Saturday, November 17, 2012



8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup any flavor HOT LICKS SERRANO hot Sauce
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cans (12.5 oz. each) Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained or 2 cups shredded pre cooked chicken

HEAT oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into deep baking dish. Stir until smooth.
MIX in salad dressing, HOT LICKS SERRANO Hot Sauce and cheese. Stir in chicken.
BAKE 20 min. or until mixture is heated through; stir. Garnish as desired. Serve with crackers or vegetables. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ring of Fire Waffles, yes I said Waffles. By Bryanne Salazar

What a beautiful bottle of hot sauce! I salivated upon opening the box Hot Licks® recently sent me, featuring, among other delicious products, Ring of Fire Habanero Hot Sauce.

Of course - I did the mandatory finger taste, and found the sauce to be a combination of tangy, fiery and even a little garlicky. It's a bold blend that only Hot Licks® can bring to the table.

That night we tried it with ground beef tacos, Spanish rice and refried beans, and loved it. It was the perfect zing we needed to ramp up our dinner.

But...couldn't I do better than tacos? If you've kept up with the blog than you know there's nothing I love more than discovering an unusual, delicious way to use Hot Licks® products. Today is no exception.

I've been reading a lot about the Southern phenomena of fried chicken and waffles. There've been some chefs out there that have taken the waffle to new, savory places, and while I'd never had the courage to try a savory waffle myself - tonight felt like the perfect time to start playing.

What if, I wondered, I made a sugarless waffle batter and added a good splash of Ring of Fire to the mix? Would it work? And most importantly - would it taste good?

You'll have to keep reading to find the conclusion to this story.

Hoppin' Habanero Waffles - Serves 4


1 cup of all-purpose white flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 egg

3/4 cup of buttermilk

1/4 cup of Hot Licks® Ring of Fire Habanero Hot Sauce

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of melted butter (I used salted - you can use either unsalted or salted, but please, no margarine!)
1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds (optional)

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the salt.

Crack an egg into the flour mixture. But don't stir it yet!

Measure out 3/4 cup of buttermilk. You'll notice in my picture I only measured 1/2 a cup. This was a little bit of a mistake - as I'll explain later. But for now - just know I took one for the team!


To the buttermilk, add 1/4 cup of Hot Licks® Ring of Fire Habanero Hot Sauce. When the measurement reaches 1 cup - you know you're done. In my case - I did 50/50 buttermilk and hot sauce. Unless you like a LOT of heat in your food, I recommend using the 75% buttermilk to 25% hot sauce ratio.

Now, melt half a stick of butter in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Watch it though - butter is notorious for melting over the edges and making a big slippery mess. Set it aside to cool for a minute or two once it's melted.


Now - add your buttermilk/hot sauce mixture to the egg and flour. Stir to combine, and then add in your melted butter. Keep whisking until it's smooth. Right at this stage I got the idea to add in a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds to the batter. I love cumin and any excuse to add it to a dish works for me. If you don't like cumin - leave it out.

I should have told you to turn on your waffle maker and get it hot. Sorry. Do that now. It's actually good to let your waffle batter sit for up to 30 minutes before cooking with it so that the waffles come really light and fluffy. I can only wait about 5 minutes before I get started - so you do what you're comfortable with.

Once your waffle iron is hot and ready (hmmm...) it's time to drop your batter. I used a full 1/2 cup and did not use any butter or spray on the iron. My iron is non-stick and I feel like the waffles turn out fluffier without greasing the iron. Why? Well - I think it has to do with the waffle's ability to climb up the iron as it fluffs, if the sides are greasy - it has nothing to grip - and then you end up with a flatter waffle than you'd wanted. I know it sounds crazy - but trust me, it works.


Cook the waffle until your iron says it's done. Here's what you'll get:


It looks just like a waffle, right? Well, that's because it IS a waffle. Duh.

Now - what on earth do you do with a spicy, savory waffle? My first thought was an old stand-by favorite. Refried beans and melted cheese. Yeah, I did it.


I was scared. I had no clue if this was even going to taste good. My sons were brave enough to take the first bite.

The verdict? DELICIOUS. They said it tasted like a big soft, spicy tortilla, with crisp edges. Here's the proof:

Those were the bites they were kind enough to leave for me. Now - on a side note, these waffles were extremely spicy! That is why in the recipe I am presenting you - I reduced the amount of hot sauce and increased the amount of buttermilk used. I tested the recipe with that ratio and found the heat level to be much milder - but with the spicy kick I was still going for.

