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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


coneysauce7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I was downstate last week for my son’s college orientation and it reminded me how much I miss the coney islands that are on nearly every corner around the Detroit metro area. When we lived there the coneys were our go-to, the best ones serve breakfast all day every day, so even the little people could always find something on the menu. They also have amazing greek salads, gyros and – yes, coney dogs.

I’m not enough of an authority to fine-slice the differences between the Flint and Detroit-style coney sauce, to me they are equally delicious. And if you order a proper Michigan coney it will arrive on a snappy Koegel dog with a soft bun.

This recipe is based on a post by goldendog in the Chowhound forum, and I’ve adjusted it a little bit. It may look red to you if you’re used to the brown stuff out of a can, but it’s got a nice balance of tomato, spice and kick. If you want more chili and less tomato use tomato juice instead. This would be a good crockpot sauce.

Coney Sauce, Michigan Style Makes about 1-1/3 c. sauce (enough for 6-8 coney dogs)

  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 lb. ground chuck
  • 3 T. chili powder
  • 1-1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1-1/2 t. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 14-oz can tomato sauce

Peel and chop the onion, put it in a food processor bowl.

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Pulse the onion until it’s finely chopped. Add the ground chuck.

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Pulse again to a fine homogenous mixture.

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Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the meat and stir until browned.

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Add all the rest of the ingredients.

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Cook on a low simmer for about two hours. The sauce will get very thick. Remove the bay leaf.

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Serve the coney sauce on a freshly grilled dog. If you want a ballpark feel wrap it up in a piece of aluminum foil.

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The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about three days. Freeze in a ziplock for longer storage.

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Three years ago: Hamburger & Hot Dog Buns
Two years ago: Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa
One year ago: Double Berry Cookies


streuselcheesecake15_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe is based on a cookie from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. I’ve tweaked it into more of a cheesecake, and added a poached raspberry topping.

The streusel is both topping and crust, with a citrusy cheesecake filling in between. This is a great choice for a make-ahead dessert, as it’s actually better the second day. If you time it right you can have a nice cold creamy cheesecake contrasted with the warm topping and the crunchy streusel.

Streusel Cheesecake, Makes one 8″ cheesecake (about eight servings)

  • 1 c. white whole-wheat flour or GF flour blend
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 T. lemon juice + fine zest of one lemon OR 1 t. lemon bakery emulsion
  • 8 oz. container whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Poached Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 c. cherry or rose wine
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and cleaned

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

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Cream well, then add the flour, cinnamon and oatmeal. Mix to coarse crumbs.

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Set 3/4 c. of crumbs aside.

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Press the rest into the bottom of a non-stick springform pan. Slide it into the oven and bake 15 minutes.

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While the crust is pre-baking, combine the remaining ingredients and blend well.

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Take the crust out of the oven and pour the cheesecake filling over it.

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Sprinkle the top evenly with the reserved crumbs. Return it to the oven and bake another 25-30 minutes.

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The edges should be lightly browned and the center should be just set.

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At this point it needs to cool thoroughly. You can even freeze it to speed things up if you have to, but when it’s cool enough wrap it and let it get nice and cold all the way through.

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About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve start the sauce. Your wine options are open, but a fruit wine gives you a lovely color. I used this one, a lovely gift from friends who grow the cherries on their farm locally.

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Combine the wine and water in a pan, then whisk in the sugar mixture. Cool until clear and thick.

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Gently stir in the raspberries and turn off the heat.

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The sauce will warm the berries through and bring out their flavor.

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Top each slice of cheesecake with a spoonful of sauce and serve.

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Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.


Three years ago: Peach Cobbler
Two years ago: Fresh Peach Pie
One year ago: Semolina Cake with Fresh Peaches & Goat Cheese

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by Heather Harris Brady

Hopefully everyone’s out enjoying their July days – here’s a simple butter cake if you like to celebrate a weekend meal with dessert like I do. Without the sauce the cake would be lovely topped with sliced fresh fruit but with the sauce you have options. You do the cake and the sauce warm, cold, or one of each. The simple flavors of the butter and flavorings come through in the soft, sliceable yet delicate cake, and the velvety chocolate sauce can be casual or elegant. You decide.

Sunday Night Cake with Chocolate Sauce, Makes about nine 3″ servings

For the cake:

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla or orange extract
  • 2/3 c. nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 T. sour cream
  • 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

For the sauce:

  • 1 14-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate (chopped, chips, etc.)
  • 1/2 c. dark cocoa
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325.

Cream the butter and sugar together well with a spoon.

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Best in the egg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flavoring.

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Then the yogurt, sour cream and flour.

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Stir well for about 30 seconds, until the flour is hydrated and you have a thick, creamy batter.

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Spread the batter into a greased 8″ square pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the center is baked through.

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While the cake is baking make the sauce. Combine the milk, sugar and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.

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Stir until the chocolate melts, then whisk in the cocoa powder.

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Let boil for five minutes.

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Beat the egg in a bowl, then add some of the hot chocolate mixture to the egg.

