip that and dive right into the wings. Besides, you’ll have plenty of other flavors to get through and your taste buds should be present for that!

mission-spicy-wings

The tingly smoked chicken below is like nothing I’ve ever had before. The flavors are so bizarre to me but I couldn’t stop eating it! Served cold and probably for good reason, this dish is smoky, woodsy, a little sweet, spicy hot, and laced with enough Sichuan peppers to make your lips feel, well tingly and numb.

spicy-chicken-noodles

I also tried the spicy Sichuan pickles which are great to snack on between meals, like some cooling palette cleanser. The nuts provide a good amount of crunch too. The broccoli beef brisket is a great dish but my absolute favorite was the cod fried rice. You must get this rice! Great balance of flavors and so tasty you  gobble it up before remembering that almost all other fried rice you’ve had had to be covered in soy sauce. Not this one, it won’t even cross your mind. Probably the best fried rice I’ve ever had, fresh, savory and unlike any pork fried rice you’ll get at your Chinese take out.

mission-chinese

When you go, expect to wait at least 40 min to an hour or more depending on what time you get there. I’ve heard some people have waited 2 hours which I think is insane but when you do plan to go, grab a snack just in case. What I love about this place is that they’ll take your mobile number and call you when your table is ready so you can shop in the area to kill time. Oh and if you really want to stick around and wait for your table they at times will have complimentary beer for you while you wait. Now that’s my kind of service!

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