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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!

pretzel-dough3

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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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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St Patrick’s Day Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

Happy pre – St. Patrick’s Day!! Celebrate with these jalapeno and cheddar cornbread muffins for a spiced up morning. They’re playful, fun, easy to make and would look cute on your breakfast table. During the baking process the jalapeno slices transform into little shamrocks!

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Just slice an extra jalapeno and top each muffin before baking.

muffin_pan

The cornbread muffins will be just a little spicy since the fat in the cheese helps balance the heat.

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Perfect with a mug of coffee!

jalapeno_muffin_coffee

I used regular cornbread mix which works for me! Its quick, it’s easy but if you have your own special corn muffin recipe go ahead and just mix in the jalapenos and the cheddar. Adjust your recipe if you add salt since the cheddar adds it’s own saltiness. Also, adding the cheese makes this recipe much more moist than a traditional cornbread recipe.

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day and may the road always rise up to meet you!!

St Patrick’s Day Jalapeno & Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
2 jalapenos, 1 diced & the other sliced
1/4 cup white cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl mix all ingredients except the sliced jalapeno.

2. Grease a muffin pan and pour cornbread mix into molds. Top each muffin with a jalapeno slice and bake for 20-25 minutes.

3. For a sweeter option, drizzle a little honey over the tops as they’re cooling.

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Healthy Superbowl Snacks – Spicy Quinoa Cakes

This quinoa bites recipe has been on my Pinterest board for over a year now. I’ve made it a couple of times and decided to tweak the recipe for a spicier option. What can I say, I just can’t help myself! Adding a little spice here and there can really elevate a dish, even if it’s just a few pepper flakes.

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These spicy quinoa mini cakes are a healthy alternative to the numerous fried and cheese laden appetizers that will be consumed during next weekend’s super bowl. If you’re looking for ideas on what to make and want to balance out your menu, this is it! Quinoa is a grain used in many dishes across South America and has gained popularity across the US for it’s high protein content and health benefits. It’s the super food of choice for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. It’s high in fiber, rich in iron and has been known to regulate insulin levels in your body. How could you not want to eat this?!

quinoa_poppers

These are great little snacks you can munch on between meals, as appetizers or just serve up as a side dish. The original recipe called for a sauce but these are moist enough that you don’t need one. If you do want something extra, serve with a salsa. You can also use regular size cupcake pans and serve as a side with vegetables or grilled chicken.

Spicy Quinoa Mini Cakes
adapted from So Very Blessed
yields 48 mini cakes

2 cups quinoa, cooked
2 egg whites
1/4 cup Gouda cheese
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 small onion, diced
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. In a small bowl add all the ingredients and mix well.

2. Grease a mini cupcake pan and spoon in the quinoa mix into each mold.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Note: The recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked quinoa. You can cook 1 cup of quinoa in about 1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock for extra flavor. I used a low sodium chicken stock and boiled quinoa for about 15 minutes. You want the quinoa to crack open and be light and fluffy.

Quinoa has too many health benefits not to include in your diet. Use any leftover cooked quinoa to toss in your salad or add some texture to your smoothies. Enjoy!

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Spicy Bold Heat in this Hummus

Have you made a weight loss resolution for this new year? Well you and probably most in your circle have but if not there is no reason to stop eating healthy. One of my favorite snacks to munch on during the day is hummus. It’s packed with protein, fiber and is low is fat. Add a few baby carrots or slivers of bell peppers and you have a mini meal that will help you through your mid morning hunger pangs or hold you over until dinner. I’ve been wanting to make my own hummus for some time now but the plastic wrap on my food processor stopped me! I know, I know, pure laziness, but some appliances can be a bit overwhelming with all the assembling, and cleaning and storing. Actually, to my defense, I’m always using my blender, my Kitchen Aid mixer, which I love, and my juicer so getting out another appliance to just make hummus was a bit much, especially when Sabra’s jalapeno hummus is so good!

jalapeno_hummus

Sabra’s Jalapeno and Chipotle hummus are my go to hummus products. Spicy, bold, stinging heat in the jalapeno hummus so if you can’t take the heat don’t stir up the chopped jalapeno that tops the hummus. You can play it safe and just add a bit of chile at a time. If you like lots of heat like I do, stir it all up for a really spicy bite. I can usually handle raw jalapenos and thought the jalapeno in this hummus was hotter than most jalapenos I’ve had. Even with the extra heat the hummus has great flavor and is smooth and creamy.

