By Heather Harris Brady

I’ve featured a carrot cake before, with coconut and crushed pineapple, but when I saw this one in Cooking Light I had to give it a try. The browned butter adds a nice depth, and it does get better over the second and third days. I made some adjustments to the original recipe.

Make sure you use larger carrots for this recipe, the ones they typically sell in the bulk section for juicing work well. The small baby carrots just don’t have enough flavor.

If you have a pretty fluted bundt pan now’s the time to use it! I apologize for the weird capitalization, my iPad always gets fussy with blogging.

Carrot Cake with Browned Butter, Makes one 12″ bundt cake

1 stick of butter

1/3 c. Olive oil

1 c. Granulated sugar

2 t. Vanilla

2 large eggs

1/2 c. Greek yogurt

1-1/2 t. Cinnamon

2-1/2 t. Baking powder

1/2 t. Baking soda

1/2 t. Fresh ground cardamom

2 c. Carrots, finely grated

2 c. White whole wheat flour

1 c. Un bleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c. Milk

Glaze

3 T. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

2-1/2 c. Confectioner’s sugar

1 t. Milk

1/2 t. Vanilla

Put the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and stir. It will melt, bubble and eventually foam up.  As soon as it starts to turn brown (the milk solids in the butter are what will be browning), take it off the heat. Let it cool to room temperature and then preheat the oven to 350.

Put the browned butter in a mixing bowl. Beat in the oil, sugar and vanilla. Then beat in the eggs one at a time. I used a wooden spoon but you can do it with a mixer if you like. Stir in the white whole wheat flour, then half the yogurt, the cinnamon and the cardamom.

Add the rest of the flour, the rest of the yogurt, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the milk.

You should have a thick batter. It might seem a little too thick to you, but that’s okay! We’re adding a lot of moisture with the carrots.

Fold in the carrots.

Spread the batter in a greased baking pan.

Check it at 40 minutes. Your tester should have moist crumbs.

While the cake is cooling make the glaze. Combine the sugar, vanilla and cream cheese in a bowl.

Drizzle in the milk and whisk until you have the desired glazing consistency.

Put the cake on a serving plate and pour the glaze over the top.

I garnished this one with some flakes of coconut and chopped candied pecans.

Store the cake in the refrigerator, loosely covered.

by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve been experimenting a lot with whole grain flours lately, because I don’t want to settle for “wow, this is good for something healthy”. I’m going for “this is amazing”. So when I manage to hit that magical point I will share the recipes – like this one for whole grain pancakes. It’s based on a recipe from Cooking Light magazine, but I’ve tinkered with it so it uses ingredients I’m more likely to have onhand.

One thing I’ve learned over the course of my trials is that you need to allow time for the grains to hydrate in order to get maximum fluffiness in the finished product. I hope you enjoy these pancakes as much as we do, they’ve become my new standard recipe. If you’d like to play around with this recipe I think grated apple would be a great addition to try.

Whole Grain Pancakes, Makes about 12 4″ pancakes

  • 2/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 c. low-fat milk + 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. light olive oil
  • 3/4 c. white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. spelt flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 large egg

Combine milk and oats in a small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour the soaked oats and milk into a larger bowl. Add the egg, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk well.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well-combined.

The final texture should be close to very heavy cream.

Heat a griddle and grease it lightly with olive oil. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the griddle and watch for bubbles to appear all over the surface.

Flip the cakes and brown the other side. I usually poke the middle of each one with my finger, when they are springy they’re done.

I stack them so they stay warm.

Serve warm with butter, more syrup and fruit.

They cook up light and fluffy.

Put any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate.


Four years ago: Cream Scones
Three years ago: Key Lime Pie
Two years ago: Mixed Berry Pie
One year ago: Kerrygold Croissants


everythingscones08_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe was inspired by the oat bran muffin recipe I have that I like so much. While these scones are whole grain, they are lighter and fluffier than many a coffeeshop scone. They are also very light on sugar.

Feel free to make substitutions or additions to the mix-ins, that’s part of the fun!

Everything Scones, Makes about 9 5″ scones

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 3/4 c. spelt flour
  • 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. regular all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal soaked in 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 2/3 c. whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the flours, baking powder and sugar in a food processor bowl. Add the butter.

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Process to crumbs. (You can cut this in if you don’t have a food processor.)

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Add the soaked oatmeal and all but 2 T. of the cream and process for 10 seconds. Let this mixture sit for five minutes, so the flour can absorb the liquid.

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Add the rest of the cream, vanilla and almond extract. The mixture will be sticky.

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Turn the dough into a bowl and fold in the chips, coconut and banana.

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Pat the dough into nine dollops on a greased baking pan. Sprinkle them with coconut if you like.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown.

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Remove the baked scones to a rack to cool.

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See, light fluffy whole grain goodness!

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Goodness smeared with butter 😉

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These are large scones, so you can cut them in half to serve if you like. They keep nicely for a few days at room temperature, wrap and freeze for longer storage.

ancientgrainscookies12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I came up with these cookies after noticing boxes of “ancient grains cookie mix” at the grocery store – for $7 a box! When I use alternative flours I try to work with the different textures rather than against them. These cookies are chocolate peanut butter because everyone expects peanut butter cookies to have a more shortbready, crumbly texture by nature.

