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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.


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


Pulse again to a fine homogenous mixture.


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



Add all the rest of the ingredients.


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


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


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


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


by Heather Harris Brady

I was in Greektown recently and it reminded me that’s it’s been a long time since I made a spinach pie, so when I saw the large boxes of spinach on sale I pounced on them. This is a great meatless entree in larger portions, and a lovely appetizer in smaller slices.

Spanakopita – Greek Spinach Pie, Makes one 8″ pie (about eight servings)

  • 11 oz.  baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. minced onion
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t. dill weed
  • 6 oz. feta cheese (I used the tomato/basil flavor)
  • 10 oz. cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 20 sheets of filo dough
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350. Wash the spinach.


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and add the fresh spinach. Saute for two-three minutes, tossing, until it’s wilted and bright green.


Transfer the spinach to a bowl and add the seasonings.


Then the cheeses. If you prefer a drier filling you can drain the cottage cheese ahead of time.


Beat the eggs, pour them over the top and mix it all together.


Lightly grease your pie dish and drape four filo sheets over the top. Brush them with butter and drape four more sheets over that layer, in the opposite direction. Brush those with butter and lay two more sheets over the middle of the dish.


Pour in the filling.


Fold the filo edges over the filling and lay two more sheets over the top. Tuck in all the edges and brush it all with butter.


Continue layering two sheets at a top, brushing each set with butter, until you’ve used them all.


Put the pie in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the center is set.


If the outside is browning too much for your liking you can finish it off in the microwave.


Cut into wedges and serve hot or warm.




Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Rewarm them in the oven if you want to preserve maximum crispness.

Three years ago: Gougeres
Two years ago: Brown Butter & Sea Salt Rice Krispie Treats
One year ago: Burmese Chicken Soup


by Heather Harris Brady

We headed into this week coming off a grueling 18-hour roadtrip so easy comfort food has been the order of the day all week. This fried rice is amazing, adaptable and it makes the house smell great. I used brown rice, but you could also use jasmine or basmati. I chose vegetables that are nice with the ground pork, but change it up for whatever you have lying around – that’s the beauty of it!

The crumbled potato chips are a tip I picked up from Bon Appetit, a standin for the wonton crisps I suppose, but they will surprise you on how well they blend in to the whole. I like to cut the vegetables into different shapes for pretty. I used zucchini in place of bamboo shoots.  This all goes quick, so make sure you have everything ready to go before you turn on the heat.


Fried Rice, Four servings

  • 3/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1 T. ground gingerroot
  • 3 c. cooked rice
  • 1/2 c. sliced onion
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 c. celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, cut in thin slices
  • 2 baby zucchini, cut in matchsticks
  • 1/2 c. crushed potato chips
  • Ponzu and chili paste to taste

Brown the pork with the garlic and ginger. When it’s cooked through, set it aside.


Heat the sesame and olive oil in a cast-iron (or other non-stick) pan. Add the onion.


When the onion is fragrant, add the eggs.


Scramble softly.


Add the rice, cook for a minute or so, stirring occasionally.


Then add all the vegetables except the zucchini. Toss until the rice starts to dry out, 3-5 minutes.


Add the seasoned pork. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, tossing every so often. More tossing means softer rice, less tossing means some crunchy crust mixed in – however you like it done.


Stir in half the potato chips, the ponzu and chili paste.


Top each serving with some zucchini and a sprinkle of potato chips. Serve warm, hot or cold if that’s how you roll.


Three years ago: Sweet Corn & Green Chili Tamales
Two years ago: Berry Crumb Cake
One year ago: Icelandic Almond Rolls




by Heather Harris Brady

While I have been using this crepe recipe from The Joy of Cooking for a few decades longer than I really like to think about, this is the first time I’ve treated them like a cheese blintz. But when I found some fresh farmer’s cheese in the grocery store I wanted to take it for a spin. If you haven’t tried it before it’s similar to ricotta and a package might look like this:


Although this batter needs to sit for 15 minutes, these crepes go together quickly and are nice for a brunch or light, hot-weather supper if you’re into that kind of thing like we are. I like to mix the batter up in a large measuring cup, so it’s easier to pour. If you have an actual crepe pan, great, if not a large non-stick pan will work.

