Recipe of the week

French Onion Brisket by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan




Braised Beef Brisket meets French Onion Soup.  One pot.  Makes its own Sauce.  Delicious and Easy.


(The work is in slicing the onions and in being patient enough to let them caramelize slowly to their full browned glory.)



French Lentils, Roasted Butternut Squash, Smoked Chicken Chorizo and a Drizzle of Pomegranate Molasses by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


I’m still thinking about dishes that I can bring/share to our pot-luck Thanksgiving.  I think this works as a substantial side dish…and could play a supporting role in the after-the-feast-turkey-sandwich tradition!!

(Pomegranate Molasses is a syrup-like reduction of pomegranate juice.  It is both sharp and sweet and will lend a bright note to the earthiness and smokiness of the dish.)


Mushroom Turkey Gravy by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Sauces and gravies are very satisfying to make, and not so difficult.
That being said, I think turkey-gravy-making falls into two camps: Those who can make turkey gravy right in the roasting pan using the turkey drippings (the roasted bird having first been removed to a platter). No measuring involved. My mother belonged to this group. A true gravy-alchemist.
And then there’s the rest of us: Those who make a separate classic French flour-bound sauce; aka a ‘velouté’ using measured amounts of flour, butter and stock. No ‘winging it’ for this group!
I know that as a classically trained French chef, I lack my mother’s gravy-boldness. And I console myself by saying my version is perfect to make in advance. Waiting for drippings not necessary.
Small consolation, I know.
But, be assured this gravy is equally delicious and perfect for the smaller turkeys or turkey-parts we will be roasting this year.
And yes, it can be made in advance.


I have Thanksgiving anxiety and I’m not alone.
What will dinner look like this year??
One of the ideas currently being floated about by my family and countless others is a ‘pot-luck-special’: we will each make a dish and bring it to a designated porch and take home a share of all the available dishes. Truth be told, it’s a glorified take-out. Sigh.
My contribution might be this salad because it doesn’t need to be re-heated and would be delicious in the post-Thanksgiving-turkey-stuffing-cranberry-sauce-sandwiches. (I would put it right up next to the cranberry sauce.)
And It’s my effort to combat the ‘food-won’t-be-hot-at-the table’ blues.

Roasted Cauliflower, Cumin & Coconut Milk Soup by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


I taught classic French cuisine at the famed and now defunct Cordon Bleu Cooking School.  In our curriculum was the classic ‘Madame du Barry’ Cauliflower Soup. Her special relationship with Louis XV accorded her sufficient status to have a dish named after her.


The classic cauliflower soup involves several French cooking techniques, ample prep time and generous amounts of butter and cream.   The result is a pure white, rich, creamy and delicious soup.


My version is centuries more modern.  It’s vegan, gluten-free, has fewer ingredients and derives its depth of flavor from pre-roasting & caramelizing the cauliflower and the addition of the earthy spices:  cumin & coriander.  Coconut milk adds dairy-free richness.


And best of all, it’s quick cooking (comparatively)!



Beef, Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This is a straightforward enchilada recipe with a bit of a twist:  I’ve used sweet potato puree to replace some of the cheese (reducing some saturated fat and increasing the fiber content).   The sweet potato can be roasted ahead of time.  I roasted it the day before, peeled the skin away, mashed it with a fork and refrigerated it.  Doing this step ahead will definitely save some ‘day-of’ prep time.

Plum Ginger Almond Cake by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


This is an easy cake to put together and get into the oven.  There’s no frosting to make; the wreath of sliced plums and toasted almonds circling the top of the cake provides sweetness, crunch & contrast.


 I have swapped in some almond flour, which gives the cake a bit of a pound cake like texture. 


Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, crème fraiche or ice cream.



Smoked Salmon, Corn & Potato Chowder by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


I enjoy salmon in all its preparations:  grilled, poached, smoked, roasted & pan-seared. 


I especially like smoked salmon in a chowder with corn, peas and potatoes—a classic combination.


Here, I offer a lightened version: I have omitted the bacon and eschewed heavy cream for a combination of half-and-half, chicken stock and water.  A couple of tablespoons of flour along with the starch from the potatoes, binds the soup just enough to keep it from separating.  I have also employed a ‘chef’s technique’ of pre-cooking the diced potatoes and then adding them to the chowder at a later stage of cooking.  Pre-cooking the potatoes gives you more control over the ultimate thickness of the chowder and ensures the potatoes keep their shape and texture.





Warning:  Poetic License Invoked!


‘Tabbouleh’ is THE iconic parsley & bulgur wheat salad, of course.  It swept the country in the seventies and is obviously here to stay.

 In this version, I have swapped in kale for most of the parsley and used Israeli/pearl couscous in place of the traditional bulgur wheat.  The Israeli couscous is a chewier grain (also made from wheat/semolina flour) and a better match with the sturdy kale. The rest of the ingredients are common to tabbouleh:  scallion, tomato, cucumber, lemon and olive oil.  I have paired the salad with grilled chicken.  Serve with flatbread or toasted pita chips as well.


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.