Okay - now's the part I'm really excited for. I was sharing my spicy waffle success on Facebook and my dad Scott had an amazing idea. Why not put a fried egg on top?

Oh. My. Goodness. Why hadn't I thought of that? I definitely see where I got my creativity from!

I fried an egg exactly how I like it - perfectly cooked whites with a super runny yolk center. Then - I placed it on top of a freshly ironed waffle.

I let the butter in the pan drizzle over the egg and the waffle too. Here's the food-love close up. See that golden yolk? Guess what that waffle did? It soaked the creamy yolk right up like a sponge and delivered it to my mouth with nothing short of pure ecstacy. Oh dear - this was absolutely heaven.

My husband just asked me why we didn't serve the egg with some super thick slices of crisp bacon. I had the biggest blank look on my face. I had no clue why. But that is definitely going on the waffles next time. Bacon makes everything better!

So there you have it. I made waffles with Hot Licks® Ring of Fire Habanero Hot Sauce and I LIKED IT. And better yet - I think you will too!

You can find this delicious hot sauce and others at: Hot Licks®



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dennis' Mango Habanero BBQ Sauced Salmon Roll-Ups By: Bryanne Salazar

 Hot Licks® sent me this delicious BBQ sauce a few weeks ago and I'd been meaning to give it a whirl. I finally had my chance this afternoon when I spied a gorgeous filet of wild sockeye salmon in my fridge eager to be cooked. 

I tasted the sauce ala carte to see what kind of flavor it was packing. Whoa! You get the tart-sweet mango followed by a blast of hot with the habanero. Just like Dennis' Key Lime BBQ Sauce, you are definitely walking outside the line of traditional BBQ flavor.

The sauce was delicious, but leave it to me to add on to a good thing. 

I minced up about a teaspoon of fresh ginger on my microplane and then added three sliced scallions to about 1 cup of Dennis' Mango Habanero BBQ Sauce. Then I stirred!

I spread the sauce over the entire top of my salmon filet. But - before I get ahead of myself, I want to add that I should have sprinkled my salmon with a light dusting of salt to amp up the flavor. I didn't, but you should. Trust me.

I placed the sauced up salmon, skin-side down, in a preheated 350F oven for about 20 minutes, until it was just tender.

The sugars in the sauce caramelized on the sides of the fish and tasted amazing on my finger. Let it cool a minute before you try.

While the salmon rested, I pulled out some accoutrements, namely, a fresh burrito-size flour tortilla, about 1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves, a few slices of English cucumber and 1/4 of an avocado.

We are lucky to have a gas stove, and I tend to throw my tortillas directly on the fire (medium-high) for roughly 8-10 seconds per side, until they are lightly charred around the edges.

Once the tortilla was done, I added my baby arugula right down the center, followed by a few thin slices of English cucumber.

Then I decided to try Dennis' Mango Habanero BBQ Sauce mixed with equal parts Best Foods Mayo to make a luscious, creamy sauce to coat the veggies. It worked! For one burrito I used 1 tablespoon of each and stirred until smooth.

After the sauce was made, I sliced 1/4 of a ripe avocado and layered the slices across the English cucumber.

Then, I drizzled the sauce over the veggies. Mmmm.

Finally, I flaked a few chunks off the cooked salmon and layered them on top of the sauced up veggies.

Then, I rolled that bad boy, sealing one side for maximum holdage.  To make it pretty, I sliced the roll in half and did a chef-stack to make it look amazing. Doesn't it?

Give this recipe a spin and see what you think. You can find Dennis' Mango Habanero BBQ Sauce® on the Hot Licks® website by clicking Here!
A foodie of the worst kind, Bryanne has a passion for searching out unique cuisines across the globe. Her motto, "Always try it twice," means she is not afraid to bite down on whatever life puts on her plate. Currently Bryanne freelances for the Fredericksburg Freelance Star's Healthy Life Virginia eNewsletter; writes product reviews for Hot Licks®; is a contributing recipe author for; and is working on her first novel, a nonfiction murder mystery. In her free time she enjoys competition circuit cooking and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

By Bryanne Salazar
Spicy Green Chile Venezuelan Arepas featuring Hot Licks® Spicy Green Hot Sauce
My twelve year old son Jorge opened the bottle before I did. I came home from a long grocery shopping trip to his excited face telling me, "Oh Mom, you have to try this sauce! It's so good!"