sabra_chipotle_hummus

The chipotle hummus shown above isn’t as spicy as the jalapeno version but also has great flavor. Hummus can be used as a dip for carrots, tortilla chips, pita chips or anything really. I’ve had hummus on toast before so go for what ever tastes good to you. I opted for organic blue corn chips for a Mediterranean Mexican twist! These would also be great for the upcoming football playoff games for a nice alternative to the greasy, fatty foods normally served up on game day.

hummus_chip

Let me know what you think about them. I wonder if the jalapeno version I got was a spicy fluke but I’ve tried it a couple times and they delivered! Happy snacking!

Please note that I was in no way paid for writing this review, I only write about products I love! However if Sabra called me tomorrow with an offer, I certainly would not turn them down! 🙂

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Spicy Jalapeno Lemonade

What’s better than an ice cold lemonade during these humid days of August? A spicy ice cold lemonade! It’s a kicked up version of the ones from your old lemonade stand days and one you’ll enjoy just the same. Lemonade always evokes childhood memories of being carefree, without a worry in the world and of Mom.

My Mom always always made the best lemonades. Go ahead, roll your eyes but she did! She always added something extra and later learned that was the Dominican style lemonade…with a little vanilla extract. She added it to our orange juice or Tang (remember Tang? lol I believe the early astronauts had it too!), she added it to our papaya shakes and our morir sonado (similar to an orange julius) and today I do the same but add my own little twist…extra spice!

I got these cool ice cube trays with slots for lemon or lime slices and thought it would be great to make lemonade ice instead of water. This will ensure that your lemonade doesn’t get watered down and you’re left with a lemony, tart, cool  drink!

You can insert a whole slice but I cut mine in half since I didn’t have the height in my freezer. Either way it’ll work.

Spicy Jalapeno Lemonade

5-6 Lemons
1 Qt Water
Sugar or Agave syrup, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 slices of jalapeno

1. Squeeze the lemons, except for one, and mix with water, sugar and vanilla extract to make the lemonade.

2. Slice remaining lemon and insert into ice cube trays filled with lemonade. If you don’t have trays similar to above get creative and cut your lemons to fit your trays.

3. Add the jalapeno slices and let lemonade chill in the refrigerator so it can get nice and spicy. Drop in your lemonade ice and enjoy!

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A Raspberry Jalapeno Sherbet for the Hot Humid Days of August

“Jalapenos in your what?” you say. Yes, jalapenos are very versatile and go very well with with berries and sweets. They balance the sweetness of fruits with their herbaceous flavor and the spice is quite nice too. I paired them with raspberries for a sweet, tart and spicy sherbet because I was thinking about this awesome raspberry and jalapeno jam a friend got for me from Santa Fe last year that I polished off in like two weeks! There was no way I was going to make jam in this crazy hot, humid weather we’ve been having here so sherbet was perfect.

Sherbet is a little creamier than sorbet since it contains heavy cream, sorbet has no cream at all. Next time I make it I’ll use a finer strainer since quite a few seeds came through so if you mind the seeds then I suggest you do the same. This sherbet is a little tangy and the spice lingers at the back of your throat nicely. It’s a perfect treat for the hot, humid days of August.
Raspberry Jalapeno Sherbet
Recipe adapted from my Big Chill ice cream maker

Pint of Raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 slices of jalapeno, diced
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream

1. Add the raspberries, sugar, jalapeno slices and water to a saucepan and mash up well. On medium heat, let mixture come to a boil until some of the liquid boils down. Let mixture cool and so jalapeno spice comes through.

2. Pour mixture through a sieve or strainer to remove the seeds and collect mixture in a bowl. If you want jalapeno pieces in your sherbet add back some of it back, this is optional. Add the cream and stir well.

3. Refrigerate mixture for at least 3-4 hours and then pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions.

4. Pour mixture into a container and freeze overnight or for several hours. Garnish with mint if you like or chop up mint and mix into sherbet for a spicy, minty raspberry goodness.