I used a blend of quinoa flour and spelt flour, in combination with some regular unbleached white flour and some extra wheat germ. These are good keepers, and are great with a cold glass of milk on the side.

Ancient Grains Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/4 c. butter, at room tempertaure
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c. natural peanut butter (The ingredient list should read: Peanuts.)
  • 4 T. dark cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark.)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. quinoa flour
  • 1/2 c. spelt flour
  • 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. wheat germ
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the eggs one at a time.

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Beat in the peanut butter.

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Then the flours, baking powder and baking soda.

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Beat in the cocoa and then the chips. You should have a nice creamy batter.

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Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Cool complete and then store in an airtight container. These keep nicely for about five days. Freeze in a ziplock for longer storage. I freeze half the baked cookies and use them to replenish the cookie jar – but they aren’t bad frozen 😉

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Four years ago: Champagne Sabayon
Three years ago: Chard Quiche
Two years ago: Burmese Chicken Soup
One year ago: French Breakfast Puffs


gingercreams7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve never an actual copy of Farm Journal magazine, but I LOVE their cookbooks and whenever I find them in antique stores I buy them. This recipe is based on one from their Homemade Cookies cookbook, and if you can imagine a Lofthouse molasses cookie this would be it. They are big, soft and while there is a lot of molasses in them the flavor is more mild than a traditional molasses cookie.

The whiteness of the icing starts to fade after a few days, just FYI. I made a few changes to the original recipe, including the addition of fresh ginger. They are amazing with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot tea. They also cut out beautifully, and would make beautiful hearts if your Valentine is a fan of molasses cookies.

Ginger Creams, Makes about 40 3″ cookies

  • 1 c. butter, at room temp
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. dark molasses
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. fresh ginger
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 5 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt

Icing

  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. white vanilla
  • 1 t. water

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cream until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vinegar, ginger and molasses.

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Beat in 4-1/2 c. flour, the baking soda, baking powder and salt.

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You should have a pretty brown dough. At this point you can chill it for 30 minutes if you like.

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Generously flour a work surface and roll out a portion of the dough. Cut out your shapes and put them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown. Repeat, roll out and bake the rest of the dough.

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Stir together the icing ingredients. Add a bit more water if necessary, to achieve a spreadable consistency. Ice each cookie with a thin layer. Let the cookies sit out until the icing is dry.

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These cookies, when iced, are best within three days. Freeze uniced cookies in an airtight container for longer storage.


Three years ago: Meatloaf Sandwiches – The Lazy Cook’s Super Bowl Sunday
Two years ago: Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies
One year ago: Salted Butterscotch Pots de Creme


applepiebars15_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

It’s hard sending a child to college, it’s harder still when they come home down two jean sizes! So part of the reason I don’t post as much lately is simply that I spend a lot of time baking and mailing. While I do bake a lot of my son’s favorites to send, I do try to mix in surprises – like these apple pie bars. Apple pie is one of his favorite desserts, but it’s hard to deal with in a dorm room with a tiny fridge and no place to wash up.

Given that, I tried to pack all the pie goodness in these individual servings that he can take out of the freezer as need arises. I started with a base from my chocolate oatmeal bars and took it from there. You could have these as-is, or you could fancy them up by plating them and topping each one with a scoop of ice cream.

Apple Pie Bars, Makes about 16 2.5″ servings

For the bars:
2½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 large eggs
3 cups old-fashioned oats
5 c. peeled and sliced baking apples

For the glaze:
1 t. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. water

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and mix well.

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Beat in the eggs.

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Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

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Reserve a cup of the mixture, press the rest into a greased baking sheet (mine’s about 14″ square).

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You’ll have to flour your hands, the dough’s quite sticky. Put the sheet into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges start to lightly brown.

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While the crust is baking, heat two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. When the butter’s melted add the apple slices.

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Saute over medium heat until the apples are just barely tender.

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Reduce the oven to 375. Spread the sauteed apples over the hot crust and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Then dot the top with the rest of the reserved crust mixture.

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Return the sheet to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, until the streusel is brown.

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Cut into squares while still warm.

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When the bars are cool stir up the glaze (just stir all the ingredients together) and drizzle it over the top.

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Once the glaze has set you can package them (for college shipping!) or store them in an airtight container. I would put them in the refrigerator to keep longer than two days.

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chocolatetaco7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

It may be a lot sunnier where you are but here after the holidays come the long, gray days of January. To brighten things I like to try new, fun things – especially where dessert is concerned. I made these to surprise my daughter one night at dinner, and she had fun putting them together with me. They would be great with mint ice cream, or any of the pretty colors, but being the girl she is she picked chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! (She takes after me 😉

If you need a lot of these I would double the batter to allow for breakage. A lot will depend on your oven and how it gets, as well as how quick you can get these off the sheet and formed.