He already had a corn tortilla ready for dippage. The sauce smelled and looked similar to a spicy tomatillo salsa. But the taste surprised me. It was robust and smooth, a perfect balance between the garlic and vinegar that carried the pepper from the green chiles.

My son was right, it was so good. So what could I do with an incredible Spicy Green hot sauce? Make Venezuelan arepas, of course.

Now you might be thinking, "What's an arepa?" and if you are, you're  not alone. I first heard of them on a cooking show that combined delicious dining with world traveling. The host of the show oohed and aahed over the griddled maiz pita that was stuffed with various toppings like shredded meat or even seafood. 

Always up for an adventure, I decided to look up the recipe for making arepas at home. The corn pita was amazingly simple. Water, salt, and  precooked corn flour. I've made Mexican tamales for years to satisfy my husband's holiday cravings, and made the huge mistake of thinking masa harina, or Mexican lime treated corn flour would be the same thing. It wasn't and I made corn bricks. Yuck!

Instead, it's easy to visit any local Latin market in your area and ask for masa precocida or masarepa. I found that Goya, a well known Latin-foods producer sells both white and yellow masarepa that works perfectly for this recipe.  So if you'd like to take a journey South with me, try this delicious, simple and surprising recipe for Venezuelan Arepas with spicy, creamy green chile shredded chicken and fresh tomatoes.


2 cups of masarepa or masa precocida (white or yellow are both fine)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 cups of boiling water
1/4  oil for pan frying

1 & 1/2 cups of shredded chicken (I used 2 small chicken breasts, boiled and shredded)
1/2 bottle of Hot Licks® Spicy Green Hot Sauce
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 sweet ripe tomato, cut into thin slices


In a large mixing bowl, mix the masarepa with salt until well combined. Stir in 3 cups of boiling water and stir immediately with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns into a dough. Once it is completely mixed, remove the spoon and cover the mixture with a damp hand towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. The dampness in the towel helps prevent the masarepa mixture from drying out while it rests.

In a saucepan, add shredded chicken and Hot Licks® Spicy Green Hot Sauce. Bring to a simmer and then stir in sour cream, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to heat through so the cheese melts and the mixture looks creamy. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan until it's time to stuff the arepas.

To make the arepas, heat your oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Using wet hands, break off large golf-ball sized pieces of dough and roll in your hands to form a smooth ball. Gently flatten the ball into a disk that is at least 1/4 inch thick. Depending on the size of your dough-balls, you can yield anywhere from 5-10 arepas. Fry the arepas in the oil for roughly 5 minutes per side, until they are golden and crisp. When cooked on both sides, remove and place on a paper towel to collect excess oil.

To stuff the arepas, use a knife to separate the cooked corn circles into two halves. Remove a little bit of the interior breading. If your chicken mixture is too runny, you can crumble the excess breading and mix it into the chicken to thicken.

Slather on a few nice spoonfuls of the spicy, creamy, green chile chicken onto one side of the arepas. Layer a few slices of thinly sliced tomatoes and some fresh cilantro. Put the other half of the arepa on top and serve like a sandwich!

Arepas can be served with any number of fillings. They are amazing with mayonnaise, Hot Licks® Spicy Green Hot Sauce, avocados and lunch meat too. Be creative! See what kind of fun you can have with Hot Licks® and Venezuelan arepas!

You can find this sauce and others at Hot Licks® Spicy Green Hot Sauce

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dennis' Key Lime BBQ Sauce and the Tostada of my Dreams By: Byanne Salazar

Dennis' Key Lime BBQ Sauce courtesy of Hot Licks®
Pucker up buttercups, the sauce you see before you is going to turn on your tongue sprinklers! At first glance this looks like your typical Kansas-city style BBQ sauce with a pretty tropical label. I wasn't sure how key limes and tomato paste would turn out, but our friend Dennis was on to something groovy with this mix.

Let's start with the smell. It is tangy! You're going to pick up the vibrant acids of vinegar and key lime, but surprise surprise - there's another tart note swirled throughout the luscious sauce, tamarind! 

