Recipe of the week

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.



Roasted Cauliflower Wedges with Clarified Butter and Tahini Sauce by Foodie’s Market Chef Laura Brennan


Roasted cauliflower lives up to its hype; roasting greatly improves the flavor. 

I have always roasted smaller pieces of cauliflower or ‘flowerets’, coated in extra-virgin olive oil in a hot oven, with great success. However, I have less successfully roasted cauliflower ‘slices’ which seem to always fall apart. Hence, the roasted wedge recipe here: each quarter piece is still attached to the core during roasting.  To add flavor, I first prepared clarified butter and used this fat as my cooking medium.  Cauliflower and butter are a complementary pairing and clarifying the butter first, removes the dairy ‘solids’ and enhances the ‘nuttiness’ of the finished dish.



A Frittata Savory Custard for your lunch box by Foodie’s Market’s Chef Laura Brennan


My old-school Italian grandmother, Giuseppina, always had a frittata or the makings of a frittata on the stovetop.  I say this because there was ALWAYS a pan of sautéed peppers around.  I was intrigued by the pile of glistening strips that always seemed more ‘animal’ than ‘vegetable’.  If it was summer, they were just waiting to be turned into a frittata; a quick-cooking supper dish which wouldn’t make the kitchen any hotter.


I have modernized her frittata a bit:  the peppers are dehydrated, I’ve used two different cheeses and I have baked them in muffin tins in the oven in a water-bath.  They are now suitable to be packed up for lunch on-the-go.


(And a frittata would typically be made with leftover bits & pieces of vegetables and cheeses; it was frugal as well as efficient. Food was not wasted.)



Pasta with Pesto, Green Beans and Crispy Potatoes A Dinner Against the Clock Recipe By Foodie’s Markets Chef Laura Brennan


Pasta with pesto, green beans and potatoes is a classic dish from the Liguria region of Italy. This region comprises a narrow crescent of land that curves around the sea at the ‘top of the boot’ and stretches from the French border into Tuscany.


This dish was one of my favorites at cooking school; I made the pesto by hand using a mortar and pestle.  And of course, I made fresh pasta as well.  A labor of love.


Fast forward a few decades and I now buy pre-made pesto, and use excellent quality dried Italian pasta, either linguine or trenette, a fettuccine-shaped flat noodle, traditionally served in Liguria.  I look for pesto that is made with at least 50% extra virgin olive oil and is sugar-free.  Read labels.   And I have substituted crispy potatoes for the boiled potatoes.  The crunch of the crispy potato is a great contrast to the overall softness of the dish.  This truly is a quick dish to prepare…you could have dinner on the table in 35 minutes or less.



Red Lentil Turkey Bolognese Sauce by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


Winter is not quite over……. sigh.


So, there’s still time for one more Bolognese sauce. 


This one’s a bit lighter, using ground turkey and red lentils in lieu of the usual suspects.  There’s no cream and a bit of bacon, only if you fancy it.  It cooks up more quickly than its more traditional counterpart and is best served over a shaped-pasta (‘macaroni’) instead of a long pasta (‘spaghetti’).  And, while fresh-made pasta certainly has a place at the Italian table, this sauce needs the ‘al dente’ bite of dried durum wheat pasta.  Choose your favorite shape.



Stuffed Artichokes by Foodie’s Market’s Chef Laura Brennan

Everyone is longing for Spring and in the kitchen, nothing heralds Spring more than artichokes and peas…well, longer days and warmer weather do play their part! If you have never cleaned an artichoke, I recommend that you find an instructive ‘youtube’ video. I find them so helpful; the videos do a great job of translating words into pictures.