SWASHBUCKLED! (S2E6): Italian-ish

This week, we go deep into Marie’s Italian roots to make something, kind-of, Italian-ish? None of the ingredients that were provided were very Italian-y, but they all were delicious to eat on their own, and in the dish!

Watch this week’s episode here:


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:


 

This week, we dive deep into Marie’s “non-white girl” roots, and make some vegetarian stuffed peppers and take a fun twist on a traditional caprese salad.

The stuffed peppers are full of fiber from the veggies, whole wheat cous cous and black beans, while being packed with flavor from the jalapeño artichoke dip and fragrant cheeses. We both loved the stuffed peppers and preferred the green ones over the yellow (which was a surprise to us both!)

The caprese salad was a slam dunk…if you removed the chocolate. Cherries with Mozzarella and Basil was a delicious flavor combination. The dark chocolate pretzels made things a little weird, so when you make this at home (which you should!) we recommend just saving the pretzels on the side to eat on their own (a perfect dessert!)

 

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Black Bean, Cous Cous and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • Cous Cous, cooked according to package directions (1 cup water + 1 Cup Cous Cous + 1 Tbsp butter + Salt)
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 zucchini quartered and sliced
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 Can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup Artichoke and Jalapeño Dip
  • 12 Tbsp Quatro Fromaggio (divided so each bell pepper gets 2 tbsp)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Rinse bell peppers and slice in half. Remove seeds. Rub all sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place bell peppers skin side up on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or foil). Bake for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onion, celery and carrots. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for a few more minutes. Then add mushrooms, butter, salt, pepper and oregano.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cup of the cooked cous-cous mixture (can save the rest to use as a salad topper), can of black beans, and tomato sauce. Let cook down for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are cooked through. Mix in artichoke & jalapeño dip thoroughly.
  4. Remove roasted bell peppers from the oven. Turn over. Place 1 tbsp of Quattro Fromaggio cheese at the bottom, fill with 1/6 of the filling mixture, then finish with another tbsp of cheese.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Cherry Caprese Salad

Cherry Caprese Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 18 Reinier Cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 package mozzarella balls (about 12), halved
  • Large handful of basil (about 20 leaves), Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Fresh Ground Salt and Pepper (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Optional (and not recommended): Chocolate covered Pretzels

Directions

  1. Rinse cherries, pit and halve them, Combine in a bowl with mozzarella balls and basil. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with balsamic glaze on top.
  2. We added the chocolate covered pretzels as the challenge for this dish, but it definitely didn’t do this beautiful and delicious salad any flavors. We made it again without the pretzels and it was so great. But the pretzels were fantastic on their own!


 

 

Head over to our PATREON PAGE to become a patron of Fearless Flying Kitchen and check out outtakes from this week as well as Mr. Critic’s reaction.

SWASHBUCKLED! S2E4: Rawdog Your Shrimp

Are we cooking or getting a lesson about words in UrbanDictionary.com? Maybe a little bit of both! This week we welcome guest chef, Jason, Amanda’s Cousin-in-Law and Actual Trader Joe’s Employee. He also claims to be an expert home cook. Will he be able to impress us, or at least put up with our snark? Watch below to find out!


Ingredients Featured in This Week’s Episode:

 

This week, we welcome Jason, all the way from Northern California! He is a seasoned home chef and grill master. He literally just got off a plane and Marie showed up with a bag of four ingredients pilfered from our pantries and freezers.

To say the least, he made this challenge look way too easy. Or maybe we just went really easy on him? Either way, the food was delicious, we wouldn’t change a thing!

For more details on Corn Tortilla/Tostada making, check out this quick video:


 

Strawberry ceviche with rahini & Greek Yogurt Elote

Strawberry Ceviche

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Jason!

Ingredients

1 lb Raw Shrimp
6 Limes
Handful of Frozen Strawberries (about half the bag)
Half a red onion
Bunch of cilantro
One large avocado
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions


Thaw and dice raw shrimp and place in bowl. Squeeze 6 limes on top of shrimp.
To that, add diced thawed strawberries, diced red onion, diced cilantro, cubed avocado and salt and pepper. Stir and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The ceviche is ready when the shrimp turns pink throughout and becomes firm.

