Tag Archives: cooking

What to do with Jalapeno Wine

Our second-most frequently asked question at our booth at the farmer’s market is: “What do you do with jalapeno wine?” This question is usually the one we get asked right after we answer this one: “Is it REALLY made with jalapenos?” And since our answer to that question is a simple and resounding “yes,” I decided it doesn’t need an entire blog post to explain. However, I’ve been asked a lot lately to do a post about how we use the jalapeno wine. Especially since we have customers who don’t drink but they do love cooking.  So without any further introduction – here’s that post. But if it leaves you wanting more, head over to jalapenowine.com for recipes!

Let me first point out that this list is in no particular order based on my favorite way to consume our jalapeno wines. Now that that’s out of the way, my FAVORITE WAYS ARE THESE TWO:

  • Crystal’s Mommy Mixer: Always a crowd pleaser, take a 1.75mL jug of Simply Lemonade or Simply Limeade (or your favorite lemonade/limeade brand) and dump enough out to allow for about 2/3 bottle of Mild Jalapeno Wine. Shake and love yourself for reading this post. Consider sharing with others.
  • Jalapeno Wine Margarita: I don’t like didn’t use to like margaritas. Now they make a noteworthy showing in our home on hot summer evenings or warm fall weekends. Our original recipe calls for cucumber but if you’re too impatient (like me) to wait an hour for the cucumber to marry with the margarita in the fridge, simply omit it and drink. Slowly, as to enjoy the fact that you have been enlightened to what a margarita should really taste like. All you’re missing is a beach on the Mexican Riviera. Find our recipe on this page, or you can simply use your own recipe and add a shot (or four?) of jalapeno wine based on your heat tolerance.

Now for more delicious uses – this is by no means an exhaustive list since our customers are coming up with new recipes all the time and we experiment with new recipes weekly as well. In fact, last month I baked a chipotle chocolate cake using the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine and it was delicious. I have yet to perfect the recipe, as I felt it actually needed more chipotle wine, but when I do I’ll post it. It will likely be when we have family in town so that I don’t have a bunch of chocolate cake sitting on my kitchen counter staring at me.

  • Salad dressing: Pour some jalapeno wine (any of the varieties) in the bottle cap and sprinkle over your salad along with some lemon juice and olive oil. I like how it’s super light with just a hint of jalapeno.
  • Bloody Mary’s: I’m not a Bloody Mary girl, but many of our customers come back to the market every month to purchase the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine just to use in their Bloody Mary’s, especially if they’re hosting a party. It makes sense that the smoke would compliment the concoction.
  • Soups and Stews: Right now I’m obsessed with soup, so this is something I’m currently drooling over – when you sauté your vegetables when making homemade soup, simply pour in some jalapeno wine. Or you can add it at the end for a more noticeable flavor. For me, the method I choose depends on what kind of soup I’m making. For tomato soup, I’ll add the wine at the end. For cauliflower soup (on tonight’s menu), I’m planning on sautéing with it at the beginning. Stay tuned for my Fall Soup Recipe Roundup post next week!
Photo Credit: Feastingathome.com


  • Sauté’s and Sauces: This is a popular use for jalapeno wine at our house. The Mild Jalapeno Wine makes excellent sautéed veggies, shrimp, and stir fry. Mushrooms and shrimp are probably the most popular choice among our customers but the options are pretty endless. Another favorite is using it to make a butter reduction sauce for pasta and fish. Add some lemon juice and you’re good to go.
  • Grilling/Marinades: This is definitely the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine’s area. We like to use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup in our marinades and have multiple recipes on the website. I have yet to find anything I don’t like grilled with this stuff!
  • Roasts: Since we’re on the subject of the Chipotle Jalapeno Wine, it has changed the way I feel about pulled pork. Another of our favorite ways to use it is slow cooking a whole chicken in the Dutch oven. Every time we make either of these things we’re reminded of why we enjoy cooking (and wine) in the first place.
  • Risotto: If my belly could support it, I would eat risotto once a week. As it is I make homemade risotto about twice a year and I always use the Mild Jalapeno Wine along with chicken stock. Most risotto recipes call for around 1/3 cup white wine, which I sub out for the jalapeno wine and then continue the recipe as instructed. You could play with this a bit and experiment with non-traditional risotto, like those made with quinoa or cauliflower.
  • Tequila!”: Alright, while I admittedly don’t have the heat tolerance to drink the jalapeno wine straight like many people do (my husband included), I do enjoy drinking it like a tequila shot now and then. Get your lime wedge, your salt and your shot glass. You know the rest.

