­

Cooking Method: Sauté

Carrot Mash with Slow-Cooked Chard, Harissa Yogurt Swirl & Chopped Pistachios by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

It’s a cumbersome title, I know.  It’s just a description of a dish composed of flavors, textures, spices and crunch.

 

 It was delicious on its own. And while eating it, I thought a side of grilled lamb skewers would be a great accompaniment. 

 

To this end, I’m proposing a new “Me-Too-Vegetable” movement where meat and protein dishes accompany the vegetables in a reversal of hierarchy.

 

I recommend reading through the recipe to figure out how to best maximize your time and efforts.  For example, the carrot puree could be made the day before and re-heated. Dice all the onions for the recipe at one time (1 ½ cups) and divide to use.  Or the chard, when prepped, could be cooking at the same time as the carrot puree/mash.

 

 

Mixed-Media Vegetarian Udon Noodles by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

One of my favorite online clothing retailers describes garments made with different patterns or fabric details as: ‘mixed-media’.  And I thought it was an apt description for this dish of Japanese udon noodles paired with a hybrid Middle Eastern tahini sauce.

It is a versatile dish:  make ahead or hold at room temperature to be eaten within 2-4 hours.

 

Corned Beef Hash with Taste & Texture-Enhancing ‘Hacks’ by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

What to do with those corned beef dinner leftovers? Make hash, of course.
My mother always put aside some of the corned beef dinner fixings’ just for this purpose, and she would crank it through the meat grinder, that cast-aluminum model that got clamped to the table.
Truth be told, this was my job…the vegetables and meat would squish out through the small holes of the attached die-piece.
As much fun as this process was, it did render ALL the ingredients to a bit of a wet-homogenous pile.
As I thought about my mother’s technique, I realized that some chef-style improvements could be brought to bear on the process:
1.) Draining the meat and cabbage on paper towels overnight in the fridge would remove excess moisture and yield a firmer finished product.
2.) Cooking a new batch of carrots and potatoes would add flavor & texture. (The potatoes & carrots that cooked together with the corned beef have given up both their texture and flavor to the cooking broth.)
3.) Adding prepared sauerkraut to the hash adds piquancy and texture to the finished dish, and it’s not detectable as a strong sauerkraut flavor; it gives nuance and crunch to the dish. (I continue to experiment with our new line of Cleveland Kraut. Choose your favorite flavor.)

Simple Salmon Rice Bowl…and ideas for variations by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This recipe is about using simple-to-make and ready-made ingredients to prepare a tasty & healthy dinner or lunch-on-the-go. I’ll give you the recipe for a straight-forward gingered red cabbage to build the dish with a crunchy and sweet-sour component.
I made the dish with cooked, room temperature brown rice, but white rice, udon noodles or other cooked grains (i.e. barley, quinoa) could work as well.
I used an Asian sweet red chili sauce to flavor my salmon and drizzle on my rice. But there are lots of prepared Asian sauces and dressings on the market now that are very tasty and greatly help get dinner on the table quickly.
And the fresh ‘greens’ on top are your favorite: watercress, baby spinach or kale, radicchio etc.
Have fun with varying the ingredients to your personal tastes !

Warmed ‘Hummus Bowl’ with Beef, Eggplant & Tomato Ragout by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This recipe is a riff on a Bon Appetit Magazine recipe. It is an extension of the ‘rice bowl’ craze that previously swept the nation. Here, hummus, a chickpea dip/spread that is generally eaten cold or at room temperature is gently heated and spread out on the bottom of a shallow dish with a meat or vegetable sauce on top.
The ragout could be made with ground lamb instead of ground beef or prepared meat-free with colorful sautéed bell peppers and zucchini.
My dinner guest was pleasantly surprised to taste the warmed hummus; she thought it was a parsnip puree at first glance. The spices in the dish are traditional ‘warm’ Middle Eastern flavors (allspice, cumin, coriander & marjoram) which marry effortlessly with the hummus.