If you've never heard of this sweet and sour fruit let me be the first to introduce you. Native to Africa and most widely used in South Asian and Mexican cooking, this brown, very sticky substance can waken any sleeping palate. In its unprocessed form, tamarind can be eaten straight out of the pod it grows in, and has a melted and mashed fruit leather texture. 

Processed, tamarind usually comes in frozen, seeded packages or in jars. A spoonful of tamarind stirred into a soup or a sauce will make a dramatic difference in the flavor profile, turning something bland to something quite vibrant. 

I was thrilled to see such an unusual BBQ ingredient mixed in this Key Lime Sauce. Surrounded by typical smoky notes often found in BBQ sauces, the acids were doing something funny in my nasal cavity. I had a whole lot of tingle action happening just from sniffing the stuff - I couldn't wait to slide it across my tongue to have a taste.

This sauce is like a fine wine. You need to really swirl it around your mouth to pick up all the different notes. There's tangy, sour, sweet, smoky all happening at once. If you're not used to big flavor, you may feel a little overwhelmed at first. But don't quit, keep going. There it is - that little hint of spice and warmth that creeps across your mouth and ties the whole thing together. 

It's good. It's different-good. And since I'm tired of same-good, this was a welcomed change.

But something was missing. Heat. Hot Licks® had sent me down a road of sizzle that turned my tongue into a pitch fork. I crave a kick and while this Key Lime BBQ Sauce had me at "Aloha," I wanted to find a way to tie-in a peppery pop that would seal the flavor deal for me.

Here's what I came up with; I hope you like it!  
Jerkish Pulled Chicken Tostada with Grapefruit-Fennel Slaw and Orange-Garlic-Poppy Seed Dressing

Jerkish Pulled Chicken:
1 cup of Dennis' Key Lime BBQ Sauce
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
1 stick of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of thyme
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger (or 1 inch of peeled fresh ginger, finely minced)
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
*1 tablespoon of dried crushed chile peppers (This is optional. I like it spicy you can adjust this amount to suit your personal taste. If you like mild-medium heat, I recommend using 1/2 of a tablespoon instead.)
1 tablespoon of honey
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (you can substitute 8 thighs for breasts if you like)
Salt to taste (I didn't use any, you may want to add a few pinches)

Grapefruit Fennel Slaw:
1 large grapefruit zested and juiced (reserve the zest for the Orange-Garlic-Poppy Seed Dressing below!)
2 cups of shredded cabbage (You can use a prepackaged mix or shred it yourself. I used a cup of freshly shredded green and a cup of freshly shredded purple cabbages)
1 medium fennel bulb, stems and core removed, shredded
1 tablespoon of fennel fronds (the thin green leaves!) minced
1 cup of Orange-Garlic-Poppy Seed Dressing

Orange Garlic Poppy Seed Dressing:
3/4 cup Best Foods Mayo
1/4 cup pulp free freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 grapefruit
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced (I used a garlic press so there were no chunks!)
1 teaspoon of poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

6-10 corn tostada shells
freshly sliced red onion (for garnish)
freshly chopped cilantro (for garnish)

In a large pot or your slow cooker add all of the ingredients listed for the Jerkish Pulled Chicken. If using a crock pot, set it to high for three hours of cook time, or low for six to eight hours of cook time (whichever works for your schedule). If using a pot, place a tight fitting lid on and turn your stove to medium high. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook with the lid on for an hour. 
Jerkish Pulled Chicken made with Dennis' Key Lime BBQ Sauce
Remove the chicken from the sauce and allow to cool. Turn the heat on the sauce back up to medium high and allow it to reduce to half its volume. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, use the tines of a fork to shred it. When your sauce has reduced, strain it to remove the bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon stick before returning it to the pot. Add the shredded chicken. If you used the slow cooker, your sauce should have reduced and you will only need to break the chicken apart with the back of a firm spoon and stir. Manually remove the cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Keep the shredded meat on low/warm until service.

To make the slaw, combine the shredded fennel, shredded cabbage and fennel fronds in a large ziplock bag and add the grapefruit juice. Let the cabbage and fennel "marinade" in the juice in the bag on the counter while you whisk your dressing together.

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients listed and whisk in a large bowl until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Place in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to use.

After the cabbage and fennel have marinated in the grapefruit juice for at least thirty minutes, stir in one cup of the Orange-Garlic-Poppy Seed dressing. Make sure it completely coats the cabbage and fennel. Seal up your ziplock and allow the slaw to sit in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors can meld together. If you have time, make this the night before.