Tahini and Greek Yogurt Elote

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Jason!

Ingredients


Can of Corn
1/2 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt to taste
Parmesan Cheese
Chile Lime Seasoning

Directions


Open can of corn and place contents into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, until warm. Add tahini, Greek yogurt, salt, parmesan cheese and butter. Stir to combine, until butter is melted. Top with Chile Lime Seasoning.

Copy of Copy of Never Enough Thyme Burgers

We also whipped up a batch of Strawberry Rosé Slushies, aka. Grown Up Smoothies. To make these, combine 3/4-1 bag of frozen strawberries (still frozen) with one 375ml can of Simpler Rose and a couple squirts of Agave (we are guessing 1-2 Tbsp, depending on taste). Blend on high until smooth. Serves 2-3. We like to top with a lime wedge to squirt in there. It’s super refreshing!


 

 

 

SWASHBUCKLED! S2E2: New York! New York! (+ Giveaway!)

We have our first special guest of the season, a Mate from New York City! Plus, he is a vegetarian and expects the food to be #slammin‘. Will Amanda and Marie be able to come together and make some delicious food?

Watch the episode here:


Ingredients featured this week include:

 

First, let’s start off with our GIVEAWAY!

Trader Joe's Mystery Packs

Mystery Pack of Regional Bags

Every Christmas, my mom and I would always buy each other the mystery packs of regional bags that Trader Joe’s sells. You can usually only get the regional bags from that specific area of the country, but the mystery bag packs have three random regional bags. It is always so much fun to get different bags and see what represents other cities.

Little did I know, that all along, my mom was just gaming for the New York City bag, ands always so disappointed when she never got one in the bags. Our friend, and Mate all the way from New York City, brought us some regional bags, making us able to use our last mystery pack for a giveaway!

We will be GIVING AWAY this mystery pack of regional bags as well as some of our favorite non-perishable swag from Trader Joe’s.

To enter the giveaway you need to do the following three steps:

  1. Make sure you are SUBSCRIBED to our channel on YouTube
  2. COMMENT on any BLOG POST on The Fearless Flying Kitchen blog (must be dated 5/21/18 or later).
  3. Subscribe to our NEWSLETTER (CLIKC HERE to do that)

For extra bonus entries:

  1. Find the mystery pack giveaway post on FACEBOOK – like that, share it with your friends, tag your friends, and comment. You get a point for each interaction!  (you must be following Fearless Flying Kitchen on Facebook to count)
  2. Find the mystery pack giveaway post on INSTAGRAM – like that, comment on it, and tag your friends. You get a point for each interaction! (you must be following Fearless Flying Kitchen on instagram to count)
  3. Like and comment on any of the Swashbuckled videos on YouTube and get an extra point for each interaction!

Giveaway will end on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at midnight PST. Winner will be announced on the episode of Swashbuckled on Monday, June 11.


OK, now back to the food!

We had a #slammin’ time in the kitchen with Kris from New York. The only stipulation was that the food had to be vegetarian, and that Marie would be helping. Since the fridge was stocked for only lasagna, that’s what happened. Amanda made a delicious stovetop, easy lasagna. The combination of crème fraîche and ricotta was a little piece of heaven, and should be done with all lasagna from here on out. We also saved a little extra and topped our endives with it…also great. The sauce of Piquillo Pepper and Quinoa Spread with Whole Crushed Tomatoes was also a huge win. Great flavor and texture. You could just use your favorite jar of sauce if you truly want to make it a one pot meal…but this combo is definitely worth washing that second dish.

The only thing that was off was the mochi rice nugget topping. We all decided that just makes a great snack.  But all in all, this was a great, quick, meal that you can get super creative with. It is perfect for busy weeknights when you need a little hands off time (but still need a meal on the table in less than an hour).

