Recipe of the week

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich


This sandwich is a riff on the classic French Chicken Cordon Bleu. In the original, a boneless chicken breast is stuffed with cheese and ham, then coated in bread crumbs and pan-fried. This sandwich version adds a sauce; a remoulade, (think French tartar sauce), melts the cheese on top of the crispy-cooked chicken tenderloins and drapes thin-sliced ham on top. brioche bun adds more crunch and ‘mouth-luxury’! 



Jambalaya by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


Jambalaya is a Cajun/Creole rice dish wit smoked andouille sausage, some chicken and seafood. (And this version is definitely more Creole wit the addition of tomatoes.)

 Ingredients may vary from home-to-home but all agree It’s one-pot cooking, delicious and soulful.


N’casciata: Sicilian Baked Eggplant Pasta by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


I read cookbooks and I read mysteries.   And it’s a bonus when the mysteries reveal a few great meals!                                                                   


One of my favorite series, written by the late Andrea Camilleri, is set in a fictional Sicilian coastal town.  The protagonist, Inspector Salvo Montalbano fervently anticipates each meal and eats with gusto and complete concentration (no talking!). This pasta dish is often prepared by the faithful Adelina, his long-time housekeeper.  Adelina prepares traditional Sicilian recipes and is very proud that Salvo so enjoys her cooking.  The title, ‘n’casciata’, describes a baked pasta dish ‘encased’ (n’casciata) in layers of fried eggplant.  I have, with my sincere apologies to Adelina, lightened and simplified this classic:  the eggplant is not sliced and fried, but is diced, coated in olive oil and roasted in the oven AND I have swapped out the labor-intensive traditional beef ragu with a store-bought marinara. (I always use RAO’S marinara sauces; both the flavor and texture are close to homemade.)


I’m confidant Salvo would enjoy my version as well.



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.