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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

Okay, finishing up the Moroccan menu today and then we’ll get down to the holiday baking! This grated carrot salad is bright, fresh and easy to love – packed with vitamins and a nice counterpoint to rich holiday foods. The apple burek is my variation of an individual m’hanncha, a Moroccan filo dessert shaped like a snail or a snake, depending on how you want to look at it. I made it as an alternative to a heavier apple pie. Aside from the sprinkling of powdered sugar, this apple burek is sweetened only by the apples and honey.

I’m combining these two because both recipes are so short.


Grated Carrot Salad, Makes six servings


  • Five large well-flavored carrots (heirloom would be great here)
  • Two large navel oranges
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Grate the carrots on a fine blade and put them in your serving dish.


Segment the two oranges over the dish, so you catch any juice. If you are new to segmenting citrus, here’s how:

First, cut the top and bottom peel away, so it sits nicely. I like to use a serrated knife myself.


Next, cut the sides away, following the curve of the fruit.


Now, holding the fruit carefully in your palm, cut each segment loose.


When you’re done you’ll have a stack of the membranes, like the pages of a book.


In the bowl you will have lots of pretty segments.


Toss the oranges and carrots with the lemon juice, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve well-chilled. This keeps several days.


Apple Burek, Makes about five servings

  • Three fresh apples sliced, a mixture of varieties is good
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 package of filo dough
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 3 T. water
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Put the apples in a saucepan with 1 T. of water. Cook on medium-low until you have a thick, chunky applesauce.



Stir in the cinnamon and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400. Beat the egg, melted butter and water together in a bowl and set aside.

Unwrap your filo and separate out three leaves, keeping the rest covered. Dab the sheets all over with the egg wash.


Spoon out a line of apple filling near the bottom of the sheet.


Roll the dough over the filling and continue rolling until you get to the end, adding more egg wash as necessary. Now you will have a long, cigarette shaped log with the filling in middle. Starting at one end, spiral the log around itself so you end up with a snail shape.


Brush the end with more egg wash to seal it and move it to a greased baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining sheets of filo.


Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.




Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon, serve warm or at room temperature.


Two years ago: Apricot Ginger Biscotti
One year ago: Fruitcake 2.0


by Heather Harris Brady

Since it’s getting to be rainy cold and flu season here’s a hot dish to help ward off any flagging spirits. It’s a great dish to make your own, by adjusting the seasoning, adding herbs or cheese to the biscuits, whatever. My grandmother could really get mileage out of a stewing chicken. She’d poach it, use the stock, use some of the meat as it. Any meat leftover would get dredged in seasoned flour and crisped up in butter.

This recipe will likely leave you with some extra chicken and a few extra plain biscuits, do with them what you will. In any case, dishes don’t get more comforting than this one.

Farmhouse Chicken and Biscuits, Six generous servings

  • One whole stewing chicken, about two pounds
  • One cup of baby carrots
  • Three potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ a medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 2 T. cornstarch stirred into 1/3 c. dry cooking sherry
  • Seasonings to taste: bay leaves, cracked black pepper, etc.
  • 1-3/4 c. regular all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2/3 c. milk

Poach the chicken. I find a crockpot works amazingly well. Wash the chicken and remove any giblets. Place the chicken in the crockpot with one cup of water, cover and cook on low about four hours.


The chicken is done when the breast meat pulls easily from the bone.



At some point while the chicken is poaching boil the potatoes until they are crisp-tender, repeat with the carrots. Rinse them under cold water, drain and set them aside. (You can cook them in stock if you want too.)

Separate the chicken, reserving any stock from the crockpot.


Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a saucepan and saute the onion until soft.


Add the stock from the crockpot and as much as additional as you need to bring it to three cups. Just eye-ball it, doesn’t need to be exact. Add the bay leaf and seasonings, simmer for about five minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and whisk until thickened.


Set aside and preheat the oven to 375.

Lightly grease a three-quart casserole dish and line the bottom with the potatoes, followed by the carrots.


Dice the poached chicken to cover the vegetables and pour the thickened stock over the top.


Set the dish aside while you make the biscuits.


Combine the flour and baking powder, then cut in the butter. Stir in the milk quickly, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead it for five-six quick turns. Roll it out to ½” thick and cut into rounds. You can reroll the extras.


Gently lay the rounds on top of the casserole to cover it completely and set the casserole dish on a baking sheet just in case it bubbles over.


You can put any extra biscuits on the sheet too.

Slide the casserole into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until the biscuits are brown on top and the sauce is bubbling.



Serve hot. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.


One year ago: Cream Cheese Coffeecake


by Heather Harris Brady

This a quick, easy recipe for a weekend side-dish that protein-packed yet vegetarian. It’s a pretty way to show off the little round Eight-Ball zucchini I have here, or you can use another shape.

Quinoa-Parmesan Stuffed Zucchini, Serves four as a side dish

  • Two large-size round zucchini
  • 6 oz. quinoa (any type is okay)
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. butter
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Split and hollow the zucchini, leaving a 1/2″ wall all around.


Steam the cleaned halves, either in the microwave or in a bamboo steamer, until just tender (about 10 minutes in a bamboo steamer).