Chocolate Tacos, Makes about 8

For the shells:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. dark cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark.)
1 t. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
3 T. egg whites (about three whites)
1 t. 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 t. vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60%)
1 t. butter

For the filling:
1 pint ice cream

Preheat oven to 400°.Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well.

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Stir in egg whites, milk, and vanilla.

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Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each corner, forming a circle with the back of a spoon.

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Bake at 400° for about 6 minutes. You have to find the time when the shells are bendable but cooked. It’s better to take them out too soon than wait too long, too long and they won’t bend at all. You’ll have sandwiches instead! Anyhoo, rush them out of the oven and bend them right away. Let them cool and repeat with the rest of the batter.

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When you’ve baked all the shells melt the chips with the butter and stir smooth. Dip the edges of the shells. We drizzled the extra over the top. You’ll notice that I lost three shells – mostly to breakage because I left the first batch in too long.

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Fill the shells with scoops of ice cream and return them to the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.

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When ready to serve plate each taco, drizzle a little more fudge or topping for sauce and some coconut for fun.

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These may made a week ahead, wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer.

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secretcookies13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

These cookies are a little kooky for me, but I guess sometimes I’m as susceptible to the charms of decorations as anyone else! And, if you can’t go all out during the holidays – when can you?

These cookies are really all about fun, fun on the outside, fun on the inside. I’ve adapted a recipe from an article I cut out years ago from a magazine.

Secret Cookies, Makes about 30 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 t. almond extract
  • Sprinkles or colored sugar for coating

Preheat the oven to 375. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl, cream well.

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

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Then the flour.

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Stir 3/4 c. of dough into the chocolate.

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Roll a 1″ ball of chocolate dough and then cover it with a thin pancake of vanilla dough.

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Then roll each ball in sprinkles or sugar.

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Put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 10 minutes.

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I added an extra white chocolate drizzle to the plain sugar ones to dress them up for a party!

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lemonsugarcookies11_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Anyone who’s been with this blog through the winter holidays knows that I have the same cookie lineup every year, but I continue to audition new prospects because never let it be said that I’m one to rest on my cookie laurels 😉

This is the first audition – a soft sugar cookie (which American readers will recognize as Lofthouse style). It has that same addictive cakey quality as the store-bought version, but with the twist of lemon poppyseed. It’s based on a compilation of recipes online with a few changes of my own. Sorry for the crappy picture, we’re really short on daylight at the moment!

I like the Scandinavian white-on-white coloring, but if you want to get crazy with frosting colors or sprinkles now would be the time!

Soft Lemon Poppyseed Sugar Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. lemon extract or bakery emulsion
  • Zest from two lemons
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. poppyseeds

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 6 T. heavy cream

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Then beat in the lemon flavoring and zest.

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Combine the remaining dry ingredients and half of them to the bowl. Beat well. Then beat in the yogurt.

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Add the second half of the dry ingredients and beat for another minute.

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Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up as a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 425. (I know, hot for a cookie recipe!)

Turn the dough out.

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Roll it out to about 1/3″ thick and cut. (I only worked with part of the dough at a time so I could make sure I kept the thickness consistent.)

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Put the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 6-7 minutes. I took them out right around the 7-minute mark.

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While the cookies are cooling make the frosting. (I didn’t do the step by step here to keep the post length down.)

Beat the sugar and butter together, drizzling in the flavoring and half the cream. Mixture will be thick. Continue beating, drizzling in the remaining cream as you go, until you reach your desired spreading consistency. I have a stand mixer so I just turn it to high and let it run for about five minutes at this point. The longer you beat the creamier your frosting will be.

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When the cookies are completely cool frost them.

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You can leave them out, uncovered for an hour or so, and the frosting will crust over just a bit. I froze mine on the sheet and then stacked them between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer container to freeze until the holidays.

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Four years ago: 12 Days of Cookies
Three years ago: Russian Braids
Two years ago: Apple Clafouti
One year ago: Holiday Biscotti


pineapplepico4_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving holiday last week! I had a few welcome days off to spend with family and one of the things I like best is shopping and cooking together. My son, in severe taco withdrawal after three months of college, helped me come up with this pico for chicken tacos but it would be equally good on fish – or just dipped straight up.

Find a nice fresh pineapple and you’ll have a batch of pico in just a few minutes. It is a little better the second day, and of course you can adjust the heat to your own preferences. Since it’s super-healthy, fresh, and gluten-free, it would be a great addition to a holiday potluck, and a way to wake up palates jaded from rich holiday foods.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo, Makes about 3 cups

  • One medium fresh pineapple, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 t. fresh ground ginger
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 T. sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste) (or to taste)

Put the pineapple chunks in the food processor. Pulse five-six times until you start to approach crushed pineapple.

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Add the rest of the ingredients.

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Pulse three-four times until everything is roughly chopped. Give a stir to make sure there aren’t any large pieces left.

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Spoon into a serving dish and chill. Serve on tacos, grilled fish or chicken, or as-is with a bag of lime chips!

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Now that we’ve been all virtuous it’s time to get out the butter and start on our holiday cookies – in our next post!


Four years ago: Swedish Visiting Cake
Three years ago: Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Pumpkin Gingerbread
One year ago: Orange Bites


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