Recipe of the week

Smoked Salmon, Corn & Potato Chowder by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


I enjoy salmon in all its preparations:  grilled, poached, smoked, roasted & pan-seared. 


I especially like smoked salmon in a chowder with corn, peas and potatoes—a classic combination.


Here, I offer a lightened version: I have omitted the bacon and eschewed heavy cream for a combination of half-and-half, chicken stock and water.  A couple of tablespoons of flour along with the starch from the potatoes, binds the soup just enough to keep it from separating.  I have also employed a ‘chef’s technique’ of pre-cooking the diced potatoes and then adding them to the chowder at a later stage of cooking.  Pre-cooking the potatoes gives you more control over the ultimate thickness of the chowder and ensures the potatoes keep their shape and texture.





Warning:  Poetic License Invoked!


‘Tabbouleh’ is THE iconic parsley & bulgur wheat salad, of course.  It swept the country in the seventies and is obviously here to stay.

 In this version, I have swapped in kale for most of the parsley and used Israeli/pearl couscous in place of the traditional bulgur wheat.  The Israeli couscous is a chewier grain (also made from wheat/semolina flour) and a better match with the sturdy kale. The rest of the ingredients are common to tabbouleh:  scallion, tomato, cucumber, lemon and olive oil.  I have paired the salad with grilled chicken.  Serve with flatbread or toasted pita chips as well.


Quick Stir-Fry Rice with Smoked Salmon Bits, Broccoli & Corn by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


This was my recent Maine vacation’s contribution to dinner one evening.  And we ate the leftovers for breakfast the following morning with scrambled eggs. 


It both preps and cooks quickly.  If you plan ahead and have leftover, cooked rice on hand, the dish can come together in 30-40 minutes.



Summer Tomatoes with Ricotta & Brown Butter by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


A great summer appetizer:  Sliced ripe tomatoes are fanned out on a bed of ricotta flavored with basil, lemon zest and chopped pistachios.   

To finish: ‘Nutty’ and aromatic browned butter is drizzled over the top. The flavor of the fresh tomatoes with the browned butter is a surprising and delightful treat.



AGUA FRESCAS: “Refreshing Waters” by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

These are beverages made with fruit purees that are strained and mixed with sparkling water, flavored seltzers, coconut water or almond milk and lots and lots of big cubes of ice.

Spanish Potato Salad by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


My Irish-German aunts made potato salad without mayonnaise.  As a curious kid, I found it intriguing because it was not what we did at our house.


There was bacon fat and vinegar drizzled over the hot potatoes and crumbled crispy bacon and chopped hard cooked eggs mixed in as well. To be sure, it was delicious and there was nary a drop of olive oil or any other unsaturated fats to be found.


Fast-forward many decades later, a mayonnaise-less potato salad is still not very common.  It makes an early summer appearance in the food magazines, but mostly remains the provenance of restaurants and/or family traditions.


This recipe with olive oil, smoked paprika, green olives and sherry vinegar give this potato salad its Spanish flair and its improved nutrition. The recipe is vegetarian and with a nod to my aunts; the addition of paper-thin slices of smoky ham would not be amiss.



Southwestern Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


When it’s too hot to turn on the oven or the stove, here’s a quick and savory melted cheese sandwich that can be done outside on a grill in a pre-heated cast iron pan. 


Use a delicious, firm cheddar cheese and the kernels, shaved from two (2) pre-cooked ears of corn.  Choose a ‘sturdy’ bread, thick-sliced if possible, but at least ½-inch.  Grate the cheese on the largest holes of a box-grater and mix with a ‘binder’…I used chipotle ranch dressing, but any creamy dressing would work, as would mayonnaise or a combo of dressing & mayo.

Additionally, thin slices of tomato and/or cooked bacon would be yummy additions.


Spicy Kimchi Cabbage Noodles with Silken Tofu by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


This is a spicy vegetarian noodle dish with flavors of Korea; namely kimchi and gochujang.   (It’s time to open that jar of kimchi that’s been waiting in your fridge for some attention.)


Kimchi is spicy fermented cabbage, now widely available in the refrigerated and/or pickle/Asian section at your market. Or if you are very lucky, it’s a gift from a very good friend!

 Gochujang is a thick, spicy-sweet paste of red chilies, sticky rice and fermented soybeans, which is now, also available in markets.  Both these traditional Korean ingredients give the dish requisite heat and umami flavor.


Toasted Muffin Shortcake Stacks by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

Of course, you could make your own shortcakes; it’s simple enough.  But this is a super-easy hack using already baked muffins.  And if they are a day old, even better.  I used blueberry muffins but choose your favorite flavor(s).

‘A Tuna Salad’ by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan

There’s tuna fish salad and there’s ‘Tuna Salad’. This is a ‘Tuna Salad’.
It’s a riff on the famous French ‘Salade Niçoise’ but with a Spanish flair. I use sherry vinegar in the
vinaigrette, green olives instead of black ‘Niçoise’ olives and slivered sugar snap peas in lieu of haricot
verts (baby green beans). This is about using ingredients that appeal to you and naturally work well
together. I made this grilled fresh tuna salad without the customary bed of lettuce; it seems like more
of a proper summer entrée this way!