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Easy Pickling with Jalapenos, Carrots and Daikon

I’ve been wanting to pickle vegetables for a long time now after I read how easy it was to do. I’ve always enjoyed pickled carrots, peppers, green beans and cauliflowers…actually, it was the only way I would eat cauliflowers! The fact that they looked like mini brains didn’t help either but once I got passed that I enjoyed them in a whole new way. The pickling ingredients makes a huge difference so I picked produce that I like and used the right amount of spice.

I bought a canning kit over a year ago to start makings jams and pickled veggies because I love handmade goods. I quickly learned that you can make easy refrigerated pickled veggies without going through the whole process of boiling jars and lids. This recipe can be ready to eat within an hour or two but of course would taste much better if left alone for a couple of days.

Pickling has been around for centuries as it was a way to preserve seasonal vegetables for the cold months to come. Today you can buy anything canned or bottled and the preservatives will allow you to enjoy it for at least a year but pickling your own is far better. It’s a great way for you to control the ingredients, control what you consume and prolong the life of some of your favorite produce…and it’s so good and all natural too. Once you make it the first time you can adjust the salt and sugar to your taste.

You can snack on these veggies or spruce up any sandwich or dish for a bit of spice and tang. It’s also great for brightening up your salads by dicing the vegetables and topping or just tossing in some of the brine. I always have a lot of carrots for juicing or snacking and pickling them is just another way to enjoy them. I also had jalapenos on hand, of course, and daikon. Daikon is an Asian radish and is used in many Asian dishes. I rarely use it but I like the crunch and bought some to make a Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich which I’ll share with you in a future post. If you don’t have any daikon you can substitute it with anything else really, like cauliflower, radishes or whatever firm produce you have on hand.

Pickled Jalapenos, Carrots and Daikon

1 1/2 cup of cider vinegar
1/2 cup of water
2 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp of salt
1/2 lb of carrots, cut lengthwise into sticks
1/2 lb of daikon, cut lengthwise into sticks (or radishes, or cauliflowers)
4 jalapenos, julienne
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into rings
4 garlic cloves, crushed slightly
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
4-6 cloves
2 16oz glass jars with lids (or use bail lock lid jar)

First and foremost, wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water and let air dry.

Bring to boil the vinegar, water, sugar and salt, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let stand until it reaches room temperature.

In the meantime, wash all vegetables and cut as directed. Fill each jar with equal amounts of vegetables and spices. Just half everything and pack tightly into each jar as shown above. When liquid has cooled, fill each jar with liquid to the top until the vegetables are covered. Place lids on jars and close tightly.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but best if left overnight or two days. The longer the brine the better the taste. These will keep for at least 3-4 weeks after opening.

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Breakfast for Dinner: Spicy Fried Cheese and Egg Sandwich

Ever have those days when nothing seems good enough for dinner except a good breakfast? I have those often. Either I’m too tired to make something after a long busy day or I’m just feeling a bit lazy. Sometimes a bowl of cereal will do and other days a spicy egg and cheese sandwich is in order…but not just any egg and cheese sandwich, one made with fried, salty Dominican white cheese. I’m sure you’re wondering “what is that”? Dominican Republic is mostly known for it’s white sand beaches, fantastic golf courses, great cigars and fabulous vacation getaways but cheese? Definitely not the first thing you think about but to a native, whether near or far, it reminds us of childhood, of home and Mom.

As a child, breakfast consisted of eggs, fried cheese, sausages (salchichon) and plantains a dozen ways. Mom would make this almost daily for my Dad but as the years passed my siblings and me became more accustomed to American culture. Our traditional breakfasts were reserved only for weekends and for me, eventually replaced with a lighter fare. However, every once in a while I crave fried cheese and it always takes me back to those good old days.

You can find this white cheese in your local supermarket or Latin bodega. Dominican white cheese is firm, salty and great for frying because its high in salt and made with acid which doesn’t allow it to easily melt like other cheeses. It’s similar in texture to feta but not as salty or crumbly. When it’s pan fried in a bit of oil a nice crust forms and the inside stays soft and gooey, perfect for sandwiches since it won’t fall apart or slide out.

