Cuisine: American

Pickled Pepper Poppers by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This is a quick and vibrant pickle: a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, a little bit piquant and a little bit fragrant. I envision it piled on an after-the-feast turkey sandwich or as an accompaniment to a holiday cheese board. I used one bag (1-pound) of mini bell peppers for this recipe, which yielded about 3 cups of juicy pickled peppers.

Autumn Kale Salad by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

A kale salad with thin slivers of bosc pear, celery and toasted pumpkin seeds spells fall to me! I have taken the kale-prep a step further and cut stacks of washed & dried kale leaves across into thin strips. This technique is called ‘chiffonade’ in French. The result is a salad with a more slaw-like texture. Peeling the celery lends more finesse and mixing two vinaigrettes/dressings will give you the right coating-texture. And don’t forget the toasted pumpkin seeds for crunch!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Green Olives, Shallots and Prunes by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Prunes get a bad rap. I contend that they shouldn’t be judged so harshly-- they are remarkably soft, sweet and delicious. Many recipes try to by-pass the issue by calling for ‘dried plums’,which is in fact, what a prune happens to be…a dried plum. There’s a richness of simple ingredients in this recipe: whole shallots are braised along with the chicken thighs, carrots, prunes and green olives. The result is a tender braise, in a delicious sauce that can be spooned over mashed sweet or white potato puree.

Black Bean Chicken Chili with Bittersweet Chocolate in Acorn Squash By Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

It’s squash season again. So, we’ll start the season with small acorn squash, split and roasted until tender. While the squash is roasting, we will build a chili made with ground chicken, black beans and shaved green cabbage. The cabbage, thinly sliced cooks for a long time and completely softens and almost ‘disappears’ into the chili. Adding cabbage to the chili base will add lots more texture and fiber to the dish. And using ground chicken instead of ground beef or pork will decrease some of the saturated fat in the finished dish. It’s a win-win.

Caramelized Onions, Roasted Carrots & Hummus with ‘Everything Spice’ By Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

I just love a toasted and buttered ‘Everything Spice’ bagel. It’s a ‘spiced-up’ sesame bagel. So, imagine how excited I was to discover that Foodie’s carries Morton & Bassett ‘Everything Sprinkle’ in our spice aisle. M&B’s blend is sesame, poppy and caraway seeds with onion and garlic. And that’s how this quick and flavorful recipe was created; the spice was at-hand and created a spark!

It’s an easy recipe: Roast some carrots and caramelize a few onions, spread out a layer of hummus, add a drizzle of pomegranate molasses (or balsamic glaze) and a liberal sprinkling of ‘Everything Spice’. And serve with toasted pita chips or crackers.

Fried Tomato Sandwich by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Begin by making the cream cheese spread. You can mix it in a bowl by hand or in a mixer.
Using the mixer will give you a ‘whipped and airy’ texture. (Alternately, you can whip it in a
food processor, but remove the whipped cream cheese to a bowl and fold in the seasonings by
hand.)
Stir in the scallions or chives or whatever ‘allium’/onion you are using. Add the grainy mustard
and a pinch of kosher salt and a couple of twists of the peppermill. Taste, adjust seasoning, set
aside.
The tomatoes. Wash, dry and de-stem the tomatoes. I used a medium-sized tomato so my
slices would fit neatly on my bagel half and additionally smaller tomato slices are easier to cook.
But, that’s just me!
Carefully remove the tomato cores from each tomato. Slice each tomato into ½-inch slices and
lay out on paper towels for 10-15 minutes to absorb some of the moisture.
Using a fork, beat 2 large eggs in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Add 1 ½ tablespoons
vegetable oil to the eggs and whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.
Toast and butter the bagels. Set aside.
Cook the bacon, if using. Set aside.
Put the greens in a bowl and set aside.
Have the salad dressing and your tossing utensils at the ready as well.
Panko-coat and fry the tomatoes. Choose two shallow dishes or small pans with 1-inch-high
sides. Put half the panko crumbs in one dish. Use your palms and crush the panko a bit, just to
make it a bit finer. Add half the flour to the other dish and lightly season it with a small pinch of
kosher salt and a bit of black pepper.
One by one, dip each tomato slice into the flour and pat/shake off the excess.
One by one, slip each tomato slice into the beaten eggs, turning over to coat bottom side. Hold
up each slice with a fork, to let excess egg fall back into the dish.
One by one, lay each slice in the panko crumbs and turn over to coat completely. Gently pat
the crumbs onto each tomato slice. Remove each coated tomato slice to a clean dish in
advance of frying.
(Note: Add more flour and/or panko crumbs to each dish as needed.)
Choose a large sauté pan and set it on the stove on medium heat. After it has warmed up for a
couple of minutes, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat the oil until it just begins to
shimmer but before it starts to smoke. Carefully add the tomato slices to the pan, one-by-one.
The heat should be medium-high. Cook each tomato slice until crispy and browned. Turn each
slice over to brown both sides. Add more oil to the pan as necessary. Remove each cooked
tomato slice to a dish and lightly season with salt & pepper.
Build the sandwiches. Spread each toasted & buttered bagel-half with a generous dollop of
seasoned cream cheese. Lay slices of still-warm bacon (if using) on each bagel half. Toss the
greens with dressing and put a bit on each bagel. Finally, pile crispy tomato slices on top of
each bagel.
Eat while still warm and over a plate to catch the juices!

CORN and CLAM CHOWDER by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Truth is, I’m sad to see the corn season mostly behind us. So, this recipe holds onto a bespoke
summer treat a little while longer. Don’t shy away from making an easy ‘corn broth’ with your
shucked corn cobs; you will be rewarded in depth of flavor. And be sure to scrub those
littleneck clams and give them a proper soaking. And you will be rewarded with a grit-free
broth.

Summer Harvest Salad by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

A slow stroll through the Copley Square Farmers’ Market on a late summer Tuesday afternoon
provided the ingredients for this colorful & delicious salad with at-peak fruits & vegetables.
Heirloom tomatoes, never refrigerated, heavy and juicy are the perfect choice for this salad. The
two small cucumbers I peeled and sliced were so fragrant; I had forgotten about the aroma of a
very fresh cucumber. And I discovered a delicious and new-to-me ingredient pairing: peaches and
kale. Who knew they went together so well? Now in season at Foodie's!

Quick Stir-Fry Rice with Smoked Salmon Bits, Broccoli & Corn by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This was my recent Maine vacation’s contribution to dinner one evening. And we ate the leftovers for breakfast the following morning with scrambled eggs.
It both preps and cooks quickly. If you plan ahead and have leftover, cooked rice on hand, the dish can come together in 30-40 minutes.

Shrimp Toast with Zucchini, Creamy Feta & White Beans by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

I have been seeing ‘Beans-on-Toast’ recipes pop up on websites all spring and summer. It is an iconic
British dish made with small white navy beans baked in a sweet-ish sauce; not unlike our own iconic
New England Baked Beans.

With a little love and some creativity, the dish can be more than a quick, cheap bachelor’s dinner it once
was! Zucchini, onions, garlic and tomatoes are simmered together and made creamy with the addition
of crumbled feta. Grill the shrimp separately or add to the simmering vegetables to cook through and
present the finished dish with grilled slices of French bread. It’s a modern version of the original and
equally satisfying.