SWASHBUCKLED! (S1E7): Uncle Gary’s Challenge

This week, we get a special fan mail request from Marie’s Uncle Gary, and she shows up with nothing but #drinkinwine. How are we going to play Swashbuckled with no ingredients?

Read on for episode breakdown.


Ingredients featured in this week’s episode:

So…back story… SUPERFAN Joe Marandola (Marie’s dad), shared our web series with his family back in Rhode Island. From that, we got our first fan request from Uncle Gary: “Here are four…Ground Cinnamon, Soy Sauce, Mustahd and Gingah. Holy sh*t, make something with that!”

We took this request very seriously, and Marie knew that I would have most of these ingredients in my kitchen, so the only ingredient she brought over this week was her favorite fancy mustard (oh, and #drinkinwine, AKA. Lonely Alcoholic White Girl Soda).

Since I had only shopped at 99 Ranch this week, as opposed to Trader Joe’s, we were very limited to things involving tofu, ramen noodles and miso paste. But the final product was a delicious, winter ramen. You can easily make the ramen eggs and broth ahead of time, and just boil the noodles as needed. It should last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Vegetable Miso Ramen

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, Grated
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp White Miso Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • Ramen Noodles of Choice (or just pick the best package)
  • Toppings: Baby Bok Choy, Thinly Sliced Carrots, Halved Grape Tomatoes, Soft Boiled Ramen Egg, Enoki Mushrooms, Sliced Green Onion, Seaweed, Crushed Red Chili Flakes

Directions

  1. Bring chicken or veggie broth to a boil and add miso paste, ginger and garlic. Let boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low, add Mirin, and prepare toppings.
  2. Thinly slice baby bok choy and green onion. Use a peeler to thinly slice carrots. Halve grape tomatoes.
  3. In a separate boy, bring water to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, cook ramen noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, put noodles in bowl and top with ramen broth, desired toppings and ramen egg.
  4. For the Soft Boiled Ramen Eggs, you’ll need to prepare them at least 4 hours in advance so they can marinate.  Fill a pot at heat halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Once water is at a rolling boil, add 4 eggs (with a slotted spoon or skimmer so you don’t crack the eggs), and then set a timer for 8  minutes (if you like runny eggs, go for 7, if you like harder cooked eggs, go for 9-10 minutes). Once timer goes off, immediately transfer eggs to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Peel eggs and place in marinade of 1 part soy sauce, 1 part mirin and 3 parts water. Make sure all eggs are covered. Refrigerate for a few hours, ideally overnight.

Mustard Crusted Tofu

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Recipe by Amanda Hibshman, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard (the Grain type)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Directions

  1. Slice tofu into thin, squares (or shapes of your choosing).
  2. In a bowl, combine mustard, soy sauce and sesame oil. Toss sliced tofu in marinade, and let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place marinated tofu in a single layer on parchment. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping tofu halfway through.

Vegetable Miso Ramen with Mustard Tofu

Rosemary Polenta, Tomato Confit, Carmelized Bacon and Eggs

Polenta Caramelized Bacon Eggs

In order to become a dietitian, you have to go through a minimum of a bachelor’s program in nutrition (and not just any program, one that is officially a “Didactic Program in Dietetics”). Then after that, you have to complete a 1-2 year (approx.) internship program, and then you can sit for your national exam.

My internship was at the VA Medical Center, and there were six of us interns who grew to be like sisters over that year (or, 10 months, to be exact). We would carpool, share food, spend holidays together, fight, complain, some even lived together. I really adored all of my intern-mates, and will have a special spot in my heart for them for the rest of my life.

One time, my intern-mate, Hai Van, invited the girls over to her place for brunch. It was probably the best breakfast I had ever had in someone’s home. I kept asking her what she did, and have tried to re-create the meal, but every time, it just isn’t the same. I shouldn’t be surprised, because this girl would come up with THE MOST creative menus, and was also a professionally trained chef. I mean, how can you live up to that??

I remember being very intimidated by this meal, not only because Hai Van was an incredible chef that made magic in the kitchen…but it called for Polenta. I had never made that before, and my only experience was seeing the log at the store. But my friend walked me through the entire process, and it ended up being a success.

Rosemary Polenta

This was adapted from The Barefoot Contessa. Believe it or not, I actually reduced the amount of butter, half and half and milk by quite a but. It still turned out creamy and delicious. If you are short on time, you can always use the pre-made Organic Polenta from Trader Joe’s. (Side note, I don’t think Trader Joe’s carries cornmeal, at least I have never purchased it from there. Does any one know?)
 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying

Directions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, half-and-half, milk, and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan. Pour into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm and cold.

Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, as you would with brownies. Lift each one out with a spatula and cut diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil, as needed. Serve immediately.

The rest of the meal was fairly easy. You can make the polenta the night before and in the morning, just slice some of it up and pan fry it in a little butter and oil. To make the Tomato Confit, combine a container of little grape tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in a glass dish at 325 for 40 minutes.

The bacon is partially cooked on the stove then finished off in the oven @ 425 (until done, it all depends on how much you cook it on the stove). Before putting in the oven, sprinkle with pepper and brown sugar.

The eggs were just simply fried over medium. Then the dish was assembled with the polenta cake on the bottom, tomato confit and then topped with the egg. Bacon was served on the side.

When Hai Van made this, she sprinkled some fresh basil on top and served a side salad of field greens with balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese, which was perfect for a brunch. It also added some more color to the plate. She also had a bloody mary bar, which is always a fan favorite (Side note – Trader Joe’s has a great bloody mary mix!)