6 Healthy Oils and How to Cook with Them (Without Smoking Yourself Out of the House)

You’ve probably heard by now how terrific extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are for you. It seems everywhere I look, there’s another article about the benefits of coconut oil. This is great, except I can’t help but feel like there’s a disconnect out there between being told that certain oils are healthy and being told how to actually use them the way they’re supposed to be used. Maybe it’s just me, maybe you’ve all done your research and you’re shaking your head right now thinking, “Poor Crystal, she’s the last to catch on.” Either way, I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned over the years about healthy oils and how to cook with them, without smoking everyone out of the house.

"Looks like Crystal's experimenting again..."
“Looks like Crystal’s experimenting again…”

This is not an exhaustive list of every healthy oil out there, this is just my list of the ones I use and finally feel comfortable not screwing up. I have yet to implement oils into my kitchen such as macadamia nut, hemp, hazelnut, or even tea seed (yes, it’s real, but I think it’s super scarce which means it’s super expensive and I’m likely not up for that at this particular point in my life). I hear those are all good and I do know nut oils are usually winners, but let’s just start with a few basics.

Avocado oil

Smoke point: 480 to 520 degrees

Avocadoes are really high in monounsaturated fat, which is a great thing, and the benefits of this oil are plentiful. With that said, it’s on the pricey side so I don’t use it for an everyday cooking oil. If you’re okay with re-stocking more often, you could absolutely use this as one of your main oils. This oil has the highest smoke point of most oils out there which makes it nice for grilling and roasting. You can rest assured knowing the oil won’t break down when cooked at high temps. But as I mentioned, I prefer to use this sparingly for budget reasons so I really like it drizzled on my salads or thrown into pasta.

Extra virgin olive oil

Smoke point: 365 to 400 degrees

I find that, like I used to, a lot of people use this oil exclusively and don’t know that unless it’s a very high quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), it shouldn’t be cooked at really high temps. It took a few ruined dishes for me to learn this. Most conventional extra virgin olive oils we find and buy in the stores are lower quality, so they begin to break down at a lower temp. This doesn’t mean they’re not good for you, you’ll still get the beneficial free-fatty acids out of them (unless they’re SUPER cheap). But you’ll want to save this all-star oil for making things like dressings, pesto, sauces, or sautéing. We do use our Misto oil sprayer and put EVOO on our veggies when we bake/roast them, we just make sure the temperature is set at around 350 degrees.

Canola oil

Smoke point: 400 to 430 degrees

I think some people would argue whether this is a healthy oil, but I fall on the side of those who think it is, mostly because it’s high in the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and lower in saturated fat than other cooking oils. I’m not afraid of saturated fat but since this is our go-to oil for all high-heat cooking we do (which isn’t a lot), I like knowing I’m not adding in a bunch of stuff I don’t need.

Toasted sesame oil

Smoke point: 410 degrees

This one is a favorite of ours because we love the sesame flavor in our stir fries, salad dressings, and sauces. Sesame oil is full of antioxidants and, like the others, high in the two good fats. Plus you can safely make a marinade out of it and throw it on the grill without the oil breaking down.

Walnut oil

Smoke point: 320 degrees

This is a fun and yummy oil, but the first time I used it someone had told me to bake with it. Wrong information. I didn’t know that the oil of walnuts is super fragile which means it’s bitter when it gets heated much past 300 degrees, which is kind of necessary in baking. I ruined some really promising pancakes. Since then, I’ve learned it’s best used in place of butter. So think about trying it on breads, in dips and sauces, or sprinkled over bruschetta.

Coconut oil

Smoke point: 350 degrees

The trendiest of all oils right now, coconut oil is indeed pretty wonderful. But at some point you may have questioned why it’s so wonderful given it’s higher in saturated fat. Here’s the thing: Not all saturated fat is bad for you. The type of saturated fat in coconut oil is not derived out of the same type found in meat and dairy. In fact, it doesn’t even break down in your body the same way, therefore it doesn’t get stored as fat like you might expect. This stuff is the real deal. My favorite way to use it is a tablespoon in my green smoothies (heat it up gently into liquid form first, then pour into the blender while it’s mixing) or a ½ tablespoon to make homemade popcorn (if you like the slight flavor of coconut). But you can bake with it at moderate temps and use it in sautés. Be careful, however, when making things on the stove like pancakes unless you can guarantee the temperature will stay under 350. Again, more promising pancakes have been ruined because I didn’t know what I was doing.

I would love to hear what healthy oils you all use and how you use them!