To serve:
Place a tostada shell on the plate and spoon two-three tablespoons of slaw on top. Add the same amount of shredded chicken as slaw on top. Garnish with sliced red onions and cilantro. This is a delicious dish, but also quite messy, so have lots of napkins handy. You can substitute the tostadas for soft mini-buns to make delicious Jerkish Chicken and Slaw Sliders.

Well - that's my recipe folks. I hope you enjoy it - I know we did! The word just came in from Hot Licks®; there is a special during the month of August on Dennis' Key Lime BBQ Sauce! Hurry and place your order while it lasts!

I am no ordinary foodie. I am borderline obsessive-compulsive when it comes to good food. I crave new flavor experiences, dream of ingredient combinations, get a thrill finding a great restaurant, and love to write about the whole experience.

Artichoke Salsa with Chardonnay - Hooray! By Bryanne Salazar

I love artichokes; and I love salsa, but never could I have imagined the two blended together with Chardonnay; and tasting amazing! But I've come to expect nothing but the best from Hot Licks® and they haven't disappointed me yet.

My first experience with their Artichoke Salsa was a few weeks back. I spun the lid off the jar as if I were a cowboy twirling my pistol. I got so deep into character I started talking to the jar, "Well hey there pretty little thing. You're new to this town, aren't you?"

Standing behind me the entire time was my husband, who couldn't supress his laughter any longer.

"Wow, really babe?" he asked.

"Oh shut up!" I said. We both started laughing, but I'm pretty sure he's keeping an extra eye on me, watching for signs I might be cracking.

As soon as the coast was clear, I stuck my nose right in the salsa, wanting to get a full-bodied experience. Instead, I got a full-chunk of carrot up my nose. Oops. The second round of sniffing went much smoother, and I kept my nose at a respectable distance.

The first thing I noticed with my second sniff was that it smelled surprisingly like a rich marinara sauce. "Wait, isn't this salsa?" I said. I was speaking out loud again, and threw a guilty look over my shoulder.

I gained my composure and returned to the jar, studying the label once more for certainty. Yes, it was salsa; but there was something else I hadn't noticed under the name. In pretty cursive I had managed to overlook the first time, were three magic words, "
made with Chardonnay."

Now I am no drunk but I want to convey to you just how excited I was to dive in to Chardonnay-laced salsa at three in the afternoon. Unfortunately, there isn't enough alcohol in the salsa to have even remotely given me a buzz, but those warm oaky notes and bright, crisp tropical flavors lend themselves beautifully to a salsa of this pedigree.

I went in for the taste. The first mouthful reminded me of a juicy bruschetta I'd had at this lovely Italian restaurant in Hawaii overlooking the Pacific. There was just a tad of pepper, making this quite mild, but the restraint with the pepper allowed the other ingredients to really shine. Ripe plum tomatoes, aromatic garlic and onions, grassy parsley and sweet bits of tender carrots followed by the tangy gems of artichoke hearts folded throughout the salsa come together in a luscious recipe that knocks grocery-store varieties on their derrieres.

So what did I do with it after eating nearly half the jar with my spoon? I found a small loaf of ciabatta hiding in my refrigerator and cut four semi-thick slices. I got out my favorite stainless steel skillet and added a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil, and added the bread to the oil as soon as it whispered with smoke. I fry-toasted the slices for about three minutes per side on medium high heat, giving them a golden crispiness that made my tongue unfold like a red carpet.

Next, I took a fat clove of raw garlic and cut it in half, and rubbed the cut side across one side of my oil-toasted bread giving it a touch of spicy-garlic goodness before sprinkling the bread lightly with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Then, I spooned the Hot Licks® Artichoke Salsa on to each slice of bread. Finally – and it was hard to wait this long, I added a little dab of chèvre on the top and inhaled those suckers like a woman who’d been starving on a deserted island and just saw food for the first time in weeks. I’m not even going to tell you how good it was because you need to try this yourself. And I fully expect a thank-you afterwards.

Hot Licks® Artichoke Salsa is great as a dip for chips, veggies, pita bread, fingers, spoons, right out of the jar slurped like a beverage; you name it. On the label it suggests tossing the salsa with your favorite pasta or even topping your morning omelette with a spoonful. I think it would make awesome Spanish-rice or even a fun bloody-mary mix.