I didn’t have any plantains (blasphemous for Dominicans) and really didn’t want to make an elaborate meal so I made the perfect spicy breakfast sandwich for dinner and it was so delicious!

This is a great vegetarian (Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians) option but if you want meat just add salchichon or bacon for a more filling meal.

Ingredients
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 large egg, over medium
1-2 slices of cheese, fried
toasted whole wheat english muffin
pinch of Adobo (pre-blended Spanish spice mix – optional)
butter
vegetable oil

Saute a few jalapeno slices in a bit of butter on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes and remove from pan. Fry the egg in same pan with a bit of oil (2 tbsp) and add a pinch of Adobo. You can skip the Abodo if you’re watching your salt intake, since the cheese may be salty enough. You will want to fry the cheese last so it can be soft and hot when you eat it. Fry the cheese on one side for about a minute and flip over and fry the other side until a nice crust forms. Assemble all on a toasted whole wheat English muffin and dinner is served! Add as much jalapeno as you like to adjust the spiciness.

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Holiday Cocktails: Jalapeno Infused Vodka 5 Ways!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying your holiday festivities! Things are about to be a bit jollier with these 5 spicy vodka recipes. One infused spicy vodka and five easy recipes!

The following recipes are made with my jalapeno infused vodka. All recipes are single serving so you can multiply ingredients based on the number of guests. You can even make a pitcher ahead of time for some of these recipes so you’re not running around playing bartender all night and can actually have some fun!

1. Moscow Stallion
This is my pumped up version of the Moscow Mule using the spicy vodka. The Moscow Mule is usually made with ginger beer but I didn’t have any on hand so I mixed fresh grated ginger with simple syrup instead (less artificial and much healthier for you).

2 oz Spicy Vodka
1 oz Ginger Syrup (mix 1 tsp fresh grated ginger with 1 cup of simple syrup but just use 1 oz for single serving)
2 oz of Seltzer
1 lime wedge

Fill a tumbler with ice, pour in vodka, ginger syrup, seltzer, squeeze in the lime, drop it in drink and stir. Cheers or Za Zdorovie!!

2. Spicy Cranberry Spritzer

1 1/2 oz of Spicy Vodka
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of Seltzer
Fresh Whole Cranberries for garnish + a tsp of sugar
Green sugar for garnish

Rim a tall glass with green sugar, muddle a few cranberries with a tsp of sugar, fill glass with ice, add spicy vodka, cranberry juice, top with seltzer and stir until well mixed. Drop in a couple cranberries to top for a lovely Christmas drink.

3. Tamarind Martini

2 oz Spicy Vodka
1 oz Tamarind Syrup (get at local Latin or Asian grocery store)
Jalapeno, sliced + 4oz of Tamarind syrup

Take the jalapeno and simmer in the 4oz of tamarind syrup for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat so jalapenos stay firm. The tamarind should reduce to half and you’ll be left with sweet, moist jalapenos to be used for garnish.

Add ice to martini shaker, add spicy vodka and 1 oz of tamarind syrup. Shake it baby! Pour into a martini glass and drop in a slice or two of candied jalapeno. Take another slice of candied jalapeno to decorate glass. Yummy!

4. Spicy Mango Slush
This is a fantastic summer drink but our December weather has been a bit odd…60 degrees here the other day so figured why not, mango is my favorite fruit and can have it anytime of the year if possible. This will be great for those having summer weather now!

1 1/2 oz Spicy Vodka
1-2 Scoops of Mango Sorbet (let it rest so it can melt a bit)
Lemon wedge

Fill a martini glass with mango sorbet, add vodka, add a squeeze of lemon and give it a little stir. Enjoy and pretend you’re on the beach somewhere!

5. Classic but Spicy Martini

2 oz Spicy Vodka
Dry Vermouth
Olives for garnish, olives stuffed with jalapeno is even better

Add dry vermouth to a martini glass and swirl around until well coated, discard excess vermouth. Add spicy vodka to martini shaker with ice and shake it up. Pour into glass and garnish with olives. Sit in front of the fireplace, or a space heater if that’s what you have and enjoy!

Remember, you can always adjust the spiciness of these drinks by using more or less jalapeno in vodka. The longer you infuse the vodka, the spicier the drinks.

Happy Holidays and have a safe weekend!

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