Homemade Pickled Jalapeños

Pickled jalapeños are very easy to make. You can use them for nachos and tacos, cheese omelets, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, etc. I recently needed one jalapeño and had to buy a whole bag of them. My jalapeño plant in the back yard is not doing very well at the moment.


Homemade Pickled Jalapeños

1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs sugar
dash of salt
jalapeños, sliced

Whisk apple cider vinegar with sugar and salt. Slice jalapeños into a jar and pour the vinegar mixture over them. Close the jar and refrigerate the jalapeños overnight.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves & Sugar Free Ketchup

This is a great recipe for diabetics, which uses homemade sugar free ketchup. You can buy low sugar ketchup and you can buy low salt ketchup, but I need both for a client, so I made my own.



Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Serves 4

Makes 8 mini meatloaves (serving size = 2 meatloaves)

1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1 1/4 lbs turkey, ground, (at least 90% lean)
2 egg whites
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper black

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Liberally coat a muffin tray with oil spray and set aside.

Coat a large skillet with oil spray and sauté the onions, peppers, and carrots over medium heat until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, egg whites, cooled vegetables, ketchup, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mush the ingredients together until they are fully incorporated. Divide the meat mixture between 8 muffin cups, smoothing the tops of each mini-meatloaf to make it level. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Cooked mini meatloaves may be individually wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months.


Sugar-Free Ketchup

Makes 3 cups

12 oz tomato paste
4 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs mustard
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and whisk until combined. You may wish to blend in order to ensure the spices are evenly mixed throughout.

It is best to let the ketchup sit together in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight, before serving so that the flavors blend together well.

Store in an airtight container in fridge.

Check the ingredients of your tomato paste. The only item listed should be tomatoes.

Shake Shack ShackBurger

Shake Shack originated as a hot dog cart in Manhattan in 2004 and has now grown to 21 locations across the United States with another 13 international locations.

They are known for their shakes, fries, hot dogs and of course burgers.  The secret to the ShackBurger is the blend of sirloin, chuck and brisket beef.

This is the Shake Shack at Grand Central Station, my favorite building in the world.


Shake Shack ShackBurger

Serves 4

16 oz ground beef (ask your butcher for a mixture of sirloin, chuck and brisket)
2 Tbs butter, melted
4 Martin’s Sandwich Rolls
4 Tbs Shack Sauce (see recipe below)
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper

Form into four round patties, about 2-inches tall, and 2.5-inches wide. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Open buns but do not split hinge. Brush lightly with butter, then place under broiler or in toaster oven until golden brown, about 1 minute. Spread 1 tablespoon Shack Sauce on top half of each bun. Place 1 leaf lettuce and 2 slices tomato on top half of each bun.

Rub inside of heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season beef pucks on top side with salt and pepper, then place, seasoned side down, in skillet. Using back of heavy, flat spatula, press down on beef pucks firmly to form 4-inch round patties, being careful not to let it stick to bottom of spatula. Season top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp brown crust has formed about 2-minutes.

Carefully scrape patties from skillet, and flip. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer patties to burger bun bottoms, close sandwiches, and serve.

Shack Sauce
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary. Makes about 3/4 cup sauce.

Spicy Southwest BBQ Sauce

This BBQ sauce should spice up your 4th of July celebrations!

Spicy BBQ Sauce

Spicy Southwest BBQ Sauce

6 cloves garlic
2 cups ketchup
2 stalks celery
1 cup water
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Bake garlic in a small baking pan at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and peel.

Combine garlic and remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Cool.

Process mixture in a blender until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.

Hot Pepper Vinegar


Today’s blog comes from Sharon, Brisbane, Australia.


You know how they say if you get one recipe that is a keeper from a book, then it was worth buying.  Some time ago I purchased Bon Appetit, Y’All by Virginia Willis and highly recommend it, I have made many recipes from this, but the one that I always have in my pantry is Hot Pepper Vinegar.

This is what she says;

Almost every diner and “meat and three” establishment across the South has a jar of hot pepper vinegar on each and every table.  A dash or so of this potent liquid on greens is a revelation.  The longer the mixture sits the more potent it becomes. It also makes a great gift.  I prepare several batches with peppers from my garden and present them as hostess and Christmas gifts. Nothing says love like a little heat.

Hot Pepper Vinegar

6 to 8 hot chillies (such as jalapeño, cayenne or banana)
4 cups apple cider vinegar

Wearing rubber gloves, wash the chillies under cold running water.

Using a paring knife, make 2 or 3 small slits in each.

Pack the peppers in one or more sterilized jars.

Heat the vinegar in a saucepan over high heat until simmering.

Pour the hot vinegar over the peppers.

Secure tightly with the lid and refrigerate for three weeks before opening.

Store in the refrigerator for up to one year.