Crepes with Farmer’s Cheese & Fresh Fruit, Serves four

For the crepes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 2 T. powdered sugar (leave this out if you’re making a savory dish)

For the filling:

  • 1 c. fresh farmer’s cheese
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/3 c. plain non-fat yogurt

4 c. fresh fruit of your choice, ready to serve

Beat the first four ingredients together in a large measuring cup.


Add the next three ingredients and whisk to blend.


There’ll still be a few lumps but that’s okay. Let the batter sit for at least 15 minutes.


While the batter is resting make the filling. Stir the sugar and farmer’s cheese together.


Then whip the yogurt in by hand. Put it in the fridge until you’ve finished the crepes.


Heat the pan and add about a tablespoon of batter. Swirl the pan around to cover the bottom. It should start to set immediately.


When you see a brown lacey edge it’s ready to turn.


Sometimes if the pan isn’t yet hot enough it will stick a little. But that’s okay.


When you get rolling they will turn nicely.


When you’ve used all the batter you’re ready to fill them.


Turn a crepe mottled side up and schmear a spoonful of cheese filling on it.


Roll it up, starting with the filled side and put it on a plate. Continue on, two crepes per serving.


Remember that one from before that didn’t turn? If you have others like that, that won’t roll as nicely, you can still spread them with cheese. Just fold them in quarters instead.


Top each serving with a cup of sliced fresh fruit and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.



Even if you’re making this for two go ahead and make the full batch of crepes. They freeze well between sheets of waxed paper and they’ll be ready to go when you are.

Two years ago: Macarons, Italian Style
One year ago: Traverse Cherry Pie


by Heather Harris Brady

I know, a whole lotta people hate beets. But if you’re one of them then you’re probably skipping this post anyway.

I happen to really like them. I like them even more when they’re ginned up with some vinegar and sprinkled with feta or goat cheese. Roasted beets are your friend. You can make a big batch on Sunday and enjoy them in your lunches for a week or two.

I like to use different colors of beets if I can find them, and if you can find heirlooms so much the better. I’m using golden beets and regular red beets here.

Roasted Beet Salad, Enough for six entree-sized salads

  • Six whole beets, about 4″ across, washed and scrubbed
  • Two c. water
  • 1 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 t. salt
  • 8 oz. feta or goat cheese
  • Fresh toasted nuts for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375. Rub the beets with olive oil and put them in a baking dish. Bake for about 60 minutes, until tender all the way through.


Let the beets cool, then peel and slice them 1/4″ thick. Keep the red beets away from the others or they will turn red! I put them directly in storage containers at this point.


Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave for about 30 seconds and stir until the sugar and salt is dissolved.


Pour the mixture over the beets and refrigerate them. Let them sit overnight and they’re ready to use!


Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle them with the cheese and nuts. You can go crazy here, add some grains, put them over lettuce, drizzle on a little balsamic dressing, whatever you like.


This makes a great vegetarian entree too.


Two years ago: Seeded Crackers
One year ago: Classic Italian Buttercream


by Heather Harris Brady

This is a favorite order of mine at Korean restaurants, and it’s a nice choice if you’re cooking out this weekend and want to mix things up. It’s best if you grill the meat over charcoal, but due to weather and other factors I had to cook mine inside. It was still delicious. This marinade recipe is based on one published by Maangchi on her terrific site. Start this a day or two before you’re ready to grill.

Bulgogi, Makes four servings

  • 1 lb. good quality sirloin steak
  • ½ c. applesauce
  • ¼ c. onion purée, or finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 t. gingeroot puree
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • Thin slices of carrot
  • Rice noodles
  • 1 pkg. Asian cabbage blend (optional)
  • Kimchee for the side

Put the beef in the freezer for an hour or so, until it’s nearly frozen through. Shave slices against the grain as thinly as possible and set them aside.


Combine all the marinade ingredients and stir well.



Add the beef to the marinade, cover it well and refrigerate it until you’re ready to barbeque – but let it sit in the marinade for at least a day.


When you’re ready to cook, cook your rice noodles according to package directions and set them aside. I like to drizzle them with a little sesame oil to keep them from sticking together.


Remove the meat from the marinade. The easiest way to grill it is to thread the pieces on skewers, but I had to cook mine on the stove so you always have that option as well. I started by stir-frying some Asian cabbage in a skillet with a splash of sesame oil.


Then I stir-fried the meat until it was no longer pink (about three minutes).