What can you make with Hot Licks® Artichoke Salsa? I’d love to hear it!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strawberry Habanero Jam - Jelly Take Two

After my last review of the Blackberry Habanero Jam, I was worried I'd write a blog about the Strawberry Habanero Jam that would sound like a song from the same soundtrack. I didn't have to worry, this smoky-sweet summery jam with peppery undertones is definitely no twin. If I have to pick a favorite, hands down, I'd pick the Strawberry Habanero. Why? The Strawberry Habanero Jam is both completely familiar and totally unexpected at the same time. I grew up thinking strawberry jelly was a food group, and loved mixing it in my ice cream, vanilla yogurt, on toast, slathered on a bagel or even just in a spoon. Let me tell you folks, this jam kicks every one of those aforementioned foods up to another level. If you like sweet and enjoy a little kick of spicy, you will adore this jam. 

But if you like to live a little - keep reading.

The first time I tasted this jam I knew it had to be turned into a salad dressing. It had the sweet notes I enjoy in a good balsamic or thousand island, and the warm tingle of fruity habanero that makes my tongue do the flamenco. I wasted no time. Because this is a jam, and has pectin to gelatinize it, I knew it would need to be heated up to temporarily break-down its firmness. I took 1/4 of a cup of the Strawberry Habanero Jam and placed it in a large microwave safe glass bowl for 45 seconds on high. It got all bubbly and gooey and I kind of wanted to drink it, but I didn't.

To the melted jam I added 1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil. This is important because the extra virgin oil has a complimentary fruitiness and even a slight heat from the acid of the olives to make it a perfect match for this dressing. However, if you want, you could also use grapeseed oil, but it won't have as much flavor. I then added the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon. This provided enough acidity to cut the sweetness and thin out the jam enough to constitute a lusciusly thick dressing.

Not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but this stuff was so good! I used my dressing on a salad of baby arugula and crumbled feta. The bitterness of the arugula and the creamy saltiness of the feta were magical with the sweet, tangy, lightly spicy Strawberry Habanero salad dressing. Look how it clung to those leaves - it's almost inappropriate. 

But don't stop there - keep going. This dressing is fabulous on juicy watermelon cubes tossed with fresh mint and feta. It even works as a glaze for meats like fish, chicken, pork chops and ham! And because it is so versatile, you could even use this dressing as a dessert sauce with fresh fruit and chocolate.

Or, just eat it by the spoonful. Who cares? No one's looking.

You can find this jam and others at: 

Hot Licks Review: This Sauce is Suicide!

Hot Licks Review: This Sauce is Suicide!: Do not - I repeat: Do not underestimate this hot sauce. You will be sorry.     Let me explain something to you; I love hot. I'm no...

Blackberry Habanero Jam - My PB&J Just Got Dangerous

Blackberry Habanero Jam - My PB&J Just Got Dangerous

Warning: Tasting this jam will upend everything you thought you knew about preserved fruit spreads. This product is meant for people who color outside the lines.

We've all heard of pepper-jellies. Growing up in the eighties, I can remember the two varieties of sweet and spicy jelly found at the local supermarket; one was neon red and the other was neon pine-green. They were nice spread over a grilled pork-chop, but really, not good for anything else. Who would put pepper-jelly on a peanut butter sandwich or on top of pancakes? Okay, I admit it, I did too. But it wasn't that tasty.

Hot Licks is flexing their genius with this jam. Incorporating the sweet, bright notes of blackberry with the hot, fruity taste of habanero meant this jam wasn't just for an occasional chop, but a unique ingredient capable of igniting pizazz in sweet and savory recipes.

And what a PB&J this bad-boy makes. I used crunchy peanut-butter on butter-toasted brioche with a slathering of Blackberry Habanero Jam. The merging of creamy and tangy, salty and sweet-heat on a crispy buttery bun sorta' changed my life forever. How can I go back to just sweet, boring sandwiches when my tongue has been revved up by the subtle notes of hot pepper that linger on my palate after the last bite is gone?

This jam isn't just a spread though. It works amazing as a glaze for meats like ham and chicken. Try using it in place of BBQ sauce during your next cook out. The sugars in the jam will carmelize on the meat and the heat will provide just enough sizzle to wake up a tired mouth and make it feel alive.