While the zucchini is cooking, cook the quinoa if you’re not using pre-cooked grain. Drain and toss it with the butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 (or not, and use the microwave to heat the stuffed squash through).

Combine the quinoa with the cheese, and stuff each shell, mounding the stuffing slightly.



Place the stuffed squash in a buttered baking dish or microwavable dish. Heat through until the cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes in the oven.


Serve hot, with a grinding of fresh pepper.
One year ago: Barbeque Sauce


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


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


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.


Fry until crisp and brown on each side.



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



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.)


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



One year ago: Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


by Heather Harris Brady

This is a nice spring risotto that you can adapt to whatever’s in season, just follow the basic technique. To make a true risotto you need short, fat Arborio rice, other rice just won’t give you the same creamy texture. If I can find at my mega-grocery in the wilds of northern Michigan I’m guessing bags of it are lurking somewhere nearby you as well. If not, you can easily find it online.

Since it’s wild onion (ramp) time here I threw some in for kicks. They look like this:


You clean them and chop them like any fresh green onion.

Asparagus & Wild Mushroom Risotto, Serves four as a side or two as an entree

  • 1 c. Arborio rice
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and cleaned with tough bottoms removed
  • 1 c. chopped wild or cultivated mushrooms
  • 1/3 c. chopped wild onions (or shallots)
  • 4-6 c. good-quality chicken stock
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Add 1 T. olive and 2 T. butter to a saucepan. Saute the mushrooms and onions until soft. Remove them and set them aside.


Add the rice to the skillet (adding another tablespoon olive oil if you need it). Stir it around until it starts to get transparent.



Add 2 c. of chicken stock.



When it’s nearly all absorbed, add another cup. Then continue on adding stock by the 1/2 cup until the rice is al dente. Cut the asparagus stalks in half and toss the stalks on top of the rice.


You could steam them separately but I’m kind of lazy, also, I aim for as few dirty dishes as possible. (And hey, it’s adding flavor, right?) When the stalks are al dente stir in the asparagus tips, mushrooms and onions.


Fold in the cheese.


Season to taste, serve hot. You could switch in vegetable stock for the chicken and increase the serving size for a nice vegetarian entree.


One year ago: Baked Beans in a Beanpot


by Heather Harris Brady

Spring has finally sprung in my neck of the woods and it’s time for morels (MORE-relles) and wild leeks. These are a seasonal delicacy, hard to cultivate and they retail for around $44/lb fresh.


This is how they look before cooking. Most people just saute them in butter and call it a day but I thought I’d give you a fancier recipe that will dress up any type of mushroom. With the vol-u-vent shells it makes a pretty appetizer for a dinner party.

Wild Mushrooms Florentine, Serves 6 as an appetizer

  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms (these can be a mix or all one variety), cleaned and sliced
  • 1/3 c. diced wild leeks (ramps) or shallots
  • 1 pint light cream
  • 1 T. sherry or madeira
  • 1 T. white wine
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 c. baby leaf spinach
  • 1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan
  • Seasonings to taste
  • 1/2 sheet puff pastry
  • Egg wash made with one beaten egg and 1 T. water

Preheat the oven to 400. Mark the puff pastry into twelve even squares. Prick half of them all over with a fork, and cut smaller squares in the middle of the other six.


Lay the pricked squares on a lightly greased cookie sheet and brush the edges with the egg wash.


Top them with the six remaining squares. Make sure there is a clean cut on each side so they will rise evenly.



Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. While the shells are baking, saute the leeks in 1 t. butter and 1 T. olive oil.


Add the mushrooms. I’m using a combination of morels and button mushrooms.


Saute for about five minutes. Then add the sherry and the cream.


Combine the cornstarch and white wine, stir until smooth. Stir it into the sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium, until it thickens slightly.  Add the spinach leaves.



Place a puff pastry shell on each plate, sprinkle a pinch of parmesan into each shell  and fill them with a heaping spoonful of sauce.  Serve hot.

One year ago: Apple Oat Bran Muffins


by Heather Harris Brady

While most of my posts come from my kitchen at home I’m breaking new ground here to bring you this post – lunch at my desk. As spring creeps in at a glacial pace I still find myself craving nice salads for lunch. It’s a great gluten free, vegetarian entree, plus it’s a cinch to throw together in-situ, making it handy for picnics and tailgates too!

Chickpea Salad, Makes about 3 cups

  •  One 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • One ready-to-eat container of brown rice (0ptional)
  • 1/4 c. good-quality olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste



Before you leave home in the morning combine the last five ingredients together in a container. Put the beans, tomatoes and cheese in your bag along with the dressing. Refrigerate when you get to work.


When you’re ready for lunch, heat the brown rice according to directions. (Mine cooks in one minute.) Warm up the dressing if it has thickened in the refrigerator.


Stir the cheese into the dressing and mix well.


Combine the beans, tomatoes, and rice in a bowl and pour the cheese/dressing on top. Mix well.


That’s it! This recipe makes enough for at least two lunches, if you put it over greens it would probably stretch to three, so make sure you refrigerate any leftovers.


One year ago: Yogurt Flatbread (Naan)


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August 2017
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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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