Lazy Lasagna

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 White Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Zucchini, zoodled
  • 1 Bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Jar Piquillo pepper and Quinoa Spread
  • 1 Large Can (28oz) Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1/2 package Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 package Crème Fraîche
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 5 lasagna noodles
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Mochi Rice Nuggets (Optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375˚F. Prepare all vegetables (zoodle, slice and dice). Note, if you don’t have a zoodler, you can always just dice zucchini.
  2. In a large skillet (that can go in the oven), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add red bell peppers and cook about 3 minutes, then add zucchini. Cook both for about 5 more minutes, then add mushrooms and cook until they have softened.
  3. Meanwhile, combine Piquillo Pepper and Quinoa Spread with one large can of whole peeled tomatoes. Crush whole peeled tomatoes in your hand as you are adding it to the pot. Heat over medium heat to a simmer. Add salt as needed (try it first, and add if it needs it according to your taste buds).
  4. Spread the cooked vegetables evenly around the large skillet. Top with broken up pieces of lasagna noodles. Cover noodles completely with sauce. Cover with lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook, covered, for about 20 minutes.
  5. While the noodles and sauce cook, combine Ricotta Cheese, Crème Fraîche, parsley and parmesan cheese in a bowl and set aside.
  6. After 20 minutes, remove cover and stir noodles. If they have softened, then top with Ricotta/Crème Fraîche mixture (little blobs all over). Top with even more mozzarella cheese, and place in the oven to help melt and brown cheese. Can put in the broiler on low for a little while too. Once brown, remove from oven and enjoy! If you can’t put your skillet in the oven, you could just cover with the lid again and let the cheese melt that way. It will get melty but not necessarily start to brown.

Note – In this episode we decimated half a bag of Mochi Rice Nuggets in the vitamix (or food processor, if you have one), and added it to the top of the lasagna along with the mozzarella and broiled it on low. We don’t recommend this step, but instead, just eat the mochi rice nuggets as a separate snack. However, if you did want to recreate what we did, this is it. 


We, yet again, followed a recipe on the back of a product, and the result was #slammin’! There are always great ideas and suggestions on the back of the package. Marie begrudgingly proved that she can be somewhat useful in the kitchen!

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Baked Belgian Endive with Walnuts, Parmesan & Romano Cheese

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Trader Joe’s…Literaly on the back of the endive package

Ingredients

  • 6 Belgian Endives, trimmed & halved lengthwise
  • 1/8 cup Clarified Butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Romano Cheese Blend
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Toss endives with butter, salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in a single layer in an 8X8 shallow baking dish.
  2. Cover with foil and bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until tender. Mix walnuts and cheese together and set aside.
  3. Remove endive from oven and sprinkle evenly with cheese mixture. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, or until cheese is golden.

Hanging out with Kris from New York

Hanging out in the Fearless Flying Kitchen with Kris from New York!

Classic Black Beans

For a long time, Trader Joe’s was really lacking in the dried legume department. But lucky for me…about a year ago, they introduced dried black beans, and life has never been the same.

If you find cooking beans from scratch intimidating, you are not alone! Before I started making them from scratch, I imagined an all day process that was very labor intensive. But if you have gone through the process before, then you’ll know just how easy it can be. Beans are a very forgiving food to cook, they just need a little bit of (mostly) hands-off time. Having this classic recipe in your back pocket, I guarantee you’ll start stocking up on this staple.

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The process really starts the night before. First, empty your 1lb bag of black beans into a large pot and sort through it for any rocks or random beans that might have made their way into the bag (totally common to find stuff like this in raw beans. If you find one, just discard it). Then cover with water, about 2 inches above the bean line, and let sit out overnight. You can cover if you like.

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Next, you’ll dump out the water (in a strainer? using your hands to strain it? You pick) and refill the pot with fresh water, about two inches above the bean line. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. You’ll add the rest of the ingredients (diced onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt), and continue to boil and add additional water until fully cooked, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

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You will want to occasionally try the beans, and add additional salt as needed, just keep in mind that the flavor intensifies as the water evaporates, so over-salting can be a thing. If that happens, you can always add additional water. Make sure to cook until it is soft.

