Recipe of the week

Quinoa Casserole with Charred Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Mushrooms By Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

This is a satisfying vegetarian casserole that could easily be modified by cooking different vegetables; such as cauliflower or heirloom carrots or by choosing a different seasoning path.  I am currently in love with Middle Eastern flavors and have used cinnamon, coriander, cumin, allspice and Aleppo pepper flakes. You could easily substitute cilantro, curry powder and cayenne pepper for an Indian flair.  Changing flavor profiles is similar to changing the outfits you wear …. you choose and wear pieces of clothing and accessories that harmoniously go together.  A recipe is merely an idea, an inspiration for you to seek your own cooking path.

 

 (Aleppo pepper is a fragrant and mildly spicy pepper from Syria; it has less heat than the more common red pepper flakes.)

 

 

This recipe is comprised of 5 simple preparation steps (A through E) that yield the prepared ingredients to then combine into one casserole/baking dish.  The steps are simple and straightforward and can be overlapped.

 

SHORT-CUT QUICK ROTISSERIE CHICKEN SOUP by Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

I love chicken soup.  I love fresh chicken soup – not canned, not frozen, not box-packaged.  With my demanding palate in mind, I needed to develop a faster way to make a satisfying batch of my winter elixir.   Let me be clear, while simmering a fresh, organic, whole chicken with vegetables, wine and aromatics is the sine qua non of chicken soups, it’s not an after-work project.  To that end, I have developed a viable (and delicious) shortcut using a leftover rotisserie chicken and best quality, organic chicken broth. You can have fresh chicken soup on the table in an hour’s worth of time - give or take.

 

‘Frenchy-French’ Toast, Tropical Fruits, Coconut Caramel Sauce By Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan

 

Skip the often-over-wrought night out with your Valentine; and instead, do the cooking yourself.  Brunch dishes are simpler to prepare than multi-course dinners.  And there is the added benefit of starting your day with bestowed love and admiration.

 

This recipe uses baguette (French bread) instead of the more traditional brioche bread.  Buy your baguette two (2) days ahead and wrap it completely in plastic wrap to soften the crust.  Using baguette bread will give you: (1) nice round, compact slices that fit easily into the sauté pan and (2) a firmer finished product, less soggy and less apt to fall apart. Include kiwi and pineapple in your choice of tropical fruit.  Most well-stocked grocers offer a cut fruit selection to mix and match.  And the coconut caramel sauce is a simple reduction of coconut milk with a bit of dark brown sugar, less cloying than traditional caramel sauce and equally delicious.

 

Fish Soup by Foodie’s Markets Chef, Laura Brennan

Cooking time: 45 minutes for ‘fish stock’ plus additional 40 minutes for ‘finished fish soup’
Total time: 2 ¼ to 2 ½ hours

Hot and Cheesy ‘Loaded Baked Potato’ Dip by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Something ooey, gooey and delicious for The BIG Football Game!
(While there are no potatoes IN the dip, per se; the flavors of the dip are those found in a loaded baked potato: sour cream, bacon, scallions and cheese.)
Serve hot. Roast white or sweet potato spears to serve alongside...…or opt for a simpler fix: your favorite chips and crackers.

BRIE en CROUTE by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

The BIG game is fast approaching and I don’t like chicken wings with sriracha-hot sauce overload!  So, I’m changing it up and bringing a baked brie to the party.  I’ll prepare it ahead of time and bake it at my friend’s just as the pre-game starts.  Served alongside fresh fruit and veggies; it’s a bit of healthy eating on an otherwise indulgent buffet table.

 

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

Stuffed mushrooms…..I remember my mother making these for the BIG football games; my father loved them stuffed with sausage and cheese. In a nod to our improved diets, I offer a vegetarian version.   I have up-graded the technique a bit by pre-roasting them until they begin to exude liquid and then stuffing and baking a second time.  I think it reduces the ‘squeak-on-the teeth’ factor. I also don’t chop up the stems to use in the stuffing; half the stem is tough and the other half is dirt-caked.  Instead, wash the stems and make broth with them and chop up fresh mushroom caps to add to the stuffing mix.

 

SPICED ‘SMOTHERED’ CABBAGE and APPLES by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

I don’t know when, where or how I started using ‘smothered’ as a cooking technique.  I know that I didn’t invent it.  So, I ‘Googled’ it:  Lo and behold it is a bona fide cooking technique with roots deep in Southern cuisine.  It is defined as covered, slow cooking with minimal added liquid.  I ‘smothered’ the red cabbage by slow cooking it, covered, in the oven, in apple cider vinegar and its own juices released during the cooking process.  The result is a silky, deeply flavored side dish worthy of your holiday table. I am going to serve it alongside a Crown Roast of Pork!

Chicken Thighs with “Forty Cloves of Garlic” by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic is a classic French country dish. The garlic cloves mellow considerably in pungency during the cooking process and become sweet little delicious nuggets. This is a quick dish for a holiday supper that can be made ahead and re-heated.
Don’t be daunted by the thought of peeling 40 cloves of garlic—rubbing the cloves vigorously between your palms helps the papery skins to slide off. Another trick is to work them between two metal bowls: put the garlic cloves in the bottom of a metal bowl and place an equal-sized bowl on top. Twist, push and rock the top bowl over the bottom bowl holding the garlic cloves. This technique also helps to loosen the skins.

Dairy-free Pumpkin Noodle Kugel by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

I have substituted almond milk for the usual cream or milk found in a Kugel recipe.  There are eggs in this recipe to build the custard, but the butter to grease the baking dish has been replaced with canola or coconut oil. (You may, of course use butter if you wish.)  And finally, I baked the Kugel in a water-bath for slow, gentle cooking.