Recipe of the week

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).

 

 

Spring Eggs ‘n’ Ham by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

With a nod to the famous children’s author, I’ve made a batch of molded green egg ‘frittatas’ to serve with an Easter Sunday brunch.  They are green from pureeing sautéed swiss chard and leeks with egg whites and cream.  I’ve baked them in small, silicone, prism-shaped molds; never-opened treasures found in a yard sale.  But fear not, bake them in non-stick muffin tins or in one larger well-buttered casserole dish. For convenience, they can be made and baked ahead and gently re-heated in a microwave before guests arrive.

 

 

Ground Turkey & Coconut Milk Curry by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

This is a quick ‘stew’ that offers ease of preparation (one-pot cooking), aromatic flavors and good nutrition.  It’s “Paleo and Keto” friendly and only a bit exotic; you’ll be able to serve it to the whole family!

 

 

CHEF CLAUDIA’S CLASSIC STUFFED PEPPERS

 

Claudia is our Deli Chef in the South Boston Foodie’s Market.  She has been in the Foodie’s family for a number of years; working first in the Duxbury store.  She is a master at producing large quantities of beautiful, tasty food.  She knows what the customers want and exceeds their expectations.

 

 These stuffed peppers ‘fly-out’ of the case; with some customers even calling ahead to ‘reserve’ their weekly portion.

 

 

“FRENCH ONION SOUP” Inspired PIZZA By Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

This recipe sprang from a desire to eat a glorious, steaming bowl of French Onion Soup with grilled crusty bread and gooey Swiss cheese.
But I was more than reluctant to invest the hours it would take to make an excellent beef broth; and anything less than an excellent broth would not be satisfying. Hence, this is how the ingredients of a classic French Onion Soup ‘shape-shifted’ their way into a pizza topping.

Mushroom Bacon Ziti, Grated Swiss & Baby Greens by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

 

I have had a ‘hankering’ for ziti-shaped pasta and so built a dish around this wish.  Maybe I was channeling my Italian grandmother; ziti and rigatoni were the standard-bearers of her Neapolitan kitchen.  (I didn’t eat penne until I was out-of-the-house and cooking for myself.) Nostalgia aside, this is a delicious pasta dish with depth of flavor.  I have made a mushroom sauce (aka:  mushroom bechamel/velouté) in lieu of straight heavy cream; the texture is better, less rich---pasta finished solely with heavy cream is a restaurant conceit.  The swiss cheese gives the dish an umami- nuttiness---grated parmigiana cheese would lend a sweeter finish to the dish.  Both are fine; it’s just a nuance of flavor.

 

 

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!)