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Cooking Method: Baking

Tart Cherry-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks, Sesame Miso Spinach by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

I am my father’s daughter in my love for cherries.  My father didn’t ‘bother’ with most fruit, with the exception of cherries and blueberries. And the blueberries had to be made into homemade pies to attract his attention.

 

I thought cherries were delicious as well.  And I also knew that they were special: they were only available for a short few weeks in early summer, they were expensive enough to be semi-rationed by my mother and that my ‘fruit-phobic’ father really enjoyed them.

 

In this recipe, cherries (cherry juice, actually) become a vehicle for combining Asian flavors, especially the pungently spicy Korean Gochujang paste with familiar garlic and ginger to glaze roasted chicken legs.

 

The dish can be made ahead and eaten at room temperature with the sautéed miso spinach. 

 

Great for a beach picnic!

 

 

Chickpea & Cauliflower Salad with Spiced Tahini Dressing by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

Instead of taking last year’s pasta salad to your summer get-togethers …why not show-off with this show-stopper?   It’s very easy to make:  roast some seasoned cauliflower pieces and open a couple of cans of chickpeas!  (Well, OK, plus make a very simple and quick tahini dressing!)

 

Roasted cauliflower is ‘meaty’ and especially delicious with this tahini dressing.  And the recipe makes extra dressing that would be great with grilled lamb and/or beef in a pita bread and crunchy vegetable sandwich.

 

 

Roasted Cauliflower Wedges with Clarified Butter and Tahini Sauce by Foodie’s Market Chef Laura Brennan

 

Roasted cauliflower lives up to its hype; roasting greatly improves the flavor. 

I have always roasted smaller pieces of cauliflower or ‘flowerets’, coated in extra-virgin olive oil in a hot oven, with great success. However, I have less successfully roasted cauliflower ‘slices’ which seem to always fall apart. Hence, the roasted wedge recipe here: each quarter piece is still attached to the core during roasting.  To add flavor, I first prepared clarified butter and used this fat as my cooking medium.  Cauliflower and butter are a complementary pairing and clarifying the butter first, removes the dairy ‘solids’ and enhances the ‘nuttiness’ of the finished dish.

 

 

A Frittata Savory Custard for your lunch box by Foodie’s Market’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

My old-school Italian grandmother, Giuseppina, always had a frittata or the makings of a frittata on the stovetop.  I say this because there was ALWAYS a pan of sautéed peppers around.  I was intrigued by the pile of glistening strips that always seemed more ‘animal’ than ‘vegetable’.  If it was summer, they were just waiting to be turned into a frittata; a quick-cooking supper dish which wouldn’t make the kitchen any hotter.

 

I have modernized her frittata a bit:  the peppers are dehydrated, I’ve used two different cheeses and I have baked them in muffin tins in the oven in a water-bath.  They are now suitable to be packed up for lunch on-the-go.

 

(And a frittata would typically be made with leftover bits & pieces of vegetables and cheeses; it was frugal as well as efficient. Food was not wasted.)

 

 

Pasta with Pesto, Green Beans and Crispy Potatoes A Dinner Against the Clock Recipe By Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

Pasta with pesto, green beans and potatoes is a classic dish from the Liguria region of Italy. This region comprises a narrow crescent of land that curves around the sea at the ‘top of the boot’ and stretches from the French border into Tuscany.

 

This dish was one of my favorites at cooking school; I made the pesto by hand using a mortar and pestle.  And of course, I made fresh pasta as well.  A labor of love.

 

Fast forward a few decades and I now buy pre-made pesto, and use excellent quality dried Italian pasta, either linguine or trenette, a fettuccine-shaped flat noodle, traditionally served in Liguria.  I look for pesto that is made with at least 50% extra virgin olive oil and is sugar-free.  Read labels.   And I have substituted crispy potatoes for the boiled potatoes.  The crunch of the crispy potato is a great contrast to the overall softness of the dish.  This truly is a quick dish to prepare…you could have dinner on the table in 35 minutes or less.

 

 

SPICED CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

Chicken Masala is an Indian dish that’s fairly quick and easy to prepare. If you like Indian spices then this is a good dish to practice the art of combining aromatic and assertive spices. Having trained with a French chef (Madeleine Kamman) and being of Italian heritage, I was once very hesitant to push my taste buds outside their comfortable European borders. But, I was completely smitten with the food of Paula Wolfert (traditional Moroccan cooking) and Ana Sortun (modern Turkish cuisine). And I started to cook with different spices and slowly developed a ‘taste-memory’ for them. Once you can remember what new spices taste like, separately and combined, you can begin to incorporate them into your repertoire with confidence.

Classic French Potato Gratin by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

I had chores to do after school and thankfully one of them was dinner prep. That was more enjoyable than say…folding clothes.  One of my Irish-German aunts taught me how to make ‘scalloped potatoes’:  sliced potatoes layered in a rectangular glass Pyrex dish with milk, margarine(!), salt and pepper.  No cheese or other flavors as I recall. Usually served with ham.  It was yummy, but the milk always curdled a bit rendering it more utilitarian than beautiful.  (Some recipes add a sprinkle of flour, but we never did.)                      Fast forward fifteen years and I’m enrolled in The Modern Gourmet Cooking School in Newton Center.  And we make a layered potato dish with a beautiful name: “Gratin Dauphinoise”.  The ingredients, in addition to the potatoes; more thinly and evenly sliced, now include a fine parsley-garlic mix (‘persillade’), heavy cream, salt, fresh ground white pepper & nutmeg and often gruyere cheese.  WOW!

 

I’ve continued to make many more potato gratins in my long career.  And in a nod to healthier eating, I don’t use heavy cream any more.  I think half-and-half has enough milk fat to prevent curdling.  It’s still a rich dish, worthy of a special occasion. For Easter, I’m serving this gratin with roast pork, so I’m flavoring the cream (that bathe the potatoes in the oven) with Dijon mustard, fresh thyme sprigs and crushed garlic cloves.  The infused cream will subtly flavor the potatoes and the top will be beautifully browned. It will be a delicious and elegant addition to the Easter buffet. 

 

BRIE en CROUTE by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

The BIG game is fast approaching and I don’t like chicken wings with sriracha-hot sauce overload!  So, I’m changing it up and bringing a baked brie to the party.  I’ll prepare it ahead of time and bake it at my friend’s just as the pre-game starts.  Served alongside fresh fruit and veggies; it’s a bit of healthy eating on an otherwise indulgent buffet table.

 

Chicken Thighs with “Forty Cloves of Garlic” by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is a classic French country dish. The garlic cloves mellow considerably in pungency during the cooking process and become sweet little delicious nuggets. This is a quick dish for a holiday supper that can be made ahead and re-heated.
Don’t be daunted by the thought of peeling 40 cloves of garlic—rubbing the cloves vigorously between your palms helps the papery skins to slide off. Another trick is to work them between two metal bowls: put the garlic cloves in the bottom of a metal bowl and place an equal-sized bowl on top. Twist, push and rock the top bowl over the bottom bowl holding the garlic cloves. This technique also helps to loosen the skins.

Dairy-free Pumpkin Noodle Kugel by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

I have substituted almond milk for the usual cream or milk found in a Kugel recipe.  There are eggs in this recipe to build the custard, but the butter to grease the baking dish has been replaced with canola or coconut oil. (You may, of course use butter if you wish.)  And finally, I baked the Kugel in a water-bath for slow, gentle cooking.