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smoresbar1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I worked on this recipe over the holiday weekend since we’re heading into prime picnic/beach season. Just about everyone loves smores but sometimes they’re a pain. You’ve got to tote all the ingredients with you, make sure you can get a fire going and keep people from eating the marshmallows and chocolate beforehand – which, let’s face it, is not an easy task. You can bake these squares in a leisurely, civilized way and even wrap them individually for your picnic basket. All the goodness of smores neatly in hand, and if the firewood’s wet you can still have dessert. And did I mention they’re whole-grain?

S’mores Bars, Makes one 13×9 pan (about 20 squares)

  • 4 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • Two eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. graham flour
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. quinoa flour
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 c. marshmallow creme
  • 6 oz. mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the sugars and the butter together well.

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

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Then the dry ingredients.

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Then the applesauce. You should have a thick creamy batter.

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Spread half the batter in a lightly greased 13×9 pan and sprinkle it with the chocolate chips.

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Add dollops of marshmallow creme. I smoothed it a little bit with a wet spoon.

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Then cover it with the rest of the batter.

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Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until nicely brown.

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I sprinkled some more chips on top right when it came out of the oven.

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When it’s completely cool you can cut it into squares.

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The marshmallow will stay nice and fluffy. Store at room temperature covered with plastic wrap. The applesauce will keep them nice and chewy.

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Two years ago: Baked Beans in a Beanpot
One year ago: Quick Peach Turnovers

cudighi1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve lived in Michigan all my life, the wrong parts apparently, because I’d never heard of cudighi until last week when I came across it in its natural habitat – the wilds of Ishpeming in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ishpeming is in the heart of U.P. mining country, with its long winters and colossal chunks of rock. We have the Italian immigrants to this area to thank for cudighi, a spicy patty of seasoned meat on a hard roll. At Ralph’s Italian Deli you can order it in pork or turkey versions with cheese, ketchup, mustard and onion or with pizza sauce and cheese.  On two different visits I tried both the pork and turkey, then when I got home I set to developing my own. It’s got tailgate and Super Bowl party written all over it!

Cudighi, Makes four large sandwiches

  • One one-lb. package of ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 2 t. fennel seed, freshly ground
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 t. Tony Chacere’s Cajun seasoning (other hot seasoning mix)
  • One green pepper, diced
  • One 8 oz. package of sliced white mushrooms
  • ½ lb. provolone cheese
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese
  • One 8 oz. can pizza sauce
  • Four oblong hard rolls

Mix the seasonings into the meat well and set aside.

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I used one electric griddle for everything, but you could use frying pans if you prefer. Saute the mushrooms and pepper in 1 T. olive oil, until the peppers are soft and the mushrooms are brown.

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Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Form the meat into thin (1/2” thick) oblong patties shaped to fit the rolls you’re using. Brown the patties on each side, and then cover until they are cooked through.

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Top each patty with some cheese and put a lid on them again until the cheese melts. (At Ralph’s they assemble the sandwiches and put them under the broiler to melt the cheese, but it was too hot to turn the oven on.)

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While the cheese is melting, split the rolls and spread pizza sauce on each side (add a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese if you like).

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Divide the mushrooms and peppers into four servings and pile them on the bottom side of each roll.

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Top the veggies with the cudighi hot from the pan and squish the whole thing together.

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Cut into halves. Serve hot with chips and lots of napkins. (PS: The proper pronounciation is COO-dih-gee, if you’re wondering.)

One year ago: Fallen Chocolate Cakes

dulcesundae_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

We just finished a spot of traveling recently and this was one of the best things I ate the whole time. As soon as I got home I set out to recreate it so I could share it with you. This recipe is based on a dessert from Hello Betty in Oceanside CA. Two huge scoops of ice cream on top of a spiced brownie afloat in a dish of hot fudge. They sprinkle the top with pumpkin seed brittle, which is delicious. If you’d like to go that route here’s my recipe for the brittle.

I’m breaking this recipe into two parts, and sharing a new brownie recipe on Thursday. But if you need to make it like NOW, here’s my go-to brownie recipe and the hot fudge. Just sprinkle the top with cinnamon after they’re baked. If I could send along the beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean to enjoy with this dessert I would!

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, Makes about one quart

  • 1 c. dulce de leche (or one can sweetened condensed milk, poured in a pan and baked at 325 for 35-45 minutes until caramelized)
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 eggs, beat well and set aside
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla

Additional dessert ingredients:

  • Brownies (one per serving, see above)
  • Hot Fudge

Combine the cream and milk over medium heat.

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Stir together the sugar and cornstarch, then whisk it into the milk. When it starts to thicken slightly, whisk 1/2 c. of the hot milk into the eggs, then whisk the warmed eggs into the pan.

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Heat to bubbling, then whisk in the dulce de leche.

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When you’ve stirred the dulce in completely, take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a shallow metal pan and put into the refrigerator to cool completely (or speed things up by putting it in the freezer).

Set up your ice cream freezer and pour in the custard base.

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Freeze according to the directions for your machine. If possible let the ice cream ripen in the freezer for an hour or two before serving so it will firm up.

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Option: Put 1/2 c. pecan halves in a bowl with 1 T. butter. Microwave for 45 seconds, then stir. Microwave for another 15 seconds. Toss with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Chop the pecans and fold them into the ice cream right when it finishes churning or keep them out for a garnish.

To assemble the desserts:

Put a brownie in a bowl or in the center of a dessert plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle liberally with hot fudge sauce.

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Top with a large scoop of ice cream and garnish with the toasted pecans.

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One year ago: New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Thyme

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by Heather Harris Brady

Our little patch of heaven has gotten quite a bit of press lately. A while back Good Morning America viewers named the Sleeping Bear Dunes the most beautiful place in America and now Leland is featured in the July issue of Martha Stewart Living.

With the kids gone this weekend hubs and I decided to take a little road trip to stock the pantry so I thought I would take you guys along for the ride! After all you see the dunes in the header all the time but you haven’t seen much else. Truth is, since I work all week (and spend a lot of evenings at the dance school) I don’t see it all that much either. There’s amazing food everywhere, which is probably one of the reasons I like it so much.

So we’re heading out through Maple City, which contains everything one needs for basic survival: gas station, post office, grocery store, pizza place. The grocery store, Gabe’s, is on the right below. They smoke their own meat and you can smell it driving through.

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Heading north from Maple City we pass Lime Lake:

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Down the road a bit we make a right on 204 and a right on French Road, ending up at Chateau Fontaine. There’s over 20 wineries less than 40 minutes from our house. The wine industry here is still small enough that, at least in the off-season, there’s a good chance the winemaker or owner is pouring in the tasting room – which is cool.

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There’s lots of orchards all along, and right now they’re just starting the tart cherry harvest. So you know what that means – a cherry pie post is imminent!

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Next stop, NJ’s in Lake Leelanau for Indian spices and carryout.

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Bella Fortuna next door was having an afternoon cooking class (note to self – check back on these!):

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After that, 45 North for gewurztraminer and another bottle of red:

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Finally, Cedar for housemade smoked brats and tacos at Cedar Sol:

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Here’s part of our haul! I hope you enjoyed your tour, watch for these ingredients to show up over the next few weeks! If you’re in the area here’s my Google map to the wineries.

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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)
  • Julia's Kitchen (NPR)
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