Marry the meat and vegetables together quickly. Divide the noodles between bowls and spoon the meat mixture over them.


Serve with kimchee and extra hot sauce on the side.

Two years ago: Moroccan Baked Chicken
One year ago: Wild Mushrooms Florentine


by Heather Harris Brady

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be working in some south-of-the-border recipes as we head toward Cinco de Mayo. Today I’m bringing you arepas. Now they might be street food in your neck of the woods, but should you not be that lucky the good news is – it’s easy to make your own.

You do need the special masa, pre-cooked cornmeal, which you can order online. Note: This is not to be confused with masa harina. It’s often called masarepa or just look for the bag marked P.A.N.


I found it at my local Latino grocery, where the shopkeeper said most people prefer the Venezulean variety as opposed to the Colombian one. It comes in white cornmeal, yellow cornmeal and a sweetened variety. I’m using the plain white cornmeal.

You can cook these as patties, then split them for filling – or you can cook them filled with just about anything – cheese, refried beans, chopped veggies or meat. As you knead it the dough takes on a super-fun resilient texture that feels great when you work with it. These remind me very much of the fried cornmeal mush my grandma used to make, just in a different form. They’re gluten-free, easy, quick and delicious – and they’d make a terrific vegetarian entree.

Arepas, Makes about eight 3″ filled patties

  • 2 c. precooked cornmeal
  • 2 T. softened butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2-1/2 c. warm water
  • 1-1/2 c. filling ingredients (shredded cheese, refried beans, etc.)


Combine the cornmeal and salt in a bowl. Swirl the warm water in with your fingertips. As the dough starts to come together knead in the butter. Continue kneading for two minutes until you have a soft, bouncy dough.


Assemble your filling ingredients. I’m using leftover fajita chicken, chopped fine, and cheese.


Pat a round of dough out into a circle and add a dab of filling.


Top it with another circle and pinch around the edges to seal.


When you have all your patties formed, heat 2 T. of olive oil in a heavy skillet. (You also grill these.)


Cook for about four-five minutes, until nicely browned. Then turn and do the other side.


Serve these hot with salsa or another spicy sauce of your choice.


Two years ago: Fresh Ginger Carrot Muffins
One year ago: Chicken Kiev with Farro Pilaf


by Heather Harris-Brady

There were quite a few new baking likes this morning so I hope that you are all having a lovely time baking your way into spring! I apologize for the single post this week, I’ve got some lingering cold that I’m trying to fight off. Speaking of cold, if it’s still chilly where you are this manicotti is a great way to warm up. You can make the sauce while you’re at work, assemble it and have a nice pan of fresh manicotti for dinner – or, just substitute two jars of your favorite marinara for the sauce.

Baked Manicotti & World’s Easiest Marinara, Makes one 13 x 9 pan (about 10 servings)


  • Two large cans (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 5 T. butter
  • 1/2 onion, peeled but still intact


  • One package manicotti shells
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan
  • 3/4 c. ricotta or other soft fresh cheese
  • One egg
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 8 oz. mozzarella

Combine all the marinara ingredients in a slow cooker. Turn it on low, cover it and come back six hours later.

Cook the shells according to package directions. While the shells are cooking make the filling.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the turkey. Cook it thoroughly. Add the garlic during the last minute.

Combine it in a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients except the mozzarella. Stir well.


Preheat the oven to 375. Drain the shells and set up your assembly area. Discard the onion from the marinara sauce and spoon enough sauce into your pan to cover the bottom.


Stuff the shells with the turkey filling. I had a little extra filling left so I put it on top.


Cover the shells with the rest of the sauce.


Slide the pan into the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Put the mozzarella on top for the last few minutes.


Serve hot with a fresh salad. Refrigerate any leftovers. This keeps well and I think it’s actually better the second day.


Two years ago: Chorizo Burgers
One year ago: Dulce de leche Ice Cream Sundae


by Heather Harris Brady

As I’ve teased in previous posts, I’m a new member of Daring Bakers. Each month a member creates a challenge for everyone else, and we all make the same thing – more or less! My first challenge was for filled buns. Challenge accepted.

The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.  For the recipe visit the Daring Bakers website.

Here’s my step by step – I made a few changes to the process based on my experience, but not the ingredients.



I stirred in two cups of the flour, let it hydrate for a few minutes, then stirred in the other two cups.


