Recipe of the week

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.

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.

ANTIPASTO SALAD by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Something crunchy, something colorful and something savory to bring to a last-of-the-season cookout, or a first-of-the-season tailgate party.
There is barely any cooking to do: the cherry tomatoes are slightly roasted, the broccoli crowns are tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and grilled along with some crusty French or Italian bread.
The rest of the work required improves your knife-skills.1

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.

GAZPACHO The Classic Chilled Tomato & Vegetable Soup from Spain By Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This is the answer to the ‘Dog Days of Summer’ dinner-dilemma. This soup can be made in 45 minutes or less and you may reap some leftovers for lunch. Add grilled shrimp or scallops for an easy protein upgrade.

The ingredients are raw, so be sure your vegetables are in primo condition.
Choose an olive oil that has a smooth, mild finish; a harsh or bitter olive oil will provide a jarring note in your finished soup.
All the vegetables are cut into pieces and blended together until smooth. Soaked bread is traditionally added; it provides a bit of body and creaminess. (and it’s fine to omit for a gluten-free version.)
Sherry vinegar is traditional; as it’s a vinegar from Spain. And it’s fine to substitute red wine vinegar.
Finally, a small amount of each vegetable is held back from blending and is finely-diced and added back to the finished soup. The diced vegetables provide a pleasing texture-crunch at the end.

Strollin’ Stromboli: Italian Sausage & Broccoli Rabe by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

There are varying online discussions about the difference between a calzone and a Stromboli.

 

And each have there ‘own story and are sticking to it’.

 

First, Stromboli is a place.  It’s a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily; with a not completely dormant volcano.  And It is an American invention from a famous Philadelphia pizza shop; apparently conceived to eat your pizza, ‘sandwich-style’.

 

And, calzone, or ‘pants leg’, like pizza, was born in Naples and meant for eating-out-of-hand while strolling. (Apparently, pizza was always eaten at the table with a knife and fork!)

 

The fillings being pretty much equal; it seems to be a question of shape.   If your stuffed pizza is folded over and crescent- shaped, then it is a calzone.  On the other hand, if you’re stuffed pizza is rolled and log-shaped, then it’s a Stromboli.

 

…And I won’t even get started on the sauce-inside or on-the-side debate.

 

 

Crunchy Beef & Peanut Salad by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

Salad for Dinner.  It heralds summer al fresco dining.

 

This salad does have a few steps but they are all quick and easy. The two sauces could be made earlier in the day or even the day before, and reheated. 

 

The individual tastes are crunchy, fragrant, spicy, meaty, sweet, sour and savory.

To quote Aristotle: “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”.

 

Pear Cherry Crisp by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

I had cherries and I had very, very, very ripe pears. 

 

I know that a cherry-plum or cherry-nectarine crisp is more common than a cherry-pear crisp, but I had these very ripe pears to use (as I have said…) and I knew that the pears would soften during baking and wrap their arms, as it were, around the firmer cherries.  It would be a compatible match.

 

I used a 12-inch ceramic, fluted quiche dish - a wide shallow baking dish, to ensure that the ratio of crisp topping and cooked fruit would provide equal bites of both in your mouth.

And finally, I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with almond flour, making the crust crumblier and crunchier, both desirable attributes.

 

CHEF SILVIO’S Grilled Teriyaki-Citrus Chicken Thighs

 

When our sister store in Duxbury closed last fall, we inherited Silvio, a fantastic, experienced and hard-working chef.  Among other tasks, he is daily charged with filling our ‘hot case’ with tasty ready-to-eat treats.  This is one of his dishes.   

 

It’s easy cooking:  combining grilling with a quickly-made flavorful marinade/sauce and finishing the dish in the oven.

 

It’s batch-cooking, great for Memorial Day entertaining.

 

 

Tacos al Beef Barbacoa by Chef Laura Brennan

 

Lately I’ve been spotting random recipes for “Beef Barbacoa” and wondered if it was a Mexican barbecue technique…and it is…kind of.

 

“Barbacoa” may be the precursor to the word “Barbecue”; they sound similar, right?   But all the “Barbacoa” recipes I’ve read have instructed the cook to both grill and continue cooking in some liquid; which is braising. Grilling the meat and onions before braising adds another layer of flavor, so I have combined both grilling and low-and-slow in-the-oven braising techniques in this recipe to create a tender, highly flavored ‘pull-apart’ meat, ready to stuff into taco shells (or burrito wraps).