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I love to top my side of beans with the new TEENY TINY AVOCADOS. Great flavor combination! This recipe makes about 6 cups of cooked beans (breaking down to 12, half cup servings).

 

Classic Black Beans

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Bag Black Beans
  • Lots of water
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt (+ more to taste)

Directions

  1. Empty black beans into a large pot, look through beans to make sure there isn’t anything funky in there (sometimes rocks or other beans make their way into your bag) and cover with water (about 2 inches above the bean line). Let sit overnight. 
  2. When ready to cook beans, drain soaking water and refill with fresh water, about 2 inches above bean line. Turn heat to high and add onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. 
  3. Let boil until beans are soft and cooked through (usually close to an hour), stirring occasionally and adding additional water as it evaporates. 

Do you have any secrets to the perfect pot of beans? Concerns? Let us know in the comments!

Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad

Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad from The Fearless Flying Kitchen This past weekend, I went up to the mountains with my mom (who is a vegetarian) and my daughter (who regularly survives on bread and cheese alone) to attend my dear friend’s 10 year wedding vow renewal ceremony. I volunteered to pack a lunch to make sure we had everything we needed for the all-day-affair. What to make that would keep in a cooler for hours and satisfy both of their needs? Thus, the Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad recipe was born! Good news was that it lasted hours without wilting, was full of vegetables, and provided the little one with enough carbohydrates to keep her going. Bad news is that I didn’t make enough to get a second helping.

Summer Spinach Tortellini Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Spinach Tortellini
  • 1/2 Bag of Organic Spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 Bag of Organic Frozen Broccoli
  • 1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Tuscan Italian Dressing

Directions: Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water. Bring to boil over high heat. Add frozen broccoli. in 2 minutes, add Spinach Tortellini and cook until done, about 5 minutes (the package says 2-3 minutes, but because you will be adding something frozen just prior, it will decrease the temperature, thus needing more time). Prior to removing from the heat, add red bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, (to rehydrate them) for just a few seconds, then remove from heat and strain well, and rise with cold water.  In a separate bowl, combine spinach, mozzarella and the strained pasta/veggie mixture with 1/2 cup Tuscan Italian dressing. Cover and chill for at least an hour before serving.

French Onion Soup (with Italian Style Breadcrumbs)

French-Onion-Soup-FFK
My ultimate comfort food is French Onion soup. Nutritionally speaking, there isn’t much there aside from a lot of sodium and a whole bunch of cheese. I like to feel better about eating it by telling myself that my comfort food of choice could be a lot less healthy.

Ingredients for French Onion Soup (Fearless Flying Kitchen)It has been a dreary May (at least for this past week), so the first thing I wanted was French Onion Soup. I have not attempted to make this within the last, I don’t know, 10+ years? This usually only enters my diet at restaurants, when I purchase sub-par frozen versions, or get the BEST CUP OF F.O. SOUP EVER MADE at the House of France at Christmas on the Prado (or December NIghts for those of you new to San Diego). Seriously, best ever. I have decided this is mostly because it is not very heavy, the onions aren’t completely caramelized (they are still a light caramel color instead of a dark brown), and they have a few interesting flavors that seem a little more authentic (Herbs de Provence? No clue). I tried to emulate that in this recipe. It is getting pretty close! I am not sure what else I could add, aside from maybe a few more spices, let it cook for a longer period of time, or…I am not sure. But regardless if it tasted exactly like the soup from the House of France, it was good, and completely satisfied my “Dreary Weather Blues.”

French Onion Soup (With Italian Style Breadcrumbs)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup (half stick) of butter
  • 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 (Quart) Containers of Beef Broth
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Thyme, dried
  • 1 bag Italian Style Breadsticks
  • 1 Bag Shredded Swiss & Gruyere

Directions:

On medium-high heat, add butter to a large pan, and once melted, add the thinly sliced onions. Cook until they are a nice caramel color (about 15-20 minutes). Add minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and beef broth. Let come to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes (or longer if you have the time, the longer it simmers, the more robust flavor).
In the meantime, while the onions are caramelizing and/or the soup simmers, make your croutons. Put your oven on to pre-heat at 375. Slice breadsticks into 1 inch thick pieces and put onto a baking sheet. Place in oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are just starting to get crunchy.
Once soup and croutons are done, remove bay leaves (if you can find them!), fill a bowl with soup, top with croutons and then shredded gruyere/swiss mix, and put in the broiler for a few minutes, until cheese is melted and gets the signature “french onion” bubbly look.