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Return it all to the pan and whisk. Cook for another minute and set aside until ready to serve.

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Cut the cake into squares.

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And top each serving with a spoonful of sauce. If the sauce is cold it will be a little thicker, like so:

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If both the cake and the sauce are warm the sauce is a little thinner:

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Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.


Two years ago: Baby Back Ribs with Dry Rub
One year ago: Lemon Ginger Cake with Saskatoon Berries

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by Heather Harris Brady

There are lots of creamy tomato pasta sauces on menus out there, but it’s super-easy to make your own, requiring little more than a can of well-balanced tomatoes. I’m using San Marzano tomatoes here, but if you are loyal to another brand or type that’s between you and your saucepan. There’s also room for changing up the meat, adding other veggies, cheeses – it’s all good.

Creamy Tomato Sauce, Makes about four generous servings

  • One 28-oz. can plum tomatoes
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 2 T. finely chopped onion
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. butter
  • 8 oz. uncooked fettuccine (fresh or dried)
  • Olive oil

Add-ins:

I included two fresh spinach and feta chicken sausages, diced and 2 cups of fresh Italian baby greens.

To make the sauce:

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion.

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Stir until fragrant. Add the can of tomatoes. Fill the can half up with water and add that to the pan too.

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Simmer on medium, give it a stir every now and then, and break the tomatoes up with a spoon as you go. Let it bubble away until it’s reduced by half.

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Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cream.

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Simmer for another 10 minutes and adjust the seasoning to taste.

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At this point you can refrigerate the sauce if you’re making it ahead. To proceed, cook your pasta according to package directions.

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Drain and toss it with the butter and cheese.

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Heat up another tablespoon of olive oil and brown the sausage if you’re using it, then add the greens to wilt alongside.

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Add the tomato sauce back to the pan.

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Heat through and pour the sauce over the pasta. The cheese will melt and mix with the sauce. Serve with lots of freshly cracked black pepper.

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Two years ago: Cake Cookies
One year ago: Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies

appleclafouti12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I’m not gonna lie. I made this dessert entirely for the sauce, and because it would fabulous on the gingerbread from the last post, I’m posting the recipe for the sauce first. You might want to skip the frosting if you use the sauce, but hey, what you do in the privacy of your own kitchen is your business.

My son came home from a German-class field trip raving about a vanilla sauce that was on the dessert. Sure enough, I found the recipe below as vanillasosse in The German Cookbook (that’s it’s title, it has a black cover) I bought him last Christmas. To get down to brass tacks, it’s really a thin pudding, and it’s delicious.

Vanilla Sauce, Makes about three cups of sauce

  • 2 c. milk
  • One vanilla bean or 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten in a bowl
  • 2 egg whites

Since we’ve made puddings lots of times I’m skipping a few steps here. Warm the milk (with the vanilla bean if you’re using one) in a double boiler or over medium heat (if you’re brave and a conscientious stirrer). Stir together the sugar and cornstarch.

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Whisk the sugar mixture into the milk and cook until thick. Remove the vanilla bean. Stir some of the hot, thickened milk into the egg yolks and return them to the pan, whisking all the while. Cook for another minute.

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Remove from heat and quickly whisk in the vanilla (if you didn’t use the bean) and the egg whites.

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(I have new bulbs in the kitchen lights and I’m still figuring out how to adjust my photos – sorry!)

Beat for two minutes, until lightened. (The hot sauce will cook the egg whites.) Pour the sauce into a shallow metal pan, press a piece of plastic wrap over the top and quickly cool it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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I’ll post the clafouti recipe later in the week. I hope you will all have a chance to share a good meal with family and friends this week!

One year ago: Parker House Dinner Rolls

chinesesliders_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Okay, so during the previous post we went over making steamed buns – today we’ll get to the filling. I used ground pork so I could get more of a patty but you could use ground chicken, ground beef or a slice of extra firm tofu – whatever suits your fancy.

If you follow this recipe you’ll have about half of your steamed rolls left over. They freeze well, so you can have a batch on hand – this filling goes together in about 15 minutes so if you have a batch in the freezer it will make a quick meal to get on the table. Otherwise, if you’re having a larger gathering, just double the quantities below.

Asian Sliders, Makes enough filling for about 10 sliders

  • One pound of ground meat (or extra firm tofu slices)
  • 1 c. baby carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 a red pepper, cut in strips
  • 1/2 c. sliced onion
  • 1 small head of baby bok choy, sliced with leaves set aside
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. minced ginger
  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • 3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 t. red chili paste (or to taste)
  • 10 steamed buns (previous post)

Heat a saucepan over medium high and a tablespoon of olive, peanut or sesame oil. Saute the carrots until they are crisp-tender.

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Add the onion, red pepper and bok choy. Continue to saute until the pepper slices are crisp-tender.

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Set vegetables aside. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan.

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Followed by the ground meat.

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Stir in the spices and brown the meat thoroughly.

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When the meat is brown, wilt the bok choy leaves on the side.

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Make the sauce: Combine the peanut butter and chili paste in a small bowl.

