Recipe of the week

Spanish Potato Salad by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

My Irish-German aunts made potato salad without mayonnaise.  As a curious kid, I found it intriguing because it was not what we did at our house.

 

There was bacon fat and vinegar drizzled over the hot potatoes and crumbled crispy bacon and chopped hard cooked eggs mixed in as well. To be sure, it was delicious and there was nary a drop of olive oil or any other unsaturated fats to be found.

 

Fast-forward many decades later, a mayonnaise-less potato salad is still not very common.  It makes an early summer appearance in the food magazines, but mostly remains the provenance of restaurants and/or family traditions.

 

This recipe with olive oil, smoked paprika, green olives and sherry vinegar give this potato salad its Spanish flair and its improved nutrition. The recipe is vegetarian and with a nod to my aunts; the addition of paper-thin slices of smoky ham would not be amiss.

 

 

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.

 

Spicy Kimchi Cabbage Noodles with Silken Tofu by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

This is a spicy vegetarian noodle dish with flavors of Korea; namely kimchi and gochujang.   (It’s time to open that jar of kimchi that’s been waiting in your fridge for some attention.)

 

Kimchi is spicy fermented cabbage, now widely available in the refrigerated and/or pickle/Asian section at your market. Or if you are very lucky, it’s a gift from a very good friend!

 Gochujang is a thick, spicy-sweet paste of red chilies, sticky rice and fermented soybeans, which is now, also available in markets.  Both these traditional Korean ingredients give the dish requisite heat and umami flavor.

 

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!

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

A famous, uncooked green-herbal piquant sauce most-often served with grilled meats.  It hails from South America (Argentina and Uruguay) and has many variations.  All variations include parsley and oregano and beyond that the ingredients used are somewhat open to personal interpretation.  I love the brightness of cilantro, so I always include it.  Sometimes I substitute fresh mint for the oregano and I always use red wine vinegar.

But… what I never, ever do is make the sauce in the blender or food processor!  Chopping the herbs by hand yields a thicker, greener, lush and in my opinion, better sauce.

 

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.

 

 

Tuna Banh Mi Sandwich by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

If you are longing for an exciting (!) tuna sandwich; this is it : 

 

Quick-pickled vegetables.  Spicy mayo.  Bright lime.  Crunchy, crusted bread. (like a baguette or ciabatta rolls) Fresh mint & cilantro sprigs.

All together equals pure sandwich happiness.

 

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.

 

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.