Or try adding a layer to cakes, cupcakes, croissants and pies. The fruitiness of both the blackberry and the pepper will shine when matched with rich flavors of butter and chocolate.

For those of you who want to entertain, spread a quarter cup of the Blackberry Habanero Jam over a round of Brie cheese, then sprinkle it with toasted sliced almonds. Wrap in puff pastry and bake until golden, and serve warm. The gooeyness of the cheese, the butteriness of the puff pastry and the delicate sweet heat from the jam will leave your friends in awe.

This Sauce is Suicide!

This Sauce is Suicide!

Do not - I repeat: Do not underestimate this hot sauce. You will be sorry.
Let me explain something to you; I love hot. I'm not one of those fakers who claim they like it spicy and then punk out the minute a jalapeno is added to the plate. I eat foods most people consider inedible due to the extreme heat level. So when I saw the label, I didn't wince. In fact, I scoffed. That was one of the stupidest things I've ever done, unless you count that time I forgot to turn my car off and went to watch a feature-length film.
This sauce is hot. It's not even kind of hot. It's ridiculous. Craig Learner, owner of Hot Licks® warned me that in-store they sample this product on the tip of a toothpick. I didn't think toothpick applications applied to me, so I jammed a celery stick into a pool of the magma-liquid and stuffed it into my mouth. Ouch. Owie. Crap! Oh no - CALL 9-1-1!
I entered the sacred order of fire-swallowing. The capsaicin triggered a numbing burn that evolved into a swelling, sweltering sting no milk could soothe. After about five minutes of blowing my nose and wiping my brow while sucking on ice cubes, I had learned my lesson.
 That's when I called my twelve year old spice-loving son Jorge over for a taste. Sure it's mean, but it's also a great bonding experience. My son did two things: he broke out in a red flush and then he went in for another taste. Another! He loved it. Since Thursday my son has sampled the sauce at least eight more times. I'm afraid of the kind of woman he'll marry if he likes that much pain.
 So there's the truth, the real deal, this sauce is not lying. If you are looking for extreme heat, look no further. If you are like my son, you'll go straight up and douse your eggs, cheese, meats and whatever else you can think of with this stuff. If you're like me, you'll stir a few drops into your bowl of soup, chili, favorite dip, or salsa. It adds the perfect mouth-punch peppery people look for, without losing any teeth.
However - I wouldn't end this blog without an unexpectedly wild way to use this sauce. So here it is:
Chile-Cocoa, that's right, hot and spicy hot cocoa. Don't be scared. The Mayans were mixing chiles and chocolate thousands of years ago, and we all know they were pretty smart.
You can whip up your favorite hot cocoa or you can borrow my recipe. There are lots of great cocoa powders out there, but I am partial to Hershey's. I do a mix of Natural Unsweetened and Special Dark. Here's how I do it:
1/3 cup of hot water
2 tablespoons of regular Hershey's Cocoa Powder and
2 tablespoons of Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder (Or you can substitute 4 tablespoons of your favorite cocoa powder)
1/2 cup of sugar
4 cups of milk (I like whole milk for a richer cup of cocoa, you can use whatever milk you prefer)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
a pinch of salt (literally, a tiny pinch - the salt brings out the depth of the cocoa and the sweetness too!)
2-4 drops of Hot Licks® Suicide Hot Sauce
Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Turn off the heat and stir in all of the cocoa powder and the sugar, whisking until it forms a smooth paste. Next, add the milk, vanilla and salt, and then turn the heat on to medium, Whisk until the mixture comes together and looks like chocolate milk. You'll need to stir it often so the heat doesn't scorch the milk. As soon as it starts to whisp steam from the surface, add two drops of the Hot Licks® Suicide Hot Sauce and stir. Get a spoon and taste it. You should first taste the rich warm and sweet chocolate, followed by the soft heat in the back of your throat from the pepper sauce. If you want it spicier, add two drops more. The goal is to have just a tiny hint of heat to surprise your mouth. The flavors go together in such a subtle but complimentary way you will wonder why you never tried this before. This recipe serves about four large mugs or six smaller ones.
Chile-spiced chocolate is popular with chefs worldwide. Chocolate bars can be melted down and spiced with pepper-sauce and remolded for a delicious spicy-sweet dessert. How do you like to use Hot Licks® Suicide Hot Sauce? The wilder the better!
So are you brave enough to try some Suicide? Why not? You only live once.