Recipe of the week

Grilled Pineapple with Star Anise-Ginger-Jalapeno Syrup by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

The dessert-du-jour in a Benihana restaurant in the early 70’s was vanilla ice cream with slivered crystallized ginger. (The crystallized ginger may well be an imaginary embellishment.)
I liked that there was no dessert choice; I thought that was very modern. And I thought that a simple dish of ice cream was a quiet and elegant finish to a cleaver-tossing dinner performance.
The whole experience was very fancy and exotic to my young self.

This is a quick-to-make dessert with sweet-spicy flavors. I have offered it here with purchased vanilla ice cream but making your own saffron ice cream would be spectacular! (To make: infuse vanilla ice cream base/crème anglaise custard with several threads of saffron while still warm. Strain, chill and churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.)

Salad for Supper by Chef Laura Brennan

I recently went to see a nutritionist and was told to eat more vegetables!

And here I was thinking that I’m a Chef, so of course I eat (enough) vegetables.  During an analysis of what I actually do eat…. well.…I actually do not eat enough vegetables after all !!

And I know that in order to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, I will have to have parts of my meal already prepared.  Luckily, we live in an era and area of readily available and very good quality prepared foods-- i.e.  Foodies’ Markets!

 

Zucchini ‘en Saor’ – Sweet and Sour, Venetian-style by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

I recently re-watched an episode of “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” that was filmed in Venice. Phil ate a really gigantic pounded pork chop that was breaded and cooked in an abundance of oil: pan-fried as opposed to deep-fried; not unlike our Southern-fried chicken. To finish, most of the cooking oil was poured off and it was liberally doused with white wine vinegar. This is ‘sweet and sour’, Venetian-style. The same technique is applied to cooking sole and sardines and the vinegary filets are marinated for a day or two and eaten at room temperature. With an abundance of vegetables in the market or your garden, try this recipe with zucchini, or peppers or eggplant.
To make a more substantial dish, I tossed the finished ‘zucchini en saor’ with cooked potato gnocchi and fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
But…it’s equally delicious served on its own as a vegetable dish.

‘SPARKLING’ WATERMELON GAZPACHO by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

‘Tis the season for GAZPACHO, the iconic Spanish chilled soup.

This version uses seedless watermelon as the soup base instead of the more prevalent tomato juice base.This makes a soup that is a bit sweeter and that can be offset with fresh lime juice and a feta cheese garnish. The sweet, salty and lime flavors provide the soup with a savory balance. And adding a bit of flavored sparkling water at the end provides a bit of fizz. (I have made this soup for a wedding shower and added, an Italian sparkling wine.(Very Festive!)

 
As this soup is fruitier-tasting than the tomato-based version, serve it for lunch or brunch along with grilled baguette slices, rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.
 
Watching an internet video on the techniques of dicing, especially bell peppers, would be very helpful. I still watch other chefs’ techniques.
 
(I love watching other chefs cook!)

Tart Cherry-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks, Sesame Miso Spinach by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

I am my father’s daughter in my love for cherries.  My father didn’t ‘bother’ with most fruit, with the exception of cherries and blueberries. And the blueberries had to be made into homemade pies to attract his attention.

 

I thought cherries were delicious as well.  And I also knew that they were special: they were only available for a short few weeks in early summer, they were expensive enough to be semi-rationed by my mother and that my ‘fruit-phobic’ father really enjoyed them.

 

In this recipe, cherries (cherry juice, actually) become a vehicle for combining Asian flavors, especially the pungently spicy Korean Gochujang paste with familiar garlic and ginger to glaze roasted chicken legs.

 

The dish can be made ahead and eaten at room temperature with the sautéed miso spinach. 

 

Great for a beach picnic!

 

 

CHERRY BERRY TRIFLE By Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

It’s summer.…officially. And right now, there is a burst of fresh cherries and berries in the markets, just waiting to be turned into handsome desserts!
Trifle is a handsome, classic English summer dessert: it’s cake soaked with layers of cream and berries. You have probably seen this in food magazines in a giant, footed glass ‘trifle dish’ with alternating layers of berries, cake, custard and cream. It’s a very dramatic presentation.
Here, I have made 8 individual trifles in 10-12-ounce, flared cups. Mason jars would make a modern presentation. Whatever you use, be sure they are deep enough to show off the layers of fruits and creams. Spoon lots of cream on the top and don’t forget the stemmed- cherry garnish.
It should always be a dramatic presentation no matter the size.

Chickpea & Cauliflower Salad with Spiced Tahini Dressing by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

Instead of taking last year’s pasta salad to your summer get-togethers …why not show-off with this show-stopper?   It’s very easy to make:  roast some seasoned cauliflower pieces and open a couple of cans of chickpeas!  (Well, OK, plus make a very simple and quick tahini dressing!)

 

Roasted cauliflower is ‘meaty’ and especially delicious with this tahini dressing.  And the recipe makes extra dressing that would be great with grilled lamb and/or beef in a pita bread and crunchy vegetable sandwich.

 

 

Chili-Lime Glazed Salmon and Ginger-Fried Rice by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

This is a quickly made weekday supper especially if you have some leftover cooked and chilled rice. Ask your fishmonger to cut you a 1 ½ to 1 ¾ -pound piece of fillet starting 3 inches above the tail.  You want a piece that is even thickness and skinless. The marinade is quickly made and contains soy sauce, so don’t let it marinate for more than 15 minutes or it may be too salty.  And, cook the fish, covered in a low & slow oven at 275 to 300-degrees.  You will be rewarded with a creamy, rich, moist texture.

 

 

Cauliflower ‘Risotto’ with Cashew ‘Cream’ by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

Cauliflower processed into small pieces to resemble rice kernels is very popular on modern menus and in food articles.  The cauliflower is slow cooked in liquid on the stove-top, as is risotto, but with less carbohydrates and calories that true rice would provide. 

 

Cashew Cream?    Toasted or raw (both unsalted) cashews are soaked overnight in cold water, drained and pureed to a thick, ‘creamy’ consistency and folded into the finished dish. Just like adding crème fraiche or sour cream to a dish; that is, folded in at the end and off the heat.  The cashews add a richness mimicking dairy fat but without the saturated fat.

 

 

Red Lentil, Bulgur Wheat and Toasted Walnut Veggie Burgers by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

Cooked red lentils are very similar in texture to cooked split green peas; that is, they don’t hold their shape and tend to become very soft.   That’s why you most often see them in soup or Indian ‘dal’ recipes where a firm texture is not the end-goal.

 

They are surprisingly delicious as a vegetarian burger when mixed with a sturdier grain.  The bulgur wheat expands during cooking and binds the lentils together by absorbing liquid.  Chopped, toasted walnuts add texture as well. I have not added flour or egg as an additional binder; I spread my cooked mixture on a sheet pan and refrigerated until firm. (If, after a couple hours of chilling your mixture still seems wet and won’t hold a ‘patty-shape’ you may want to add a tablespoon or two of AP flour (all purpose).

 

I shaped them into 2 ½ -inch patties and coated them a ‘standard breading’ treatment, which in turn, provides structure and a crust. I pan-fried (sauté)  them and served them warm with some savory accompaniments:  caramelized onions, hummus, yogurt seasoned with Syrian Aleppo pepper flakes and drizzles of both pomegranate molasses and tahini sauce.  Sliced cucumbers and thinly sliced dill pickles would add a bit of crunch and a touch of piquancy.