Cauliflower ‘Risotto’ with Cashew ‘Cream’ by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

Cauliflower processed into small pieces to resemble rice kernels is very popular on modern menus and in food articles.  The cauliflower is slow cooked in liquid on the stove-top, as is risotto, but with less carbohydrates and calories that true rice would provide. 

 

Cashew Cream?    Toasted or raw (both unsalted) cashews are soaked overnight in cold water, drained and pureed to a thick, ‘creamy’ consistency and folded into the finished dish. Just like adding crème fraiche or sour cream to a dish; that is, folded in at the end and off the heat.  The cashews add a richness mimicking dairy fat but without the saturated fat.

 

 

Red Lentil, Bulgur Wheat and Toasted Walnut Veggie Burgers by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

Cooked red lentils are very similar in texture to cooked split green peas; that is, they don’t hold their shape and tend to become very soft.   That’s why you most often see them in soup or Indian ‘dal’ recipes where a firm texture is not the end-goal.

 

They are surprisingly delicious as a vegetarian burger when mixed with a sturdier grain.  The bulgur wheat expands during cooking and binds the lentils together by absorbing liquid.  Chopped, toasted walnuts add texture as well. I have not added flour or egg as an additional binder; I spread my cooked mixture on a sheet pan and refrigerated until firm. (If, after a couple hours of chilling your mixture still seems wet and won’t hold a ‘patty-shape’ you may want to add a tablespoon or two of AP flour (all purpose).

 

I shaped them into 2 ½ -inch patties and coated them a ‘standard breading’ treatment, which in turn, provides structure and a crust. I pan-fried (sauté)  them and served them warm with some savory accompaniments:  caramelized onions, hummus, yogurt seasoned with Syrian Aleppo pepper flakes and drizzles of both pomegranate molasses and tahini sauce.  Sliced cucumbers and thinly sliced dill pickles would add a bit of crunch and a touch of piquancy.

 

 

A Thai Inspired Ragu By Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

I make this dish a few times every autumn/winter and the recent nor’easter propelled me into the kitchen in lieu of shoveling. I used ground turkey instead of the more traditional ground pork and added greens to the finished dish - both of these changes improve the overall nutrition.
I thought it would be a good recipe to share and I was wondering what to name it for the column.
I wondered what Thai grandmothers call this dish? My Italian grandmother would have called it a ‘ragu’…..and so, it became “ A Thai-Inspired-Ragu”.

“DINNER AGAINST the CLOCK”: a quick Paella with chicken, shrimp and chorizo By Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

This the first in a new series of recipes designed to help you get dinner on the table in an hour or so…. depending on your experience in the kitchen.

 

‘Paella’ is a traditional Spanish rice dish which usually includes the evocative and expensive spice:   saffron.  (Not to worry, you can still make a delicious paella without it.)  Paella is made with a short-grain rice and is a one-pot wonder.  Gather all your ingredients and do all the advance prep work first.  This is your ‘mise-en-place’.  Once your ‘mise’ is-in-place, the assembly/cooking of the paella goes quickly.

 

And note:  For expediency, I have chosen to use some pre-cooked ingredients:  pre-cooked chicken breast and cooked chorizo.  And some other shortcuts:  peeled and deveined shrimp, canned diced tomatoes and prepared chicken stock.    

 

There is an expanding world of excellent quality, prepared ingredients available.  When you find products that are carefully made and tasty, it’s a smart time-saving move to incorporate them into your cooking.  Without a prep cook or two at home, most of us (including myself) find it daunting to have to prepare everything from scratch, every time.

 

French Green Beans (Haricot Vert) with Herbs and Grilled Baguette Crumbs by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

A simple and delicious side dish for upcoming holiday tables. It combines herby-citrus freshness with crunch and snap. This recipe can be prepped ahead the day before and quickly heated through and finished for serving. The dish’s simple and clean flavors offers a counterpoint to other heavier dishes on the table.