Sugar Free Candied Jalapenos

Candied jalapenosThis can only be sugar free if you use WheyLow.  WheyLow is the only sugar substitute I know of that will make a syrup.  It is not calorie or carbohydrate free.  It does have 1/10 the calories and 1/4 the carbs of sugar.  WheyLow is also expensive and hard to find, so, unless you’re planning to eat a lot of it, just use sugar!  Serve this over a block of cream cheese with some crackers.  Your guests will love it!

  • 1 lb. sliced stemmed and seeded jalapenos – see note below
  • 1 medium sweet onion small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbls. white vinegar
  • 2 tbls. water
  • 1 1/2 Cups sugar or WheyLow
  • 1/2 Tbls. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper
  1. In a nonreactive pot over medium heat cook the jalapenos, onion, garlic, vinegar and water until onions and jalapenos start to soften – about 10 min.
  2. Pour off about 1/2 of the water and add the sugar/WheyLow, mustard seeds, ginger, tumeric, salt and pepper.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Reduce the heat to med low and simmer, uncovered stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. To serve, spoon over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers or chips.
  6. Keeps refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Note: Seeding the jalapenos makes the dish look better and removes most of the heat.  This will be mild – medium heat as written.  To add heat, either use 1 or 2 serranos with the jalapenos or finely chop a habanero and add it at the end of cooking.

Ten Four

I offer up this drink in honor of National Vodka Day, which is also National Taco Day, and in 2014, falls on Saturday, October 4.  This just happens to coincide with our daughter’s wedding day.  Her Groom has suggested the name and I think it covers all of the bases.Ten Four

I didn’t want to just make up another version of a cilantro-lime martini.  The Chartreuse accentuates the herbal cilantro while the pepper adds a nice background bite.

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz fresh lime
  • 1/2 oz Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 slice jalapeno seeded
  • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno stuffed olive for garnish – optional.
  1. Combine all ingredients, except the garnish, in a shaker with ice cubes (not crushed ice).  Shake until well chilled.
  2. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with the olive (optional)



Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa

I learned the basis for this one on a beach in Mexico.

  • 4 – 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes – see note
  • 1 large onion peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 Chipotles in Adobo
  • 1 tsp. Adobo sauce from the chilies
  • 1 bunch Cilantro washed, with the long stems torn off.
  1. Line a sheet pan fitted with a rack with aluminum foil. Place the rack in the sheet pan
  2. Drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid
  3. Blacken the tomatoes under a broiler, 20 – 30 minutes depending on the size of the tomatoes.
  4. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until everything is thoroughly chopped.  Add a little reserved tomato water if the salsa is too thick.
  5. Serve.  Will keep refrigerated for about a week.

Note: You can substitute 8 lbs. of fresh tomatoes.  Remove the skins, cut them in half and roast them on the grill cut side down.  This is a lot more trouble but the salsa will have a nice smoky flavor.

Quail Poppers

Quail legs are actually pretty easy to find in the frozen food section.  This is a fairly simple recipe and they make an unusual appetizer for your next cocktail party. Note: make the Green Goddess Dressing at least 2 hours before serving.

Time 4 hrs: 3 hrs for brining, 1 hr prep

and cooking

  • Quail legs – figure 4 – 8 per person depending on what else your serving
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  • 2 Tbls. salt
  • 1 quart water
  • Regular thickness bacon – 1/2 piece per leg
  • Jalapenos – stemmed, seeded and sliced lengthwise in 1/4 pieces
  • Green Goddess Dressing – see below
  1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the water and pour over the quail legs in a one gallon baggie.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or over night.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350
  3. Remove the leg sections from the brine.  Cut away the backbone if present so that you have leg/thigh sections.  You can use these leg/thigh sections as is or you can remove the thigh bone and fold the thigh meat over the leg.  It may seem like an extra step, but removing the thigh bone makes it easier to wrap it with bacon.  If you want, use sharp kitchen scissors to remove the thigh bone.
  4. Lay a piece of jalapeno on each leg section and wrap with 1/2 piece of bacon.  Place the wrapped legs on a foil lined baking sheet fitted with a rack
  5. Roast the legs for 30 – 40 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the legs are cooked through.
  6. Serve with the Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing

This is our version of the classic.  You should adjust the herbs to align with your own taste preferences.  Note that tarragon is the classic herb for this dressing.  It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 – 5 days.

  • 1 – 2 oz. can anchovy fillets well drained
  • 2 Tbls. Chopped shallot
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbls. chopped fresh chives
  • 3 Tbls. chopped mixed fresh herbs such as tarragon (classic), basil, thyme and/or oregano
  • 3 Tbls. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbls. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the contents of the blender with the sour cream and black pepper.
  4. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.