This gave me a soft dough that seemed quite manageable.


While the dough was rising I made the fillings – a satay style, a Korean BBQ and one surprise you’ll see at the end! But first I browned a pound of ground turkey.


I set half of it aside. To the half still in the pan I added 1/2 c. diced onion, 1/2 c. diced carrots, 1 T. garlic and 1 T. ground ginger.


I let it cook together until the carrots were just tender. Then I added 1/3 c. peanut butter (natural, creamy), 3 T. fish sauce, and 2 T. soy sauce.


Simmer for another five minutes.


While the satay cooked I stirred 1/2 c. Korean BBQ sauce into the turkey I set aside.


Since I’ve covered bun-making thoroughly in the past few weeks I’ll skip the details from here.



At this point I preheated the oven, when the buns were nearly double.


I brushed them with an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T. water).



I baked them for about 20 minutes, they came out a pretty golden brown.


The egg wash made the tops nicely crunchy, and pretty.


Voila – my first challenge completed!


Then, because my kids were starving and I know you can get such an item at a Chinese bakery – I used the rest of the dough to wrap turkey hot dogs.




Two years ago: Baked Custard
One year ago: Chocolate Strawberry Birthday Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

Sushi originated sometime before the second century A.D., when people in parts of China started wrapping fish in rice to preserve it via fermentation for later meals. At first the rice was discarded, until some thrifty soul ate the whole thing.  This technique spread to Japan, and in the 1600s people started adding rice vinegar to the rice and serving it as-is. Heaven knows I did not grow up in a sushi-eating household, although we did eat a lot of other interesting pickled things both animal and vegetable.

Sushi is a fun project and it’s easy! The first thing you need is the proper wrapping:


One package will make a LOT of sushi. The sheets are beautiful, with the fresh smell of the sea:


The second thing you need is rice, and it needs to be sushi rice. If you’re a country dweller like I am you can often find this in the bulk section of food co-ops, or in the Asian aisle of your grocery.

California Rolls, Makes three rolls – about 24 pieces of sushi

  • 3/4 lb. cooked king crab legs, cleaned
  • Half of one avocado
  • Half of one cucumber
  • 1-1/2 c. sushi rice
  • 3 T. rice vinegar
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled ginger

Wash the rice gently in a strainer until the water runs clear. Then combine it in a pan with 2 c. water and leave it to soak for 30 minutes. (You can also use a rice cooker for this part.)


Turn on the heat and bring the rice to a gentle boil. Cover the pan and cook for about 12 minutes. The rice should be just tender and the water will be absorbed. Spread the rice out in a bowl.


Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Microwave it for about 30 seconds and stir to dissolve the sugar.


Pour the vinegar over the rice and mix it through gently with your fingers. Set it aside.


Clean your vegetables. Cut the avocado into thin strips and the cucumber into thin matchsticks. I did some zucchini too, because when it’s your sushi you make the rules!


A bamboo rolling mat is nice. You don’t have to spring for a “real” one. You can use a bamboo placemat, part of a windowshade, whatever as long as it’s impeccably clean. Or, you could use a dry piece of parchment paper.

Lay out one sheet of the seaweed.


Spoon out one-third of the rice and pat it into a thinnish layer. Put some of the crab int the center. Make sure you’ve pulled out all the pesky bits of cartilage.


Lay the vegetables next to the crab.


Pick up the edge of the mat and fold out the outside (long) edge over the filling. Tuck the ends under with your fingers then roll the mat up. Press down lightly as you go to seal the edges.


When you roll the mat back you will have a lovely California roll.



I made these in the afternoon, about two hours before dinner, so I wrapped them in waxed paper and put them in the fridge. I like my sushi really cold.


When you’re ready to serve unwrap the rolls and cut them into eight slices. I cut them in half first, and then cut each half in half until I have eight even pieces.


Arrange them on a plate so everyone can admire your handiwork.


Serve the sushi with the pickled ginger on the side and little cups so people can mix the soy sauce and wasabi to their liking.

Have a great Valentine’s weekend everyone – thank you for following this blog!
Two years ago: Gougeres
One year ago: Chard Quiche


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My Favorite Movies/Shows – Food Related

  • Chef's Table (!)
  • Chocolat
  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Hundred Foot Journey
  • Ratatouille
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Master Chef (NPR)
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