Brandied Berries

Makes about 5 cups.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. Use any combination of strawberries, raspberries and/or blueberries. If using frozen fruit, thaw and drain before using.

• 4 c. berries (see Note)

• 1 c. sugar

• 1/2 c. brandy

• Dash of freshly ground black pepper, optional


In a large bowl, combine berries and sugar, and toss to coat. Set aside for 1 hour, stirring another time or two.

Add brandy and pepper, if using. Stir, store and cover in refrigerator for several days to allow flavors to develop.

Nutrition information per 1/4 cup:

Calories 63 Fat 0 g Sodium 0 mg

Carbohydrates 13 g Saturated fat 0 g Calcium 5 mg

Protein 0 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb.



Makes about 3 cups.

Note: This takes some time to prepare, so plan accordingly. The original volume of milk cooks down considerably. Adapted from "Mexico One Plate at a Time," by Rick Bayless.

• 2 quarts (8 c.) milk (goat or cow, or mixture of both)

• 2 c. sugar

• 1 large, plump vanilla bean, split open (or 1/2 vanilla bean and 1/2 cinnamon stick)

• 1/2 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 1 tbsp. water


In a large, heavy pot (not iron) over medium heat, combine milk, sugar and vanilla bean (or vanilla bean and cinnamon stick). Stir regularly until milk comes to a simmer and sugar is dissolved. Remove pot from heat and add dissolved baking soda; it will bubble up at this point, especially with goat's milk. When bubbles have subsided, return pot to stove.

Adjust heat so that mixture is simmering briskly but not boiling. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture turns pale golden, about 1 hour. You will now need to stir the milk more regularly as it begins to thicken and turns a caramel-brown color. Don't allow the milk to stick to the bottom of the pot. To test for doneness, drop a few drops of cajeta into a small glass of water. If a soft ball forms, cajeta is ready.

If you take pot off stove and allow cajeta to cool, it should be a medium-thick sauce. If it's too thick, add hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is the proper consistency. If it's too thin, return to the heat until it thickens.

When cajeta is cool, remove vanilla bean (or vanilla bean and cinnamon stick). Strain cajeta through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or wide-mouthed jar, then scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cajeta. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. It's best served warm.

Nutrition information per 2 tablespoons:

Calories 120 Fat 3 g Sodium 67 mg

Carbohydrates 20 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 110 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 9 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb, 1/2 fat.