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Stir in the soy sauce. At this point you can also add some fresh cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, whatever.

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Split the buns and spread the sauce on the bottom of each one. Then top it with some of the meat.

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Add a large spoonful of veggies, ending with the bok choy leaves.

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Top it off and you’re ready to serve!

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One year ago: Soft Pumpkin Cookies

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by Heather Harris Brady

This is the time of year when it’s not so great to be a cook in a kitchen with no air conditioning. What to make? Tempting as it is to just fling cold cuts to the ravenous hordes who really wants another plain turkey sandwich? Or maybe your life is more exciting – it’s midnight and your kitchen is filled with post-theatre people-about-town who are also ravenous. In both cases, three words: wicked club sandwich. It’s a typical club sandwich that’s been hanging out in some questionable areas south of the Mason-Dixon, where it’s picked up a fried green tomato and a lashing of sriracha mayo. It’s also wicked good.

Wicked Club Sandwich

For each sandwich:

  • One slice fresh tomato
  • Two strips of bacon
  • Three slices of turkey
  • Sriracha mayo (equal parts mayo and sriracha sauce, or to taste)
  • Two slices fresh toasted bread or bun of your choice
  • One fried green tomato (ingredients follow)
  • Fine bread crumbs, fine cornmeal or cornflour
  • Sliced green tomato
  • Garlic powder
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Egg

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You”ll have to gauge how many green tomatoes to slice depending on your total number of sandwiches.

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In any case, beat the egg well in a bowl and combine the flour or crumbs with seasoning to taste.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Dip each green tomato slice in egg, then dredge in the flour.

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Fry until crisp and brown on each side.

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Stir up your sriracha mayo. I use close to equal parts of each, but it’s up to you.

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Now toast your bread or split bun lightly if you like. Spread it with the mayo. Add the fresh tomato to one side and the green tomato to the other. (You can’t see it here because it’s under the turkey.) Then put the turkey and bacon on the green tomato slice.)

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Voila! It’s wickedness is beckoning you. . .

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One year ago: Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

squashbbq6_little--house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

For the past few months I’ve been reading about Watson’s new vocation. The Jeopardy-playing IBM computer with no tastebuds has taken up cooking. I know.

Not only cooking, but apparently Watson has created an incredible, low-sugar, barbeque sauce based on wine and squash available for purchase. When I got over my skeptical indigation I thought – what a great idea! So before I get into my version of this recipe, let me tell you that I am also a new beta tester for the Bon Appetit Watson app. The first time I tried to log in the site was malfunctioning, but I look forward to trying it and reporting back to you. If you’re curious here’s the story.

In the meantime, here’s my take on a squash-and-wine based bbq sauce. It’s amazing on grilled chicken and roast pork, but it makes a great sauce for wraps too. If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around this concept, think of it as less a bbq sauce and more a complex chutney perhaps.

Butternut Squash BBQ Sauce ala Watson, Makes about three cups

  • One large butternut squash
  • One bottle sweet wine (I used a moscato.)
  • One fresh red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 T. fresh ground ginger
  • 2 T. fresh ground horseradish
  • Ponzu to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Wash, peel and chop the squash.

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Toss it with olive oil, spread it on a roasting pan and roast until soft.

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While the squash is cooking, pour the wine into saucepan and quickly reduce it by half.

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Add the squash and the vinegars. Then the red pepper and onion.

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Cook on medium to a thick puree, about 40 minutes. Give it a taste. If it’s too sweet add a little more vinegar.

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Add the ginger, horseradish, salt and ponzu. Taste and adjust as necessary. (You could toss in some red pepper flakes too.)

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You could puree this with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce, but I liked the texture so I left it.

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This sauce is actually better after it sits a day in the fridge so the flavors can blend.

One year ago: Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns

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by Heather Harris Brady

If you’re not blessed with hours to spend in the kitchen today you can still throw together a nice little St. Patrick’s Day dinner with this sauce and a quick stop at a deli. It’s great on its own with grilled bread for dipping, on sandwiches or a baked potato for a vegetarian option. This is a variation of my cheese fondue. I used a bottle of local Loch Ale by Arcadia Ales but any type of ale would work.

Cheddar Ale Sauce, Makes about two cups

  • One bottle dark ale
  • 1/2 lb. sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 c. diced onion
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • One bay leaf

Saute the onion in 1 T. of butter until soft, then add your bay leaf.

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Add the milk and the cheese cubes. Stir until the cheese starts to melt.

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Stir the cornstarch into one cup of the ale. Use a bright pink glass just to jazz things up.

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Stir the ale into the pan.

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It will be foamy at first but keep stirring constantly over low heat. In a few minutes it will all come together into a silky smooth sauce.

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Serve hot with bread for dipping or – make the world’s best corned beef sandwich like so!

I caramelized some onions and simmered them in the rest of the ale. Then I put them on one side of the bun, with the corned beef and sauce on the other side.

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It went off to work today with my Irish husband.

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Refrigerate any leftover sauce.

One year ago: Cream Scones

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