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Cuisine: American

Southwestern Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

When it’s too hot to turn on the oven or the stove, here’s a quick and savory melted cheese sandwich that can be done outside on a grill in a pre-heated cast iron pan. 

 

Use a delicious, firm cheddar cheese and the kernels, shaved from two (2) pre-cooked ears of corn.  Choose a ‘sturdy’ bread, thick-sliced if possible, but at least ½-inch.  Grate the cheese on the largest holes of a box-grater and mix with a ‘binder’…I used chipotle ranch dressing, but any creamy dressing would work, as would mayonnaise or a combo of dressing & mayo.

Additionally, thin slices of tomato and/or cooked bacon would be yummy additions.

 

Toasted Muffin Shortcake Stacks by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Of course, you could make your own shortcakes; it’s simple enough.  But this is a super-easy hack using already baked muffins.  And if they are a day old, even better.  I used blueberry muffins but choose your favorite flavor(s).

‘A Tuna Salad’ by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

There’s tuna fish salad and there’s ‘Tuna Salad’. This is a ‘Tuna Salad’.
It’s a riff on the famous French ‘Salade Niçoise’ but with a Spanish flair. I use sherry vinegar in the
vinaigrette, green olives instead of black ‘Niçoise’ olives and slivered sugar snap peas in lieu of haricot
verts (baby green beans). This is about using ingredients that appeal to you and naturally work well
together. I made this grilled fresh tuna salad without the customary bed of lettuce; it seems like more
of a proper summer entrée this way!

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.

 

 

Buffalo Cauliflower, Cauliflower Pizza by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

This is the first batch of buffalo cauliflower that I have ever made.  And I don’t know why, because it was so easy and delicious.  It flies out the door when it’s stocked in our deli case.  But for me, I suspect that it’s a matter of chef-esthetics; just roasted, fresh-out-of-the oven trumps pre-made, cold-in-the-case any day.  So, if you have the time, make it yourself.

 

I chose to turn my roasted buffalo cauliflower into a pizza, mainly because I was curious to try the frozen cauliflower pizza crusts, aka “cauliPower!   (This recipe makes enough for 2 cauliPower crusts.) Roasted buffalo cauliflower would also be good mixed in a baked macaroni and cheese dish or as the star ingredient in a rice and grain bowl.

 

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.)

Quick & Easy: Chicken Pot Pie by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This is a recipe that uses leftover rotisserie chicken, a good quality store-bought cream of chicken soup and a sheet of ready-made puff pastry! In the words of a well-known TV Chef: “How easy is that” !
Choose any pie dish or baking dish, combine ingredients with the creamed soup, top with a pastry sheet and pop it in the oven.
It’s dinner, on the table, in under an hour, definitely.
(I used a 9” standard pie tin and 1 sheet of puff pastry and based the recipe on this.)

Naan Flatbread ‘Pizza’ (Vegetarian, Non-Dairy) By Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

Many years ago, a working mother (mine) would make individual mini pizzas using split English muffins as the base.  They were buttered and toasted under the broiler first to crisp-up the surface and then the usual pizza toppings were piled on top and then back into the oven to melt and ooze.  The sauce was always a bit of leftover ‘red gravy’ (marinara sauce) from the weekend’s cooking; never sauce from a jar!

 

Fast forward to 2020 and we have a plethora of pizza crusts and substitutes readily available.    In this recipe I have used the ‘slipper-shaped’ naan bread, which is a traditional Indian flatbread.  At Foodies, we sell Stonefire Naan…there are two ‘slippers’ per package at 4.4 ounces each.   The naan bread comes in plain, whole wheat and garlic varieties.

 

It’s the base for this quickly made meal, using only vegetables and NO cheese!

 

And on the table in well under an hour!

 

 

Mac n’ Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower, Scallions and Bacon by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Cauliflower is now a mainstream vegetable!
At our Prepared Foods counter, I am surprised (and impressed) at our Millennial customers’ whole-hearted embrace of all kinds of vegetables. Their mothers were so successful at getting them to eat their vegetables that they continue to do so long after they have left the nest (and moved into South Boston).
This recipe ‘embraces’ roasted cauliflower. Roasting cauliflower is a game-changer; roasting expresses cauliflower’s hidden sweetness without the ‘cruciferous stink’ associated with boiling or steaming the vegetable. The cauliflower is then cooled, chopped into smaller pieces and folded into the
mac n’ cheese base, adding texture and earthiness to the finished dish.

Smoked Trout Dip with Pickles & Radishes by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Smoked Trout gets very little attention, unlike its attention-grabbing smoked salmon cousin. In an effort to ‘even-the-playing-fields’, I offer a quick cream cheese-based dip/spread ready in about 30 minutes, leaving you plenty of time to gather some crackers, radishes, cornichons, olives or other piquant and crunchy bites to complete your serving platter.