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade and Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Come on, get appy! No, not an iPhone app, not an appendectomy…an appetizer!

I could eat appetizers all day long. Cheese boards. Baguette. Hummus. Artichoke and spinach dip. Everything just seems to be more decadent and taste better when it is in amuse-bouche form (in fact, quit what you are doing right now, and do a google image search of amuse-bouche. ooooooohhh, aaaaaahhhh). And quite honestly, if I were on Top Chef, this would be my specialty, because I LOVE hors d’oeuvres.

Fun fact about me: I once co-hosted a book club with my best friend just for the appetizers.

Any way, I am sure you can imagine that I try to pass off appetizers as “dinner” from time to time. For some reason, I always feel like it would be transformed into a “meal” if we added a simple salad. Here are some from my repertoire:

Polenta and Artichoke

Left: Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade
Right: Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Perfectly Perfect Artichoke

Ingredients:
  • 2 Artichokes
  • About 2 cups veggie broth (home made or store bought)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Aioli Mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp Reserved veggie broth liquid
  • pinch of salt and pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp basil  (optional)
  • 1 tsp oregano (optional)

Directions:

  1. To prepare the artichoke: rinse them, cut the stem off, trim the top of the leaves (because they can be a little prickly.) Cut each artichoke in half and remove the bitter, flower-y part in the middle, between the leafs, and the “choke.” (This also helps get flavor throughout and cook faster.)
  2. Store Bought is Fine

    Store bought is fine

    Place the artichoke, cut side down in a pot. Add two cloves of garlic, two lemon slices and two bay leafs and cover with veggie broth. You can easily make your own, which will be coming in a future post. However, in the words of my favorite celebrity chef, Ina Garten, store bought is fine.

  3. Cover and simmer until artichokes are tender. Then remove and serve along side of sauce (but don’t toss the veggie broth just yet! You’ll need that for the sauce)
  4. To make the dipping sauce: combine mayonnaise, mustard, and then a few tablespoons of the veggie broth mixture you just boiled the artichokes in. I think I also added a couple other spices, but I really can’t remember. Maybe some dried basil and oregano? Salt and pepper? I don’t know, but it was delicious. I am sure whatever spice you put in there would be delicious.

Perfectly-Perfect-Artichoke from The Fearless Flying Kitchen

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and Olive Tapenade

This is REALLY easy to make and will seem very gourmet. I have done this with home made polenta as well as store bought polenta as well as different varieties of olive tapenade. They are all delicious, and it really just depends on how much time you want to invest into this.

Ingredients:

  • Home-made polenta (like this Rosemary Polenta recipe) or the store bought Organic Polenta
  • Approx 1 Tbsp Olive oil or Butter
  • 3-4 Tomatoes (“on the vine” or Beefsteak varieties are best)
  • 1 container of Olive Tapenade
  • 1 container of creme fresh or sour cream
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat griddle over medium high heat and spray with some cooking spray, butter or a little olive oil. Slice polenta into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and place on grill. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, not very long because it is already cooked. Just until heated through and has some delicious looking grill marks. Remove form heat and arrange on dish.
  2. Slice tomatoes into thick slices and grill like you did with the polenta.  Once it gets beautiful grill marks, place on top of each polenta slice. Top with a half Tbsp of Olive Tapenade of your choice (I have used three different Olive Tapenades from Trader Joes, and all are excellent, probably leaning more towards the one found in the refrigeratedsection), a dollop of Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream (or, on that note, Greek Yogurt if you are really trying to make this healthy) and then a sprinkling of fresh basil.

Grilled Polenta and Olive Tapenade from The Fearless Flying Kitchen