As you can see I use a mixture of cayenne and Birds Eye, and cut the big ones in half.  It doesn’t look glamorous but tastes good!

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions


Guest blogger Jessica (Denver, CO)  from Beauty Marks again.
This recipe is a plan-ahead treasure, whether it’s for Passover advance cooking, or anytime. Caramelizing onions is a pain in the butt – it always takes far longer than the recipe says (seriously: check out this Slate article). But if you have a slow cooker (and I know Leslie has a new one!), it’s unbelievably easy.


Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

About 6 onions, peeled, cut in half, and sliced
About 3 Tbs of olive oil.
Put onions in cooker – I filled mine to the top.
Drizzle oil all over. Set cooker to high and leave it for 10-12 hours. Seriously.
And this is what it looks like when it’s done:
Freeze what you don’t need right now – and that’s it!

Ground Chicken and Blue Cheese Burgers

I was watching an episode of Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine and he made these ground chicken burgers.  I think it would be a great addition to your BBQ along with regular burgers.

Ground Chicken and Blue Cheese Burgers

Serves 4

Tarragon Aioli
1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbs roasted garlic puree
1 Tbs minced fresh tarragon
Salt and ground white pepper

Chicken Burgers
1 Tbs grapeseed oil
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken meat
6 oz blue cheese
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
4 brioche buns
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup raw baby spinach leaves
4 tomato slices, thick cut

For the tarragon aioli
In a bowl, whisk together the mayo, garlic puree and tarragon. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as desired.

For the chicken burgers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Over medium-high heat, warm a large ovenproof sauté pan with the oil. Form the chicken into 4 equal patties, and then form a pocket in the center of each burger. Fill the center with a quarter of the blue cheese, and then fold the edges to seal the cheese in the burgers. Sprinkle the stuffed burgers with the salt and pepper and sear in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and finish cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Toast the buns with the butter on a grill, and then layer the toasted bun bottom with some tarragon aioli, baby spinach leaves, a tomato slice, burger and top of bun. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Chili and Tomato Relish


Perk up your sarnie!

Sainsbury’s  is my favorite UK super market.  This recipe was in the latest Sainsbury’s Magazine.

Perk up your sarnie with a spoonful of this spicy relish. It’s great served with barbecued meats and burgers, too.

Chili and Tomato Relish

1 lb ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped

2 red chilies, finely diced (keep the seeds)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs tomato purée
8 oz sugar

Bubble the tomatoes, chilies, vinegar, lemon juice and tomato purée together in a medium-sized pan for 8-10 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough that when you run a spoon through it, a gap remains in the middle.

Add the sugar and some seasoning, stir until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly for 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Pour into a sterilized jar, cover and leave to cool.


I’ve been spending time in the local library to escape the heat and get some inspiration.  I came across an old book – Good Fair and Cheer of Old England by Joan Parry Dutto, 1960.  You can just about imagine the selection of quivering aspic recipes there are.  There are recipes for Forcemeat Balls – Yum!  Those Brits sure do make things sound appetizing!

Anyway, I opened the book to page 136 to find a recipe for Piccalilli.  Piccalilli is a Western interpretation of Indian pickles, a relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices.

British piccalilli contains various vegetables— invariably cauliflower and vegetable marrow —and seasonings of mustard and turmeric. A more finely chopped variety “sandwich piccalilli” is also available from major British supermarkets. It is used as an accompaniment to foods such as sausages, bacon, eggs, toast, cheese, and tomatoes.

Piccalilli or Mustard Pickles

1lb pickling onions
1 small cauliflower
1 medium sized cucumber
1lb marrow (zucchini squash)
½ lb green beans – either French or runner
¼ lb kitchen salt

For the Piccalilli sauce
4oz caster sugar
3oz plain flour
2oz English mustard powder
½ oz dried turmeric
2 pts malt vinegar

Preparing the vegetables
Peel the onions (this is best done by putting them in a bowl of water and removing the skins whilst they are submerged – it helps prevent the juices affecting the eyes).

Split the cauliflower into tiny florets.

Wash and chop the beans and cucumber into small pieces (perhaps half an inch long)Peel and deseed the marrow and chop into small pieces of a similar size to the beans etc.

Put all the prepared vegetables into a large bowl.  Make a brine solution by dissolving the salt in 2 ½ pints of water and pour it over the vegetables.Pop in the bowl in the fridge for 24 hours and then drain well.

Preparing the sauce
Put the sugar, flour, mustard and turmeric in a saucepan and pour in a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar.

Mix together to form a paste then add the rest of the vinegar. Pop on the hob (heat in a saucepan on the stove!) on a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until the sauce has thickened. Add the drained vegetables and simmer for 5 more minutes.Using a slotted spoon, decant the vegetables from the sauce into sterilized and hot jarsPour enough of the remaining sauce into each jar so the vegetables are just covered.  Seal the jars and store for a month before using.